Bébé Seale's Nursery Tour

 photography:  cameron bartlett

photography: cameron bartlett

I had this idea that if the nursery is ready, then I would be ready for her

If you've been following me on Instagram, you know how excited I am to be pregnant with our first (and likely only) child.

We found out earlier this year on January 24th – a day I will never forget. Andrew and I had been struggling with fertility for over a year and had just completed several months of testing (which thanks to all the poking, prodding, tracking, and charting I am now no longer fearful of needles. Silver lining?) at Mount Sinai in Toronto. Maybe I'll share a separate post on this? Anyhow, I was a couple of days late but didn't think anything of it. Since we were heading to a cottage up north with friends a few days later, I figured we should take a test so I wouldn't be consumed by it the whole weekend. I should tell you: pregnancy tests were no longer an exciting thing in our household. We had taken so many of them since we started trying, all resulting in the same upsetting "not pregnant" message (I grew to loathe those words). Andrew was home when I was taking the test, and I was sure it was once again negative. So when the stick was positive, and I read those words, "2 weeks pregnant" I was in utter shock. Needless to say there is no cute video to share and my idea to surprise Andrew with the news that he would be a father was not an option. But you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way! 

The inspiration

Fast forward to today and I am 34 weeks pregnant with our little girl (how anyone goes this entire time without finding out is something I will never understand. I am simply not patient enough!). We began musing about her nursery right away, and came up with a design plan that would be suitable for either a boy or girl. Gender norms are not our thing – in fact I find the whole "blue for a boy, pink for a girl" thing straight up boring and rather outdated.

We began where we always do, with our favourite inspiration: the coastline of Biarritz. Our entire flat is decorated in the same aesthetic, one we've really honed in on since we first moved in together five years ago. This locale on the southwest coast of France is home to our favourite surf break and perfectly marries our individual tastes, from Andrew's predilection towards more modern, clean lines and my penchant for antiques and a more traditional look.

Our jumping off point was a piece by local photographer we picked up during our honeymoon in Biarritz. The aerial shot of the Basque coast, dotted with surfers and colourful beach-goers informed the colour palette and the cheerful direction of the space. I wanted it to be warm and cozy and age-appropriate, but not baby. Everything here can grow with her. 

We opted for a summer-y pale blue to paint a feature wall behind the crib to add a bit of colour to the room. Sunny yellow, deep green, sandy beige, and shell pink were pulled from the artwork and brought into little touches throughout the room from textiles to the toys styled on the bookshelves. 

All and all, it took us about seven weeks to complete from start-to-finish. Rather than rush design and buy items for the sake of it (a design nightmare in my mind!), I prefer to hunt and gather, so that everything has purpose and meaning. In my opinion, it's very obvious when you buy things all from the same store. I wanted the nursery to reflect our collected and thoughtfully curated approach. We're so happy with the way it turned out. Take a peek . . .

 Inspiration image in the art wall above; bottom left

Inspiration image in the art wall above; bottom left

sources

baby seale nursery - styled shelves
baby seale nursery - bookshelf
baby seale nursery - pepper b. pom pom pillow
baby seale nursery - cameron bartlett
baby seale nursery - cameron bartlett

Join me at the next Blush Creative Workshop!

ashley cassidy seale - blush creative.jpg
I'm excited to be speaking at the next Blush Creative!

I'm beyond excited to announce I've signed on to be a keynote speaker at The Blush Creative workshop on January 19th + 20th, 2019 (absolutely wild to write out 2019, ah!). 

Calling all aspiring or established wedding planners, stylists, and designers

The Blush Creative offers business coaching and workshops for creative entrepreneurs looking to develop their design skills and strengthen their business minds and souls. The goal of The Blush Creative is to deepen the knowledge and styling skills of individuals interested or involved in the wedding planning and styling profession as well as focusing on business development and personal well being as an entrepreneur. Whether you are a seasoned professional, just beginning, or simply curious, the door is open to you.

I will be leading a workshop focused on how to hone in on intersection of strategy and creative when it comes to crafting your online presence as a business owner. This is a service we offer our clients at Ruby Social Co., so we're really excited to put together an insightful and informative session for an intimate group. Also on the bill for this event: florist extraordinaire Tellie Hunt from Hunt and Gather Floral and sought after wedding + lifestyle photographer, Scarlet O'Neill

Registration is now open! Sounds dream-y right? I hope you'll join us. Email info@blushandbowties.ca to register. It’s going to be an intimate two days with a very limited amount of seats so be sure to save your spot. Hop to it!

My Favourite Podcasts

my favourite podcasts.jpg
I finally 'get it' – this whole podcast thing.

I've been listening to podcasts on and off for years. As with most people, it began with a download of episode one of Serial, the investigative journalism show that lit a match to this whole phenomenon of audio-based storytelling. I devoured the first season and became somewhat obsessed with solving the murder of Hae Min Lee. From there I dabbled with Radiolab (which I still listen to to this day; Andrew and I always load up a few episodes for road trips/travel) and 99% Invisible. But my love for the medium didn't really grow until last year.

Now, I'm obsessed. Once I figured out how I could work a podcast or two into my week (I listen while running errands, during a commute, or before bed instead of reading), I became hooked. I've been tuning into a few key podcasts over the course of the last year – it's now one of my favourite ways to consume content. Here are my favourites, in no particular order:

health & wellness

  • Lemon Water - It all starts with a glass of water. Lemon Water is your auditory journal of inspiration; a place to connect to style, wellness and community. Michelle Siman, founder and host, takes you on a journey of her utmost passions from wellness to an aesthetic lifestyle and creating an empowered community. She interviews some of my favourite people: holistic nutritionist and owner of Health Hut, Tara Miller (my first-ever Ruby Social Co. client, full disclosure!), holistic nutritionist AKA The Well Woman, Tonya Papanikolov, and founder of MISFIT STUDIO, Amber Joliat, to name a few. Stay hydrated.
     
  • The Rich Roll Podcast - Rich is a serious favourite of mine. In fact, I never miss an episode. Each week Rich delves deep into all things wellness with some of the brightest and most forward thinking, paradigm busting minds in health, fitness, nutrition, art, entertainment, entrepreneurship & spirituality. He's a natural conversationalist so his interviews always feel more like conversations, rather than scripted chats. If you're interested in plant-based eating, I highly recommend this one for you.
     
  • The GOOP PodcastDoes this one really need an intro? I mean, the show launched earlier this year with Oprah Winfrey as the first guest. Boom! Whether you are pro or anti GOOP (I sit in the former camp, and there's a good chance you will too after reading this brilliant New York Times profile on the genius that is Gwyneth Paltrow), this podcast is full of lightbulb moments and curious topics: postnatal depletion (a new term to me and one of particular relevance as I edge closer and closer to my due date), super woman syndrome, moving on from your imperfect childhood, and lessons from the other side (begin here if you haven't listened yet – I promise you it will blow your mind).
     
  • Well NowThis one is created by Saje, a Canadian company I love and trust. I say this because it's important to note as many brands are jumping on the podcast bandwagon, and not all brand powered podcasts are created equally. It's helpful, it's useful, and it's not branded. Instead, you'll find conversations with doctors, wellness experts and healers. Each dialogue begins with what it means to be well, and how that meaning is different for each one of us. 
     
  • Nutrition Facts with Dr. Greger - Have you read How Not to Die? Oddly enough, I haven't (yet). Though I have listened to just about every episode of Dr. Greger's podcast and watched most of his videos on YouTube. So if you're a health-curious person like me and wonder about prevention of disease, you'll like his empowering evidence-based approach. Dr. Greger has taught me so much of what I know about nutrition over the years and has helped shape my perspective on the role of what we eat and how we feel (spoiler alert: it's everything). He's actually a bit of a hero of mine. 

career & business 

  • SECOND LIFEI love, love, love this one. Second Life is a podcast led by Hilary Kerr, co-founder of MyDomaine and media hub, Clique, and it's all about second careers – a concept I am very much for. We live in a really exciting time because we don't have to have the same job or work in the same field our entire lives, we can truly reinvent ourselves. And that's the premise behind this one. Hilary interviews stylish and savvy entrepreneurs such as Vintner's Daughter's April Gargiulo, Ouai's Jen Atkin, and Summer Fridays' Marianna Hewitt. This one's a goodie if you're looking for inspiration to start your business or refresh your career.
     
  • The BOF Podcast - I read Business of Fashion religiously. The complementary podcast, hosted by editor-in-chief Imran Amed, delivers the same intelligent insight and perspective on the global fashion industry through conversations with the founders, creatives, CEOs, CFOs, and CMOs behind the world's biggest and most influential brands. BOF digs deep on cultural trends, innovation, and technology. 
     
  • Girlboss Radio with Sophia Amoruso - While I don't love the term girlboss, I do love Girlboss Radio and all that comes with it. Sophia interviews boundary-pushing women who've made their mark—eschewing polite conversation and extracting solid advice from the lessons they've learned along the way. Expect hilarious co-hosts and vulnerable, honest conversations.
     
  • Pardon My French I could listen to Garance Doré talk all day long. While this podcast covers a lot of ground (life, relationships, personal style), my favourite episodes are the ones where she and her guests discuss things like being your own boss, public speaking, and kindness in the workplace. 
     
  • The Glossy Podcast - In the same vein as BOF, The Glossy Podcast centers around the fashion and lifestyle industry. The focus is on how technology is transforming the fashion, luxury and beauty industries with the people making change happen in the space. Featured guests discuss the challenges of navigating an increasingly complex digital environment. I get tons of ideas for clients here, and I often find myself rethinking strategy. 

etc.

  • UnapparenthoodAs I navigate pregnancy for the first time (one more month to go!), I've found that many of the resources out there are very outdated and frankly irrelevant for my generation and our approach to parenthood. So I was super refreshed to learn my smart and talented friend Aminah Haghighi and her partner Bryce Seto launched a podcast. Unapparenthood was born out of their pregnancy journey after having a miscarriage and now through the documentation of their rainbow baby (Etta is due this fall!). They dive deep into the world of being millennial entrepreneurs, mixed-race, and experiencing pregnancy loss while talking about fads like placenta encapsulation and cake smashing. I think you'll appreciate their humour throughout it all, too.
     
  • Oprah's Super Soul Conversations - Again, Oprah needs no introduction. This podcast is just another avenue to help us all live our best lives. Download it. Tune in. Soak up all the wisdom.
     
  • Radiolab - Quality journalism and the most interesting investigations in the worlds of science, philosophy, and curious untold stories throughout history. 
     
  • Breaking Beauty - Hosted by two longtime Toronto-based beauty editors, Carlene Higgins and Jill Dunn, Breaking Beauty aims to separate the greats from the gimmicks in the beauty industry by breaking down the best-selling products and the stories behind them. Some of the most interesting guests? Glossier's Emily Weiss, RMS' Rose-Marie Swift, and Deciem's Brandon Truaxe
     
  • 99% Invisible - Ever wonder how inflatable men came to be regular fixtures at used car lots? Curious about the origin of the fortune cookie? Want to know why Sigmund Freud opted for a couch over an armchair? 99% Invisible is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world. 100% fascinating. 
 

A Return to the World of Blogging: I'm Back!

 Bébé seale & i in positano earlier this summer

Bébé seale & i in positano earlier this summer

Welcome to ACS Field Notes 

This comeback feels long overdue, my dear friends. 

I've always had a blog or some sort of website – my own little spot on the World Wide Web (haha). Way before blogging was ever a thing, I had MySpace and Live Journal (thank goodness those are both untraceable, but points if you can dig up anything from my emo past). I'm a girl who needs to express herself, and the internet has served me well. While I was never a full-time blogger (it was always a side hustle for me while I climbed the ranks in the PR/social media/events industry), it's a medium I really miss.

R.I.P., Quaintrelle 

It's been a year-and-a-half since I let the domain hosting package for my beloved blog, Quaintrelle, lapse. It's been gone so long I can't even link back to it. All that content, all those memories, poof! Some of the most exciting times were shared on Quaintrelle – from big life moments like our move to Paris (which I also wrote about for Glitter Guide and Domino) and our wedding on Cape Cod to smaller but meaningful experiences like being invited to tour Coco Chanel's Rue Cambon apartment and the adventure of my humble little letter writing campaign which quickly went global. So, while I made the very deliberate decision to stop blogging in order to focus on building my business, Ruby Social Co., it's been strange to not have a creative outlet of my own. A place to share my inspirations and connect with you.

So here I am. I'm back!

I've grown a lot over the last couple of years so you'll notice things feel decidedly different around here. I chose to forgo the name Quaintrelle as my interests have really expanded.  Not to mention, I have a new name since getting married (maybe you know me as Ashley Bartlett?). I felt a bit 'boxed in' by the moniker Quaintrelle after a while, and so it's only fitting that I establish things under not a moniker, but my real name. Ashley Cassidy Seale. Cassidy being my middle name and an ode to my mother's family, and Seale being my new family name which I share with Andrew and our soon-to-arrive daughter.

what's new around here?

Much has changed since my last entry on Quaintrelle. If you're new around here entirely (so happy to meet you!), here are the coles notes...

Entrepreneurship & Business & Career
I've gone from working in the trenches of the luxury fashion & lifestyle PR world, spending over 10 years working my way up through both the agency scene and the in-house side of things to completely burning out in my career – all before turning 30. Not cute. So after much deliberation and penny pinching, I quit my agency job to take a six-month sabbatical in France with Andrew, my then fiancé. When we got back, I returned to marketing and found myself in the same exact rut. While developing and managing multi-million dollar campaigns for global brands sounds glamorous on paper, the thankless work and late nights were becoming old news. I had had the idea of starting my own communications consultancy & creative studio but it wasn't a great time to start a business, financially speaking, as we were in the midst of planning the wedding. So I stuck it out, refined my plan in the evenings when I got home from the office, and waited until after our honeymoon before I really put the wheels into motion. A few months later, after we had paid for the wedding and I shut out the voices of negative self-doubt in my head, I launched my business. And guess what? I have not looked back, not even once. It's been almost two years since I opened the doors to Ruby Social Co., and I have learned so much about what it means to be an entrepreneur and how to run a successful business. I've built a fantastic little team and we're working with clients I love! I'm completely re-energized in my work. I will be sharing more about my experience and learnings to hopefully help you along the way.

Health & Wellness
Since launching my own business and regaining control over my life, I've experienced a positive shift in my health. Through plant-based nutrition and exercise, I've been able to completely change the way I feel in my body, not to mention ridding myself of the chronic pain associated with my all-too-frequent migraines. This has empowered me and drastically changed my life.

Motherhood
The biggest change of all: I'm becoming a mother for the first time next month. Wow! That feels absolutely surreal to say. I still can't believe it. A dream come true. Andrew and I are expecting a baby girl in just a few weeks and I'm so excited to be a family of three. I've shared a bit of my pregnancy journey on Instagram, but I'm looking forward to diving deeper here. There are so many discussions I want to have, ideas I want to explore, and norms I want to challenge. I'm grateful to be becoming a Mum during a time in history when it's no longer a taboo to discuss the realities of what it means to be a mother, to be a parent. I'm also hoping to share more about how we'll be raising this girl while running our own separate businesses; I haven't been able to find any information or resources specific to both parents being self-employed. It can't be just us, after all! 

Creatives & Muses
This isn't just about me. I'm constantly discovering new artists, creatives, business owners, activists, and generally cool people doing important things. I want to carve space to give them a platform and share their stories with you. 

And of course, I remain equally passionate about design, personal style, and beauty (oh yeah! I've also completely overhauled my routine to be 100% natural) so you can expect that type of content here too.

If you made it this far, you're an angel! Thank you for being here, for reading along, for allowing me the space to evolve. I'm so thankful for this community we've built together over the years and I hope you'll continue to join me. 

xx, Ashley