Confessional Friday: {Special Edition - Getting to Know You!}

I wanted this Friday to be all about getting to know each other. I've seen a lot of new faces around here lately and so I wanted to take a day to introduce all of you newcomers to the blog! I

If you aren't a blogger, have no fear! Just leave a comment below and let me know you're out there and reading! Feel free to leave a brief bio about yourself and what brought you here, as well. I love meeting new friends!

So, my name is Leslie and I've been the author of this blog since her creation in 2009. I'm also the founder of the original Confessional Friday link-up, which I started back in 2011! (Hence the reason we are here on this lovely Friday.)

I started this blog as an experiment for a company that I worked for back then. The company wanted to start a corporate blog, but my supervisor and I knew nothing about the world of blogging. So, I started one for myself to learn the ropes of content management and, low and behold, my new favorite hobby was born.

Five years later, I'm still here.

I'm married to my very best friend, Stephen. We got hitched in September 2011 and reside in Northwest Arkansas. We have a beautiful three-month-old baby girl named Caroline, born October 14, 2013. You can read her birth story here. Lastly, we are the proud owners of two dogs, Ruby, (the mini dachshund), and Ari, (the German Shepherd).

The morning of Caroline's birth, about two hours before we had her!

My first moments with this princess!

I graduated from Arkansas State University in 2007 with a B.A. in English. I moved to Northwest Arkansas for an internship in January 2008 and loved it so much that I never left. Now, I work part-time two days a week as a writer at a globally renowned public relations firm in Fayetteville and love, love, love my company. The other five days of the week, I'm a SAHM to my baby girl, which is my newest and proudest role yet.

Stephen is the Director of Sales for one of the largest nutrition companies in the U.S. He is in charge of bringing protein shakes, supplements, vitamins and protein bars to some of the biggest retailers in the world, one of which is located right here in Northwest Arkansas! (Hint: It was founded by a guy named Sam Walton ;-)

He was recently promoted and I am so proud of his hard work and dedication to his job. He is a great provider and one of the most intelligent people I've met. (Though he will probably tell you that he's not that smart, just full of hot air, ha!)

Little Red River - Heber Springs, AR

I grew up in a town called Heber Springs, AR, which is located in the central part of the state (my parents' barn and the river behind their house are pictured above.) We lived on a farm and, until I moved away for college, I'd never even lived on a paved road. I wouldn't have traded that childhood in the country for anything and, as a result, I can still swing over a barbed wire fence unscathed.

My mom is my bestie!

Mom and Dad on the lake

With his herd (or one member of it)!

My mom and dad have been married for over 30 years and I love them dearly. My mom is a retired hairdresser and my dad owns a heating and air conditioning business, while also farming cattle.

I have one sibling, my 21-year-old brother named Matthew. We have always been really close and I love the kid dearly. He is married to Lauren, one of the sweetest people I've met. You can see them in the photos above!

Stephen comes from a large Italian family. He grew up in Fort Smith, AR and graduated from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. His parents have also been married for more than 30 years and he has four siblings: two sisters and two brothers. He's the middle child.

What attracted me to him the most was his pin-sharp sense of humor, his sarcasm, his intellect, his kind heart and his love for life. (Oh, okay...maybe I don't mind the fact that he's hot, too.)

Stephen grew up Catholic and I grew up Baptist, but when we married, we wanted to find a denomination that blended the two faiths.  So, we converted to Methodist! Not saying this is the answer for everyone at all, but it worked really well for us personally.

Around here, I write about a mixture of things, primarily fashion and family. I love playing dress-up and usually do a styled outfit post each week featuring affordable, easy-to-recreate looks for the average gal.

My tagline for this blog has been "simply having more fun", and in my opinion, that's exactly what we do around here every day!


Got another question? Feel free to email me at askblondeambition@gmail.com for more info!

Now it's your turn - link up or comment with your bio!


Getting to Know You

I was noticing yesterday how many new faces we have around here - and I love it! I also thought about how I'd like to get to know all these new faces.


This Friday we'll have a very special Confessional Friday. We won't really be confessing anything, but simply introducing ourselves. And, even better, non-bloggers can play along, too!

Here's how this will go:

For Bloggers

You'll link up as usual to Confessional Friday, but rather than write a bunch of confessions, you'll introduce yourself with photos, some background info, show off your family, where you're from, what you do for a living, etc. Just as if you were talking to a new acquaintance.


For Non-bloggers

You can simply leave a comment on my post and introduce yourself! Tell me who you are, where you're from and how you got here, plus anything else you feel might help me to get to know you better.

That's it, that's all, there isn't any more.
(Bonus points if you can tell me which book that line comes from.)

So play along for this very special edition of Confessional Friday: Getting to Know You, this Friday, January 31. 


A Changing Role

It goes without saying that a "momma" has one of the hardest jobs on the planet. To me, it doesn't matter if she works outside the home or makes the home her day job; none of it is a walk in the park. We mommas are spread ridiculously thin and wear so many hats. We juggle, we balance, we walk proverbial tightropes. We adjust, we make do, we hold it together. We change diapers, feed mouths, wash tiny clothes, kiss tiny foreheads and teach tiny minds. Then we wake up the next morning and do it all over again. Mommyhood is all-consuming, my friends.

But in such an awesome way.

To say I've been consumed by being a mom is an understatement. Baby girl has my whole heart. Ive never been so happy.

And back in December, we were discussing our plans for my return to work in January (this month), as well as Caroline's daycare schedule. We were both in agreement that we wanted her to get social time with other kiddos, plus I was ready to begin working again at the PR firm where I'm employed. (Mommas need their time out of the house, too.) That was that and we were at peace with everything.

Fast forward to a few weeks later when Stephen received some amazing news from his company. They were promoting him to a bigger role and, in addition to giving him greater responsibility, would also require him to travel frequently out of state.

About the time we found out about his new role at work, a part of me began to ache for a solution to keep my job outside the home and continue contributing financially to our household, but also be able to spend the majority of my week with Caroline. I wanted to be there for as many "firsts" as I could, while also still helping to put money in our bank account and doing a job of which I'm passionate.

(Remember in that first sentence when I spoke about juggling and balancing? Yeah...)

We prayed. We discussed. We prayed some more. And we talked with my employer.

At the beginning of this month, two weeks prior to my return to work, we got our answer. And Stephen and I were so elated.

Happy to get to spend most of my week with this beauty. 

Low and behold, the praying and planning paid off. My company offered me the chance to work part-time and, above all, keep writing for the clients of whom I've grown so fond. Most importantly, it allowed me the opportunity to be at home with Caroline in a larger capacity during the workweek. (I cannot thank my supervisor and HR director enough for their hand in coming up with a solution for our family. I am very fortunate to work for the folks I do.)

I really didn't know if I wanted to share this, only because it doesn't really matter unless you're, well, us, ha! But, I also have been very transparent about our life since Day One.

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I'm here with the little lady, (and today, since we're still in the throws of RSV.) But on Tuesdays and Thursdays I'm in the office. For us, it was the perfect solution. An answer to many prayers.


How did your role outside the home change once you became a mom? Or did it? How do you balance everything? I'd love to hear what tips you all have, both working and stay-at-home moms, for juggling it all: the career, the babies, the household, etc.


Winter White + Army Green: {Outfit Pics}

One of my very, very favorite colors to wear during the colder months is, well, actually not a color at all. Call it off-white, call it bone, call it alabaster or call it winter white; whatever it is, it's good stuff.

Funny story: I went to take these photos yesterday across the street. Just my trusty tripod and I. About five minutes into snapping photos, two little boys who had been at the adjacent playground walked up. They were waiting for their mama who was unloading another kiddo from the car. One of them said, "Are you taking pictures of your shoes? I wike your shoes a wot." I melted; he was so cute.

Jacket gifted by Riffraff // sweater purchased from SheInside (old) similar here // necklace via Hot Mama, similar here // jeans via Forever 21 here // boots from Old Navy here // 
A few minutes later, their very sweet mama walked up and said, "Are you Leslie from A Blonde Ambition? I read your blog!" It's a small world after all, folks. (Nice to meet you, Nicole!)

White can be a little tricky during the frigid months, so here are a few tips for wearing this neutral shamefully well.
1) This one is a no-brainer. If you're going to wear a lot of winter white, get a spray tan. If you're like me and tend to favor Casper the friendly ghost, it'll be necessary. Trust.

2) See photo above with the jacket. Olive and cream go so well together AND it's the trendiest neutral combo for winter 2014.

3) Gold warms up ivory incredibly well. Try throwing on a stack of gold bangles or a pair of metallic gold ballet flats.

4) I love to wear a coral-colored blush (pictured above in Nars blush) and lip gloss when I wear winter white. It's subtle enough to compliment delicate alabaster without overpowering it. Steer clear of harsh red lipsticks or bright pink blushes.


Lastly, a small housekeeping item: If you plan to participate in the first Mom Talk chat session on Thursday evening, (topic is breastfeeding), I need to know no later than today at 5 p.m. CST. Thank you!

Later, gators.


Confessional Friday: {Link Up}

It's Friday and around these parts, we're confessin'!

1. I confess that I had a good five-minute meltdown in the bathroom Wednesday night. After five days of taking care of our baby girl and dealing with this stupid RSV crap, I just needed a “moment”.  It comforts us to know that this is only temporary and that she will eventually feel better. It serves also as an excellent reminder to thank the good Lord for an otherwise healthy baby.

2. I confess that the previous statement and the stress this week has caused may result in mommy enjoying a glass of wine this weekend. Sometimes, a gal just needs a little bordeaux or chianti in her life.

3. I confess that I’m scarily close to needing to pack up Caroline’s newborn clothes and it makes me soooooooo sad. She has several NB dresses that still fit, but it’s time to make more space for her 3-month clothing. Cue mommy tears.

4. I confess that I baked a funfetti cake last night for no reason other than to stuff my face. I never, EVER crave cake. Don't even really like the stuff. But for some reason, it sounded good. (And nope, I'm not pregnant, ha!)

5. I confess that I've had about enough of Mr. Bieber. After yet another ridiculous debacle, I think he needs to be grounded and sent to his room. Quickly.

What's on your mind, bunnies? Do share.


Turtle Power

Know what practically never goes out of style? (Okay, other than a little black dress.) Tortoise shell.

And why? Because Jackie O. loved her some shell and, therefore, it's classic. Let's review this equation:

Jackie O. + Anything = Forever Cool

Like the fabulous Mrs. O, I too love some turtle power. (I also loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when I was little. I hearted Donatello like nobody's biz. But enough about those turtles...)

Here are some hardshell pretties that I'd gladly add to my closet and accessories drawer:

Large Tortoise Maxine Cuff here // Cobalt Cabo Tortoise Pendant here // Tortoise Clutch here // Dragonfly Bib from Bauble Bar // Tortoise Frame Drops


Confessional Friday: {Link Up}

Well, well, well...if it isn't Friday. So glad to see all of your bright and shining faces looking at the blog this morning! Have I mentioned y'all look beautiful today? Because you do.

Let's not waste time on formalities, there's far too much confessing to be done!

I confess that I just discovered Zazzle.com on Tuesday and have spent no less than two hours looking at customized postage stamps since then. I mean, the options, y'all! (And yes, I realize this site has probably been around since the dawn of the internet, but I like to do things fashionably late. Or perhaps I just live under a rock.)

I confess that, for the first time in approximately ten years, Stephen and I started watching MTV's The Real World last week. (Say it with me now, "Seven strangers, picked to live in a house...") No, we didn't intend on getting back into this trainwreck of a television show, but the plot twist of them bringing cast members' exes into the show was just too awkward and awesome to pass up. I am both ashamed and excited to admit we waste an hour of our evenings once a week on this bedlam. I feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders to tell you that, though. A weight that smells like empty beer cans, filthy hot tubs and bad decisions.

I confess that I was never tempted to do the whole hair chop after Caroline was born. I saw someone post a comment on another blogger's Instagram yesterday saying that "doing a hair chop after you have your first baby is a new mom's rite of passage. You just NEED to do it."

I disagree. I mean, short hair is SO super cute on lots of women, and there's nothing wrong with wanting to cut your hair anytime you darn well please. But I personally wanted to maintain my identity more than ever after having a baby. We lose a lot of that - ourselves - in the process of bringing babies into the picture. Why must we feel like we have to chop our hair, too? I say we all wear our hair like we want to, mommas or not, and call it good. Short, long, brown, blonde or blue - just do you, ladies. Just do you.

That's it gals. Tell me what's on your mind now!


Prayers for Teddy

I had originally had something else to blog about today, but when I saw an email come through last night with this story, my plans changed.

Yesterday, I received a message from Alex who writes over at Pink & Prosperous regarding a baby named Teddy who was recently diagnosed with a very, very rare disease called Menkes Syndrome. As a mother of an infant, I cannot fathom what this family must be going through. I don't want to misstate anything, so I'll let you read Alex's words below:

I am writing with a heavy heart to share the story of a dear friend of mine with an 8-month-old son who is going to die before his 3rd birthday from a rare genetic disease called Menkes Syndrome, also known as “kinky hair syndrome.”

On November 14th, Mary and Alex Fish were given the most devastating news a parent could ever receive: their seven-month-old son, Theodore, who is affectionately known as "Teddy”, was diagnosed with a terminal syndrome called Menkes. Menkes Syndrome affects approximately 1 in 450,000 male babies.  There are currently only a handful of documented cases in the entire United States that specialist, Dr. Stephen Kaler, is studying at the National Institute of Health.  

Her answer every time to the question of “What Can I do to Help?" is “Spread the Word,” So, I am reaching out to you in hopes that you will help me spread the word through your blog to create awareness about this rare syndrome that receives little to no medical attention or research funding. 

Mary created a CaringBridge page as an outlet to both update family and friends about Teddy's health and to spread the word about a relatively unknown syndrome, which currently has no cure. Their journey is documented almost daily by journal entries written by Mary, who as you will quickly learn, is an incredible mother. Every entry she writes is a reminder of what it is to be truly selfless, acting with only your child's best interest in mind. Teddy was dealt the most unfair hand, but he is so lucky to have quite possibly THE most amazing parents. 

Teddy's story may not be able to save other babies who currently suffer from Menkes, but it could create awareness and eventually lead to a cure. It could also empower mothers to trust their guts when they know something isn’t right. Because the syndrome is rare, many doctors dismissed her concerns about her child’s symptoms (such as distinctly kinky hair) because they lacked knowledge of Menkes.

If you could please take a moment to visit Teddy's Caring Bridge page here you’ll see pictures of sweet Baby Teddy, Mary and Alex and can read Mary's updates on their daily life and Teddy's health. You’ll see why Teddy's story deserves to be shared.  

Thank you for your support!


If you have a moment today, please say a word of prayer for this little baby and his parents. Also, if you'd like to share this story on your own blogs or even link to this post from your Twitter or Facebook posts, that would be amazing.

Thanks for reading, y'all.


Mondays Need Sequins (and Caffeine)

I was digging in my closet Saturday afternoon in search of a missing pair of H&M skinny boyfriend jeans that got lost in the two blackholes known as "laundry hamper" and "clothes rack".  Amidst the Great Jeans Search of 2014, I stumbled upon the outfit below, which I had purchased during November's Cyber Monday sales: the top and pants for a great price from Maude Boutique, and necklace from Hot Mama. I had honestly forgotten about buying the top and bottoms, but saw them lurking in the back of my top closet rack, all pressed and ready for their debut.

I mean, we all love the idea of a beautifully fitted, cropped trouser and a feminine sweater, but what sold me on the outfit were the sequins in the top. (What? You expected something more complex?) Yup, suffice it to say I'm a sucker for anything sparkly, you see. Like a moth to a flame...

Sweater and pants purchased from Maude  // tassel necklace purchased from Hot Mama (similar here) // Heels via ASOS last year (similar here) // bag c/o Emilie M. // bracelet from Groopdealz (similar here) // sunnies found here
Nail polish is "Lincoln Park After Dark" by OPI, found here

The weather may be a tad brisk, but the warm tones of this outfit definitely won't leave you feeling the chill. 

Special thanks to my dear husband, S. Saturday marks the third year in a row he's been clicking away at the camera for moi.  My gratitude for his sacrificing of many a televised sporting event, all in the name of blog photos, runs deeper than my love for stilettos and slingbacks.

To the moon and back, sugar. Love you, I do.


Confessional Friday: {Link Up}

Another Friday, another Confessional! Let's do this, gals!

1. I confess that Caroline threw the mother of all fits in Walmart yesterday while I was buying diapers. And of course when I got to the register, I had forgotten to activate my new debit card. I had to call the bank, activate the card, then finish checking out - all while she was screaming like a banshee. By the end of our little excursion, I was sweating. In 20-degree weather.

2. I confess that I'm addicted to American Horror Story on FX. It's beyond strange and terribly creepy, but I'm loving this season so much.

3. I confess that I'm ridiculously in love with the new Caramel Flan Latte from Starbucks. I'm not even a fan of flan, but holy smokes, this drink is phenomenal. It'll knock you off your well-caffeinated feet.

4. I confess that I called accidentally called Ruby by Caroline's name yesterday. (For those new to the blog, Ruby would be our miniature dachshund.)

Take care, y'all!


Caroline's Newborn Photos

A couple weeks after Caroline was born, my friend Bethany McGhehey took the most lovely photos of her. I knew that I wanted Bethany to shoot her newborn pics because she has such a refreshingly simple and clean style to her photos.

Captured were back rolls, full cheeks, a perfect set of puffy bow-shaped lips and a head of chocolate-colored hair. Nothing forced or overly posed about it, as if she just happened to catch a moment in time.

I wept as I flipped through them. My baby girl, growing every day, each faster than the next.

I've found myself wanting to relive the day she was born, as well as those first few weeks, over and over again. To smell her and touch her porcelain skin for the first time; the same little being that shared my body for nine wondrous months.

In looking at these photos, I'm able to do just that.

Photos are property of A Blonde Ambition blog, and are artistic property of Bethany Blair Photography.