It has been a while since I’ve shared a health update. Over the past few months it feels like nothing has happened but everything has happened at the same time. My Crohn’s symptoms have been under control for the most part, which has been a relief. I still have rough days (like today, ugh), but I can usually pinpoint the trigger and get things handled before they spin out of control. Usually the typical things are to blame, either having to push back Remicade, increased stress, or accidentally eating something that bothers me. While I feel like I actually have things somewhat under control, I’m embracing it! I also am feeling hopeful about looking at things in the bigger picture health wise and future wise instead of focusing on just getting by. The past six months have been focused around making sure other areas of my health are up to par. I’ve been working on my mental health, following up on skincare concerns, and I found a new primary care doctor. There are a lot more details through these appointments, which are definitely important and I will share in the future. For now, I'm giving you the high level overview.
As I got my ducks in a row health wise, I finally felt like I was getting some positive news. This gave me some confidence to start exploring some new possibilities. I finally took the leap and started to talk to my doctors about fertility. AHH! I know just talking about it might not sound like a big step, but for me, it is! I have had anxiety around these conversations for a long time, because I was so self conscious about how my body functioned. What if I heard answers that I couldn’t handle? So I just avoided asking. Through talking things through with Matt, I finally decided I needed to take control of what our future family was going to look like, and get educated on what that was going to look like with Crohn’s. My OBGYN referred me to a Maternal and Fetal Medicine specialist, which began the first step in learning what pregnancy and fertility could look like for me. I was incredibly nervous for my appointment, but it ended up going a lot smoother than I thought. I sat down with my doctor and we walked through everything from my medical history to my current medications. She let me know about potential risks, along with easing my mind about things I shouldn’t be anxious about. We talked through timeline, what my appointments would look like in the future, and how pregnancy can look a little different for someone with Crohn’s. Afterwards, I took the next step and followed up with my new primary care doctor. After some blood work and tests, I got the green light that my body is actually functioning pretty well even with the Crohn’s.
Although I don’t have a specific plan as far as timeline, taking these steps have helped me feel more confident that my body can handle being a mother someday. We’ve started the conversation and now I can approach it with a more realistic and informed view, instead of coming into it anxiety ridden. This is just the very beginning of this journey, and I don’t know what speed bumps I may hit moving forward. For now I am appreciative of this time where my body has been feeling better and allowing me to explore these options. I am proud of how far I have come in both my physical and mental health so far in 2019 and I am giving myself the opportunity to celebrate that. As I continue to sort our my thoughts and experiences from the past few months, I will share some more details and I will continue to share as I move forward. For now, I at least wanted everyone to have an update on where I have been health wise. I feel like in the past I’ve shared the challenges I have faced with my health, so it is a blessing to be able to share some bits of positive news with you all!
Okay, let me pause you right here... If you haven't read my first Budget Beauty Breakdown, go check it out. I give you the whole scoop in why I decided to start sharing these tips and I dive into the bank account shattering expenses of haircare.
For round two, we're going to talk nails. I remember when I got my first manicure when I was 7 years old, my mom told me that she didn't have her first manicure until she was 35. Now, doing the math, I realize that her first manicure was maybe a year before I came home demanding someone professionally paint my nails. This seems crazy to me because I have been getting regular manicures for the entirety of my adult life. When I was working in the events industry, it was an expectation that your nails were well kept and polished. That expectation has stuck with me ever since and now, like clockwork, I see my favorite nail tech, Tracy, once every 3 1/2 weeks. It makes me feel put together and honestly, I really like trying out new styles, colors, and designs that are "me".
Nail upkeep is not, at all, a cheap endeavor. I do have some tricks that I implement to make the whole nail situation a lot more affordable and I'm here to share......
For nails, SNS manicures (otherwise known as the dip powder), are the way to go... If you find someone who can do it well, your manicure can last for a really long time. I usually can go for 3-3 1/2 weeks without them looking bad when I get the SNS. It doesn’t chip or peel like gel does and it give your nails strength so they are less prone to breaking. Usually I pay between $40-$55 per SNS manicure depending on if I get designs or an ombre or something. Compared to what I would spend to get a gel manicure that would last me maybe a week, this is a not only a cash saver but a time saver as well. You will only have to be in the nail salon once a month instead of a couple times a month at least.
Pick a light color... This is a trick I use especially when I’m about to be traveling. The last thing I want to stress about while on a trip is how my nails look and I’m definitely not taking a day out of my plans to get them redone/ touched up. Thats why I will go for a light color instead of a bright hue or funky design. With light colors it is way less noticeable when your nails start to grow out and any chips are easily camouflaged. Like I said, this is great for traveling as well as when you are going long amounts of time between touch ups.
Stock up on Vaseline... This one I thought was super weird until I tried it. Vaseline reminds me of my grandma, smothering it all over my face before I went outside in the winter. I definitely can say it hasn’t ever graced my must have list. Until now. Vaseline is the ultimate cuticle moisturizer. One of the first things that will start to annoy me when I haven’t gotten my nails done in a couple of weeks are my cuticles. As soon as they are dry and start to crack and peel away all hell breaks lose and I’m frantically texting for a nail appointment. Vaseline actually helps to moisturize your cuticles and even if you start to have pesky pieces of unruly skin, it smooths everything down, making it way more bearable. Vaseline is also way more cost effective than fancy cuticle oils and, in my experience, works even better.
Opt for a Polish Change... This is a game changer in the toe nail department. This is such an easy swap for a pedicure that saves both time and money. If I’ve gotten a pedicure in the past month or so and my feet are looking and feeling good, with the polish being the only problem, this is my answer. I’m a fan of moisturizing my feet and hanging out in aloe socks so often times I can make a full pedicure last a while. That doesn’t mean the polish always lasts as long though or I want to keep the same color. Asking for a toenail polish change at the nail salon let’s you refresh the paint job without the whole shebang. It usually runs anywhere between $12-$20 depending on the type of polish/where you go and it takes a fraction of the time. I also love this trick in the winter when my feet don’t get a ton of out and about action but I could use a freshen up for an event. I also ALWAYS recommend getting gel on your toes. First off, it lasts longer, and they eliminate any chance for oopsie moments that will mess up your polish since you leave the salon with them dry.
Wear gloves... As a Maryland girl I love picking crabs. Seriously, summer is not the same without Old Bay doused crabs that you pick yourself out on the back deck. What also is not the same is the state of your nails after you’re done a crab feast. I was complaining about this to my nail tech, Tracy, and she looked at me like I was crazy and said “why don’t you wear gloves?”. WOW. How had this never come to me before?! Now I wear gloves for most messy activities that can cause wear and tear on my nails. Whether it’s handling potent spices, painting, or gardening, I keep gloves (you can do medical or catering gloves, both work) on hand at all times. This has really increased the longevity of my nails and preserves the color/polish for much longer.
I hope these tips help you to stay within your beauty budget while still allowing you to indulge a bit. Drop your favorite nail tips or polish preferences below!
Huge Amazon fan right here. Along with the rest of the world. With Prime Day starting tomorrow, I have been inspired to share some of my favorite Amazon fashion finds. At first I was not sold on the prospect of buying clothes from the same place I rush ordered paper towels, but after a few great successes, the idea really grew on me. Now I am a pro at navigating ratings and reviews to find good quality items at really great prices. All Primed to my house in two business days or less. I’ve rounded up the favorite summer items for you to shop. All of these are tried, true, and approved by me! Enjoy…
First up, bathing suits. I used to always buy expensive suits, wear them for one season, and then insist that I needed new styles for the next summer that rolled around. Definitely not cost effective. I have found some great suits on Amazon that are a fraction of the price of designer suits, but are still super trendy and cute. I like to buy trendier pieces from Amazon because even if the quality isn't great, it isn't like I will be wearing them year after year.
With the high waisted bikini trend being so prominent right now, I definitely wanted to snag a few for summer without breaking the budget. I found one in black and one in a palm print (so me, right?!) both for under $30 for the whole set. They both fit perfectly (thanks to reading the reviews) and showed up at my door just the way they looked online. I even ended up buying the black bikini in a star pattern for our Fourth of July trip!
For the first pick, I recommend sizing up because the pieces do run small and for the second pick I recommend the opposite. It does run a bit bigger so feel free to opt for a size down.
I also added in two suits that have been with me for a few years, both of which I got from Amazon. Just like a little black dress, it is always good to have a black bathing suit that you feel comfortable and attractive in. These are two of my picks that have made it from Hawaii, to the Outer Banks, to Greece, and lived to tell the tale.
I would order true to size in both of these. I did mediums in both and they work just fine! They also are both very forgiving silhouettes so nothing feels like it is grabbing in the wrong spot.
Bathing suit season also means you need some type of cover up for the beach. I like to wear something cute that I can walk into a beach bar or party wearing. You know, keeping things easy breezy with minimal outfit changes. Both of these I found for great prices on Amazon and I have gotten SO many compliments. I wore them both on the beaches in Greece and at least one person came up to me everyday asking me where I got them. Amazon, baby,
If you're looking for a summer sundress, these next two options are a ideal for embracing current trends without spending a ton of money. I bought both of these last year before our honeymoon and they still remain staples of my summer wardrobe. They both fit so, so well and the fabric doesn't wrinkle much which is a godsend for traveling.
Both of these are true to size. I purchased mediums in both.
Last up is my favorite accessory I have ever purchased from Amazon.... We all know that expensive, designer version wood clutch that it seems like ever fashion blogger has at least 75 Instagram pictures with. Well, TBH I did not have that money to shell out on a seasonal clutch. I respect the hell out of the original design and get that this version doesn't even come close to the level of detail in the original, but hey, girl's gotta pay a mortgage here. I found a dupe on Amazon that has served me well, made it into some cute Insta worthy pics, and also earned laughs from my husband who asks why I am carrying a birdcage with me to dinner. Very. Funny. Anyway, love this dupe from Amazon. It has traveled with me and survived so based on my experience the quality isn't bad if you are looking to get the wood clutch look without the price tag.
The tye is removable FYI.
Let me know what you think of these summer picks and if you want me to continue to share my Amazon fashion finds. I'm going to work on adding all of these to my Crohnically Blonde Amazon Shop, as right now it is mostly beauty products, but I will be sure to add these in!
Drop a comment and let me know your best budget friendly Amazon fashion find OR what you can't wait to get your hands on during Prime Day 2019!
I've been thinking about a way to incorporate my love of reading into the blog somehow because it truly is one of my favorite things. I read at least a couple of books a month, usually a mix between novels, autobiographies, and self-help books. I am always dying to talk to someone about them so I'm pushing books of onto my friends like they are drugs or something, just begging them to read so we can compare thoughts. I also LOVE recommending books in general, almost as much as I love recommending beauty products. I figure, if I'm already doing all of the work of reading, why not start to share some of my favorites with you all! Then I have a place to publicly proclaim my obsessions with these books without annoying all of my friends and hopefully delivering some value to CB readers.
I am still playing around with all of the details on how I want to start sharing these book reviews. I'm not writing a book report or anything boring. Basically I want to communicate what the book is about, why I liked it, and when you should read it.... Is it a beach read or a curl up on your sofa and cry for five hours read? Is it a good read when you need to give yourself a pep talk or when you are going through a break up? These are things you need to know before diving into this type of time commitment!
A big reason why I think reading has become such a love of mine is because it is something you can do to escape in any situation. To me it is a stress relief. If I am feeling sick and miserable I can always pull out a book or put on an audiobook. It requires no physical activity and no contact with other humans so when you suffer from a chronic illness, that honestly sounds like paradise. I can bring books when I am in the hospital, waiting for doctors appointments, getting Remicade infusions, or taking a bubble bath. I can also use books to help calm my anxiety. I find that being outside of my own world for a little while really helps me to reset and come back into a situation more leveled. When you are reading you are 100% focused on something that isn't anxious thoughts running through your brain. I think about it like I do a workout class. Workout classes are therapeutic for me because for an hour I am responsible for zero other thoughts than focusing on my workout. Reading is the same, only a workout for your brain and imagination.
Anyway, I'm starting today by posting three beach reads to Amazon Prime for the long weekend. Grab a cocktail, dig your feet in the sand, and enjoy. (Cocktail recommendations also included).
My first pick for a beach weekend is "The Husband's Secret" by Liane Moriarty. For all of the "Big Little Lies" fans out there, this book was written by the same author so you know it will be full of plot twists. "The Husband's Secret" is one of those books that you just become obsessed with and can't put down until you are done.
The whole premise of the book is a wife finding out something from her husband's past that was kind of A REALLY BIG DEAL, that he wasn't planning on telling her. Immediately you are questioning what you, yourself would do in this kind of situation. Do you do the "right" thing? What even is the "right" thing? Cecelia (the wife) struggles with holding onto this secret that would 100% really throw a wrench into everyone's lives if she says something, but how can she live with her husband now? The books follows not just Cecelia's journey but also other women in the town and their internal struggles that are all somehow related to this secret. I found myself getting super attached to the characters and NEEDING to know what happened next. It isn't a super long read so it is perfect to knock out if you have a weekend at the beach or a solo weekend to yourself. There will most likely be some tears and some feelings of WTF, but that's what makes books like these good. I personally think this pairs best with a wine spritzer or a big glass of Pinot Grigio.
Next up is something a bit lighter, but totally wild. "Pretty Mess" by Erika Jayne is SUCH a good vacation read. It has the perfect mix of holy shit I can't believe that really happened moments with an equal dose of the sassy, savvy, personality that we know and love from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Even if you aren't an avid Housewives watcher, this book is still a good read. In this memoir, Erika Jayne takes you through all of the ups and downs of her life and how she reached her level of fame and success. She spills juicy details about everything from her dancing days to her marriage, while focusing around the theme of making it work and getting what you want on your own terms. All done while give zero effs about what anyone thinks about you. When you close this book you will feel empowered to be a total badass, and maybe want to dance on a table. Best paired with a spicy margarita, extra spicy.
If you are looking for a productive read while you are relaxing in the sun, "Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t" by Steven Pressfield is a winner. If you are a blogger or writer, this one is certainly a must read, but it also is valuable for those whose professions don't revolve around the written word. While the book does focus around leveling up your writing abilities, I took it as how to level up your communication in general. We are telling stories all day and communicating in some way with an audience. This book is all about making sure you are adding value and interest in the way you are communicating and leading the audience to where you want them to go. This book challenges you to look inward and reflect on how you tell stories, share facts, and overall deliver what you want to say everyday. It delivers a bold statement that we can all use to gain a little more self awareness. This book is best paired with a spiked coffee, because you are going to be inspired to get working and get your shit together after reading this one.
All of these books you can buy physical copies of or you can purchase them via Audible! I'm a big fan of having a book in hand, but for long drives Audible is a life saver.
Drop a comment and let me know what types of books you want recommendations for and any genres that are you favorite! I can't wait to hear what you guys like to read and what you think of these recommendations!
Enjoy the long weekend!
Packing for a Long Weekend at the Beach: What You Seriously Shouldn't Forget But Might... So Read This
With Fourth of July weekend right around the corner, I have been getting ready for our upcoming beach trip. Matt and I are headed to Ocean City, MD with a few friends to enjoy the Fourth on the beach. Every year we always try to do at least one beach vacation and most years we end up in North Carolina or Florida. I honestly can't remember the last time I went to Ocean City in the summer, which is crazy because it is only a little over two hours away from Baltimore!
I'm working in the office right up until we leave this week so I spent the weekend pulling together items from my packing list so I'll be ready to hit the road as soon as work lets out for the holiday. My packing lists are NO JOKE. They are very detailed and live in an organized little notebook AND the notepad on my phone just in case one gets lost. Usually I'm flying to my destination so my packing essentials have to be paired down a bit. When it comes to beach trips, the more things you can bring with you the better. As I made my packing list I highlighted a few items that are crucial to bring but may slip your mind. I know this from experience......
The first thing is a BEACH UMBRELLA. Beach umbrellas are so key for protecting your skin from the sun and allowing you to enjoy being outside for as long as possible. I feel as though people are always so excited to get out and basque in the sun that they forget after 20 minutes it can get seriously hot. And amp up your risk for sunburn. I am a big fun of napping under an umbrella with a nice ocean breeze coming my way. If you are trying to read at the beach this is also key because you can have more control of the sun situation and not be squinting all day. Note cute and bad for the face wrinkles.
What about if it rains... BOARD GAMES, duh. I am always a fan of bringing board games on vacation. When you have a group of people together its nice to interact instead of sitting on your phones or watching a movie. Games are a really fun option to keep the group engaged without being glued to technology. I mean, you're on vacation, come on. Some of our personal favorites are Code Names, Scategories, and Life.
Staying hydrated is also critical for making sure your time at the beach stays fun and relaxing. I always recommend bringing your own INSULATED CUPS to fill up for a long day at the beach. They are way better than traditional plastic water bottles for keeping your water ice cold all day. Depending on where you are staying, they may not have these kinds of travel cups provided for you, so to be safe I always bring my own. This is my tried and true from Amazon that I am in love with.
When laying on the beach I am always trying to hydrate as much as possible. Sometimes this proves difficult when summer water aka rose is my ocean side beverage of choice. While I'm sipping my seasonal favorite, I pop some DripDrop ORS in my big water cup and sip away. It is so easy to get dehydrated when you are outside in the heat and enjoying some cocktails. I always pack pouches of DripDrop in our cooler or lunchbox, that's my little secret trick. It helps to rehydrate you very quickly so you can get back to enjoying your day at the beach and even prevents dehydration from occurring in the first place.
Next up are PAPER PRODUCTS. Just like with the insulated cup situation, you never know what you are walking into when staying at a hotel or beach rental. I always like to pack some paper products to keep cleanup easy and to prevent too much use of a host's nice dinnerware. Usually I will get a cute theme that goes with our trip and get coordinated napkins and straws as well. This adds some fun decor and prevents fights about who is doing the dishes on vacation. I DO get the recyclable options when I can so while this tip may be frowned upon, I have to speak the truth!
Then there is the potentially most needed and forgotten....ALOE LOTION. We've all come in from the beach just to realize we got a little more red than we had hoped. It is such a bad feeling when you get sunburnt on day one and are uncomfortable for the rest of the trip. I am vigilant when it comes to sunscreen but my husband, not so much. Even if you avoid the sun, packing some aloe products that you can share can save you from having to hear complaints the rest of the week. I definitely know this one from experience.....
Of course I've packed some other, totally extra items like I always do. Personalized wine tumblers, Fourth of July themed bathing suits, stars and stripes paper straws, just to name a few.... Target and Amazon are my go to's for low priced, cheeky items that add some themed fun to a trip.
Drop in the comments any links to Amazon products I can Prime in time for my trip on Wednesday! I'm always open to adding to my list, so give me some recommendations that you all love! Also, let me know, how are you spending your Fourth of July weekend, road tripping to the beach or grilling out at home?
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.