Sunday, August 9, 2020

Journey with Multiple Sclerosis: 6 Months

Multiple Sclerosis. I asked myself "what does that mean?" the moment it left the doctor's lips. Exactly 6 months ago today I was told those words and diagnosed with the disease. If you're unfamiliar like I was in the beginning, MS is an autoimmune disease. The immune system essentially attacks myelin, which is the protective layer around nerve fibers. Unpredictably the disease interupts the the flow of information between the brain, and the brain and body. There is no cure. 

 The Onset: The onset for me happened just when I returned from a market trip to NYC. I had what felt like vertigo and went to an urgent care for a consoltation. The doctor believed the same as MS can manifest in ways that lead to misdiagnosis without a series of tests. I was given medication and told the symptons would subside in a few days. Just two days later I knew like those things you "just know" that something was not right with me. I was unbalanced like literally stumbling around my house, unable to focus, and extremely fatigued. Imagine being on a tilt-a-whirl that doesn't stop. I decided to go to the emergency room, a place I don't think I've ever been and the tests began. Six hours in the emergency room, countless blood tests and MRI scans, I was told of the disease just before before the day ended. The next day a neurologist came to speak with me about MS and explained that what I was experiencing was a flare up. I had to be admitted me to the hospital for five days. Five days of steriod infusions to aid in the reversal of the severe flare. 

 The Flare-Up: After my initial onset of the diesase I tried to go back to life as normal literally returning to work the very next week. To be honest this was probably the most trying time. Pretending to feel well when I didnt. Pretending to feel strong when I was weak. Pretending to have answers when I was confused. Those few weeks immediately after the onset I thought "Ok I can do this". Little did I know that what I was about to experience was the most diffcult of my life. At the end of March around the same time I was furloughed from work, my right leg began to feel numb. At that point knowing a little of what MS was capable of I thought nothing of it until it started to spread. Eventually in the days that followed the numbness was throughout my entire body leaving me unable to walk without assistance and without full use of my hands. By this time Covid was raging through the country and I was not permitted to go to the hospital for steriods. Instead they the 5 day round had to be admistered at home. Does being hooked up to an infusion drip sound easy? It isn't! My mommy had to be with me to to help with the daily infusions and generally getting around the house. Did I mention I had to use a walker? These are the things that are not said. I can't even describe the many tears I cried throughout all of this. 

 The Flare-Up Again: At the end of April I experienced another MS symptom, common and temporary but scary as hell. Called optic neuritis, my right eye went completely blind. While I was able to still function physically having recovered from the delibiating attack just weeks before, my mommy came back. Another round of at home infusions, healthy eats, and rest began to turn around the symptom clearing my vision. 

 Through everything I did a lot of research looking for any and all helpful tips I could find. The best help of all was from family friends who have the disease. One friend in particular told me not to focus on all of the medical stuff (thats what doctors are for) but to focus on recharging myself. She cautioned that while you're maintaining a tough exterior that your internal thoughts can drive you to depression. There were days that I felt like I was losing myself to ill thoughts of the future. The support fo my family and friends was the tipping point. Being able to share my feelings and fears, crying in my dad's arms, and letting out a good scream have been. 

 It sounds weird to say now but I've never felt better in my life. Even before I was diagnosed I was not in a good place. For awhile I attributed much of how I was feeling to simply not sleeping enough. I've always been an extremely hard worker and focused on my goals but I let myself get to a place where I was no longer making myself the priority. Now that I know the symtoms, looking back over the past few years the signs were there. Signs that passed as insignifcant so I brushed them aside and kept pushing forward. Truth be told MS has triggers and for me it was stress. If you don't know yet stress is not good for you mentally or physically. 

 I encourage all of us to keep ourselves as the priority and do whatever possible to keep the stress in your life to a minimum, MS or not. Does MS absolutely suck? Why yes, yes it does but it has brought me so many lessons. Life is precious and I chose to not spend my days worrying about every numb finger, or tingling foot. Instead celebrating the good days are what I look forward to. I know there are people around the world suffering far more than I, so for them and for me remember this: "Love your life, enjoy every moment"



Thursday, June 18, 2020

Travel Guide: Jekyll Island

As a avid travel the over the last few years, the last few months have been tough.  Coronavirus across the globe has caused deaths, threatened the lives, and grounded countless people.  I had grand plans of travel this year and with everything those plans have taken a backseat.  Since airline travel abroad is not recommended (along with the borders of many countries closed) took a domestic take on travel for the Summer to Jekyll Island, Georgia.

Jekyll Island is located just about 4.5 hours drive from my home in Charlotte, North Carolina.  It is one of the barrier islands of Georgia with beaches, golf courses, state parks, and a historic district. Chose this island as the destination for several factors: driving proximity, beach quality and serenity. I literally wanted an escape for pure relaxation and Jekyll Island was exactly the experience I needed.

I can only speak to my experience of course, but the island was SO peaceful.  I imagine under normal circumstances pre-coronavirus that the beaches are packed and the main square is bustling but that is unknown to me.  Staying at the Westin was the best decision.  Upgraded to an ocean view and it was so nice being able to wake to views of the beach and fall asleep to sounds of the ocean.  

Where to Stay: With an island you can often be limited to hotel selections.  Thankfully for the trip to Jekyll Island I knew immediately that the Westin was the perfect choice from all the amenities.  The hotel has direct beach access, pool, and several restaurants onsite.  Literally all the makings for a no hassle vacation.  For several meals eating at the hotel was the best and most delicious option! Highly recommend.

Where to Eat:  As mentioned most of the meals were on property at the Westin but just a short walk in the Main Street area there's a charming place, Sunset Grille.  This eatery has delicious food and very reasonably priced breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  For dinner one night I tried their homemade crab cakes and let me tell they were so good!

What to Do: Go to the beach, enough said! Beach pictures shared above are from Driftwood Beach and it's beautiful there but no swimming allowed. My only request was to be on the beach and that's exactly what I got back in the resort area.  Parked under an umbrella in a lounger and enjoyed tunes all day.  Though I didn't experience there are many activities and destinations on the island plus they're family friendly!

I can't say enough how much I enjoyed my time on this island.  With all the uncertainty and unsettling times right now traveling to Jekyll Island was just the vacation I was looking for.  If you're within a reasonable driving distance, I'd add to your travels.  As for me, I'll definitely be going back!




Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Spring Shoe Review

Finally Spring is here and here to stay! Without fail I seem to update my shoes each Spring season and honestly I'm not too mad about it. I love my shoes and I love them hard, anyone else? I have some tried and true favorites that are consistent year after year but spicing up the mix with new finds is my favorite. Honestly I considered doing a post on just the top few but my obsession with them all is SO real! Sneakers, sandals, oxfords, and platform wedges I've got all of my bases covered. Not only do all these shoes look pretty many of them are so versatile. When I travel I'm limited to carrying just a couple pairs of shoes to compliment my outfits. Take a peek into my closet and all the shoes I'll be wearing this season.


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Travel Guide: Tulum, Mexico

Just about a month ago I traveled to destination that actually wasn't on my list! Tulum, Mexico is literally more beautiful than words.  I'll tell you know at the start of this post that it is a place you'll definitely want to visit.  Some things you absolutely must experience for yourself.  Until you get there, let me help you start the journey!

Most of my travels up until this point have been the kind that are jammed packed with activities, tours and the general hustle getting around a city requires.  When I had some vacation days roll over from 2018 I thought what better time to take a more laid back vacation, and I'm so glad I did.  I love to sightsee but on this trip my absolute favorite activity was laying in the beach cabana with a margarita. Simple.

How To: Tulum is a darling beach town but there is no direct access here.  To get to Tulum you fly into Cancun International Airport.  From there you'll need to take a shuttle or car service which will drive you the approximately 1.5 hours to your destination.  Book a head of time to have your ride scheduled according to your flight arrival.  There are many services to choose from so don't fret.

When To Go:  Like I said Tulum was never really on my list so it was really a spontaneous kind of trip booked just 3 weeks out.  I found that really what many consider the "off season" is the best time to travel.  From January-April are some of the most mild months with temperatures in hoovering around the low 80's.  After this I'm told that the heat of the area can be quite intense.  It rained upon arrival but otherwise was such beautiful weather and just a slight chill at night.

Where To Stay: There are so many amazing resorts and hotels in the Tulum area.  You can even stay downtown Tulum if that's your thing but in my opinion you'll want to be as close to the beach as possible.  It is such a treat!  I enjoyed the stay at Villa Pescadores so much so that if I'm headed back at any point I for sure will be staying here.  The oceanview villa, the atmosphere, the staff, the food...everything was excellent.  Honestly there are some pretty bougie hotels in the area if that's your vibe but I felt like this place was somewhere in the middle. Also check our AIRBNB there are some darling options for lodging too!

Where To Eat:  Honestly pretty much all of the breakfasts, lunches, and dinners of the trip were at the hotel.  The dining there was so good with tons and options and obviously very convenient!  One night we ventured to a little restaurant down the road and it was amazing.  The restaurant, Kitchen Table  was so special with an atompshere to swoon over.  Nestled right among the trees its a short walk from many of the resorts in the hotel zone.

What To Do:  I think it pretty much goes without saying that the beach is the single best thing to do in Tulum!  The water is clear and the most beautiful shades of turquoise.  Pictures truly don't do it justice.  If you're not interested in being a beach bum all, of course there are many shops to visit along the main roads.  For sure take some time to check out the Tulum ruins, you'll learn some history of the area.  The ruins sit atop a hill and the overlook is breathtaking.  Our hotel rented bikes for just a few dollars a day and the ruins were a short ride away.  Lastly, the cenotes! Just google this word for pictures.  The cenotes are sinkholes that you can swim and snorkel in.  You'll be blown away!

Tulum is definitely a laid back vibe kind of place and truly what my soul needed.  A little leisure, relaxation, and a chance to recharge.  If I haven't convinced you yet check out this my video to see a little bit of this paradise for yourself.  Add this destination to you list, it's definitely a favorite of mine!



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Monday, January 21, 2019

45 TOP Beach Travel Essentials from Amazon

So much excitement around today's post because travel is definitely my love language.  Before my recent travel adventures to Tulum I literally spent hours scouring Amazon for the best of the best items.  I personally ordered and took many of these items on my travels with me and I know they are going to be so amazing for your upcoming plans!  Warmer days are ahead so if you're looking in preparation for a quickly approaching trip or one in the near future be sure to see this post to reference later! Happy shopping my friends, I hope you love these selections as much as I have and will share your feedback! You'll be seeing many of these items styled here on the blog or on Instagram as I continue sharing my Tulum travel adventures. Be sure you're following along with me!

*As always, I appreciate you shopping through my links if you decide to purchase something you love from my picks.  Your support means the world to me and I make a small commission which helps keeps this blog going as I buy items with my own money.  I enjoy sharing with you loves so I THANK YOU in advance!  Please always reach out with any questions you may have.




Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Dear 2018 Year In Review

Even now on the very first day of the new year 2019 its hard to believe that 2018 happened and that it is over already! I shared a thought on one of my recent Instagram posts stating that 2018 was just about the best year of my life....and I whole heartedly stand by that statement. I don't really do resolutions per se but I appreciate reflecting and looking forward to all the things coming. I've said it before and I'll say it again, THE BEST IS YET TO COME! 

 Gosh where do I even start with 2018? There were so many highlights and even some lows but today I know there is meaning and purpose behind everything. Started off the year working hard as per usual. In January I celebrated 6 years at my job and if you know anything about the corporate retail world I truly consider this an accomplish. Just two months later in March I was promoted to an Associate Buyer, like HELLO new challenge! This role means that I have buying responsibility over a particular area of business reporting to a Buyer as I work towards being a Buyer myself. I moved from buying Mens clothing to Boys activewear. Talk about a change! Believe me I've yet to take my foot off the gas and working harder than ever! 

 If you you've been around awhile you know that my entire family lives in Columbia, South Carolina. I'm in Charlotte so we aren't far away at all but I miss them so much everyday! It really pulls on the heart strings wanting to be with them but also building a life of my own. My sweet niece Kennedy turned 10 this past year and Garrison, my nephew turned 6. I never understood when my aunts and uncles would like at me and say " time flies" but now I can really appreciate it. Truly watching them grow is one of my life's greatest joys. In the Summer of 2018 my grandfather turned 90 years old and we had a huge party to celebrate! Every day with him so so special even if he dials your number 10 times a night on his jitterbug cell phone, haha. Mommy still calls every morning for a wake up and in the evenings to make sure the doors are locked. She has had some amazing adventures this year traveling to South Africa, turning 65 with a dashiki party and know you "retiring" from teaching for like the 23rd time. Daddy per usual spent the year working on an antique car remodel and helped me find a new car. Oh my sister, Kaaren and I have some things cooking! Sadly our family dog, Sasha crossed the rainbow bridge after 13 years with us. She is truly missed! 

 I freaking turned 30 YEARS OLD! Honestly so much anxiety leading up to this. What was I so afraid of? Seriously ever since I turned 30 its cheesy to say but I have so much clarity.  Clarity around what I want and what I don't want.  Its truly a blessing to be another year older and now I know this milestone year was the jolt I needed to remember that life is too special to be fearful of growing older. So yea 2018 was AMAZING! Have I said that enough yet? I spent my birthday on a adventure of my dreams in Italy. Visited Venice, Florence, Tuscany, Rome, and Positano. I can close my eyes sometimes and wish I could teleport there. It was pure magic and SO special. When I returned home to Charlotte a surprise party of my closest friends and family awaited me. I thought it was a date night and ugly cried when I rounded the corner to see everyone there. Truly surpassed my wildest dreams and if you really know me I've got some wild things up my sleeves. I had some amazing travel in the United States this year, something I put on y bucket list. Here's a recap: Took a weekend trip to Charleston in June, headed out to California in July to is it Sacramento for the first time and back to San Francisco to the majestic Golden Gate Bridge. Spent a day out in Napa and Sonoma visiting many wineries. In September stopped over in Salt Lake City, Utah and Park City for some insane views as the Fall season set it. Took a 6 hour drive for a whirlwind trip to Las Vegas! I hit the strip, gambled, dined out, shopped til I dropped, and partied the night away. Nola Baby! Hit the city of New Orleans in October for Halloween weekend and had the time of my life on Bourbon Street and eating way too many beignets at Cafe Du Monde. So many adventures I am beyond thankful for! 

 On a personal level this year took its toll on me. I was in a car accident in January, constantly doubted myself, tried some things and failed, had insecurities about my weight, started working out then quit but through it all I found joy. I figured out what I want out of life and what brings my JOY. I really focused on that word, JOY in 2018 because really life is too short to be unhappy. I'll say it again, LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO BE UNHAPPY. Wherever you are I hope you know that you too deserve joy. Life is not perfection, it is ever changing and each experience changes us. 

 Thank you for following along on my journey and being a part of my life story! You're support is truly appreciated. Going into 2019 I'm carrying forward the lessons I learned. I'm looking forward to new adventures, growth, joy, love and conquering in 2019. 

One more time for the people in the back, THE BEST IS YET TO COME! 


Monday, November 26, 2018


I think the phrase shop to you drop is an understatement for all the shopping I've done over this past holiday weekend!  With it today dubbed as Cyber Monday by most retailers the sales have continued.  I've rounded up some curated favorites from several sites and I assure you the deals are AMAZING!

Old Navy: 50% off everything

J.Crew: 50% off everything. Use Code, CYBER

H&M: 30% off everything.

Nordstrom Sale

Madewell: 25% off everything

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