Road Trippin

8.15.15-JOSHUA TREE
108 degrees Fahrenheit
1 RV
2 rescued dogs
3 desert dwelling darlings that inspired

8.21.15- SAN FRANCISCO
64 degrees Fahrenheit
8 hour drive
1 trusty 2006 Toyota Corolla
5 minutes of uninhabited dancing at fisherman's wharf

Road trippin’ with my two favorite allies
Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies
It’s time to leave this town
It’s time to steal away
Let’s go get lost
Anywhere in the U.S.A.

Two girls in search of adventure. It’s how every one of our trips starts out. But we’re not just two average girls that have a set itinerary and clothes laid out for each day. No; we dance to the songs in our head, over pack as if we’re leaving home for a few months and always tend to meet some crazy characters along the way.

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Life throws us curve balls and usually we hit them out of the park; that or we at least get on base and hope the next at bat brings us home. Our go to road trip snacks include but are not limited to pretzels, chocolate, flaming hot munchies, caffeine of any form and of course vodka (for the Moscow mules we make in celebration of making it to our destination).10.8.15_027

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We each have our distinct roles on the road. I can always count on Meghin to have researched our destination with cool places that we could hit up. A crumpled up piece of paper (our version of an activity sheet) is always on hand. Outdoor swap meets, vintage clothing shops, free musical festivals, food truck gatherings…anything off the grid is written on the paper and stuffed in a purse, always at our disposal.

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We both have similar taste in music but I can always count on Meghin to bring along jams crossing all genres. Everyone knows that an epic road trip cannot be achieved without an outstanding playlist. Our eclectic playlist includes but is not limited to The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Taylor Swift, The Mamas and the Papas, Beyonce, Sublime and many more.

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I am always ready to document our experiences with at least two different types of cameras on hand. I try to shoot anything I find interesting and different; specific things, things that will evoke a memory when I look at them once the trips have ended. Poor Meghin usually has to wait for me to get the right shot and the right angle and heaven forbid someone get in the frame at the wrong time. I “take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone”.

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Big Sur: Bixby Bridge

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When you road trip you find out a lot about the person you’re with. Not everyone makes it out alive. Does the person you’re traveling with sing really loud and off pitch? Do they need to take a million bathroom stops? Can they only stay at five star hotels fit with valet and room service?

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Lucky for Meghin and I we both have perfect pitch (…well almost perfect); we only stop for gas, bathroom stops that are absolutely necessary and in-n-out; and as long as we feel safe and there’s a soft pillow under our heads we’re pretty much fine with staying at any hotel or hostel.

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While road tripping I love to always keep my eyes open. I try not to sleep. You never know what you’ll see. I encourage every wandering soul to drive out onto an open road with a great playlist, a true friend and a mind that is open to whatever the road brings your way.

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good shoes take you good places

Remember it doesn’t matter what road others take, what short cuts they find and how long it took them. Your road is just that: it’s yours. Some people will hop on your road and ride along side you for miles, some for a few short yards. When it’s their time to exit be grateful for your time with them and send them off with positive vibes; who knows you might see them down the road. When you have a hunch listen to it. Stop when you feel you need to. Forget what the right thing would be for someone else and do what’s right for you. Go your own way.

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-xo ash

ps: Meg thanks for being my ally on the road, keeping me awake with deep conversations as we drove down the 1 and for always reminding me to live fearlessly.

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Made in the U.S.A.

Be young, be dope, be proud-like an American!

Be young, be dope, be proud-like an American!

“Cause people will tune in how many train wrecks do we need to see before we loose touch. We thought this was low, well its bad, getting worse. Where’d all the good people go? I’ve been changing channels I don’t see them on the TV shows.”-Jack Johnson

There’s a rise in divorce, unsettling images of war, children suffering from hunger, disease and poverty, mass shootings, robberies; sadly the list goes on and on. In today’s world it can be easy to read an online article or turn on the television and watch with anguish as to where our world is heading. It seems more and more these days I see a bunch of negative stories being broadcasted.

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I watch with a heavy heart, hoping maybe, just maybe there might be a small positive story that becomes my glimpse of light and hope for the world. Some say the state that our country is in, is questionable. I’ve found it hard to quickly argue back. It can be easy to take the cynical and negative road when talking about our country and that in my opinion is never good. So, I’ve decided to spin things around and have us look at the positives our country has achieved and been through. I’ve composed a list of things that make me proud to be an American. I hope this list will spark a small dose of patriotism and make you just as proud to live in our special country!

Made in the U.S.A.

Made in the U.S.A.


  • (Probably my favorite reason I can proudly say I am an American) The USA is a nation founded by a bunch of true rebels! 239 years ago these renegades built 13 colonies and eventually won their independence standing up to a King. Freedom-Sweet freedom! As time passed our country transformed into a melting pot of diverse cultures and people who were created EQUAL with the unalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!”

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  • We landed on the moon! This still trips me out. In 1969, while in a race with the Soviet Union, a bunch of space geniuses at NASA found a way to put astronauts in a space shuttle, took them into outer space and made an American the first and only human to land on the moon! That’s out of this world if you ask me!
  • We started the best musical genres ever! Rock n Roll and Blues! The Blues was primarily started by the African American population and started a wave of influence in the musical world; eventually creating Rock n Roll! We have some of the worlds best Blues and Rock n Roll artists! B.B. King, Bessie Smith, Muddy Waters, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Stevie Wonder…(I could continue for a very long time) the list goes on and on. Sure the Brits get credit for The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who but we take all the credit for putting those groups on the map. How could anyone forget February 9th, 1969; Ed Sullivan introduced the world to the Beatles. America to the world: “You’re welcome!”
  • Baseball! Sure the game might be a bit slow but it’s still our sport and I couldn’t be prouder when singing the national anthem at the ballpark! Enjoy some peanuts and cracker jacks and have the US Air Force Thunderbirds fly over the stadium and you’re sure to have chills race down your back! We can thank our good ‘ole US of A for legends like Babe Ruth, Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson and Joe Dimaggio.
  • United we stand! I’ve never seen a group of people come together in the midst of chaos and confusion as fast as Americans can. Through trials and tribulations, although our views and opinions vastly differ, we always seem to put our differences aside during important times in our nations history and stand together as one!
  • The next time you get off a long plane ride and call or text your loved ones that you touched down safely you can thank American Wright Bros for inventing flying and Alexander Grand Bell for inventing the telephone.
  • Southern Charm! Where else in the world can you enjoy a piece of fried chicken, corn bread, a cold beer and apple pie a la mode on a hot summer afternoon, America!-that’s where! Add a country tune on the speakers and you can basically transport yourself to any southern state.

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  • America the beautiful! We are so incredibly lucky to live in a country that has some of the world’s most beautiful natural landscapes! While traveling Europe I was on the tube in London listening to some young Brits talk about their “holidays” to the States. I smiled with a sense of pride as I heard them boast about their experiences in Yellow Stone National Park, The Grand Canyon, Zion and Yosemite. We’re so lucky to live in a country under beautiful spacious skies with majestic views from ‘sea to shining sea’.

I know there are plenty of other reasons of why I can say I am proud to be an American but quiet frankly there isn’t enough time. I know tomorrow as I’m sitting on the beach watching fireworks glisten in the summer night sky I’ll refer back to this list. I’ll remember with a thankful heart what the first American rebels did to ensure my freedom and as the Zac Brown Band sings “thank God for my life, for the stars and stripes. May freedom forever fly, let it ring! Salute the ones who’ve died, the ones that give their lives, so we don’t have to sacrifice all the things we love…”

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Blessed to share this country with awesome friends like those seen in the pictures above. I can proudly say the girls pictured are young, free, beautiful, intelligent, independent, funny modern day American women. I’m so lucky to call them my friends! I hope you all have a wonderful and safe July 4th and remember “be young, be dope, be proud-like an American!”

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-xo ash

P.S.- Meg and Lex you’re both amazing! Can’t thank you enough for a fun shoot. Trying to light sparklers at sunset on the beach while the wind was whirling past us and nearly burning our thumbs with that lighter will forever go down in history as the funniest photo shoot moment to date! Thanks for making me laugh so hard that I couldn’t breathe! Who need to workout when you’ve got the funniest friends to give you a fun ab workout laughing the afternoon away?! Oh-and special thanks to our four legged friend Nova (aka Novary!) a real sport!

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 presetCouldn’t decide on one song so for the hip crowd I picked Lana and for the traditionalist I picked Zac Brown. Enjoy!

Gladiator Games

Summers “IT” shoe has always been the sandal… but this summers sandal isn’t just any sandal it’s the fashion forward Gladiator sandal! Worn by warriors in combat in A.D. 80, actors in the 30’s, models in the 60’s and celebrities today, this seasons key shoe is sure to have people doing double takes; and why wouldn’t it?!

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DISCLAIMER: Not just anyone can dawn this iconic sandal! Note that it takes a specific woman to wear the famous Gladiator. To compete in the Gladiator Games a woman must posses a certain level of confidence and poise. After all, the sandal was depicted in ancient art as being worn by Greek goddesses. Like ancient Gladiators you must be brave when wearing the sandal.

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“We gladiate but I guess we’re really fighting ourselves. Roughing up our minds so we’re ready when the kill time comes!”-Lorde

Mentally prepare yourself! Not everyone will understand the fashion forward sex appeal that is the Gladiator and will have no problem voicing their opinions and doing so loudly. That’s okay, they don’t have to like it, as long as you know who you are and love the way you feel that’s all that matters! Be ready to make headlines!

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When stepping into the sandal, remember that you aren’t just wearing everyday footwear, you’re dawning a piece of history… so wear it proudly! Stand up straight with shoulders back knowing you can conquer anything put in front of you (just like ancient Gladiators)!

“Give a girl the right shoes and she CAN conquer the world!”-m.m.

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History of the Gladiator Sole

Emperor Titus of the Flavian Dynasty opened the Roman Coliseum to the public in A.D. 80; its main purpose was to promote public welfare and decrease the opulence that was created by evil emperor Nero in prior years. Titus opened the Coliseum mainly for entertainment. The arena took on a life of its own hosting a festival with 100 days of games, Gladiatorial combats, mock naval fights and wild animal feuds. More than 50,000 spectators crammed into the large amphitheater to watch Gladiators engage in combat. Early on Gladiators were merely slaves, prisoners that had committed serious crimes and conquered people from around the world. But because of the fame, popularity and money that came with the Gladiator fights, new combatants rose through the crowds. Men, and WOMEN, signed up voluntarily. These men and women trained, willing to fight and show their skill in an amphitheater filled with roaring fans, in need of an entertaining show. Gladiators fought in the hot Italian sun and demolished the Coliseum ground, which was covered in sand to absorb blood from battle. To help protect their feet Gladiator sandals were created and made from the highest quality leather with long thin straps that would tie up around the ankle and calf. Sandals were ancient Rome’s most worn type of footwear. After the gladiator combats the sandals became a marker of status, with the finest leather being used for sandals on those in higher rankings. —I believe ancient gladiators would feel honored that they started a trend hundreds of years after the fall of the empire.


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  • LOOK 1: I paired a simple black dress with my favorite pair of black heeled Gladiator sandals. When wearing this look the key is to not complicate things. Remind yourself that the Gladiator is the focal point of the ensemble, so play down the rest of the outfit.
  • LOOK 2: Denim high waisted shorts and a flowy peasant top work well with my favorite light colored leather Gladiator sandals. Pair this sandal with a fun summer dress for a more relaxed ethereal look (think Roman empress).

Gladiator sandals are my favorite! Both sandals can be played up or down for both the unruly girl AND the refined girl; it all depends on the occasion. If you’re only problem with this look is that you can’t afford it, than there is no problem! The Gladiator can be found in many different stores for a variety of styles and prices. Find the one that works best for you.

Also: There’s enough drama in the shoe so don’t go crazy with hair and make-up. Make it seem like you just defeated your worst enemy on the Coliseum floor and are now ready for victory drinks with your best girlfriends! Keep make-up glowy and natural and hair either pin straight or soft effortless waves!

Have fun with this look and don’t forget your best accessory with the Gladiator sandal is a confident smile! 🙂

-xo ash

PS: m.h. you’re rad and you rock! Thanks for being the Nigel Barker to my Tyra Banks and reminding me that we all have a little bit of america’s next top model in us. I think we just added photographer to your bag of tricks! You da best!

All in Bloom!

Florals during the spring and summer season are a running joke in the fashion world. When it comes to the print for spring just look to Miranda Priestly, the powerful fashion editor in “The Devil Wears Prada”, for advice. 4.30.15_014

We all love prints that exude the season but don’t like to make it that literal. This year wearing florals has become fresh and fun! Take a peek at designers showing their interpretation of style through this years “IT” print:  Alice + Olivia, Michael Kors, Dolce and Gabbana, Kate Spade and Chanel. A key floral piece is a must for this spring/summer 2015 season and can be worn in many different ways. Check out Vogues take on floral must-haves for inspiration.

My favorite ways to dawn this years floral print:

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1. Flowers Everywhere

I love wearing a fun dress or romper that shows of a fun tropical floral print. This floral print is light and fresh with a white base and pops of green, blue and red. Pair it with a camel leather sandal for a cool day look or a pair of edgy wedges or nude open toed pumps for a warm night.

 

 

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2.) Minimal Petals

For those still to shy to show off the print from head to toe you can rock the look with a more conservative approach. Try pairing a minimalistic staple like a pencil skirt or skinny jean with a floral print top. Or switch it up and play up a basic white v neck with a pair of fun floral print shorts or a flowy fresh-from-the-garden skirt.

 

3.  Botanical Beachwear

Spread flower power while splashing through the waves on a trip to the beach. Mix the garden and the ocean in a cute bathing suit! (Remember to apply sunblock!…the only red we want to see is on the tropical floral prints- not on your beautiful skin!)

 

Remember when wearing this years exciting floral print to not take it too seriously. Throw a flower in your hair, have fun and rock the look with confidence. Like one of my favorite jewelry designers Harry Winston said, when wearing something bold, and eye catching that “People will stare. Make it worth their while.” 😉

Show me how you rock the look  with your Instagram pictures using the hashtag #unrulyandrefined

-xo ash