The holiday season means you will, more than likely, be dashing from event to event all December long. From meeting up with friends, office parties, spending time with family, and checking everything off of your pre holiday 'to do' list, chances are you are letting your regular nutrition, fitness, and sleep routines fall by the wayside. With IBD, this can be the time when flares and symptoms can hit the hardest. In my experience, I see this happen due to changes in my routine and added stress. It is also, of course, sick season so the more you socialize the more you are exposed to potential bugs that can knock you on your butt for quite a few days. Every year, I feel like I tweak my routine a little bit and become savvier in how to keep my health in check throughout the holidays while still being able to enjoy myself.
This year I have five tips that I am living by to help me make it through this crazy busy, festive month.
Vitamins and hydration
Holiday season means lots of eating and drinking outside of your normal routine, or at least the option to. I like to indulge a little when I can. Wine night with friends that are in town, dinner out to celebrate a successful year with my team, gluten free Christmas treats..... My usual rule of thumb is to let yourself enjoy what you want, while being mindful of how they will impact how you feel. It is all about the balance, baby. And honestly, this time of year we can get a little off balance and live your best life, and you should not feel guilty. That being said, during this time of the year, proper hydration and nutrient intake can become an afterthought to all of the holiday cheer. Instead of stressing, I am making things easy by sticking to a regemine I can keep conveniently in my purse everyday. I am making sure I drink at least one packet of DripDrop ORS for dehydration relief each day (more than one for sure if I am having a few glasses of bubbly). This is also key for if my Crohn's symptoms start acting up. Even when I can get those under control, the dehydration can keep me down and out for even longer. Mixing in a packet of DripDrop ORS everyday helps to keep me on my A-game no matter what my body is throwing at me.
I also make sure I take a quality multivitamin once per day. I have been taking Ritual vitamins for the past year and a half and absolutely love them. I can feel confident that no matter what weird combination of foods I'm grabbing from our holiday potluck, at least I am getting my core vitamins everyday.
Limit your plans - its okay to say 'no'
This one took me so long to actually live by. There are so many plans happening around the holidays, but you don't have to attend every single event you are invited to. I've realized that it is better to give your all at a few events you are really excited to attend then be half checked out at a laundry list of events that you only sort of care about. I also used to always feel really bad about saying no to events I would get invited to because I didn't want to let down the host. Well, let's be real, the host has so much going on, they probably don't really care one way or another. Not being rude, but unless you are the guest of honor, it is not a big deal. And if the host is a close enough friend, they would probably want you to be relaxing at home if that's what is best for you anyway.
As part of limiting my plans I make a list at the beginning of December of all of the things I want to do/attend and then I prioritize them. By adding the things I really want to do into my planner from the start I have a more realistic idea of what else I can commit to.
Work from home if your office is sick
If there is a bug cycling through your office, do yourself a favor and if you can, work from home. So many people will try to power through their illness and bring all of their germs to work with them instead of laying low at home. As someone with a compromised immune system, this does NOT sit well with me. If I notice something is going around and too many people are dropping like flies in the office, I try to limit my exposure. Whether that means staying in my office or requesting to work from home, this ensures that I can continue to get my work done and hopefully not succumb to the office plague.
Keep your sleep schedule regular
Sleep can be tricky when your social calendar is packed. You might be out late on week nights when usually your bedtime is 9pm or you may find yourself with extra time to hit snooze on your days off. The best thing you can do is keep your sleep schedule as regular as possible. I usually try to have an hour time frame that I go to bed and wake up routinely everyday (including days off!). If I am out at an event, I always set a target time for me to say my goodbyes and call an Uber, so that I can be home in time to do at least some semblance of my nightly routine and be in bed at a regular time. Of course there are exceptions and nights when you are having such a great time, turning in for the evening sounds miserable, and that's fine, stay out! Like I said, all about balance, baby.
If you have PTO take it
I can't tell you how many times I hear my coworkers talking about all of the hours of PTO they are going to lose at the end of the year. A lot of companies have a maximum amount of PTO that you can roll over to the New Year which leaves a lot of hours to be taken or lost. Most of us workaholics rack up time all year just to keep running ourselves to the ground until December 31st then starting all over again. If you have time banked up, please do yourself a favor and USE IT. It is your time, you earned it, don't feel guilty about taking off work to refresh yourself for the New Year. It doesn't matter if you are going on vacation or staying on your sofa watching Netflix for three days, either way, you're doing what you need to do to give you mind and body a break. This will help you to feel less rundown as you tackle the mid winter months, and hopefully help to keep you a bit healthier.
I hope you all have a happy and healthy holiday season full of B A L A N C E.
I can't believe it is already the week of Thanksgiving! I feel like it just became Fall like two minutes ago and all of a sudden here we are and I'm putting together my list of holiday activities I can't wait to do this year. This week I finally started my holiday shopping and I'm trying to get a head start on deciding what to get everyone on my list so I can find the best deals for Black Friday/Small Business Saturday this weekend. I've already released my first gift guide (For The Girls) and I have a few more in the works. Throughout this week I am also looking forward to sharing some of the deals happening at my favorite places to shop, both locally and online. I wanted to start with Meritage Jewelers, number one because I love them, but number two, I want to give you ladies time before the big shopping weekend. If there are some things you want to strategically send your husband/boyfriend OR if you want to let them know about the deals happening at Meritage this weekend, now you have the chance. They make the whole jewelry buying process super easy and personal (they actually listen to your budget and style preferences!). They also have a full bar with big screen TVs in the back so it might feel kind of natural for your man to hang out here, just saying.
So let's do this.....
This past weekend I got a little sneak peek of the deals Meritage Jewelers are offering for Black Friday/Small Business Saturday, and I am ALL about it. Not only do they have some perks going on, they also have giftable pieces for everyone. I found everything from gifts I could give my friends/sisters to pieces I would put on my wish list for gifts from the hubby. I am loving the chance to partner with a local small business and let more people know about a jeweler that really takes care of you and works with your budget/style.
I’m sharing a few highlights from my recent visits to give you an idea of the options they have. If you like my picks and want to shop them for yourself (or your gift list), just show this post at Meritage this weekend and they will help you find the pieces.
Their selection of stackable bracelets are swoon worthy. Mixing different metals is a trend I love, and with these delicate pieces, you can make a statement everyday. These pair well with everything and are super lightweight.
I am also loving a matching set. They are great for everyday or a special occasion because you can dress them up or dress them down. This geometric gold set is perfect to wear with an off the shoulder dress for a holiday party. And this rose gold/diamond set…. I could basically live in this one.
I love these gold statement pieces, especially the stackable bracelets and gorgeous rings. These are perfect to wear alone or layer up for a bolder look.
My favorite giftable pieces are these diamond stud earrings. This is a gift you truly CANNOT go wrong with. There is no worrying about sizing and or style, they are classic, one size fits all gifts that ares super special. Meritage also offers a lifetime trade in program where as your lifestyle evolves and upgrades, you can upgrade your diamonds too. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving.
For Black Friday/Small Business Saturday, Meritage is ready to help you find the perfect gift with their impeccable customer service and expertise. They also make they whole shopping experience super enjoyable with the most personable staff (and full bar in the back of the store!). This weekend, to celebrate the kick off of shopping season, they are giving away a free pair of AirPods with any purchase over $1,500.
I can’t wait to see what pieces you are loving and for you to get spoiled (or spoil yourself) this holiday season.
With holiday season basically here, it is time to start making your shopping list for all of the loved ones in your life you are gifting to this year. I always feel like as you get older, the harder it gets to find the perfect gift for your friends and siblings. Once you're at a certain point in life, if you need it, you buy it, so what possibly can I gift you?
I am always a fan of the gift of experiences (a winery tour, a staycation at a local hotel, etc.), but if you are looking for some perfect gifts for you friends to unwrap, I say, focus on adding a little luxury to their life. I like to gift my friends and sisters things that they wouldn't necessarily splurge on for themselves or something that they didn't even know they needed. When they open a gift like one of these, I hope it brings back a little excitement instead of just checking something off of a wish list. I also get weirdly excited when I gift a product/item that I am so obsessed with and know the recipient will be too. I try so many products so I know I'm picking out the best stuff for the people I'm excited to gift to.
Of course, these luxurious/thoughtful/actually affordable gifts are sometimes hard to find, until you know about them... then you know. I've curated a list of my favorite giftable items that range in price from $15-$200, so you have some options on what to spend, or you can mix and match a few to create a perfect bag of goodies.
Barefoot Dreams Blanket
I'm starting with the most expensive item first, but also the most amazing. This was a gift to me from one of my best friends last Christmas (of course inspired by The Skinny Confidential), and it is probably one of the most used and favorited things I've ever gotten. I never imagined a blanket would be worth $180, but, guys... it really is. This is the softest, most durable, coziest blanket you will ever own. It is perfect to gift to a friend who just moved into a new home or really anyone. These come in a range of different colors and they even have a matching baby blanket for the new mamas in your life.
Barefoot Dreams Socks
If you want to go a little more cost friendly, but still gift the ultimate comfort of Barefoot Dreams, these sock are the way to go. They are a perfect little piece of luxury that you can look forward to when you get home from work or throw in your carryon for a long flight. If you are gifting a gift card for a mani/pedi or spa day, these are a great extra to throw in or you can make a little relaxation kit with these, a cute mug, and some mint tea.
Uncommon James Jewelry
You can't go wrong with these beautiful pieces. Uncommon James pieces are always trendy, but accessibly trendy so that you can wear them season after season, therefore, worth investing in. The quality is great and definitely feel a little luxurious. All of the pieces have a super delicate feel and can go with just about any style. This makes them great for gifting!
Gift Boxes from Winc
A good bottle of wine is one of my go to gifts, but I always feel like I'm missing a little something by just giving a bottle. Winc's gift boxes give a little festive extra-ness to your wine gift, which adds some personality and fun when you're opening it. I also love these for friends you have to ship gifts to, since Winc will package and send it directly for you.
Drunk Elephant Skincare
I am obsessed with this skincare and I wish I could gift it to every person I know, because its that freaking good. I love the mini sets that allow you to try a few hero products at a great price point. If you're going for a bigger ticket item, opt for one of their larger kits that contain a fuller range of products. Amazing skincare doesn't always make everyone's budget, especially when you're spending left and right around the holidays, so being able to give the gift of a little self care can feel magical.
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask
This stuff Is a game changer. I've talked about it on the blog and my Instagram so many times before so I will spare you some of the details. This lip mask is great for everyday and overnight wear, and is especially crucial in the colder months. At $20 per jar, it can feel like a bit of a splurge for what you think you could use vaseline for. But seriously, that's why you need to gift this stuff. What one of your friends may not buy for herself, she will truly appreciate the benefits of this skincare essential. This is NO vaseline and definitely worth the $20.
Peter Thomas Roth Face Mask Kit
Or really any face mask kit. I love sampler style beauty kits that give you a chance to sample more than one product and indulge a bit. It might just be me, but face masks feel like a universal sign of relaxation so gifting a variety of them is truly the gift that keeps on giving.
Capri Blue Candles
The best smelling, most beautiful candles ever. You can never have enough of these and no one is EVER disappointed opening one. They are perfect for basically any lady on your list. I also love that they come in the standard size and the minis which are great to throw in with a gift card or a bottle of wine.
I love these monogramed totes from Marley Lilly. They are cute, cost effective, and super durable ( I know because I have a few myself). These are great for just about anyone of your list, but super special for the newly engaged or married ladies. There is nothing like seeing your new monogram as a bride to be! Marley Lilly also always has really great deals so you can spoil your friends without breaking the bank.
A Subscription Box
A subscription box if the ultimate gift that keeps on giving. FabFitFun is one of my favorites because it incorporates a mixture of wellness, home, fashion, and beauty products that will definitely appeal to most tastes. If you gift a year long subscription (under $200), the recipient also has the option to customize their boxes each quarter. I love this idea because it makes you feel like you are getting a special gift four times a year and you get to choose why you really want.
So, that's my curated list! What lovely ladies are on your gifting? Is there anything you are SO excited to give this year?! Drop a comment and let me know.
Also, make sure to check back and follow along on Instagram for my other upcoming gift guides and gift recommendations. You can also check out my Spoonie Gift Guide from last year!
Ever since we have been in our home (two years now, I can't believe it!!) I have been all in on decorating for just about every holiday. A few months ago I asked you all what you wanted to see more of on the blog and, to my surprise, a ton of you wanted to see more home decor/decorating on a budget. I never really saw that as my "specialty" but just something I did to add some festive vibes to our house without blowing a ton of money. The Christmas decor post I did got a ton of love so I figured, why not continue with Valentine's Day?
I have a few areas in my house that are constantly rotating with holiday decor. I only decorate my first floor (living room, dining room, kitchen) to keep things easy, and I try and save money by purchasing items that can flow from season to season. For example, I bought some adorable Christmas pillows that were red and blush colored so, boom, now they can take me through Valentine's Day. I am all about making things easy so most of my decorations are from Target because I can get them all in one spot while running errands or get them delivered quickly and for free (thank you REDcard!). Target is great because they have a ton of cute things that are inexpensive and trendy so you can use them for only one season and not feel bad but they are good enough quality that you can reuse year after year if they still work for your style.
In this post, I've highlighted a few of my favorites from this year along with some tips on how to incorporate decor from other holidays (money saving YESSS).
If you have read my Christmas decor post, you know that a letter board is one of my favorite decor items. They can easily be switched from holiday to holiday and can have cute saying displayed in between. Currently we have "New Year Who Dis?" featured in our dining room and between holidays, quotes from "The Office" frequent the board. I got one in millennial pink because it gives a cheeky pop of color but also fits for just about every holiday/season.
As far as taking decor from Christmas into Valentine's Day, pillows are a super easy thing to invest in that work for both. I love having some pops of pink for Christmas and of course, red is a Christmas staple. The throw pillows I bought were holiday neutral enough (but still festive) that they could seamlessly transition into Valentine's Day. For pillows, they can often be pricier so I like to invest in ones that are versatile but at the same time can be punchy and cute.
These are some of my favorites now from Anthroplogie. They are absolutely adorable, super soft, and definitely versatile. The color combinations are so freaking good.
Another item that I love investing in are candles. Specifically great smelling ones. I love the Capri Blue Candles and they come in punchy colors that just scream Valentine's Day. They aren't cheap, but they are amazing enough to continue using 365 days a year.
When it comes to candles I love putting them out on my coffee table and dining room table. I like to put jars that are running on empty on my cabinet shelves in the dining room to add some color (#repurposing). My cabinet is my focal point of the dining room and I switch it out for every season. This year I've loaded it with adorable wedding photos, candles, and a big, pink "XOXO" balloon ($3 from Target).
In the dining room I also always switch out my table runner or placemats and I always get some themed paper straws or our bar cart.
This is the table runner I got this year. So cute, right?!
And these are the paper straws! I throw them in either a mason jar or a mercury glass jar and add a cute bottle of rosé to the bar cart and, boom, so cute and festive.
Now onto the living room... I have my carry over pillows from Christmas along with some furry pillows and throw blankets. I do like to add one or two fun items to spice things up. This heart throw pillow is a personal favorite and this garland is prefect on our TV stand.
Wreath wise, you can definitely get away with a red theme from Christmas or a pink theme for Spring, but if you are in the mood for something spot on, this wreath is everything. And won't break the bank.
I like to think that getting in the holiday spirit doesn't just mean decorating your house, but also yourself when necessary. I totally fell in love with this Valentine's themed robe from Victoria's Secret. It definitely is festive but cute enough to wear all year round while doing your makeup in the morning. I also am loving these super cute coffee mugs that can be used for Valentine's Day or just when you want to channel some romantic vibes. Both are great investments that can get you in the holiday spirit but also can be adorable and useful all year round.
Stay tuned via Instagram (@crohnicallyblonde) to see live updates on my home decor and drop me a message with any recommendations or tips you have for holiday home decorating!
(Photo by Madison Short)
This year marks our second holiday season in our house! Last year was a whirlwind with our wedding ceremony and planning for our big celebration for the summer. We were super busy and in major budget mode so Christmas festivities and decorating were pushed by the wayside while we hustled through life. This year things have slowed down so we are trying to enjoy every second of the holiday season and make sure our cozy home is just as festive as we are.
While we are amping up our holiday spirit we are also trying to do so on a budget. As much as I love swooning over the huge trees and the extensive displays of Christmas decor on Pinterest, I have to be realistic. We live in a townhouse which is perfect for us but doesn't boast a ton of additional space for 9ft trees and such. The challenge is decorating for a smaller space while on a budget and also looking cute. The perfect trifecta.
I have some tricks up my sleeve that will help you do all three. Now I'm no Martha Stewart so these recommendations are simple and do not require much DIY work. I know there are a ton of DIY hacks for Christmas decor but I do not have time for that. Just being honest.
First things first. Get yourself a tree! And don't spend a fortune.
I know this will shock some of you all but I have never had a real tree in my entire life, I always go artificial. That is just how I grew up. So if you are looking for the real deal just skip this section.
If you are like me and keep it artificial, check out Target. They always have great deals on trees and they are pretty good quality (they also have a TON of options)! We just got our new tree on Black Friday for 40% off from Target. They are still on sale for 30% off now and they have plenty that are under $150 and even under $100.
My top picks are...
You can use these trees year after year if you opt for a classic option or if you want to go trendy (this blush tree is calling my name) the choices are cost friendly enough that if you want to mix it up next year you can.
When it comes to decorating the tree I know there can be mixed opinions. Some people like their tree to be very cohesive and others want every ornament they've ever owned since birth on the tree. I've settled on a fun middle ground that keeps my OCD in check but still has a fun bit of history and personality.
Since my sister and I were born, every year when we were young, Santa would bring us a special ornament that represented us or that we were just really into that year. As we got older we picked these ornaments out for ourselves. Looking back at our ornament collections now is so fun because you can see how we progressed through the years. While I don't want an entire tree that is all childhood memories they are fun to sprinkle throughout the tree each year and always prompt some funny stories while we are putting them up.
I like to start with a neutral set of ornaments that can serve as a base. I feel like the neutral helps to keep things cohesive and then you can add in fun pops whether they are your childhood picks or something funny that you and your hubby are loving this year. Like these disco balls.
These are the basic ornaments I like from Target. They are only $15 per set so you can stock up. They also come in a ton of different colors so you can pick which neutral or base color you want to go with.
When it comes to decorating the rest of the house I have a similar mentality. When we first moved in I invested in some more neutral items that vibe well no matter what kind of Christmas decor theme we choose. These are things like a classic green garland, gold reindeer figurines, and a big fur wrapped present. To me fur and glitter reindeer are neutrals, to you they may be different but you get what I'm saying. Most of these pieces I got from Hobby Lobby when they were having a 40-50% off sale.
This year I decided to add some pops of color and picked up some accents from Target. I love Bullseye's Playground aka that area at the front of the store that has seasonal items from $1 to $5. To be fair I was oblivious that this was called Bullseye's Playground until my mom told me and it all just clicked. (Thanks mom). The selection online isn't that great so I do recommend checked out the in store options. This year I picked up fun dish towels, a table runner, and glittery snow covered faux succulents, all together under $20. Last year I picked up some towels for our powder room, snowflake wine glasses, and coasters, also all for under $20.
These little pieces are a great way to add some trendier cute decorations to your collection without breaking the bank. If they aren't still trendy or relevant next year, you won't feel bad because you didn't invest a ton in them.
I also love using letter boards (like in my first photo!) for funny holiday quotes. I have a blush pink one and a black and white marble one that I rotate based on the season. They also are cute decor between holidays as well. When in doubt a quote from The Office is always relevant.
Another trick I have for updating your decor each your on a budget is using mini ornaments. You can pick them up for only about $3 per set and you can put them in anything from vases to mason jars. They are a super easy way to add a new pop of color (or glitter) into your look.
An area where I don't mind spending a little more money is in the pillow department. In a smaller space these can be a great way to add festive decor into your home. Each year I fall in love with a new collection of holiday pillows but, let's be real, it doesn't make sense to buy five Christmas pillows that will only be out for about 6 weeks to a month. I hack this by investing in some wintery pillows that can be out all season and then accenting them with one or two Christmas specific pillows!
Here are some of my picks for pillows you can enjoy all winter long.
These are the two Christmas pillows I chose for the year! Matt always complains that I don't add enough color into the house so I'm trying to branch out from my go to's. I love that these are a bright and fun take on Christmas colors and the pom poms/tassels are right up my alley.
Similar to pillow, wreathes aren't cheap! As much as I love a big Christmas wreath, this year I opted for one that definitely has Christmas vibes but is holiday neutral enough to remain on the door all through winter.
This one is also on sale right now which is even better!
My last piece of decor (for now, at least) that I picked up this year is this adorable garland! Our Christmas tree is in our dining room (small space probs) and while we can still see it from our living room it isn't front and center. I'm hanging this garland under our TV to add some more festive vibes to the space we are in most. For only $15 I think it is a steal and it can be repurposed in different areas of the house next year.
Last but not least, the stocking situation. We don't have a fireplace in our home so that means no mantle to hang our stockings. We also are so extra in the dog parent department so we have stockings for them as well. It took me a while to find a cute place that we could display our stockings that didn't make them seem out of place.
Finally I had an epiphany and used command hooks to hang them down our railing. It allows them to be on display and you can decorate the railing with a traditional garland or something different and fun each year. After the holidays are over you can remove the hooks with no damage done! If you don't have a railing these obviously also work in other areas of the house so find a cute place where you can create your own stocking display.
Make sure to follow along on Instagram (@crohnicallyblonde) as I continue to share our home as we decorate for the holidays! I hope my tips and tricks were helpful in making your home a cozy and festive place to enjoy with your family this holiday season.
Blonde babe. Maryland native. Crohn's crushing puppy mother to two sweet rescues.
Welcome to my unfiltered commentary on crushing chronic illness in your 20's and everything that goes along with that.