free write//ruffle my feathers.


i was thinking today, about growing--not physically, but emotionally. i was trying to pinpoint the phases in my life that i have grown the most and what caused the growth. i realized, not surprisingly, that it was times of struggle. it was when my heart was broken, it was when people were making hard choices that were outside of my control and yet still had an impact on me, it was when i was in a new and hard place without the people i was used to leaning on, and while all of those times were a struggle, some uncomfortable, some down right anguishing they were also the times i look back at and feel a sense of pride, because i became a little bit more of who i am--and while i still have a lot more to learn, improve, and change about myself, those stuggles helped me. 
i've been feeling dull lately, as i mentioned before, and i think it's because life is so easy.
i feel ungrateful for saying such a thing, but it's the truth. 
we have enough for everything we need. we live in the place we grew up in, so it's safe, and known, and...unexciting. we're surrounded with family, so we have no incentive to go outside ourselves and help or rely on others. and while i know that's mostly our own fault--we can grow and develop and serve in all places and situations, i'm/we're generally the kind of people that need a little push.
and so here i am, tucked safely in the forest,  and like a crazy person, asking to be put out on the cliff.
i need a challenge--
i'd prefer it to be nothing too extreme, but then again, i've been there and done that, and i've survived, so i know i can again. i guess i'll take whatever i need to become better.
i'm sure i sound crazy for writing such an idea, but maybe i'm not the only one who feels this way.
and even if i am--i am me, and these are my feelings.

gypsy soul.


i've come to the realization that i'm somewhat of a lazy dresser. i love buying tops that i can wear alone and pair them with a simple pair of skinnies. i rarely experiment with layers other than a possible cardi.
so when i received this breathtakingly beautiful dress from sugarlips, my first (lazy) though was to pair with with a simple black cardigan, but i decided to try something a little different...
it took me a couple of pairings, but when i tried this chambray top under it, i really liked the juxtaposition of denim and chiffon. another pairing i liked and will probably wear in the future was a darker chambray top over top, tied in a knot at the waist, and if i had a leather jacket, i think that would be a beautiful addition to this pretty dress.
what do you think? how would you wear this dress? 
do you have any good laying tips?
<<what i wore>>
light chambray button up top//nordstrom (similar here)
snake bracelet//c.o. oasap (buy it here)
boots//c.o. blowfish (similar here)
red bag//forever21 (buy it in shop my closet here)
retro sunnies//forever21 (similar here)
black slip extender//vintage

'merica, the grand adventure.


when i got this glorious throwback to the 80s and 90s American flag shirt i was so stoked. 
for some reason it just felt like the epitome of summer shirt--and being that i live in arizona and generally dread the very thought of those summer months, it was weird that that got me so excited. 

i guess it's got something to do with the fact that we have some really big adventures planned for this summer. i think it's good for the soul to have things to look forward to. i know it's definitely doing me good, as we inch nearer and nearer to the real thing. 
it's like a light inside of me is burning brighter and slightly more frantic and that's exciting.

  as i think about it, this shirt is actually slightly ironic considering the big adventure takes place outside of the United States of America--or maybe that's what makes this shirt exactly perfect.
I hope you have something (big or small) to look forward to and i'd love to hear what it is, if you'd care to share.
have a great day.
<<what i wore>>
white scoop neck t-shirt//urbanoutfitters (buy it here)
leather braided belt//jcrew sale rack (similar here)
black skinnies//pacsun (buy them here)
desert boots//target (similar here)
bracelets//vintage & favor jewelry
'a' watch//urbanoutfitters(similar one here)

wood's a burnin' DIY


this weekend Marcus and i finally got social and met up with my insta buddy Hillary and her husband. 
we met virtually through a common interest in DIYing (and then strangely realized that Marcus and Hillary had gone to jr. high together, and her husband, Mitch, and i had gone to a cabin together once in high school)--small world much?
anyway, we had been talking about getting together and crafting for a long time, but our schedules never seemed to match up.
Luckily Friday the stars aligned and we had such a fun night getting to know each other, playing with their wookie dog, Sophie  watching an old classic (dumb & dumber) and wood burning these cooking spoons. it was my first time and now it's safe to say i'm an addict and can't wait to get my hands on my own wood burner. Hillary said you can pick one up at Michael's for a measly $25, but i think i'm going to order this one i found on amazon for even cheaper!
We picked up this utensil pack for super cheap and the boys bought a pack of cedar planks to burn our name/house number (which smelled so good by the way!).
we then googled around for a bit to get some design inspiration, sketched out our ideas with pencil first and then burned the night away--it was pretty darn easy and turned out pretty darn adorable.

yay for new friends and new pretties!
have you ever wood burned? 
what should i try when i get my own?

a strange case of the boreds.


i hate to admit it, but lately i've been having a case of the boreds. 
it could have something to do with the fact that Poppy has strict orders from the vet to stay locked up or curled up (on my lap) for 2 weeks, or it could be something more serious, but i just needed a little more party in my house if i was going to be quarantined here for 14 days.

so, while poppy and i got hooked on 30 Rock, i cut circles out of every piece of colored paper i could find in the house and made myself a confetti wall. it was just the right of party for my place and has thus far been the perfect cure for my boreds. it's even ignited my crafty flame and i have a few more projects i'm totally stoked to undertake--i needed a little kick in the pants! 

here's how to create you're own confetti wall, great for a craft room, little girls room, birthday parties, holidays, or just a known remedy for your own case of the boreds.
pick your colors//
i think a slightly heavier paper looks better, but i used a little of both so either is fine.
google a circle template for whatever sized circle you want//
i used 4 inch circles--you can find the template here
+After cutting about 50 out by hand i found at my scrapbook store has a die-cut, so i did the rest using that--much faster!
roll up pieces of painters tape (to avoid pulling paint off the wall) and arrange the circles on your//
remember it's a confetti wall and doesn't have to be perfectly spaced or planned--
imagine you just threw confetti up in the air and you're watching it fall.
another fun little thing you can do with your extra painters tape--make a frame for any pretty prints you still have unframed. heaven knows i have way too many laying around my house! the one pictured above is found HERE.
it looked cute in every stage, so use as many or as little dots as you have, and even half dots look cute layered or placed on wall edges.

and don't forget to show me if you do it! tag me on instagram (@ashleyanielson), put links to your blog, or post on the blogs facebook, i'd love to see how you interpret this.

what do you think? would you try it?

red vintage.


Here are a few things i hope you own or at least suggest you acquire in the near future--because, well, they're just perfect staple pieces.
1. a well-tailored trench coat
2. leopard print shoes and/or belt
A trench just makes any outfit sophisticated, ladylike, and structured. 
Wouldn't you agree?

Leopard print has earned itself a 'tacky' label in the past, and it still can be terribly tacky if down wrong or in abundance, but when done right it can really add such a pretty texture to an outfit. 
It's one of my favorite prints to play with. I've been looking for the perfect pair for some time--but after seeing the j.crew etta's i thought i was spoiled for life...not that i would ever pay that much for a pair of shoes, but i just knew i wouldn't be satisfied with anything less jaw-dropping.
well, what to my surprise, when i found these beauties for only $29 at target. They're almost identical and less than 1/10th the price! it was love at first sight, even marcus told me to put them immediately in the cart. i did not contest.
<<what i wore>>
geo earrings//forever21 $4 (same here)
arrow necklace//stella&dot gift (similar here)
red sweater//vintage $2
belt//jcrew sale (old)
skirt//anthro (borrowed from reachel)
purse//h&m $22 (old) (similar here)
trench//old navy sale (old) (similar here)
leopard heels (new favorite shoes!)//target $29 (buy them here)

what are your staple pieces?

new years eve is the new halloween.


The theme was campout and loosely inspired by Moonrise Kingdom (the soundtrack was playing throughout the night), there were mess-hall duties, homemade mac and cheese, peach cobbler, chili, and Tang. It was overly amazing--as usual.
Because the theme was a little loose, we had all sorts of interpretations--army men, hunger games, campers, lumberjacks, scouts, and moonrise kingdom characters. 
while half the guests played Telestrations, the other half was busy building marshmallow fortresses and catapults.
it was taken very seriously, as you can see.
thanks reachel and andrew for another great party!
and i hope 2013 is treating you all very well!
© i believe in unicorns. Maira Gall.