Sunday, July 5, 2015

Bikini Contest Prep | Last 2 Weeks Out Recap

I can't believe we've made it to the final week of the competition!  Some days it felt so very far away, and now it will be show time on Saturday!  The contest is the NPC Branch Warren Classic in Houston at NRG Stadium.  Two weeks ago, I wasn't feeling ready at all because I still hadn't gotten my posing routine down and I felt like my stomach still looked too bulky, but I think it's finally all coming together now!  The next week will be lots of preparation and I'm just hoping to stay positive, keep to my diet and exercise, and get lots of rest!  

To keep me going on my cardio, I downloaded a bunch of new music onto my iPod and it's seriously helped so much.  If you need a little push to get you through those workouts, get your favorite music to help you along. 


I missed taking a picture at exactly 2 weeks out, but the one below is technically taken at 1 1/2 weeks out.  I darkened the brightness of the photo so I could see what I might look like once I get my spray tan.  


My 2-weeks out workout recap is below:

Monday:  Cardio (45 minutes- run neighborhood)

Tuesday: Train Legs + Cardio (20 minutes on treadmill)

Wednesday: Train Arms & Back + Cardio (30 minutes on treadmill)

Thursday:  Train Chest & Shoulders + Cardio (45 minutes on treadmill)

Friday: 0

Saturday: Cardio (45 minutes run neighborhood)

Sunday:   Cardio (50 minutes run neighborhood)

It's funny the things you realize when you run your neighborhood.  The smells!  Saturday afternoons and evenings are when people barbecue, Sunday evenings you'll smell fresh laundry, and never run on Thursday nights (at least in my neighborhood) - it's trash day and those stinky trashcans are awful to run past!


I'm following the same Meal Plan, but I had been eating lean burgers for a couple meals each day.  I felt like I wasn't digesting those meals that well and I'd been bloated, so for the last week, I'm just eating fish and chicken instead of beef.  

I need to talk to my trainer to see if he'll change my food or sodium for the last week, but so far he hasn't mentioned it.  

I finally registered for the contest.  I'll be competing in two divisions: Novice (people who haven't won a show before) and Masters (age 35-44, I'm 40).  You can compete beyond age 44 also, and there are sometimes a few competitors in their 70s!  Amazing! 

My son still has swimming lessons this week, so I'll be making time for that each day!  And I have to practice posing each day.  I'm feeling more confident about this part, but it's still not easy.  

I ordered a RED BIKINI with lots of crystals, but it's still not here yet. :/ If it doesn't arrive in time, I'll just wear my aqua suit from last year.  

It's gonna be a busy week!

MONDAY:  Cardio (45 minutes).

I'll start taking Duirex, a diuretic to help get rid of excess water to make you look leaner and not bloated.  You can read the reviews about the product here.  I've never taken a diuretic before, so I'm curious to see what it will do (if anything) and will be drinking lots of water with it.

Start exfoliating daily in preparation for spray tan.  My friend Jessica, who happens to be competing with me this year (her first time!) owns a mobile spray tanning company, Beautifully Bronzed, and she also does makeup professionally for weddings, etc.  If you're in Houston, definitely check her out for a quickie tan or beautiful makeup application.  You'll love it!  She gave me an exfoliating mitt and exfoliator, cleanser, and body butter to help prepare my skin for the tanning spray.

Get Mani/Pedi (I'm thinking something like pale pink).

Practice posing.

TUESDAY: Train + Cardio (45 minutes).

Hair color appointment - fresh blond to cover those roots! I plan to curl my (new short hair) with a curling wand for the contest.

Practice posing.

WEDNESDAY: Train + Cardio (45 minutes) 

Practice posing.

THURSDAY:  Train + Cardio (45 minutes)

Measure body fat.  I'm curious what I'll be competing at. 

Pack for show.  Make sure I have: competition suit (and backup just in case), heels, jewelry, makeup, curling iron, brush/comb, hairspray, mirror, snacks/food/water, iPhone and charger, camera, tickets to venue, NPC card, schedule.  To the show I'll wear loose black pants and a lightweight hoodie.  I'm bringing a towel or maybe even a yoga mat to sit on since there was so much waiting around and no chairs last year.

Practice posing.

FRIDAY: Rest day (no exercise)

8:00 a.m.  Spray Tan -   I go to Jessica's house to get my tan.  She's about to get very up close and personal with me because you have to spray tan completely naked to get everywhere!  She will do one coat, we'll wait for it to dry, then she'll do a second coat right afterwards.  This will save time and avoid me having to come back the next day for another coat.  I need to be finished in time to get James to swim lessons!  I'm going to look ridiculous being all super dark, but oh well!  If I end up needing a third coat of tan (doubtful), I can go back that night.

Buy foundation and practice makeup application.  Of course I'm a little nervous about matching my face to my tanned skin, but I'm pretty good with makeup, so I think it will be okay.  I'll wear false eyelashes that I already picked up at Target.

Practice posing.

6-8 p.m.  Check-ins at Venue - They will measure us so they can divide us into height classes and we should get a general schedule of events regarding the order of going on stage.  

9:30 p.m.  Bedtime!  I ordered cheap black sheets/pillowcases so I don't stain our sheets.  This stuff rubs off, so don't wear it with good clothes or on your nice sheets.  You might also want to use saran wrap to wrap your toilet so you don't stain the seat! ;) 


6:00 a.m.  Wake up, eat breakfast, get ready for show.

8:00 a.m.  Pre-Judging Starts  

Jessica will apply a body glaze so that the tan shines and looks radiant on stage.  I'll also apply bikini bite glue to the bottom of my suit so it stays in place.  No wedgies please!!  And I have to mention that Jessica has done SO AWESOME preparing for this contest herself!  Unlike me, she has stayed 100% on point with her diet and her dedication really shows.  She looks absolutely AMAZING!  She trained with my trainer also, but did it online, so he wrote out her diet and workouts and she trained in her garage! Talk about dedication!  You go girl!  I am so proud of you and so thankful for your friendship! 

There's typically a lot of waiting around, until they get to your class.  Then, when they call your name, you get a total of 10 seconds to do your posing routine.  Man, all that work, three months of strict dieting and exercise comes down to 10 seconds on stage- crazy! 

Afternoon:  After pre-judging, there should be a break where I can go home and chill and rest until the night show. 

6:00 p.m.  Night Show - awards given.  This part of the show takes a long time and it will probably be a late night.  

When it's all said and done, we'll celebrate with a glass of CHAMPAGNE!  I'm making sure my hubby brings a chilled bottle and I don't care if we drink out of plastic cups!  It will just be time to toast to all that hard work and making it to the stage without chickening out! 


Film Workout Video & Eat (My trainer, John Sherman, is filming a workout video for his website at the gym, so I will be one of the people being trained.  I know it's gonna be killer hard since he'll want to give an accurate depiction of his training style, but after that . . .  we go out to eat at Houston's and I already know what I'm having!  The best, juiciest, most flavorful ribs on earth and a side of sweet baked beans and don't think for a minute I forgot about dessert.  They have the best, fresh homemade fudgey brownie served with cold vanilla ice cream on top! #droooooooollllllll 

Thanks YOU SO VERY MUCH for sticking with me throughout these last 12 weeks as I prepare.  Reading your encouraging and supportive comments here and on my Instagram have given me that extra boost of confidence I needed when I was feeling insecure.  I appreciate you so much!


If you missed some of my Bikini Prep Posts, you can get caught up here:

And check out my FITNESS tab for all health & fitness related posts.


keep in touch! 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Weekend Steals & Deals | July 4th Sales

I hope you are doing something very fun this holiday weekend!  We've often hosted a Memorial Day or July 4th party at our house, but this year, we're letting our friends do the hosting (at their house with a pool- even better!) and we'll be celebrating the holiday with them.  It should be a low-key affair with just a few families and a chance to show it down, which I'm really looking forward to.

All the stores are celebrating this weekend with major sales, which I've highlighted below.   And there are great deals to be had, especially on summer stuff since many retailers are already gearing up for fall!  Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale starts next Thursday (July 9) for cardholders, July 17 for everyone else, and prices go up August 3.  I got the catalog and there are plenty of drool worthy boots and fall bags to lust over that I'll be sharing next week.  We're just getting into the hottest months, so we'll still be in shorts and tanks for awhile.  If you follow me on Instagram, you saw I just chopped my hair even shorter and it's my favorite cut yet!  I can only do a tiny low ponytail, but the shorter length is so much easier for these humid Texas summers.

Maxi dresses are still my favorite way to look dressed up while staying comfortable.  And my HWH Everyday Faves for Spring/Summer are in full effect.  Which suddenly makes me think of the piles of laundry I have waiting for me as soon as I finish this post!


I've been smitten with off-the-shoulder tops lately, and this Topshop daisy print one is pretty cute!  Just wear a bandeaux/strapless bra with it and you're good to go!

Weekend Steals & Deals - Topshop off-the-shoulder daisy top

The top comes in solid black and solid white also. 
The Kendra Scott 'Rae' Pendant necklace is on sale 33% off ($65, $43.55).  It's the same as the one I'm wearing without the tassel.  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Honey We're Home Loves Bloggers | Nurseries

You can tell summer is in full swing over here as my posts are getting later and later.  My typical posting time has always been 6:00 a.m., and I'm sitting here finishing up this post at 3:45 p.m.  Morning workouts and evenings where I take time off from the computer are partially to blame, but today, a swimming date with cousins won out.  It's so worth it and we're taking advantage of the time to get together.

I'm happy to report that James is doing so much better with his swimming (three weeks of lessons down, one to go), but he did wear his floaties for a bit when they were running and jumping in the pool, trying to make jump shots into the basketball hoop.  "Mom, make a video!" he says and I comply.  He could watch himself on repeat for hours!

It's easy to talk about the excitement of summer and slower days, but over here, sometimes we still find ourselves busy, busy.  Not always, but there are definite ebbs and flows, so when we have the chance to deliberately chill out, I'm savoring it!  It's cliche and yet so true that these kids grow up so fast!  Many of the nurseries I'm featuring today are for kids that have since outgrown them and they are already being tuned into big boy and girl rooms!  You can see James' nursery here and his big boy room here and here.

My HWH Loves Bloggers posts are an ongoing series where I feature your spaces that you tag #HWHlovesbloggers on Instagram So far, we've gotten to peek inside our friends' gorgeous BEDROOMS, LIVING ROOMS, KITCHENS, BATHROOMS, and KID ROOMS.  If you missed any of them, you'll definitely want to check them out.  Thank you so much for tagging #HWHlovesbloggers.

Today, I'm sharing your NURSERIES!  I know so much thought and planning and love goes into these rooms for our babies and I delighted over each one of them.  

#HWHlovesbloggers | NURSERIES 

18 Creative Real Life Nurseries - Great inspiration from home bloggers and designers

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Bikini Contest Prep Recap | 3 Weeks Out

Hallefreakinglujah!  I'm seriously feeling like I'm starting to lose steam and I'm so happy we're almost done with this bikini prep.  If it were up to me, I'd compete now and be done with it!  It's the timing more than anything that's throwing me off.  My son is out of school for the summer and didn't like the camp we had him signed up for for these next few weeks, so I cancelled it and he's home with me now.  I'm totally fine with that and only signed him up at camp because I thought he'd enjoy it.  So, since he'd rather be home, that's what we're doing.  

I'm fortunate that I can take him with me to the gym where I train with my trainer and he'll occupy himself quietly with some small toys or his iPad.  I can't help but gush on him that he is so well-behaved at the gym.  I really appreciate that!  But, after my hour workout, I'm supposed to do 45 minutes of cardio and I feel like that's a long time to keep James at the gym with me.  I've been able to do some cardio with him there while he played nearby, but it's not ideal.  

And, we just finished two weeks straight of swim lessons and since he's getting the hang of it, but not quite there, I signed him up for two more weeks of daily lessons.  This time they are at 11am though. So, we go to the gym at 8:30 am, then have to get to swim by 11.  And I have to make sure I have a meal in between the two or I'll be completely starving and wiped by the time we get home.  

Which brings me to all the things we have to pack into the car before we head out in the morning- gym bag with gym towel and water bottle with BCAA, Meal #2 in a small insulated bag with fork and napkin, towel to shower off with/soap/shampoo/etc., change of clothes including flip flops, James' backpack with iPad and toys, and swim bag.  I'm sure some of you can relate to trying to get out the door with 15 bags!

It's just a lot for these next two weeks, but after that, he'll be done with swim lessons (probably) and I'll be done with prep and we can really enjoy the last weeks of summer!  My hubby and I booked a short family road trip to San Antonio towards the end of July that I'm really looking forward to!  

After I wrote this intro on Monday evening, I downloaded a bunch of new songs onto my iPhone so I'd have new music to listen to while I do my cardio.  I think it's going to give me that little push I need to finish this prep strong!  

I don't want to be a whiner or complain about how hard this prep is because no one made me do it and it's not like I'm curing cancer or something, but I try to give you a realistic picture of what it's like to train for something like this.  I had been feeling so grumpy and tired and sore. Attitude is so important and so is sleep! I went to bed at 9pm last night and woke up a new woman!  


Below is my 3 Weeks Out picture on Sunday, June 21, 2015.  We measured my body fat via calipers on June 24 and it only went down from 19.5% to 19.2%.  My trainer is always quick to tell me to judge my progress by the mirror instead of the numbers and said he was surprised that my body fat percentage reads that high for as lean as I'm looking.  He also advised me to do more cardio at a lower heart rate instead of running outside as much, which could be getting my heart rate too high and then eating away the muscle.   I have to admit, I still get confused as to exactly how all this physics/science works- especially regarding cardio because there is so much conflicting info.  It does seem that most agree that higher intensity cardio burns more calories, so if you're going for weight loss, you do need to use a good bit of effort/intensity.  Get to sweatin' ladies!

Monday, June 29, 2015

How to Paint Perfect Stripes | My DIY 'Love It' Moment

Today, I'm partnering with on their #loveitmoment campaign where you can win a $1000 shopping spree on using #loveitmoment to share your favorite DIY project on Twitter or Instagram. is a resource that can help you with most of your home improvement projects and my favorite part is that they have a live chat line so you can talk to an expert if you need advice or get stuck midway through a project.  I'm super excited that one of my blog readers is actually building the media cabinet we have in our living for his home.  He's been sharing his progress along the way and I hope to pass it along to you when he's done.  

One of my favorite #loveitmoment in my own home is the wide horizontal stripes I painted in our foyer that continue around our staircase.  It wasn't difficult to paint the stripes, just tedious to measure  perfectly and then tape the wall very well.  The area in the staircase is really tall and being on that ladder so high up and painting wasn't my favorite thing, but the outcome was worth it. I love it because it adds such personality and makes a bold statement in a space that was otherwise kinda bland.  

How to paint perfect stripes
table (on sale) | round jute rug (on sale) | leopard rug | vase 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Weekend Steals & Deals | Embroidered Tank

We finally got some pool time in this week, which is definitely making it feel like summer!  I'm happiest to report that my son is making significant progress in his swimming lessons.  He's been going everyday for the last two weeks and we decided to continue for the next two.  It's a commitment we take seriously, so I'm fine taking him everyday.  We just have to work our schedules around his lessons.  We were able to get last-minute tickets to see Garth Brooks in concert tonight!  I've seen him once before and he puts on a great show, so it should be super fun.  You can get a peek at what I planned to wear below, that didn't work out;( and a backup idea.  I'd love to hear what you think.

Nordstrom's Summer Clearance Sale (women, kids, and men styles up to 40% off) ends Sunday, so be sure to take a look.  When I'm putting together my weekly Friday post "Weekend Steals & Deals", I"m often shopping right alongside you!  I can't help but add certain "must have" pieces to my online shopping cart and I thought you might like to see how some of those things worked out (or didn't) for me.  

embroidered tank 

I posted a Summer jeans shorts outfit a couple weeks ago and ordered the Embroidered Tank in XS. I absolutely love it and have already worn it several times!  It's perfect for hot summer days and the detail on the hem gives it that something extra.  It looks cute with my reversible tote too (really want the coral one!). 

Summer Fashion - embroidered tank + reversible tote + jean shorts

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Easy Summer Decor

Less is definitely more around here lately and if you find yourself in the same boat, where energy is at a premium, you choose carefully where to spend it.  I mentioned yesterday I've been itching to get back to more home decor and DIY projects, so our master sitting room was a perfect place to bring in a few summer touches.  I lightened up the space with a touch of paint that we had on hand and changed out the accessories for the summery variety.   It's not a dramatic DIY, but it's perfect for a fresh change with minimal effort.  

Fall vs. Summer decor - easy updates by just switching out branches and pillows
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