Author Archives: Sahra

One Year Home Updates

It’s hard to believe we have already been in our home for over a year. We’ve done so so much in what feels like so little time, but there’s still so much to do. Good thing we’re here for the long haul. Due to all the changes, I figured I’d give you an update! The last time I shared my home with you we had just moved in. Curtains were missing, the guest room was a mismash and the back door was a literal wood slab. Over the course of the year, though, things have come together.

In the living room we swapped out the Ikea oriental rug for an imported Colombian heffer hide. I love the mix of natural textures and classic western mixed with my victorian couch and our other cozy tufted couches. We’ve also added more art and greens in the form of a Zulu shield from our South Africa trip and some table succulents. Due to the impending colder weather we’ve added more pillows like the balsam pillow from Izola and sheepskin pillows from Ikea.

In the pantry we’ve done what we can to make it more aesthetically pleasing. We added some wicker bins we found at Home Goods, but we’re still trying to figure out how to hide the shelves of spices and dog food in an aesthetically pleasing way; anyone have any suggestions!? Seriously, spice organization will be the death of me. Or, just my pantry.

The guest room has probably had the biggest changes yet. Curtains have been added, as well as more DC themed prints and a bookshelf of travel themed readings and knock knacks. We’ve created a welcome basket of towels, global magazines from our travels, fresh Swedish sea salt soap…anything you could need for your stay at Von Brandt Haus, which has been really helpful since we started hosting on AirBnB (more on that later)!

We had our deck built last fall, grass put in this spring, then added the lattices and porch furniture. This update has been one of my favorites, especially durging the warm weather. Weekends are spent with mimosas and the pets lounging in the sun for hours on end, and our Sunday evening tradition of grilling out with friends has been one of my favorites.

The Basement…oh, that basement. I never initially shared photos of it with you it was that bad. In the past few months it’s become our main project. A Bo Concepts sectional couch really brought the mancave/media room together. With the addition of (almost weekly) pillows and finally hanging some wall art it’s become a place we no longer vampantly avoid. Instead it’s the place we retire after dinner for a little Netflix & Chill, or more commonly, where Sahra falls asleep 5 minutes into an episode of 30Rock.

The other side of our basement is…the basement part. Our laundry room/half bathroom was a definite sore sight. We’ve done our best to clean it up and make it pretty, but there’s still PLENTY of room for improvement.

What do you think of our home updates?

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Self Date Sunday: Nugg Rx Facial Setse

Nugg Rx Facials
A rainy weekend with converging storms calls for time inside. I personally spent my weekend in college brazenned sweatpants and hoodies folding clean laundry and watching Netflix. I basically hit “yes I’m still watching” an embarrassing number of times.
I also decided to treat my skin. Last year I discussed Nügg’s facials and fell in love. This year, Nügg launched their new Rx packs and I just had to give them a shot.
Nugg Rx Facials
Each Nügg Rx pack comes with 4 facial pods to be used once a night for 4 days consecutively to counteract a specific product. I received the “Anti-Aging”, the “Dull skin”, “Dry Skin”, and the “Sensitive Skin”. While each packet has a unique set of pods my favorite is still the anti-aging. The oatmeal facial has become a favorite of mine and I love how smooth and clean these all make my face feel.
Nugg Rx Facials

What are you doing to treat your skin during this transitional season? Have you tried Nügg facial pods? Be sure to snag your Rx pack here!

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Work of Art

You can make a fantasy a reality
Because you’re creating your own masterpiece
Rent The Runway Georgetown
Art and fashion go hand in hand, whether it’s art influencing fashion a la Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian collection or fashion inspiring art like Bob Mackie, or even the collision of the two parallels as seen in Alexander McQueen’s Spring ’99 presentation. When my friend Beth asked me to join her at Rent The Runway’s latest field guide on Art Collecting I was ecstatic. Z and I love art in our home and consider ourselves pretty artistically knowledgable. It was a wonderful evening of wine, cupcakes, and art in what can only be described as an artful interior. Gorgeous, well merchandised dresses line ornate walls like the above blue marbled and the below brick with galleried mirrors.

Rent The Runway Georgetown
The knowledgeable and worldly Peggy Sparks of Artists Proof Gallery in Georgetown led the way through our field notes lesson explaining why we should invest in art, how we should invest in art, and a little bit of some art history. Personally, I learned that I shouldn’t make executive art decisions because it matches something else or just because I want art; any piece I invest in should be one I’ve had an unequivocal connection with. Much of my art and prints in my home are just “pretty”; the animal prints in my living room fit the theme and my personality, while the dainty prints in my office inspire me. The next time I make a large original art purchase, though, I’ll be sure to choose a piece that I would mourn if I lost it.
Another great lesson was to purchase art smartly. Many places sell reproductions or prints and price them as originals, yet they don’t carry the same worth. I know for me I enjoy running my fingers along grooves of thick paint as an added feature to original art that you don’t get in a reproduction. My favorite things to have learned were the websites to check for emerging artists and artist research. Exhibition A and ArtSpan are some worth checking out!
Rent The Runway GeorgetownNow, for the fun part; what I wore. For this event I decided to go trendy. A short but structured dress over classic trousers and heels felt very “Chelsea Art Gallery Consultant” to me, even if I’m just a DC girl with an interest in free wine and pretty things.

Do you have any originally art works in your home? What’s your favorite way to buy art?

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Beauty Empties

There’s this big trend going around where people post their “empties”; It’s like a selfie but not of your face, of your empty beauty products. Considering I’m not a *major* beauty blogger piling on 15 products a day it’s absurd for me to participate in a monthly installment of this. However, I can post a little something seasonally.

This summer I went through quite a bit of products, taking time to find what I love and what I don’t. Clearly, these are empties and obviously things I’m loving.

Beauty Empties

1: Origins Purifying Clay Masque

I’ve always been a fan of facial masks, since I was a little girly-girl trying to put mud on my face at the beach. When I first moved in with my boyfriend he introduced me to this over wine one #netflixandchill night. It was magical. This mask provided a deeper clean that others I had used and left my skin so smooth. It has rapidly become my favorite as well for any time I’m feeling like my nose is blackhead ridden.

2: Elizabeth Arden Future Flawless Serum

I received this serum sample in one of my VoxBox’s this past spring and it was probably my favorite thing to receive ever. The retinol powered product has a slightly glowey/dewy effect on the skin at first until it seeps in to lock in the moisture. It doesn’t leave any lasting residue which means no extra added texture to my daily make up routine.

3: CoverGirl TruBlend Foundation

Mid-way through summer my tan started to settle in and my foundation was no longer a match. I picked up this foundation at my local CVS to satisfy my desperate need for a slightly darker hue and was in love. It’s actually magic the way the liquid foundation squirts out one color and then blends in with your skin flawlessly. I used this baby till it’s last drop (literally) while my tan faded into it’s now fall shade.

4: Neutrogena SkinClearing Blemish Concealer

That same mid-summer day I picked up my new foundation I also decided to try another new product. Given that I have occasional (hormonal) acne I decided to give this medicated concealer a go. I love that it’s a pen applicator of a liquid concealer. I was able to put it directly on the spots and blend it before adding my foundation. The best part? It worked. On acne that normally could have lasted for a week+ my spots would disappear in just a couple of days. Safe to say this is a product I’ll be keeping in my makeup bag.


There ya have it! the few products I’ve finished to the last drop this past season. What have been your favorite products?

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Don’t Fear Baby Cuz You and Me Are Golden

When you can’t breathe, it’s you that I’ll be holdin’
Yes, I’m all in, through thick and thin
This is good loving; you and me are golden

Transitional Work wear

It’s been a busy end to summer…while I’ve had more free time from work I’ve surprisingly felt less like taking outfit photos for the blog and more like embracing experiences with friends. Happy hours after work and my favorite volunteer projects have held a higher importance to me. #SorryNotSorry. I’m planning trips, a few [minor] blog changes, and plans with friends, bloggers and not. I’m finding new loves in life, but am still in love with blogging.

So, dear followers and readers, accept this bold and fun 9 to 5 style post as a peace offering for my minimal posting as of late, as a “thank you for your patience” with me.

Polka dots are such a fun print to style these days, and nothing brightens up a crisp fall day like orange hues!

Transitional Workwear

Fall Work Style

top by Madewell (get it here)

Skirt by J.Crew (shop it here)

Jewelry from Francesca’s

shoes by Nine West

Work Style

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Everything You Need to Know About Traveling South Africa on the Shosholoza Meyl

Everything You Need To Know about riding the train in South AfricaWhen going to a new country for the first time, especially one that takes over 24 hours to get to, you get there and just really want to SEE IT ALL. Who knows when you’ll be back when there’s so much of the world to see? That’s how I feel on all of my trips, stuffing in as much as possible into everyday of our trips. Our March adventure to South Africa was no exception.

As we pre-meditated our trip we contemplated how to get from point A (Johannesburg) to Point B (Cape Town) across the country. There was flying, which would be roughly $60USD a person and take about two hours. OR there was the train. 27 hours and $110USD. The decision was an easy one. We booked our tourist class tickets for the Shosholoza Meyl and boy was I glad for that decision after all the flying.

Everything You Need To Know about riding the train in South Africa
After our 36 hours in JoBurg we grabbed an Uber to Johannesburg Park Station, which we were warned beforehand that we had to enter through the front and go directly downstairs. Unfortunately our driver brought us around back, demanded money for the toll, and then in the confusion and conundrum of not having change for him our bags were blindly taken by a porter into the station. It was the scariest 5 minutes of our whole trip. Thankfully, Z ran after the porter and managed to secure our bags (yes, we had 4 suitcases)— prompting a security guard to take us under her wing and escort us to our gate. We waited underground in possibly the dirtiest train platform I’ve ever been in. At this point, my heart is racing and I’m wondering if we’ve made a horrible mistake. An older gentleman helped us find our car, where we had booked a little sleeper room for two people. There are also options for a room for 4 or a shared room with strangers. We opted for a little privacy.
South African countryside Via the Shosholoza Meyl
South African countryside
Traveling South Africa by train
The Shosholoza Meyl tourist section is the one of the nicer sections of the train. Each room has a sink, a fold down table, a couch that folds down into a bed and a top bunk that pops down. There is one window looking out into the hallway, and another window that gives an amazing view of the South African countryside— this window you can roll down to feel the wind and experience all the senses as the train chugs along. For an extra ZAR10 ($4USD) they will provide bed sheets and blankets as well. There is a shared bathroom for each train car, which is pretty basic but does the job. There is no heat or air conditioning but again, the windows do open. For hygene’s sake, I advise bringing a packet of face wipes, deodorant, and other personal cleansers for when you start to feel stagnant and sticky. As for your luggage, there is an overhead compartment within your room so you don’t need to fret over it getting lost in the confusion of all the stops.

Chugging along we left the city of JoBurg behind, making our way through shanty towns and eventually, the desert Karoo. Train staff came around every so often to wait on us, making sure we had everything we needed from water and drinks to food and snacks. We had brought plenty of our own snacks and beverages, but it was nice to know that there were options available if we had not. As we drove through the Karoo we looked out for animals, seeing Ostrich, cows, horses and the odd baboon. As night fell we made our way to the dining car, just two cars behind ours, which was also a nice escape from the confines of our room.

Reading and watching South Africa fly by while riding the shosholoza meyl

The staff was pleasant, and the meal cheap even by South African standards. We ordered two bottles of great white wine (for under $2USD each!) and dug into our meals of fresh vegetables and rice for me and all of that plus meat for Z. We were able to take the unfinished wine back to our room where we sat in the dark, sipping our drinks and looking up at the night sky.

They always tell you that the sky is brighter and you can see further when there’s less light pollution. But Holy Toledo was this an experience. Us both being city kids we had never seen so many stars. At one point we noticed a bright blue swirling cluster that was no doubt a galaxy that we could actually see with our bare eyes. We fell asleep with our heads against the window, waking up for a few moments as we made mid-night stops in other major SA cities including Klerksdorp, Kimberley and Beaufort. Each stop lasted about 5-10 minutes as passengers either hurriedly left or rushed to get on to their designated seats. Our car was mostly full of long-haul sleeping tourists so we were not bothered much during the night.

Riding the Shosholoza Meyl train through South Africa

Train Trips

We awoke the next morning ready for breakfast. Needing a stretch we ventured back down to the dining car where we were served a full English Breakfast. We made our way back to our room for more wildlife watching and some light reading. We drove through more enthralling scenes, leaving dusty desert for mountain ranges complete with lush vineyards and farms. The closer we got to Cape Town the more topographical it seemed to get.

Arriving in Cape Town’s Kaapstad station was a complete 180 from Johannesburg Park Station; with glistening white walkways, organized bell whistles, and helpful staff to help with unloading your baggage. Without a doubt, it was very easy to find our way to where we needed to go. Within minutes we had exited and were hailing our Uber amidst happy students in the sun, palm trees swaying as if we were in Los Angeles. And just like that, we had traveled 1,400km, 27hours, and seen more of South Africa than we ever could have imagined. If we had the chance to do it over again, we would.

Have you ever taken a lengthy train journey? Where did you go!?

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Fall Wishlist

Each morning I wake up to another beautifully warm, humid, summer day here in the nations capital. Unfortunately, these mornings are starting to come with a crisp bite in the air as we flip our calendars to September reminding me that fall is indeed coming. Normally I’m the kind of girl who’s all about summer. Winter invokes an insatiable wanderlust in me as I take any and every excuse to vacation south or across an ocean. This year’s fall fashion however has me looking forward to those months with suede, leather, and knitted layers galore.

Heres a peak into what’s on my Wishlist for fall!
"Fall Wishlist" by sahra-schukraft on Polyvore featuring Topshop, Boden, Anna Sui, River Island, Coach and STELLA McCARTNEY

My wishlist highlights some of the hottest trends for fall; the continuation of all things tassel like with these gold and black pair.

Flare Jeans are back, b*tches! Get in on the 70s style while still remaining work (casual) appropriate with this cool pair from MiH.

A classic wool cape has been on my wishlist for quite some time. I’m still beating myself up over the vintage plaid one I passed on at a consignment shop last year. Lucky for me, the trend isn’t going anywhere!

Bell sleeves a la the peasant blouses of the early oughts are headed back in style. Paired with a karate style belted waist of a chic romper and you become modern bohemian royalty of the office.

As a proper wanderlusting soul, this “Nomad” enscripted cross body is perfect for weekend adventures! And, it’s by Coach, who has been making a new name for themselves that is already clearly resonating with me and other millenials.

One of the hottest pieces for the upcoming fall is a button front skirt. I recently took to Twitter to figure out your thoughts on denim, suede, or cord…and well, you’ll have to check back to see which one I ordered!

Lace up flats are the it shoe of fall; I’m loving these JC’s in navy for a paunch of color!

Last but not least…suede in fall is a wonderful marriage of cozy and sexy. This Anna Sui dress is everything I need! Plus, it’ll look great with thigh high socks as the weather gets cooler and a white turtleneck for when it starts to get bitter cold.

What do you think of these picks? What styles are you stocking up on for fall!?