Easy over ExperienceΒ 


I was driving my daughter to preschool last Monday and I was listening to her babble in the back seat pointing out every thing she loved while looking out the window. Toddlers really do have a way of making you stop and smell the roses as they find joy in the most simple things. She kept repeating herself about how cute these little trees were and how she wanted one at Christmas, so when she started to shout "MOM I AM TALKING TO YOU," I finally turned around to see what she was pointing to. They were just small ornamental pine trees in this yard by her school. She just couldn't believe they had real Christmas trees in their yard and she wanted one of those too. No, she wouldn't remember if we have had a real tree at Christmas yet since she just turned 3, but it really made me stop and think about how I may be choosing the easy route over the experience. Why? Because it is easier. And we have become so obsessed with finding the quickest, cleanest, and most thoughtless option, we often forget that most things in life come with a valuable lesson or experience. So why have we become so busy that we do this? Busy on our phones, computers, and trying to keep connected to the world. What for? Don't get me wrong, I am writing this because I had the revelation that maybe that is exactly what I am doing right now and stopping to ask myself why, has led me to this post. I am guilty. I don't know why looking at my phone has become more enjoyable and taken over the many joys in life. I find it actually more depressing than anything to open up FaceBook and see the animal abuse, the child abuse, the politics, the hate, the bullying, the killing. And yet, I am choosing to waste time on that rather than baking, blogging, exploring, reading and simply just living my best life. I have decided to give this whole Easy or Experience thought a go. Seriously. We have a fake Christmas tree. Why? Haha because it is easier. Less mess, no pine needles, and I don't have to water it or hunt for that "perfect" tree every year. Because in this society we are all about perfection. So this year, we are getting the real thing baby!! We are going to go as a family and find whatever tree my daughter thinks is great, and that will be our tree. I will still put up the fake one, because I love the season and I love the celebration, but we are going to experience it with new eyes. Who knows, it may just become a new tradition for us! If you hear me complain about the mess, kindly remind me of this post!

If you are my friend on FaceBook, you may have recently seen my post about my cake pops.....they were made with love! Haha. Another lesson for me. My daughter loves cake pops and asked me for Mickey Mouse ones for her Birthday. Every year I either have someone make me the cutest cupcakes or cookies, buy the decorations and buy all of the food. Why? It's easy. I am not sure what else I am too busy doing at that time, but apparently I am. But when your daughter asks you to make Mickey Mouse cake pops, Pinterest to the rescue.  The process it takes to make them is long! Finally I was done and I was frustrated, annoyed and felt bad because they were.....well ugly. But my daughters eyes lit up when I showed her the Mickey Mouse cake pop just for her. She said "Mom, I love it. Thank you". "You made this for me?" Yes baby girl, I made those. My heart melted and yet these hideous looking cake balls were a pain in the butt to make, it was so worth her reaction. ( I have yet to decide if I will make them next year). Bwahhhhaaaa.

Now that it is Fall here in Iowa, most of us are cleaning our yards up before the first snow! EEEK! Last year I managed to rake up a small pile, just enough for my daughter to jump and play in the leaves, then hired it all to be cleaned up and taken away. I have terrible allergies, so I try to avoid raking and playing in them myself. I took sweet photos of her last year playing in them so when she is older she can see how "awesome and loving" her Mom was to let her do that. Haha (insert sarcasm). This year, for the ultimate experience, I made sure that I was a big girl and took my allergy pill. I used the blower to gather the leaves and then I raked them into a HUGE pile, big enough for all 3 of us to play in. The dog, daughter and I :) I forgot how much I actually like to rake and do yard work. I do have a garden, but it is not the same! Is it really that hard? The simple answer is no, no it's not. AND I have this really great picture showing how much joy it brought her :) No that is not the pile!

The list goes on and on. It is a choice that we have to make every day living with children and even relates to our spouses! I totally know there are times that you can not jump in a puddle or play in the rain, but the times that you can, why not let them? What is it seriously going to harm? The amount of excitement from my daughter when I let her play in the rain is exceptional! Best day ever. What's another outfit change when you have already changed 3 times that day already! Haha. And going back to the spouse thing, I am not an expert, actually I have learned a lot in my short life. But what I do know is that when I make the choice to choose love and kindness, my world rotates a lot more smoothly then when I choose stats. No keeping score, no counting flaws, but taking the time to leave a note somewhere, sending a nice message throughout the day goes a long way! You may be asked a favor by your significant other and to you it seems so crazy that he or she thinks you have this time and doesn't he know that you are already busy enough? I promise if you choose to look at it as an opportunity to show love, it will change your life! I have a friend who has 3 kids and is married and we were chatting about kids and the work and all the same things we always chat about as women, and she mentioned she made her husband his lunch everyday. What? Are you serious? I was a little taken back and didn't understand why it was nothing to her but only to realize that it was her choice. She wanted to and enjoyed it. She already made 2 other lunches for her kids, so why was it so much harder to do 1 more? A light bulb went on inside my head. This was one of her ways of showing him love and appreciation. It would be kind of hard to be mad at your wife then sit down only to realize she made the food you are eating :) Bwahhhaaa At least he has to think about it!

I tend to avoid things that are messy. Hate to admit it but I do. Why? Because it's all fun and games until someone has to clean it up. Painting is messy. We have painted...a lot.

Playing in the mud is even worse. But we did it. Someone else seemed to enjoy it too.

Halloween is not my favorite Holiday by any means. I am perfectly fine to skip carving or de-gutting pumpkins, but yet again I have my daughter to thank for allowing me to experience it all over again this year! And it just keeps getting better! What happens when 2 perfectionists try and de-seed and carve 1 pumpkin? Haha it was hilarious! My daughter carefully plucked each seed from the pumkin and no seed was left behind :) We cleaned and cooked our seeds for the first time together and fought over who got to eat the last one! So much fun!

How many things in your life could you change to experience it, instead of just doing it? I am going to make a list with my daughter for this winter and we are going to write down things that she wants to do. Yes, she is only 3 but have you ever talked to a 3 year old? They know EXACTLY what they want to do :) Haha. So far on the list is the ride the train at the mall and build a snowman! If you think your child forgets things, maybe you should give them more credit that you are because my daughter will remember there are sheep at Von Maur the instant we step inside that store....even as a 1 year old! They KNOW!

I know people are so sick of politics and hearing about them and people's opinions are being plastered all over social media and in our very own streets, but are you looking at this election with the easy or experience aspect? It is so easy to sit back and post such hate, negativity and spew awful words from your mouth but are you gaining anything by doing that? A lot of posts are focused on "How will I tell my children?" You tell them that change happens, a lot, and it is hard and uncomfortable and sometimes very painful, but you are strong enough to move on. There will be more change in their lives that will occur other than just changing Presidents. You show them love and grace and they will respond positively. Certainly I am a little scared of how President elect Trump will handle this job, but instead of rioting, damaging our country, or using Facebook to post such nonsense, maybe I will try to experience it from another angle. Remember when your Mom told you "Not to judge a book by it's cover?" Maybe we all should apply that to this. Above all, this is our America and it can only be great again when people start choosing love over hate. Go out and volunteer instead of wasting time rioting. We are putting our police officers more at risk when we display this violent behavior. People make mistakes all of the time, we are all sinners but we have a forgiving and loving God. Let's be more like that. YES we are in for quite the experience so buckle up and do your part to make it worth it. We are in charge of ourselves and our actions so let's put our best foot forward and pray for Trump, pray for your friends, your family, your children and your enemies. Love trumps ALL.

November always has a way of making me reset, rethink and show gratitude. Maybe it's Thanksgiving, the Holidays or just family events. I don't know but I hope that after reading this blog you come out with maybe a new perspective or have your own "ah ha" moment too. Maybe it is for your kids, your spouse, or yourself. Trust me when I say that the memories and experiences that come from living your life are much greater than any other "business" that we choose to fill our time with!

Much love friends and cheers!!

Vacation with my Mini


Whew! These past few weeks have been a whirlwind and I can't even believe I have the time to sit here and write this! But this crummy weather, my hot tea and couch were calling my name. If you follow my blog, you will know I ONLY pack in a carry on suitcase 1.) because I am a control freak and scared to loose it and 2.) I am impatient and don't like to wait to pick up luggage, but this last trip to Cabo with my family, I caved and checked a bag. Seriously the best decision ever. And I will NEVER again choose to fly out at 5:30am ever again....getting up at 3 am is not for anyone! I was traveling alone (first time internationally) with my 2.5 year old daughter and it is too hard to pack for her in 1 suitcase let alone a carry on! Diapers, life jacket, clothes and shoes. And there was NO way I could've made it through the airports with my child, suitcase and buggy all intact without checking a bag. So I sucked it up and checked it, but next time, if I stay at a house like we did this time, I will wait and buy diapers at the Mega Mart and save myself some packing space :) The best part was that my daughter was an absolute gem the entire trip! She had a few 2 year old moments but seriously the trip was so nice and it helped by having a cooperative child....every Mother understands this! 

We flew first class our entire trip thanks to my little blue card (not pill) from my fun job as a Stella & Dot stylist! Why not right?? I sell it for fun, I will use my income for fun! Now I am not sure I ever want to travel coach again :) But if you think you get stares when you fly coach with a child, you should see the looks and comments you get flying first class with one! The eye rolls and the sighs! Haha but I loved the cover up comments when she was a complete angel and actually quieter than the snoring man 2 rows back. One lady said, "oh thank God for iPads" No honey, thankfully I have been fortunate enough to travel with her since she was 4 months old and she is used to it and loves it. But yes, thank God for iPads too :)  Have a toddler and traveling soon? I would like to pat myself on the back for packing an amazing backpack for a child! 

1.) Window cling ons. I may have to give some credit to my daughter for wanting these at Target and the idea then coming to me. Best.Idea.Ever. No mess, cheap, and reuse able! 

   2.) Water Wow books! Fill a plastic paint brush up with water and paint pictures and then re-paint once they are dry!  Lots of different ones to choose from too! You can find them at Target, department stores like Younkers and of course the airport if you want to pay double!

   3.) And this shoelace and block thing from Target dollar spot! Is there anything you can not get in that money pit they call the dollar spot? UGH! Kept her attention for ever! Keep on taking my money Target.

My family picked us up from the Airport and drove us to our home away from home! Our first time using a home booking site since we usually plug in a place to go on Expedia like an all inclusive! It was actually really nice! Gated community, large pool, private (rocky) beach, and close location to downtown. It was in Cabo Bello and our home was called Casa De Esperanza or House of Hope. You can learn more about their mission at hopeforloscabos.com as all donations for the house and car (after costs are covered) go directly to various areas of need in Los Cabos. The house has 3 bedroom and each room has their own bathroom. Staying somewhere and doing good all at the same time is a win win for me!

     Since my husband and I have been to Cabo 2-3 times before, I was more relaxed knowing a little about the location. We tried to eat at all of the "it" spots for my family to see and experience and hit up all of the little trinket shops for crap we all didn't need, but what is the fun if you don't come home with maracas? Haha Oh and a drum, a bracelet and a "drug rug" or poncho as I call it! Never heard it called that before! But my little lady looks awfully cute in it!

Eat here: 

1.) Cabo Wabo

2. The Office

3.) Captain Tony's 

We did not party here: (Although there were a few babies in the bars)

1.) Cabo Wabo

2.) Squid Row

3.) Jungle Bar

Walking the marina is always fun! Lots of shops, restaurants, Starbucks & entertainment. I know I am not young anymore, but I will still never understand the need to walk the streets with only a swim suit on. Does that make me old? Either way, we saw a lot of booty and drunk people :)  Always very entertaining.

  You must do the touristy thing and go to the Arch. Rent a glass bottom boat, and take a little ride to Lover's Beach, Pelican Rock, the Arch, stinky seal rock (seriously smells so bad) and lastly Divorce Beach, but swimming is not recommended here. Surprised? Me either 😊 

      She was not too sure about the boat ride! Haha 

Biggest funny of the vacation. Yes it involves my daughter. So I was showering with her when a little wall lizard came out from the drain and ran out of the shower onto the baseboard. Of course my bug loving daughter thought she needed to catch it. I laughed and let her out to catch it thinking that they are so stinking fast, there will be NO way she will catch it. Low and behold, she walked over to it, reached down and picked the darn thing up no problem. UGH!! So out of the shower I go to get a cup (with no lid) to keep it in. Brilliant I know. Well she played and played with that lizard until he no longer had a tail, then it was time to let me die in peace. RIP lizard. Only my child.         


Of course I did a little "work" on my vacation! Yes, selfies are my job, and just wearing it out and about people see the goods and want to know where they can get it!  Showing off Stella & Dot's accessories and their versatility is part of the work, but also a selfie shows how simple it is to look "put together" for any occasion. I think if people really understood how easy & fun this job is, more would do it! They just hear "selling" something and say no way. But having a stylist on my team paying off student loans and saving for a trip to Disney is more motivation to help others earn extra money too! Oh and if you didn't already know, this vacation is a big ol' tax write off, just ask me how!! 

*Follow me on Instagram for outfit and jewelry details ashleyn2504

A huge thank you to my family for setting up this very fun vacation and for making memories that will last a lifetime! I already miss you all and look forward to the next time we get to see you!


Much love Cabo! Until next time :) ✌️    XO

Lady and Red 


Is this Really my Life?


Hello. It's me. I was wondering...sorry I had too! I swear I hear that song every time I say hello! Thanks Adele. Well it has been a long time since I have taken the time to actually sit down and blog. Life is just busy, but I like it. My little Stella & Dot business is doing well and I am setting goals that I am crushing. I love fashion and jewelry so it is such a great way for me to escape the "mom brain" that I had fallen in to. I am so grateful to my loyal customers and new ones too! I now have something else to talk about other than what my child ate for breakfast and how many times she has pooped in a day. Tell me I am not the only one with this syndrome please? Sometimes doing something little for yourslelf can have the greatest impact on you and the others around you. My favorite quote from the creator of Stella & Dot is posted in the the image below. Since it has been awhile, I have a lot to share with you. Well I am now the Mom to a 2 year old sweet baby girl with a personality bigger than this world, and I love it! She keeps me on my toes and tests my patience and ability as a Mom daily. I would not say she is in the terrible twos....I would more like classify as it the "Is this Really my life" stage? Or "did that really just happen" stage. I mean seriously, I can't even make this stuff up it is so good! Well sit back, relax, and enjoy this 3 ring circus I call life.

Β First off, we got a new puppy. He is a male Goldendoodle, standard size because mini wasn't big enough I guess? We (well I did) thought it would be a great idea for Rowan to have a dog she could rough house with and grow up with because our 4lb Maltese wants nothing to do with her unless she is giving out food. Ummm that was a brilliant idea on my part. Did I forget what it was like to have a new puppy? All I ever wanted was another toddler to join me daily (said no mom ever), Louie is seriously the cutest and sweetest man, which is how we get through some days. Just like what I tell Rowan on days she is extra spicy....."You are lucky you are cute." Not only does he pee a river when he has an accident, his poop is 5X the size of normal poo leaving land mines in our yard, and he chews every toy my super tidy toddler leaves around. It is chaos around here most days now. I routinely find the dog eating food out of my toddlers mouth per her request because she thinks it is hilarious! Oh real funny. But they are the best of buds and seeing them play and him lay next to her when she is sick is the sweetest thing ever. We really do love him!

If being naked is a 2 year old phase I am so ready for it to be over! I swear everything bugs her!! If there is a tag in site, not even touching her, it needs to be cut out immediately or a meltdown occurs. Socks are like the devil to her and if they touch her feet she may breakdown, or the line in the sock is touching her toes wrong. Thank God for Uggs. I would pay double the price right now for them over dealing with the sock issue. Oh and she has mastered the whole part of taking off not just socks but everything including the diaper :/ I will be running around rushing to get somewhere on time (which I am never late) and picking up articles of clothing throughout the house to dress my child for the 3rd time that morning. I LOVE the inventor of the onsie that snaps :) It's is like a nice version of the straight jacket for toddlers and I am going to be so lost when she outgrows the 24month size :(

So a few weeks ago I was getting ready for the day in my bathroom and Rowan was playing in the basement with her toys. She yells upstairs "mom" to find me and then comes upstairs to hunt me down, like always. She walks into the bathroom but I did not look down at her and when I finally did she was naked....go figure. We have been working on trying to potty train, just introducing her to the idea. I am really not looking forward to it because I dread the days where we are in the middle of a store and IT happens, or the emergency car stops. Ugh. So I proceeded to ask her why she is naked. She says "I poop", which means to me maybe she wants to sit on the potty. I put her up on the toilet and she says "no I pee". I encouraged her to go, then bribed her, which works with pretty much anything! Parenting fail in every book, but a parenting win in mine :) Well no potty came out and I was ready to run errands, but had to run around the house and picking up her outfit to dress her. Finally I reached the basement where I found her pants and diaper on top of our entertainment center underneath the TV. Now how and why are they there?? So I walk up only to find, 2 giant turds on the top of the table. She peeks out from behind the door and said "see I poop." Yep. I see that. Are you kidding me? Is this really happening right now? Of course I can't say anything or get upset because I do not want her to be scared to take her pants down and potty but for the love of God!!! I think to myself, it could've been worse! Rowan=1 Mom=0 And no....I never found the pee. If you are my friend on Facebook (lucky you :) ) haha you get to see a lot of jewelry! If you don't like it, or the photos I post on Instagram of my outfits and jewelry, there is a little button that says unfollow or unfriend :) It really is simple. I get paid to wear great jewelry, help others accessorize and I make more money than working PRN or part time as a nurse. Crazy huh? Also you get to see a little tid bit of my sweet life. I shared this with friends but have to share it with you since it was too darn funny. I seriously laugh still laugh about it. I feel like I am forcefeeding my daughter daily and I swear if I did not make her eat, she wouldn't. So I bought Grape Nuts because they are healthy, and I like them. I made her a small bowl of cereal and put a touch of brown sugar on top to entice her more to eat it. I fed her the first bite, she looked at me with such haste and disgust and stated "This is disgusting. This is dog food." She took the bite out of her mouth and marched herself over to the dog bowl and put it in there for them. The dogs loved it! Haha Never a dull moment.

Last weekend we changed her baby bed into the toddler version of it because she just hops the rails and gets out as she pleases. I thought it would be easier than that. Emotional mess would be a good word to describe my state of being. Never will I ever have a baby again, never again will I reach over the rails that once kept her in and safe and pull out her sweet smiling face. Now I get to snuggle right on in beside her, only for her to tell me "get out of my bed." Haha She loves her bed that much! She only wants to cuddle for a hot minute then she wants to sleep. So sleep deprived moms all over the world, next time you go in for the 3rd feeding of the night with 1 eye open and you see that smiling baby, reach down and know that soon enough it will be all over and that phase will be a distant memory. Love and live in the moment please.

Lastly, I swear she thinks she is Van Gogh. She color and marks up everything!!! No matter how many times I tell her to only color on paper and I tell her NO 5 thousand times, she still can not manage to listen. As I am cleaning off the dining room table where I have stupidly put her crayons and papers, I find my light tan microfiber dining chair colored on with crayon....black crayon, oh and yellow highlighter. A few deep breaths later and a super fast Google search of "how to clean crayon off of microfiber" my chair looks brand new. That is when I know God is working in me and helping me with my patience, I calmly cleaned up the mess and moved the crayons to a secret location far above her reach and went about our day. Mom life right here folks and for all of you out there right now Googling the same thing....rubbing alcohol and a clean magic eraser. BRAND NEW. You're Welcome.

All of these moments somehow are seriously funny after the fact, maybe because the clean up so far has been pretty painless. But she knows how to work me over with a few sweet words "you da best ever". My heart melts and I remember why I love being her mommy. But I promise you I ask myself daily "Is this really happening? Is this really my life?" And I am sure glad it is.


If you love fashion & jewelry follow me on instagram at Ashleyn2504! If you love it so much, want to get paid too? , let's chat!! XO

Ashley DeJong