By Mary Grace Shelly
"I hope to change that stereotype behind solo women travelers and inspire them to travel alone more often."
At Travel Italian Style, our goals revolve around inspiration, authenticity, and women empowerment.
We are constantly striving to manifest these into our lives and work, and it is humbling to connect with people who do the same such as Ashley!
Ashley is the incredible woman behind the blog History in High Heels. She is a historian, a traveler, and a fashion blogger. Her work and passions drive her to change the stereotype around women, especially those with style. She proves that you can be a fashionista and also be driven, talented, and intelligent.
Ashley started traveling to Italy to work with study abroad programs. She fell in love with the people, the language, and the history. So when it came time to pick a subject to study for her Masters and PhD, Italian history was her first choice. This worked out quite well as she then had the choice to return to Italy and continue her studies and exploring. Now she returns every year to continue her work.
How the Blogging Came Into Play
Ashley didn't always aspire to be a blogger, it simply came about at the right time. She started blogging halfway through her time in graduate school and found it came very naturally to her.
History in High Heels was actually started as an outlet, Ashley realized that graduate school could be rough on the sense of self and psyche. It seemed that the academia was quite judgmental of women, especially those who like to dress fashionably. She encountered the stereotype that academics aren’t supposed to care about looks, and if they do, they could not possibly be a serious scholar. This experience left her creatively stifled and she decided to create a space where she could express herself, free of judgment.
"Women have to work harder and be better at their jobs to be considered an authority."
Now it has expanded into guide for those looking for travel tips as well as the latest trends.
However, she continues to aspire other's by keeping her main focus on the academic research. All of her research takes place in the state archive of Florence. She looks specifically at the Medici Family archive, which houses the records of the rulers of Florence from about 1500 to 1800. Rick Steves was a major influence on her when she was younger, as she always appreciated the way he focused on the history and culture of a destination.
In a society that tends think women are less capable of success, scholarship, and independence than men. Ashley has come to realize in her experiences that, in general, authority is perceived as masculine. She says that "women have to work harder and be better at their jobs to be considered an authority. For some reason it is normal for men to travel alone, but if women do, they are sad, lonely, and probably trying to escape life. I hope to change that stereotype and inspire women to travel alone more."
Ashley is full of fashion tips. When we asked her her number one trick, she indulged one that she learned from an Italian woman. "Invest in an amazing pair of designer sunglasses that make a statement. You will always look chic and fashionable."
On top of everything else, Ashley is amazing at creating her own pieces to give her style her own unique flair.
When we asked whether she liked making pieces or finding pieces better, her answer was the best of both worlds. "Create the pieces you wish you could find and continue to be inspired by designers."
We asked her how she manages to get such gorgeous fashion photos for her blog, and she said it takes lots of practice and help from friends and strangers willing to take them! Her secret to a great photo is to take a million, select a couple of the best, and learn how to edit them well.
On a side note our CEO, Cassandra learned how much work goes into the History in High Heels blog while spending time with Ashley this summer in Florence. Cassandra say's "Ashley puts as much effort into this blog and her photos as she does for her academic research. History in High Heels is another full time job and it proves what you need to be a successful blogger."
We are so inspired by this amazing woman and are thrilled to have her featured on our blog. If anyone can prove that a powerful woman can be stylish, smart, and successful at the same, it is Ashley! Ashley has even experienced Travel Italian Style services in the Amalfi Coast. Read here about her experience!
Her blog is inspiring women all over the world and we encourage you to keep up with her adventures on her blog, History in High Heels.
If Ashley's story or recent blog has encouraged you to hop on a plane to Italy, let us help! Contact us at email@example.com or here.
Meet Mary Grace
Mary Grace Shelly is the Media Arts, Photography, Design and Communications guru of Travel Italian Style. She is lucky enough to combine different aspects of one of the things she loves most: creativity. Her other favorite things include, but are not limited to, her pug, Pinterest, the beach, Christmas music, and taking way too many pictures of her food.
After spending a semester studying abroad in London, and using every spare weekend to travel throughout Europe, Mary Grace’s passion for seeing the world and learning new cultures has integrated itself into her everyday life. She is so excited to be involved with a company like Travel Italian Style that gives others the chance to have a life-changing adventure just like she did.