In the ‘Lime’light | Outfit Details

So I’ve never posted details about an outfit on my blog before, but I’ve had a ton of people ask me about my lime green maxi skirt, so I figured I’d share the deets with y’all here! This outfit is perfect for a casual afternoon around town or a romantic date night, and is definitely a head-turner. I mean, with a bold color like lime green how could it not be?

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I’ve been looking everywhere for a fun, flowy maxi skirt for a summer-to-fall transition piece, and haven’t found one I’m in love with yet. This skirt, that I happened to stumble across while shopping for workout gear at Old Navy, isn’t exactly what I had it mind, but it’s a fun statement piece that I just couldn’t pass up. It has a thin black stripe across the waistline which makes color pairings limited, but easy at least.

Act quickly if you’re interested, though. All of the pieces are on sale and there’s no telling how long they’ll last! (Like, the skirt is $12 right now kind of sale.)

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SHOP THE LOOK
lime green maxi skirt | black cold shoulder fitted tee | matte black sunglasses with blue mirrored lenses | bangles | teardrop stone necklace

 

#AmandaTsLastSail | Siesta Key Bachelorette

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If you were in or near Siesta Key the weekend of August 7 – 9, 2015, I apologize. We took over the quaint little beach town for my girl Amanda’s bachelorette celebration and I don’t think it will ever be the same again. To our sunset cruise captain, the bartenders at Daiquiri Deck, the sweet guy working the doughnut stand at two o’clock in the morning (and the owners of the dog one of our girls tried to feed them to), the couples trying to enjoy a romantic sunset on the beach, the families out for a nice, quiet dinner in the courtyard of The Cottage, and the man who was the only one on the patio of Village Cafe peacefully reading the Sunday paper over breakfast until we showed up: we hope our loud mouths and intense excitement didn’t freak you out (too much, at least). I will not, however, apologize for the excessive use of Flash Tattoos, confetti and glitter, photography and Snapchat, or continuous consumption of champagne, vodka-soaked Gummy Bears and Flaming Hot Cheetos (and yes, sometimes together).
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On Thursday, August 6, Amanda, Stephanie and I piled in a packed-to-the-brim Honda Pilot and hit the road for St. Petersburg, FL, where we met up with Amanda’s Michigan clan and stayed for a night before heading to Siesta Key. We stayed at the fabulous Hollander Hotel (my fave place downtown), and hit up the tiki bar immediately upon check-in for a few poolside cocktails and some sun. After unwinding for a few hours, we all spent way too much time getting dolled up for little black dress night, and headed out for a sumptuous dinner at Z-Grille (so good!). Dinner was followed by a craft cocktail at Cash & Ale, then a night of bar-hopping our way through downtown St. Pete (where we found karaoke, a dance floor all to ourselves, ladies night (where we all drank free), and late-night pizza which we took back to the hotel. Note to anyone planning a night out in St. Pete: The bars close at 3 a.m. Prepare yourself (and your liver).
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Would it be possible to outdo ourselves after an epic night such as that? Only time would tell.

After lunch and a few pit stops Friday afternoon, we all made our way to Siesta Key where we stayed the next two nights. We rented an adorable little beach house about a block away from the beach, which was perfectly located within walking distance to everything. The bride and her entourage headed to the beach while Stephanie, Erica and myself (the three matrons of honor) stayed behind to organize and decorate the house.  Give us any chance to craft and glitter, Steph and I are sure to take full advantage. Decor consisted of glittered bottles of champagne, handmade pom-pom stir sticks, glow sticks, glittered wine glasses, gold accents, and tiny packets of confetti (“in the event of spontaneous celebration”).
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We prepared goody bags for each of the girls, filled with glittery “Feelin’ Nauti” koozies, “Pop Fizz Clink” tees, flower crowns (that we made!), gold glitter sunglasses (that again, I glittered), neon yard cups, and an Ellie’s Sparkles bangle, all stuffed into a beach bag. The sweet bride gifted us with weekend survival packs and adorable monogrammed trucker hats. It was like Christmas in August!
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Then it was time to get the party started and take over Siesta Key. Amanda and James are getting married in Siesta Key this New Year’s Eve, so when brainstorming where we should go for her bachelorette she thought it would be fun to get a head start on the wedding celebrations with a girls weekend in the perfect little beach town. And boy was she right! The location was perfect, the weather cooperated (for most of the weekend), and now we all know where to go and what to do when we’re back in a few months.

After opening our goodies, we all got ready, covered ourselves in Flash Tattoos, toasted to night one in Siesta Key, and headed out for our sunset cruise. One awesome thing about Siesta Key: They offer free transportation around the island via fun open-air vehicles, which made the evening fun from the start! Siesta Key Free Ride picked us up at our house and dropped us off right at the Siesta Key Water Sports dock. The sunset cruise was the absolute perfect way to celebrate with a group of girls, and I highly recommend doing the same for anyone planning a Siesta Key getaway. The captain provided beer and wine for us, and we were also allowed to bring on any other drinks or snacks that we wanted. We cruised along the Gulf for two hours, taking in the beautiful scenery, watching dolphins jump in the wakes, snapping pictures with the gorgeous sunset as the backdrop, and “getting nauti” during Amanda’s last sail before the veil.

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My mom about threw the bride overboard! IMG_0224IMG_0226 IMG_0243 IMG_0244 IMG_6924 IMG_6925 IMG_6951
After the cruise we headed back to The Village for a late dinner at Daiquiri Deck, followed by drinks and dancing at Gilligan’s and Beach Club (where we may or may not have taken over the dance floor for personal Nae Nae lessons, courtesy of some poor guy who was trying to dance in peace … or show off). Oh yeah, and we made BFFs with the guy working at Meaney’s Mini Donuts where we may have ordered 48 freshly-made mini doughnuts at 2:30 a.m. No judging.

Saturday morning, once everyone was up and moving (which surprisingly wasn’t until around 10 a.m.), we made our way to Village Cafe for a tasty brunch. I thought the hostess was going to fall over when we asked for a table for 13, and then I thought the sweet older man who was enjoying a nice, quiet breakfast on the patio was going to have a heart attack when she seated us right next to him. He was gone before our mimosas arrived (sorry, kind sir!). After breakfast some shopped around The Village, and the rest headed out to the beach. We weren’t out there long before the rain rolled in, so we took advantage of the beach house and played card games, took a few more photos, had our own little dance party in the living room (we were determined to learn every move to “Watch Me”), and walked next door for 2-for-1 daiquiris during happy hour at Daiquiri Deck (where the dancing continued).
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Ready for another fun evening, we headed back for showers and got ready for our last night in Siesta Key. Steph and I made tees for all the girls (that said “Pop Fizz Clink” in gold and were in Amanda’s wedding colors: mint, blush and gold), and flower crowns to accessorize with. We headed to the beach just in time for a sunset photo shoot with our bride.
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We walked over to The Cottage for dinner, which was quite possibly the best meal I’ve had in a LONG time. We sat in the back patio where we enjoyed live music and a fabulous atmosphere – the perfect end to an awesome weekend. (A huge shout-out to the super-amazing host who went out of his way to accommodate us – thanks, Alex!)
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After dinner, we headed back to the house for Amanda’s lingerie shower. She got lots of fun goodies for her honeymoon, and even got a little emotional reading the cards! After the shower we made our way back out to the bar where we wrapped up the night with, you guessed it, more dancing and late-night donuts.
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We had one more present for Amanda when we got home (at 3 a.m.). I had all of the girls whip up a scrapbook page for our bride-to-be in advance and bring the pages with them, creating a scrapbook of memories from many of her close friends (thanks to my girls for doing this at my bachelorette party, which gave me the idea). And again, Amanda got emotional and made us all cry!
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Morning came way too soon, and we all struggled to pack and get moving. Some girls headed out, and the rest of us rallied and made our way to Siesta Key Oyster Bar for brunch, where we toasted one final time to an unforgettable weekend celebrating a truly deserving bride-to-be.
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The ride home was rough, but well worth it. I just can’t hang like I used to!

I honestly can’t put into words (or photos) how great the weekend was. There was no drama, everyone was on their best behavior, and everyone got along. Many of us met for the first time and I know we will remain lifelong friends. Guests included Amanda’s Michigan friends, two cousins, her mom, her aunt, a handful of her Jacksonville friends, and my mom, and we all blended together so perfectly. I’m seriously already having withdrawals and counting down the days until 12-31-15 to see these girls again. It’s no surprise, though. Amanda is such a special person with a heart of gold and an attitude that can light up the darkest place, so I would only expect her to surround herself with similar people.

Amanda, I hope you enjoyed your weekend and had the time of your life. It was such a treat seeing you let loose and live it up without a care in the world. It was an honor to help plan and put everything together for you, and I can’t wait to celebrate you even more throughout the rest of the year. I’m so blessed to be your friend and to be a part of your wedding and all that comes with it!

Cheers to the future Mr. and Mrs. Colhard! #AmandaTsLastSail #ColhardWedding

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My Favorite Beauty Gurus

Hello there, loves! Sorry I’ve been MIA lately. Life has been insanely busy and I honestly haven’t even had time to delete my spam emails (and having those little red notification bubbles on my phone drives me bonkers). It’s been one event and one trip after another, and now my life is slowly returning to normal. No complaints here though, I love a busy, fun-filled schedule.

So today I wanted to share a few of my favorite beauty gurus with you! You probably know by now that I love all things beauty, and experimenting with new techniques and colors has been my favorite hobby as of late. These ladies and gentlemen are, in my opinion, some of the best out there when it comes to makeup, tutorials and beauty products, and are who I turn to when I want to learn something new, so I thought I would share the wealth. Check ’em out and let me know what you think :).

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Desi Perkins . Quite possibly one of the most beautiful women on the planet AND she’s wicked talented when it comes to makeup. I’m not sure how she can look so flawless every single day, but she does. I’ve learned a lot from her YouTube videos and spent way too much money on products she suggests. LOVE HER. (P.s. Her SnapChat game is on point! I feel like we’re besties just from watching her stories every day … no lie. #DTTH #SoSelfish)
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LustreLux. So Katy and Desi are BFFs and are super hilarious when they’re together (SnapChat!). She creates a lot of fun, bold, beautiful looks, and makes fun of herself in her videos which make them informative and entertaining! Also, I love that she’s super low-key and rocking graphic tees and Chucks 90% of the time, but her makeup is always killer.
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Gloss + Dirt. If you like makeup, celebrity gossip and laughing, Shannon is your girl. She’s the wife of one of my college best buds and just happens to be one of Allure’s Beauty Insiders. She’s witty, beautiful, good at makeup, loves GIFs, and cusses a lot … my kinda girl! Be sure to check out her blog for more, too.
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Nikkie Tutorials. You may recognize Nikkie from her recent claim to fame, her “The Power of Makeup” video. I’ve been subscribing to her channel for a little over a year now and she never lets me down. She’s incredibly talented, can teach you to totally transform your face, and always introduces me to new products. I also love that she’s not a twig-model-type and is still unbelievably real and beautiful.
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My Pale Skin
The girl is a miracle worker when it comes to hiding blemishes and creating a flawless face. Most of her videos include acne coverage, and her final results always look immaculate and never cakey. She also creates a lot of tutorials using inexpensive drugstore products, which is always a nice alternative.
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Lauren Curtis. Lauren was my first beauty YouTube crush and the first to get me hooked on these beauty tutorials. I’ve always loved makeup, but she made me realize that normal people can have fun with it too, and that it’s okay to try new things and be funky with it. She’s also flawless, has an adorable personality and is Australian. It’s just not fair. Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 2.35.41 PM
Wayne Goss. To switch things up, let’s throw a handsome fella in the mix. Wayne is an incredible teacher and makeup artist who does a lot of basic tutorials teaching one skill at a time instead of a full-face makeup look. He’s super down to Earth and has a great outlook on things. And yes, he does his tutorials on himself and doesn’t give a crap that he’s a guy with facial hair. My favorite line from one of his videos is, “Just pretend like I don’t have a beard.” LOVE HIM!
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Chrisspy. She creates a lot of out-of-the box and bold looks, involving everything from makeup to hair to wardrobe. She’s talented, beautiful, curvy, and my kind of power woman.
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Kandee Johnson. This gal is so much fun! She creates lots of exciting transformations and costume makeup looks. Most of her tutorials may not be for everyday wear, but she’s a great resource when creating something fun, themed or unique. She’s an extremely talented artist.
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Stephanie Lange
. Another Australian beauty and I want to be her BFF. The chick is a pro makeup artist, and is so down-to-earth and just human in her videos. Her personality is adorable, she doesn’t try to act like a super model in the videos, and she leaves her mistakes just as if you were watching her put on her makeup in person. I love how she explains everything in detail so that you can master the same skill. She does a lot of tutorials for hooded eyes (yay!), which have been a lifesaver for me. Seriously, just try watching one of her videos without laughing or smiling!
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Jaclyn Hill. And last but certainly not least, the goddess of makeup: Jacyln Hill. She’s a young makeup artist with a super adorable personality and skill beyond belief. Not to mention she just did a collaboration with Becca Cosmetics and created “Champagne Pop”, the most incredible highlighter that you’ll ever use. I think I could be best friends with her, too :).
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There you have it! There are a TON of other amazing makeup gurus out there, but these are my go-to faves.

Other than their phenomenal makeup skills and fun personalities, my favorite thing about all of these men and women is that they support one another, others who share their passion, others who are trying to start their own channel/beauty career, and are very empowering.  Nikki’s “The Power of Makeup” video, Chrisspy’s “Too Fat? Body Image” video, Em’s “You Look Disgusting” video, Stephanie’s “How To Feel Beautiful When You’re Feeling Ugly” video are all powerful and uplifting, and something every woman should watch. I’m all about lifting people up and being comfortable in your own skin, and I admire these influencers for spreading the same message.

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Hmmm .. maybe now I should start my own YouTube channel? Crazier things have happened.

Hope you enjoyed this post, lovelies! See y’all soon <3

Xo,
B

“Kate Spade” Bridal Shower for Heather

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‘Tis the year of weddings! (Again. Do you remember that time we went to 13 weddings in a year-and-a-half time span?) We have eight weddings this year, two of which I’m in, and five of those are in October! (Fair warning: if I decline your invitation to do something, you know why.) And of course, all these weddings also mean many bachelorette parties, bridal showers and other celebrations. No complaints for me though – y’all know I live for this stuff!

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The wedding festivities kicked off on July 11th with a bridal shower for the one-and-only Heather: my college roommate, dancing buddy and fellow shoe-lover. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding last December, and now I have the honor of standing next to her on her big day this October. Exciting is an understatement!
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And let me tell you – she has one incredible bridal party! The seven of us worked together to throw her the bridal shower of her dreams, and we pulled it off beautifully if I do say so myself.
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The other girls all live in the Savannah area (where Heather lives and is getting married), and I am two hours away in Jacksonville, so we all coordinated via a private Facebook event to organize and assign tasks.

Picking a theme for the shower was easy. Heather loves all things girly, glitzy, feminine and designer, so we decided on a Kate Spade theme: pink, black and gold with bows, stripes and polka dots mixed in throughout.
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We wanted to have the party somewhere fun, trendy and downtown (some place we knew Heather would love), so I immediately contacted the amazing folks at Dub’s Pub on River Street. (Jimmy and I had our engagement party there and they were so incredible to work with, plus their private space in the back is just what we had in mind for the shower.) Check!
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The local girls all got together a few nights before the shower for a craft night and put together the party favors (pink nail polish in adorable polka dot boxes), made a gold and white sparkly veil for the bride-to-be, created a tassel banner, and picked up a few other essentials. While they were crafting in Georgia, I was making bow napkins, creating games and a countdown sign, shopping for prizes, and gathering decor from my wedding collection in Florida.

Holly had the fabulous cake made at a local bakery, and made the cookies and bridal sash herself (!!!). Jessica made the precious center pieces and filled them with fresh flowers the morning of the shower. How talented are we?! Pats on the back all around.
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We were all a little curious as to how it would all turn out when we put everything together, and we were all blown away with the result.
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We played “Bridal Bingo” and “How Well Do You Know The Bride?”, and prizes included glitter-dipped champagne, a pink coffee mug stuffed with Eos lip gloss and a Starbucks gift card, and a pink, white and gold hanging jewelry organizer. We also had guests fill out a Bridal Mad Libs card for Heather to read when she got home (because I’m pretty sure most were a bit inappropriate!).
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I’m also impressed that everyone wore pink and black like we’d requested on the invitation!
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And of course, Heather looked absolutely stunning.
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The food was excellent, the champagne was even more delicious when served with pink rock candy, and the guests were so much fun.
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I’d say we make a pretty great team, ladies!
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We wrapped up the afternoon with a cocktail and a view at Top Deck, followed by a quick stop at Jen’s and Friends.
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It was such a blast celebrating this beautiful bride-to-be, and I can’t wait for the celebrations to continue! IMG_8553

Whole30: Days 1-5

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Y’all, I gave in and jumped on board the fad diet train. Okay … you’re right, who am I kidding? I’ve been cruising this train on and off for years. But this fad diet is more of a full-body cleanse and about training your body to eat natural foods, rid of gross crap that you can’t properly digest, and making you feel fabulous – not about losing weight.

Ladies and gentleman, I’m talking about Whole30.

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If you haven’t heard of it it’s time to climb out from that rock you’ve been living under and join us in 2015. (It’s actually been around since 2009, but just learned about it last year when I started working with a personal trainer at Peak Physiques.) In short, Whole30 is described as a “short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.” You do this by pretty much cutting everything delicious from your diet for thirty days. I’m talking sugar, MSG, dairy, starch, soy, legumes, and ALCOHOL (sad, sad days ahead), and eating only natural foods like meats, fruits, veggies, and most seeds and nuts. You can read more about Whole30 and what it can do for you here.

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I know, it sounds miserable. But let’s face it – we can do anything for thirty days, so why not something that will make your body love you even more? I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things from people who have completed the challenge, most of which have done this many times since, and I’m looking forward to being another success story. Plus my personal trainer has organized a little support group for her clients, so we all have each other to lean on and turn to for recipes, tips and support.

So with that said, I have decided to log my goals and expectations, experiences, shopping lists, meals, cravings, feelings, etc. throughout the process with you right here, so you can get a real day-to-day look at what this process is like (in case you decided to jump on this crazy band wagon, too).

>> FYI for more frequent updates, meals and progress, follow me on Instagram (@BlakeleyVinicky). <<

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Expectations and Goals: I’m going to be completely honest with you: I’m going into this knowing that I won’t get the full benefits because I most likely won’t complete all 30 days of the program. I’m going on vacation (to Wisconsin, mind you) for a week-and-a-half at the end of the month, and following that with a bachelorette celebration in Siesta Key. If you think I am going to be able to resist the Wisconsin bloody Mary’s and cheese on vacation, you are a crazy person. BUT I will stick to the program 100% the rest of the time and as much as I can while I am away, and I plan to start again after the bachelorette weekend and commit for the full 30 days. Think of this as my test run, if you will. While losing a few pounds would be wonderful, I am mainly doing this challenge to rid my body of what it doesn’t need and give it only what it does, and to train my taste buds, too. When I was hard-core watching what I ate the months leading up to my wedding, I felt and looked better than I had in years. Since then, my eating habits have gone downhill and I feel like crap. I am constantly tired no matter how much sleep I get, my muscles are achy 80% of the time (and it’s not from exercise – it’s a different kind of sore), and I’m not liking the way my clothes are fitting. I’m hoping to reverse these symptoms and make my body love me again, and allow me to love my body as well.

Grocery Shopping:
Pretty much everything I got was organic, grass-fed or all-natural. Shopping took a little longer than usual because I checked the labels on everything I bought, making sure there were no added sugars of any kind, gluten, MSG, soy, starch, etc. This is probably one of the most important things for succeeding at Whole30. I also purchased the Whole30 cookbook, which details every rule, food you can and cannot eat, and has a TON of great recipes. (P.s. I am cooking for myself and my hubby, which is why I got so much food at once.) I hit up my local farmer’s market store for the fresh foods then headed to a natural food store for the rest, and spent just at $100 for everything. Here’s a copy of my shopping list (I also bought Frank’s hot sauce and Publix organic balsamic vinegar, which weren’t on my list but are approved.):
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My Whole30 Diary – The Process:

No-Judgement Day (Sunday, July 5): This is what I call the day before you start Whole30. The day when you purge and eat everything in sight because you know you’re going to be dying a slow and painful death for the next thirty days. I celebrated by No-Judgement Day with Mexican street corn, a bangin’ shrimp taco and a carne royal taco from the fabulous Taco Lu, then polished off half a bottle of Sauvignon blanc (I couldn’t let it go to waste!) while I researched more about the program. I found a ton of great recipes in the book and several blogs that I’m excited to try out and keep up with!
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Day 1 (Monday, July 6)
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Grocery shopping and meal prep day! Ideally I would have done this yesterday, but my stupid tire decided to become BFFs with a nail and go flat on me, so I was stranded until this afternoon. I spent several hours in the kitchen meal prepping and making the basics for the week: boiled eggs, avocado chicken salad, Paleo mayo, clarified butter, and lunch for the next few days. I also weighed myself, took my measurements, and took before pictures from the front, side and back to reference at the end of this. (FYI I am making my meals on small appetizer-sized plates and perfectly portioning everything out so I don’t overeat.)
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs (made with coconut milk) and sautéed spinach, roasted avocado and fresh mango.
Lunch: Spaghetti squash topped with grilled chicken breast and paleo alfredo sauce.
Dinner: Grilled chicken wings tossed in Frank’s hot sauce mixed with clarified butter, and roasted okra. I feel like we’ll be having this a lot over the next few weeks. It’s a staple meal in our household!
Notes:
* I was pretty distraught to learn that I can’t have any sweetener in my coffee, but then very surprised when I discovered that iced black coffee with a splash of coconut milk is actually drinkable (and quite refreshing)!
* I also had a revelation when I tried a cashew for the first time in years and didn’t hate it.
* By the end of the day, I was feeling good, full and satisfied. I’ve got this!
* Today on the Whole30 “symptom” timeline: “So what’s the big deal?” Yep – that’s what I’m thinking so far!
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Day 2 (Tuesday, July 7)
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First day back at work since starting the program. I helped soften the blow by packing breakfast and lunch the night before, and setting a timer to refill my water Tervis every hour.
Breakfast: I started my morning with two hard-boiled eggs, a few almonds and a plum. Oh, and a Venti Starbucks iced coffee with coconut milk that I added myself.
Lunch: A cup of avocado chicken salad and 1/2 cup of strawberries and blackberries.
Dinner: Buffalo chicken meatballs and zucchini “pasta.”
* I woke up starving and my tummy was growling extremely loudly. * I have also been hungry every two hours on the dot. This no snacking rule is tough!
* We played beach volleyball tonight and it was quite challenging. The four of us who make up a team are all on this Whole30 thing, so we were all in a bit of a funk. A little tired and reaction times weren’t super “on.”
* Today on the Whole30 “symptom” timeline: “The Hangover.” I guess that explains my fatigue, though it didn’t really start kicking in until the evening, and it wasn’t terrible.
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Day 3 (July 8)
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Yep, woke up hungry again. And very lethargic. As in it was too hard to keep my arms up long enough to dry my hair, so it ended up in a top knot. I also felt a little bloated when I first woke up, but that seemed to disappear when I started drinking water. Also, I discovered Trader Joe’s coffee concentrate last night and I am in heaven. That over ice with little water and a splash of coconut milk is actually yum!
I sent the Timeline to all of my co-workers this morning as a fair warning, and now they’re all giving me crap about it – knocking and asking if it’s safe to enter my office and asking if I’ve collapsed mid-sentence or killed anyone yet – which is actually making this much more entertaining!
Breakfast (at work): One scrambled egg, scrambled with a splash of coconut milk and cooked in the microwave, one hard-boiled egg (it’s what I had handy), and half a sweet potato topped with cinnamon. Note: I’m pretty much over eggs at this point. Time to get creative and meal prep again tonight!
Lunch: Monday night’s leftovers: Spaghetti squash and grilled chicken fingers topped with Paleo alfredo sauce. Still delish! Also had a serving of mixed roasted nuts (almonds, cashews, and pistachios). About an hour later I was starving, so I had five rambutan fruits.
Dinner: I had a pack of ground beef that I needed to cook but not all of the ingredients for a lot of recipes I found, so I go creative. It ended up being a Thai beef and basil lettuce wraps (ground beef, beef broth, water chestnuts, red pepper, asparagus, yellow curry powder, chili powder, minced garlic, lime juice, fresh basil and S&P stir fried atop a bowl of iceberg lettuce), served with roasted russet potatoes topped with a spicey yellow curry sauce. It was actually an awesome meal! Thank goodness for potatoes on this diet (though I’m going to try to stick to sweet potatoes as much as possible.)
* 10 a.m: I definitely feel hungover today. My body is achey, I’m sleepy and I have a slight headache. Apparently this is my body coming down from Sunday’s binge-eating “high.” Whoops. Seriously, me all morning …
photo[3]* 3 p.m: I’m feeling much better and have more energy. It could be the cup of iced coffee I just had, but … I’ll take it.
* Poor Jimmy felt nauseous and had a headache all day. Sucks, but hey, at least he’s sticking with it!
* Today on the Whole30 “symptom” timeline: “The Hangover, day two.” Oh yes, now I get it. Totally feeling like I chugged a bottle of tequila.
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Day 4 (July 9)
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This morning was rough. Not only was it nearly impossible to peel myself out of bed, I also woke up feeling sort of nauseous. I guess now I know how Jimmy felt last night. The good news is that once I had breakfast I felt much better.
Breakfast: Coffee smoothie made with instant coffee, a frozen banana, unsweetened cacao powder and coconut milk. Very good and refreshing on this 100 degree humid day! When I got to work I had two hard-boiled eggs to get my proteins in and help keep me full. (I’m over eggs right about now.)
Lunch: Leftovers from last night – Thai basil beef stir fry, roasted potatoes with coconut curry sauce, and a golden kiwi.
Dinner: Baked chicken breast with a tomato coconut curry sauce, and diced brussels spouts, sweet potatoes and red onion roasted in ghee (clarified butter) and S&P, topped with a balsamic vinegar glaze. Oh. My. Gosh. This was probably the most amazing meal yet, and I got it straight from the Whole30 cookbook. I had my friend over for dinner and she can’t wait to make it for her fiance!
* 10 a.m: Still feeling fatigued and achy, but it’s not super extreme. I am, however, wondering how I am going to survive working with my trainer at the gym this evening. The thought of lifting anything over ten pounds makes me want to crawl under my desk.
* My workout was much tougher than usual since I didn’t seem to have the energy or strength as I usually do, but I made it through. My 7 p.m. I actually felt really good and energized.
* Today on the Whole30 “symptom” timeline: “Kill ALL the things!”
day 4

Day 5 (July 10):
Yay – I woke up feeling great today! No more aches and I was full of energy. I don’t know if it’s my mindset or the way I’m supposed to be feeling, but I’ll take it. Like, I even woke up an hour early to make the hubby a smoothie and finish up a project I was working on. That is HUGE for me! Also, I broke a rule and stepped on the scale: 4.2 pounds down!! I know this isn’t about weight-loss, but that’s pretty dang encouraging.
Breakfast: I got a little crazy with breakfast this morning. I had two large portabella mushrooms topped with sliced avocado and an egg, baked for 15 minutes and topped it off with S&P and hot sauce. It was AWESOME and a nice change for breakfast. About an hour later I had my TJ’s iced coffee and coconut milk, which is tasting better and better by the day.
Lunch: I polished off all my leftovers and had the remainder of the beef stir fry and half of a sweet potato mashed with ground cinnamon on top. About an hour later I snacked on a handful of almonds.
Dinner: Another tasty and pretty meal! Jimmy grilled Caribbean lime cedar-wrapped salmon, and I prepared q chopped salad with portabella mushrooms, red onions, cucumber, tomato and avocado with an oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. (He also grilled a plantain but it was super dry, so we didn’t eat it.)
* My stomach has been growling sooooo loud all day. Thank goodness I have an office to myself or my co-workers would be giving me some strange looks.
* Today on the Whole30 “symptom” timeline: “Kill ALL the things!” I’m guessing because you’re hangry?? I’m not feeling angry, though. Thank goodness!
day5
What I’ve learned so far:

– Food is crazy. It’s nuts what eating certain things can do to your body, and what not eating certain things can do.
– I’m crazy, too. I am voluntarily inviting aches, pain, nausea, hunger, mood swings and fatigue into my life. What is wrong with me?! I guess it’s not really any different than one week of every month anyway, so ……
hopefully it’ll all be worth it soon!
– Always have lemons and limes on hand, and have a can of coconut milk in the fridge. They are pretty much staple items in almost every recipe I’ve made so far!

Here’s to the next five days!

EatWhole30-Facebook
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Weekend Recap: 4th of July, Babies, Bridesmaids and Whole30

The title of this post is a little overwhelming, isn’t it?! Welcome to my world :). This past weekend was another great one, and I wanted to share all of the fun that we had and memories made with you. (It’s a little delayed, but had to share before the new weekend begins.)

To make this great from the beginning, my office was closed Friday and Monday for the holiday, which makes for a fantastic weekend right off the bat. My friend, Sarah, invited me and two other friends over to her place for a little grown-up slumber party, which consisted of wine, pizza, watching Fifty Shades of Grey, and being asked to be her bridesmaids! It was such an exciting surprise, and I am beyond thrilled that I get to be a part of her and Amia’s special day. Have I mentioned how much I love love? Cinco de Mayo 2016, here we come! #StecsOnTheBeach
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Friday morning we started the weekend on the right foot with a little #SweatingForTheWedding gym shesh (and of course, Gina snapped a mid-workout picture. At least we look pretty bad @$$?)
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Friday was fairly low-key. I had the day off, so I ran a bunch of errands and cleaned the house (story of my life), then we went over to our friends Nick and Meghan’s house for a delicious dinner. Oh yeah, and I started making my flag water blob!
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Saturday morning was full of cooking and getting ready for our 4th of July Brunch, and friends started trickling in around noon, including my bestie Brittnee and her hubby Travis who always come down from Savannah for holidays! We had more than enough food, the boys filled up my flag water blob backwards (we don’t hate America, I promise!), most of my dry ice melted (we still had enough for a round of martinis, thank God), Phil cut his finger while chopping bacon and passed out on his was to the living room, and it poured rain for most of the day (so much for hanging out on that water blob to cool off!), but we had a great time and enjoyed spending the afternoon with friends nonetheless.
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That night we headed downtown to watch the fireworks from our VIP viewing spot at The Jacksonville Landing, which never disappoints.
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Sunday was the last day of freedom before Jimmy and I started The Whole30 (more on that to come), so we indulged in a tasty meal at TacoLu with Brittnee and Travis, then relaxed on the couch the rest of the night as it stormed outside.photo 1[1]

My long weekend continued Monday. I was hoping to spend a few hours at the beach, but my car had other plans for me. Instead, I had to use a can of Fix-a-Flat to inflate my tire just enough to get it down the street to the tire shop. And of course, I picked up a nail in a place that wasn’t patchable, as always. $177 later, Fannie had a new tire and was ready to run errands. I hit up our local fresh produce store and stocked up on Whole30-approved goodness, then spent the next four hours rotating between doing laundry and meal prepping for the next few days. Not exactly the most relaxing day off, but it was definitely productive!
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Back to work Tuesday morning, but at least it was an exciting one. Brittnee and Travis are expecting their first baby in January, so I got to create their pregnancy announcement which they shared with the world that afternoon. I am beyond excited for them – they’ve been praying for this day for so long and I know they are going to make such wonderful parents!
Britt Baby Announcement - chalkboard background
So there you have it – Another awesome weekend for the books. Looking forward to this weekend celebrating bride-to-be Heather and helping throw her bridal shower in Savannah!

Cheers!

How To Wear Lipstick Like a Boss

You can do it. I believe in you!
lipstick

I always get compliments on my lipstick and the fact that I can pull it off, and my friends know me as the girl who’s 99% likely to have a fun color on. But I wasn’t always brave and cray cray when it came to bold makeup, especially lipstick. Now, however, I’ll rock blue eyeshadow (blended tastefully, of course) or a bright purple lip like a boss. photo 3
Sound like fun? Well you, my friend, can do it too. Here’s how:

1. Own it. People always say, “I could never pull that color off.” Heck yes you can, girlfran! If you like it, rock it and it will look like it was made for you. I promise, you’re the only one who thinks it’s a thing. You’ll have heads turning and people asking what shade you’re wearing in no time.

2. Coordinate your pout and your outfit. Your lipstick and clothes don’t have to match completely (in fact, they shouldn’t), but complimentary colors can tie the look together and make less of a statement, but still be bold and fun. This way your lips won’t scream, “HEY, LOOK AT ME!” Instead, they’ll softly holler, “Hey, I’m chic and trendy just like my outfit.”
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3. Invest in good products. Trust me, I know how painful it can be to spend your hard-earned money on a tube of lipstick. But when you give in and fall victim to the higher-end products, you won’t regret it. Quality really does make all the difference. (And then it becomes addicting. You’ve been warned!)
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4. Wear it on the daily
. Not saying you have to wear crazy lipstick colors every day of your life, but I highly recommend wearing some sort of color every day (to work, school, run errands) to help build up your comfort level. Once you’re used to seeing yourself in lipstick, it won’t feel so weird when you make your grand debut at the next social gathering.
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5. Grow bolder. Start off with lighter shades and gradually progress to darker, bolder and brighter shades. Baby steps, ladies. Baby steps.

6. Stick to seasonal colors. This will help with the shock effect, too. In the spring, feel out the pinks and pastels. In the summer, go for bright pinks, corals and orangey tones. In the fall and winter, experiment with more deep berry, mauve, purple and brown shades. But red? Red is ALWAYS in season.

7. Pick one or the other. Bold eyes or bold lips – not both. Unless you are going for a dramatic look, pick one or the other. This will help make it easier to accept without freaking you out when you walk by a mirror.

8. Play with formulas. There are TONS of different types of lipsticks – satin, gloss, shine, matte, semi-matte, standard lipsticks, liquid lipsticks, lip creams, etc. You might like one or two better than the rest, so I would definitely suggest playing around until you find a few that are in your comfort zone.
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9. Find the right shade.
Just because you tried one red and didn’t love it doesn’t mean there’s not another shade out there for you. There are a million shades of the same color, so experiment with different formulas and brands until you find the perfect one for you.

10. Make it last. If you’re worried about being that girl whose lipstick is all over her straw or coffee cup, or you don’t want your man’s face turning red from smooches, try using a long-lasting or smudge-proof product. Matte lipsticks are another great option that won’t budge easily. (Speaking from experience for both of these, BTW.)

*Bonus: Seek advice from a professional! Take some time to walk into a cosmetics store (like Ulta, Sephora, Blue Mercury, MAC …) or visit the beauty department inside a department store. The pros can definitely help you find the right colors for your skin tone, specific event, an even recommend colors to get you on your way to being a lipstick queen.

And there you have it! Ten simple steps you can take to being the lipstick diva you’ve always dreamed of being but never had the balls to be. Just remember – makeup us FUN! There are no rights and wrongs, no reason to be ashamed to wear it, and no one should tell you otherwise. It’s a way to express youself and switch up your look any time you want to, and you should never apologize for it. Do what makes you happy and OWN IT!

I hope this helps! Share your lipstick pics on Instagram with #SweetTeaAndSkyscrapers so I can check them out and live you some love <3

>> Check out my post 12 Lipstick Shads Every Girl Should Own
>> Check out my post Currently Obsessing Over: LA Girl Lip Paint

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Cheers!
Blakeley

Currently Obsessing Over: L.A. Girl Lip Paint

IMG_8182Y’all. My life has been changed forever. I have found the most amazing lip paints and am beyond obsessed.

I went online to order my favorite concealer from LA Girl Cosmetics, and decided to browse through their other items while I was at it. Everyone knows I am a lipstick junkie, so of course that’s where I headed. When I saw that I could get a six-pack of their Glazed Lip Paint for less than $15, you know I jumped on it. Two days later I had a colorful surprise in my mailbox and my life hasn’t been the same since.

These little beauties are the perfect combo of pigmented lipstick and sheer lip gloss, and give some of the prestige brands a run for their money. I’m addicted to the Too Faced Melted lipsticks and thought these might be similar, but they’re a bit different. More glossy, less pigmented and not matte. But they do stay on and they are only a quarter of the price!

There are so many fun color options to choose from, but I ended up selecting the six-pack in their natural shades.

IMG_8173 copyThe colors included in the natural pack are: Tango, Peony, Flirt, Blushing, Whisper and Whimsical. Here’s what they look like in natural sunlight (in the order listed).
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As you can see, they are pretty pigmented but have a glossy-sheer texture, and are the right amount of pastel. I love them because they’re not crazy sticky like a lot of glosses, which I absolutely HATE, and the color lasts for hours! I’ve been wearing Whimsical, Tango and Peony on repeat and I can’t get enough of them. I just ordered the Intense Color Pack and can’t wait to see what those are like!

So if you’re looking for some great summer glosses but don’t want to spend and arm and a leg, these bad boys are calling your name! If you don’t want to get a six-pack, you can also order them in sets of three for right under $10, or individually for under $5. Hail to the goddess of lipstick!

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Let me know if you try any and what you think!

How to get a summer-ready pedi at home

Get your feetsies summer-ready with an at-home pedicure that’ll cost you a fraction of what you’d spend at a salon. I’m sharing some of my favorite products that will give your feet the TLC they need to make their 2015 beach debut.

summer pedi
Summa, summa, summatime!

Wait, is it seriously JUNE?! Where the heck as the year gone already? It was just Christmas … now it’s 90+ degrees and time for those beach and pool days? (Thannkkkkk goodness.)

I absolutely love summer and everything about it: sand between my toes, bleached blonde hair from the sun, all-day pool parties, long, hot days, and even the humidity (there’s something so “homey” about it to me.) The only annoying parts about summer are having to eat like a rabbit so you look at least halfway decent in a bikini, and keeping up with those pedicures. Rabbit food sucks and pedicures are expensive.

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So to save money, time, the salon staff from having to beg me to get a design on my big tow, and my feet from a potential fungus, I’m all about giving myself at-home pedicures these days. Polish color options have never been an issue for me (I currently have 200+ different polishes – no joke), but I can never get my feet to have that same softness to them like the pros do. Until recently.

Enter Herbacin.

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Herbacin is a family owned and operated German beauty company now offering its organic products in the US.

About Herbacin: The Herbacin® Foot Care line was designed to keep feet and legs in tip-top shape with superior moisturizing, soothing and cooling products. The entire line contains organic camomile blossom extract and naturally rich oils, such as avocado and almond oils. Additionally, the line is free of parabens, mineral oil, animal ingredients or by-products and synthetic colors.

Organic, small business, soft feet – sounds good to me! I was sent a few products to try for myself and, I must say, I’m hooked. I’ve been using the products for a month now and my feet have never been smoother and softer, even when I come straight from having a professional pedicure!

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I have been using the Foot Cream when I get out of the shower, and my feet are seriously baby-soft. The Cooling Gel gives your tootsies a nice little tingling sensation, and is the perfect “feet treat” after an intense workout at the gym or a night in heels. I don’t really have any peeling on my feet, but my hubby sure does and the Foot Peeling cream is his new BFF. It’s even helped his Athlete’s Foot! (Not making any claims here, just saying it’s helped him.) If you have any roughness or callusing on your feet, this stuff is made for you. Smooth feet without that scary scraper thing? Heck yeah!

Pair these lotions with a fun bright or pastel polish on the toes and you’re ready to take on the beach, one little piggy at a time! Some of my favorite spring-to-summer polishes for the toes are Maybelline’s Color Show Lust for Lilac, Essie’s mint candy apple, go glazed, and e-nuf is e-nuf, and Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel in Pink Cadillaquer and Pretty Piggy. (Pictured in that order.)

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Wanna hear something cray cray? You can buy all three of the lotions and one of these nail polishes for under $30. That means you’d spend less that you would on a pedicure AND you get more than one out of it! I don’t know about you, but I’m all about saving some dough these days.

Lastly and most importantly: Don’t forget the sunscreen! You don’t want to fry those perfectly-pedicured feet of yours.

Oh! In case you’re wondering where you can get these super-fabulous foot creams, you can order online from Herbacin’s website, or pick them up at your local Harris Teeter or Anthropologie, or locate your nearest retailer here.

shoesHere’s to soft feet and pretty toes.
Cheers <3

7 “No-Fuss” Hairstyles For a Lazy Day (Video)

We all love a good, simple, go-to hairstyle that we know we can turn to no mater what, right? Let’s be honest … we don’t always have time to curl our hair in the mornings (or even dry it for that matter … because those extra 15 minutes of sleep are so much more important), our hair doesn’t always corporate, humidity isn’t always on our side (in Florida, at least), and sometimes you just want to look presentable without having to work out your arms first thing in the morning by trying to get your hair to stay up with 3,000 bobby pins. Amiright or amiright?!

I recently found this article titled 7 No-Fuss Hairstyles for a Lazy Day and instantly got excited. I love experimenting with new do’s and finding fun and easy ways to style my hair. Especially right now – it’s longer than it’s ever been (and it’s quite annoying most of the time).

So instead of trying them and keeping them to myself, I thought I’d video myself on the first go-around so I can share them with you. Why, you ask? I am wondering the same thing and still haven’t come up with an answer. You’re welcome or I’m sorry … you can choose. I had a feeling some of these would be a little difficult, especially because step-by-step instructions were not included, but I didn’t know I’d fail as miserably as I did. Feel free to watch (and laugh) if you so dare.

Things I learned after trying these styles:

1. My hair refuses to stay when I tie it in a knot. Does yours hold?
2. Pictures lie. I need step-by-step visual instructions. Stop trying to be like Ikea instructions, hair “tutorials”!
3. Everything looks so perfect on Pinterest. Real life is NOT Pinterest. Real life is a 90’s cheerleader ponytail-bun.
4. I make a lot of really weird faces .. and look kind of pissed off a lot of times. I need to work on that! I promise I’m not an angry person.

I vote you go and try these now and report back to me so I know if I’m the only dumb-dumb who can’t do these stupid “no fuss” hairstyles that forced me to drink an entire bottle of wine. Kthanks.

hairstyles

The everyday happenings of a southern girl living in a big(ger) city.

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