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
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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. 

SUMMER SHORTS

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It's short season, and finding the right shorts can be just as hard as swimsuit shopping. Being eight months post-partum my midsection is still a bit thicker than usual, so I really don't want to spend too much money on new shorts that I will only wear for this year (hoping to be back to normal in a couple more months).  

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My solution - elastic waist bands and drawstrings. They expand and contract, and I will be able to get more use out of them than your regular button or zip fly. Target has a great selection of summer shorts right now. Here are two pairs that I found that I love:

As a chambray obsessed girl, these chambray shorts with a drawstring (only $24.99) and white trim are so cute. Add a t-shirt or a summer button-down shirt like this gingham one from Banana Republic and you are set for a backyard BBQ or outdoor picnic with the family.

Pom-poms seem to be a new Pinterest obsession of mine. I don't know what it is about these fuzzy little decorations, but I love them. I found these punchy coral shorts with pom-poms at Target ($22.99), and I just had to have them. I paired them with a chambray shirt (can you tell I'm obsessed with too) and my brown wedges and I'm ready for the pool with the kids. You'll also be happy to know that these shorts come in yellow and navy too. Woohoo!

In fact, these shorts even go with my new Target swimsuit. Just put it underneath, and you can look great before and after the pool or beach. 

Now, run to Target and get yours! Photos by Rennai Hoefer.

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