Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sticky Gram = SO Much Fun!

I always love to share fun finds that I love.  I recently heard about Sticky Gram and knew I had to order some!  You turn your Instagram photos into little magnets.  ADORABLE!  You have to order 9 photos to do it but of course that wasn't a problem for me - I could have picked 29! Ha!

So they come attached in a square like this (see above).

They easily pull apart into the individual photos (see above).

Then you can put them on your fridge or anywhere else that is magnetic.  I brought them into work and put them on a metal part of my desk.  (I forgot to take a photo - sorry! Trust me they look super cute)!

I love Instagram (follow me here) and this is the first time I've ordered any of my IG photos.  Very fun stuff. 

Oh and the best part is if you order some using the coupon code FRIENDOAS9 you will get $2 off and then I will get a $2 credit.  I really need y'all to order some using that code so I can justify buying more for myself! PLEASE!?!

P.S. I did my order on my iPhone and it was so quick and easy!

P.P.S.  Sticky Gram did not ask me to blog about this nor do they know I am.  Just sharing the info b/c I love my magnet photos and must get more asap!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My Custom iPhone Case by Shutterfly

I love Shutterfly.  I love my iPhone.  I love fun iPhone cases.  So when Shutterfly contacted me about making a custom iPhone case I quickly agreed.  I made a free case on Shutterfly but the opinions are my own.

The iPhone case was SO easy to make it literally took me ten minutes to make!  Seriously!  I couldn't believe how quick and easy it was.  All I had to do was pick the style and color I wanted.  I went with "Chevron Stripes" and had four color options - green, hot pink, light blue and red.  I chose red because I knew I wanted to use a Red Sox photo.

Once I chose the style and color then I uploaded one of my favorite photos of Fenway Park.  I dragged the photo and positioned it how I liked it.

I then had the option of adding text.  I decided to keep it simple and just write "Go Red Sox!"

That was it!  I reviewed my case and ordered it.  I was happily surprised when it arrived in my mailbox just a few days later.

I really love the way it came out.  The chevron stripes are so trendy and popular right now.  I of course love the Red Sox so having a picture of Fenway to look at everyday is great.

I have received SO many compliments about this case!  People always ask me where I bought it and when I tell them I made it on Shutterfly they are so surprised!! 

I will definitely make another iPhone case on Shutterfly.  I think a beach photo from this summer would make a pretty case or even a picture of my adorable nieces.  The options are endless.






Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Big Day

Today is a big day.  Today is not just an ordinary Wednesday.  It is a very special Wednesday.

Today is the day that we can celebrate all of the victims of the Boston Marathon Tragedy being at home.  Today the last victim FINALLY went home!  Marc Fucarile is finally at home with his family after 100 days of being in the hospital.  Today is a big day.

While the rest of us have moved on with our lives, the victims of that day are still dealing with the physical and emotional injuries.  Many of them are adjusting to a "new" way of life.

I think about the victims survivors every.single.day.  Why you ask?  I'm not completely sure.  But maybe, just maybe, it is because I know what it is life to have your life significantly changed in a single moment.

I would never and will never compare my situation to theirs.  But I can relate to certain aspects.  I think about them and wonder how they move forward emotionally. . . how they reach acceptance. . . how they forgive. . . if they forgive?

I've accepted the fact that I have MS.  I think I accepted it from the beginning.  It is what it is.  If it wasn't MS it would have been something else.  Maybe not a chronic illness but something that I would have to adjust to and learn to live with.

For the survivors of that day, they have to live with the fact that it didn't have to happen.  Two evil people made it happen.  I'm not sure how you ever come to terms with that.  I'm not sure I could.

None of us get to choose our fates.  There are certain aspects of life that are out of our control.  But somehow I wonder about the difference in healing emotionally from a situation like mine compared to a situation like theirs.  Is it different?  It must be.

I don't know if any of this makes sense.  I just know I think about them - often.  I wish that they didn't have to deal with all the things they are dealing with.  I wish that the tragedy never happened.  I wish those two evil people had made a different choice that day.

I know we can't change the past.  I know I can't change what happen to them that day.  All I can do is think of them.  Pray for them.  Hope for them. 

Today is a big day.  They are all home.  With their families.  Where they should be. 



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It's A Boy!

As I mentioned in my post yesterday we have a new addition to our family!  My cousin Chad and his wife Meghan gave birth to a beautiful baby boy last Wednesday.  Callen William joins his sister Laney!

Callen was born at the hospital where I work so I was lucky enough to meet him just 5 hours after he was born!  Such a sweet baby!


Oh and look at that I just happen to wear blue on the day he was born.  I must be psychic that not only would Meghan go into labor that day but that it would be a boy!  Ha!

 The proud parents!  Of course Meghan looked amazing just hours after giving birth!

I took this picture the morning he was going home - just under 48 hours old here!

It is always wonderful to add another baby to our family.  I'm so happy for Chad and Meghan!


 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Jenn's MS Fundraiser and Other Weekend Happenings

Well here it is already late Monday night when I should be getting ready for bed but instead I'm trying to quickly get a blog post about my weekend written.  I just don't have enough hours in the day.  I can't seem to get it all done lately.

How do y'all manage?

I work full time and am exhausted at the end of each day yet I try to make time to work out/train for the 50 mile MS Challenge Walk which is only 6 weeks away and then I also try to find time for blogging, reading your blogs and all the other fun stuff that comes w/ summer. . . and I just can't do it all.

Bummer.

My stress level is at an all time high due to several of life's annoyances.  But such is life right.  For now I'm going to focus on the fun stuff I did this past weekend. . .

As you all should know by now, Jenn and I will be walking 50 miles in 3 days in September for MS.  This will be my 4th year participating in the Challenge Walk but 2nd year walking (first 2 years I did crew) and this is Jenn's 3rd year walking.  Not only is it amazing that my sister-in-law does this event for/with me but she also raises a ton of money.  Not an easy thing when you do it year after year.

On Saturday night she hosted a MS Fundraiser at a bar in our hometown.  We had a private room with plenty of space for decorating.  Check out the awesome display board my mom put together with pictures from the walk last year!  Jenn had numerous raffle prizes and I won one which is always great!

We had a fun night hanging out with family and friends.  We are just under 6 weeks away and we both have to step up our fundraising at this point.  Soooooo if you are feeling generous and want to donate go here! Thanks!
 
On Sunday I went to see the musical Fiddler on the Roof with my Aunt Cathy.  We typically see a musical put on by the Reagle Music Theatre every summer.  They are always outstanding and have been as good as many Broadway musicals that I've seen. 

I had never seen Fiddler on the Roof (musical or movie) so I was excited to see something new to me.  I LOVED it.  It is such a great story and the music is wonderful.  I really enjoyed it.  I'm so glad we chose to see this show.  It has been added to my (long) list of favorites.

After the show we went to a local Irish pub, The Skellig, for dinner (mainly b/c I had won a gift certificate to it the night before).  We were happily surprised to find out an Irish Session was about to begin when we arrived.  Now I've been to MANY Irish Sessions both in Ireland and in Boston and let me tell you this one was no joke.  It was HUGE.  People just kept coming in and joining in!  The whole bar was filled w/ people playing along.  It was so much fun!  We can't wait to go back again soon when we have time to stay longer (we had to leave due to my car issues i.e. one of my stressors).

So minus the stress, lack of sleep and messy house that I didn't have time to clean my weekend was great.  I only wish weekends would last a lot longer, especially in summer!

Hope yours was great too.

I have some great things to share with you on the blog - more about my new MS treatment that I'll be starting soon and some other fun news including a new family member that was born last week!!!!!


I'm linking up with Leeann for Monday Morning Gossip (better late than never).


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cape Cod Weekends Are The Best

Well I guess I should go ahead and blog about my weekend on the Cape since it is almost the next weekend!  This week has been so busy and I've hardly had time to blog.  I'm staying in Boston this weekend for the first time in a few weeks.  I'm hoping to get organized since my house is a disaster and maybe find some free time for blogging!  We'll see if it all actually happens.

I drove down Saturday morning.  The only good thing about bad weather is NO TRAFFIC!  I got there in 1.5 hours!  Saturday was a lazy day - hung out with my mom, grandmother, sister-in-law, and nieces.  My dad and brother were both working so it was all girls!!!

Of course there was time spent at the pool.  Peyton wanted pictures taken while she was jumping in so it would look like she was "flying."

Saturday night we all went out to dinner (minus my grandmother who was out w/ friends).  In order to fit in one car someone had to sit in the middle of these two cuties!  It is a tight squeeze between the car seats but who can resist these two!?



No weekend on the Cape is complete without ice cream!  The Cape has a lot of "famous" ice cream shops with long lines and big crowds but the girls favorite spot is this little place nearby.  Do you want to know why. . . because they have a wooden train that you can climb on.  They love that thing!  Funny this is that I love going to here now too b/c they have cake batter ice cream w/ chocolate swirled through.  It is my FAVORITE and I can't find it anywhere else!

Sunday morning Jenn and I did a training walk since in less than 2 months we will be walking 50 miles for MS.  We walked 6 miles and by the time we were done the fog had burned off and it was shaping up to be a beautiful day.  Would you check out these hydrangeas!!???  Just gorgeous! Those colors.  Yes I do realize that I take far too many photos of hydrangeas but I can't help it.  They are my favorite and just so pretty.

And then there was more pool time!  Oh and my brother arrived so Peyton was happy to finally have someone other than Ella go in the pool w/ her.

Sunday night we went out to dinner (minus Jenn and Ella b/c Ella had a fever).  Peyton was so excited that my brother and grandmother were getting lobster.  She loves to look at it and was fascinated w/ watching my brother crack into it but she wouldn't try it! Ha!  Oh and I had some delicious cheesecake for dessert (and I wondered why the scale showed me gaining weight when I weighed myself on Monday morning.  Hmmm I wonder why. . . ice cream one night and cheesecake another!  Good thing I walked 6 miles)!

The night before I went down my parents had the girls there.  My dad was umpiring a Cape Cod League Baseball game so my mom took the girls so they could watch Grampy.  I just thought these pictures were cute!

Three weekends in a row on the Cape.  They were all good.  Now for a weekend off.  Don't worry I'll have plenty of fun around Boston and then be back on the Cape soon.

Hope y'all have a fabulous weekend. 













Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"I Am A Health Activist"

 

Saying those words out loud sounds really weird to me.  I never set out to be a "health activist" when I started blogging over three years ago but today that is exactly what I was called.  I spoke on a panel at the 9th Public Relations and Communications Summit in Boston along with two other health activists.  I was invited by Wego Health to be a part of this panel and even when I saw the words up on the screen I still chuckled to myself and thought. . . "health activist?!"


I felt so honored to be asked to speak at this conference.  I looked out at the room filled with people and thought "these people really paid all this money to attend this conference and they are looking forward to hearing me speak?"  I had been told by several people that they were excited for this portion of the conference.  This surprised me especially knowing the we were following the amazing Dick Hoyt.


I wasn't nervous.  I've done plenty of public speaking in my day.  I enjoy it.  Especially when it is speaking about a topic I am so passionate about.  But today for the first time something happened that has never ever happened before. . . I cried.  I should have know better when I agreed to share about this post.  When I emailed the link to Jack (from Wego Health) I even told him that I still couldn't read the post without crying and if he felt it was too sad he could use this post instead.  Why didn't I know better at that moment!?  

We all knew what to expect.  We knew what questions we would be asked.  Jack had prepared us and even asked us to send him links to blog posts pertaining to our answers which were then displayed on slides for the audience to see.  After a short introduction it was time for the questions.

"What post - any kind of content - got the most response, attention or shares?
Why do you think that happen?"

I started sharing about this post and why it was special to me and that is when it happened.  I got choked up.  What the heck?  This has never happen to me!  I paused, took a deep breath and tried to compose myself.  I was SO embarrassed.  I couldn't believe this was the first impression I was making on this audience.  I mean really!  With a shaky voice I shared about hope.  I shared that Annette couldn't have hope because when she was diagnosed she had no treatment options but when I was diagnosed I was lucky because there were several and now even more today including brand new oral treatment options.  I have hope.  This is what keeps me going.  

I shared that this post inspired many people to donate to my Challenge Walk fundraising efforts - many of them first time donors.  Not only had I raised awareness about MS with this post but I had raised money which will hopefully lead to a cure.  

I think this post got the response it did because I was sincere, honest, vulnerable. . . and HOPEFUL.

The panel continued answering the questions and I fully recovered and composed myself for the remaining questions.  Hopefully I redeemed myself to the audience too!?

As I was driving home I thought more about why this had happened to me.  I hardly ever cry.  I'm not a crier.  Especially in public when I am attempting to present myself in a professional manner!  I didn't cry because I am sad.  I didn't cry because I am scared.  I didn't cry because I'm worried about dying from MS. . . I cried because I am grateful.  Grateful that I CAN have hope.  I cried because I feel so fortunate to live in a city with excellent medical care.  I feel fortunate to have good health insurance.  I feel fortunate to have treatment options that have likely contributed to no relapses since my original diagnosis.  I feel fortunate for all of these things.  So believe it or not my tears were happy tears.  But I still feel a little embarrassed.

Upon leaving the conference room an audience member was waiting outside (another speaker went up to the stage and started immediately so audience members did have a break) to tell me and the other two panel members how much he appreciated hearing from us.  He said we were really good and thanked us.  Wow, really?  You liked us? Me?!

On the walk back to my car I pulled out my iPhone and checked social media.  It was actually my first time on twitter in many hours.  Guess what?   There were NUMEROUS tweets from audience members thanking us.  Not only that but there were personal tweets to me. . .


Do you want to know how happy I was when I saw these tweets?  SO SO HAPPY!  Wow!  I'm just a regular person.  A regular person with MS that is.  I hope that each day I can make a difference and today I think know I did.

Is this why I "got" MS?  Maybe?!  I've never been a "why me" type of person but maybe this is why.  Maybe it is because I have a voice.  I am a health activist!



Thank you to Jill, a Crohn's Health Activist, and Alicia, a Cancer Health Activist, my fellow panel members.  It was an honor to sit next to both of you.  I am quite impressed by what each of you do.  Keep up the great work!

Thank you to Wego Health especially Jack for inviting me to speak.  I am reminded of my place in this big, wide, chronic illness world.  This is what I'm meant to do.  I will continue to share my story even if it means crying in public!!!


If you are a health activist and are interested in becoming more involved with Wego Health sign up here for the Speakers Bureau or here for the Press Corps.




Monday, July 15, 2013

Country Concert at Fenway Park

Friday night I went to an awesome concert at a great location. . . Thomas Rhett, Jake Owen, Miranda Lambert and Jason Aldean performed at Fenway Park!   

Unfortunately there was major traffic or something going on Friday night which delayed the buses going to Fenway.  I waited 50 minutes for a bus (after 4 went by and did not stop).  So by the time I got there and met up with Emily (who also got stuck waiting for the T) we both really need a drink.  Enter this pitcher of margaritas!  Don't worry we ate too.


We got into Fenway a few minutes prior to Miranda Lambert.  We missed seeing Thomas and Jake but we were ok with that.  I'm sure they were great!


Miranda put on a great show.  She sang all her songs you would know and love.  She has a lot of spunk.  No special appearance from her hubby (I was really hoping)!  Is it just me or does she always wear strapless tops!?




Jason Aldean came out with a bang.  Literally!  Fireworks lit up the sky which was really pretty!
Jason put on an awesome show.  He has so many hits and sang them all.  He was great except for one little thing. . .



He started singing "Don't You Want To Stay" which is his duet with Kelly Clarkson and also one of  my favorite songs.  Well when it got to Kelly's part she appeared on the stage.  What!?  I couldn't believe it.  Emily and I were so excited.  He sang with her and at the end said "Let's hear it for Kelly Clarkson" and everyone cheered.  Very cool except. . . . Jason lied to me!  She wasn't really there.  It was some kind of crazy real-life like video screen. WHAT??!!!  Are you kidding me?!  Let me tell you it was so realistic.  I'm still wondering if I'm the only one who didn't know she wasn't really there.  Now I hear she does the same thing at her concerts (which I'll see in August).  So while I loved the concert I'm mad at Jason for "punking" me.  Haha!!


And because I'm sure you are all wondering which boots I chose and what I wore here ya go!  I went with the boots on the right because I thought they were more fun and unique.  And let's face it they were $20 bucks cheaper which put them much more in my price range.  I like them!

So all and all a great night.  The weather was perfect, the concert was awesome and I saw more cowboys in Boston than I've ever seen in my life.  Who knew there were so many county music fans in Boston??



For all you Jason Aldean concert goers please tell me I'm not the only one who thought Kelly was live!?


Linking up with Leeann at Join The Gossip!





Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dressing For A Country Concert




Friday night I'm heading to Fenway Park. . . but not for a Red Sox game.  I'm going to a country concert.  This is not just any country concert.  It is Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Jake Owen and Thomas Rhett. . . pretty awesome right!?




The problem is I have NO IDEA what to wear.  We're talking first world problems here people.  I need your help. 


I went to DSW the other night and was happily surprised to find not one but two pairs of cowboy boots.  The pair on the left was in the regular section and the pair on the right was in the sale racks w/ 40% off.  Since I likely won't wear these very often I'm leaning towards the cheaper pair (which are $20 less). 

But I'm totally indecisive and just can't choose which ones to keep (I bought both).  I took to social media for your help and it only confused me more!  Here is what you said:

Facebook - The left pair got 4 votes and the right pair got 7 votes
Instagram - The left pair got 3 votes and the right pair got 2 votes
Twitter - The left pair got 1 vote and the right pair got 0 votes

Total - left 8 votes and right 9 votes

SO CLOSE!!!!! LOL!

So what do you, my blog readers, think?  Give me your vote.

AND help me figure out what to wear. . .

Sundress??

Colored shorts and a chambray shirt??

I just don't know!


Thanks for your help!


Sincerely,

The most indecisive (and excited) country concert goer ever!







Tuesday, July 9, 2013

4th of July Extra Long Weekend

I had the best, most relaxing, chill, lazy 4 day weekend on the Cape.  It was much needed (more than I realized) and I've decided I need to take more 4 days weekends in the summer!


I love the 4th of July.  I love fireworks.  I love red, white and blue.   I love that all over the Cape people were proudly flying their flag!




My days all looked something like this. . .

Friday by the pool reading "The Art of Racing in the Rain"
Saturday by the pool and finished with an awesome book!
Sunday by the pool (again) and onto a new book



A view of the pool from our deck
By Sunday I realized that not only had I been REALLY lazy all weekend but I also had not taken any photos except for the ones you see above. . . the good blogger in me knew I had to remedy that so I went for a walk and took plenty of pretty photos!!  Really for photo overload??






On Sunday night before heading home my parents and I went to Mayflower Beach to watch the sunset.  We had a picnic dinner and enjoyed the much cooler temps and amazing ocean breeze.  This beach is gorgeous and during low tide it is huge.  The sunset was beautiful.  See for yourself. . . (all iPhone pics).











It was a great end to a fabulous weekend!  I have to remember that relaxing feels good.  I tend to go, go, go all the time.  It was nice to do nothing.  It was really nice to actually read a book!  Oh and of course it was great to eat ice cream (a few times)!

Do you want to know what wasn't nice?  The insane traffic on the way home.  I waited until 9 PM to drive home - by then the traffic is usually done.  Not this time.  It took me 2.5 hours to get home.  Ugh!  But it was worth it and I'd sit in that traffic again for 4 days of relaxation.

How you had a wonderful 4th of July!  The only thing my weekend was missing was s'mores.  I'll be needing a campfire and s'mores ASAP!!!!

P.S. My grandmother was there too.  She came up from Florida a couple of days before the 4th.  Like I said bad blogger, no pictures.  Next time I'll try to be better and take more "people" pictures!!