3 Years in Charlotte

Photos by Deeana Kourtney Photography

eShakti jumpsuit c/o | Similar earrings | Similar shoes | Similar bag (bought at vintage market) | Bracelet made at Beads Inc. | Prada sunglasses

3 years ago today, I moved into the studio apartment that I still call my home in Charlotte. I moved here a few months after I graduated from college, after spending some time back with my parents in Greensboro, NC. I like to reflect on the years (like I shared 10 things I love about Charlotte last year, and reflected on my first year) because I feel like I have grown and learned so much since I moved here at 22. I think this has been a great place to figure out who I am as an adult. Growing up in North Carolina, I always enjoyed day trips to Charlotte and thought I would enjoy living here. I think it has been even more than I ever expected, with the amazing people I have met (from my wonderful boyfriend to great gal pals), and the fun activities around town. It seems like there is always either a new restaurant or brewery to try, a free workout to pop into, or an event to attend in this growing city. I know I mentioned this in my first year post but I want to get some local travel guide posts put together with some of the best of Charlotte. But I'll probably tell you a lot of what you could already read on Charlotte Agenda. So if you are new to the area or taking a trip here, check there first!

P.S. this amazing jumpsuit is from eShakti, they have endless options of clothes you can customize to fit your exact measurements! If you have been reading here awhile, you might remember I have worked with them a few times before (2014, 2015, 2018), and I have loved each piece I have received from them. One of my favorite things about their customization is that beyond making sure the garment is the right length (which can be so hard for petite ladies), you can even choose to add sleeves or change the straps. I added the tie-straps on this jumpsuit, and have shortened sleeves on a piece before. They also have so many classic and feminine styles to choose from. I looked through pages upon pages of dresses before I found this jumpsuit!

Thanks for reading!

Pleated Gingham Skirt

Photos by Deeana Kourtney Photography

Chicwish lace top c/o | Chicwish pleated skirt c/o | Brahmin bag | Similar Kendra Scott earrings | Similar heels | Similar sunglasses

I'm not one to wear yellow very often, but I can't really resist it when it is in gingham! This skirt is just so much fun, and better to wear in the heat than most pleated skirts I have because the lining layer only goes to about the knee. I've seen a few long skirts with shorter linings before that is very clear to see, but I like how this one is hidden. I have also been wearing this top on repeat since it arrived. It is great to pair with fun skirts like I have here but I have been wearing it with a few different pairs of work pants and colorful shoes or earrings!

Thanks for reading!

Fitness Friday: Injury Progress

Leggings | Sports bra | Sneakers

I'm very excited to say welcome back to Fitness Friday! I've been sharing a few injury update posts over the last few months (the first one in March and second one in May), but haven't published a Fitness Friday since I first started dealing with my hip issues. This won't exactly follow the format that my usual posts go, mostly because I don't yet have a list of classes I have taken. But I thought I would share some more updates on my injury and a little more about my PT. If you haven't read the other posts, long story short: I have a torn labrum in my left hip from overuse.  I broke down all the details within the last two update posts (linked above), but to sum it all up: I thought I had a very slowly healing pulled groin muscle back in March. After 6 weeks of rest, I went to see an orthopedic PA and was told it could be a labral tear, or could also just be tendinitis. A few weeks later, I got an MRI that confirmed that the issue is a labral tear.
I mentioned in my last update post that because it is not a muscle, the only true solution is surgery. However, there was also a chance that I would respond well to an anti-inflammatory and strengthening exercises. I can now say after 6 weeks of that plan, I have been responding pretty well! There has been a lot improvement and progress in that time. I am not dependent on always taking the pain medication, and the pain levels have really gone down. It doesn't feel like it is back to normal, but I tend to feel more stiffness in my hip than pain lately. I did not discuss this at my recent followup appointment...but I was thinking about how the worst pain was right after the initial injury (although an overuse injury, the pain suddenly came on during a workout), and the second worst was after about 2 months of rest. I've also mentioned I have a fairly high pain tolerance and I was struggling to just sit in a chair at work or walk for more than a few minutes. So I wonder if the muscles around the injury losing strength actually made it feel worse for a few weeks? If any medical professionals are reading this, I apologize. Anyway, I was even told I could start to ease back into my classes! I'm trying not to get my hopes up or rush into it, in case I need more time or the pain comes back. But I have to say it is quite relieving that surgery does not seem necessary at this moment. However that could all change, so I am trying to be very careful as I add in more movement. Here's hoping the pain can be fully managed if I just stick to this current plan! So I thought I would break down a little of what I have been doing to strengthen the injured area.

Weeks 1 and 2
I started with just the physical therapy exercises I had been given on their own. I was given a packet that consist of 14 exercises mostly either working the glutes, stabilizing over the left hip, or strengthening the core. They require a few extension bands and light weights, and were supposed to be done 4 times per week.

Weeks 3 and 4
After I thought I had a handle on the prescribed exercises, I added in a little cardio on the spin bike. Luckily, my apartment's gym was equipped with them and I did a quick 15-20 minutes before starting the PT. I was still doing PT 4 times per week, but I was only adding in cardio once or twice.

Weeks 5 and 6
Similar to the addition of cardio, I added in a series of arm exercises to do after the PT exercises once or twice a week. At this point, these combinations of exercises were taking about an hour to complete. I feel like most people would not be excited about that length of time, but I saw it as getting closer to getting back into classes that were almost as long! Now that I have been told I can do a little more, I started off with just a slight extension to my PT. A few of the exercises were only to be done on one side, so I have started doing both sides as a first step.

I am thinking I will try a few classes here and there to see how go, maybe once a week over the next few weeks. I will be starting with the intro level of classes I used to take regularly, and will be taking it very slowly. I am (again) really trying not to get my hopes up, but I am SO excited that both my hip has been improving, and that I can start working the fitness side of my life back into my routine. Hopefully I will have a short list of classes I was able to work in, and some more injury progress for my next Fitness Friday post!

Thanks for reading!

Stripe Tee and Seersucker Skirt

Photos by Deeana Kourtney Photography

J. Crew stripe tee | Lauren James seersucker scallop skirt | Jack Rogers wedges | Land of the Pine straw clutchSimilar earrings | Similar sunglasses

Stripes on stripes in today's look with this tee that is available in several colors (and on sale!) and this Land of the Pine clutch! I have a few colors of these stripe tees (that you have probably seen before) and this one has been a great addition to have. I have been styling a few different ways lately, these navy shorts have been another favorite pairing for a more casual look. I think it is a classic that cannot go wrong, especially paired with other classics like seersucker and neutral wedges!

Thanks for reading!

Nordstrom Sale: Picks Under $100 and Some Thoughts

I have a feeling you already know this, but it is that time again for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale! Early Access started last week for Nordstrom cardholders, and opens up for everyone this Friday. I'm not a cardholder, so I have not shopped it yet myself. I’m sharing some of my picks today, that I think are both affordable and fit my style. But stay with me until the end, I also want to share some thoughts on what this sale has become for bloggers. I thought I would start with some of the items included that I already own. Although I coincidentally, did not buy in previous Nordstrom sales. I typically only do one post anyway, but this is the only post you will be seeing from me on this sale. I like to share the most of the sales I am shopping myself. I barely ever pay full price for anything I wear, but this isn’t a big sale for me. I have always loved shopping at Nordstrom, they are easily my favorite department store. Before I lived in Charlotte, I used to make a stop at the SouthPark store or the South Point store in Durham whenever I was in town. But I don’t think this is the best sale of the year. So shocking for a blogger to say, right?! I think the variety and number of items included included is fantastic, but you won’t see me Instagramming 10 shopping bags, or telling you these 20 or so items are incredible must haves. For the most part, I just don't think the markdowns are that great. I respect the hustle of those who do so much coverage, but it is just not worth it for me. Some of these ladies with large followings might make more commissionable sales during these few weeks than they will during the entire holiday season. Which is why all of your social media feeds have likely been inundated with all things Nordstrom Sale for the last week or so. This article was published during the sale last year that explains a little more on that. These ladies put in SO much work, and I’m sure most of you that read here follow many of them, so I will just leave the major coverage to them.

 Items I own

Patagonia fleece- I have an older version of this, but I have mine for about 7 years now. I wore it a lot during college and now wear it over workout clothes, I think it is definitely worth a splurge!

Wubby pullover- I actually found this for $20 at Marshall's last year around Christmas time. So you might be better off waiting until then if they get them again this year. Either way, it is incredibly soft and warm. I don't think its a very flattering fit, it is very boxy. But I love wearing it over workout clothes to walk in and out of studios during the coldest days of winter.

Hunter boots- I don't wear these nearly as often as I used to considering I can't wear them to work, but they were easily one of my most worn pair of shoes during college. If you have been reading this blog awhile, you have seen my hot pink pair many times! If you wear a women's size 5-6, try a kid's size 4 or 5 and save quite a bit of money (compared to the non-sale price). I personally wear a women's size 5.5 and have the kid's size 4, so I technically sized down to the 5 equivalent. I also think these are worth a splurge, mine have held up for 6 years!

Sperry boots- I had a similar pair of these years ago that were so helpful in the snow during college! Good traction on ice, and warm when worn with thick socks.

Madewell booties- I actually got last year's version of these marked way down in April, so I haven't actually worn them out yet. But they seem like really nice quality, and were available in a size 5.5! I think I will be living in them during the fall and winter.

Lancome eye set- Well I don't own the whole set, but the primer and Defincils mascara are a winning combo! I was sent them to test via an Influenster box a few months ago and have been wearing it everyday since. I can't really think of any other mascara that gives the length I get from this set!

Armani lipstick set- I was sent two of these lipsticks also from an Influenster box 2 years ago. I know you aren't supposed to keep lipstick for that long...but I still use them regularly. The colors are great (I have Front Row and a The Red, although mine looks much more of an orange-red) on my skin tone and they last forever!

Drybar hair product set- I only have the dry shampoo from this set, but it makes my hair SO soft! But I think the set is great value compared to what each product would cost separately.

My picks under $100

Stripe tee | Bow top | Wrap top | Red top | Floral top

Navy sleeveless | Red long sleeve | Lavender lace | Burgundy pleated

Pants and Skirts
Jeans | Midi skirt | Tweed skirt | Tie-wait pants | Suede skirt

Shoes and Accessories
Black sunglasses | Tortoise belt | Tortoise sunglasses | Black sneakers | Nude loafers | Black mule flats

Mesh top | Faux leather leggings | Jacket | Twisted top | Green leggings

Fleece vest | Leather jacket | Teddy coat | Plaid blazer

Statement necklace | Red earrings | Purple earrings | Green earrings | Gold pendant | White pendant

Just like in the last few years, I’ll probably get a few things from this sale that I think are truly worth it. If I was in the market for an investment piece like a nice bag, some boots, or a winter coat, this is a great time to go for it so you can save a little and have it for the entire upcoming season. However, I am not in the market for an investment purchase, because I already own entirely too much clothing, shoes, and accessories. I mentioned this last year in a post covering why I was posting more regular fitness content over more outfit posts. Which is another reason why I don’t cover so much of this sale. One of the big selling points of the sale is to be a big stock up for fall. I personally don’t really take any time to stock up for a season in advance, I just buy a few pieces here and there, and already have barely any room in my closet. Especially after the pieces I get sent from brands, which is not much at all compared to most bloggers. I’ve always wondered how some of the larger bloggers that are posting a new outfit every day keep up with just the number of items they must have. I only post a new look once (sometimes twice) a week to the blog, donate and sell after a closet clean out a few times a year, and still have so much stuff. Maybe I keep some pieces around for longer than most, I still have some shirts and sweaters I was wearing in high school because they’re classic styles and the quality has held up this long. Either way, I don’t have a need (or funds!) to buy 20+ pieces during this sale, so I won’t push them on you to buy that much either! Even during the sales that I do think are the best of the year that I cover more heavily, I’m only buying a few pieces at once. Sure, that can bring us to the point that fashion blogging as a whole can be looked at as very materialistic. I’ve even seen it deemed as “perpetuating gross consumerism”. But I have always loved the shop, and I like to share a reasonable approach with more affordable ways to keep refreshing your wardrobe! With all that being said, I hope you do find some great pieces if you are shopping the sale this year!

Thanks for reading!

Striped Floral Skirt

Photos by Deeana Kourtney Photography

Chichwish midi skirt c/o | H&M button down | Lauren Ralph Lauren bag c/o | Similar earrings | Similar heels | Prada sunglasses

I've been a fan of midi skirts since (I think) 2014, and summer of 2019 is no exception! I love the floral print over the seersucker-like stripes in this skirt from Chicwish! Being short, I feel like they give the illusion of having longer legs in photos. But I also think these skirts could make me look even shorter in person? Either way, I have fun wearing them, and that is all that matters to me! I think this skirt is such a statement on its own so I paired it with a white button down, a neutral bag, and neutral shoes. 

Also thank you to Dress Like Me for the sweetest feature, please go read it!!

Thanks for reading!