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Family Life/Personal

Stitch Fix: Why I love It!

If you are like me, you don’t have a ton of extra time for shopping. Especially shopping for clothes!!

When I discovered Stitch Fix I figured it was worth a try.  This sounded like a way to get some new clothes, which I needed, without a lot of effort.  This was very appealing to me!!

So I set up my account as fast as I could (because who has time for all these questions)  and I’m sure I didn’t do everything correctly the first time because I really wasn’t thrilled with my first Fix 🙁

BUT I liked the idea so much that I decided to go back and take the time to answer all the questions to make sure the next FIX would be fabulous!  I even went onto my Pinterest account and updated my style board so that I could send this to my Stitch Fix personal shopper.  I really couldn’t blame Stitch Fix for my first FIX failure, it was my own fault for not getting all the information to my stylist.  I have found that over time, the more information I provide on the looks and styles I like the better my Stitch Fix shipments are.

My shirt & necklace are from Stitch Fix!

So, if you are “on the fence” about checking this out, let me share some reasons why I love this company.

First, I have NO extra time to shop. They make it super easy every month to just try on the clothes at my own convenience in my home!

Second, even if I do have the time, there are no guarantees I will find anything I like or anything that fits me.

Third, it’s helped me get out of a style rut! I tend to only buy certain looks, styles, and colors.  I have found that many other styles and colors fit and look good on me!!  LOL!!

My shirt is from Stitch Fix!

Fourth, it’s delivered right to my door!! Talk about making life as easy as possible 🙂

Fifth, if I don’t like something I just ship it back in the pre-paid envelope!

Sixth, if I keep everything there is a nice discount! So I absolutely LOVE when I am obsessed with everything in my FIX.

My shirt is from Stitch Fix!

You can schedule how often you receive your shipments.  You can indicate the price range of the clothes you want to be shipped to you. You can ship anything back that doesn’t fit or you just don’t like.

Nice and convenient!  I have also worn everything I have kept!  Nice way to actually get some new clothes and it’s a wonderful treat every other month for me!

My kimono is from Stitch Fix!

If you would like to give Stitch Fix a try, here is my Affiliate link STITCH FIX.  It doesn’t cost you any more to use my link, I just get a few bucks back 🙂

Blessings,

Jenn

 

Family Vacation – Hawaii for Eight

In this day and time, it’s almost insane for a family of EIGHT to think they can take a family vacation and Hawaii has to be out of the question!!!

But our story began in February/March of 2017 when Dan and I finally were scheduled to go to Hawaii for my 50th birthday! We were only two and half years behind schedule! LOL!

A lot of planning and finally just booking everything, we were on our way to our first “real” vacation. Seven days in paradise!  Bags packed, everything organized and off to LAX to catch our plane 🙂  We were flying Virgin American for the first time and didn’t know if this was going to be good or bad. As we were sitting around waiting for our section to be called to board the plan, people started suddenly coming off of the plane!!  After a few minutes, they let all the passengers know that they were overweight and needed for 20 passengers to opt for a different flight… LOL!

Well, we sat there not offering to give up our seats just yet.  Waiting to see how high they would go and what “our” seats were worth, we finally decided that if they got up to $1500 we would go for it and take the later flight.  So, guess what, we took the $3000 in flight credits and boarded a later flight.

We did lose our first day in Maui, butttt we made the most of this amazing trip.  It had been at least 15 years since I was in Maui and it was a well-deserved trip (or at least I felt it was)!!

This was the very start of a crazy idea that popped into my head… Why not try and bring all the kids for a trip to Maui later in the year??  A family vacation for this blended family of eight!  We actually do have the “Brady Bunch”, three boys and three girls 🙂  and we are very blessed that they all get along!  I have to say that Dan was not on-board with this family vacation.  He wasn’t sure why he and I were not going back alone!!  LOL!!

As I started to plan this adventure, I was looking for every way to make it work.  We had $3,000 in flight credits but at $600 a pop that was eaten up fast.  So I checked with Dan’s kids on using their flight benefits through their mom (this was tricky and I will just leave it at that)!!  But, if the kids could use their flight benefits and my $3000 in credits, I would have everyone’s airline tickets covered!!  WooHoo!!

Now for accommodations… Yup, we needed a place to stay for 7 days and that is pretty dang tricky with eight people.  I checked into just about everything, but they weren’t big enough for eight people and I wanted everyone together.  YES, all of us in one condo!  So I finally checked with a friend and she was willing to let me purchase her Time Share at the Westin Condos… You don’t know how excited I was!!  They had condos large enough for all of us and it was affordable 🙂  We only had one hiccup, we could only get the place for 6 days and I already had booked some of the plane tickets.  We all decided to fly in together and just make due with whatever I could find for one night. And yes, we all did match and wear Hawaiian shirts on the flight there 🙂

It was pretty funny, eight people trying to sleep in a condo for maybe five people was definitely pushing it!  But the location was fabulous and the kids had the most amazing morning swimming in the ocean with a bunch of sea turtles.  What a great experience we had in Kihei, Maui!

Finally, we were off to our place at the Westin. I knew it was going to be nice, but (WOW!!) I was blown away by how fabulous this place was!  We were staying in a three-bedroom condo with an incredible ocean view!  This place was fantastic and enough space for everyone.  The master bedroom and bathroom was my fantasy suite… I could have moved in forever!

One of the things that we agreed upon (with such a  large group) was the fact that we were going to be cooking 90% of our meals.  Feeding this group of eight at a restaurant for a cheap meal would be no less than $200.  This meant a trip to Costco with eight people when we got to the island!  Trying to get through Costco with eight people is a really crazy experience and the most I have ever spent at Costco in one trip.  But, we still had another trip to the grocery store, again with all eight of us 🙂  Never again, too many people with too many opinions shopping together.  Tyler, my son, took on the task of head chef with the assistance of Hunter, Dan’s oldest son.  They are pretty great in the kitchen together and made some amazing meals for us!!  Meals were planned, shopping was done and it was time to enjoy this trip…

The only thing that I wished had been a little better was the weather.  I would have loved to see a little more sun but we can’t complain too much, Maui is Maui and we were blessed to all be together on this fabulous island for 7 days.

I even rented two vehicles for the purpose of not wanting everyone to feel like that had to do everything together.  This was their trip and we wanted them to do whatever they wanted to do.  Butttt we pretty much did everything together.  Family meals, trips to the beach, other areas of the island, it was an extremely tall large group of people!!

Never let anyone tell you, you can’t do something! Because if I can pull this off, anything can be done!  I personally have some the best memories of this group together and having our first family trip with everyone!  Feeling very blessed to have had the chance to take all 6 of our kids on a great trip and the total cost was around $5000 (not including the flight credits).

My Journey of Alternative Medicine Begins!

I want to first say – I’m no expert at anything I’m doing.  I’m just a frustrated patient looking for another alternative to being healthy once again.  I’m just sharing my journey with you and hoping that this works and maybe it will help someone else someday.  During this journey – I have connected with some amazing people that suffer from autoimmune diseases and I believe we can all get better together!

So my new Journey begins seeking alternative medicine and food my body can handle.

Recap of my story:  This change in my life happened about a year ago, after having some issues that started to get serious (you know – when you see blood in your poop)!!!  After my fun colonoscopy, I was diagnosed with UC.  Now the doctor was telling me this as I’m coming out of the procedure – not sure I remember all the conversation or not.  I was pretty naive at this point – had no idea what UC was – but the doctor said he was putting me on medicine and all I’m thinking is – okay, he’s putting me on some meds, we know what I have and I’m all good now!  RIGHT???  Why shouldn’t I think that – anytime I had been diagnosed with anything during my life – you get meds and get well!

I really like this doctor – but education is not his strong point!!!  It would have been nice, if he introduced me to the Crohns/Colitis Foundation!  So I really did a little research and wasn’t finding much – but believing that I was going to be just fine…..LOL  After several months of not much change, then my rollercoaster ride on Prednisone and still not responding to anything – I went and meet with my doctor once again and was way more enlightened about the treatment for UC.  Seems that there is only a few drugs on the market for this disease and if they don’t work – you are headed for the heavy hitters (lots of side effects).  So, we went back to Prednisone again trying a higher dose and longer time frame.

This past January/February – my doctor said I was done with Prednisone and my next step was 6MP.  At this point I had done way too much research on this drug, found more information on my disease and determined that I had to find another path for myself.  On my last round of Prednisone, I found remission for about a month or so (wow was it great to feel good everyday again) and then my body decided that it was relapsing once again by the end of March.

I actually had the doctor call in the prescription for the 6MP but never did pick it up.   During this week of figuring out the game plan, I was really getting sick again – diarrhea out of control and I needed to do something fast.  I found the website IhaveUC.com – this opened my mind to trying the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and a friend introduced me to a local Chinese doctor (Dr Brian).

The Past Three weeks of Progress: 

Dr Brian started me on a “custom” brewed tea, acupuncture, warming and herbs.  With my current condition (major diarrhea) we just couldn’t seem to get this under control and with the weight lose of 19 pounds on 2/3 weeks – we finally decided that I needed to try Prednisone one more time to allow everything to kick in!  Once on the Prednisone, things started to improve and we have been seeing results each week.

I’m just about done with my tea (thank goodness – it’s awful) – I’m going three times a week for acupuncture, we have tried about 3 to 4 different herb/pills to see which ones are working best for me and finally think we found the right one.   I have developed a great appreciation for Chinese medicine and Dr Brian – I feel I have someone that really cares about my health and getting me well (he even prays for me). This is a slow process, we are so used to Western Medicine being a quick fix – that the process with Chinese medicine is a slow healing – herbs are natural and not as powerful and take time to work.  This is an expensive process as well, no insurance coverage for this alternative medicine, but I believe it’s worth every dime for me!

I can’t say that I have stuck with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet – I am a Carboholic and I just can’t live without them.  I’m trying to be much better and eat way less carbs (the bad ones) eating as healthy as possible.  With my diarrhea under control, I have been able to reintroduce a lot more foods back to my diet – more veggies and a little fruit.  I bought a Juicer and have been juicing daily for about a week now (only about 6 to 8 oz) keeping it low for now (don’t want to loosen me up again) LOL

I have about three more weeks on the Prednisone (you have to taper off this stuff) and this will be the true test to see how I’m really doing once I’m off this stuff.  I’m hoping that the Prednisone has allowed the herbs to do their healing and my body to respond to them.  I’m feeling pretty good right now and have a lot of faith in my direction.  I’m sure this is not for everyone – but may be another direction to seek before taking a drug that could do you more harm.

 

 

The internet seems to have more and more available once you find one site, I seem to find another.  Check out www.ihaveuc.com – get the book Specific Carbohydrate Diet and there are several websites for recipes – check out the Colitis/Crohn’s Foundation website.  I found a lot of information on all these sites which set my mind in the direction of alternative medicine – I will post a follow-up as soon as I’m off the Prednisone to see the true story of my improvement – I’m praying that this is working, because I sure don’t want to take 6MP or any of the other drugs recommended for Colitis!!!

I do hope that this information helps someone out there dealing with UC or something similar and thanks for joining me on this journey!!!

Blessings to you all,

Jenn – your fellow UC’er

P.S. – If you are in the Orange County area and want Dr Brian’s information, email me and I will forward!!!

My journey with UC (Ulcerative Colitis)

Well, I’m usually very private with my health conditions and I have not shared over the past year about my diagnoses of UC (Ulcerative Colitis).  I do think some of why I had been quiet and not sharing, was there really wasn’t much to share – like many others, I was diagnosed with this disease and figuring out how to live with it.

But, I finally do have something to share about a path I’m taking and believe that my information could be helpful to someone else dealing with UC.

So, my story begins back in my late teens or early 20’s when I was first diagnosed with IBS – don’t think they really called it that back then – but that’s what I had and I figured out a way to keep the doctors away pretty fast.  I discovered Citrucel via my doctors advise and I want you to know that this stuff worked for more than 30 years for me!  It was my morning “orange juice” LOL  But, if I drank a glass every morning it seemed to keep me balanced and was what my system needed.

Fast forward to the Fall of 2015 – this is when I look back, I can see things were starting to change, but it was a very slow process.  I ran out of Citrucel and thought I would grab whatever Costco had – may have been Metamucil, but at the moment I didn’t think it would matter – fiber supplement is a fiber supplement, RIGHT?   Well, not for me!!!  After switching to Metamucil things just didn’t seem to be working the same for my digestive system – so I gave up on the Metamucil and went back to Citrucel.  But, things just never went back to normal…….now I don’t know if this had anything to do with developing UC or not – but is when I noticed things changing for me.

I kept taking the Citrucel and kept coming up with excuses to why my system was off.  You know, it’s stress. My body needs to adjust back to the Citrucel.  Maybe I just can’t eat certain foods anymore.  And on and on – yes, I was totally in denial that something was really going on that needed attention.  But, the process was slow – it didn’t change overnight.

Finally, (and this could be more information than you need to know) – but there was blood in the stools and they were getting looser and looser.  I gave my self a deadline (now if you know me well, this is totally a way I deal with things) that if nothing improved by the first of April, I would go see the doctor.  Okay, this was six months later – talk about denial!!!  Then it also became the FEAR of what was wrong with me and did I really want to know – Denial and Fear!!!

I did make that appointment to see my regular doctor and it was determined that I needed to see a specialist GI doctor.  Well, with all the test, referrals and such I think I finally saw the specialist at the end of April and had my first Colonoscopy scheduled for the first part of May.

Between the GI appointment and Colonoscopy was our planned trip to “Stage Coach” – which is a long weekend of concerts, eating, drinking with good friends in a motorhome…..LOL  Well, those staying in our motorhome, got to know me a little better – I was pretty sick at this point!!!  But, somehow I made it through this fun weekend – feeling it was my last chance to just party my ass off (no pun intended) before the reality of dealing with my condition.

For all you that have had a Colonoscopy – the truly fun part is the “prep”!!!  You drink gallons of this stuff, that no mater how you flavor it, it’s hard to drink it all.  And then the running to the bathroom – hoping to get there in time!!!  Does this bring back memories?  One of my friends was keeping me company via the phone that day (Thanks Morey) what a great friend!  We would be talking and all of a sudden, I would say “gotta go”!  Not sure how many times I called her back that day – too many to count, but thankful for the company during such a fun day of Colonoscopy preparation!!!

I some how made it through the preparation and another friend drove me to my appointment – there was the discussion if I needed some “depends” for the ride……LOL  You gotta love your friends humor at a time like this.

Once at the center, I was very well taken care of and basically put in line for my Colonoscopy.  I’m sure I was out at the count of 2 – I was exhausted at this point.  I was woken up to be informed that it was over and my doctor informed me of having Ulcerative Colitis.  Not really knowing what UC was – I just followed the directions of my GI specialist and started to take the meds prescribed.  I was thinking okay – I now know what I have and there are drugs to FIX it.

I do really like my GI Doc but, he is not that informative about the disease.  I was just thinking I will be okay now – the drugs will “cure” me!  Funny me – there is no cure for UC – these drugs are to just help put you into remission and hope to keep you there.  So of course, I’m the patient that these drugs are not working for, so I’m then put on Prednisone to help my drugs work and start a roller coaster ride of Prednisone.

This is months and months of trying Steroids (several different ones) and the cycle of seeing if they would work was months.  After no success for me, I meet with my GI doc again and I’m thinking, they will just try another drug for me – there has to be many different drugs for my condition – Right?  But, what I did find out was that I had exhausted all the mild drugs for UC and the next level of drugs were more hard core with lots of side-effects!  So one more attempt with the Prednisone was going to be my last chance to get well with these more mild drugs.  If this didn’t work – my next drugs was going to be 6MP…….so I finally started to research this drug and wasn’t happy that it was my next choice!!!

So to give you an idea of how long it’s been – I was diagnosed in May 2016 and it was Jan/Feb of 2017.  Dan and I were getting ready to take our first week long dream vacation to Maui and I had another appointment with the GI doc scheduled.  This time I took Dan – feeling I needed another set of ears to help me decide if I was going to take the 6MP or not.  But after meeting with my GI – he didn’t want me starting this when both of us were going to be on vacation.  He also decided that he was going to get me off the Prednisone before Maui because Sun and Prednisone don’t mix well.

Part of what scared me to death about the 6MP is that it has many side effects to which you have to have your blood work done every 4 to 6 weeks – not a life I wanted for myself!!!

Now, I’m getting ready to head on vacation without Prednisone – I hated this stuff but it kept me from getting too sick.  Doctor told me to use Imodium if necessary to keep me out of the bathroom if things got worse during my trip – just what I was looking forward to on my vacation, NOT!!!

During this time of weaning off the Prednisone fast – my son had been telling me about an article he read on the internet about Tequila and gut health benefits.  He had been telling me about this for many months – but I was just ignoring him.  But he finally said – Mom, what do you have to loose?  And that was a good question – nothing the doctor was giving me was working so why not try Tequila?  Supposedly, the Tequila was to line the digestive system and allow your drugs to work better – so, I started to try it.  I was shooting a half shot of Tequila before taking my drugs every morning.  Yes, I was shooting Tequila in the mornings.  Along with this, my son also recommend that I try the Alkaline water – which is also suppose to be good for your digestive system.

So my Tequila shooting days began a couple weeks before Maui, I was shooting Tequila in Maui and even when I returned home.  By Gosh – something was working!!!  I don’t know if it was the Tequila, the Alkaline water or what – but this was the best I felt in a year!  I told my doctor about this and he was not thrilled to hear I was shooting Tequila – but something was working and I was just thrilled……I had my energy back, I felt good and was even eating a salad again!  Yes, I love salad and had given it up of months – greens are hard to digest!

Now, I’m not sure I would recommend the Tequila shooting – but it did work for about a month or something was working……but all of a sudden, I could tell I was going in reverse – my short month of feeling good was ending!  It was almost depressing.

I was once again back to the point of thinking my only direction was to try the 6MP.  But something kept telling me I didn’t want to go that direction – so I started researching other directions for help.  And one of my employees reminded me of a Chinese Acupuncture & Herb specialist.

Through my exploring the internet I discovered a site called “iHaveUC” – which gave me the inspiration to try to overcome my UC with diet.  Make sure to check out this website, his book and cook book.  This is my new journey along with trying the Chinese Acupuncture & Herbs.  I’m at the sickest I have been – but have high HOPES for going this direction.

I will follow up with my status and journey over the next couple of weeks to let you know how things are working for me.  But I share this information because it seems that the doctors out there only want to try and help with drugs and I believe that there is another way to control my UC.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you that deal with this condition!

Blessings,

Jenn

Some websites to check out:

www.ihaveuc.com

www.ccfa.org

Books:

Specific Carbohydrate Diet™

iHaveUC cook book

Volleyball Season

My daughter Ashley has been playing volleyball for the past 4 years on a club team (so, volleyball goes year-round for us).  So, beginning in February I travel a lot all over the State of California taking my daughter to tournaments and league games.  The team she is on is doing great this season – her team has qualified twice for the Junior Olympics so far this season and in the highest division possible. 

They came in second place in Denver, CO at the Colorado Crossroads tournament and they just finished third in Anaheim, CA @ the SoCal qualifier.  This season has been such a great experience for a teenage girl – I talk about the passion I have for decorative finishing and see that same passion in my daughter, but for the love of volleyball.

Don’t know where this will lead her – but the life experiences are priceless (well they cost mom and dad a lot of money – but it is worth it). 

Well, in between starting this post and getting it published – Ashley’s team had another qualifier in Reno, NV and her team finished 2nd – it’s their third time qualifying for the JO’s – WOW!

So, we are off to Dallas, TX on June 30th for the JO’s – I will get to celebrate my birthday in Dallas this year – for the past three years I have celebrated my birthday at the JO’s – Atlanta, Minnesota and now Dallas!

I’ll keep you posted on how her team does and how the good’ol birthday was (I was in Dallas in October for Meeting of the Masters – we went to a Piano Bar that was very fun – I may go back there for my birthday!)