I'm Michelle Pickens, the voice behind Crohnically Blonde. I'm 28 years old and navigating life with a chronic illness the best way I know how. I live in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland with my husband and two rescue pups. I am definitely a self admitted crazy dog mom but these two boys bring me infinite joy. Charleston is our first little guy who is two years old, has a huge personality, and loves food more than any living creature I have ever met. Rhaegar (yes, Game of Thrones reference) is our second puppy. We adopted him from a local rescue after he underwent surgery for a debilitating intestinal disorder. He's got tummy problems, I've got tummy problems… we are so meant to be.
When I'm not snuggling my dogs or navigating this new thing called wife life, I'm probably binge watching reality TV, testing out beauty products, or eating Mexican food (definitely guacamole).
A huge part of my life has been my battle with Crohn's Disease and other related issues that I have had as a result of having an autoimmune disease. In no way do I want my illness to define me but instead of hiding it, I have chosen to share my experience, own it, and use it to connect with others. Everyday is a new adventure trying to navigate treatments, triggers, good days, and bad days while still trying to live a normal life to the fullest. This blog is a way for me to document those adventures and let others who are going through these things know that they are not alone.
I started blogging during my first semester of college at FIT in 2009. I was so shocked and thrilled that people actually cared about my ideas and opinions. When I moved back to Maryland I continued blogging throughout college which often focuses on my many shifts in career paths, living situations, fashion phases (there were some really bad times for that), and my life in general. Eventually, I ended up landing a job as a Design Assistant where about 70% of my job was blogging so I threw all of my effort into that. Fast forward a couple of years and now I am in a completely different career field as a Digital Account Manager. I was eager to get back into blogging for myself and restart the side hustle I had grown to love so much.
A huge driving force for creating this as a lifestyle/chronic illness blog was the amazing experience I had with the online community after I had gotten diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. I was sick, confused, and unsure of what my future held. The chronic illness community online was a resource I could lean on to ask questions, share my story, and not feel so alone in what I was going through. This blog is a way for me to give back to that community by sharing my story in hopes that it will help someone else.
The goal of Crohnically Blonde is to get people talking, sharing their stories, and hopefully bring together a larger community of people who can support each other. Ever since I made my first post on Facebook sharing my story years ago, I have consistently received messages from people who have silently been suffering but never felt comfortable sharing their stories or they just didn't know who to reach out to for support. I mean, let's face it, Crohn's is not sexy. No one wants to talk about it over a weekend brunch with their friends. Besides me…. But the more we share, the more resources we develop, and the larger our support network gets.
Thank you to everyone who has been a constant forces of positivity and support for Crohnically Blonde. I have to give a huge shout out to my mom who is my biggest fan (and now my cohost on my podcast!) and my husband, Matt, who puts up with me turning our house into a photo studio and writing blog posts at weird hours of the night. He also is a nurse by day so he doubles as my caretaker at home which I owe him so much for. Please continue to share your thoughts, comments, and feedback. Ask any questions and please share your story if you feel comfortable! I can't wait to continue this journey with you all!