Press Time

I am constantly in awe of the support and recognition I receive from my university and my department. When my department head (& boss, I work for her too) told me about the Folklife Festival, I was just excited because it meant that I would be selling my pieces at a large venue, in a new location, to hundreds of new people. And yesterday, I was interviewed for this lovely little writeup about me and my work. I’m honored and flattered and so happy to have such an encouraging department and work environment. They have all done wonders for my confidence and work ethic, they just don’t even know! 😉


A Tribute


These are polishes #100, 101, and 102 in my collection. I just felt that I needed to commemorate this moment.

Hello, my name is Ashlei, and I’m addicted to nail polish. 😉

(Polishes are, from left to right, China Glaze Unpredictable, Swanky Silk, & No Plain Jane, from the new Bohemian collection.)

Chicken with Mustard-Cream Sauce

Sundays during the semester are usually, for me, the busiest day of the weekend. I put off all my homework in favor of side-projects and dinner parties until that day, so usually I can’t make any elaborate meals. The summer is different, though. I love lazy Sundays and the meals that accompany it. 

This week, I decided to try something new. There’s a popular pin floating around on Pinterest, often captioned as ’50 chicken breast dinners.’ Buried in there is a recipe from Martha Stewart Living’s Everyday Food: Great Food Fast for Chicken with Mustard-Cream sauce. I’m a big fan of Martha, and, as my husband said, “we’ve never gotten a bad recipe from her.” 

It certainly did not disappoint. I served it alongside the Creamy Garlic Pasta from the cheese pusher, and it was quite delicious. That pasta is incredibly rich and makes a ton!

I made a few small modifications to this recipe: half & half instead of heavy cream; my favorite mustard in place of standard dijon; I seared my chicken breast on the stovetop before finishing it in the oven. I made one large chicken breast only, since I was just cooking for two, but the whole recipe for the sauce–I like to have extra. It’s a quick recipe that feels more elevated than the 30 minutes it calls for. I highly recommend it! (Source.)

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried tarragon or oregano

Add olive oil to a large skillet and preheat over medium-high heat.  Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  Add chicken to skillet and saute until cooked through, about 10-12 minutes, turning once.  Transfer to a plate and keep warm.  Pour chicken broth into hot skillet.  Whisk in the cream, mustard and tarragon or oregano.  Cook and stir for about 2 minutes.  Pour sauce over chicken and serve.

Monday Manicures

Note: I noticed that apparently my last Monday Manicures didn’t post when it was supposed to, so I added it last night. You can find it here.

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It’s finally time to review my new polishes from Metametics! I was so excited when I got my shipment last Monday after work, I wanted to swatch and post about them all that very second. But, in the name of not-wanting-to-overpost-about-nail-polish, I saved it all for today.

First up, we have Lannister Gold.

Full sun. Look at that shine!

Partial sun/shade.

Lannister is a honey/amber gold polish with a jelly finish, which holds several sizes and shapes of luminous gold glitters. I love the base color here, it reminds me of honey, especially with the finish, and the glitter is so bright and happy. I kept thinking of happy little bees the whole time I wore it. The glitter is nice and dense too, I didn’t have to fish for it to get a decent amount on the nail–I was deliberately fishing for glitter on my ring finger, and you can see how dense that became!

Next up is Fire Nation:

Fire Nation is a glitterbomb of red and gold hex glitters in several sizes and some orange bar glitter (1 coat here over Revlon Bare Bones). The gold glitter in this one is particularly shiny, and I love the addition of the orange bar glitter for  some variety. Definitely no fishing for glitter here! Nicely dense in one coat.

And last but most certainly not least, is Frost Giant:

This is 2 coats Frost Giant over 2 coats Revlon Royal. I love this combination so much, I can hardly tear my eyes from it! Frost Giant has large, bright blue hex glitter, a smattering of smaller holo glitter, and the most gorgeous violet shimmer running throughout. Seriously, Revlon Royal is a dark blue-purple creme with no shimmer–and look at how this shines! I wore this one until it chipped off my nails, I loved it so much.

Now, I did have to fish for the large hex glitters in this one, but it’s not because they’re sparse. I usually have trouble with larger glitter in mini bottles, so this wasn’t really a surprise to me (actually, the other two being so effortless was the surprise!). I love this polish enough that I’ll probably buy a full-size bottle soon, so I’ll report back if I  continue to have to work for the glitter. It’s worth it, for me!

Overall, the formulas on these polishes were quite nice and applied smoothly–no cuticle-flooding here–and as mentioned, the glitter was a breeze to apply in 2/3 cases. Kas from Metametics states in her shop that she offers a 6-month warranty on her products to guarantee their quality, and I really appreciate that kind of peace of mind from an indie seller. She is also incredibly nice in convos and her turnaround time for mailing is superb! I highly recommend her shop, and I already have my heart set on a few more from her collections. 🙂

This past weekend I picked up three new Zoya polishes (Zuza, Wednesday and Ivanka) that I’ve been wishing for, so I’ll be wearing those this week, most likely. More shimmers, hooray!

This Week’s Roundup

So I’ve been a bad blogger and skipped this week. Here’s a little bit of a catch-up:

I did a lot of shopping this week–this weekend was Tax-Free Weekend here in Mississippi, and it only applied to clothes and shoes, so guess what I bought? 😉 My favorite piece is a new denim pencil skirt, and some tops that I’ll be modifying this week using the same tutorial as JWo Designs! I’m really excited about this one.

My husband bought me something of a late birthday present while we were at the liquor store:

Some friends of ours served this wine at the engagement party they threw us three years ago. I remember it being amazingly good, considering I have little taste for (or knowledge about) wine. It’s just enough of a sentimental gift to be sweet, but not gushy. That’s not the kind of girl I am, y’know.

We had a lovely dinner party with Emily & Charlotte, wherein I made crockpot chicken tacos so delicious they cracked my husband’s top 5 favorites. I’m pretty proud of that one, so I’ll be posting about that soon, too!

Aaaand, we can’t end a week without the obligatory cat picture. Nora loves baskets.

I’ll be back tomorrow with my regular Monday Manicures–this time, we’ll be looking at the three polishes I ordered from Metametics! (Spoiler alert: they’re gorgeous!)

Monday Manicures

It’s my favorite part of the week again; let’s talk about nails!

So this week I decided to start off with a bang and go as shimmery, bright, bold as I could–gold. I may be a little obsessed with gold these days.

This is L’Oreal Amazon’s Flash (3 coats) over Sally Hansen Instra-Dri in Lightening (2 coats). Pretty thick manicure, but it held up well and I ended up wearing it for four glamorous days. I love Amazon’s Flash, it’s such a nice gold, I just wish it were less sheer. Over Lightening it sort of turns out too yellowy for my preferences, but it looked okay on my skin tone so it was fine. I’ll have to keep a lookout for better underwear for that polish.

Now that I’m taking pictures of my manicures, I’ve realized that I don’t want to look at a million pictures of myself wearing a solid color and I’m trying more nail art. Hence:

BOWS! I love bows. They’re my one concession to girly-ness. This is Finger Paints Late Night Rendezvous (2ish coats) with tips in China Glaze Smoke & Ashes (1 coat) and a generic white nail striping polish. This is the first time I’ve worn Late Night Rendezvous on my nails and I LOVE it! The color has such richness and vibrancy, it’s mesmerizing to look at. (I’m wearing it on my toes now, too.) And Smoke & Ashes is my all-time favorite black polish–just a little sparkle, enough to keep it interesting, and great pigmentation. I even bought a back-up bottle. 🙂

But that mani chipped reeeaally quickly, so I decided on glitter.

This is Zoya Lotus (2 coats) with China Glaze Prism sponged on the tips. Lotus is one of my favorite polishes in my collection–a gorgeous warm violet, with red-violet shimmer that’s plainly visible on the nail, just…not in this image, sadly. And Prism is just ridiculously shiny. It’s been a pretty fun weekend mani to have.

Not sure what to wear next though.. I have several bottles headed my way in the mail, so I’m kind of getting anxious about those!


I’ve been working on ideas for some stationery or cards…or shirts. Not really sure. All I know is, I love bunnies and I particularly love these bunnies.

Because I just realized that the internet has not had the opportunity to meet my Andy, let me introduce him! Andy is very chill, very diginified, and all around the best bunny. Also, dangerously cute.

FiberLuxe the Shop has REOPENED!

I’m very, very excited to announce that my shop has reopened for business! After my long hiatus prepping and being on display at the Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival, my jewelry has returned to me safe and sound, and I’m happy to offer it up again on Etsy. Most of the pieces currently for sale are one of a kind and won’t be replicated again, so if you see something you like, go for it! This may be the last time you see it! 🙂

Here are a couple of my favorites, though, just to inspire you. Now, let’s get back to cat pictures and nail polish, yes? 😉

Retail Therapy

This week has been full of shopping–in store and online. I’m dangerous with a paycheck, people.

Jessica of JWo Designs and I went shopping last Sunday afternoon. She’s one of my closest, oldest friends, and I can never say no to an afternoon outing with her. Especially if we’re bargain-hunting! Now normally these kinds of trips are thrift-store extravaganzas for us, but Sundays in the South means that every thrift store in town is closed. Instead, we hit some clearance sections and mega sales–worked out just as well.

I ended up with a pair of super comfortable lightweight sweatshirts, in cool grey and muted blue (not pictured, it’s way too hard to make a picture of sweatshirts look good), a little refrigerator hotdog saver because look at how cute that damn thing is, and last but not least, an oversize, fold over clutch in teal by Steve Madden. I love that clutch so much, it was the first thing I picked up in the store and I toted it around for an hour while we shopped. For 20$, how could I say no?!

Then, earlier today, my husband and I decided to see what we could thrift as far as new bedding went. We’ve been using the same comforter for a couple of years now, and it’s been lovely, but it’s very brown–solid, dark-chocolate brown. The problem here is that it is the exact same color as the bed frame itself, and so our bed looks like a giant brown monolith in the middle of the room. Sort of off-putting, honestly.

Not now! This bedspread is so charming (even though it’s still pretty brown), it’s really brightened up the room. And the stitchwork on top! I just love it. It’s not what I think of as traditional embroidery, but zigzag stitches done on a machine in a pattern. I love it.

Aaaand, to top it all off, we impulse-bought a super-minimal dining table set. Just two chairs, perfect for the pair of us. 🙂

My house looks brand-new, all of a sudden.

(Also, notice the lack of a blanket-fort in my living room now. We finally took it down today–after putting it up for our Harry Potter party nearly two weeks ago!)