Feeling at home in recovery + two summer OOTDs

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The concept of “home” has been on my mind for the past few weeks. Last weekend, I traveled to my hometown to attend the Forecastle music festival with a childhood friend. Even without any of the additional context, visits to Kentucky give me this simultaneous mixture of wicked homesickness and confounding awe. It’s strange to drive through my hometown and see all of my memories from active addiction like a perverse overlay on top of seemingly random places (usually gas stations.) It would make for quite a unique tourist attraction, that’s for sure. It’s stranger still to feel so connected, yet so disconnected from that town and from the person I was there.

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While there, my parents sold their house in a breathless two days. I remember long before my parents renovated it into a respectable residence: being 13 or 14 years old and advocating for this house when it was just a century-old four-plex of messy college apartments. While at Forecastle, I promptly realized the acts I was most excited for- Ryan Adams, the Avett Brothers, and Death Cab for Cutie- each had some emotional tie to a different past relationship. During all my traveling, I thought it’d be a good idea mentally and physically to give myself a subsequent vacation from my present workout/eating regimen. Instead of forcing me to progress in my eating disorder recovery, my relationship with my body image has become increasingly more distorted, disorienting, and disconnected. As of yesterday, I- finally, officially- moved out of the apartment and town I’ve inhabited for the past three years.

So while feeling completely displaced, I’m trying to find other ways to feel at home, whether that’s in my friendships, my family, my pet, my writing, my media consumption, or my wardrobe. Previous posts of mine describe the basics of a capsule wardrobe, a concept I’ve been flirting with for over a year. And as of a month or two ago, I’d like to say that we’re official again. Now, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll never be the champion of minimalism but my present set-up is a vast improvement. If I start off the day feeling comfortable and confident, it can set a tone for the day, not only in attitude and self-image but in my recovery. My eating disorder recovery does not necessitate looking pristine every dang day. But it was such a welcome change to start looking for clothes that highlighted what I liked about my appearance, rather than obsessively fretting over and trying to hide the perceived “bad.”

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There’s also something to be said for the places, people, events, things, or thoughts that push us out of the house and into an area of uncomfortable growth. For a lighthearted example of this, I have to laugh at the evolution of my style over the years. I can wholeheartedly say that my 16 year-old self (piercing her nose in her friend’s bathroom and sewing the ankles of her jeans before the mass production of skinny jeans) would hate my present clothing choices. But that’s the beauty of discomfort- or rather, change we didn’t ask for. It can change us in ways that end up feeling more true to ourselves in the end. Or perhaps we become closer to the person we want to be. And while I am not 100% set in my present circumstances, it feels good to know that I am getting closer to the best version of myself. And even if it’s expressing that sentiment in a surface-level way, that’s one of my favorite side effects of a capsule wardrobe.

Now… enough with my vaguely philosophical musings and onto the outfits.

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Anchor Pendant Pearl Necklace: Kate Spade // Scallop Oxford Shirt in Oceana Blue: Kiel James Patrick // Seersucker Scallop “Buttercup” Shorts: Lily Pulitzer (secondhand)

Can you tell that I’m currently infatuated with scallop detailing? Now… in my capsule wardrobe efforts, I’ve tried to also buy secondhand as much as possible, both for cost and sustainability reasons. But then along comes a Pinterest image of this perfect outfit made of dreams and of course it can only be obtained through retail. With a $98 price tag, I was more than a little hesitant to buy the KJP shirt but as soon as that July 4th promo code email arrived, the infamous words of Tom Haverford rang in my ears: “Treat yo self.”

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Made of 100% dreams and cotton

And yes, I still cringe at the reduced price but it’s a quality piece that will last and therefore worth the initial investment. This little guy is miles away from the unflattering and tissue-thin blue oxford I bought from Old Navy earlier this year. I’m also a complete sucker for well-done packaging and the folks at KJP know their way around some classic design.

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Aye aye, Cap’n

A pearl necklace had a seemingly permanent place on my wardrobe “seeking” list. That is, until I saw the KJP Valerie Pearl necklace– which was seemingly sold out everywhere forever (of course it’s in stock when I got the link for this post.) As my wardrobe colors are all basically red, white, and navy blue, none of the other colors would be versatile enough to justify buying the necklace. Despair set in. It was a very short-lived state of despair, as reliably wonderful Kate Spade had a similar necklace in stock at Macy’s- done and done. I’m a bit remorseful now, seeing the KJP version in stock, but the gold closure seems a bit more sturdy in the day-to-day and longterm wear.

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White eyelet blouse: DIVIDED H&M (secondhand) // Tusk in Sun shorts: Lilly Pulitzer (secondhand)

When my sister visited a couple of weeks ago, her face bore a look of mild shock after taking in my outfit (not the one pictured above but along the same lines.) “Leah… dressing preppy. What?” Squinting in confusion, she paused before continuing, “Well, at least you’re not into Lilly Pulitzer.” I then showed her a recent Instagram post demonstrating otherwise. Sorry not sorry about that one or this Tusk in Sun one either.

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2016-2017 Jumbo planner in Tusk in Sun: Lilly Pulitzer

Not gonna lie, I’m that girl willing August to arrive with the quickness just so I can start using my new planner for school, work, exercise, meal planning, travel, and (of course) WHSH. The gasp that escaped my lips when I saw a bonafide brick-n-mortar Paper Source store in Louisville was real enough for my friend to pull over, park, and patiently watch me geek out (thanks, Tris.) What can I say, well-designed office supplies get my heart all aflutter. Unlike my Rifle Paper Co. planner post, I’ll try to do a review after actually using this one.

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Pineapple charm bangle: similar Alex and Ani (secondhand) // Lobster charm bangle: Alex and Ani

Much like Gollum, I’m likely to go all “my preciousssss” over bracelets that a. fit my tiny baby wrists b. don’t annoy me while typing/writing c. appeal to my fashion taste. Alex and Ani’s collection does it all! I don’t even care if my ringing endorsement sounds like an infomercial because I swear to you, these are not only adorable (hello, lobster and pineapple charms?!) and made in America- but also ADJUSTABLE. Basically a bracelet dream come true for me… so much so, in fact, that I also got the Bonnaroo and St. Christopher versions.

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In an attempt to hold myself accountable, I’m determined to make time for a proper capsule wardrobe update post before my first semester of grad school starts (unless my acceptance letter was a horrible prank- wait, what imposter syndrome?) As always, if you have any questions, whether they are outfit-related or not, please write me in the comments below or contact me on my various social media outlets. Also, if you have anything you’d like to see in a future video or post, just let me know. I love hearing from y’all!

For more hair, healthy living, food, and fashion inspiration, be sure to follow Work Hard Stay Humble Co. on BlogLovinPinterestTumblr, YouTube, and Instagram!



Be kind. Live authentically. Practice gratitude. Hustle daily. Work hard. Stay humble.


This is a personal blog. As the creator, I may mention, discuss, and review products but I have not been paid or sponsored for any of my opinions. My opinions reflect only my personal feelings and experiences, unless otherwise specified. I do not claim copyright on any of the shown products. Any media, writing, or other website content published is created and owned by the author, unless otherwise specified.


2 Replies to “Feeling at home in recovery + two summer OOTDs”

  1. You geeking out at Paper Source is equivalent to me geeking out at any culinary or real art supply store. When your heart is happy, I’m happy. Love you so.

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