Hello, hello, hello.
It has been a little bit. To be honest life has been hitting me hard. I have been super overwhelmed with just about everything going on.
I've decided I am in deep need of:
Yes, I am kidding, but wouldn't those things be nice?
Finally I've come out of the eye of the stress storm and am on the way out of the hurricane... I think. Either way, I've planned some great new content that is coming up and to hold you over Diane and I release a short podcast episode!
We jump right in, chatting on the phone from Maryland to Hawaii. I am in a post Remicade daze so please mind my "um's" (brain fog is real AF) and Diane is lounging on her balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Same, right?
This was Diane's episode to run with and she did an amazing job of describing her beautiful vacation and giving some tips for traveling to Maui and traveling with Crohn's.
Check out this mini episode and stay tuned for another full length one that is going to be released later this week!
I am BEYOND excited that the Sprouts Ellicott City location is finally open! Yesterday I had the pleasure to tour the brand new store and experience all of the amazingness first hand.
Let me tell you, this exceeded my expectations in every way. There are seriously so many great things I want to share with you I don't even know where to start.
The selection of products is truly extensive and they really do focus on organic products so you feel good about anything you choose to purchase. I really appreciated the amount of specifically gluten free items they carry and this was definitely highlighted in the bakery section. The amount of gluten free bread selections they offer are more than I have ever seen. The baked goods are the same story; tons of delicious options.
There is a huge focus on produce so contrary to most grocery stores, all of the produce is in the dead center of the store! The fruits and vegetables that are in stock are plentiful and the options are vast enough that you can find even the most obscure ingredient from a Pinterest recipe. Not only is there a ton of great produce but it is actually decently priced. Now, I was definitely skeptical when I heard that Sprouts had 'great deals'. I feel like every store says this but rarely delivers. Sprouts is not messing around though. I was SOLD when I saw that avocados were 2 for $1. And, get this, they were actually ripe. Another rare situation in my grocery shopping experiences recently.
Moving on from the produce, there are a ton of other food sections to explore. There are ample selections of kombucha, fresh juices, cheeses, packaged goods, frozen meals, dairy, and just about anything you can think of. I usually try and stick to fresh foods but my hectic schedule sometimes leaves me staring in my freezer trying to see what the heck I have that I can heat up in three minutes. Luckily Sprouts is here to save the day with a selection of healthy, frozen meals (that are gluten free) and they even have frozen pizzas with cauliflower crust. Oh, and all of the frozen food was 20% off when I visited. WHAT!
The customizable approach they take to grocery shopping is something I really love too. Sprouts not only has a make your own trail mix area but also a wide variety of coffee beans you can select by amount and type, and just about the coolest thing ever, a spice counter where you can purchase the exact amount of certain spices that you may need. This helps to not only reduce waste but also helps to save you money because you don't have to buy a whole container of an exotic spice for one recipe.
If you're looking for some fresh, healthy food to grab on your lunch break they have a station where you can purchase freshly made sandwiches, prepared sides, and they have a delicious looking salad bar. While you're there, you can even pick up a fresh cut of meat for for dinner from the in house butcher.
The thing about Sprouts is you can literally get everything from this store. As if the amazing food selection wasn't enough, the vitamin section and the beauty are swoon worthy. There are vitamin experts on site that can provide you with any guidance you may need. And you may need it because the selection is super serious. I mean, I am a probiotic/supplement/natural remedy fanatic and this place really left me speechless. There are a ton of natural remedies which I struggle to find elsewhere and things like liquid chlorophyll that most people have no idea what the heck I'm talking about when I rave about it, but Sprouts gets me. The beauty products are another story because they also have such a selection I could get lost for hours. I did come home with a bottle of jojoba oil to cleanse my face with....
Overall, I had just an amazing experience at Sprouts and I was super impressed with their selections, their customer service/knowledgable employees, and their prices. Where else can you find Perfect Bars buy one get one free at $2.99 a pop? The answer is nowhere.
I can't wait to head back there this weekend to stock up on some new items for the week ahead. I can definitely see Sprouts becoming my regular stop for grocery shopping because it is just that darn good!
Sprouts in Ellicott City is open everyday from 7am to 10pm everyday so make sure to visit them ASAP, and chances are you may run into me there. Most likely piling the whole shelf of Topo Chicos into my cart (:
The Crohnically Blonde Podcast- The Skinny on Our Botox Experience (+ How It Improved My TMJ)
Our new podcast is live here on iTunes and we are super pumped about it. This is a fun and lighter episode than we have be doing recently. Diane is preparing for a trip, we talk about some things that we are loving, and we talk about our experiences with botox (+fillers).
We mentioned a few weeks ago that we were going to experiment with some injectables and report back. By now we've had time to let them sink in and share the details on our experiences.
Not only do we talk about how to use botox in a preventative way we also talk about how it can fix medical issues. I've had horrible TMJ for as long as I can remember so I went for it and got some needles to the masseter muscle in hopes it would bring me some relief.
We are sharing ALL of the details so give it a listen. Obviously we are not medical professionals so before your choose to do anything please consult with a board certified plastic surgeon.
If you live in Maryland and need referrals or want to know where we went specifically/who we saw drop us a message and we will give you the scoop.
My hair and I spent many years fighting with each other.
My natural locks are a mousey dirty blonde/light brown and was super thin and scraggly for the longest time. And by that I mean up until like last year.
I cycled through extensions and treatment products for almost a decade before I realized my body's effed up way of absorbing my nutrients (thanks anorexia + Crohn's!) was what was causing my hair to just literally not grow the way I wanted it to. This is a whole other post in and of itself but once my Crohn's got way more under control miraculously my hair started thriving for the first time I could ever remember.
Over the past 6 months or so I have been experimenting with styling products and tools to style my newly healthier hair and have been getting used to a life of styling my natural hair not just with extensions!
I have done a couple other posts about my haircare favorites before and don't get me wrong, all of those products are great and a lot of them are still in rotation in my routine. Here is the thing though, trying new beauty products is pretty much my hobby so I am always finding new sh*t that I am obsessed with.... hence the title of these posts.
I'm going to give ya'll a short rundown on why I love each of the products and you can click the link to purchase them via Amazon. Yup, extra bonus here, all of these products you can easily get 'primed' to your home so you literally do not have to leave your sofa.
If you're into the products I usually share (these included) make sure to check out my Amazon Influencer Shop where you can see all of my favorite things in a variety of different categories. There are a ton of haircare, skincare, and makeup products I love along with other things like books, office supplies, an even selfie lights.
Okay now let's do this thing....
I am a hairspray brat. I remember when I was little my mom used to spray hairspray while I was talking to her and it would get in my face/mouth and I would LOSE my shit. I've always been weird about how it smells, how sticky it is, and how impossible it makes restyling your hair without washing it. The thing is, when you have hair on the thinner side you need a decent amount of spray to keep any curls in tact but the formula cant be too heavy that it makes weighs your hair down.
I recently had the chance to try this product for free thanks to Influenster and I was a huge fan. This blog post is not sponsored by them so just putting that out there. I actually like this stuff. The hold is great like to the point where I had my hair curled during the outrageous Northeast windstorm and it kept my curls in tact.
The formula isn't super sticky and it actually gives your hair a pretty but non greasy shine. This stuff is perfect for the girl who hates washing her hair because it holds well but you can easily brush your hair and restyle without dealing with yucky buildup or a crunchy feel.
There isn't much to say about this stuff besides it is a lifesaver. To be honest, I don't even know all 25 things this stuff does but I can gladly tell you what I use it for. I put it in after I wash my hair as a leave in conditioner. It helps to detangle and moisturize my hair as well as helping to manage frizziness and as a heat protectant.
It is super easy to use and a little goes a long way. It is totally not heavy at all and doesn't leave any kind of residue.
Drybar products are my JAM. Literally I have never used something from them that I haven't fallen in love with. A little goes a long way with this sea salt spray. I love putting it in wet hair if I don't have time to dry it because it will leave my usual stick straight hair with a bit of texture. I love spraying this in with a tiny bit of hairspray after doing some tousled curls. It gives your hair a sexy, undone looks and looks like you aren't trying too hard. Usually to look like you aren't trying you have to put a lot of effort in but seriously, not with this stuff. It is also great to throw in your beach bag on vacations. Also, I'm a huge fan of this for second (and even third) day hair to amp it up a bit. The delicious smell doesn't hurt either.
If you haven't gotten the theme here, I just really don't like washing my hair. Don't judge me. I know at least 80% of ya'll reading this only wash yours 2-3 times per week whether you want to admit it or not.
Dry shampoo is my best friend. I actually joke at work that our team runs on dry shampoo. Why? Because we are all boss ass babes that have a lot more important things to do than wash our hair everyday. Just. Saying.
I've tried almost every type of dry shampoo on the market. Expensive, cheap, spray, powder, you name it and I've tried it. My tried and true favorite always is Batiste. It is reasonably priced, gets the job done, and I always order this 3-pack from Amazon because that is how quickly I go through it.
I have been through my fair share of curling irons but I have never found one that is as easy to use and totally efficient as this one it. Matt got this for my for Valentine's Day last month after I had been obsessing over it when I got my hair done at Drybar. Best husband award.
This tool is super easy to use. It heats up to 440 degrees almost instantly so it is great for when you are rushed in the mornings. The barrel rotates to it is ergonomically friendly and ensures you have a smooth curl every time. The 1.25 inch is great for my length of hair and perfect for curling my extensions as well.
It definitely is an investment but I have learned over the years that in my opinion it is definitely worth investing in quality hair tools because they DO make such a different.
This T3 dryer is another great investment in the hair tool category. It is so light weight and dries my hair insanely quickly. Another one that makes rushed morning before work 10x easier. It also isn't super loud so you won't wake your entire house up at 6am. The speedy drying time is the thing that will forever sell me on T3 dryers because part of the reason I hate washing my hair is because I hate the time it takes to style afterwards. This has undoubtedly cut down my drying time at least in half. 15 extra minutes that I can sleep in on a Monday morning? Sign. Me. Up.
I hope you all enjoy the products I mentioned and they help to make your hair styling experience a lot more efficient and hopefully more fun! Make sure to check out my Amazon Influencer Page to shop my other favorite items and drop me a message/comment with any recommendations you have! I am always looking for new things to try!
First off, if you haven't read my post from last week on Sprouts, STOP AND GO NOW.
Seriously, if you live in the Ellicott City/Baltimore/ surrounding area this news is a life changer. Sprouts is opening their first Maryland location in Ellicott City and they have just about everything you could ask for when it comes to catering to dietary restrictions, trying to eat healthy, or just putting delicious food on the table for your family. Oh, and its ALL super cost effective and in one place. Very efficient. I am already a fan.
As if I wasn't already excited enough about Sprouts coming to the area they totally HOOKED IT UP and sent me some delicious (all gluten free) Sprouts brand products to try. Can I just say…. They pretty much read my mind/taste buds/ stalked my Instagram or they are just super lucky and got it right with all of my favorite things. Not only did they send me some tried and try essentials: dijon mustard, almond butter, olive oil cooking spray, honey; but they also sent me some delicious snacks to try that were right up my alley.
A few of my favorites were:
Chocolate Coconut Rolls - They're a great gluten free sweet treat that’s light and easy to pack as a snack for work or on the go. I also am a real big coconut advocate so that played a lot into my love for these.
Organic Popcorn with Himalayan Sea Salt and Coconut Oil- Popcorn is one of those things that once I start eating I literally cannot stop. Like it is a problem. Its one of my favorite snacks and sometimes the only way to keep myself awake during a movie. Not kidding with that one. This stuff actually has a movie theater popcorn taste without all of the butter and stomach aches.
Organic Ghost Pepper Salsa- I love spicy things, I love Mexican food. I love salsa of any and all types. When I was in Key West years ago I insisted on going to a hot sauce tasting so I could try ghost pepper sauce. Very spicy. And I loved it. This salsa is probably one of the best salsas I have tasted and definitely the best one I've had not in a restaurant. It isn't so spicy that it burns your mouth but it has a great kick at the end that. I cannot wait to try this on taco salads to add some heat and I will most definitely be serving this at my next game night.
On top of the staples and yummy new snacks they sent me some of the Sprouts body wash and hand soap to try. They are both lavender scented which is super calming. Both are non drying and even my husband approved.
This last product is a MUST HAVE in my household. I literally use it for everything so when I got a new jar I danced around my kitchen. Seriously. COCONUT OIL. Not only do I use it every time I cook, I also use it as part of my daily beauty routine. This is a whole other post in and of itself but I use it for wiping off my makeup, moisturizing my skin, and cleaning/moisturizing my lash extensions. I always like to have a jar in the kitchen and on my makeup table 24/7. This needs to be your first purchase when you walk into Sprouts if you aren't on the coconut oil train yet. Then the Ghost Pepper Salsa….
Let me go on the record here and say, you will find no shortage of Sprouts Brand products (there are over 2,000 different kinds) and they are always adding new items to try. The best part is they have a ton of options that are natural and organic, as well as gluten free, vegan, and non- GMO.
As I experiment more with these products I will share some more of my favorites and recipes but for now you can find recipes and tips at SproutsBrand.com.
So I know I started this post talking about how not only great but also affordable Sprouts is. I have got you covered on even more deals so you have literally no excuse not to try all of the deliciousness that they have to offer.
First off, the Grand Opening deals at Sprouts Ellicott City are going to be out of control. On March 14th (opening day) the first 200 shoppers to checkout will receive 20% off of their total purchase, every 15th shopper will receive a coupon book, plus there will be samples and free reusable bag available to all shoppers!
If you can't make it in for the Grand Opening you still have time to save during the opening weekend. On Saturday (3/17) the first 200 customers to checkout will receive coupons for five free deli items. On Sunday (3/18) upon checkout, every 15th customer will receive $5 off their next purchase of $15 or more.
The Grand Opening isn't the only time you can save, which I am super thankful for since I probably will be there at least twice a week. More than a third of the store is rumored to be on promotion at any given time so you are already set up for budget success.
Three of the ways that I will be keeping up with promotions are:
Sprouts Mobile App - With the app you can clip coupons on your phone and easily scan your custom barcode during checkout to apply them.
Deals of the Month- You can access this flyer easily online. It highlights all of the 2,000 plus products that are on sale so you can proactively plan your grocery list/ meals for the week based on what deals are going on before you get to the store!
Weekly E-Circular- You can subscribe to this online to hear about the weekly deals and sign up for the eNewsletter to be the first to hear about special sales and promotions going on at the Ellicott City location.
If were being honest, usually specialty food stores are not cost effective so the fact that Sprouts actually focuses on providing these great savings is so refreshing. No matter what your budget is, everyone deserves to be able to eat good quality food that promotes a healthy lifestyle.
I am so excited for Sprouts to open in my area so I can continue trying their products and sharing my favorite finds with ya'll. I also have the pleasure of checking out the new location for their Grand Opening Party next week so I will be sharing all of the details and giving you the inside scoop.
If you are in an area where you are lucky enough to already have a Sprouts, let me know all of your favorite things and things I should try. If not, let me know which of the products I mentioned you are looking forward to trying.
OUR ED BACKSTORIES
In the podcast this week my mom and I opened up about our ongoing struggles with eating disorders and recovery. We thought it was fitting because it is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. First off, if you haven't listened to this week's episode, stop and go listen ASAP (HERE!).
In the podcast we didn't go too far into our backstories but focused more on a real time update and the continued struggles we've experienced. After the podcast went live I had quite a few people who were curious about how we got to this point and our experience when we were in the darkest parts of our experience.
So I figured why not create a post answering those questions....You can hear/read about my entire story in this post and on The F- Word podcast (episode 15). I also dive into some coping tools and a recovery focused book that I love in this post.
My mom has just recently become a huge part of Crohnically Blonde so has not yet had the chance to share her full story. Diane shared a bit about her past struggles with anorexia and how her struggles and then recovery evolved through having children and then combating Crohn's.
I hope ya'll enjoy what she has to share and I am so excited for her to continue to share her experiences and wisdom with us!
I began my issues with Anorexia in early high school, didn’t seem to have issues in college, resumed my issues after college and seemingly moved beyond my issues a few years after my second daughter was born. While in high school, Anorexia was recognized, but not discussed much and according to what I knew, not many people knew how to deal with it. My best friend was concerned and talked to my parents. I vaguely remember my parents addressing it with me and my dad trying to convince me to eat ice cream.
After college when I got married, I resumed my anorexia. I don’t remember during any of this time anyone ever telling me that I was fat or too big. It was all me. Why? Was there a gene involved? Was it a product of my apparently not so happy childhood? Was it society? Yes. No. I don’t know. I just knew that I had to carefully watch what I ate, make sure I exercised a lot and never got above a certain weight that I had determined was my healthy weight according to my perception of how I looked. And this was a full time job as I thought about it constantly. There were a couple of times that I allowed myself to gain some weight. When I was trying to get pregnant. Because at the lower weight, I didn’t have my period. During this time of trying to get pregnant, being pregnant and after the births during breast feeding, I was still very obsessed about what I ate and how much I exercised. Actually, I weighed my least amount ever when my second daughter was one.
What happened next? I don’t know exactly, but about two years later I sought help for what was diagnosed as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Besides medication, I saw a counselor that helped me through some issues that I didn’t realize I had. I am very good at shutting off parts of my life. Then I didn’t seem to have Anorexia any more.
Really? Okay maybe not Anorexia, but I still had body image issues which I didn’t fully acknowledge for many more years. I raised my girls knowing I had had an eating disorder so was very careful not to let my vocabulary and behavior show this or affect them. I thought I did a good job with that. Well, no I didn’t.
Today, I still have body image issues and now I have Crohns.
This is where in my story Michelle and I pick up to discuss the issues-do you mentally ever get past an eating disorder? How does it evolve as you get older? What about other health issues on top of it? What about social media?"
If you know me you know I love anything that can add texture to a look. Let me tell you, my house is full of faux fur, chunky knits, reclaimed wood, marble… you name the texture and I’m mixing it into my home decor or, of course, my wardrobe. I love a good classic piece in a unique texture to add some dimension to a look. I also love the fact that throwing in new accessories to an outfit you’ve worn before can totally revamp it. Each season I usually focus on a few trends I am loving and stock up on accessories that update my look. For spring, I have already gotten a head start and developed a new obsession. Wood watches.
When JORD reached out suggesting a partnership to promote their wood watches I was sold immediately after checking out their pieces. They sent me the Fieldcrest watch in a beautiful maple color. It’s a sleek, light wood with silver metal elements. It arrived in the mail right before my trip to Charleston so I was super excited to style it with some of my vacation looks.
Can we just talk about how perfect the packaging is though for a second?
My watch arrived in a beautifully made wood box complete with a little drawer for storing extra links/tools. This serves not only as a super cute delivery method but it looks great on my dresser.
I’ve been wearing this watch all over the place for the past couple of weeks and can’t tell you how many compliments I’ve gotten. Not only does the watch look great on its own but also layered with other bracelets. My favorite combo has been pairing it with a chunky sweater and my marble bead bracelet… allll of the texture.
My favorite thing about my new watch is the versatility. I’m a busy lady so I need pieces that can transition easily from the office, to a networking event, to dinner with my girlfriends. Luckily this watch can be paired with just about any outfit. For the office it adds some fun texture to my usual attire. My favorite way to wear it to work is with an all black outfit, nude heels and a top knot (it really stands out against the all black and the nude heels bring out the gorgeous color). For weekends I’ve been all about a chunky sweater with a fun stack of bracelets alongside my watch.
Whether you’re slaving away at your laptop or sipping rose all night (are both…. usually me), JORD watches have got you covered. They have so many sleek and classy wood styles in different stains and with different metal options. While I was perusing their website I got lost down the rabbit hole of all of the cool men’s styles they offer too. Take notes and you’ll thank me next time you need a gift for your husband…. Another option they offer are Apple Watch bands which I have already mentally noted as the next gift I am getting Matt.
Lucky for us, JORD is offering an EXCLUSIVE GIVEAWAY to Chronically Blonde readers. The winner will be announced on March 11, 2018 and will receive a $100 gift card to use on a purchase from JORD. Also, just for entering you will receive a code for 10% off of your first purchase!
Good luck! Can’t wait to see which style is YOUR favorite xx.
Mental health advocate.
Sharing my raw and real journey through motherhood and navigating Crohn’s Disease. CrohnicallyBlonde is a place where I serve up my unfiltered commentary on chronic illness, mental health, pregnancy, and motherhood alongside lighter lifestyle content like beauty product reviews, travel tips, and book recommendations. My hope is that by authentically sharing my story I can help others going through similar situations not feel so alone and maybe even laugh along with me.
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