Ashley Brooke // Florida and Los Angeles Beauty and Fashion Blog by Ashley Nicholas

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Secret to Growing Healthy Long Hair

You don't realize how much of a difference your hair makes in your appearance until it drastically changes. A few years ago, I went into a routine hair appointment with long and healthy blonde hair. I had just moved, so I was trying out a new salon. I asked the stylist to simply touch up my highlights, but after an hour of processing and cutting, I looked in the mirror and saw taupe/grey hair cut into strange and uneven blunt layers that ended at my shoulders. I immediately asked the stylist if she could adjust the color, and I'm not exactly sure what she did next...but the end result was even more taupe/grey hair and a burnt scalp. Over the next month, my head was sore I couldn't brush my hair. If I put my hair in a ponytail, my hair literally broke off. From that moment on, I've been on a mission to regain my long, strong, and healthy hair.


I'm happy to say that after a lot of hard work and tender loving care with my hair, my once fried hair is looking a lot better. I've managed to regain quite a bit of length and restore my hair's health. I get so many comments from readers asking about my hair secrets, so I thought I'd do a quick update on all of the techniques I use to grow long and healthy hair!

Focus on Your Health.
Don't forget that your hair is a reflection of your overall health. If you're not maintaining your health, your hair won't grow as quickly, and the hair that you do have will be thin and lifeless. Be sure to incorporate fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats like avocados and nuts into your diet to maintain the health of your hair.

Add Supplements if Necessary.
When I was facing hair loss and severe hair damage after my nightmare hair appointment, I added a variety of vitamin and mineral supplements to my daily routine to help restore my hair's health. As I mentioned before, if your body isn't receiving the right balance of vitamins/minerals, your hair will not grow long and strong. Even though my hair is a lot better than it used to be, I've recently added Hairfinity Healthy Hair Complex to my morning routine. Hairfinity is a nutritional supplement containing nutrients that are essential to your hair's health such as: Vitamins A, C, and D, a B-Vitamin complex, biotin, MSM, and more. I'm taking the recommended two capsules each day (one bottle lasts one month), and I can't wait to see longer, thicker, and shinier hair!
After scrolling the before and after page and seeing over 400 amazing results like the picture above, I decided to look into Hairfinity. Their clinical trials showed that Hairfinity increased the rate of hair growth by 155% and a decreased the rate of hair shedding. I'm so excited to share my before and after pictures with you in a month or two, so I'll keep you posted with updates!

Treat Your Hair Like A Baby.
This tip may sound a bit silly, but it's highly important. No matter how quickly your hair grows, you won't see increased length if you're breaking your hair off each month. Treat your hair like it's the most delicate thing on earth. Brush your hair gently. Don't yank out your ponytail at the end of the day or torture your hair with blow dryers and curling irons every day. I promise you that a little bit of effort will help you decrease breakage which will help you maintain your length.

Don't Wash Your Hair.
While I'm a huge fan of bathing daily, it's best to only wash your hair a few times a week. Washing your hair strips the natural oils from your hair, leaving strands dried out. Embrace your dirty hair with fun new hairstyles. Top knots and braids actually look better when you start with second or third-day hair! If you must control your oily hair, add a few spritzes of dry shampoo to restore volume!

Say Bye Bye to Dead Hair.
I know it may seem counterintuitive to cut your hair when you're trying to grow it out, but it's an essential part of the process. Your dry, brittle ends may be adding an extra inch to your locks, but these split ends can inch up the hair follicle. This process leads to weakened hair that breaks off mid-shaft. You're left with uneven layers, frizzy ends, and even shorter hair. To ensure that your hair grows in healthy, get a quick trim every two months. Even cutting off 1/4 of an inch will make a difference in your hair's health!

Add Moisture.
As I mentioned in the last paragraph, you want to keep the hair that you do have healthy while you're growing your hair out. Always try to use products aimed to add moisture to your hair. Invest in a moisturizing shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner spray, intensive hair mask, and hair oil. Using moisturizing hair products on a regular basis will help maintain the health of your new and old hair, so your long locks will look smooth and shiny.
I promise that if you give you hair a little love, you will see the results quickly. I'm going to be giving my hair extra TLC this month as I take my Hairfinity Healthy Hair Complex supplements, and I can't wait to see the positive changes to my hair!

What's your #1 hair tip?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Polka Dots and Lace + Mialisia Jewelry Giveaway's my birthday week. Yes, I know that most people only celebrate the actual day of their birth, but I like to spread it out. My "birthday week" is basically an excuse to pick what we're having for dinner and what we're watching every day for a week. Mean Girls two night in a row? Absolutely- it's my birthday week! Well, today I wanted to wear polka dots and lace and heels and sparkles, so I did. After all, a lady has a right to wear what she wants on her birthday week.

Top: Target  |  Skirt: Forever 21 (similar)  |  Jewelry: Mialisia c/o  |  Handbag: Sears  |  Sunglasses: Sears

I mixed my new polka dot chambray button-down (Target girls' section- HOLLA!) with my favorite lace skirt, and I think it's just about perfect. I have a feeling this outfit might be added to my regular rotation.

Of course I had to add a little glitz to the outfit, so I put on this Mialisia beauty. If you're in the market for a everyday gold necklace for fall, look no further. The Elegance necklace looks perfect for jeans and a t-shirt or a little black dress and heels. It has to be a favorite if it makes my birthday week outfit, right?

You ladies had to have known this part was coming. I just had to wear my nude Mary Jane heels. What can I say? They're my power shoe. I pranced all over town in these bad boys (girls?) in all of my fancy birthday week activities. Ok, so my fancy activities only included stopping by Target to return something and picking up a few things at the grocery store, but I still felt special.

To create the finishing touch, I connected my Mialisia Versastyle necklaces in Coral Delicate and Duchess to create a one-of-a kind bracelet. 

I love how the Mialisia Versastyle collection allows me to wear my jewelry any way I want. By changing up wear I join the connector hooks, I can wear each piece as a necklace, bracelet, belt, sunglass holder, purse chain, headband, or really any way I can think to style it!

This jewelry is so pretty that I just can't keep it to myself! Mialisia has kindly offered to giveaway all of the jewelry featured in today's post to one lucky Ashley Brooke reader. Simply fill out the Rafflecopter below, and you'll be entered to win the Mialisia Elegance necklace, Duchess necklace, and Coral Delicate necklace- a package worth $191!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 28, 2014

fall denim favorites: aeo's fall denim collection

While jeans are a year-round staple in my closet, I barely take them off once the autumn breeze kicks in. They're simply the perfect fashion item for the fall season because they can go from casual to dressy in a snap with a quick change of shoes and accessories. Unfortunately, jeans do have a fatal flaw: it's difficult to find your perfect fit. My 5'3 frame and curvy body type can make shopping for jeans an absolute nightmare. Every pair I try on is too tight, too loose, too long, or way too expensive. Thankfully I discovered the American Eagle denim when my stylist on a commercial shoot had me wear three different pairs of AEO skinny jeans and jeggings throughout filming. All three pairs fit like a glove and accentuated all of my strengths, and the affordable price point was just what I was looking for. Now that the AEO fall denim collection has launched, I'll be added a few more pairs to my collection- especially since there are so many awesome American Eagle coupon codes and sales going on. 
1. Stretch Skinny Jeans in Classic Rinse: The American Eagle denim Stretch Skinny Jean line is my go-to fit. The cut of the jeans is extremely flattering, and I always have people asking me where my jeans are from when I wear them. I'll definitely be picking up a few different washes in this fit for the fall.

2. Jegging in Light Grey Destroyed Rinse: The light grey destroyed rinse of these jeggings is the perfect way to wear light jeans in the fall. While I love the cognac booties featured on the AEO website, I think these would look darling with black pumps!

3. Super Stretch High Rise Jegging in Fresh Medium: I don't normally go for medium-wash jeans, but I fell in love with this pair after seeing how fresh it looks with tan booties and a crisp white t-shirt.

4. Denim X Sky High Jegging in Faded Black: These high-waisted jeggings are going to be my first purchase from the AEO fall collection. I can't wait to style this pair with fringed black boots and fun band t-shirts.

5. Denim X Jegging in Medium Destroyed: Slightly destroyed jeans are a perfect way to give off a "I'm cute, but I'm not trying too hard" vibe to any outfit. Simply add a girly pair of flats and a baggy sweater for the perfect rainy day look.

6.  Super Stretch Jegging in Modern Rinse: Now this pair might be my new favorite. The dark rinse is super slimming, and the super stretch jegging cut highlights your legs and feels like pajamas!

The AEO denim line has 14 different fits and 100 different washes, so there's a pair of jeans for every style and every body type. Right now, all AEO jeans -not pants or joggers- are on sale for $24.99 and up online! On 9/28 only, you can save up to 60% off of AEO clearance items and get free shipping with no minimum! On 9/29, free shipping will be available on all orders of $50 or more. Don't forget to check out these American Eagle coupon codes before you stock up on jeans!

What's your favorite way to style denim this fall?

Thanks to American Eagle Outfitters and for sponsoring today's post. #AEOdenim #AEOfallcollection

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

the world's best leggings

There a few things that girls universally love in the fall: pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin patches (if we're being honest...pumpkin anything), warm sweaters, riding boots, and leggings. Now, in my circle of friends there is a constant debate over who makes the best leggings, should you wear them as pants, when are they appropriate...I could go on and on. Well, today is the day that the leggings debate ends. I have found the world's perfect leggings, and they're made by Lyssé. That's right- the search is finally over.

I know that leggings fanatics have high standards, so here's the breakdown on my new Lyssé Twist Zip Ponte Leggings. The ponte material is stretchy, slimming, comfortable, and most importantly- thick. These leggings are thicker than most of my jeggings, and in my opinion are completely appropriate to wear as anywhere. They look darling with long tops and heels for a night out, but they're comfy enough to wear on the weekend with flats and a baggy sweater. The other thing that I LOVE about these leggings is the waistband. The high waist sucks in your stomach, and the thick waistband smooths everything out without looking like a control top. If you're a skinny minnie, this feature may not interest you...but for everyone else, you're welcome.

Yep, slimming leggings that are also trendy and cool make me one happy girl.

 While I have never been the girl who wears black from head to toe, I couldn't resist adding this lace-trimmed black top. The chic simplicity of the top combined with the sleek leggings and edgy zipper detail made me feel like I walked off the set of Sons of Anarchy. Maybe Jax needs a new girlfriend?

To keep the look feminine, I added a matte gold and rhinestone bubble necklace. Isn't the twisted chain detail so pretty?

To finish the look, I went full-on bad girl with a pair of sky high black pumps to complement the legging's twisted zipper detail and a black leather fringed handbag. What can I say, I was having a total Bad Sandy moment. Any fellow Grease fans out there?

If you are a girl who lives in leggings in the fall and winter, do yourself a favor and go order a pair (or two) of the Lyssé leggings. If you're not into zippers, no problem. There are tons of awesome styles on the Lyssé website including jeggings, colored prints, and even vegan leather leggings. Plus, they also make adorable dresses, shirts, and skirts. I'm definitely thinking a Lyssé fall shopping spree is in my future.

Leggings: Lyssé c/o  |  Top: Banana Republic  |  Handbag: Target  |  Necklace: Banana Republic  |  Heels: Forever 21

Do you live in leggings in the fall/winter?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Hello, I'm A Skincare Addict

It's official. I've become a full-fledged skincare addict. I think it has something to do with my upcoming birthday, and the inevitable "OMG, I'm getting so old" thoughts that are attached to the event. I know that I'm still young, but I'd like to hold off the inevitable wrinkles as long as possible. My most recent skincare experiment? The Dr. Brandt Laser FX line of serums that are made to mimic the effects of expensive laser treatments for a fraction of the cost. I've only added the products to my skin care regimen for a week, so I can't tout any miracle results yet...but things are looking promising. All of the serums are light and make my skin feel smoother after each application without adding extra shine to my complexion. I'll keep you posted as I test out the products further, but here's a little more information on the line if you'd like to try them out with me!

Dr. Brandt Laser FX Perfect Serum: The Perfect serum targets fine lines and wrinkles (my mortal enemy) with a powerful combination of Gotu Kola, Biomimetic Tri-Peptide, and Heptapeptide encapsulated actives. After one week of use, you'll notice your skin feeling smoother. Within only three weeks, your skin should appear plumper with less fine lines and wrinkles. Quick results from two easy applications each day and no painful or expensive lasers? Yep, I'm thinking this serum is going to be my favorite.

Dr. Brandt Laser FX Bright Serum: If you suffer from dark spots and dull skin, you'll want to try the Bright serum. This serum uses encapsulated Vitamin C, Epidermosil, and Knotgrass extract to provide brighter looking skin in only one week. Within three weeks, you'll see your dark spots fading away! I'm thinking this serum will be perfect for my T-zone to get rid of those pesky acne scars and hyperpigmentation from high school breakouts!

Dr. Brandt Laser FX Lift Serum: If you're fighting saggy skin, consider trying the Lift serum. The serum's blend of Amino Acid blend, Sweet Pea extract, Acmella Oleacera Extra, and Hexapeptides instantly firms and tightens your skin. After three weeks, your skin will have improved elasticity and suppleness. I can't wait to see the results this produces on my neck! 

If you're interested in trying any of the Dr. Brandt Laser FX serums, head over to the Dr. Brandt website to take advantage of the Save and Share program plus get free shipping on your order. Simply click the Share and Save button on the right side of the page. When your friends are referred back to the website from your social share, you AND your friend will both receive a coupon for $10 off your order! To make things even better, Dr. Brandt holds a weekly giveaway for a Laser Fx Topical Solution Bundle that is tailored to your skincare concern ($234 - $263 Value) on their Facebook. You can share the contest to get more entries too! 

Are you ladies skincare addicts too? What's your favorite new product?

Thanks to Dr. Brandt for sponsoring this post. #pickyourtarget #brandtnew #drbrandt

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

confessions of an overpacker {girly weekend edition}

Sometimes you just need a weekend away to clear your mind. I spent this most of last week working, moving, unpacking, and completing bunch of other equally boring tasks. When Stephanie asked me to join her at the Demi Lovato concert in Orlando (more on that later this week!), I couldn't pack my bags fast enough! Within twenty minutes, I was out of the door with my bags packed for a girly weekend of fun (and shenanigans)!

Over the past few years, I have become the queen of packing. I've moved half a dozen times and gone on countless weekend trips and getaways, so I can basically pack a weekend suitcase in my sleep. I've learned that no matter how hard I try, I will always overpack...always. I've accepted this character trait as some byproduct of style blogging, and I've learned that I can overpack and still fit everything in a small bag if I use functional packing bags to keep all of my items separated and organized. My favorite travel items are all from Vera Bradley. Vera Bradley's travel collection features a variety of bright and girly prints, and their famous quilted fabric couldn't be better for packing! 

Since I knew that I'd be attending a few fancy events over the weekend, I packed all of my photography-friendly makeup. My It Cosmetics Naturally Pretty paletteBenefit Hello Flawless foundation, Bobbi Brown bronzer, Younique 3D Fiber Lash mascara, and It Cosmetics Brow Power eyebrow pencil help me achieve a glamorous look that lasts all night long.Thankfully, my Vera Bradley Blush and Brush Makeup Case in Clementine is quite roomy, so I added in an extra dozen products and all of my favorite makeup brushes!

If you're looking for a new makeup bag for travel or everyday life, I highly suggest the Vera Bradley Blush and Brush Makeup Case. The variety of pockets keep your makeup organized, and the quilted fabric protects your items from damage! I love that this case features a built-in brush holder, see-through zipper pouches for items that may spill, and a roomier zip pocket for larger items!

In addition to packing way too much makeup, I'm always guilty of packing enough jewelry and beauty products to last a month. These small items normally float around my suitcase and end up spilling or breaking during my travels, but not this time. This weekend, I packed all of my jewelry and beauty essentials in the Vera Bradley Hanging Organizer in Clementine

This organizer features four pockets and stretches to an impressive length, but the quilted fabric allows this organizer to roll up to a tiny bundle. I use the top padded pocket for fragile jewelry items, and the two plastic zipper pockets for extra jewelry and beauty items that may spill. The large pocket at the bottom of the organizer is perfect for packing larger beauty items like my trusty Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser.

After organizing all of my small items, it was time to bring out the star of the show. The Vera Bradley Frame Travel Bag in Clementine couldn't be a more perfect bag for a weekend trip.

I easily fit all of my clothes and shoes for the weekend along with my Vera Bradley Blush and Brush Makeup Case , Vera Bradley Hanging Organizer, curling iron, and a book- with room to spare! The bag conveniently zips at the top to keep the bag compact and secure.

While I love the bag's roomy interior, the large pockets are so convenient for packing. They were the perfect size to secure my book and curling iron, and they helped keep my weekend items perfectly organized.

After getting weekend kit completely packed, I jumped in the car and headed to a weekend of fun which included attending an awesome concert, being serenaded  by a crazy guy who auditioned for American Ideal/The Voice/The X Factor, and oh yeah...getting photobombed by Demi Lovato in a banana suit. Don't worry, I'll spill all the details in a future post!

What's your packing style? 

Thank you to Vera Bradley and Adorn Media Group for providing items for consideration.

Monday, September 15, 2014

from the office to the dinner table

As a fashion-obsessed twenty-something in the work force, it can be challenging to create outfits for the office that are stylish and appropriate for the professional setting. Since I work in a creative field, it's important for me to create a look that's polished and put together without appearing old-fashioned. I recently picked up a few new pieces from the fall fashion lines at Sears that help me achieve a modern look for business meetings, but the items are so cute that I've been wearing them after work as well! Keep reading to see how I mix and match my new Sears finds to create a look that seamlessly transfers from the office to a night out with friends.

My new fall office staple is this tweed skirt from Sears. The chic black and white pattern provides an interesting detail to the outfit without being too flashy. This week I've loved pairing my skirt with button-down blouses, and this teal top adds a fun pop of color to the outfit. I think the rolled sleeves and unique neckline keep this blouse interesting while still remaining professional. 

I paired this outfit with my new Studio S handbag from Sears, which is the perfect size for toting around your laptop, notebook, planner, and any other office essentials. The black leather and gold detailing is timelessly chic, and the buckle accents give the bag a modern edge. This bag and my gold chain link bracelet are two office accessories that I'll be wearing every day of fall .

I like to keep my makeup simple and subdued in professional settings, but that doesn't mean I can't add a pop of sparkle with my accessories. These sparkly flower stud earrings were quickly added to my cart at Sears, and they provide the perfect amount of glitz to the outfit. 

Also, did you check out my new Kardashian Kollection black patent pumps? Go buy them- immediately. The classic shape and color are the ideal addition to any fall outfit, and they're actually really comfortable!

While I'd definitely wear my first outfit after work, I decided to mix things up a bit for an after-work dinner date with my husband. My outfit change took only five minutes, including time to change my shirt, add a few accessories, and touch-up my makeup!

The first step was to trade my professional blouse for a sheer navy lace top that shows the perfect amount of skin while still remaining classy. It's amazing how something as simple as changing your shirt can change the entire look of an outfit!

While the tweed skirt looks traditional paired with my teal button-down blouse, the contrast of the navy lace against the black-and-white tweed gave the pattern a more modern look.

 I added this gold chain link necklace to highlight my top's beautiful neckline. Gold link jewelry is another fall staple for me. The classic design adds the perfect accent to any outfit, so it can easily transition from day to night!

 Of course, I also had to add a little bit of drama to my makeup for the events of the evening. A quick swipe of eyeliner, an extra coat of mascara, and a slightly brighter lip turned my subtle morning makeup into a bolder nighttime look.

I'm such a fan of both of these looks, and I know that my new pieces from Sears are going to be weekly staples in my fall wardrobe. I'm sure most people would be shocked to find out that I purchased all of the items for both of these outfits for under $150!  If you're looking for a few new fall fashion items, don't forget to check out your local Sears. I've purchased so many items from their store recently, and I'm always impressed with the quality of their products. Sears is quickly becoming one of my favorite stores because the prices are phenomenal, and I can always find fashion items that I love! I'm going to be spending the next few hours flipping though the digital Sears catalog, so click here if you'd like to see even more great fall fashion!

How do you transition your look from day to night?

The hottest trends, celebrity style and fashion tips you can afford to try.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Sears via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Sears.