Color Mixing with Greenery, Pantone 2017 Color of the Year

I always love working with Pantone’s Color of the Year because even if I don’t immediately recognize it as “the hue” of the moment, I’ll soon start noticing it everywhere and appreciating how it fits into different scenarios. This year’s choice, Greenery, is both vibrant and calming because of its natural omnipresence in our world. It’s used a lot in architecture, graphic design, and marketing because it symbolizes nature and works so well with other colors. I’m sharing some examples of how it can be mixed with other colors, and therefore, how it could be incorporated into your design work, interiors, or personal style this year. These are five very different mood boards with five very different tones and moods. Scroll through and let me know which one is your favorite!


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Which Greenery mood board speaks to you?

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FWS Reader Appreciation $50 PayPal Giveaway!

Happy holidays, FWS friends! I’ve had a pretty wild year and it’s shown here on the blog with some inconsistency and even ghosting out for a while to focus on my personal/professional life. Overall, the break has been great for me, and I’m more inspired than ever for new and exciting blog content for 2017. However, I know as a reader, that can sometimes be frustrating and/or confusing.

As a thank you for sticking by me and a hope for new things to come, I want to take some time this holiday and say thank you to all of you. Anyone who has kept up with what’s been going on around here this year, I want you to know it means a lot to me. You’re a special crowd and you deserve a treat!

So how does $50 PayPal cash to spend however you like sound? Good? Great!

To enter:

  1. Entries are for loyal readers and new visitors alike. Just make sure you are following the blog, either through email subscription on the sidebar or via Bloglovin.
  2. Check out my recent post series, The 12 Days of Holiday Gift Guides (links below), and pin your favorite guide. You can also access the pins on my Free Wills Studio pinterest board.
  3. Leave me a comment with a link to your pin. Make sure that your comment is linked with your email address so I can contact you if you are chosen.
  4. Voila! You’re done! The giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on 12/31. A winner will be chosen on 1/1 through random comment selection and announced here on this post.


I wish I were giving away a million bucks, because you all are worth it. Happy holidays!

Update: Congratulations to Jessica Mielke! Your comment was chosen randomly and you have $50 PayPal cash heading your way!

~xoxo    Ashley

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Our ‘Last Days of Summer’ Happiness Challenge: FIND MORE FUN!


I feel like a broken record, but life for me and Zach has been pretty crazy lately. We moved out of our place in Columbus and into a temporary place (for a few months) in Dayton. After which, career moves depending, we’ll likely be moving farther south to Cincinnati, but that’s still a little up in the air, which is an unsettling place to be, to say the least. Our schedules are thrown, my work resources are scattered, and I’m frazzled at best. But you all have moved, you know this. It’s STRESSFUL!

We had been really enjoying keeping up with our monthly Happiness Project goals, but last month came and went and, amidst the chaos, we did absolutely no work on the chapter. I thought about trying to throw the post together, riddled with apologies. I thought about completely skipping it. I even thought about quitting the project altogether. Especially since the current month’s “work” is all about taking time to play. Play?! How do I possibly find the time for that right now?! But, in fact, because of all the stress, I think that’s possibly why it’s more important than ever to find time to fit it in. We could both use a few fun mental breaks during this time.

So we’ve made a plan! We took the aspects that stood out most to us in the chapter and picked some things we’d both like to focus on. Some together, some separate. If you’d like to take these prompts and put together your own little challenge to have some fun over these last few weeks of summer, I’d love to hear about it! You can tell me your goals in the comments and even check back in the beginning of September to share your results!


1. Find fun in the everyday.

Fun does not have to be a week-long Disney vacation. There are lots of ways to enjoy yourself even on the most mundane of days. Whether you like to do the daily crossword in the paper, spend time gardening, or even organizing your sock drawer- hey, whatever floats your boat! Figure out something simple that you truly enjoy (not something you wish you enjoyed) and find a way to notice it and practice it more in your everyday life.

For Zach and myself, we really like to be creative, so we’re opting to take more photographs everyday. It’s an effort to notice beautiful moments we may be overlooking.

2. Be a kid again.

Think back to your 10-year-old self, what did that child LOVE to do? If it was building model cars, roller skating, or belting out show tunes, it’s safe to say that your adult self still loves this activity (or at least a version of this activity).

For me, when I think back on my childhood, it seems like I was always either jumping on the trampoline or making choreographed dances with my sisters and friends. So I’m choosing to dance more and Zach picked playing basketball. Both of these are also exercise, so I’m going to go ahead and give us like 1000 bonus points. Feel free to do the same.

3. Start a collection.

I can’t say either one of us is much of a collector. I appreciate it from a novelty standpoint, but definitely not from a clutter standpoint. According to Rubin, however, a collection “provides a mission, a reason to visit new places, the excitement of the chase, a field of expertise (no matter how trivial), and, often, a bond with other people.” Looking at it that way makes it seem a lot more appealing to me.

I had gotten a vintage merkabah kind of decorative object, similar to this, for two or three dollars at Goodwill, and I really love it. I’d like to make it a point to keep my eyes open for more things with those geometric and vintage qualities and start, what I’ll call for now, an “orb” collection. Zach’s idea is a bit more sentimental and I’ll share more about it when we recap in September.

4. Challenge yourself.

These first three fun prompts have value: they’re relaxing, they inspire creativity, they promote positive energy, etc. However, when you really get down to it, taking on the category of challenging fun is the most rewarding. It’s also the most taxing, because it requires time, hard work, and planning ahead. Plus, it can lead to more frustration, anxiety, and the fear of possible failure. In this, however, lies the key. Because we must put more into challenging fun, we will also get more out of it. It can lead to better relationships, mastery of a craft, and important personal growth.

So think of something that you know you enjoy but have a hard time devoting yourself to, be it from fear, lack of commitment, whatever. That should be the focus of your challenge goal. For me that’s illustrating. I hobby I consider both incredibly rewarding and almost impossible to actually sit down and do. And for Zach it’s writing, of which he has similar feelings.

Are you inspired to take part? You can work on one of these categories or tackle all four.

Share the ways you’re challenging yourself to have more fun in the comments so I can cheer you on! Plus, make sure to check back in early September for our recap!


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Weekly Roundup 6/52

Happy hump day, pals! Does anyone else feel like they are in a perpetually frozen state today? I can’t complain much since it’s been such a mild winter, but man, I can’t wait until all work is done today and I can curl up in a blanket and watch Pretty Little Liars. Goals, right?

And while we’re at it, why not cozy up with some hot new links? These internet finds are my favorites of the week. Enjoy!

1  I thought this DIY Wooden Bead Chandelier was gorgeous, but the best part? The supplies are pretty inexpensive and the process seems really simple. (A Beautiful Mess)  |  2  I may or may not have become hypnotized while looking at this list of the most beautiful cinematic shots in movie history. (BlazePress)


3  These incredible images by artist Pablo Thecuadro are made using a simple utility knife on editorials and photographs. They’re pretty mesmerizing. (Honestly WTF)  |  4  The Laney Boggs of cabinetry- you won’t believe how chic this dismal piece became with just little makeover. (Apartment Therapy)


5  Life can be tough. And also super cute.

Also into…

Major hair inspo: modern takes on styles of past decades.

This incredible giveaway.

Bananas for these earrings.

You’ve got to read the comments on this one. Lol, I can definitely relate.

Some incredible layering inspiration.

Get your skills on.

And Target has been killing it in the decor department. I’m currently loving this accent table, this stool, and these bookends.


What links are loving this week?


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The 12 Days of Holiday Gift Guides! Day 2: The Free Spirit

It’s the second installment of The 12 Days of Holiday Gift Guides and I’ve got whole slew of beautiful boho gifts for the free spirit in your life. From the natural to the glam, if your recipient feels right at home in the 60s-70s era, they will love these gifts!


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I hope you loved these free-spirited finds! Make sure to check back in tomorrow, when I’ll be sharing be favorite gifts for tech-lovers!


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The 12 Days of Holiday Gift Guides! Day 1: The Trendsetter

It’a the most wonderful time of the year!!! 

The annual 12 Days of Holiday Gift Guides! Over the next two weeks I’ll be sharing his and hers daily gift guides to help you shop for alllllll your loved ones.

Today is all about the the trendsetters. The fashion-forward style risk-takers. The sartorial adventurers. The people in your life that dare to go bold when it comes to personal style.



top  |  sunglasses  |  phone case  |  earrings  |  bag  |  chocolates  |  shoes  |  book  |  eyeshadow  |  cards  |  watch  |  sculpture




sweater  |  bandannas  |  shoelaces  |  cologne  |  cleaning kit  |  bag  |  book  |  headphones  |  travel kit  |  bike  |  watch  |  shoes


I hope you got some great ideas for the fashion-loving friends and family in your life. And if you love The 12 Days of Holiday Gift Guides as much as I do, make sure you’re following along each day. There’s a lot more ahead! Look for gift guides for all of the distinct personalities in your world.

Coming up:

The Free Spirit  |  The Techie  |  The Entertainer  |  The Animal Lover  |  The Homebody  |  The Athlete  |  The Old Soul  |  The Artist  |  The Prepster  |  The Music Buff  |  The Party Animal

So make sure you’re subscribed to the blog if you want to catch all the guides. You can get new blog posts sent to your email by signing up on the sidebar or you can follow along on Bloglovin’!

Happy shopping, friends! 🙂



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Five Ways to Break Through a Creative Block



You might be able to relate. For the first two weeks of November, I was in a total uninspired funk. Perhaps it’s natural. I had a very busy October and I expected to need a few days to rest and regroup. But I didn’t expect to need two whole weeks! In my dream world I was going to relax for a few days and then hit the ground running with the most inspired action plan for conquering life. Instead, I only felt inspired to do the bare minimum until I could get back to literally Keeping up with Kardashians.

Somewhere in the second week, I finally hit my unproductive limit and reached into my unblocking tool box. I’m happy to say I’ve come out of it with way more motivation and have a much better vision of the course of action to take now and through spring in order to achieve my goals. Phew! I am feeling much better now that I have my ideas and my direction back.

What I’m talking about today is that frustrating period of time in the creative process when you need ideas except absolutely nothing (or at least nothing great) is coming to you. It can be so stressful when you rely on your brain for work and it is failing you, like it has shut down. In case you are going through a similar situation, or just want to bookmark this for the next time you do, I thought I’d share my favorite go-to methods for getting over a creative slump and getting back your inspired, innovative, problem-solving mind.


1. Ask Questions / Find the Soul of the Project

If you lack clarity on an idea, it’s likely because you don’t have enough information yet. Ask yourself questions like: Who is the target audience? What do they want? How do I hope they will feel? How can I make their lives better/easier/more inspired? How have other designers approached similar problems? Parameters and constraints are the perfect springboard for creative ideas. So if you’ve been banging your head against a wall, it may simply be that you need to do a little more research. A well-defined plan should be established before you’ve even looked at your paintbrush, keyboard, etc. Getting to know the soul of the project is a perfect foundation for having your best ideas yet.


2. Come Up With Many Ideas

Anyone who’s watched Mad Men is probably familiar with this method (my favorite for brainstorming). When Don hears of a new client or product pitch they need to prepare for he will tell the team that they each need need to come up with 50 taglines, or something to that effect, for their next meeting. I usually give myself a limit of 10, but whatever number you decide, the process of coming up with too many ideas is great for a couple of reasons. First of all, it helps you to see that you have a lot of options. When you are feeling at a loss for ideas, this can be a crucial morale booster. Secondly, it forces you to open your mind to consider more possibilities. It doesn’t matter if some are silly or impractical, the act of considering more options will automatically get you in a creative state of mind. Needing to come up with 10, 20, 50 ideas will ease the pressure that comes with trying to find the one perfect idea.


3. Shake Up Your Work Space

I don’t like to start working at my desk until it is cleared off and organized. A clean work space helps my mind to also be a blank space, perfect for tackling tasks and projects. If you are feeling stressed, take a moment to create a zen haven. Clear away any trash or dishes, organize your work tools, and add a little ambiance by lighting a candle or putting on some calming music. If you are feeling uninspired? Take it a step further and consider rearranging some furniture, adding some fresh flowers or a colorful piece of art, or even simply moving your chair to a window or the other side of the desk. Not only will the act of changing the space get your creative wheels moving, but having a “new” space will aid in the production of new ideas. If all else fails, you can always head to a coffee shop or park and get inspired by your surroundings outside of your work space.


4. Get a New Perspective

As much as changing your surroundings can literally provide a new perspective, sometimes it’s helpful to turn this theory inward and think about things from another angle. One method I like is to start at your end goal and work backwards, asking how and why at each level. Say you want to write a children’s book but are having a hard time getting started. Think about the day the book launches: How do you want the first person that reads it to feel? Now why is this important and how can you make sure it happens? Get smaller and smaller with each step until you have decided on a starting point. Another tactic for gaining a new approach is to ask yourself how Benjamin Franklin/Joan of Arc/Beyoncé (whoever) would approach the same project. Thinking about it outside of yourself can alleviate the pressure and fear that comes with creative ownership and help to open yourself to ideas you may have not yet considered.


5. Activate Your Brain Trust

Collaboration breeds creation, so when in doubt, reach out to all the creative geniuses in your network. Whether it be as a fan, by saving quotes, reading great literature, looking at inspiring art, or checking out an innovative film or concert, there is no doubt that great works of art can help inspire creativity in your own work. As for your more personal connections, keeping a regular meeting of people in similar fields, finding a mentor, and simply reaching out to those closest to you can all help in finding the missing link you are looking for to make your idea whole.


The most important thing to remember when experiencing a creative block is that it is a natural and important part of the process. Try to look at this frustrating time as the perfect opportunity for growth. You haven’t run out of ideas yet, you are just pushing yourself to find your best ones. The struggle is a valuable part of getting to your best creative work.

You’ve got this!



How do you break through a creative block?



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Proceeding with Life as Usual, as Inappropriate as it May Seem…

It felt wrong, insensitive, and frankly ridiculous to post my regular links roundup this past Saturday after watching the complete horror in Paris unfold on the news the night before. I had feelings of guilt after letting my pre-written post proclaiming “Happy weekend!” go live when so many people had just had their worlds changed forever, in the worst way possible.
I felt these sentiments mirrored back to me watching Saturday Night Live this past weekend, which I think was handled very well, but still seemed awkward. The regular opening sketch was replaced by a heartfelt message in both English and French from cast member Cecily Strong. The colors of the French flag were shown where applicable, but then the rest of the show was business as usual, with one ridiculous skit after another.
It can be hard to know how to express your feelings in a time like this. Messages of thoughts and prayers on social media seem trite (as I also feel this blog post does), but posting life as usual seems offensive. Something as simple and human as turning off the news to watch your favorite sitcom can bring feelings of guilt and carelessness. It is uncomfortable to switch back and forth from shock and horror to humor and frivolity, isn’t it? But strange as it seems, I think this duality is incredibly necessary.
Terrorists bring darkness, hopelessness, and very real evil into our world and the only way to combat that is to continue spreading light, optimism, and love. For this blog, at this time, that also means celebrating seemingly unimportant things like sequin shoes and rainbow confetti. Because if I can’t continue loving the silly things I love and sharing them with you, then that will be the day I have personally been defeated. The day when my joy has been replaced with fear.
I am overwhelmed with compassion for Paris, and now for all of the world as I worry about what is to come. But forgive me, presently and in the future, as these news stories continue to unfold, when I seemingly ignore the seriousness of the world to make jokes or talk about unnecessary things I want to buy. It’s not out of thoughtlessness or insensitivity, I just have to choose to treat this space as an escape from the more serious evils of the world and hope it can provide the same escape for anyone reading. After all, art and humor have, for me, always provided the best methods for coping and healing.


Peace and love.



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