GIRL ROOM UPDATE

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When we moved into this house we assigned bedrooms to the kids based on size and proximity to our room. We put Elle the furthest away because she can be a bit of a light sleeper and it seemed like the quietest spot in the house (click to see Elle's original room). What we didn't factor in was that her room was the hottest of the bunch. It's above our garage and three of the four walls are exposed to sun. In the 100 degree temps it heats up pretty quickly. She had been complaining it was too hot at night, so we decided to switch her to our upstairs guest room. 

Though I loved her room the way it was her furniture worked perfectly with the pineapple wallpaper in the guest room. The pink flowers printed on the wall are the exact shade of pink as her duvet cover. And to my surprise, Elle loves this room even more than her previous one. She said it feels cozy. Music to my ears!

We hung up art work above her bed, kept her steamer trunks as a side table and used the marble and brass bookcase to store all of her books. I love how girly and feminine it looks together. It really is perfect for a little girl.

MARRIAGE ADVICE TO MYSELF

Dear Alex, 

Today, May 19th, is indeed a monumental, life-changing day for you, and you sure are one beautiful bride. And as the excitement and nerves run through your veins anticipating the lifelong commitment you are about to make, I thought I would put you at ease and let you know that 10 years from now you'll be celebrating this day in New York City with Ryan by your side. You have some wrinkles and some gray hair, but you I swear you look hotter than ever. You also have two beautiful kids (one boy and one girl) and you're living your dreams of styling professionally. Your life looks picture perfect in many ways - a dream life - if you will. It's a life worth celebrating and being thankful for every day. But, I won't fool you that the road to this 10 year anniversary has not been smooth. In fact, it has been very rocky.

You and Ryan are still standing, but there were times when you weren't sure if you were going to make it to "death 'til us part." So, I thought I would share with you some advice in hopes of sparing you pain.

Alex, up until this point, you were unsure if you ever wanted to put on a wedding dress, but when you met Ryan all of that changed. He is a person that believes and you and makes you feel important. He is so kind and patient. He possesses many qualities that you have dreamed of a man having. But you are also looking for someone that will love you unconditionally no matter your flaws, and I have to tell you that isn't the man standing before you. In fact, what you seek no man can fill. It's an unreasonable expectation that will cause you pain. Only God will be able to fill this in you. And instead, you are about to let each other learn and know one another so intimately that when either of you make a mistake it will hurt more than anyone else hurting you.  Your marriage is actually the complete opposite of unconditional love. It's set on a series of conditions to make it work (to have, to hold, to honor, to respect, to cherish, to obey, to love, to be truthful, to be faithful). So, my first piece of advice, is to go and heal the pain that you are carrying because much of your expectations and fears are derived from hurt that you never want to repeat. It's better to heal that now than later. Trust me. You need to know you are enough without a list of accolades beside your name, without your parents or anyone else saying you are enough.

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My second piece of advice is to learn how to forgive, how to ask for forgiveness, and how to turn away from your old habits when the conditions on which you have founded your marriage are broken. Despite what people may tell you, no amount date nights, endless talks on the couch, sex, quality time, counseling, supporting friends or acts of service can fully mend and support your marriage if you don't know how to handle mistakes. Sure they help and are a part of marriage, but only forgiveness, grace, repentance, trust and love can heal how you hurt one another. And, unfortunately, mistakes are inevitable. 

But here's the good news...You both have gone to the end of yourselves to find hope and healing for the mistakes you have made. You both are committed to doing whatever it takes to heal the hurt within yourselves and to forgive one another as God has forgiven you. It is truly a beautiful sight to see. It's what makes your marriage strong and victorious.

Sure, you're a bit bruised, the radiance somewhat lackluster. You have some scars, but you're also BAD ASS. You've stared failure in the face and said, "Not today." You and Ryan are stronger than ever. So, walk down that aisle with confidence and joy (like you will) and celebrate and never stop celebrating. 

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Oh, and P.S., you're going to regret a lot of the wedding decor choices you have made today because this new app called Pinterest is going to change your life in more ways than one. (wink, wink). So, just have a small wedding and save the rest of your money for those kids you'll be having five years later.

INTERSECT by Alex Evjen

Two finite lines, two directions
Collide at an intersection
Two become one, but stay the same
And head on a crash course of disarray
Overlapping, overpassing
With no directions or asking
They come to a halt, they breakdown
But turn to each other when life is upside down
And they mend, they meet
Face to face, feet to feet
No longer parallel
They know one another well
Now bold, finite beings
They grow old with meaning
On a course of unknown
Two lines are now one

TRAVEL STYLE

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When I'm packing for a trip I have to strongly resist the urge to pack my whole closet. I also have to resist the urge to shop for new clothes and remind myself that I have plenty of things to wear. So, as I pack today for our trip to NYC, I'm sticking with my basics. 

1. Black denim - It's comfortable, goes with everything and easy to dress up for a night out. ZARA has inexpensive denim that lasts.

2. Cotton T-shirts - They're comfortable, space saver for your carry-on, dress them up or down. My favorite place to buy them is ZARA.

3. Cross-body bag - They help keep you hands-free while you're carrying your luggage, small ones like this Fossil bag are easy to pack as well. I even can put this is in a big carry-on tote bag.


4. Shoes you can dress up or down - Walk shoes are a given when traveling, but it's shoes for the nights out that can be a challenge. I love mules and slides for this purpose because they are a more modern option than a wedge. I love these slides by Dolce Vita. 

5. Comfortable shoes - This needs no explanation really, but I usually opt for sandals in warmer months

6. LBD - It's timeless and you always know it's in style no matter what city you're in. 

7. Accessories - Tons of accessories because this is what will bring your basics to life and make you feel like you have a whole new outfit. (Mirrored sunglasses, smart watch, neckerchief, necklaces, hat). I don't mess with bracelets and rings though. They have a bad habit of getting lost on my travels.

8. Denim jacket - It's like the summer version of a black blazer. You can where it with dresses or pants and it always looks cute. My favorite denim jacket is from Target.

Shop this look below:

Photos by Rennai Hoefer; This post contains affiliate links.

GUEST ROOM SPRING & SUMMER REFRESH

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With temperatures already in the 90s this spring and reaching 115 in the summer, you can bet that heavy duvets or comforters on our beds (well, unless, we want to spend a fortune on air conditioning) aren't the best idea. Until recently, that's the only bedding we had for our guest room, so I decided it was time to freshen up this cozy room with some spring colors, light weight sheets and a coverlet.

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Duvets are really comfortable, but sometimes they can look a bit messy. I love this light-weight, heather gray coverlet from Lacoste because it creates clean, modern lines for the guest room. It's also machine washable and easy to put on a bed, which is a huge selling point for a busy mama like me. 

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White sheets are all I buy, but the sheets we previously had on this bed were inexpensive and a bit thick. Lacoste has great quality bedding, and these were much lighter than the others. So, hopefully, our guests will feel much more comfortable now. 

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I brightened up the space using some Millennial pink pillows and a mud-cloth bolster pillow I previously had on the bed. Less in more to create an light and airy quality, so I removed the throw as well. I added some floral branches to the vases, and called it a day.

Changing textiles is a really easy, inexpensive way to transform your spaces for different seasons. I highly recommend checking out Lacoste for any of your home needs. 

Photos by Rennai Hoefer; product given for review.

STYLED BY MY DAUGHTER

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This post is sponsored by Vince Camuto.

Elle has been watching me style models, homes and myself since she was born. Starting at the age of three she has been telling she wants to be a makeup artist and stylist (and a police officer). So, with the help of Vince Camuto, I surprised Elle with a chance to style me head to toe. I, of course, gave her a bit of guidance, and she sure stretched my comfort zone.

There were so many beautiful things for Elle to choose from. It was like a kid in a candy store (like mother like daughter). I don't know if it was the warm weather or purely her love of swimming that made her choose a bathing suit for me, but that's what she really wanted me to wear. She thought a bikini would be best, and so then I had to explain that one pieces were my favorite (a.k.a. I'm not ready to strut my stuff in front of the world in a bikini).

Elle selected a white one piece. I would have gone for the black or navy, but she is the style expert. I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked white. It makes me look more tan, and now I have a great suit for the summertime. It can be worn multiple ways by detaching the strap or using the center halter strap. 

I did encourage her to pick out these striped linen pants though. I needed something to cover my backside. I'm not quite ready to reveal all to y'all. Besides, these pants are too cute to pass up.

Elle picked out a tassel necklace, gold hoop earrings, sunglasses (blue for Elsa), a scarf and a hat. When it came time to pick out shoes she went straight for high heels (oh boy). I rarely wear heels and my size 11 feet have a hard time finding ones that fit. Not to mention the combo of high heels and a swimsuit isn't really the message I want to send out at 33 years old. So, I gently steered her in the direction of flats and she thought the tassels on these thong sandals were fun. I love them too.

When it came time to put it all together I thought she was going to ask for me to wear every accessory. She surprised me though. She really wanted me to wear the necklace and the scarf. Unfortunately, the headscarf wouldn't stay on because she doesn't know how to tie anything quite yet. But she sure was proud of picking out my bathing suit and accessories.

I also took the opportunity to style the pieces Elle selected my own way. I think she was on to something with the bathing suit. When i wear it with pants it reminds me of a trendy bodysuit. You can easily throw an off-the-shoulder top on over it and go about your day. It's the perfect transitional look for the beach. 

I styled mine with some earrings and sunglasses. Less is more they say, well, unless you're a four year old girl. Then more is more. ;) To get this whole head to toe look be sure to shop the post below.

Photos by Rennai Hoefer; This post contains affiliate links.