#for30more giveaway #10: Charm City Run

Charm City Run

Let the countdown begin! Just 10 days and less than $3k to go. I am SO FREAKING EXCITED and over the moon. Ya’ll = the best.

And with that, it’s time for ANOTHER giveaway! I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of people – thanks to all those who donated giveaways, there will be something every weekday through the end of the fundraiser (Friday, September 26), so stay tuned!

This one is for all you fitness buffs (or those aspiring to to be). The generous folks at Charm City Run will give today’s lucky winner a water bottle and $50 gift card!

The deets:

  • Donate! $15k is so close I can taste it. (Well, not really, but you know what I mean.) If you’ve already donated, gold star for you! And no need to donate again (unless you really really want to. I certainly won’t stop you).
  • Share via social! The more platforms you share on, the more chances you have to win. Include #for30more + the link to my Fundly page: bit.ly/for30more. Something like: “I’m supporting #for30more AND entered to win $50 from @CharmCityRun! Donate + share to enter: bit.ly/for30more #cysticfibrosis”
  • Use more hashtags for more chances to win: #cysticfibrosis #takethatCF #cureCF
  • Please share/donate by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, September 16. I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday.
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#for30more giveaway #9: Eikoh Design Studio + wine

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Happy Monday, wonderful readers! Hopefully you had a relaxing weekend + that your week is off to a good start (personally, my giant cup of coffee made this morning possible).

I’m here with – what else? – another #for30more giveaway! I feel like I sound like a broken record, but seriously, you guys are the BEST. With 11 days left before the big 3-0, I’m 75% of the way to my goal. That means there’s just $3,615 left to go! And with you all behind me, I know I can get there.

Now, for today’s giveaway.

The very generous + talented Jaime Leiner Gill of Eikoh Design Studio will gift the lucky winner with a pair of personalized glasses, a $40 value! The recipient will select a standard design to personalize, and can choose their preference of glassware (stemmed or stemless, pint, rocks, or champagne). Please redeem by 12/31/2014. The winner will also receive SIX bottles of red wine (a $150 value) to accompany their glassware – a perfect pairing!

And in case you’re new around these parts, here’s how it works:

  • Share via social (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.). The more platforms you share on, the more chances you have to win. Make sure you use the hashtag #for30more (so we can track your entry!) and the link to my fundraising page: bit.ly/for30more. For example, you could tweet something like: “I’m supporting #for30more AND entered to win @eikohdesign glasses (plus 6 bottles of wine)! Share + donate to enter: bit.ly/for30more
  • Donate! I’m getting SO CLOSE to $15k + every little bit gets me that much closer to my 30th birthday wish. Plus, you’re helping all of us living with cystic fibrosis have bigger + brighter futures – what could be better?
  • Want more chances to win? Include one or more of the following: #cysticfibrosis #cureCF #takethatCF
  • You must share/donate by 11:59 p.m. on Monday. I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday.

On your mark, get set, $15k!

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#for30more giveaway#7: Apothecary Wellness

Apothecary health

First off, I want to thank you all again for being so supportive during the last few weeks of #for30more. Every day I’ve been lifted up by someone’s thoughtfulness, which is a lovely feeling to have. I hope each and every one of you get the chance to feel so very loved. With 16 days to go, I’m almost to $10K. So keep sharing, donating, and helping to spread the word about my 30th birthday wish! I can’t wait to see what else is to come as we get closer to September 26.

I have the wonderful honor of being featured on my friend Lindsay’s blog as a part of Invisible Illness Awareness Week. She’s such an inspiration for how to face a diagnosis head on, and I’m so happy to have met her. So go check out her interview of me when you have a few moments. (I also have a few non-giveaway related posts in the works, those are just always a little slower to come for me. So stay tuned!)

Today’s giveaway is truly a treat. A few years ago, after my skin decided to act like that of a 13-year-old’s, I made an appointment with Christine at Apothecary Wellness. Her facials not only cured my painful skin, but were some of the most relaxing moments I’d had in a long time. And the rest of Baltimore agrees with me – Apothecary Wellness was recently voted Best in Baltimore, winning Baltimore Magazine’s readers’ poll for Best Spa.

Now YOU have a chance to experience Apothecary Wellness’ heavenly relaxation for yourself. Christine + Rachel, the fabulous ladies behind the best spa in Baltimore, offered up one 60-minute massage and one custom organic facial, worth $175 but priceless in terms of how relaxed you’ll be afterward.

By now you know the drill, but I’ll lay out the rules just in case:

  • Share via social. The more platforms you share on (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), the more chances you have to win. Make sure you use the hashtag #for30more and link to my fundraising page (gotta make it to that $15k!). For example, you could tweet something like: “I’m supporting #for30more AND entered to win a massage + facial from @ApothecarySpa! Share + donate to enter: bit.ly/for30more
  • Donate! Every little bit counts, and reaching my goal would be the best birthday gift EVER. Plus, you’ll be helping all of us living with cystic fibrosis have bigger and brighter futures – doesn’t that make you feel good?
  • You must share/donate by 11:59p.m. on Wednesday. I’ll announce the winner on Thursday.

Now who’s ready to be pampered?

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#for30more Giveaway #6: Road Sign Bowl

Will's bowl

Happy Monday, wonderful people! I’m peeking in to announce today’s #for30more giveaway, and this one is extra special to me because my very talented friend Will Holman generously donated one of his super cool handmade road sign bowls (worth $75). Made from vintage road signs and license plates, the idea came from oragami. The sturdy aluminum bowl can be used for anything from a fruit bowl to a car key holder (considering how often I misplace my keys, this is much-needed in my house).

All you have to do for a chance to be the lucky winner is…

  • Share via social (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) using the hashtag #for30more (this makes it possible to track who’s entered). For example, you can tweet something like: “I’m supporting #for30more AND entered to win a road sign bowl from @objectguerilla! RT + donate to enter: bit.ly/for30more”
  • Donate! With less than halfway to go and 18 days left, YOU can help me reach my goal… and my 30th birthday wish!
  • You must share/donate by 11:59 p.m. on 9/8. The winner will be chosen on Tuesday.

And be sure to follow Will at @objectguerilla to see what other amazing things he’s making! (I especially love his shopping cart chair.)

Happy winning!

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#for30more Giveaway #5: 3 Bottles of Sake

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TGIF, amiright?!

I want to give a big thank you to Renee for heading up #for30more’s giveaways while I was on vacation – she did a fabulous job. Now that I’m back, I’m going to try to fill her shoes, so you can start coming here to see what we’re giving away the rest of the month. And we have some GOOD ones in the next few weeks.

I must say, today’s is pretty darn awesome (I really wish I could win it!). Tiffany Soto, a well-known sake expert, has generously donated 3, yes THREE, bottles of sake: 2 bottles of Suzaku Junmai Ginjo ($60 each) and one of the most awarded sakes in history, Otokoyama Junmai Daiginjo ($200) – that’s $320!* A couple of years ago I attended a sake tasting of Tiffany’s and instantly became a sake fan, and now you can become one, too.

So, how can YOU be the lucky winner?

  • Share via social (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest) using #for30more. (For example, you can tweet something like: “I’m supporting #for30more AND entered to win 3 bottles of sake from @heysakelady! RT + donate at bit.ly/for30more to enter.”
    • Bonus points for adding the following hashtags: #cysticfibrosis #takethatCF #cureCF
  • Donate to be entered to win! We may have reached the halfway mark (!!!) but that still means we have $7,500 to go – and every little bit counts!
  • You must share/donate by 11:59 p.m. EST on 9/5. The winner will be chosen on Saturday.

(If you want Tiffany to tell you all about sake, be sure to follow her at @heysakelady and visit her at Alex Smith’s new venture, Azumi.)

On your marks, get set… let’s win some sake!

*Can only be shipped to Maryland residents.

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Odds ‘n’ Ends + #for30more

Grateful heartI’m back! Since you never really know who’s reading this little ol’ blog, I kept it a little quiet that Mike and I were going to be out of the country for two weeks. It was a dream trip, spending four nights each in Iceland, London, and Paris. And once I get all my thoughts together about it I promise to share more. (But for now, you can see plenty o’ pics by following me on Instagram.)

I actually launched For 30 More while I was gone – something I couldn’t have done without my amazing, talented, and super helpful friend, Renee. Gosh guys, you have totally overwhelmed me with your generosity. Not only have the donations been pouring in (barely one week in and more than a third of the way to my goal), but the tweets and Facebook posts and sweet notes have left me truly humbled. THANK YOU. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I am SO excited to see what the next 24 days brings. There are still TONS of fun giveaways left, and a couple other things in the works, so stay tuned!

* * * * *

While I know it’s technically not fall yet, September 1 feels like the official end of summer. It also marks the start of my very favorite time of year… and my birthday month! Clearly, there’s lots to look forward to.  What exactly, you ask?

  • the beginning of football season (go Ravens!)
  • (hopefully) pulling out some warm weather clothes
  • more #for30more giveaways
  • drinks with some of my favorite ladies
  • a work conference I’m excited about
  • the Baltimore Book Festival*
  • a birthday dinner with the husband
  • kicking off my 31st year with some of the very best friends

(*My blog friend Jessica, of How Sweet It Is, will be making an appearance as part of her book tour for her very first cookbook: Simply Delish. I’m SO FREAKING excited to get to see her ON my birthday, and highly suggest if you’re in Baltimore to go say hi to her, too.)

Since I’ve been a bit absent, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve been enjoying.

- This weekend, using the excuse that I had to restock our fridge, I spent a ridiculous amount of time at a new Whole Foods. #happyplace
– Read “We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart while on vacation. While it’s not one of the best books I ever read, it was a fast and entertaining read.
– Can’t stop listening to this, this, and this.
– Bought a pair of these to take on our trip and LIVED in them. What took me so long?
– Binge watching Orphan Black and Homeland. #cantstopwontstop
– Made this twice in one week. Add it to your meal rotation, stat.
– My bestest friend in the world will be giving birth any day now to a beautiful baby girl – I am BEYOND thrilled for them and cannot WAIT to squeeze the cheeks off of her.

P.S. Renee + I will be announcing another giveaway today! You can be entered to win via donations and spreading the word (make sure to use #for30more!). Keep an eye on Renee’s blog for more info.

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My 30th Birthday Wish… For 30 More

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As most of you know, at 16 I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. Even 13 years later I’m still a long way from fully dealing with what it means to have this disease and the implications it has on my future.

Right now, my life looks like many other 29 year olds’. I have a wonderful husband, fabulous family and friends, and a job that I love. But unlike most people my age, I have to do time-consuming daily treatments, spend countless hours at the hospital, and worry about what my future looks like.

When I was born in 1984, the life expectancy of someone with CF was just 25 – on September 26th I’ll turn 30! And I can’t wait to celebrate the many things this wonderful life has allowed me to do. 

But I’m not finished yet. 30 years isn’t enough.

So this year, my birthday wish is for 30 more.

For 30 more years of…

dates with my husband…
books to devour…
successes in my career…
vacations to places near and far…
holidays with my family…
meals to enjoy…
drinks with my girlfriends…

For more life. Things big and small. For ALL people with CF.

I truly believe that with support from people like you, we can find a cure so that everyone with cystic fibrosis can live a long and full life.

Here’s where I need your help. I want to kick off the next 30 years in the best way I know how: by raising as much money as I can for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and their life-saving research. To support this effort, I’ve created a campaign on Fundly that I’m calling For 30 More. While I’ve never done anything like this before — admittedly, I have a hard time asking for people’s help — I have a BIG goal in mind: $15,000. 

Your donation to support For 30 More would mean the world to me, and no amount is too small. Even if it’s just giving up your morning coffee this week – every bit counts in making a difference for those of us living with CF.

I’ll also be hosting some giveaways for those who help spread the word via Twitter and Instagram using #for30more – so stay tuned! (Make sure to check back because each week’s giveaway items will be posted here.)

There are approximately 30,000 Americans living with cystic fibrosis. They are moms, dads, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, husbands, wives, friends and co-workers who struggle every day just to breathe.

Advances continue to be made in finding a cure, but your help is needed now – more than ever – to help keep up the momentumThank you from the bottom of my heart for joining me in this fight!

P.S. Make sure to check out Renee’s blog tomorrow for details on the first giveaway!

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Seeking a Permanent [CF] Vacation

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Every now and then I get in a funk. It happens. A big bowl of ice cream, maybe a glass of wine (who’s kidding, ALWAYS wine), and mind-numbing TV (Real Housewives of Anything, amiright?) and I’m back to my non-funky self.

But a couple weeks ago a funk settled in that I just couldn’t shake. I tried all the normal fixes: mint chocolate chip ice cream, lazing around on the couch, a couple few glasses of Cupcake Pinot Grigio. Heck, I even watched numerous episodes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

Still, the funk lingered.

I had plenty of moments where it seemed to have disappeared… only for it to show up a few hours later.

Here’s the thing: there is no vacation from CF.

Feeling drained? Skip your workout. Need a mental health day? Take a day off from work. Feel like grabbing lunch with a friend instead of cleaning? Do it. Want to forget making dinner and go out with your husband? I don’t blame you.

Want CF to leave you alone for a couple days? Sorry, kid. No can do.

That takes its toll. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally.

Especially emotionally.

There were days these past two weeks where all I could do was come home and cry. As if trying to keep it together for eight hours at work was all I had in me. Thankfully, I have a super understanding husband who knows that letting me cry (and running to the store for ice cream) is exactly what I need.

But still, it was frustrating. Not being able to get myself out of that hole made me feel a little nuts. I just wanted to know WHY I was feeling that way. And I wanted to get back to feeling like myself. Not this mopey, lazy, sit-on-the-couch-and-do-nothing, sad sack version.

Maybe this is all a lesson in not always needing a reason. I have a life-threatening illness and sometimes that, THAT is enough to warrant a two-week funk.

As much as this funk has finally lifted, I still don’t feel quite okay. I think part of it is that I’m more involved in the CF community than I’ve ever been. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. It’s a kind of support and understanding that is irreplaceable. But damn is it hard. To hear of other CFers struggling, being listed for transplant, not making it. This disease is not for the faint of heart, and sometimes I wonder if I’m really cut out for what the future holds.

Maybe it’s naive or weak or… I don’t know. But I can’t go there. I’m afraid that if I think too much about what could happen that I’ll never be able to escape the inevitable terror that would set in.

So instead I turn to ice cream and wine and tears. And when that doesn’t work I write. I talk to my husband. I go to yoga and acupuncture. And I hope. I hope that advancements will continue to be made. That fewer people will die waiting for lung transplants. That a cure will be found. And that all of us CFers will one day be able to take a permanent vacation from CF.

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Smiles + Wishes

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Fridays are celebrated with donuts.

I’ve been missing this space lately. And, per usual, I feel like I have lots to say but am without the right words.

The past few weeks have been tough so I’m embracing a “thankful-for-the-small-things” mindset and am soaking up every little moment that puts a smile on my face. I’m sharing some of these things in hopes they bring you some joy, too.

Almost peed myself getting to meet this author. She was hysterical, she signed books + took pics, AND she brought brownies. #winning (Shout-out to Enoch Pratt Free Library for her appearance!)

Enjoying this book more than I thought I would. Even though I didn’t finish in time for my book club meeting (tsk tsk!), I’m determined to reach its end. If you’ve tackled these 700+ pages I’d love to know your thoughts (sans spoilers, of course)!

Has anyone else seen this show? I’m OBSESSED. I might need to seek help. I just want to go live with Joanna and Chip on their farm and play with the baby goats. (And I’d love it if Joanna would makeover my house. Duh.)

Saw this movie. Turned into one big puddle. (Obviously.)

On repeat. Can’t stop, won’t stop. This too. And this.

I have been buying bag after bag of these. It’s embarrassing really. Except that I enjoy them too much to stop. I mean, I could be eating worse things, right?

Reading + discussing this and this. Thoughts? (I bought this, which came highly recommended by my sister, because we both have much to say on this topic. I think it’d be a great book club pick.)

Always loving this girl’s blog. I like to think we’d be friends if we ever met in real life.

Drooling over this (in pink), this, and this. I can’t seem to stop ogling statement necklaces. IMHO, a girl can never have too many.

There’s one last thing making me smile: In just about three months I turn 30. When I was born, the life expectancy of someone with cystic fibrosis was 25. There aren’t enough words to express how THRILLED I am to be here, on this planet, living the wonderful life I feel beyond thankful to be living and I plan to celebrate the heck out of this birthday. (Plus, I have a big birthday wish in the works that I’d love ALL of YOU to help me with. Stay tuned!)

Tell me, what’s putting a smile on YOUR face?

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CF Awareness Month: Giving a Face to the Disease

a picnic with dad

chillin’ with dad

I originally planned to post a “CF cheat sheet” to kick off CF Awareness Month, but then my dad sent me this picture.

It arrived in his mailbox yesterday, sent by an old family friend completely out of the blue.

The fact that it showed up the day before the start of CF Awareness Month was uncanny: The day after this picture was taken I started a 15-year journey to what would ultimately be a diagnosis of CF.

It was Memorial Day weekend, 1985, and I was just eight months old. I’d been struggling to put on weight (despite my apparent chunkiness) and my parents were desperately trying to figure out what was wrong. The next day they took me to my pediatrician, who immediately admitted me to the hospital after discovering my veins had collapsed. One of the many tests they ran was for cystic fibrosis*… and it came back negative. During my 10-day stay – what I can only imagine was a harrowing experience for my parents – no definitive diagnosis was made and I was sent home.

Fifteen years later – after even more bloodwork and doctor’s appointments and puzzling health issues – we learned that despite the negative test so many years ago, I did, in fact, have cystic fibrosis.

And what a journey it’s been.

The hardest part continues to be managing the disease as an adult. It takes its toll, both physically and emotionally.

But I am so very lucky. This year Mike and I will celebrate our second wedding anniversary, I have a job I love, and I’ll turn 30 (!!!) in September.

I am beyond grateful for the advancements in CF treatment that have allowed me to reach these milestones so many patients before me didn’t get to do. But there’s still work to be done.

My greatest hope is that one day there will be no CF diagnosis to give. That no one – parents, children, adults – will have to wonder what a future with CF looks like.

I have hopes and dreams and goals, just like anyone else… and while I’m doing all I can to make those happen, the what ifs are always there.

What if I never have children? What if I do but I don’t live to see them grow up? What if I don’t have the chance to finish out my career? What if I don’t get to grow old with my husband?

Over the past few years there’s been astounding progress in treatments for cystic fibrosis. In 1984 ­- the year I was born ­the life expectancy was just 25. That number has now risen to 41.

And there are all sorts of exciting developments on the horizon that will not only improve the quality of life for CF patients, but continue to extend it.

I truly believe the most crucial part to finding a cure for CF is understanding. While CF is being talked about more and more, I’m still constantly surprised by how little is known about what it is and who it affects.

That’s exactly why I share my story.

Putting faces on this disease – showing that it’s daughters and sons, mothers and fathers, wives and husbands – humanizes it. People with CF are leading lives just like everyone else, and we want to continue to live them.

Over the next month I’ll be sharing more of my experiences and struggles with CF, as well as all the ways you can help.

This little ol’ blog has been a wonderfully therapeutic space for me over the years (even though it often collects dust) and I will never be able to express my gratitude to all of you who continue to read my words and support the cause.

#CFAwarenessMonth

Want to help right now? Start using the #CFAwarenessMonth! And make sure you’re following the CF Foundation on Twitter and Facebook. (You can even donate your Facebook cover photo!)

Pssst, want to see what I’m up to during CF Awareness Month (and all the other months of the year)? Follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

*To learn more about cystic fibrosis, visit the CF Foundation’s website or my “About CF” page.

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