{Top Five} Friday


{Top five} Goals for the New Year

1. Run/bike 718 miles before we leave Rexburg.
 718 seems like a random number, no? 
See if you can guess why I chose that number, it has to do with getting somewhere... 
2. Get straight A’s 
my last semester of college.
I’ve gotten straight A’s since 9th grade. Last semester I got a C!!! A C?? Where did that come from? I guess that’s what being a wife will do to ya. I plan to mend that unfortunate GPA situation.
3. Sew myself either a dress or skirt.
My brother and sister-in-laws recently introduced me to the TV show Pushing Daisies. I’m obsessed with her wardrobe and I must make at least one of her jaw dropping-dresses, perhaps with a little more material in the upper-body region.
4. Start visiting the old folks home 
with Marcus.
I’ve noticed that since I’ve moved to Rexburg I do a lot less service. I need that in my life.
5. Do a really cool photo-shoot at the Tetons.
They’re practically in my back yard for goodness sakes, I figure I should take advantage of that while I can!

I have a few more goals for the new year that I'll probably talk about later, but those are the {top five} for now. 
Lets here yours!
Alright, I've got to go find a costume for the party tonight :)

Ask the Expert.


After this post, some of you lovelies asked about my 
Shampoo & Conditioner preferences. 
I felt quite inadequate to answer that question because my shampoo and conditioner choice usually involves roaming the hair product isle of Target, looking at an array of bottles, opening a few that look nice, and buying the one that is relatively cheap and smells the best. 
Luckily, for you curious readers, I have a very close connection to someone who tries all the good stuff on all sorts of hair-types! 
So, thanks to my insanely talented hairdresser/sister I shall share with you all the fantastic things I've learned:
Taming the Lion’s Mane (for Frizz/Curl)
Matrix: sleek.look
Schwarzkopf: BC Bonacure
Smooth Control
Avoid the "Fade Out" (keep the color in)
Pureology: Antifade Complex Shampoo & Conditioner
What’s the Damage? (for Fried Tresses) 
Schwarzkopf: BC Bonacure 
Repair Rescue & Conditioner
Lose the Bump-It (try this instead) 
KMS California addvolume shampoo & gel conditioner
She's in Serious Condition(er)
Keratin Complex
Vanilla Bean Deep Conditioner

I'm on the Grid.

Dear Tron Legacy, 

I had some serious reservations about attending you. Somehow, you just didn't look like my-kind-of-movie. However, my husband was giddy about your techno-nostalgic-wonder; so, I humored him by going. While your story had some holes, some of your lines were cringe worthy, and your characters' lack of urgency when faced with the destruction of the natural world left me feeling rather perplexed. You weren't quite as silly as I expected, your computer-animated Jeff Bridges was uncannily realistic, and, well, there's a chance that I've been pretending to ride a light-stick motorcycle…everywhere I go. Seriously, give me one of those.

User: Ashley

I Know, I Know...


Okay, okay, you don't have to tell me that {Tunes} on Tuesday was yesterday...I already know that, but before the season is over I have to share this with you. It's that good.
Love me some Coldplay!

Also, you should check out the book, Reachel posted the whole thing on her blog, but first get out the Kleenex...

{Tunes} on Tuesday Featuring: Zooey Deschanel & Leon Redbone


I've been singing this a lot in the shower. 
I think it may be my favorite holiday tune.
What's Been Your Favorite Song to Listen to This Season?

You Asked For It...


Some of the Readers have been asking about what products I use and like, so here are my picks:
I've been sneaking into my mom's room ans using this 
while I've been home and so far I've been pretty impressed.

I'm converted. This polish just glides on so smoothly! And the colors are gorgeous!

If He Only Had a Name...


He's here! He's here! 
And big sister Coco is excited!
I can't wait to meet the little guy, but I sorta love playing mommy while Reachel is in the hospital...even if Coco likes Uncle Marcus more than me. I can't really blame her, he's just so cute :)

Christmas Review

First off, I just really need you to see this hair-bow. I mean, seriously. Do you even believe it? I almost don't, and um, hello, she's my niece, she lives with me, and I was doing her Christmas photoshoot. She's just too cute.
Secondly, I'm really proud of my wrapping. I followed the tutorials I linked to on Friday. 
My sister and I spend all day making these pom-poms and cupcake flowers, because they were just so adorable.
Did you try them?

Thirdly, this is what we did at 
the Nielson's house Christmas Eve:

  • First we had to "sing for our dinner." The table was set with regular plate and "special plates" with one of the verses from the 12 Days of Christmas. If you sit somewhere with the "special plate" you have to sing when your verse is up. It's Nielson Tradition. 
  • After dinner there was a talent show and a Luke 2:/Nativity Reenactment. The Bagley's always do this too. It's a good way to remind the kids what Christmas is all about.
  • The little blonde girl, Lucia, is part of a Swedish tradition that I want in the Marcus & Ashley Family someday. It's so cute, you should look it up.

Fourth, I wish cops didn't have to work on Christmas. My brother spent the whole day working. Lame. But I took this picture because it reminded me of him. I love it. I must start my nutcracker collection!
Fifth, I love Mrs. Ted Brimley aka BusyBeeLauren. Care to know why this time? She sent me a package one day and what did I find? Oh, just a perfect vintage Christmas dress. That's all. No big deal... I felt like such a lady in it. Thanks girl!
Lastly, can we just talk about this book? I mean seriously I've read it at least 6 times today and cried. each. and every time. I even cried once just watching my sister read it. 

So here's the backstory: My brother, Andrew, and sister-in-law, Reachel couldn't get pregnant. Basically everything else in their lives could not be more picture perfect, but no matter what they tried, no baby developed. Finally one day, a sweet young lady called and told them she had a baby for them. Our lives have never been the same since baby Coco came to us from California. We all love that bundle of chub and curls too much! 

Reachel wrote this book and had it illustrated by her friend Beth as a VERY special surprise for my brother, my parents, and Coco's birthmother. I'm pretty sure it takes the cake for best gift of the day! Oh my, I wish you could read it.

Here's another little inside scoop. This year, Reachel DID get pregnant and is IN LABOR RIGHT NOW!!! Little Coco is asleep in my house and we're all waiting for her new little brother to enter our family :) SOOO EXCITED <3
Oh, and yes, she was wearing these shoes when 
she dropped off Coco:

She's in labor and she's wearing these!!! haha
I may or may not have drooled a little bit on those precious peddles...

Thanks for Sharing Your Family Traditions With Me! I Loved Hearing Them.

Was Your Day Merry & Bright? 
What Do You Have Planned For the Rest of the Year?

{For Fashion's Sake} Saturday: Christmas Waves A Magic Wand Over This World


Merry Christmas Ya'll!
You know I'm merry because today I am basking in the warmth of the Arizona Sun
not ankle deep in snow! 
Plus, Papa Nielson is making me an omelet--and let me tell you, he beats a mean egg. Mmm <3
I hope each of you is happy, healthy, and doing something nice for someone else; that's the kind of thing Jesus Christ filled His life doing, and afterall this is what the holiday's are all about!
The Breakdown:
Striped Turtleneck: DownEast Basic $Hand-me-down
Double-Strand Belt: Forever21 $Gift
Grey Pencil Skirt: J.Crew $98 (too much, but I had a gift card)
Green Patterned Tights: Gap Clearance $4
Slouch Boots: Charlotte Russe Clearance $5
Bangle Necklace: Forever21 $6
Fuchsia Scarf: Forever21 $Gift

Have Any Good Christmas Traditions?
I'm a sucker for traditions, and since I have my own little Marcus & Ashley Family now, I'd love suggestions!

{Top Five} Friday


{Top Five}
Christmas Gifts Received 
Over My Life Time:
(from my parents)
When I was about 9 years old, all I wanted was a puppy for Christmas. I was about half way through unwrapping presents when someone rang our doorbell holding this basket full of blankets. They told me to answer it. The guy holding the basket lifted the blanket to reveal this tiny ball of fluff. At first I thought it was a guinea pig and as hard as i tried to act gracious, i did not want a rodent...Once I realized my puppy dreams were coming true I burst into tears. It was so exciting!
2.Vintage Record Play
(from one of my best friends in High School)
This gift was awesome. My friend found this record player at the thrift store, he bought it for me, refinished it, fixed the needle, got me records, and snuck it into my room so I would be totally surprised. I still love it!
3. 1970s Mood Ring
(from my sister, Leisel)
In high school I wanted to mood-ring so bad, but all the ones you can buy now are sort of cheezy in my opinion, so i was always looking, never satisfied. 
Then one year I got this small box from Leisel and when I opened it I was so surprise! Not only did I love the ring, but even more I loved that she knew how much i wanted one. I had no idea she knew. It was really special. She's such a good sister.
4. Vintage Hawkeye Brownie Camera
(from Marcus last year)
This was our first Christmas together and I could tell he was stressed about what to get me. My birthday's in November and he had gotten me this rad present that I was in love with and I could tell he was worried no Christmas present would live up to the standard he had set. I told him he seriously didn't need to get me anything. When he came over Christmas afternoon he handed my this beautifully wrapped box and inside was this darling camera. Needless to say, I was very impressed. He's so good.
(from one of my best friends in college)
I went to the shooting range with a friend and saw this book. It was so funny and I mentioned that I wanted it. Time went on, like along time, and we didn't really see each other anymore. I was in Utah for Christmas that year and the unwrapping was over. Then my sister pointed to the corner of the room. It was "From Santa" but once I opened it, I knew who it was really from. I love thoughtful gifts. They make me cry.

okay, as I was writing this one of my favorite people on the planet dropped this off:
Isn't "Miss" Jenee Wright Prince fantastic?!

Now, Your Turn! 
p.s. I just saw this crafty 
{top 5} and almost died. That first one??? 
So cute.
Merry Christmas Eve, Good Luck Wrapping Gifts!

Corresponding Shapes.


Do you think it's a sign that the zits by our lips are mirror-images and when we kiss they're perfectly aligned?
Yeah, we do too.

Or how 'bout the fact that I woke up before Marcus, came upstairs and got ready, while Marcus stayed downstairs and got ready, then when he came upstairs we realized we were wearing this:
This outfit matching thing happens on the regular, by the way...
So weird.

But my favorite "sign" of the week was when I went over to Ma & Pa Nielson's for a Christmas party and upon entry, I was enclosed in Pa Nielson's (aka The Boss's) strong arms. 
He said he need to tell me something, so in a side embrace we made our way to a quiet corner. 
Then in almost a whisper, he said, 
"Ashley, I just remembered something that I used to think about while Marcus was on his mission. Whenever the thought of him getting married came into my head I always imagined him with a sweet, petite, blonde girl. I couldn't really figure out why, and never could shake the idea. Then when he got home I sort of forgot about it, even when he was dating you it never resurfaced, but the other day it popped back into my mind and I laughed. For here you are!"

The strangest part about the story was the fact that prior to dating me, Marcus had predominately, if not exclusively, dated brunettes...Oh, Pa Nielson, you really are 
The Boss!

{My} Messy Hairbow


Are you ready to top that Christmas outfit off with a bow? Here's you chance:

Here and here are the two bows referenced in the video.

Isn't Miss Kalli just the cutest thing with the most 
beautiful hair? 
She's so cute, you'd think she was mean or something--
but au contraire! 
She's the sweetest little doe I've ever met. 
We spent the day making ginger-creme cookies and catching up. Love her!

Any Quick Remedies for This Cold I Caught Last Night? 
My nose is clogged and stinging, my throat hurts, and according to Marcus, I'm a "Snore Baby"...I bet I caught it because I was running around barefooted last night watching the Lunar Eclipse. So Worth it!

{Tunes} on Tuesday Featuring: Vampire Weekend

Right after we got married, Marcus and I were OBSESSED with this song. 
One day we were driving around Mesa and I said, "Hey, can we drink Horchata in December?"
He said, "Ya."
So I just had to wait patiently for this day to come.
Then we got kicked out for taking pictures inside the store. 
Ha! Oh well, at least I got my Horchata.

If You Live In/Near Mesa, 
I Implore You to Go Get The Horchata From 
'The Ranch Market' on Stapley and Southern. 

{My} Beach Curl


I used this same method of curling here, here, here, here, here, and here. As you can see, it looks a little different every time. It's the nature of the game, my friends, embrace it.

Oh man, if you already know how to do the beach curl, please don't watch this. 
I'm so awkward and it's far from entertaining...perhaps even from educational, but I tried to be informative and I hope you can make sense of my unintelligible patter.
I loved seeing {Your} Top-Knots and hope to see more in the future. 
I ask the same for the beach curl, if you try it and like it, send me a picture!

préparer à m'aimer


This morning Marcus made me a Nielson Family classic.
Oh baby! I thanked him for introducing me and you're going to thank me for introducing you.
These have just a hint of nutmeg to get you into the 
holiday spirit. 
Make some for someone you love--they will love you back.
I promise.
i can't remember where i found this image, but it may be from pioneer woman--sorry if it's not!

French Breakfast Puffs:
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 ½ cup flour (white or wheat)
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup milk

Put in muffin tin, bake 350 for 20-25min.
(makes about 9 or 10 muffins)

Topping: 1/3 cup butter (melted)
Mix together {1/2 cup sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon}

Dip tops of muffins in butter, then dip in the cin/sugar mixture. Serve with  milk.

This Old Thing?...

Yesterday was glorious. It was our first full day back in AZ for the holidays, and do I need to tell you how much I love it here?
 Family, shopping, friends, citrus, Christmas parties, the ability to go outside without fear of slipping on ice or catching pneumonia, mmm, it just feels right

photo credit: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/85436539
We have the most glorious flag, and I'll fight anyone who disagrees...
We woke up and started our Christmas shopping by hitting up the fantastic vintage sale put on my a number of fabulously talented ladies, two of which I am blog friends with,
These two ladies are even more beautiful in real life! 
If you can believe that. 
Plus, Angela called me "Unicorn Ashley" so I like her 
even more than I thought...
After which, I met a reader, who was the nicest lady, and funny too!

But, perhaps, the best part was this dress I found sold my Kayleen Reed. 
Which we will be wearing soon, 
so you'll see pictures of it later.

I tried quite a few on, but most were too big. When I got to the last dress I crossed my fingers and slipped it on. 
Man-Oh-Man! It fit like it was made custom for me. I was SO excited. As we made our way to the check-out Marcus found this killer tie, which we added to the tab and we left feeling very satisfied. Vintage seems to have that affect on people, I think.

I just put up and "About Me" page as requested by some readers.
Let me know what you think...

{For Fashion's Sake} Saturday: Week Brights


So, I've noticed that a lot of my fashion post have involved really traditional color, i.e. red, yellow, blue...One of my readers asked for some advice on a less-traditional pallet. 
Hope this helps, Jessica.
I feel like Green, Teal, Brown, Black & White, Red, and Neon Orange are about as far from tradition as I'm gonna get...
That fantasmical whale painting was the first decoration we bought as a married couple. I die everyday I see it...that's how in love i am i with the thing. Thank you UrbanOutfitters.
p.s. we did not pay that much for it.
Mismatched Earrings, just for kicks.
I've tried this so many times, and this is the first day it's worked for me.
The Breakdown:
Cardigan: Vintage $12ish?
Black Scarf: Gift $?
Striped Shirt: Nordstroms $30
Paige Jeans: Buffalo Exchange $19
Boots: Charlotte Russe $5
Leather Belt: J.Crew Sale $18
Feather Earring: Ireland Study Abroad $4
Sequin Earring: Forever21 $4
Red Purse: H&M $12
Watch (face): Walmart $9
Band: J.Crew Sale $3.50

What's Your Favorite Home Decor?

{Top Five} Friday


Did you know I LOVED last weeks {Top Five} Comments???
I hope someday I can take some of you up on your offers to go out to dinner with us in your city. 
How fun would that be???

Now, onward.
You know how I have magical super powers in the smell department?
(see here and here for more on that matter.)

Well, along with smelling all-things-terrible
I also have a good nose for deliciousness.
So, this week's {Top Five} are scents I love--either from personal experience, or from repeated encounters with them on others.

**Note: I strongly recommend going to the store and asking for a sample before you fork out the cash on a new fragrance. 
Everyone has different skin oils and perfumes will smell differently on each person, but these are my personal favorites.

{Top Five} Fragrances
for her:
1. Nina by Nina Ricci
Marcus gave me this on our honeymoon, so whenever I wear it, it brings back very fond memories...
2. DKNY Be Delicious
I wore this in high school, but I like it more on others than on myself.
3. TOCCA Eau de Parfum-Florence
My sister-in-law, Reachel, wears this and it will definitely be my next fragrance purchase. love. love. love. 
4. Cocoa Butter Sensuous Escape by Victoria's Secret
This is my favorite lotion because I most lotion give me bumps after I shave, but I've never had that problem with VS lotion, and Marcus loves it because it reminds him of Hawaii.
5. Beautiful Sheer by Estee Lauder
I always put this on when I go to the mall, it's just light and summery. I'm not sure if I'd ever buy it, but you might give it a try.

for him:
1. Lacoste Red
I gave this to Marcus for his birthday this year. YUMMY!
2. Kenneth Cole Black
Marcus tried this one on and I didn't like it on him, but I had a friend who used to wear it and I loved it on him.
Again, try before you buy!
3. Acqua Di Gio
I sort of want to wear this--it smells so good.
4. I AM KING by Sean John
I'm not the biggest fan of his music, but I do not care, Marcus and I both loved it last time we were at the mall.
5. Polo Big Pony Red #2
We got a sample of this and it's Marcus's next cologne purchase.

Alrighty, You Know What To Do...
Dish it!

p.s. if you're new to the blog and are curious about how i fell for with Marcus, there's a new page up with the story...
© i believe in unicorns. Maira Gall.