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I am SO excited to announce that I have just partnered with Spoonie Essentials Box to help them promote their newly launching product as well as reviewing their box on Crohnically Blonde!
The way I like to explain the concept of the S.E.B. is it is like a Birchbox (something I am already obsessed with), just completely tailored for those suffering with chronic illness. HOW COOL IS THAT. They are officially launching in January 2017 and the online spoonie community is seriously buzzing about it.
My explanation doesn't do it justice so here it is straight from the source:
"The Spoonie Essentials Box is not just a beauty box, it's a box inspired by spoonies, just for spoonies! Each month us spoonies over at S.E.B carefully select products, goods, and services built around the culture of being an invisible-illness warrior & chronic disease ninja! Our selections are intended to support us spoonies on the bad days, compliment us on the good days, and enhance our always amazing infusion or hospital stay-cations! "
I cannot even begin to explain to you guys how on brand this box is for what Crohnically Blonde is all about! It embodies all of the beauty, strength, and sass that chronic warriors have while at the same time providing that sweet little boost of positivity that you need to get through those less than ideal days.
Recently on their Instagram (@spoonie_essentials_box) they have revealed a few of their products/box items for January 2017 and I can't get enough. From adorable and inspirational keychains, to pill dispensing water bottles, to hospital stay totes, I feel like S.E.B. is presenting me with options I need but didn't even know I needed.
I am extremely excited to have the privellage to review this box come January and be a part of this online community. On top of all of this excitement, get this.... until New Year's Eve at midnight you can get 10% off all monthly subscription boxes with the code WELCOME17.
Let me know if you sign up and how excited you are! If you are waiting for a review before you pull the trigger, rest assured, one will be happening ASAP so stay tuned.
Check out the Spoonie Essentials Box website, linked below.
DRINK AND ENJOY IT!
Not going to lie. Things over at the Crohnically Blonde camp have been pretty great! Stressful... but great! I am trying to let every second of it sink in and manage my stress with a whole lot of bubble baths and maybe some Xanax here and there.
As my fellow IBD sufferers know, as soon as anything exciting or stressful hits your life, 9/10 times you are also hit with a flare up of epic proportions. Lucky, lucky me. But like I said, I am remaining extremely positive and trying to enjoy all of the goodness that has been happening.
I'll give ya'll a quick update since it has been a little while. I do have to apologize, my posts have been less regular through the holidays but that is to be expected considering the busy nature of the holiday season. Things are going to pick up in the New Year with so much goodness. I dedicated IBD Awareness Week to making some big plans and setting some up and coming stuff into motion. I am BEYOND excited.
First things first....
Matt and I have been working away trying to finalize everything about the house. From furniture planning, to paint color selections, to making sure our closing will happen on time. Things have been absolutely crazy but I wouldn't have it any other way. It will be so rewarding when we have everything in place and we can get our little family unit all moved in!
As far as Christmas goes, Matt was getting over a stomach virus (one that I've already had twice in one month, thank you immunosuppressants....) and I had a bad cold. That being said, we spent the entire day in our pajamas with our families and watching movies. Despite both of us being sick, it ended up being one of the best days we have had in a while.
In the last of my big and exciting news for today....
I DID feel good enough, despite my many illnesses recently, to get a little dolled up and attend my company's Christmas party.
It is a good thing I did because my boss surprised me and promoted me right there on the spot in front of everyone! Again, I won't go into a ton of details about my job because I keep that stuff pretty personal but I can say that this position is helping me get back closer to my creative roots and dive into even more of what I love.
So there you have it.....
Moving, amazing Christmas with the family, and a promotion. On top of that some great new stuff coming up for the blog and hopefully some new changes in my health (I will be updating that post next week's doctor's appointment). I promise to keep you all updated and I am looking forward to hearing back from you all! How was your holiday season? How do you hold up during stressful times and changes with your IBD/chronic illness?
Drop a comment or an email and give me the scoop.
Tis the season of gift exchanges, parties where host gifts are required, and wrapping your brain around what to get not only for these events but for the regulars on your Christmas gifting list. I am ALL about girl gifts. Sisters, friends, coworkers.... I think it is selfishly because it is like I am living vicariously through what I am buying for them but hey, it is what it is. It is always my goal each year to think of unique and thoughtful gifts that my friends and family will actually use. I am all about cute monogrammed items and things that are probably something you wouldn't buy for yourself.
Fun fact: This year my sisters and I were featured in the Land's End catalog to showcase our matching monogrammed moccasins from Christmas 2015! Showing off all of the girl gift love!
This year I tried a different approach and started listing cool things that I came across throughout the year so that by time Christmas came I had a unique compilation of ideas. Whether it was something I tried and loved, gotten as a gift and thought it was great, or was dying to try... it went on the list. I know it sounds like I was making a list for myself (maybe, sort of) but my friends and family on the ladies side of things are pretty similar to me as far as taste goes.
I put together this list to hopefully make this last weekend of shopping a bit easier for you! Some of these can be purchased in the store and others online, which I why I wanted to push this post out before it would be to late to get things shipped before Christmas! The other great thing is, they're all under $50! Click the set below to shop my picks.
1. Heartspring Co Lip Balm- Literally my favorite lip balm ever! The new all natural brand was created by Kristina Kelly (you may know her from Bravo's Vanderpump Rules). They are so soothing especially in the cold weather and the fact that they are all natural is a huge win in my book. Get your friend one of these and she will be immediately addicted. Kristina puts all the TLC into these, hand bottling the formulas in her Santa Monica apartment and it really shows in the quality of these!
2. Lyte Planner- For your super organized giftee there is nothing better than a fresh new planner! Some of my favorites are from Lyte Planner which not only are super stylish but have a clean layout that just clicks with how my brain works. OCD that is.
3. Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist- One of my coworkers had this and after I tried it I became totally obsessed. If you are looking for a pick me up that is both soothing and refreshing AND has a ton of skincare benefits, this has got you covered. This is one of those items that you don't know you need until someone gets it for you.
4. 'Cravings' Serving Board- Sometimes a little something for the home is in order and I can't get over how cute this serving board is. Whether you're using it to serve a delicious cheese plate or just to look beautiful on your dining room table, this gift is a winner.
5. Tarte Clay Matte Eyeshadow Palette- You cannot go wrong with this palette. The colors and matte finish are universally flattering and Tarte's products are approved for sensitive skin. This is another item that you wouldn't necessarily think to buy yourself (I would but that's just me) but once you get it you don't know how you lived without it. You're. Welcome.
6. The Magnolia Story- Chip and Jo #goals. If this book doesn't warm your heart while simultaneously make you want to redo your entire house you are a real Grinch.
7. Modern Mix Faux Fur Throw Blanket- Furry throws are a must for getting cozy and binging on Netflix. This is an affordable version from Target that gives all the comfy with less of the price tag.
8. Fringe Snood- Another cozy winter favorite right here. Not going to lie, Aerie makes a great scarf/snood. Well constructed, trendy, and warm as anything. Your Secret Santa will be thanking you as soon as the temperature drops below 40.
9. Monogrammed Wine Glasses- I really enjoy a good monogrammed home situation. These wine glasses are both useful and will look great in and Instagram picture. #priorities
10. Home for Christmas Lush Giftset- Nothing says treat yo self like a giftset devoted to doing just that. All natural goodness and relaxation is just what everyone wants but doesn't want to splurge on for themselves. Do your friends and family a favor and make them take some time for themselves!
Relaxing is a skill. A skill that I am not very good at. My brain is wired for two things: full speed ahead and sleeping. My capability of "non productive time" is something I have not found they key to tapping into. For example, today I am home with a stomach bug and instead of sleeping and resting... here I am, hey everyone. Per doctor's orders I am working on it... slowly but surely. Everyone needs some time to chill the eff out sometimes and for me that happy place just happens to be with bubble baths.
Not only do bubble baths actually force me to not be running around doing things but they also help to detox the body and reduce aches and pains. Score. During this quest for relaxation I have narrowed down some truly awesome bath products that are the best of the best as well as a few of my other relaxation must haves.
1. Rose Bath Salts- Bath salts in general are amazing. Great detox, awesome for your skin, the smell is armatically relaxing. Basically you can't go wrong. Rose bath salts are my new favorite at the moment.
2. Alex and Ani Candle- Love love love Alex and Ani candles. They burn forever and the smell is perfectly subtle.
3. Lush Bath Bombs- So many to choose from! These are my go to bath bombs but I also like to pick up some other homemade ones from local shops whenever I travel. Eucalyptus is my favorite.
4. Coconut Hydrating Mask- Multitasking while bubble bathing is the best. I always slap on a face mask and sometimes even a hair mask and let it alllll sink in.
5. Adult Coloring Book- Sometimes my brain just will not stop working when I am trying to relax and adult coloring books are one of my favorite ways to keep my mind working but in a relaxing way.
To shop these picks, click the picture above. I have a lot more specific recommendations so feel free to reach out for any other suggestions.
Happy relaxing Crohnies!
Something interesting that I am noticing more and more through my research and my discussions with people is that the recommendations for what Crohn's sufferers should eat is all over the place and more contradictory than ever. I realized this the first time I started on the Low FODMAP diet and I couldn't find two lists that were the same online! The information is so inconclusive for just about everything. This is a good fat but its too fatty so you can't eat it but you really should eat it. Oh and this is a vegetable so it's gluten free so it should be fine... but really its not. And is gluten really bad for you? And what about dairy? I must be horrible because I eat dairy. Lactose intolerance is proven but gluten intollerance isn't. I am not kidding those are all different things that I have heard. It goes as far as to me getting comments on Instagram asking why I can eat this or that if I have Crohn's. Yikes.
I have decided that it really is completely up to the individual person. There is not blanketed dietary (or any type) of approach to combating Crohn's. I know people who can eat chicken nuggets and other fried goodness until they are too full to move. They also have Crohn's. I know people who can't eat a bite of cheese without getting sick. They have Crohn's too. I know people who can drink like fish and I know those who can't. I read stories online about people that go into remission and can eat whatever they want and here I am doubting the day a glutenous bite will ever enter my mouth again.
What I figured out was that I had to get to know my body and get to know what was best for me and best for my situation. I know the things that set me off and I know the things that I can handle in moderation. I'm not going to lie, at first I would get super pissed off when I saw someone who said they had Crohn's and they were sinking their teeth into a huge slice of pizza. I would judge them and say wtf why are they doing that, it's so bad for their health. I became a food snob. I legitamately would judge people mainly who ate gluten. Like what kind of asshole am I? I was judging because I was jealous because every deliciously glutenous thing makes me violently ill. (On a side note I have done my own research on gluten and am pretty turned off now which helps but that is to controversial to get into in this specific post. Gluten is a hot fucking topic.) Anyway, I was upset that I wasn't sinking my teeth into some pizza. Instead I was resentful of what I had to do. But then I started to really look at what I was doing and all of the flaws that I had in my diet. Yeah maybe they were eating gluten, but I was still eating processed crap to replace my glutenous alternatives. WHAT WAS I THINKING? Judging other people. Even if it was in the privacy of my own head.
Then I would realize that since I was so insecure about my own situation I felt super judged when I was out at restaurants and had to order something with all of these restrictions. But the thing is... WHY am I so self concious about something that I need to do for my own body. For me, as someone who has struggled with an eating disorder in the past (that's something for a whole different blog post), food has always been an area of my life that brings me great discomfort. As much as on the outside I seem cool, calm, and collected about it I definitely am not in the inside. At all. Having a disease where you have to focus on food so much is actually really freaking hard.
To this day I am still working on not worrying what people think about me and not worrying what I think about other people. It's hard. It is a day to day struggle. And I will bet money on the fact that some of you have felt the same way before. Having Crohn's is a constant game of trying to stay afloat in the world of food and balance. I can eat 100% "perfect" but then where are my experiences in life? What do I do when my girlfriends are having wine and pizza night? It is up to you. It is up to what you need to do for balance. For me I know I cannot puree and eat all of my meals thats so unrealistic but at the same time on that wine and pizza night it will be a gluten free pizza and only two glasses of wine. Why? Because I know what MY body needs. And I should love and respect and listen to that because it is MY body. Everyone has to do what is best for them. What is best for me isn't best for someone else and vice versa. Now I try my best not to judge, even when I do get jealous of someone eating a really fucking delicious looking thing. That is so great for them. And guess what? I have other great things that I can fuel my body with too. Stay in your own lane. Do what you need to do for your own self and your own body.
In honor of IBD Awareness week I created my team to walk in the Take Steps Walk for Crohn's and Colitis in Baltimore! There are local chapters all throughout the U.S. so you can get involved in your own town. If you hapen to be in the Baltimore area save the date for 5/20/17 and join the Crohnically Blonde team for the walk!
I know it seems far away but I am trying to recruit some teammates to join me in this effort and raise money and awareness about this life changing disease that impacts over 1 in 200 people. Since I have been sharing my story on social media I have received an overwhelming number of messages from people who I know and those I don't who are secretly struggling with IBD and the negative effects it has had on their lives. I know its not something that everyone feels comfortable talking about but my take on it is that this is part of me and I was given this challenge in my life for a reason. I truly believe that reason is to share my journey with others and help to raise awareness.
This event will be a fun way to celebrate raising awareness and it also will be a great way to meet others stuggling with the disease and their support systems. If you happen to be in the Baltimore area and want to join me please don't hesitate to reach out. In addition, followers from anywhere can donate right HERE.
It is our week Crohnies! Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week starts today and runs through December 7th! I have some really exciting content coming up in the new year and I have been grinding away to get it ready in honor of "our week" and I am ready to deliver! I have partnered with some charitable initiatives, done some serious research on what is up and coming for us, and even have a guest post coming at you from a medical professional. Definitely spend this week connecting with your fellow IBD sufferers and get ready for all of the goodness to come on Crohnically Blonde.
If you have any special requests for what you would like to see, please let me know and I will do my best to deliver! What I also ask of you is to really reflect on how you are using this week, and every other week for that matter, to raise awareness!
Blonde babe. Maryland native. Crohn's crushing puppy mother to two sweet rescues.