Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wardrobe Wednesday | Haven Recap & What I Wore

I mentioned that the contest prep put a damper on the start of our summer with regards to planning family outings and going to restaurants has been off limits, so it's also cut down on my social life since so many of our get-togethers involve food and restaurants.  I'm blessed with great girlfriends who were happy to stop by or go for a walk with me and I appreciated that so much.  Long chats on the phone were also a must!  You can imagine how excited I was to have an entire girls' weekend last week as I traveled to Atlanta for the Haven blog conference.  There was much needed girl time as well as lots of good food!  Here's a brief recap of the trip with the details on where we ate and what I wore.  

I took off on Thursday morning and flew from Houston to Dallas (just a quick 45 minute trip) to scoop up Cassie so we could fly together to Atlanta.  Traveling with a friend is so much better! And we arranged to meet up at the airport in Atlanta with Jen. Three blogging buddies reunited again! 

embroidered top | crocheted shorts (similar) | initial necklace | wrap braceletSt. Ann Tote - I have the big version this tote bag and it was perfect for traveling in.  It fit my laptop inside as well as my favorite jean jacket (similar) that I don't leave home without when traveling just in case the AC freezes me out.  

The ladies at the Haven conference had everything perfectly organized and well-run and it was held in the pretty Hyatt hotel in Buckhead.  Day #1, I wanted to be a little dressed up but still comfortable so I wore my blue and white maxi


Cassie, Jen and I roomed together again and we were only missing Courtney.  Unfortunately, she couldn't make it this time. 


In the conference meeting place, it was cool to see how Home Depot recreated Kristin's living room in their booth.  


We also had plenty of down time to relax and just chill, which was really nice for a change. You learn a lot about blogging in the classroom sessions, but you also can compare notes and discuss things when you're just hanging out. 


maxi dress (other colors/patterns) | wedges (similar) | GiGi NY Uber clutch on sale

My latest Stitch Fix arrived right before I left for Atlanta and this package was a total keeper.  I usually keep 2-3 things, but I loved every item they sent this time that I kept all 5.  This maxi was one of my favorite pieces from Stitch Fix this time.  With wedges (and after washing and drying it), the length was perfect on me.  



The back has a fun criss-cross detail and small cut-out.  Most of the Stitch Fix pieces have nice detail like that that make them more interesting. 



One of the best places we ate was at Top Chef Richard Blaze's Flip Burger.  I ate that double cheeseburger and Cassie had the burger topped with shredded bbq and cole slaw with a side of pimento cheese.  And I could not keep my hand out of those fries, although that's Jen's hand I caught in the picture. 


Day 2, I wanted to be comfy and casual, so I wore my NYDJ yellow skinny ankle jeans (currently 50% off and in other colors!) and my new Stitch Fix top.  I'm crazy for the soft tee-shirt feel of the grey front paired with the colorful floral back.  Isn't it cute?!  And the back is a little longer, which I also liked. 




You might remember I wore those same yellow jeans with that adorable daisy off-the-shoulder top.  I like to see how many different things in my closet those pants will go with.

On Friday night, I got to hang with a great group of women (and the cutest little babe- just 4 months!) when we went to dinner at Prime Steak & Seafood.  

Sam | me | Jen | Erin | Jen | Gina

My green tank has the cutest zipper racerback.  Love it! 


Being together in person with all these great women is so rewarding after communicating online all the time. 

top row left to right :: Amy, Sarah, Liz Marie, Sarah, Rhoda, Katie
middle row left to right :: Cyndi, Traci, Kristin, me, Chris, Cassie, Jen, Gina, Erin, Jen
bottom row :: Lucy and hubby, me, Brooke

For our last night, we took a Kristin's recommendation since she's local and went to Tin Lizzy.  They have the most amazing taco combinations and we pigged out on chips and queso (my personal fave) too.  I didn't get any good pics since it was so dark inside the restaurant. 


I was so stuffed afterwards, I was unbuttoning the button on my white jeans






I was only gone three days, but I was already ready to come home on Sunday.  

romper $17.90  | wrap bracelet Gorjana earrings on sale | Gorjana ring (similar on sale) | studded stretch bracelet


Until next time Haven ladies!  

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Post Bikini Contest Fitness Plan & TCBY Frozen Yogurt Giveaway

Last year, when I got in the best shape of my life and competed in my first NPC bikini contest, it took less than six months for me to get back out of shape!  The contest was July 2014 and by Thanksgiving, I had gained about 10 pounds (a lot on such a short girl) and had lost a lot of my muscle tone.  Right after the contest, I stopped working out with my trainer and then wasn't going to the gym much.  My eating was all over the place and I was indulging in too many sweet treats (my weakness!).  So, I returned to my trainer at the end of 2014, and by March 2015, had committed to a second bikini contest in July 2015 to really help me get back into great shape.  

Now that the second contest is over, I'm determined to do things differently to stay in shape.  And, even though I have a MAJOR case of the summer lazies, I am still training with my trainer 3 days a week and I plan to continue indefinitely.  It's been hard to get the motivation to get up for my 8:30 a.m. training sessions since that gym isn't particularly convenient and who wants to fight morning traffic in the summer, but I don't want to lose my spot, because it works out so perfectly when my son is in school and he starts back soon.  I love getting my workout over with first thing in the morning so I don't have to think about it the rest of the day and it helps me eat better.  And, I'm tying to do two days of cardio - 45 minutes each.  Usually running outside or on the treadmill.  


Friday, July 24, 2015

Weekend Steals & Deals | My Nordstrom Sale Purchases & Review

I took a few much-needed days off blogging to spend at home and with my son this week and it's done me good.  That contest wore me out and I couldn't be more grateful for your kind and thoughtful comments on my recap post.  Y'all sure know how to make a girl feel good!  I've been enjoying different food without going overboard lately and have been indulging in this sweet treat without all the fat and calories. It's perfect for us ice-cream lovers. I'll be sharing more of my post-contest meals and fitness plan soon.

As our summer winds down (school starts back so early here - August 12!), I'll be 'slow blogging', just here and there so I get to soak up as much time with my 5-year old as I can before he's gone everyday.  He's at the sweetest stage where he just wants to be with his parents all the time and I'm loving it!  We'll be taking a short weekend trip soon too and it will be great to get away. 

This week, some of my order from the Nordstrom Anniversary sale arrived and so now I can share my thoughts with you on all the boots and booties I ordered- remember I went a little overboard and ordered all of these: Baila Ashton Wedge Ankle BootieLucky Brand Betwixt BootieLucky Brand Heloisse BootVince Camuto Maves Bootie, and the Born Helen Boot.

See all my boots and booties picks here. ;)

And I did a big Best of Nordstrom Anniversary Sale round up here so definitely check that out!  There are so many great deals to be had and prices go up Monday, August 3.

Fall fashion - Halogen Long Sleeve Chambray shirt, Lucky Brand Heloisse Boots, Gorjana jewelry

First off, this Halogen Long Sleeve Chambray shirt is my new fave! It's hard to tell from a photo but it's super soft and looks 'lived in'.  I bought it in navy and white, but they also have a tan one called 'stone fossil' that I want now since I know the quality of the shirt in person.  If it's sold out by the time you check, I hope they restock.  They often do, so check back if they don't have your size/color.  I'm wearing regular XS here, but it also comes in petite.

These Lucky Brand Heloisse Boots are really nice too.  They come in three colors (two browns and a black).  They fit me perfectly true to size and I think they'd be great for running around it since the heel isn't too tall and the toe is rounded.  I'm still deciding if I'll keep them because I'm so picky about boots and I'm thinking I may still make a run to the store to see if I have found the best ones. 

Fall fashion -  Lucky Brand Heloisse Boots

Fall fashion - Halogen Long Sleeve Chambray shirt, Born Helen Boots, Gorjana jewelry


I loved the look of the Born Helen Boot because they are so pretty, but the calf was too wide on me, poking out on the sides of my leg.  It's a bummer because they actual fit in the foot was perfect and they were really comfortable.  Every pair of Born shoes I've tried on have a great comfy fit. 

Fall fashion - Born Helen Boots

Fall fashion - Halogen Long Sleeve Chambray shirt, Lucky Brand Betwixt Bootie, Gorjana jewelry

The Lucky Brand Betwixt Bootie is a great short bootie in a lightly distressed suede and comes in 4 colors. I ordered a half size up and they fit great.  This color (dark moss) will go with so much this fall and winter. 

Fall fashion - Lucky Brand Betwixt Bootie

My two favorite booties this year are the Baila Ashton Wedge Ankle Bootie and the Vince Camuto Maves Bootie.

Fall fashion - Baila Ashton Wedge Ankle Bootie
Baila Ashton Wedge Ankle Bootie - I love the look, fit and feel of this wedge bootie.  I ordered a half size up. 

Fall fashion - Vince Camuto Maves Bootie
Vince Camuto Maves Bootie - I had to order a half size up on these too. Gorgeous color! 

I'm also crazy for the Bobeau long cardigan (2 for $65).  It's soft and cozy and comes in 12 colors/patterns.  The XS fit perfectly, but I wanted them a little roomier, so I got the small.  This is great for layering over tanks and tees.  I'm wearing the Topshop U-neck tank here - only $18

Fall fashion - Bobeau long cardigan - House of Harlow Long Y-Necklace, Crescent and Star ring
House of Harlow Long Y-Necklace & Crescent and Star ring (via Rocksbox - use my code honeywerehomexoxo to get your first month free) 

Fall fashion - Bobeau long cardigan - House of Harlow Long Y-Necklace, Crescent and Star ring
Bobeau long cardigan (2 for $65) 

I had mixed feelings about the blanket poncho.  It's seriously so soft and cozy (not at all scratchy) and I could totally see wrapping up in this on the couch while watching tv, but I could never wear it out of the house- it totally swallowed me.  And I'm wearing the XS.  Sadly, it's probably going back. :( 

Fall fashion - blanket poncho

I'm definitely keeping this quilted vegan cross body bag.  It's only $21.90 (reg. $34). I've already used it and love the size and expensive look for less.

quilted vegan cross body bag - only $21.90

I've told you before about my HWH Everyday Fave Halogen tee shirt and they are on sale for $15.90 (regularly $25) so stock up now.  They even have a couple colors marked down to $12.90! My latest one is a fun light blueish-grey/white stripe.  I buy XS to allow for shrinkage.

Summer Fashion - Halogen tee, white GAP jean shorts, Hinge sandals, wrap bracelet, Kendra Scott earrings

My second Rocksbox was also a success! If you're interested in joining, you can use my code honeywerehomexoxo (thank you!) to get the first month free, and then, when you refer a friend, you'll get $25 to spend toward Rocksbox jewelry.

Rocksbox- use code HONEYWEREHOMEXOXO for 1st month free - Fall fashion - House of Harlow Long Y-Necklace, Crescent and Star ring, Kendra Scott earrings

Rocksbox- use code HONEYWEREHOMEXOXO for 1st month free - Fall fashion - House of Harlow Long Y-Necklace, Crescent and Star ring

Finally, you've seen my bright white nails throughout the post and I think it's fun for summer.  I'm wearing this polish.  Have you tried white nails this summer?!




ACCESSORY CONCEIRGE:  Lots of sale jewelry here.

ANN TAYLOR 40% off New Arrivals & Sale Styles. Use code SALE40 (exclusions apply). 
FREE shipping on $175 or more & $8.95 flat rate shipping.  

ANTHROPOLOGIE:  Sign up for Antrho and enjoy 20% off all items this weekend only.  
Free shipping on orders over $150 with code FS150.

BANANA REPULBIC:  40% off when you spend $200.  Use code BRTAKEIT

BAUBLE BAR:  Get 15% off your first purchase.  
Free U.S. shipping and returns.

GAP:  Entire site on sale + extra 25% off your purchase too.  Online only.  Use code BEST.
Free shipping on all orders over $50, free returns.  

GIGI NY: Summer sale, 40% off select sales and colors.  Free shipping + gift with purchase over $100 (leather Mini Wallet).  The Mini Taylor (python leather) is on sale $275, $206.25.  They can also be personalized.

Summer Fashion - Gigi NY Mini Taylor python leather bags on sale - so many colors!

J. CREW:  Extra 75% off select final sale styles, plus 40% off select full-price styles. Use code SUMMERSALE

LOFT: 30% off all new arrivals, plus cardmembers get 35% off and double rewards points.  Use code LOVELOFT 

NORDSTROM:  ANNIVERSARY SALE!!!  Open to everyone!!!
Always FREE shipping & FREE returns.  

OLD NAVY:  30% off your order, no code needed.  Exclusions apply.
Free shipping on orders over $50 + free returns.

REVOLVE CLOTHING:  Cute summer SALE items here
Free shipping and Free returns.

SOLE SOCIETY:  Invite friends and earn $25.  Fast and free shipping.  

ZAPPOS:  Order before 1PM PST for FREE next business day shipping on all Clothing. 


Have a great weekend! 

__________________

keep in touch! 

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Monday, July 20, 2015

NPC Bikini Contest 2015 Recap

Weekends sure seem to be flying by these days.  I spent this last one in Atlanta with lots of blogging friends at the Haven blog conference.  I can sincerely tell you that the women of Haven are so genuine and fun to be around.  I'm so glad I went and I encourage any of you thinking about going next year to for sure go!   

If you've been following my blog for the last three months, you know I was preparing for my second NPC bikini contest.  I competed for the first time last July and I got the itch to do it again mostly because I needed to get back in shape after falling off the wagon after my first competition.  I had a harder time sticking strictly to my diet this time (I'd say I did 90%, but I had dessert cheats along the way that I shouldn't have had).  And that's the thing about a contest like this, when you get there for the day of the show, you can surely tell who cheated and who didn't.  Or maybe whose been training longer because their bodies are just crazy good.  The competition in Houston was fierce this year with so many phenomenal competitors.  But, committing to competing in a bikini contest also caused me to train harder and eat better than I would have if I didn't have the contest looming.  That's the real reason I competed, because the contest day has never been my favorite part. 

2015 BIKINI CONTEST RECAP

This year, I placed 9th in the Bikini Novice division and 13th in the Bikini Masters division (ages 35-44).  I'm proud of what I accomplished and definitely feel like the women who placed above me deserved it.  I'm not crazy about my stage pictures, but I figured you might want to see them.   It's wild how nervous you can be with only a few seconds on stage, but this audience was really big and intimidating.  I wish I was smiling more in the photos.  My coach, John Sherman, even texted me later and said I needed to smile more at the night show, which I did. My cousin (a fellow competitor) gave me a tip to start smiling right before going on stage and then placing your tongue against the back of your two front teeth/roof of your mouth to hold your smile in place.  It worked later!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Weekend Steals & Deals | Nordstrom Anniversary Sale All Access

Yay for today!  The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is open to everyone now!! I have already done quite a bit of damage online and now I'm waiting for my goodies to arrive!  I might have went a bit overboard on boots and booties, but I always tend to over-order on shoes when I'm buying online since you can't be sure how they'll fit and feel.  That's the great thing about the convenience of free shipping and free returns at Nordstrom.  So, on their way are: Baila Ashton Wedge Ankle Bootie, Lucky Brand Betwixt Bootie, Lucky Brand Heloisse Boot, Vince Camuto Maves Bootie, and the Born Helen Boot.  Um, yeah. My luck, they will all arrive at the same time while I'm in Atlanta for the Haven conference and my husband will be texting me  . . . .  But he should see the ones I left behind! See all my boots and booties picks here. ;) And I did a big mama jama Best of Nordstrom Anniversary Sale round up here so definitely check that out!

I've told you before about my HWH Everyday Fave Halogen tee shirt and they are on sale for $15.90 (regularly $25) so stock up now.  It comes in several colors, and I'm wearing Red Paprika in XS.  They even have a couple colors marked down to $12.90!  I can show you how it looks in the photos below, but I wish you could feel the softness.  

Casual outfit - distressed jeans and Halogen slub tee

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wardrobe Wednesday | Tunics & Dresses

Happy hump day friends!  It's been a busy week here since finishing up my bikini contest last weekend.  It was a long day and I'm working on a detailed recap post, but for now, you can see some photos on my Instagram that I shared from the contest.  I'm so happy that I made it to the finish line!    I've definitely been indulging the past few days, but I'm also still training with my trainer so I don't lose what I've worked so hard for.  Other than that, we've been taking it pretty easy and enjoying some pool time.  It's the peak of our hot season here and the pool is the only way to be outside without feeling like your dying!  Tomorrow, I'll be heading to Atlanta for the Haven blog conference and I cannot wait to see all my friends in person!  Are you going?  I'd love to meet you! 

I might be packing this super cute tunic dress I found at the adorable online boutique Goodnight Macaroon (which has free shipping).  It can be worn as a dress like I'm wearing here, or a top or even a bathing suit cover up.  Since I'm so short, it works well as a dress on me.  I got the XS, but I'm going to have to be careful washing it because it's 100% cotton and I don't want it to shrink.  

Spring/Summer fashion - tunic dress

Spring/Summer fashion - tunic dress
dress | wedges (other colors)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

How to Start A Blog on Wordpress

I looked up this month and realized that I've been blogging consistently now for 5 years!  I can't believe it's been that long!  I started my blog to chronicle our first-home building journey and life along the way with a new baby.  Since that time, I've gone from full-time lawyer to work-at-home mom (if you consider blogging work), which I really don't, although I do spend quite a bit of time on my blog.  

Thinking back, I've learned so much along the way through friendships with other bloggers (essential), blog conferences (I'll be heading to Haven this week!), reading and watching tutorials on everything from better photography to how to use the latest social media.  Although I admit I still can't quite get the hang of snapchat!

One thing I wish I had done differently from the beginning, was start my blog on Wordpress. I started my blog the easiest way I knew, on Blogger, and since then, I've often thought about moving to Wordpress, but now that my blog is established on Blogger, it feels like a big 'ole pain in the rear to change now.  That being said, for most bloggers who blog consistently and want more control and growth opportunities, Wordpress is probably the way to go.

If I knew then, what I know now, here's how I would have started my blog on Wordpress.

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