Wellness Wednesday: Healthy Eating Update

I have been consistent with some dietary changes for about 5 months now, so I thought I would take this post to share some of the results I have been seeing. I don't know if Wellness Wednesday is going to become a thing or not, but I think the name makes it a little more fun. I think it is also important to say I never really grew out of being a picky eater from when I was younger. Anyway, I mentioned back in October that I had started taking dairy out of my diet.   I quickly saw changes in my skin, and got rid of some persistent adult acne. You can read more about that here, but I basically made the change after experiencing a side effect of an antibiotic prescribed for acne that affected my digestion. I also was working on improving my diet at the time, but was still eating quite a bit of dairy (mostly cheese) and carbs. I now only use topical prescriptions to keep acne in check, and have stopped taking antibiotics for the first time since high school.

The major changes in diet:
I first thought the digestive side effects I experienced from the antibiotic was my body becoming lactose intolerant. So naturally, I tried to avoid dairy to see if I felt better. It did not help much, so I went to a doctor and she suggested I stop taking the antibiotic and see if the symptoms stopped. I was worried about how my skin would react without it. But when I was also avoiding dairy, I realized it was not even needed! Without really intending to, I also started eating less carbs. This is because I typically ate them together in things like sandwiches, pizza, mac and cheese, and quesadillas. I know, that is not quite an ideal diet of someone in their mid-twenties that works out almost every day. I haven't completely cut out dairy, I just eat much less than I used to. I have been looking for some dairy free options, but I still eat some lighter cheeses like feta and goat cheese regularly. It is a change I knew I had to make at some point soon for my overall health. But, this is what got me to actually go for it and stick to it! I have also been influenced by the fitness community around me, but I think I still needed an extra push.

The effects:
As I mentioned above and in this skincare post from a few months ago, the most obvious change I saw was in my skin. The biggest change was the spot on my cheek that was constantly broken out, finally cleared up. I was typically a little broken out on my chin and some on the other cheek as well. Which doesn't seem like much, but at 24 years old, it was not something I was expecting to deal with anymore. I used to have clogged pores throughout my face that luckily were not very visible, but they were also quickly cleared up.

After a few months, I slowly started to see some other changes that I was not expecting to see.
Only over the last 6 weeks or so, have I noticed other changes in my face. I am not sure if dairy and carbs were making my face bloated, or I had some fat around my chin and jaw line. Regardless, it was always a point of insecurity for me. But my jaw line has become more defined since I have been eating less dairy and carbs. Sure, it may have also been from increased cardio in my workouts. But I started that months before I made the diet change, and did not notice until recently. Again, it seems small, but I was not expecting to see that change! And it makes me feel more confident about my appearance, so I have to consider it an added benefit.

The first photo is from about 2 years ago. I had just started getting into working out after college, only going once a week and still eating terribly. The second photo is from last spring, and shortly before I made the big dietary changes. I was working out almost every day and had started to make some progress with food, but was still eating a decent amount of dairy and carbs. The last photo is from just last week, but I first really noticed that change in November.

Looking back, I am starting to realize that eating healthier has made me feel less tired throughout the day. I think before I got into working out I felt tired all the time, so exercise also helps with that. But I have memories from the last year or so just feeling so tired and not knowing why, while I was keeping up a consistent workout routine. I also used to get some occasional heartburn, that I was worrying was becoming more constant. Which was another sign I knew I needed to make some changes. But thinking over the last few months, I don't think I have experienced it once since I made these big diet changes. So I think it is safe to say changing my diet has me feeling more confident externally, and with just a general better feeling internally. I am sure these changes have helped me in other ways I am not yet aware of as well!

What I have been eating:
I have been documenting this as I go along in my Fitness Friday posts (usually with recipe links), but for a typical week:
I have been replacing the sandwich I used to have for lunch every day with a hard boiled egg and a protein bite, made of: oats, almond or peanut butter, flax seed, raw honey, and chocolate chips. I also pack an apple, some grapes, an orange, and some Skinny Pop popcorn. However I had been bringing those same snacks since before I started to eat less dairy.
I have been replacing carby dinners like quesadillas, pastas, and pizzas with salads and bowls. My favorite salad at the moment is: spinach, apples, avocado, with chicken and an apple cider vinegar based dressing. If I make a rice bowl, it is made with: chicken, avocado, rice, and salsa. Or an egg bowl, made with: chicken, avocado, spinach, egg, and feta.
It has also been easier than I was expecting to keep up with at restaurants. At Mexican places I have been opting for chips with the salsa already on the table instead of getting queso dip, and either a burrito bowl or tacos without cheese instead of my old favorite quesadillas. I also never ordered salads at restaurants before (I know, I'm weird), but now I have been really enjoying them!

Again, I aim to limit, not eliminate the food I used to eat. I still enjoyed my holiday season full of carby food, even enjoyed some cheese plates, and slices of pizza. But I have also been trying to avoid buying some of my old favorites, because I do not think about them much if they are not in my apartment.

My next goal:
My main New Years resolution is to try to eat less sugar.  This is difficult for me at work where there is almost always some candy or sweets around. I also have a bit of an addiction to some sugary protein bars for after workouts. And during the holidays I had basically no self control in front of a plate of cookies. I do not feel guilty about it, I just know it isn't healthy. If I can feel so great without dairy and carbs, I can probably feel even better with less sugar. Again like dairy, I will not completely cut it out, just limit it. And I will not be avoiding natural sugar like in fruit, just the artificial and refined kind. So hopefully I will have another post in a few months with an update on that progress!

Thanks for reading!

Green Leather Skirt

Photos by Deeana Kourtney Photography

Chicwish pleated skirt c/o | Johhny Was scarf | Similar sweater | Sam Edelman heels | Brahmin bag

I have mentioned a few (...many) times before that I think pleated skirts are SO much fun. However, I have only worn them in lighter fabrics during warm weather. But I have always like the look of the leather-like fabrics for the winter, and I typically only see those in black or burgundy. I knew I needed this hunter green color as soon as I saw it! I wore the skirt with a silk top to see a contemporary ballet production of Cinderella on my birthday last week, which was amazing! I think a skirt like this one is a great option for dressier occasions in the winter!

Thanks for reading!


Photos by Deeana Kourtney Photography

Lilly Pulitzer wrap romper (on sale today!) | Sam Edelman booties | Brahmin clutch | Baublebar for Target earrings c/o

Today I am 25 years old! It is kind of hard to believe I am halfway through my twenties. Maybe because people who don't know me always assume I'm still in college...or sometimes, high school. Anyway, to celebrate I went to my parents house last weekend, because my dad's birthday was yesterday. It has always been fun having our birthdays one day apart. We had a great dinner on Saturday, some family time, and brunch after church on Sunday. I'm also very excited that TJ is taking me to see the touring performance of Matthew Bourne's Cinderella tonight!

Having a birthday in early January can be nice  because when you look back on each year, you were the same age for the entirety of it.  So I look back on 2018 and age 24 as pretty great, and I have a good feeling about 2019 and age 25! On to the outfit, if you saw my posts from yesterday or Sunday, you know I scored this romper during the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale this weekend! The sale still lasts through today, and the romper is still in stock, marked down over $100 off! I loved wearing it for dinner last weekend and for these photos. Also how cute is this wall?! It was recently painted in the South End area of Charlotte by local artist, Evelyn Henson. I have followed her work for years, have one of her prints in my apartment, and love walking by this new colorful addition to the city!

Thanks for reading!

Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale: Past Outfits on Sale and My Top Picks for January 2019

If you haven't shopped the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale yet, there is still about a day and a half left to do it! I shopped in-store on Saturday and online this morning. If you missed yesterday's post, I shared what I bought in-store, which was this silk top (above photo), a navy wrap romper (sneak peek of tomorrow's post on my LikeToKnow.It page), a pair of black pants, and one of the infamous S'well water bottles! I went back for more this morning and got this short sleeve shift dress, a button-front Elsa top, and another pair of Luxletic leggings!

My top picks still available in the sale:

There are also some pieces I have bought in former sales, have styled on the blog, and they are included again in this current sale! And if you haven't had enough, check back to their site tomorrow morning at 9am for some new additions to the sale.

*original post
Elsa top
Full price $138
Sale price $49

*original post
Matilda top (other print)
Full price $158
Sale price $44

*original post
Mila shift (other prints)
Full price $178
Sale price $59

*original post
Essie dress (sleeveless version)
Full price $108
Sale price $49

*original post
Luxletic leggings (other prints)
Full price $108
Sale price $49

*original post
Kelly pants (other prints)
Full price $148
Sale price $54

Thanks for reading!

Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale: What I Saw In-Store and Shopping Tips for January 2019

It's that time of year again, the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale is back!! The sale had in-store preview days on the 5th and 6th and will open online tomorrow, the 7th. They will also be restocking on the 8th (my birthday!). They only host these sales twice a year and it is how I buy a majority of my Lilly Pulitzer styles. 

I shopped in-store today, I saw a lot of popover dresses, some other casual dresses like this one, silk tops like the Elsa and the Savanna, sweaters like this one, quite a few dresses that would be great for special occasions similar to this one and this jumpsuit, a few Luxletic (activewear) pieces, a few swimwear styles like this one-piece,  lots of cute jewelry and bags, some beach towels, and drinkware!

And I bought:
Wrap lace romper (very similar to this style)
Was $198
Now $69

Savanna silk top
Was $138
Now $54

Black pants (very similar to this style)
Was $138
Now $39

S'well bottle
Was $54
Now $25

I also tried on a few more pieces and listed their original and sale prices on my Instagram story!

If you do not have a store nearby or do not want to wait in the lines, here are some of my tips from shopping the sales next week. The Sale FAQ page from Lilly answers most of your typical questions you may have about the sale. But here are a few things I would add to it:

1. Create an account if you do not have one already, and make sure you are signed in the night before. It is also good to have your shipping addresses and payment information saved, to save time while all of your favorite items are going so quickly! If you shop on multiple devices (which I recommend), make sure you are signed in on each one, including the mobile app.

2. Know your sizes, all items are final sale. If you haven't bought anything from Lilly over the last few years, I have noticed some of the sizing is not as consistent as it used to be.

3. There are always disclaimers to expect delays for shipping and processing. But from my experience, I usually have my items within a week or so. Although this last sale in September took a bit longer than usual.

4. You will be placed in a virtual line to enter the sale. It used to be a good practice to place multiple orders to keep things from getting pulled out of your cart, because the shipping is always free. However, this is no longer a good idea. Because you will be placed back in line after your first order has been submitted.
And I have learned that using multiple devices is really helpful for the line. It also makes the line seem much longer than it really is, if most people in line are on 2 or more devices. But, I have always found that one device gets far ahead of the others. The website sometimes crashes due to the traffic, but it what it is!

5. From the last few sales, some of the items were not marked down as much as they have been in the past. Over the years, I have noticed the best deals are on casual dresses, small accessories, tops, and sometimes scarves!

Other current Lilly favorites:

Thanks for reading!

2018 Year in Review

Well 2019 is already here, but 2018 was a really fun year for me! If I could sum up this year in one word, it would probably be busy. I had quite a few weekends away, and was usually doing something in Charlotte when I was in town. I made some big progress in my fitness and health from changing up my routine to making some dietary changes. And of course I also continued to grow this little blog!

I think I traveled more this year than I ever have before. I took 20 trips to 15 cities in 2018! A lot of them were quick weekends, but they were all a fun time.
Most of the trips were within or around the Carolinas:
A ski trip with friends to Boone, NC area in February
Mother's Day in Greenville, SC
A mountain weekend in Asheville and Tennessee for Memorial Day
A beach trip with friends to Carolina Beach, NC in June
A family beach trip to Pawley's Island, SC in July
A blogger trip to Roanoke, VA in August
A football game in Raleigh, NC in September
My cousin's wedding in Charleston and two football games in Clemson, SC in October
A trip to Atlanta for the Drake concert in November
And a few trips to my parent's house in Greensboro, NC

I also took 3 trips a little further from home:
Austin, TX in August for my best friend's bachelorette weekend
NYC in October for a long weekend while my boyfriend was there for a work trip
Vail Valley of Colorado just before Christmas for my best friend's wedding!

When I wasn't traveling this year, I enjoyed a lot of Charlotte. I went to quite a few restaurants, bars, and breweries, and even went on the largest St. Patrick's Day bar crawl in uptown Charlotte.
I also went to the Mint Museum a few times, the Girl Tribe shopping pop-up, the Southern Christmas Show, a Charlotte Ballet performance, a few Knights baseball games, a Panthers football game, the Wells Fargo golf tournament, visited the National Whitewater Center, saw 2 different NASCAR races, and the ACC championship football game. This was my second full year living in the Queen City, and I am so glad to call it home! There is always something to do, and I felt like I missed out on so much every weekend I spent away this year.

I made some big progress in fitness and creating healthy habits this year. In February,
I joined SweatNET Charlotte and got more involved in the fitness community. I tried so many new workouts from strength training to chakti yoga, and made some new friends along the way! I went to classes at 20 studios and I think I have gained a lot of strength. But I also took a good look at my diet this year and started to make some healthier changes. My friends in college always joked that I had the diet of a child, I usually had either cheese or bread in almost every meal. But early this year, I made a little progress in cooking some healthier recipes. Although it wasn't until I figured out that eating dairy was causing my acne, I really created the habit. I have been eating foods I have never even wanted to try before, and enjoying cooking more often. I'm not one to really stick to New Years resolutions...but knowing that I was able to significantly cut back on diary, I am next going to try to limit my sugar intake. Not for weight loss reasons, but I never say no to anything sweet and I know it is something I need to fix for my overall health. I will be keeping some updates on that in my Fitness Friday posts!

I'll be totally honest, 2018 wasn't the best year for the blog. But, I still had just as much fun with it! I started consistently posting fitness content in January and launched my Fitness Friday post series in February.  They may not be my more popular posts, but I find a lot more meaning in putting together fitness content. I will always enjoy styling outfits, finding some great pieces for great prices to buy, and sharing it all here. But I enjoy the change of pace, and can express myself more when writing about fitness classes or creating healthy habits in my life. But going back to the fashion side, I had a lot of fun putting together my Winter and Summer workwear capsule wardrobe series! I have been trying to think of another fun series for the new year. Please let me know if there is anything you would like to see on Caralina Style in 2019!

Thanks for reading!