Vineyard Vines for Target Picks

Sweatshirt | Straw bag | Navy hat | Printed towel | One-piece swimsuit | Bikini top | Bikini bottom | Printed pillow | Gingham dress | Striped blanket | Patchwork cooler bag | White dress | Striped romper | Whale hooks | Patchwork dress

Who's excited for the Vineyard Vines for Target launch this Saturday? I have always been a fan of the brand, but most of the pieces I own are for the winter. I always kept them around though, like this sweater from a years ago that I styled for a holiday party this past year. I have always thought I would have a lot more of their pieces if they had either better sales or more outlet stores. So I think this collection fits that need perfectly! The whole aesthetic with the navy, pink, stripes, and gingham basically has my name written on it.  I have my eye on quite a few pieces, especially the straw tote and striped bikini. I don't know if I'll go wait in line at the store, but I am hoping to catch the online launch and hopefully grab a few pieces! If you are also shopping the collection, let me know what you are hoping to score from it!

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Nutrition Coaching Wrap Up

Oh hello, random contents of my fridge

It's about time to wrap up all of my thoughts about nutrition coaching! If you have not already read the first post with an intro about the process and the second post with nutrition coach approved packaged snacks, I worked with Noor for a few months to really prioritize my nutrition. I had been taking some steps to improve it on my own (read about that here) over the last year or so, but this coaching was just the push I needed  to really get it on track! If you have not read the intro post I asked Noor a few questions about her background, her process as a nutrition coach, and how she helps people reach their goals! I also shared my thoughts 3 weeks into the program, which documented the beginning (and honestly the hardest part) of the process. 

As I am writing this, it has been about 5 weeks since we have completed our 9 week coaching program. I wanted to wait a few weeks before I published a final post to see how I did without the weekly checkins with Noor. Hoping to report back on how I have been able to maintain the program on my own. I am now happy to say I think I have kept up with it pretty well! As I mentioned in the first post, a big part of this process is macro counting. My macro targets were set to reach numbers that were high in protein, high in carbs, and low in fat. I have also already mentioned this, but Noor has asked that I do not share those exact numbers. They were created specifically for me and my diet to reach my goals, and they would not have the same effect on someone else. I'll also re-state that my goals were to maintain my weight, build muscle, learn how to properly fuel my workouts, and add more healthy foods into my diet. After completing the process I can also say I think I reached each one of those goals in some way! I think these goals all work together. In learning how to properly fuel my workouts and adding more healthy foods into my diet at the same time, I am on a sustainable track to maintain my weight and build muscle. Since the first post where I shared my thoughts on the process, it was all much easier once I got through the adjustment period. Throughout the program, Noor would make some slight adjustments to the macro numbers based on the week before. We also added 2 re-feed days per week towards the end of the program. This allowed me to pick 2 consecutive days where I had higher numbers to reach for carb and fat as a bit of a break, which I usually chose for Friday and Saturday. I also need to re-state from my first post that this was not a rigid plan where I was expecting myself to hit the exact numbers each day. It is more for my overall health, and this format really worked for me! I know I am extremely lucky in that I have never really worried about my weight. But I know that may not last forever and I needed to really treat my body right, beyond my workouts.

Another big goal of mine was to cut my sugar addiction, but I wasn't sure how much time I would need to get that taken care of, or if it would even be attainable during this process. My obsession with sugar was a little out of control. I did a Sugar Free February with a friend, where we tried to hold each other accountable. My cravings for sugar had mostly subsided by the end of February (as I was already tracking macros for a few weeks) but I rewarded myself a little too much as soon as we got to March, and I quickly found myself hooked again after just a few days. So since Lent was about to begin on March 6th, I thought it would be a great Lenten promise to give up sugar again, for a longer amount of time, while also tracking macros. I have mentioned this before, but I was not concerned about natural sugar. I was only thinking about added/refined sugar. And my cravings for sugar (usually chocolate) that never seemed to go away. This process of tracking my macros quickly made me realize how much fat is in a lot of chocolate/sugary foods. My macro counts being low in fat were a HUGE help in getting me off sugar. Those few days where I was "rewarding" myself for Sugar Free February resulted in cutting quite a few snacks to make room for a few cookies or pieces of chocolate (yes sometimes several cookies a day, I had a problem!). So once Lent started, I was enjoying a lot of dried fruit and sweeter fruits like kiwis when I was craving sugar. Although I was also still eating some of the protein bars that are sort of made to taste like a candy bar. I wasn't quite strict enough to cut those out..Regardless, I can now say I think I have finally learned how to enjoy sugar in moderation! I probably would not have been able to reach that if I was not having weekly check-ins with macro counts. Or it at least would have taken a lot more time to get there on my own! Although one thing that also helped was that I have also been trying some of the "healthier" baking alternatives. My favorites so far are coconut sugar brownies, cookie dough based with peanut butter and maple syrup, or enjoying some dark chocolate stuffed inside raspberries!

For the last week of the process Noor wanted me to not focus so much on the targets and head back to intuitive eating. She also mentioned not to worry about logging everything exactly, and track what I think was about right at the end of the day. Which was another adjustment for me because I had gotten kind of used to having every little thing planned out (but that's just how I work, love a plan!) and was sort of set into a habit. But it was nice to not be thinking about the numbers as much. Now a few weeks out, I do still track macros with the same targets, but on less strict basis. I have found myself looking at it more in the morning and then forgetting it for the rest of the day. Then I will go back and log the rest of the previous day. I do still keep my own spreadsheet that I look at each week, but I don't get upset with myself if I don't reach the targets. However I am a creature of habit and love to eat a lot of the same things. So a lot of my food has not changed too much since I finished the program. I just look at the counts to know how far I am from what is a good range for me. Which really haven't been too far off! Although I haven't been so insistent on reaching the protein count since I now have not been in workout classes for about 2 months now (update on the hip injury: getting an MRI soon :/).
Noor has been such a great resource in so many ways, but I think it was interesting that during my time working with her I both caught the flu and injured my hip. So I was able to ask her questions about things like "what are the best foods to eat (that fit my plan) to boost my immune system?" or she has given me workout plans that work around my hip injury so I can still keep some movement going! I haven't had a question where she didn't have a thorough and encouraging answer. To be totally honest, at the beginning of her process, I thought her info packet and questionnaire looked a little bit intimidating. But now I think I maybe only thought that because the concept was so new to me. She could not have be more helpful and sincere in answering every single question you might have with an informative explanation and some suggestions of how to apply her advice. I learned so many little things that have really stuck with me through asking her questions. Like did you know that sore muscles can weigh more because they could be holding extra water and lactic acid? Or that you could be less sore if you have protein and carbs immediately after a workout? Although I think the biggest point I'll remember is that protein intake is just as, if not more important on rest days. Because your muscles are recovering and preparing for you next active day! She is so knowledgeable, positive, encouraging, and I could not be more thankful that she offered her services to me! You may see some of her input on some future nutrition/wellness posts around here as well. If you want to try her coaching for yourself, inquire HERE! Or at the very least follow her on Instagram for healthy recipes, her CrossFit workouts, and her adorable labradoodle pups!

Thanks for reading!

Pineapple T-Shirt Dress

Lilly Pulitzer "Sophie" dress | J. Crew Factory flats | Neely and Chloe bag | Baublebar for Target earrings c/o | Prada sunglasses

I've said it so many times before, but t-shirt dresses will always be one of my favorite options to wear for just about anything. As comfortable as they are and as simple as it is to wear one with flat sandals or fashion sneakers, it can be just as easy to dress them up! I love the colors of this print and am so glad I found this one during the last Lilly Pulitzer sale. I've dressed it up with flats and a dressier bag and earrings for these photos. But I've also worn this dress with flat sandals, stud earrings, and a straw tote! I actually a few of these dresses in older prints I haven't been wearing much (as I have been buying newer prints) on my Poshmark!

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Red Crochet Dress

Photos by Deeana Kourtney Photography

Chicwish dress c/o | Similar heeled sandals | Similar statement earrings | Similar bag | Prada sunglasses | Becca beauty lipstick c/o Influenster

I don't typically wear a lot of red in the spring or summer but I am loving this dress from Chicwish! If I had any weddings to attend this spring, this would be my first choice. But I luckily have a few in the early fall, and I think it will work just as well then! I have a hard time finding longer length dresses that aren't too long for me, but I really like the length of this one (I'm 5'2" for reference). I think the bright color and the crochet detailing just make it so much fun, and such a statement!

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Injury Update

I have mentioned here and there on Instagram stories lately that I've been out of workouts for a bit. Yesterday, I learned that I won't be getting back into them anytime soon. So I thought I would take the time to talk more about it, basically to explain the lack of fitness content around here lately. The more I write of this post, the more dramatic I think it reads. So I feel the need to start by saying it should all be ok with some time. In short, what I thought was a strained muscle turned out to be a little more of an issue. My hip isn't in great shape, but should be fine with more rest. But I want to use this blog to document the process. I also want to say that I am not looking for sympathy with this post, overuse injuries are basically self-inflicted. I don't want this to read like a giant complaint either, I'm trying to stay positive. But I have a lot of thoughts, so here they are! I mentioned in my last Fitness Friday post back in March that I thought I strained a muscle in my inner thigh. Towards the end of a barre class (during a long inner thigh exercise), something just didn't feel right. For the next few hours after class and into the next day or so, I was in a lot of pain and was struggling a little to walk.
Luckily, the pain became much more tolerable within the next few days, so I was hoping to get back into classes after maybe two weeks of rest. I did not even publish an April Fitness Friday post because I was resting it for almost the entire month. After growing up in ballet, I have already gone through a variety of injuries. I spent some time dealing with shin splints while I was still growing, recurring achilles tendonitis when I was spending 20+ hours a week in the studio, a few toe issues from pointe shoes, and the worst one being a stress fracture in my spine during college.  So I know the importance of rest. But I was also used to always having to push through the pain to get through a weekend of performances or finish out a credit for my college dance minor. However, I was usually lucky enough (with the exception of my back injury) with past injuries, to only need about six weeks of rest before I could get back into the studio.
After five weeks of resting (starting mid-March), my thigh/hip was feeling a lot better. So I thought I was ready to start slowly easing back into some movement. I was so careful with this injury and only did some exercises on my own at home. I wanted to be sure I was ready before I jumped back into a class. Well, I was not ready and quickly backtracked to being in pain again. So once I reached the six week mark, I thought it might be more than just a strained muscle, and went to see a sports medicine doctor. They took X-Rays and it looks like my hip is slightly impinged, and possibly have tendonitis in both my hip flexor and adductors (the muscles that rotate your leg in) on one side. Although there is also a chance I could have a hip labral tear, but we need an MRI to be sure of that. We are taking it slow and seeing how I do with just more rest and an anti-inflammatory before considering anything else.
It seems like the injury was more likely caused by the years of stress I put on my hips during my dance days than my current fitness routine. Even though I had about a year after college where I barely exercised, some of the damage was likely already there before I even got into fitness classes, which is now almost three years ago. I never had to take any time off for hip issues when I was dancing, but I definitely dealt with some occasional pain, usually in the same side I am dealing with now. Although they have a decent amount of mobility, I spent years basically forcing my hips to look like they were more flexible than they actually are. The doctor thought my X-Rays looks like my hips had just been through a lot. And they kind of have, from stretching incorrectly, forcing my turnout (external rotation when standing at the barre), and trying to kick higher than my hip really allowed, all in pursuit of fitting ballet standards. This might make me sound resentful of my dance experience, but I wouldn't change a thing! I'm always thankful for everything I've learned through my classical ballet training.
Although right now I really miss taking my favorite classes, and am going to miss out on a few fun workout events like sunrise yoga to live music at a park in Charlotte, to a trainer bringing a class I've been dying to take from NYC, to a new barre studio opening in town. I also just miss seeing my friends and trainers that I enjoy taking classes with. As I mentioned above, there always seemed to be a reason to push through the pain during my dance days. And even though I am several years out of that point of training, it is hard to get past that mentally. I have to keep reminding myself not only it is ok, it is necessary, to sit out for awhile. I truly enjoy working out, and six weeks seems like more than enough of a break already. Plus I took some time off with the flu just a few weeks before the injury, which makes it feel even longer. I can do some arm work on my own, but it is just not the same experience. I've said it several times before, but exercise just brings so much positivity into my life and I'm clearly struggling a little without it. But I know it could be so much worse, I've had friends go through much worse injuries (like ruptured ACLs) and get right back to the normal.  So here is hoping the injury responds well to more rest, and I can to return to classes and posting fitness content again soon!

Thanks for reading!

Stripe Peplum Top

Photos by Deeana Kourtney Photography

J. Crew peplum top | James Jeans white denim | Baublebar for Target headband c/o | Gigi New York  "Madison" bag | Jack Rogers wedges | Prada sunglasses

I can't resist a good peplum top, and I found this one for the best price back in January! This is one of several pieces I've had waiting for most of winter to wear. I have also been so excited for the return of headbands, I used to wear one everyday in high school. If you follow me on Twitter or Insta I have already shared this...but I wore this headband with a different outfit for work recently. Throughout the work day I was told I looked 12 years old in the morning, was told I look 10 years old a few hours later. And an office visitor might have thought I was the daughter of someone who worked in my office, and not someone who actually worked there. So I guess if you're trying to look younger, a headband might help! But I love this one, and it is under $20!

Thanks for reading!