Preakness | Bold Black and White Striped Skirt

This past weekend was Preakness here in Baltimore. Preakness is a Baltimore tradition that dates back over 100 years. It’s a horse race held on the third weekend in May. I think the thing I like most about Preakness are the hats! No Preakness outfit would be complete without your big, wide-brimmed hat. A bold black and white striped skirt, soft pink blouse, black wide brimmed hat and simple heels completed my Preakness outfit.

Both my top and skirt will be making more appearances as they are both included in my summer capsule wardrobe! Make sure you check back in to see exactly what else my summer capsule wardrobe will include. 

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Color Code Your Keys: An Easy Nail Polish Hack

I’ve been doing this for 5 years now, and it’s one of my favorite “life hacks.” Color coding your keys with nail polish. The nail polish creates a wonderful enamel like finish and it lasts a long time. I no longer fumble around my keychain for the right key, I simply look for the color I need and bam! Done. It’s so simple.  It only takes about 5 minutes! So, go gather your keys and let’s do this!!

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Touché Karma, Touché

Have you guys seen this floating around the internet? This Dad texts his wife after his son projectile vomits in the car, and hilarity ensues. In case you missed it:

Anyway, I retell this hysterical tale to the Hubster yesterday morning, hardly getting through it due to my laughing fits. Our day continues on. I pack up Emerson in the car between downpours and we head out to the MVA to get my car’s emissions test done. We make it there and Emerson starts whining a bit in the back seat. No big deal, it’s about the point where she’s probably getting hungry. I hand her back a juice box to occupy her for a few minutes as we wait in line. 
The car ahead of me is now going. Then it happens. Emerson coughs, and then she gags, and then she throws up. I slowly turn around asking, “are you….” and trail off because I’m met with a scene that could have rivaled The Exorcist. “okaaaaaaayyyy…?” Sigh. Oh Boy. 
I hop out into the pouring rain and silently pray, thanking the universe that I grabbed a full pack of wipes at the last second. I run around and open up her door. I make eye contact with the service man who is now calling me in since it’s my turn. A couple of cars wait behind me. Oh, and I decided it was the perfect day to wear a white tee shirt. 
I yell over, “HANG ON, I’ve got a situation! I’ll be right there!” I quickly wipe Emerson’s mouth and face and hands, and hop back in to drive the car up. I hop back out and breathlessly explain:
“I’m so sorry, she just, all of a sudden… BOOM! I… I… I’m really sorry. I can continue to clean her up right? I don’t have to just stand here?” *points to an “x” on the ground where the driver usually stands.*
I get the go ahead from the service man who is probably holding his breath and I reopen her door. It takes every ounce of my will power and strength to not throw up on Emerson, in front of this service man,  as I reach for the wipes again. 

My car passes, and we’re on our way again. I pull over into the first parking lot I can see and hang out in the downpour as I clean up the backseat the best I can, dry heaving now and then.  Soaked in my white tee, with my daughter dressed in some way-too-small, but clean clothes I found in the trunk, we finally head home.

Touché, Karma, touché. 

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CF Awareness Month | Living with Cystic Fibrosis

May is CF awareness month. Typically the CF Foundation hosts their “Great Strides” fundraisers this month. The movie theater may jingle a can for spare change for the “Jimmy Fund” during previews or you may even be able to buy a red sneaker sticker at the grocery store…all to support research and funding for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. 
I have Cystic Fibrosis. I mean, it’s something I wish I didn’t have, but I also wished I had a million dollars. There are some things we can control and some we can’t. I can’t control the fact that I live with CF. What I can control is buying lottery tickets… ha! No, seriously, what I can control is how I choose to live my life regardless of having CF. 
Part of living with CF, actually, a huge part of living with CF, is your daily care. It takes a lot to stay healthy. I do nebulizers, physical therapy, normal exercise and breathing exercises. I take pills (lots and lots of pills), I do inhalers and I try to eat upwards of 3,000 calories a day… and that’s when I’m healthy. When I’m sick I do more things. Sometimes I even do 2-3 weeks of home IV’s. 
One would think that after almost 23 years of doing these things, they would be old hat–that it would get easier. It doesn’t. I use alarms on my phone to remind me to carve out time during my day to do my treatments. It’s a huge mental struggle as well. Every time I open my medicine drawer it’s a reminder that I’m different, and that sometimes my life can be unfair and hard. But then I do my meds and get on with it.

Another big part of your CF care is going to Clinic. I see a great team at Johns Hopkin’s Hospital every 2-3 months. Again, this is when I’m healthy. My visits could be as frequent as every 2 weeks when I’m sick. I went to clinic yesterday for my 3 month check-in. As soon as you enter the hospital, after getting your bright orange patient band, you don a blue mask. It’s critical for CF patients to mask up since the ‘bugs’ we culture in our lungs can be easily transferred to another CF patient. The less we culture the better we feel.

You get your weight checked, you do a breathing test called a PFT, or pulmonary function test, and then you get seen by a bunch of people. You come up with a plan based on how your lung function looks. I was at the hospital for 4 hours yesterday. Thankfully, my lungs look pretty good. My weight finally went up, and we have a great plan in place for when I move to Florida. 

While my life with CF isn’t glamorous by any means, it is my life and the only one I get. I fully intend on doing everything in my power to live life to the fullest.


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5 ways to wear light pink jeans

Part of my spring capsule wardrobe plan was to add in a pair of light pink jeans. This was the first pair of pants I’ve owned that hasn’t been white, green or blue.  Knowing pink jeans were not something I was accustom to styling I turned to polyvore to throw together some inspiration outfits. I tried to choose similar articles of clothing I already owned. When my pink jeans finally arrived, I already had 5 ways to wear them! 

5 ways to wear light pink jeans

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Mother’s Day

Motherhood starts way before you ever hold your babe in your arms. It even starts before you carry that little babe in your belly. Eating right and working out. Prenatal vitamins, tracking temperatures and reading countless fertility books. Little purchases forgone so you could squirrel away the money knowing one day you’d have the tinniest socks to buy. Hopes and dreams and sacrifices.

Then you grow your baby, surrendering your coffees, your drinks, your productivity and ankles. You start counting your time in weeks, then days, then hours and minutes. Finally, a little voice is brought into the world and you continue on your journey with hopes and dreams and sacrifices.

Rocking, shushing, snuggling, swaddling, feeding, wiping away tears and wiping bums. Choking back tears to soothe a terrified face at the doctors. A heart so full it might burst. Late night cries and early morning giggles. The terrifying doubts of being enough.  Long days turning into short weeks, and snug clothes packed away. Your heart aches with hopes and dreams and sacrifices.

Being a mother is all consuming. It engulfs you in an endless see of love,  doubt,  anxiety and joy. You ride so high, and fall so low. It seeps it’s way into your personality. You’re Mom: warrior princess, doctor supreme, head chef, and monster-trapper. You’re a blanket, a song, a smile, a kiss. You are the arms of comfort and the hand of authority.  You are hopes and dreams and sacrifices.

So cheers to you Moms, may you feel the love of your little one where ever they may be. May you find courage and strength to continue on, for without you we are nothing. 

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On Love and Loss

I found out around the time of our Christmas vacation that I was pregnant again. Hence the long absence of blogging around the new year. I blame pregnancy exhaustion and hormones. So many hormones! This pregnancy turned out to be the complete opposite of my first. I didn’t feel an immediate connection to this baby, in fact there were days I forgot completely that I was creating another human. For that I blamed the other human I had already created; she kept me so busy I didn’t have time to dwell on the good news.
But at the first appointment we found that the fetus had no heartbeat and displayed no movement. And while I was supposed to be 10 weeks along, baby only measured at 7 weeks and 1 day. I had what they called – a “silent miscarriage.”
Part of me had expected this outcome. On the day I clutched my positive pregnancy test, I also had a very high, hard to break fever.  Such a high fever can cause neural defects. When my OB broke the news I found myself silently nodding my head in agreement. It made sense. The crazy surge of hormonal meltdowns last week, the skin breakouts and the extreme bloating. All my body’s way of giving one last try at saving the baby. No such luck; it just wasn’t meant to be. So imagine my cool-headed, hard logic surprise when at the mention of a D&C tears started leaking from my eyes.
I wasn’t prepared for this. I knew it was a possibility but I was certainly not prepared. We settled on a second confirmation ultrasound before scheduling the D&C. It was driving home that I realized what I was dreading the most; telling the man I love that our future was changing again. That my body somehow failed me us and the visions of two kids running around had suddenly vanished.

For a long time, I just wanted to get back to normal. I felt relieved at first. I continually told myself I was happier that I was no longer pregnant and that we really “dodged a bullet.” I was annoyed when my friends, my family… the people I care so deeply about kept checking in with me to see if I was okay. I was dressed and put together, I wasn’t sobbing in the evenings, I was moving on and felt like they were holding me back.
In reality, I was holding myself back. I was smack dab in the first few stages of grieving. Denial, anger, bargaining… you know the rest. I turned to wine to self soothe my hidden regrets and buried anger. If I wasn’t going to be pregnant I could at least drink. I tried to drown my “what-if’s”  in bottles of Chardonnay. And then one day it finally happened; the tears came.
I was laying on the floor playing with Emerson. I was voicing nonsensical thoughts while she rummaged around in the masses of toys spewed across the living room rug. Emmie was quiet, as is her way, but lately she’s been dabbling in speaking more. When she looked up from what she was doing and quietly stated, “baby.” I propped myself up on my elbows.
“A baby? Did you hear a baby crying? Is one of your baby dolls tired? Where is this baby you speak of?”
Then time stood still. She smiled a big grin and scooted over to me, lifted my shirt exposing my pale stomach and laid her ear on my belly. “Baby,” she said again using her little cold hand to pat my soft tummy.
I felt it. The icy shatter of my heart breaking. It hit me like a wave of winter air, a chill that steals the breathe right from your lungs.
“Mommy doesn’t have a  baby in her belly anymore, honey.” I heard the whisper leave my lips before I realized that I was speaking.  I held my breathe as I watched her face mimic the maze of emotions I was lost in. First, confusion with little furrowed brows and a slight tilt of her head, and then as she processed the words a sad little pout sprouted from her lips and the tiniest quiver danced across her chin.
“Does it make you sad that mommy doesn’t have a baby in her belly anymore?” I asked,  my voice still barely audible. The world fell silent around us. Another chin quiver and wide, sad eyes locked onto mine and Emerson solemnly nodded yes. Yes, it made her sad.
I didn’t bother to wipe away the hot tears now streaming down my face. “It makes me sad too darling. It makes me very sad too.” I scooped her little body in my arms and breathed her in. There we sat tangled up in each other’s arms and each other’s sadness. But most importantly we sat there huddled together engulfed in love.
In time my broken heart will fully heal. Until then, I’ll drink up every moment with Emerson. The smirks and laughs. The way she gleefully runs down the street doing her best to keep up with the big kids. Or how she throws her arms around my neck and squeezes so tightly I can do nothing to hold my laughter in. I’ll study how the light bounces off her golden hair and listen to her breathe when she snuggles close.  I’ll dry her tears when she scraps her knee again and hold her hand to keep her safe. And in time, perhaps, there will be a moment where I can watch Emmie’s face light up when we tell her she’ll be a big sister.

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Learning How To Use The Manual Setting On My Nikon-D40

Photos mean a lot to me. It’s such a quick way to capture an otherwise fleeting moment. Pictures preserve not only memories, but can capture raw emotions as well. I’ve been eyeing a 50mm lens for my Nikon-D40 for some time now, so I finally bit the bullet and put in my amazon order. And can we talk about Amazon Prime for a second? I ordered my new lens at 10:30 in the morning and it had a free same day delivery (courtesy of Prime). Um? Yes, please! 
When my lens arrived about 6 hours later, I quickly learned that the auto or programmed auto settings were not going to do my new lens justice. I had to dive into manual operation. The entire time I was fiddling and snapping away the only thought I had was, “You know nothing, John Snow.” [We’re re-watching Game of Thrones these days.]  I have a basic concept of my manual setting from one of my previous learning attempts. I ended up managing to snap a few decent shots. 
I’m looking forward to relearning my way through operating my camera on manual. I find that the best resources for conquering the manual setting are those online! I’ve actually read the manual for my camera (lame, I know) but found online tutorials much more thorough and much more helpful. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of camera tutorials and explanations from backlighting techniques to shutter speeds. Hopefully as I relearn my pictures will continue to improve, especially since a picture is worth a thousand words. 

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