My First Stitch Fix

Update: This post has been updated to let you guys know what I kept and what I sent back. Thanks again for all of the input and stay tuned for my next Fix!

Time to do something different up in here!

I heard about Stitch Fix a while ago, but since I can be pretty picky when it comes to clothes, I didn’t think it’d work for me. The more friends talked (and blogged) about it, the harder it was to resist. And that’s how I ended up doing a fashion shoot in the middle of my kitchen at 9pm. (Big thanks to the husband for being my photographer! I have a feeling he’ll be doing this again…)

What is Stitch Fix, you ask? It’s like having your own personal stylist. Just fill out a (very detailed) questionnaire about your style preferences, choose your delivery date, pay a $20 styling fee, and wait for the five items to arrive at your door. You have three days to try the items on and decide what you want to keep. Keep nothing? All you lose is the $20 fee. Love them all? Get 25% off the total. Plus, the $20 goes toward whatever you decide to keep, whether it’s one item or all five. They provide a return label and envelope to send the items back – at no charge to you!

(One of my good friends has been getting “Fixes” for a few months and does a great job blogging them – thanks for inspiring me to follow suit, Renee!)

As for what I got… take a look at the pictures below and weigh in!

Stitch Fix 5

Shanae Geo Print Tie Waist Dress ($68)

If this dress had a little more shape and different sleeves it would be a keeper. The fabric is super soft and comfortable and the print is just my style. Sadly, I think it has to go back. B+

Update: Returned. Hoping for a similar dress in another Fix, but one that fits a little better.

Stich Fix 3

Brianne Button-Up Silk Peplum Blouse ($48)

Not a fan. I normally love peplum style tops, but this just isn’t flattering. The color, however, is great. C-

Update: Returned. Loved the color, hated the fit.

Stitch Fix 4

Danny 5-Pocket Knit Pants ($78)

Opinions please! I was so excited when I pulled these out of the box – a girl can never have enough black pants, right? And they fit! Two concerns: one, they’re a bit long and bunchy at the bottom; two, at $78, I’m not sure it’s a worthwhile addition to my wardrobe at this point in the season. Thoughts? A-

Update: Returned. As tempted as I was to keep them, I couldn’t justify the price. Especially with two pairs of similar pants already in my wardrobe.

Stitch Fix

Jerrard Heathered Open Front Cardigan ($48)

I think this is a keeper! I’ve been wanting to add an open front cardigan to my (way too big) sweater collection, and this might be the one. It fits perfectly, could be worn to work or running around on the weekends, and is SO VERY COMFY. A+

Update: Kept. I loved this! Comy and versatile with a great price, I already wore it to work.

Stitch Fix 2

Selfridge Cowl Neck Long Sleeve Top ($48)

As you can probably tell by my face, this is going back. The color looks a little too red in the pic – it’s actually more fuchsia, and that’s the only thing I liked about this piece. It’s just not flattering. Adding a lot of volume to an already top-heavy figure isn’t a good look for me. C-

Update: Returned. There wasn’t much about this that I actually liked, and it was far from flattering, so it went back.

I’m definitely happy I gave this service a shot. In fact, I’ve already scheduled my next Stitch Fix! (I feel an obsession coming on…)

Let me know in the comments what you think. What should I keep? What should I send back? Give Stitch Fix a try and see for yourself!

Tagged , , , , , , ,

On Sadness and CF

Life’s been really wonderful recently. *knocks on wood*

I’m loving my job – both what I’m doing and the amazing people I get to do it with. There are plenty of adventures with friends in the coming months. And Mike and I are planning a big trip later this year. I’m soaking up life’s sweetness and feeling very blessed.

But there’s also a sadness I can’t shake.

The older I get, the harder it is to not become my disease. It’s incredibly important to me to be more than cystic fibrosis, but with each big life event I feel more and more trapped by the hard-to-swallow truths of living with CF.

The big one? Knowing a shortened life – one riddled with scary health obstacles – is a strong possibility.

As people get older, life gets more complicated, no matter who you are. And when you throw in a life-threatening illness, the complications seem to grow exponentially. It’s a daily struggle to live my life outside of my disease – to not let it seep into each moment of my day.

My biggest fear is that it’s changing me. The loneliness… the fear… the what ifs… I’m scared they’re slowly chipping away at who I am.

In many ways, having cystic fibrosis has helped me become who I am. It’s made me better, stronger, more empathetic. And I wouldn’t change any of that. But it’s also made me more fearful, less spontaneous, and always worried.

There’s this HUGE part of my life that very few people are able to understand. With cystic fibrosis, there’s no break, no day off, no vacation. Every single day there are pills to take, treatments to do, neb cups to wash, scary thoughts to try and ignore.

It can be isolating and makes me feel separate from people, like I’m part of this “other” group. So I fall into the habit of pulling away or hiding parts of myself in order to feel more normal.

I know that much of this is just that, how I feel, and not how I’m actually perceived. And that’s a reminder I keep tucked away to pull out at times like this.

I’m sorry I’ve been absent from this space. It was mostly because life’s been keeping me busy with lots of goodness.

And partly because I couldn’t find the words. While I’m still not sure I explained it perfectly, I hope it at least shed some light on the emotional difficulties that can come with chronic illness.

Tonight I’ll make dinner with my husband, have a glass of wine, do my meds (while watching the hot men of “Chicago Fire” because, hello, that makes anything better), and let this sadness rest here for a bit.

As always, thank you for reading and allowing me a moment of therapy.

xo

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

This, That, a Video, and #GivingTuesday

I’ve had a blog post in the works for days now, coming back to it periodically, editing, deleting. But for some reason it never seems right. And so it stays a draft.

Thanksgiving approached, and I planned a post about all the millions of things I’m thankful for. But it never made its way out of my head.

So here I am, with not much to write but lots of words on the tip of my tongue.

Since I love lists (who doesn’t?), let’s start there and see where it goes.

The happenings on this side of the internet…

  • New job! (I’ve never been one to talk  about work on here, and that will still be the case. But let’s just say I love it, and feel blessed to have found something I like doing with people who make each day an absolute blast.)
  • CF things and stuff. Most of what said draft is about. On the sweet side of life with cystic fibrosis, I’ve had the opportunity to speak at various events sharing my CF story, something that continues to be one of the most terrifying and rewarding things I do. (If you’re in Baltimore and need something to do tomorrow night, I’ll be speaking at Baltimore’s 35 Finest. Tickets and more info here.) For those curious, my wonderful husband recorded my speech at An Evening on the Severn:
  • A couple weeks ago, one of my favorite restaurants in Baltimore turned 2 – Wit & Wisdom. I was lucky enough to attend their fabulous birthday bash (a big thank you to Renee + the Wit and Four Seasons crew!), which meant eating things like scrapple sliders, oysters, and macarons. I know, rough. If you live in Baltimore and have yet to go there, make a reservation STAT. (And if you’re planning a trip to Charm City, make sure it’s on your “to eat” list.)

    me & Renee at #WitTurns2

    me & Renee at #WitTurns2

  • Thanksgiving = lots of time spent with family, lots of food, and snow! (Manmade, but still white and fluffy.) Grateful isn’t enough to describe how I feel about this life I’m lucky enough to have. The people are the sweetest part – including you, dear readers (are you still out there?).
  • Thursday is the Monument Lighting here in Baltimore – one of my favorite events of the year. The holiday season has arrived!
  • Somewhere around this time six years ago I met two of my very best friends. We met when single, renting apartments, and in different jobs. We’re now all married, one of us has a baby, and we’re all homeowners. Girlfriends that go through those kind of life changes are irreplaceable. And we’re celebrating our friendship at Spoons – our favorite brunch spot – this weekend. Ladies, they say a friendship that makes it seven years will last a lifetime – just one year to go before we’re officially stuck with each other.

There’s just a peek to get you guys a bit caught up. I hope you all had a Thanksgiving full of great food and even better company. I promise to be back very soon.

xo,

K.

P.S. Today is #GivingTuesday, a day to raise money and awareness for whatever cause strikes a chord with you. And as you all know, cystic fibrosis is the cause nearest to my heart. As someone living with CF, I can personally attest to the difference the CF Foundation has made in my life. Each and every person who has spread the word, attended an event, and donated (whether it be their time or money) has taken part in the HUGE strides being made to improve the quality of life for CF patients – and to one day find a cure. If you hadn’t planned on giving today – or weren’t sure where to give – check out my fundraising page or head on over to BmoreGivesMore. Every single dollar counts, for whichever cause you choose. If you can’t afford to give this year, passing it on and spreading awareness goes just as far.

As always, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for your constant support. It never fails to lift my spirits and put a smile on my face.


Follow me!// Twitter // Instagram.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month: One Day At a Time

As Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month comes to a close, I want to thank you all. For reading, sharing, commenting, supporting, and being the most wonderful community I could ask for.

Obviously raising awareness is important the other 11 months of the year, too, so I’ll be continuing to do what I can in this little space to share my story – and I encourage you to do the same.

Tomorrow is my tri-monthly Hopkins appointment, and once again my nerves are getting the best of me. I’ve been thinking a lot about CF lately, more than usual. Partly because I’ve been more active in the community during CF Awareness Month than ever before. But I also think it’s because I have more time on my hands.

I left my job back in November for many reasons, one of them being to focus on my health. And while it’s been great, it means I’ve had more time to think about this disease. The future, the fears, the daily hardships, the questions, the community and all those affected.

Maybe that’s why I’ve been more quiet on the blog these past couple of weeks.

On May 1 I came ready to embrace this month of awareness and truly participate. I’m proud of what I accomplished, but after the first couple weeks I found myself consumed by it. I dove headfirst into a community I’d held back from for so long, largely out of fear – both of the known and unknown.

All of this to say I’m trying to find a balance. The CF community is made up of some of the most supportive, beautiful, and compassionate souls – people I desperately need in my life. It’s also full of heartache.

It’s all too easy to get dragged down by the sadness that surrounds having cystic fibrosis. I find that especially true as I approach each appointment. But I know indulging in my fears doesn’t help. So I struggle to pull myself out, to replace the negative thoughts with hopeful ones. And, as always, I do my best with each day I’m blessed to wake up to. Reminding myself to take one step at a time, even if they’re only baby steps.

What do YOU do when you get caught up in your worries and fears?

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month: Team Brandon

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about today. But then I read Bridget’s post. I’ve been a longtime reader – and big fan of hers – for years now. And to stumble across her blog today when I was at a loss for words on my own blog seemed meant to be.

Like I told Bridget, putting faces to this illness is so important. It lets people see just who they’re helping – and what this disease is really like.

I hope Brandon gets the chance to feel healthy again. To play with his kids. To grow old with his wife. To ski or run or travel. To do whatever he wants to do. We all deserve that chance.

So please take a few minutes to watch Brandon and Nycole’s story. There are many ways you can help: share this on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or send an email to family and friends. And if you can donate anything, that helps too. This blogging community is a powerful thing, and I can’t wait to show Brandon and Nycole that we’re here rooting for them.

Tagged , , , , ,

Q&A: Part II (Video)

It’s day 9 of Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month and time for me to share my answers to the rest of your questions (here’s Part I if you missed it)! After the video, I’ve provided a writeup of both the questions and answers, along with any links I promised I’d share, so you can refer to that if you’re unable to watch.

There’s no point in me rambling on, so here you go!

(Again, these answers are from my own personal experience with CF, and the information I’ve obtained on my journey living with this disease. Please don’t take any of what I say as advice or the only answer. Us CFers each have our own story and our own routine as prescribed by our care team. Thanks!)

Important links:

Katie asked: When are the times, or are there times, when you forget you have CF?

This is a tough one. I’m not sure I ever totally forget I have CF, but there are plenty of times when I don’t think about it. Like I talked about in part one, it’s important to remember that there’s more to me than having CF. Taking time to enjoy the rewarding parts of my life – like my husband, friends, family, the city I live in, hobbies – helps me not to dwell in the difficulties of having CF.

Kara asked: I love the Great Strides walks we do to raise awareness, just curious if there are any additional events or other ways we can get involved locally?

For those of you unfamiliar with Great Strides, it’s a national walk event sponsored by the CF Foundation – and it’s the biggest fundraising event they have. Last year nearly $40 million dollars was raised to help fund cystic fibrosis research (I talked about why fundraising for CF is so important in Friday’s vlog).

For other ways to get involved, the best advice I have is to check with your local CFF chapter. (Just check out the link above to help you find the chapter closest to you.)

Sarah asked: Do you feel like CF limits you from doing things on a daily basis? Not necessarily big life changing things, just little daily social events or activities?

Having my life be as normal as possible is incredibly important to me. That’s just one of the reasons I do my best to take good care of myself – that means no skimping on my daily treatments, working out as often as I can, getting enough sleep, etc. But there are days where CF gets in the way. I’ve had plenty mornings that I wake up coughing my guts out and have to forgo a workout. Time with friends that has to be cut short because I need to get home to do my treatments. Or nights with little sleep because of more coughing. I feel very lucky that right now I’m healthy enough to lead a full and productive life.

Please feel free to leave any other questions you may have – new ones or anything that relates to this week’s Q&A – in the comments below.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Q&A: Part I

I received some fantastic questions from last Wednesday’s post. A BIG thank you to all who reached out. Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month is about learning, educating, and helping people understand – and your questions are making it possible to do just that! (If you want to share this post, or anything you’ve learned, on social media, please use #CFAwarenessMonth.)

Since there were so many, I’ll answer your questions in two parts, half of them today and the rest in a vlog tomorrow. Be sure to check back!

Let’s dive right in…

(As always, these answers are from my own personal experience with CF, and the information I’ve obtained on my journey living with this disease. Please don’t take any of what I say as advice or the only answer. Us CFers each have our own story and our own routine as prescribed by our care team. Thanks!)

Kristin asked: Is there pain with all the mucus in your chest? Does the VEST make the pain worse? 

For those who aren’t familiar, the VEST is a form of airway clearance. Many CF patients are advised to do airway clearance on a daily basis to help break up the thick, sticky mucus from our lungs. (Some of the other forms are the Acapella, Flutter, or chest PT). I would describe any pain I feel in my chest as more of a tightness, often accompanied by lots of coughing. I find that the best way to get some relief is to do one of three things (or a combination): take a couple puffs from my inhaler, do airway clearance, or go for a walk/run. (And if it persists I call my doctor.) The VEST doesn’t necessarily make the tightness worse, although I might cough more which can be draining – BUT I know that it will ultimately make me feel better.

For the past few years, I’ve been almost exclusively using my Acapella to perform airway clearance because the VEST I have is the one I received when I was first diagnosed – 12 years ago. It’s HUGE, and very difficult for me to move on my own. Luckily, I was able to receive a new one just last week. I’m excited to get back to using the VEST and see if I notice any improvement. Below is a picture of the old VEST (left) and the new one (right). What a difference!

the VEST

(May is also Lupus Awareness Month, which Kristin writes about on her blog, Working Lupie. Head on over to learn more about living with lupus.)

Mandi asked: Are you able to have children when you have CF? Are there precautions you need to take in order to have a baby?

Great question, Mandi! And one I get a LOT. 97% of men with CF are infertile but not sterile, so they can have children with medical assistance. For women it varies – some may have difficulties with fertility due to thickened cervical mucus. However, deciding whether or not to have children is a very personal decision – and something I’ve wanted to talk about for a long time. There are many things to take into consideration, both before getting pregnant and after. It’s been an evolving (and complicated) conversation for me and Mike over the past few years, and I think I’ll be ready to write about it here soon!

Kate asked: Are there exercise or other natural things you can do to lessen the symptoms of CF?

Exercise is important for everyone, but especially for people with cystic fibrosis. According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s website, “Regular exercise can improve your ability to get mucus out of your airways and out of your body.” I’ve tried to get into running in the past (I ran my first – and so far, only – 5k a couple years ago) but haven’t been bitten by the running bug yet. But I’m not giving up! After the craziness of this past year, exercise took a backseat and I’m determined to make it a priority now that I have more time. In fact, I’m signing up for the Baltimore Women’s Classic 5k at the end of June and hope to run in next year’s Sole of the City 10k. (Any training tips, songs that pump you up, etc. are welcome!)

I also get acupuncture every other week, which I’ve found greatly helps with my stress level and boosts my immune system, helping me avoid pesky colds that can be detrimental to those with CF.

Katie asked: How do you draw a balance between being a champion for your disease and trying not to be defined by your disease?

This question resonates with me because it’s something I continue to struggle with. I talk a lot on here about the fine line between living with CF and living into it. The more involved I get in advocacy, the more I know it’s what I was put on this earth to do. But when I spend so much time talking about CF, it can be easy to ignore the other parts of me. If I’m ever feeling CF overload, I let myself take a step back. That might mean reading a book, writing about things not related to CF, going out to dinner with my husband, or getting together with a good friend to talk about life.

Yesterday, a member of the CF community that I’ve come to really admire, put it perfectly: “CF awareness is about spreading our message to help make the rest of our lives (the parts that have nothing to do with CF) possible. Spend a few minutes whenever you can thinking about the you who is NOT a CF patient – who is instead a person, who just so happens to have cystic fibrosis. And make sure that you, and all those around you, are “aware” of that person as well.”

Check back tomorrow for a vlog with the answers to the rest of your questions. And if you have any more, or want me to elaborate on things I’ve said here today, please let me know in the comments!

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Day 6 of Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month: A Slight Delay

Thank you for all your sweet comments on my vlog! Since I didn’t totally blow it, a new one is in the works. Stay tuned!

In the video, I mentioned I would answer your questions from Wednesday’s post today. Unfortunately, I ended up having a very minor medical procedure today (non-CF related), which threw off my day a bit. I’m a little sore and plan on recovering on the couch, BUT I’ll definitely be back tomorrow to continue celebrating Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month and talk everything cystic fibrosis.

In the meantime, fill me in on what you did this weekend in the comments below!

Tagged , , , , , ,

My First Vlog!

Hello lovely readers! Hope your day is going swimmingly.

Alright… here goes nothing! Ahem, introducing my first vlog! (It took an embarrassing number of tries to record one that didn’t make me feel like a total fool. So be kind ;) )

Click here for Steve’s fundraising page and here to ask a question on yesterday’s post. Thanks for watching and supporting and being overall wonderful people! (And keep checking back in during May – Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month – to learn more about cystic fibrosis.)

 

Tagged , , , , ,

It’s May… And Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month!

Before I go on, I want to thank all of you for the response to my last post.  Once again it showed me just why I continue to share my story – and that I also have a truly wonderful group of readers. You guys totally rock.

As you can tell from the title of this post, today is the first day of Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month. My mission ever since I became involved with the foundation has been to raise awareness. Over the years it’s become apparent to me just how little people know about this disease – and I want to change that. Especially because I believe that people are more likely to support a cause they understand.

Yesterday on Facebook I asked my friends to post any and all questions they might have about CF – both my journey with it and the disease in general – and I got great questions (some I’ll expand on here throughout the month). I thought the perfect way to kick off Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month would be to offer the same thing here: What questions do you have about CF? What would you like me to talk about so you better understand the disease? (This is a judgement-free zone. As they say, there’s no such thing as a dumb question.)

So let’s get started! Leave your question in the comments and I’ll answer them in a post on Monday.

Tagged , , , , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 69 other followers