Because I Said So: 2015
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Monday, December 28, 2015

You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile

This weekend I got to participate in an "iPhone only" photoshoot where I simultaneously got a mini tour of downtown Covington. My hometown has the coolest sides of buildings I've ever seen. 

Volunteering for this project was a little nerve wracking as the only instructions were: "wear something you feel comfortable in" Ok, so Nike shorts and an over sized T-shirt, right? 





The outfit dilemma aside, it was super fun to play model for the day. The fact that I arrived with straight hair and left with curly hair (thanks to the 99.99% humidity) was not really that fun--but I've learned to live with it. "It" being the unpredictability that is the Louisiana weather. It was the 27th of December and the breeze was struggling to keep me cool. 









As you can see, I didn't go with the "most comfortable option" IMO. Instead, I chose to wear a few of my Christmas presents: my handmade scarf from my cousin's wife (THANKS ELISE), my Obsession Boutique T-shirt, and my Tory Burch FitBit band!









 Told y'all: cutest walls ever. 




Sidenote: I never liked my profile very much, until I saw THIS PICTURE! (That wind blown hair though)




I still can't believe these are all from an iPhone! I mean when I take pictures or when other people take picture of me on their phones, I never look this good. 

It was such an honor to participate in this little project; local photographer, Kirsten Waguespack of Aperture Photography, did a fantastic job and is truly an artist! 



2015: A Year in Review

I can barely remember what happened at the beginning of the month, much less the beginning of 2015--so it's a good thing I have my blog to look back on. And what a year 2015 was...


Photography by Captivating Moments Photography

January: 


The month I finished at least three different seasons on Netflix and Josh lost his job.

February:

I tried going Paleo and wrote this post (which is even true-er today).

March:

The month where I wrote my VERY FIRST fashion post !

April:

Tried a "spending freeze", more fashion posts, and scored big at the Lilly for Target launch!

May:

Because I Said So turned TWO(!) and I was obsessed with food documentaries on Netflix.

June:

I baked. (sort of)

July:

I moved back home with the parents and turned 24!

August:

I threw darts at paint filled balloons and made blog specific hashtags.

September:

Josh and I road-tripped to Oklahoma to see Chase Rice perform and he touched my hand!

October:

I lost my job (the last day of September) and spent all of my time looking for a new job.

November:

I found a new job and Josh and I hit seven years together!

December:

I stayed busy with my new job and challenged myself to take 15 Pure Barre Classes in 15 days!


Looking back, I accomplished a lot more than I remembered and went though a TON of ups and downs. And I actually feel ready for the New Year. 

I can't wait to see what 2016 has in store!



Monday, December 21, 2015

In vs. Out December

Christmas is this week. THIS WEEK! I can't believe it! For some reason, this Christmas season snuck up on me AND went by way too fast. 

With all of the hectic-ness of the Holiday season, I decided to make my "in vs. out link-up" an all week thing! You'll have from today until the Sunday after Christmas to link up your posts!

Don't forget to link up your own In vs. Out posts below--the link up stays open ALL week! 



IN


Road Trips
(I'll be posting about the one we took to Pittsburgh soon!)

CHRISTMAS!!

A Pittsburgh win

Seeing snow




OUT

Packing

Leaving Pittsburgh

Steve Harvey getting Miss Universe WRONG!

Still not being done with Christmas shopping

Being sick

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And, in case you missed it, here's what was popular on Because I Said So this month:

My FIRST Gift Guide!

15 in 15: What I Learned from Pure Barre

Deck the Halls




Sunday, December 13, 2015

15 in 15: What I Learned From Pure Barre

I will take my 15th Pure Barre class in 15 days, tomorrow! That's got to be some kind of record or something (I know for me it is)

This month, Pure Barre started a challenge: 2015 Strong, 2016 Stronger. I'm getting a jump on my ever constant New Year's resolution of "GET IN SHAPE" while getting the chance to win--if you take 15 classes in the month of December, you can win an entire year of barre, FREE!  What started out as a way to get back into shape, led to my competitive nature being re-ignited.

I was going to title this post "7 things the Pure Barre #2015Strong2016Stronger Challenge Taught Me" but then thought better of it. Nevertheless, here's what taking 15 classes in 15 days as part of said challenge has taught me.


2015Stong2016Stronger, barre class, Pure Barre


1. Ten seconds is longer than you think.


No really. I used to think 10 seconds was no big deal, until I took barre. When the instructors start counting down, that's when it gets the most difficult.

2. It's not your sticky socks, it's you.


See proof here.

3. You are stronger than you think.


Refer to #1. Though it seems impossible 99.99% of the time, you'll be surprised how much your body can take and how you actually can hold that pose for ten more seconds.

4. Exercise is 50% a mental battle.


With every class, I literally have to remind myself that I can do it. It helps to concentrate on cheering yourself on because it distracts from the burning of your muscles.

5. Music makes the shaking tolerable. 


Because somehow Taylor Swift makes everything better.

6. It doesn't get easier, you just get stronger.


After 15 classes, my left split has gotten closer to the floor, but I still can't do a "regular" push-up (aka not on my knees). I still get out of breath during the warm up, but I want to die less when doing abs. I'm getting stronger, but the exercises still challenge me in new ways every class.

7. Allow yourself to be a beginner. 


Nobody starts as an expert in anything they do. A lot of the ladies in my classes have been taking Pure Barre for 100+ classes. It would be completely unfair to compare myself to them when I'm on class 15 after a ten month hiatus.


Fingers crossed that I win the free year of Pure Barre. But, even if I don't, I'll continue to take Pure Barre, get closer to my left split, get stronger, and jam out to Taylor Swift while "ltb-ing."


Happy Monday!



Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Deck the Halls

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear! 

Seventeen days until Christmas, y'all--where has the time gone? We don't even have our tree up yet (we bought it--it's just sitting out in the yard)! We may have an outdoor tree this year #yikes 

Does anyone else feel like Christmas has really snuck up this year? 




Regardless of if you've had your house decorated since before Thanksgiving or if you're super behind like my family, I put together a playlist of some of my favorite Christmas music that'll put you in the Christmas spirit in no time! So finish decking the halls, drinking hot chocolate, and wrapping presents to these songs!





P.S. My favorites: Run Rudolph Run and I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas (I do a mean Gayla Peevey impression)


Friday, December 4, 2015

In vs. Out

Do you ever just wake up and think "It's going to be a great day?" That's me right now. It's a beautiful sunny day and it's cold outside! I've already been to Pure Barre and ate a healthy breakfast #productive

The fact that it's Friday helps too!




IN


Productive Mornings

Pure Barre

Christmas music

Christmas candles (more specifically Fresh Balsam from B&BW)

Chilly weather

Planning our 4th annual Pittsburgh trip

OUT


Needing to clean your room because the mess is bugging you but you don't actually want to physically clean your room #thestruggle

Grumpy people

Idiot drivers

------------------------------------

And, in case you missed it, here's what was popular on Because I Said So this week:

Comfort (Colors) + Joy

December Goals

Thoughts During Pure Barre Class


Thursday, December 3, 2015

December Goals

It's the most wonderful time of the year--December! This is my most favorite month (and it's not even my birthday month)! I love the crispness in the air, the Christmas music, all of the Christmas candles, and the season of giving. 


Recapping last month, I'm happy to report that I accomplished one of my main goals--I found a gym--PURE BARRE. They had highly discounted packages for Black Friday and Cyber Monday and I'm really excited to be starting it again


Moving on to this month, I'm keeping the list short and sweet (again) in hopes that I can accomplish all of them!





1. 
Reach my goal of 10,000 steps everyday. This is probably going to be a reoccurring goal. Like I mentioned last month, it's REALLY hard for me to do this more than one day in a row. I have been moving "more" just not enough (IMO). If you have a FitBit add me (alellzey@gmail.com)! We can keep each other accountable. P.S. I really like participating in Challenges--even though I never win any of them!

2. Be thankful. I'm not oblivious to the fact that I'm truly blessed. This year has certainly had it's share of ups and downs, but at the end of the day, I have so much to be thankful for. This month, I want to make a conscious effort to count all of the blessing in my life daily.

3. Be present. I'm the WORST at being on my phone AT ALL TIMES. This Holiday season I want to focus on really being present and interacting with the people that I'm with. Being present is one of the best gift you can give! Being distracted is for the birds.


Monday, November 30, 2015

Seven Lessons from Seven Years of Dating

Today I've been dating my boyfriend, Josh for SEVEN years! Seven years, y'all. That's half of my youngest sister's life! Do people even date for that long anymore?

It seems like just yesterday (ok maybe not yesterday, but really when did we get so old) we were going on our first date and awkwardly texting each other after. I still remember almost all of the details from when he "officially" asked me to be his girlfriend. 

In the seven years, I've learned a lot about myself and nurturing a relationship.



1. Stay true to yourself first and foremost. 


Be yourself. If you are trying to fake it (whatever it is: a hobby, a persona, etc), it'll never work. I think we have the most fun when we are the most real with each other. I know Josh loves my singing off key on road trips and he knows I love when he rattles off random sports knowledge. Ok maybe not, but we love the little quirks about each other. P.S. After seven years, I can almost keep up with his sports knowledge!

2. Be friends. 


Josh and I were friends for about four years before we started dating. He came to my school with a girlfriend, but when I first saw him I remember thinking he was SO CUTE (omg--I was a stalker). He would roll my house, put a duck in my car, and I would embarrass him at JCP buying outrageous things. Continuously falling in love with your best friend is truly the best feeling. Everyday Josh surprises me and makes me love him even more.

3. Don't listen to the "peanut gallery".


Friends and family mean well, but sometimes, all of their noise can drown out what's really important--the two of you. You can't spend you entire relationship listening to other people's opinions--believe me, someone will ALWAYS have an opinion on what you could do, should do differently. And you really can't live like that. Take all opinions with a grain of salt and let it go in one ear and out of the other. 

4. Support each other. 


This is huge. You can't be in a relationship and expect it to last if you don't have your S.O's best interests in mind. Believe in each others dreams and help them reach it--to me, that's a huge way to show love.

5. Being different is ok. 


In fact, it's for the best. If Josh were just like me--anxious, uptight, sometimes controlling--then we likely would have killed each other already. He's patient and easy going which balances my high strung personality out perfectly. I could NOT date someone EXACTLY like me--and really, I wouldn't want to.

6. Communicate.


Duh. Boys aren't mind readers and sometimes even when you spell it out for them, they still don't get it. So if something really bugs you, your feelings get hurt, or even if you'd rather watch a different movie than him, TELL HIM! I can't stand when girls "play games." It never results in anything good--unless you're playing like Monopoly or something.

7. Don't compare.


Following #6, the comparison game is so hard not to play. But, don't let yourself get bogged down in the going ons of other couples. Take it from someone who knows EXACTLY how difficult it is. We've been dating seven years, so it's hard when people who have been dating for way less time get engaged. But that's them, and we are us. Who knows what's happening in their relationship, and really who cares. The grass is greener where you water it.





It hasn't always been easy, but it's always been worth it and I wouldn't trade what we have for the world.


P.S. These are the only "professional" pictures we have of ourselves--from my senior (in high school) portraits! We are in desperate need of cute couple pictures!



Saturday, November 28, 2015

Comfort (Colors) + Joy

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.  I received the sweatshirt to review as part of Marley Lilly's blogger review program + will be further compensated for my time and effort.  Although this is a sponsored post, all opinions and pictures are my own!

Ever since my sorority days, Comfort Colors T-shirts/sweatshirts have been wardrobe staples. If you're giving away t-shirts and they AREN'T Comfort Colors, are they even t-shirts? Answer: NO. 

Comfort Colors don't lose their color or shrink--which is why they are so great. So naturally, when I found out my Marley Lilly monogrammed sweatshirt was Comfort Colors, I was overjoyed--literally so excited!




My favorite part about this sweatshirt is that the monogram is at the bottom! It's so different from the "usual monogrammed" pieces I own. Also, Marley Lilly knows how to pick the most comfortable sweatshirts--I want to wear this to work, to the bar, while being a couch potato--you name it.





Despite the fact that we are most likely going to have a warm Christmas this year in Louisiana, I'm stubborn and will wear winter clothes even if it makes me die of heat stroke. Anyone else? 

I bought this blanket scarf a few months back and never had anything to wear it with. But, now that I know how to fix it and have something to wear it with, I'll be wearing it A LOT more. 





Marley Lilly Sweatshirt || Blanket Scarf (similar here) || White Jeans (similar here) || Booties (similar here)


P.S. Since it's the Holiday Season and I've got gift giving on the mind, if you spend more than $50 at MarleyLilly.com you get FREE shipping and if you spend $100 you get a FREE blanket scarf--through Monday ONLY!

P.P.S I'd size down when ordering this sweatshirt. I ordered a Medium--I usually like to wear my sweatshirts bigger, but since this one doesn't have a band at the bottom, it can be really long if you're short like me (I'm 4'11")! 

Friday, November 27, 2015

In vs. Out Linkup (November)

I don't know about you, but I had a great Thanksgiving full of family, food, and laughter! I get two extra days to sleep late and will be shopping sales from the comfort of my bed all weekend #winning I keep thinking it's Sunday because Holidays in the middle of the week throw me off--anyone else?

Don't forget to link up your own In vs. Out posts below--the link up stays open ALL weekend! 



IN


Black Friday sales that are ONLINE
(ain't nobody got time to stand in lines)

This video
(we may or may not have re-enacted it at dinner last night!)




Oh and this one too!




Christmas music
(finally I can play it and not feel guilty for passing over Turkey Day!)

Christmas movies
(all of the Hallmark movies--and don't get me started on ABC Family's classics!)

Family time

OUT

I'm sitting here trying to come up with "outs" but I can't help but feel totally and utterly blessed! Sorry not sorry, there are no "outs" this week! 

------------------------------------

And, in case you missed it, here's what was popular on Because I Said So this week:

My FIRST Gift Guide!

Office Essentials

Resources for the Working Girl




Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gift Guide: Gifts Under $45

My very first gift guide y'all. Who's excited (other than me..)?! I know it's still KIND OF early for gift guides, but I wanted to get this out ahead of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc.

Most of these things are things I actually want this year for Christmas (so I wouldn't be sad if these little pretties ended up under the tree, in my mailbox, or in my stocking). AND the best part is that everything is under $45--which makes these gifts perfect for your girl friends, Secret Santa, and stocking stuffers!






P.S. This gift guide was put together due to my newly acquired skills from work! Yay!


Happy Tuesday and Happy Shopping!


Friday, November 20, 2015

In vs. Out

Apologies for the lack of posting this week--it was my first week on the new job and boy have I been busy! I've learned so much and I'm literally exhausted when I come home every day (waking up early has NOT been easy). Things to do: find a new posting schedule!



IN


Weekends

Learning new things/doing a good job

New shoes

Chilly weather

Being employed

OUT


Anxiety

Forgetting to pack a lunch

Food that makes you sick

Not being able to sleep in anymore (or take naps)



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And, in case you missed it, here's what was popular on Because I Said So this week:

Re-Hired and It Feels So Good

Office Essentials

Resources for the Working Girl

We'll Never Go Out of Style


P.S. Set a reminder to schedule your IN vs. OUT blog posts for the link up ahead of time because it's NEXT WEEK on Black Friday (November 27th)!


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Resources for the Working Girl

I started my dream job on Monday (eek!) and while the 6AM wake up call was IS brutal, I really, really enjoyed my first day and think it's going to be a great fit! I've already learned so much!

Today's post is a little bit different, in that I'm doing a HUGE round up of some of my favorite job-related articles. I've been saving/pinning most of these from my favorite bloggers while enjoying time off--and now I can finally put them to use. So, ENJOY!





Great Reads:




Anything and everything from the Levo League and The Everygirl (seriously!)

The "Career" tab on Elana Lyn



Your First Day:


Ace Your First Day from Alanna and Company

Your First Week from Career Girl Daily

New Job Survival Kit from To and Fro

First Job Survival Kit from Seersucker Sass

Work Day Essentials from A Peachy Sonder



Productivity:


Make the Most of Every Hour from Data Nerds

Be Productive, Not Just Busy from Hayli De Jong



For the Commute:


Podcasts from Breakfast at Lillys

Making Your Commute Awesome from Coming Up Roses

Songs to Get you Ready for Work from POPSUGAR



Decorating the Office:



Fashion:


For the Rainy Day from A Peachy Sonder

Dressed to Impress from Seersucker Sass



Do you have any job related must reads?


Friday, November 13, 2015

In vs. Out

Yay for this being my last Friday unemployed! I start my new job on Monday and I'm currently trying to make it through the day with no naps. Monday is going to hit me like a ton of bricks, I just know it. 



IN


Mannheim Steamroller 
(which is ONLY THE BEST CHRISTMAS MUSIC EVER in case you aren't aware)
**Side note: I usually make it a point to NOT listen to Christmas music until AFTER Thanksgiving, but this year tomorrow we are going to a Mannheim concert--so all bets are off. 

Mani/Pedis

Haircuts

Art Festivals

OUT


No more naps

Cleaning my room

Mail that comes late

Insomnia


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And, in case you missed it, here's what was popular on Because I Said So this week:

Re-Hired and It Feels So Good

Office Essentials

What I'm Reading November

We'll Never Go Out of Style


P.S. Set a reminder to schedule your IN vs. OUT blog posts for the link up ahead of time because it's on Black Friday (November 27th) this month!


Thursday, November 12, 2015

We'll Never Go Out of Style

The weather is cooler, the Holidays are nearer, and I'm in love with this time of year--and this poncho! 

This outfit is actually from last year (I've linked some pretty similar items below), but my favorite thing about winter clothes is that they never really go out of style like some summer clothes do. You can buy for winter 2015 and it'll last you years to come. #winning 

Plus, you'll always need a sweater, turtleneck, and a great pair of boots.





I know I harp on the weather here A LOT--but it just hit highs in the mid to upper 60s (somewhat consistently) and it's officially sweater weather! And what better way to celebrate sweater weather than with a poncho? I can tell there will be plenty more in my future--they are some kind of comfortable!






Don't let me fool you with the above picture! It was SO HOT the day I shot this outfit (and this was outfit #4). Word to the wise, this outfit isn't appropriate for early September. Wait to break it out until late October--unless you live somewhere really really cold.


Poncho: (old) Similar here, here, and here || Turtleneck: (old) Similar here and here || Riding Boots: (JCP old) Similar here and here || Kendra Scott Earrings || Jeans: (old) Similar here 


P.S. I forgot to bring my leggings to the shoot, but I usually wear this outfit with leggings (which you can buy literally from any retailer near you). Regardless of if you're in the leggings are/aren't pants group, you can REALLY can wear it with either black skinnies (pictured) or my personal favorite, leggings.




Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What I'm Reading November

After writing out my goals for November (I almost just typed September!) I've had a lot of questions as to what I'm reading--because it's a lot.






Strange Brew by Mary Kay Andrews (writing as Kathy Hogan Trocheck)
Creature Comforts by Trisha Ashley
Three Sisters by Susan Mallery
Meet me in Venice by Elizabeth Adler
Bookends by Jane Green
Spitting Feathers by Kelly Harte
Babyville by Jane Green
It Happened One Wedding by Julie James
Beach Colors by Shelley Noble
Angels by Marian Keyes
Happy Never After by Mary Kay Andrews (writing as Kathy Hogan Trocheck)


Mary Kay Andrews is my favorite author and I didn't know she had another series under a different name--the excitement y'all. I've already finished Happy Never After (which was so good--but I didn't know it was the 4th book in the series #oops) and have started on Spitting Feathers. 


What are you reading? 


P.S. The way I pick out books to read is as follows: whatever looks happy and colorful. And whatever Mary Kay Andrews books I haven't read yet. That's it!