REAL TALK WITH REAL MOMS ON CO-PARENTING

In my opinion, the idea of "co-parenting" should just be summed up in the word "parenting." I don't understand how the roles of parenthood were ever so divided. Being a parent is such a challenging, life-giving and selfless role that it really takes a team to do it well. I am continuing the Real Mom Series today on the topic of "Co-Parenting" with some other lovely bloggers. I hope you enjoy what I have to share, as well as my peers' stories. 

The Effortless Chic / Sarah Sherman Samuel / A Daily Something / Our Style Stories / The Life Styled / Parker Etc / Sacramento Street / Sugar & Charm / Apartment 34

Ryan and I grew up very differently, but one thing that we had in common was that our moms did most of the day-to-day parenting. My mom worked full-time and his mom stayed at home, but the roles of our dads were simply to work and be a disciplinarian. Our dads didn't do much of the feeding, cooking, laundry, diaper changing, homework, grocery shopping, hair brushing, play date going, etc. We both agreed that we wish we saw more of our dads in the picture, and so we knew if we had children that was going to be something we would be intentional about.

So, when we had Elle I thought everything would fall into place easily, but I quickly learned we had a lot of expectations to sort through. Co-parenting is something that, quite like marriage, requires constant communication. Right now, parenting is the source of most of our fights, but not because we dislike parenting, rather, it's because we want it to feel SO equal that the second we feel like someone is doing more than the other we start becoming resentful and agitated. 

When you first get married you divvy up roles. For example, Ryan does most of our bookkeeping, taking out the trash, dog poop clean up and we'll take turns on the dishes. I do the cooking, laundry, house cleaning and dishes. With parenting, we share roles. We take turns getting up in the middle of the night feeding Levi. If one gets up in the middle of the night for the 3:30am feeding than the other wakes up with the kids at 5:30am. On weekends, when Ryan is home from work, we take turns changing diapers, doing feedings, making meals, etc. But never do we have someone just doing dirty diapers because, duh, that would suck.

What makes the shared responsibilities muddy is the fact that I stay home with the kids and run a side business while he works a 40 hour desk job. I'm obviously changing a lot more diapers, making more meals, and playing mom more than he is, so when he gets home I want to be able to have a moment to myself. It's the kid free hours we fight over most and the sense of entitlement that we both feel to them. One thing that we both agree on is that being home with the kids all day every day is WAY harder than going to a desk job and having adult conversations. Ryan has stayed home with the kids for consecutive days while I was away on business, and he totally agrees.

So, we started daddy-daughter dates to give Elle more quality time with Ryan, and to give me a moment to myself. Another thing that we do is that we both have one night a week that we get to go out with our friends. Every other week we try to have a date night and hire a babysitter. Those three things have helped tremendously with balance. 

I would say the biggest thing that has helped us be better co-parents is a lot of communication. Sometimes we communicate with some yelling, but we have definitely learned it's better to talk than to bottle up any feelings.

Lastly, just realizing that we are in a different place than we were before children, and that we simply can't do whatever we want when we want has helped tremendously. Letting go of that expectation has saved us from many fights. 

We are an open book when it comes to our journey as parents, so feel free to ask more questions if you'd like. 

Photos by Creative Marriages

BAGS THAT GIVE BACK

Handbags are one accessory that is essential for your daily life. You need a place to carry all of your personal belongings, so why not do it in style. There are so many bags to choose from out there, but I want to share with you one handbag company that is changing the lives of families living in Guatemala one bag at a time. 

Ixchel Triangle is a company that is committed to supporting and changing the lives of people in Guatemala through creating beautiful, artisan bags that are one of kind. Every person that helps in the making of these bags are paid above market wages, and the children of these families have their education paid for by Ixchel Triangle.

I love that their bags are standout accessories that are HIGH quality. They leather on my bag is strong and durable. The bag even has a leather bottom with metal feet on the bottom to protect it from getting dirty. 

For any woman that is about to be a mom or is a mom of little ones, they also offer diaper bags that are the coolest I've ever seen. 

I chose to pair my Qas Nim bag with my new chambray embellished tank from TJ Maxx, skinny jeans and my Timberland wedges. 

Photos by Rennai Hoefer

SELF-TANNER TO THE TEST

We all know it's not good for our skin to bake under UV rays, but how do you get a golden glow without the skin damage? Self tanner, right? Well, I think we can all agree that we HATE the way self-tanner smells. Can I get an amen? I decided to go on the hunt to find a self tanner that smells great and works. 

I purchased Neutrogena's Build-a-tan, L'Oreal Sublime Bronze and Jergen's Natural Glow. Below, are the pro's and con's of each, and my final answer on which one is the best buy. 

L'OREAL SUBLIME BRONZE LUMINOUS: This is the product that many of my friends told me to buy. It definitely gives you instant color and sparkle. It has some glitter in it, and so it's a great way to add some warmth to your skin if you're in a hurry. The smell is TERRIBLE! To cut the smell, I tried to mix it with my body lotion. It helped a little, but I could still smell the tanner hours later. Plus, this stuff can get streaky if you don't make sure to hit all of the spots and wash your hands after. It wasn't my favorite, but I would consider using it in a pinch.

NEUTROGENA BUILD-A-TAN: This was my favorite of the three. It smells great, it moisturizes well and you can see a difference after applying it daily over a couple of days. They only make one kind and you can just control how deep your fake tan is by how often you apply it. It's $8.99 and you go through it pretty fast, but I think it's still worth it compared to the other three. 

JERGENS NATURAL GLOW: It smells delightful. In fact, it smells just like any other nice lotion, but it really didn't do much for my skin. I have used this product in the past and I didn't like the smell, so they have definitely updated it. However, only on lighter parts of my body that doesn't see the sun much did I see any kind of difference over a one week period. My legs are already quite tan, so it didn't do much for me. It's the cheapest of the three at $8.09, and I would say it's a great buy for those with fair skin.

Photos by Rennai Hoefer

MASTER BEDROOM REVEAL

It's finally finished! This project has almost been a year in the making, but we finally have a gorgeous bedroom retreat thanks to Decorist.

We moved into our new home in August, I had Levi in September and then we just slept on a mattress on the floor for about three months until we got our bed. Haha! Priorities, right?! 

Historically, our master bedroom has never been a priority for home design. You know me, I love decorating spaces, and I had such fun with Elle's room and Levi's room, but with there being so much to do as a mom and business woman, I usually prioritize our bedroom to be at the end of the list. After-all, we just sleep there, right? 

So, when I was introduced to Decorist and had the opportunity to work with them on a design of any room in my home, I actually picked my bedroom. They were able to give me a beautiful design within a week of submitting photos and answering questions. 

It was a wonderful experience because, Jessica, my designer, asked me questions that I would never ask myself. Such as, "What would your dream bedroom look like?" "What do you want the space to feel like?" If it was left up to me, I probably would have found a simple king size bed and I would have put two simple chairs for my reading area in the room instead of this insanely awesome hanging chair that I found at Home Goods. 

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I'm a lover of modern design, contemporary design and eclectic textures, but Jessica pushed the design to create a modern boho experience that has become a refuge and retreat from the world outside. It is so much more than a place to sleep. We now hang out all morning in our bedroom. In fact, I spend a lot of days working in my bedroom instead of an office. It's such an inspiring and enjoyable space that I can't stay away from it. It really has showed me what good design can do for a space.

I have never loved going to bed more in my life than now, and waking up feels like I'm living in a bird's nest in paradise thanks to this amazing bed from Anthropologie. I never would have picked this bed if it wasn't for Jessica, but now this space feels so special because of it.

What is also great about Decorist is that they give you an idea to run with, but you don't have to buy everything that they suggest. You can work off of the inspiration to find similar items. 

The bed, bedside tables, lamps, pillows, wool stools, pendant light, animal skin rug, juju hat and curtains are all from the original design. However, I found my area rug, bench, table-side accents, plants, hanging chair, side table and art work on my own. Decorist was there to affirm my choices, but it gave me the freedom to easily stay in my budget. (See a full list of sources below).

If I have any advice to give after this experience, it's to prioritize your bedroom design. Once you fully decorate your space you will end up spending more time in it and finding more enjoyment and rest in your home.

Look below to see a full source list of everything in the bedroom and where to buy it. Also, check out Rue Magazine for a full feature on the design process with Decorist. 

SOURCES:
Rattan king size bed frame from Anthropologie
White mid-century modern bedside tables from West Elm
Throw pillows from Anthropologie
White duvet cover from Ikea
Moroccan wedding blanket
JuJu Hat from St. Franks
Curved brass lamps from Anthropologie
Area rug from Living Spaces
Paint from Dunn Edwards
Jonathan Adler brass pendant light from LampsPlus
Faux plants from Home Goods
Isaac Mizrahi hanging chair from Home Goods
Throw pillows in hanging chair from Target
Teal bench from Modern Manor
Brass curtain rods and white curtains from West Elm
Wool and brass decorative stools from CB2
Frank Lloyd Wright print courtesy of my mom
Brass and wood side table from Target
Β 

Photos by Rennai Hoefer

SIMPLE HAIR DIY'S

Pinterest is a treasure trove of hair DIY's. From voluminous "Elsa" braids to seemingly impossible up-do's, there's never a lack of hair inspiration. Pinning hair tutorials is easy, but executing them is often a very different story. (We've all seen Pinterest fails...) Many of the hair tutorials I come across require either super long, thick hair or the skill level of a professional hairstylist. My hair has just gotten to the length where it's able to be put up into a braided crown style, and the whole reason we're in search of hair DIY's is to avoid a trip to the salon, right?

If you've found yourself discouraged by hair tutorials in the past, worry not. I've rounded up some easy hair DIY's that can work on almost any hair type, and they're simple enough to execute before running out the door on a busy morning. 

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In order from left to right: 

Wrap Around Pony via SELF

Half Up Bun via Kassinka 

Slicked Back via Byrdie 

Pony Tail Barettes via The Beauty Department

Braided Bangs via Style Me Pretty

Half Up Bobby Pin via Treasures and Travels 

For more hair ideas, follow along with my beauty board on Pinterest.