Friday, April 29, 2016

The final countdown to summer

There I am. Basking in the glow of the sun on this beautiful spring evening in Gilbert's Agritopia community garden. I was there a couple of weeks ago taking maternity photos of my beautiful, friend, Brooke. (You can check out the photos I took for her over on her blog, here and here. ) Brooke agreed to snap a few photos of me during her session since I hadn't gotten a new headshot with my new, short haircut. Thanks, Brooke! 

That lovely evening reminded me that Arizona weather is not all bad. I think spring is my favorite season here in the Phoenix area. No way is it summer (for obvious reasons), fall is still too hot (and it's a little depressing seeing everyone else on social media with their beanies and hot beverages), and winter is just kinda ugly (but at least we can play outside without getting frostbite). Spring is where it's at! Seriously, there are so many flowers around here. I remember being absolutely smitten with all the flowers a couple of years ago when we first came to Arizona to find an apartment before our big move. Remember that I moved from southern New Mexico where flowers seemed to be few and far between. 

So yeah. I'll just be over here, wishing that spring will last forever. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I'm a person, not a pear.

What is your body type? Do you find it helpful to follow the dressing guidelines for your type, or do you think it's too restrictive to follow these rules when you'd rather wear whatever the heck you want? I'm in the middle of these two opinions. At the blogger conference I attended a couple of weekends ago, I was lucky to have a little style consultation with Reachel Bagley of Cardigan Empire. She confirmed what I had already suspected- I have a "lower figure" body type, aka pear shape, aka a thigh gap is impossible for me (it's not a goal of mine to have gap between my thighs, by the way). 

When I first saw this photo from the conference, it was like seeing my thighs for the first time, hahaha.  I usually don't take photos posing like this, and when I'm looking into a mirror, it's never at this angle. Yo, my thighs are thick. And I've got a biggish butt, too. I knew these things, but I didn't realize that my legs looked like that in skinny jeans. Looking now, it may just look a bit accentuated because I've got my shirt tucked into my pants (a look that I've been experimenting with jeans lately, to Ryan's dismay).

I used to love makeover shows like What Not to Wear (okay, I still do), but when I realized just how unfair it seemed, I started to perceive it differently. Example- an "apple" shaped woman is given strict rules about what to shop for, while a "celery" girl is allowed many more clothing options. Okay, I realize that they're giving these two women separate rules in order to make they're clothes more flattering, but it just seems so unfair sometimes. In a particular episode, they makeover a long, lean, cool, artist, and they basically tell her that she could pull off anything with her body type. They give her cool/funky clothes that they would never give to a pear or apple, and that just made me kinda mad! Don't get me wrong, I love to see the transformations at the end! But there are just some things that I don't agree with in that show.

If I were to always dress to flatter the shape of my body and dress to make myself appear taller/longer (I'm 5'1"), I'd never wear skinny jeans, flared jeans, capri pants, turtle necks, high collared shirts, skirts past my knees, shoes with ankle straps, boots, anything oversized, anything too tight, the list goes on. HOW DEPRESSING IS THAT?

I'm glad I had that little style consultation. I found out that I'm a deep winter (ooh!) so I now know which colors are my best friends, and that my signature style is modern/boho. I respect Reachel Bagley's profession and I'm positive that she has helped a lot of women (and men) with their wardrobes. Plus she's a sweetheart and makes you feel like a babe.

But I'm still going to gladly break fashion rules.

In the words of my friend Megan, "You can pry my skinny jeans out of my cold, dead hands."

Photos taken by Let Me See You Sparkle Photography 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

What kind of blogger do I want to be?

This past weekend I attended the Say Hi Society mini blog conference. So. Blog conferences. Blogger meet-ups. I think it's a pretty popular thing amongst bloggers in Utah or Arizona. Maybe California, too? When I learned that we'd be moving to Arizona a couple of years ago, I was stoked because I knew there was a big community of bloggers round these parts. Where I lived previously, in southern New Mexico, I was the only person I knew (IRL) with a blog. (Not true anymore, because my kick @$$ friend Santana now has a blog that you should definitely check out.)

The first blog conference I attended was as a huge, round, pregnant lady that would have her baby two days later. It was a little nerve wracking because I had no idea who any of these people were! Oh, except for Ashley Nielson who was pregnant at that time, too. I actually hitched a ride with a complete stranger, aka Jen Bosen, who has since become a friend. Right. I was in a new world, and it was pretty hectic because the space was too small and the air conditioner was broken?? This is a crime in Arizona. Maybe that experience is what led me into labor. If so, I'm grateful for it! Gwen came a week early!

Anyway, since then, I've attended a few more blog meet-ups, but I gotta say, they've all been kind of awkward. Not, like, all aspects of each meet-up, but there have always been the little awkward moments when meeting new people and trying to get to know them in just a couple of hours. Miraculously, I have made a handful of internet and real life friends through these things! And that is what I like about the meet-ups: socializing with like-minded friends. Yeah, my number one reason to attend these things is not to network or grow my blog following, but to hang with my peeps.

A photo posted by Beverly Houpt (@bevhoupt) on

 Also, there's the awkward aspect of being in a room full of people who are taking the talks and networking very seriously, while I'm just happy to get out of the house.

Okay, but seriously. I do enjoy listening to the talks even when I can't relate half the time because they usually inspire me to keep blogging or to think about what I want from my blog. There were two talks at this conference, and I walked in very late to the first one. See, I thought the conference started at 9:30 when it actually started at 8:45. (I'm a little glad that I was late because if I would have known that it started at 8:45 I would have been a little miserable; I hate waking up early.) So there was my first awkward thing. The speakers were Jamie Stum and Sarah Homec of Mommy Mailbox. Honestly, I could not relate with their presentation. I'm sure it was more geared toward other bloggers who have products to sell, so that's great for them! It did make me more interested in their product, though. I may buy a subscription for myself or buy one as a present to a fellow mom.

The second speaker was Matt Molen, who I honestly have never heard of before, but he had some cool advice about using email to your advantage. Plus he had a lot of funny pictures from the internet in his Powerpoint, and that kind of thing always make me laugh.

I was giggling throughout his presentation, but it seemed like I was the only one?? He showed a clip of Elf and I might have been the only one to quote the movie while it was playing. Awkward thing number two.

He started off by asking "How are you different?"
I don't ask myself that question nearly enough. I feel like I'm just another basic Mormon girl with a blog, most of the time. I don't give it too much thought when updating my blog, I just post about what is happening in my life. My blog has definitely transformed since 2010, just as I have. I often thought about deleting it when I'd change the content, but I knew I'd regret it. I'm glad I didn't delete (most of) the old posts!

How am I different? What kind of blogger am I?
I'm not sure. I know that I'm not a "mommy" blogger. I've always hated that term.... I'm no longer a style blogger, except on the very rare occasion. My recent content may suggest that I'm a fitness blogger, but that is not right at all. I'm not a photography blog because I don't give out photography advice or tips- I feel like there is plenty of that to go around, from people who do a much better job than I could. So that leaves me with the title of "lifestyle blogger." But when I think of lifestyle blogs, I think of inspiration and envy. I don't think anyone is too envious of my life. Maybe I have this all wrong and I shouldn't give myself a title. I'm just a girl/mom/wife with a blog that wants to share my stories. How am I different? You tell me. (No really, tell me, I wanna know.)

"What can readers benefit from my blog?"
I'd like to be a blog that you'd go to for relatable stories about motherhood.
I'd like to be a blog that you want to visit because I've got a "down to earth" attitude. *sunglasses emoji*
I want you to visit my blog because I try to be honest in my opinions, I make fun/funny videos you can watch, and I take pictures of pretty things and people.

That is what I've learned about myself during Matt's talk. And also that I may finally make a Facebook page for my blog and think about a newsletter at some point.

p.s. Look at this photo. ^ It was supposed to be a candid shot. I know this because all the other photos of the guests in the PASS gallery were taken candidly while they were intently listening to the speakers, but when I saw Chrissy from afar with her zoom lens, I had to smile! 
A-ha! That is what makes me different! 

Friday, April 22, 2016

21 Day Fix- Week 2

Has my blog completely transformed into a fitness blog? Maybe for the time being. I've probably said this before, but I never ever pictured myself doing something like this... And I'm glad that I am an ever changing human being! In this video I talk about my new favorite "dessert" and I compare Shakeology and Vega One.

This Sunday is the last day of the challenge! Holy heck. I'll be sharing my overall experience with this program and how many inches I've lost (if any) in the third and final video. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

21 Day Fix- Week One

I kept forgetting to post this video to the blog! But here it is. I still need to film Week 2, even though we're in the middle of Week 3, the last week! See, I tried filming it yesterday while Gwen was awake, but that proved to be very difficult for me to try and focus on my thoughts and Gwen at the same time. It was a mini disaster, haha. So hopefully I'll get it done during nap time today!! 

Monday, April 4, 2016

10 Day Tune-Up Conclusion

This video turned out a little longer than I wanted it to. Yo, it's so hard for me to make shorter videos! It's something I need to improve on. Anyway! Here are my thoughts about the 10 Day Tune Up. I also share my thoughts about the 21 Day Fix that I'm starting this week! Yes, you read that correctly. I'm not sure I believe myself. I am nervous and excited to share a few more vlogs about my experience with that. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Last Day of Fitness Challenge

Hey! This is so late!!! Sorry. The 10 Day Tune Up challenge that I was participating in ended a few weeks ago, and every time I'd try to upload this video YouTube decided to be stubborn with the upload speed. But here it is! I feel like I hardly talk about the challenge or my meals in this one, but it might be fun to watch just as a plain old vlog. Fun fact: About 80% of this vlog was just me complaining about mom stuff- I edited so much out. You're welcome.

I've just filmed my conclusion video, so you can look forward to watching that soon, if you're into this kinda thing.