familyholidays

Vacation is finally here & I am seeing Disney at Christmas!

By the time you read this I will be in sunny Orlando with my family preparing to take over Walt Disney World!

I am a Disney lover at heart (if you haven’t picked up on that yet) but I have never been during the holidays so I am beyond excited to see Disney at Christmas and see everything dressed up in lights!

Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World

My dad and I did a ton of research online to find out the best weeks to visit without the parks being absolutely jam packed and it seems that the first two weeks of December are two of the most favorable weeks throughout the year! Thanksgiving and Christmas are horrible (as in close the gates by noon horrible) but the time in between is great because kids are still in school!

While I am stoked that the weather will be a beautiful 80 degrees for most of our visit, I am a little bummed that I won’t be able to wear my Minnie Mouse Santa hat! At least to the parks. There will be family pictures and of course there will be a post or two (or five) when I get back šŸ™‚

While I am gone, I lined up three guest posts from some absolutely wonderful ladies who will be sharing their tips on surviving the holidays with chronic illness! You will definitely not want to miss this!

P.S. Make sure you are following me on Instagram to take a look at Disney at Christmas! I am sure there will be more than a few pics of a certain little princess all dressed up!

chronic styleproduct review

Loving Lace: eShakti Fall 2013 Collection

Disclaimer: I received this dress from eShakti in order to facilitate this review on their fall collection. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and I always strive to share brands to benefit this community!

Since starting the disability process, I jump at the change to dress up, put on makeup, and feel more like a woman when I get the chance.

I will be the first to admit that I struggle with body confidence issues because of surgery scars and the impact of hormone treatments (both current and past) have had on my body. I have had both “mosquito bites” and “ghetto booty” as nicknames in college and while I have ditched the first one (the only benefit from the hormones!), the second is most definitely here to stay so as a woman with curves, I sometimes struggle to find clothes that fitĀ all parts of me.

This is exactly why I love eShakti. This brand is different from the rest because of their mission:

eShakti believes that all women have the right to wear affordable fashion that is made for them and makes them look their absolute best.

Their collections includes vintage inspired pieces that are both feminine and modest. Each piece can be customized for your exact measurements as well as tailored to your preferences for neckline, sleeve type, and dress length for only $7.50 regardless of how many changes you make.

I have had the pleasure of working with eShakti previously (when I checked out their spring collection earlier this year and their 2012 fall collection) and I can say that both dresses are still key pieces in my wardrobe. Whenever I ask Abby what I should wear, she always says the “kitty cat dress.”

When I had the opportunity to check out the eShakti Fall 2013 Collection, it was a tough decision to make but I decided on this Lace Overlay Sash Tie Dress:

eShakti-Review

The dress was so comfortable to wear and it made me feel so feminine and beautiful! The only thing I think I will be on the lookout for is a thicker belt to go with the dress (maybe something with a little sparkle) and a shorter cardigan to help create more of an hourglass shape!

Once again, I totally recommend checking out eShakti when you are shopping for a dress (or anything else for that matter!). If you are a new customer you will receive a $25 gift coupon and they are currently running a 35% sale off the entire site through December 9th!

Disclaimer: I received this dress fromĀ eShaktiĀ in order to facilitate this review on their fall collection. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and I always strive to share brands to benefit this community!

chronic illness

My Thanksgiving & Overcoming Adverse Side Effects of Medications

My Thanksgiving holiday didn’t go quite as planned.

By Thursday night, I had spiraled into an anxiety-driven level of crazy I have never experienced by after starting a new anxiety medicine (Remeron) after seeing my rheumatologist and going over my symptoms. I tried really, really hard to keep everything I was feeling hidden and not show my family was was going on under the surface. The last person you want carving the turkey is a crazy person. I became very aware of what was going on Wednesday and consulted my doctor which resulted in a change to a new medication but in the midst of the troublesome medication making its way out of my system and the new medication going in, it made for an explosion Thanksgiving night.

From my research and the conversation with my doctor, I learned that Remeron is one of those medications that either works really great at controlling anxiety or makes you feel like a psychopath. I was the latter. It was a scary experience and thank God I’ve got a husband who is patient, supportive, and involved in my treatments and who recognized what was going on and helped me get in touch with my doctor versus putting me in a padded room (although it might have been a good idea at the time).

I am happy to share that since the old medicine has moved completely out of my system and my new medicine (Wellbutrin) has started to take effect, I am feeling much, MUCH better. I feel like my balance has been restored and I am in much better control of my anxiety and emotions which I think will only get better as the medicine takes full effect.

The sad truth with a lot of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications on the market can have a negative impact on your mental health versus making it better. I had an adverse reaction to Cymbalta at the beginning of the summer summer which made me foggy, depressed and antisocial. The reaction to the Remeron was much more intense and happened very quickly (within a couple days) after starting the medication versus over the course of weeks/months. After my experiences I was a little hesitant to try another medication but I knew I needed help to regain control of my anxiety and my emotions.

The moral of this story is to read the materials that come with new prescriptions, take time to talk with the pharmacist, and have your spouse (or someone that lives with you or is close to you) read the materials as well so they can be aware of possible adverse side effects of medications and be able to recognize signs of trouble.

Every medication affects to each person differently so what works great for one person may not work at all for another. My experiences with Remeron and Cymbalta are just that, my experiences, so I am not saying that someone should never try them if their doctor and themselves think that they may be an affective treatment to his or her illness.

I am sharing my story in the name of both transparency to show the whole picture of life with chronic illness (which includes much more than physical health) and most importantly to stress the importance of being aware of side effects and precautions of prescribed medications, listening to your body and recognizing when there may be a problem, and having the strength and courage to ask for help. I don’t want anyone to experience what I went through and hope that by sharing I can help raise awareness.

The informational content of this post is intended to convey general educationalĀ information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.