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.
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.
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.