Thursday, July 31, 2014

Southern Girl Blogging Community

I am proud to announce that Elle Noel is one of the newest members of The Southern Girl Blogging Community! What's that? A group of ladies from across the South, who write a slue of blogs in varying subject matter. I'm so excited to explore the group and meet other bloggers!



When I started writing Elle Noel, I mostly networked with other women who wrote blogs with similar content to my own: health, fitness, running, weight loss- all awesome subjects. Subjects I will always be passionate about, however, I do have other interests so I'm excited to explore new territory. Always room for growth! 

There's so much more to Louisiana than Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street. I get lots of emails regarding things to do when visiting Louisiana, especially where to eat, where to visit, where to stay, and travel tips off the tourist's beaten path.  I'm going to start a series including things to do, places to visit, and "Southern" posts as part of this little rebrand. 

I was born and raised here in Southern Louisiana, and I am proudly a Southern girl through and through. I won't pass someone on the road and not wave and say hi. If I make eye contact with a stranger I will always smile. If you come to my house, you will have to let me fix you something. I believe that ma'm, sir, please, and thank you are magical words that open all doors. I'm not afraid of hard work, yard work, house work, and I'm always willing to lend a helping hand when I can. Work hard, play hard. It is always better to be over dressed. If my husband hadn't opened doors for me on our first date, he wouldn't have gotten a second. Chivalry is not dead. Breakfast after ten on the weekend equals brunch and there should be booze served with that. No one cares about sad late lunch.  Family always comes first. Football season is a way of life, and all social events revolve accordingly. Everyone knows everyone, and the phrase How's your Mom and dem? has got to be one of my favorite greetings.

I can't see myself every being anywhere, but right here where I'm supposed to be. I am quite passionate about this great state of Louisiana. Thank you Southern Blogging Community for welcoming me!

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Beating Vacation Bloat

Ya know when you're on vacation, and you're eating and drinking jussstt about whatever your heart desires? All those sweets you wanted all year? Eat em. That pasta they're serving for dinner, have two plates! Those frozen drinks you never ever let yourself have? Let's go for three, it's vacay! That's what I do. 

Every. Single. Year.

In the moment, the mind set is, I'm on vacation, it doesn't count! Then you get back to real life and the scale says bbbaaahahahahahahahaha I don't care about your vacation!

In all actuality, I didn't do as bad as I have in previous years. I skipped carbs at breakfast and lunch, annndddd then ate everything for dinner. You could call me the cookie monster. Real talk, in previous years, I've come home from vacation eight pounds heavier than the week before a-hem thanks Mexico, so this year only 4 up, feels like a victory. 

That's not to say my dress pants haven't felt T-ight this week. The one bad thing that comes with small pant sizes is a very small amount of wiggle room. When I wore 12 & 14 s, I felt I could gain or lose 10 pounds and stay in the same size. Le sigh. Not true of the single digits. A few pounds in either direction and it's noticeable.

I'm sure most of the gain was bloat, however I'm moving my weigh in day to Saturday mornings, so I won't know until then. Monday, I started following Chris Powell's Turbo carb cycling program. I'm aiming for four miles and weight training everyday. It's time to start prepping my mileage to come back up for run season anyway. I'm also getting my gallon of water a day in to flush out those vacation toxins. 

This morning, I ran my four outside before work. Let's just say I've been spoiling myself a little too much on that treadmill. Pooyi, it was tough, but it got done. Weights tonight! I'm riding high on the motivation wave, gonna keep it in high gear as long as possible! Life has been crazy for me since we went under contract on our house, then moving, vacation, I literally need my routine! 

Get er done

How do you get back on track after vacation?

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Harrell Family Beach Vacation 2014

Usually when I'm out on Vacation, I'll make arrangements for guest bloggers, however this year I didn't. I'm sorry. I've got the blogging lazy. True Story. I've been out all week long on vacation with my family. I made a conscience choice to disconnect. I really enjoyed just being with the people that I love, and stepping away from social media for a minute. So forgive me. MMkkk, it's all good in the hood right?!



My maternal family all went on vacation together, and it wasn't something that has ever happened before. Sure, I've been on vacation with an Aunt or Uncle and their family, vacation with my family and my grandparents, visiting cousins, etc, but never all of us together. My G hit a milestone birthday this year, and her request was for all of us to go to the beach. Ask and you shall receive G, you are the Queen B!

Family Photos by Emerald Coast Images

all those gorgeous Harrell girls

My Man

We stayed at the Ledlow Beach House which was perfect for such a large group. The home was divided into three units, we occupied two of the units. We were able to open the door between the two units and enjoy togetherness with two kitchens, two laundry rooms, two living rooms, two dining rooms, eight bedrooms with each bedroom hosting it's own private bath. This was truly an ideal situation with so many people. 

I've been on a few vacations in my day, and this one is up there in the favorites category. I laughed until I cried on numerous occasions. We hit up the bougie boards, we buried a poor someone in the sand, we saw dolphins, we fished, we ate, we drank, and we loved one another. 

At the start of the trip, my husband insisted on taking a detour down Dauphin Island, and the ferry across Mobile Bay. It was quite the experience, and we saw a dolphin before ever hitting the sand!

Mom and I on the Ferry, with a photo bomber ;)

We went deep sea fishing, which definitely counts as an upper body work out

Catch of the Day

Ahoy Maity - My fearless leader!

I did some running! One of the coolest parts about being a runner, is the travel run. I look forward to exploring a new place every time I'm in a new space. Plus, ya'll know I can eat and drink #likeachamp. The running is necessary on vacay. Where there are no calories or carbs. It's a magical place!


We went down to Florabama, only this selfie available to document that experience

My cousin Jamie and I, love her big time!

We were Beach Bums, for days and days. It was glorious. I put make up on one time. Real talk, that was the best!

Nick's bourgie beach set up

We avoided a pesky shark attack- yet again ;)

Timmy (the shark) is quite the traveler. He lives in my beach bag

Day two back in the real world. I gained FOUR yes four pounds on vacation. Some of that is water weight. Some of it is real weight. I've gotten in a few work outs since we've been home, and I'm feeling better each day. Absolutely worth all those good times we had. 

Tomorrow, I'll fill ya'll in on how I'm taking care of that vacation bloat! Hope you're having a safe and joyous summer!


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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Healthy Life: Finding the Balance

Last summer I was on a mission. A mission to hit 18% body fat. I just knew, when I hit that number, I'd finally be 100% happy with my body. During the struggle to hit this goal, a number that I literally snatched out of thin air, I began to have some real issues with food. Restrictive eating was not working for me. Some days I'd make myself commit two a days, killing myself with half assed work outs, because I was energy-less.  Lesson learned: It's better to give 100% for one hour than 50% for two and a half. 

I reached a point where I had to look inwardly and ask myself, 
Why do I feel the need to be smaller and leaner? 
What am I really not happy about on the inside? 

At 6'0 tall, wearing smalls and a steady 4-6 and the occasional 8, why did I really need or want to be smaller? Why couldn't I be happy with what I had already achieved? I had to do some soul searching. I don't want to spend my life critiquing my physique and always wanting to be smaller. To look better. To be blunt, I want my life to have more focus than to simply be aesthetically pleasing. I have more to offer the world than my pant size. Over the last six months, I've allowed myself to maintain. To be happy with the status quo. 

It's really incredible, for me personally given my yo-yo history, to have all of the same cloths fit year to year. To not stress about summer vacation, to not stress about I have to buy something new because XYZ doesn't fit anymore, and it also feels incredible not to be putting pressure on myself to become even smaller, my body goal since 2011. I needed a break. I needed a break from so much body focus. Enter the marathon, another reason why I love running. A goal to focus on outside of physical appearance. It felt like weight loss had become me. A definitive characteristic of my life. That was scary to me.

I'm Leigh Ann. I'm a goal oriented, type A, cafeteria neat freak who is focused at work, and determined to succeed. I'm competitive to a fault.  I dominate on Cadillac night. I can sniff out a bargain and hold on to some dollars. I love to entertain and party plan. I've got an arsenal of fun stories and things I've done that I would NEVER share on social media. I am supportive and loyal to those I love and who love me. If you share a secret with me, I can honestly take it to the grave. 

In my mid 20s, I once lost more than 60 pounds and 15 percent of my body fat. That's not WHO I am.

This all plays into my re-brand here. I need more balance.

I've stopped obsessing about food. I weigh myself meh once a month, and I stay within 3 pounds up or three pounds down of the same number. At social functions on the weekends, I allow myself to sample the appetizers, eat a small dessert, have drinks, but I always make sure my entree is the healthiest option I can muster. My husband and I have a deal, when out to eat, one does not mention the C words: Carbs and Calories. I really truly feel that I'm finding the balance that I need to live my best life

The less I stress about food, the less it controls me. When I stress about food, it controls me. I feel like I can not get enough, and it's not a fun way to feel. I admire people who can count their macros in a healthy way without it affecting their day to day life, I'm just not one of those people.

The one thing I never slack on his a work out. I genuinely love hard exercise. I love whipping my own ass at the gym. I love being strong. I love being fit. I love out running myself. I love being able to use my body in a practical way. I will never have six pack abs, because it's not important to me. What's important to me is that I feel good in my skin each and every day. I still critique myself. I still have the dreaded fat day. I still feel insecure at times, but I'm working towards total self acceptance. Living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. That's the way I want to live my life.

OOTD: All pieces from last summer. That feels purty darn grand

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