Things + Stuff

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Y’all, I owe you so. many. posts. Life’s been a bit overwhelming lately, thanks to a (hopefully minor) CF setback, a busy season at work, and the end of #for30more. I was riding on such a 30th birthday/#for30more high, that the not-so-good health news rocked me pretty hard. Not to mention it means more meds, which brings with it a whole slew of side effects. Needless to say, I’m not feeling like myself and have been struggling just to make it through each day in one piece. But I’m doing my best to take each day as it comes and telling myself that this too shall pass.

I’ll be back with a more meaty post, but in the meantime I figured I’d share some things that have been making me smile. Because smiling’s my favorite.

Reading

- FINISHED: We just discussed Daring Greatly in book club, and I’d highly recommend it. If you’re feeling a bit vulnerable and/or exposed (and who doesn’t feel that way at some point?), give this a read. It put my favorite pink highlighter to the test.
– CURRENTLY: Eleanor & Park, thanks to the 1,291 rave reviews I read. So far, its everything I’ve hoped. I’ll report back once I’ve finished.
– ON DECK: Thanks to Jaclyn’s review, I suggested A Constellation of Vital Phenomena as our next book club read and everyone was on board! I’m eager to see what all the intrigue is about. (If you’re looking for your next read, check out Jaclyn’s blog – she always makes me want to pick up books I might have otherwise overlooked.)

Watching

I’m a TV fanatic, it’s true. I often blame my time spent doing meds as the reason I must watch ALL THE TV, but that’s not entirely true. Yes, I watch about 1 to 2 hours of TV most days for CF treatments, but my list of shows runs much longer. Right now my top three are Parenthood (I can’t even talk about how it’s the farewell season; also ALL THE TEARS – I cannot go a single episode without crying. #truth), Nashville (major Connie Britton girl crush over here), Scandal (I mean, no explanation needed, amiright?!). Someday I’ll divulge my full list… if I can get over the shame. (Who am I kidding? #noshame)

Listening

- To get me through my current bout of the sads: Joy Parade, Lennon and Maisy
– For the teeny bopper that lives inside: Steal My Girl, One Direction
– On repeat because I LOVE the song AND it stars a kid with CF: I Lived, One Republic (Seriously, the awareness this video brings to the CF community is phenomenal. A must watch, no matter who you are.)

Looking forward to…

Thankfully, despite the current bump in the road, I have lots to look forward to: this Wednesday I have the pleasure of speaking about CF and turning 30 at a CFF netowrking event at Dooby’s; a massage, thanks to a very thoughtful birthday gift from my husband; Halloween! I normally am not a big fan of this holiday, but handing candy out to kids is one of my most favorite things ever; a new season of Stoop Stories (starts Monday, October 22 if you’re in the area!); celebrating our second wedding anniversary (and 15 years of knowing each other – holy crap); a visit to Chicago to meet the very squishable Lucy, my best friend’s brand new babe.

The next few weeks are shaping up to be good ones. And I’ll be holding on to that goodness to get me through.

Thanks for the constant support – it helps more than you’ll ever know <3

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#for30more giveaway #13: mini photo session + custom print

2014 Holiday Mini sessions-v3

Aaaand we’re back! You didn’t think I’d end #for30more early just because we reached $15k, did you? (Speaking of which, I can’t believe you guys got me to my goal a whole week early. I seriously did a happy dance in my office. And took a picture of me jumping. And posted it to Facebook and Instagram. And told about everyone I could. So thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ll write a more eloquent thank you soon, promise. But for now, just know that you’ve totally made my 30th birthday.)

With only THREE more days until my 30th birthday, there are still more giveaways + plenty of time to donate. Let’s see just how much more we can raise!

Today’s giveaway was donated by my wonderfully talented co-worker Marlayna Demond. An amazing photographer, Marlayna has generously offered to give one lucky winner a mini photo session! Worth $150, you’ll get to spend 20 to 30 minutes creating memories to last a lifetime. (You’ll also receive 15 digital files on a USB drive, as well as one 11×14 print. For dates and more details, see above image.) Make sure you check out her gorgeous photography on her Facebook page!

Along with the photo session, my friend Dianne will turn a photo of your choosing into an 8×10 custom print featuring your favorite song lyrics or quote (see below for an example. And yes, that’s my beautiful friend, Renee + her husband Steve!).

dianne

All you have to do for your chance to win is…

  • Donate! $15,000 was my goal, but I’d love to raise even more money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, so let’s keep it going! (If you’ve already donated, no need to donate again in order to be entered for your chance to win.)
  • Share via social! The more platforms you share on, the more chances you have to win. Make sure to include #for30more + the link to my Fundly page: bit.ly/for30more. You could post something like: “I support #for30more AND could win a photo session + custom print! Donate/share: bit.ly/for30more #cysticfibrosis”
  • Use more hashtags for an extra entry: #cysticfibrosis #cureCF #takethatCF
  • Please share/donate by 11:50 p.m. on Tuesday, September 23. The winner will be announced on Wednesday.
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#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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