GUEST ROOM MAKEOVER & CONTEST

One of the best things about our new home is that it has plenty of space to host friends and family. I've always dreamed of creating a hotel-worthy guest room that made our guests feel welcome and rested. Living Spaces helped make my dream a reality with some of the most beautiful and affordable furniture around, and I'm excited to share it with you (P.S. you can win this whole space).

We all know that pineapples are a pin-worthy subject lately, but did you know that the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality that dates back to Christopher Columbus (see more here)? Well, as a woman that loves a good dark wall and one that loves pineapples, when I saw this Hygge & West ebony pineapple wallpaper I knew that this was perfect for my guest room and source of inspiration for the rest of the room.

The color palette was set by this wallpaper, but to avoid it feeling too matchy, matchy I wanted to introduce some natural textures, grays and other patterns. I selected a full sized, gray upholstered bed. It was only $370, and looks like it costs over one thousand.  A crisp white duvet is always something you find in hotels these days, but these black and white accent pillows accompanied by a soft black throw made the bed feel even more luxurious.

I then picked an area rug to anchor the space, and I fell in love with this jute rug with black lines. Other elements that added this natural quality was an outdoor rope stool doubled as a side table and a woven basket used as a planter.

When I think about the different elements that make up a comfortable hotel room a cozy reading chair always comes to mind. This black, brass studded, leather chair is so classic in design and the perfect reading chair for my guests. I added a brass reading lamp next to it that could also be turned if someone decided to read in bed. Of course, being able to put your feet up and relax is important and this printed ottoman called my name. 

The room is 11 ft wide and 8 ft deep, so I didn't have too much room for side tables. Instead, I opted for the small rope stool on one side and a brass and marble bookshelf for the other. I decorated the shelves with elements that you would often find in a hotel room such as a clock, books, bottled water, wash cloths and flowers (or in this case palm leaves to continue the tropical flair). You'll also always want a mirror for your guests to check their hair and makeup without having to go down the hall to the bathroom. I love this 44 inch gray mirror. It has an island feel to it and the color softens the room.

Last, but not least, I made sure there was a tray of welcome gifts and small design accents to make the space feel homey. A pitcher, a notebook for messages, a good smelling candle, wrapped soaps to enjoy, lavender body lotion and even brass keys to make it really feel like a hotel. I even had my friend Katie Sterbenz design a sign for the room showing wear to go to enter the oasis. On the right, the guest room, and on the left, Elle's room.

I hope you love the room as much as I do. I'm considering inviting all tired moms who need some sleep to come and use it. haha! But seriously, if you love this room you can WIN it. Living Spaces is doing a Pinterest contest where you can win a $2,500 gift card to buy everything in the room if you'd like or buy the elements that make up your dream space. Click here to enter. Be sure to check out their 4th of July sale to find amazing deals too!

To shop the space be sure to visit my Pinterest board with all of the items. 

Photos by Rennai Hoefer

RED, WHITE & BLUE STYLE TIPS

Independence Day is just around the corner, and dressing patriotically is definitely a ritual of mine. I'm excited to share on Fox 10 this coming Sunday, July 3rd at 7:20am how to dress for the holiday without looking like a walking flag. I'll be sharing tips for women, kids and men. 

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I think men are the ones that always shy away from dressing patriotically. Jeans are a bit too hot, so there goes their blue option, right? Wrong! This year, try a navy and white striped t-shirt (what guy doesn't love a t-shirt) and red chinos. 

Okay, so maybe he won't wear red chinos, but blue chambray shorts could work too. Add some red with a watch or even a handkerchief tucked in a back pocket. It doesn't need to be obvious. More this Sunday!

All clothes from Joules.com., photos by Rennai Hoefer.

A CLASSIC BLAZER WITH A TWIST

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The meaning of "work chic" has definitely evolved over the years for me because I no longer work in a traditional office environment. Getting dressed for work doesn't look any different than getting dressed for any other day. However, when I'm giving a presentation, going on television or going to event (all work related) I need look, at the very least, business casual. A blazer, button down shirt, skinny jeans and flats is my go-to uniform. It's figure flattering and sophisticated. But, I always want my outfit to be memorable, so this jade colored blazer by Two Penny Blue is exactly what I needed.

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I mean, how many people own a jade green blazer? Exactly! Though classic in it's shape down to the gold buttons and refined in it's construction with impeccable seams and good quality wool, it oozes style that goes beyond the traditional office jacket. And you want to know the BEST part about my blazer? With every blazer purchased a school uniform is donated to a girl in Africa.

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This blazer gives a girl the opportunity to get an education. You might think a uniform isn't that big of a deal, but kids can't even attend school without one. I love that my "uniform" gives another girl self-esteem and a future. Be sure to check out Two Penny Blue if you're in the market to pump of the volume of your work wardrobe.

Photos by Rennai Hoefer

PERFECT PLANTS FOR BLACK THUMBS

I have a black thumb and generally stick to fake plants. In fact, if you saw on Snap Chat (@avestyles) yesterday you would have seen that I killed my purple fig cactus. A cactus!!! Lord, help me! So, when it came time to pick plants for our yard I thought to myself, "Oh no. I don't know if I want to spend money on things that are going to die a couple months later." Haha! But, I can't put fake plants in my yard, so John Harper from Harper's Landscape came to my rescue!

I went to Harper's Nursery to select plants for my Hayneedle outdoor makeover (click here to see how it turned out), and I said, "John, you gotta help me. Please show me some plants that are hard to kill." I don't think it was his first time running into the likes of me. He was really knowledgable and showed me exactly what to buy. Here's what I bought:

Sky Flower - this plant is so beautiful (shown above). It has berries and purple flowers. It also grows like a weed and look pretty in big planters. It definitely needs a good amount of water every day, but that's really it.


Mexican Fence Post - It's a hearty cactus that seems to be doing just fine. The hot, hot summer and direct sunlight haven't killed it yet. 


Agave - Another hearty desert dwelling plant that needs hardly any water. That's my kind of plant. It really thrives in the sun and warm temperatures. It's nice to know we can leave on a weekend trip and know that this plant will be a-okay.

Sour Orange- If you want a plant that can grow sky high, give a lot of shade and have it create a hedge then you might want to buy a sour orange bush. John told me that these are just as good as oleanders, but they aren't poisonous to animals. They do have huge thorns on them though.

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Bottle Palm - Nothing says paradise like a palm tree. I wanted to fill these cool Hayneedle planters with a substantial plant, and so John suggested a Bottle Palm Tree. They just need good drainage and clean water. 

My yard feels like such an oasis now. I highly recommend Harper's Landscape for all of your landscaping and gardening needs. Their customer service served me well, and I know that would do the same for you too.

Photos by Rennai Hoefer

SWIM STYLES FOR KIDS

In Arizona, we live in the pool all summer long. It's the only way you can enjoy the outdoors without melting. Fortunately, swimming happens to be Elle's favorite activity, and I'm discovering it's Levi's as well. You could easily say we throw a swim party daily once 4pm hits and the sun isn't as intense. I've teamed up with Janie & Jack to share how we swim in style at our house.

Well, for starters, a great swimsuit for the kids is a must. Janie & Jack hands down has the best bathing suits for kids. The quality is impeccable and the styles are to die for. This cobalt blue one piece suit was too cute to pass up for Elle. I love the vintage silhouette and the halter is much more functional than the spaghetti straps you often find. 

Janie & Jack's coordinating accessories are adorable too. A striped sunhat, vintage style glasses and floral espadrille shoes completed her stylin' swim outfit. I also got a white linen swimsuit cover-up for when she isn't swimming. Remember those days when you lived in your swimsuit? Well, that's what these coverups are for. They don't even have to take their suits off to run a quick errand.

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For Levi, I got him this adorable marlin swim trunks. I loved the coral color against his olive skin. These days he mostly just splashes around, so he wears his swim trunks like regular shorts. Just put a white seersucker button down on him with his white summer shoes and shades and he is one stylin' baby. 

Since Elle never wants to come inside for a snack I bring them out to her. To go along with the swimming fun I like to give her Gold Fish, Swedish fish or Otter Pops, of course. Levi likes to have a couple licks of the popsicle. 

If you're looking for quality swimsuits be sure to check out Janie & Jack's website http://www.janieandjack.com/  You can't go wrong with anything from Janie & Jack.