FRESH START - DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS

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Crohn’s disease can affect your life in many ways, and disrupting your relationship with food is no exception. For all of you foodies out there who have been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease: don’t give up hope! No two cases are the same, but you can still find happiness within the world of food when you have this disease.

Living with Crohn’s disease is different for everyone, especially when it comes to finding a diet that works for you. The following information has been provided by Dr. Kristen Roberts at The Ohio State University, who states that dietary recommendations are based on many factors, including:

  1. Presence of a flare

  2. History of surgical resections

  3. Presence of strictures or fistulae

For patients without any of these conditions, Dr. Roberts recommends a Mediterranean diet focusing on:

  • Fruits

  • Vegetables

  • Lean meats

  • Healthy fats is recommended

For patients with one or more of the factors mentioned above, it is recommended to have a low-insoluble fiber-based diet to help gastrointestinal health.  

Like most people, those with Crohn’s should avoid excessive added sugars to reduce the loss of fluids and electrolytes. This diet entails avoiding processed meat, consuming lesser amounts of red meat, keeping a healthy body weight and rarely drinking alcohol.

Crohn’s disease may require some people to alter their diets, and it can be extremely frustrating for someone who has no idea where to begin or who is struggling to find food they like within their recommended diet. Hopefully this blog post will nudge you in the right direction.

(Note: Although all of these tips can help you, you should see a registered dietitian if you have been diagnosed)

 

Check out some of the recipes below to get started on the right foot!

Hearty Vegetable Soup

California Veggie Sandwich

Chicken Noodle Soup

Mediterranean Chicken Salad

Mediterranean Halibut Sandwich

Tomato Spinach Chicken Spaghetti

Salmon and Vegetable Quinoa

Holiday Gift Guide

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‘Tis the season of making cookies while listening to Christmas carols, the season of ugly Christmas sweater parties, and most importantly, the season of giving. Although this holiday is meant for spreading Christmas cheer and singing loud for all to hear (thanks Elf), buying presents for your friends and family can be stressful… and expensive.

“Is this the right size?”

“Do you think she’ll actually wear this?”

“$100 are you kidding?! For that little thing?!”

“Whatever I’m just buying everyone gift cards.”

… Ah, yes. We’ve all been there. Well guess what: if you’re shopping for your girlfriend, daughter, mother, aunt, sister, or even a white elephant gift exchange, this gift guide will make you say goodbye to the classic I-didn’t-know-what-to-give-you-so-here’s-a-Starbucks-gift-card type of gift.

Here are a few of my favorite Rocks With Sass pieces that any girl will adore – and not only are these budget friendly, but RWS also donates 5% of your purchase to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. What a perfect way to be extra giving this holiday season!

 THE MEGA EARRING SET

These. Give. Me. Life. Rock jewelry is so in style now, and these are perfect to wear on any occasion. They come in several different colors as well. This value pack is a $100 value, but costs only $59 (STEAL). The best part about this mega set is that you can split them up – you can split up the sets, or even give a pair of earrings to each one of your friends paired with another small item like a mini candle or a coffee mug. Perfect size for a stocking stuffer as well.


ZODIAC SIGN NECKLACE

 These necklaces are the perfect gift for the minimalist girl. Not only can these Zodiac necklaces be worn every day, but they also hold a special meaning, making this gift even MORE personable and unique. These beauties are only $24.99.


CRYSTALS

Similar to the zodiac necklace, the crystals sold online also hold a special meaning. There are so many different crystals to choose from, so you are bound to find at least one perfect for the person you are buying for. This StilBite Cluster is one of my absolute favorites, because the meaning is something I can relate to – it’s good for creativity, intuition, and grounding – and the color matches the aesthetic of my room perfectly.


 SUBSCRIPTION BOXES

RWS offers a subscription box service, which is the perfect way to grow your crystal collection, learn about meanings & uses, and receive new jewelry without the hassle of trying to decide between endless options. An added bonus of the subscription box is the money you save by purchasing it. Each box is valued at $86+ and your savings are based on the length of your subscription – up to 45% off. 

In case you need a few more reasons why these subscription boxes are the absolute coolest gift this year: 

  • There’s no hassle of trying to pick out something you’re afraid they won’t like… the subscription box does it all for you! 
  • There’s plenty of variety. The boxes come with many different jewelry pieces, crystals, and other fun items. 
  • They’re the gift that keeps on giving! Literally… a gift coming every month will make anyone especially grateful to have you. 

Although I could go on about all the other amazing items RWS has for gifts, you are bound to find something unique for the person you are shopping for. Hopefully this RWS gift guide helps all of you overwhelmed Christmas shoppers out there find the perfect gift! 

Have a fun and safe holiday season ya filthy animals!

Xoxo, SAM

 

FIGHTER: Julia Ruybalid

In 2011, I had what was probably my first Crohn’s flare, and the worst pain I’d ever endured. This happened twice more over the next three months, but I passed it all off as a food sensitivity and started an elimination diet. Even then, I often had discomfort and loud noises after eating…my gut was getting in the way of living. I flaked on friends and family, avoided dating, missed school and work, and isolated myself with Netflix and alcohol. I knew what foods were safe for me to consume, but would often give in to cravings. Food, TV, and alcohol allowed me to avoid reality.

    Over the next few years I went to GI doctors, got stool, blood, and food sensitivity tests, consulted with a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, brain specialist, psychiatrist, read endless books, etc. The TCM practitioner guessed that I had Leaky Gut Syndrome, but I still didn’t have a diagnosis. Armed with supplements and an endless list of foods I couldn’t eat, I went home with a half-hearted approach to my healing. I didn’t want to take my health seriously, because that would mean that there was something seriously wrong with me. 

    Fast forward to 2017. My anxiety about pain, noises, and bloating had ruled my life for over six years. I was depressed and fearful about the future. Anyone who knows me knows I am empathetic, passionate, and have an overwhelming desire to fix. And I believe my decline into the life-threatening flare I had this summer began during the 2016 presidential election. 2017 has been a year of tragedy, oppression, and uncertainty for all of us, and my concern for social justice and the wellbeing of humanity contributed exponentially to the stress and sadness that manifested in my physical body. Though many are genetically pre-disposed to Crohn’s (myself included), I learned that healing and remission would be impossible if I didn’t care for my emotional health.  

    In July, I was barely managing 800 calories a day. This turned into 500, then 300. By September, I was eating just less than 300 calories a day and had dropped 25lbs in two and a half months. I resigned from a job I had just started to stay home and attempt to get better. Thankfully, a functional medicine doctor said I had Crohn's Disease within five minutes of our consultation and started me on a natural supplement and diet regime. After going to a GI doctor for official tests and a CT scan, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in mid-September. They wanted me to start taking a steroid, but I still wanted to try and heal using natural methods. However, I began retaining fluid and my whole body swelled due to malnourishment. I could barely move, I couldn’t swallow supplements or food, and my brain was in a thick fog. My mom said I threw up the entire day before going to the hospital—which I don’t remember at all. My body and brain were now operating as if I had an eating disorder. I was afraid of food.

    On October 4, 2017, I couldn’t see how I was going to get better on my own and begged to go to the hospital. My parents were skeptical, but I think we intuitively knew that I needed help to be just stay alive. I proceeded to get scans, x-rays, an MRI, blood tests, morphine, TPN, steroids, and antibiotics for a UTI. I experienced continued swelling (my legs were like tree trunks!), and increased buildup of fluid around the heart that made it really hard to breath. When I was finally able to start medications to release all the fluid, I reached my lowest weight of 75lbs at a height of 5’3 (-40lbs total, 1/3 of my body weight). It’s a miracle I survived without any permanent organ damage, or worse. 

    However, the mental and emotional healing I experienced is why I am so grateful now. Have you ever had the lonely thought that if you died, no one would care…no one would come to your funeral? I always had an insecurity that I didn’t matter and no one really cared even if they said they did. When I began to get really sick, I decided I couldn’t go through this alone and started sharing on social media to ask for support and prayer. The outpouring of messages from not just close friends and family, but people I hadn’t connected with in years, was what catalyzed my healing, both physical and emotional. I realized for the first time how loved and cared for I am. I could no longer hide behind the lie that I didn’t matter. I could finally open my heart to release the love and light I had always felt I had, but couldn’t because my soul was so blocked (insert Crohnie humor here) by depression, anxiety, and fear. Ah! The parallels. 

    Remember the fluid around my heart and labored breathing? Sitting up to go to the bathroom felt like running a marathon. Well, I had what is called Takotsubo Syndrome—Broken Heart Disease—and is common in Japanese women after they experience intense emotional stress. I had. A broken. Heart. My inability to love myself or manage my emotions in positive ways led to a life-threatening illness and three-week hospital stay. 

    NOW, I am feeling better than I have in years despite the meds I still have to take. Prednisone anyone? I am managing my emotions through journaling, therapy, yoga, and FEELING my feelings. Whenever I feel sick or sad, I allow myself to cry, scream, vent,…and feel the sensation of inflammation and physical pain leaving my body. Emotions are not the enemy, suppressing them is. 

    Some of us have more severe cases of Crohn’s and Colitis than others, and we all need the help of doctors, naturopaths, therapists, specialists, etc. A holistic approach to healing includes addressing lifestyle, diet, environment, genetics, and emotion. Remission or not, this is a lifelong journey for all of us and the work we do to love ourselves will never end. But I take this as a blessing in disguise. Being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease forced me to make a choice: take proactive responsibility for my health and happiness, or remain in complacent victimhood. I finally chose the former and am truly happy for the first time in my life. 

@thecreatedlife - TRANSFORMATION TUESDAY✨these pics are almost a month apart😝10lbs gain and the help of prednisone moon face has almost restored my cheeks to their former glory🐰now if only prednisone gave me moon BOOTY as well🍑😂

@thecreatedlife - TRANSFORMATION TUESDAY✨these pics are almost a month apart😝10lbs gain and the help of prednisone moon face has almost restored my cheeks to their former glory🐰now if only prednisone gave me moon BOOTY as well🍑😂

@thecreatedlife - Something I've realized this summer is that happiness is knowing my purpose. Being so loved and supported by my real life (and virtual🤖) community gave me strength to get out from under a CLOUD of depression, insecurity, self-doubt, and playing the victim, and shift into a place where I could finally share my story and GIVE. . I'm a writer, a teacher, an empathetic, detail-oriented, emotional, open-hearted listener. I have a passion for holistic health and wellness. These are my gifts. My purpose.

@thecreatedlife - Something I've realized this summer is that happiness is knowing my purpose. Being so loved and supported by my real life (and virtual🤖) community gave me strength to get out from under a CLOUD of depression, insecurity, self-doubt, and playing the victim, and shift into a place where I could finally share my story and GIVE. .
I'm a writer, a teacher, an empathetic, detail-oriented, emotional, open-hearted listener. I have a passion for holistic health and wellness. These are my gifts. My purpose.

Sooo. My first week home I've gained 3.5lbs💃to reach a grand total of 87lbs! This is me 2 years ago on July 4th at my average weight (115-118). I had just completed 8 weeks of #bbg and felt okayyyyy about my #body. I still had some bad binging and drinking habits so my results weren't nearly as dramatic as they could've been. But GOSH, I look at this and wonder how I could've hated my body to treat it so badly. It looks amazing to me now. . I've been counting calories since I was about 10 years old, always felt chubby (my darn cheeks), and ALWAYS wanted to improve something: more toned arms, bigger butt🍑, flatter stomach, slimmer thighs, etc. I just went through this cycle of punishment when I wouldn't see the results I wanted. . NOW I'm intaking as many calories as possible and trying to GAIN weight!?! It's the weirdest shift ever, but I finally am at a place where I appreciate my body so much and only want to do what's BEST for it. I don't care about a scale. I care about my #strength, how I feel physically and emotionally, and just. being. #happy. from all the awesome stuff I'm putting in my body. Who's with me??

Sooo. My first week home I've gained 3.5lbs💃to reach a grand total of 87lbs! This is me 2 years ago on July 4th at my average weight (115-118). I had just completed 8 weeks of #bbg and felt okayyyyy about my #body. I still had some bad binging and drinking habits so my results weren't nearly as dramatic as they could've been. But GOSH, I look at this and wonder how I could've hated my body to treat it so badly. It looks amazing to me now. .
I've been counting calories since I was about 10 years old, always felt chubby (my darn cheeks), and ALWAYS wanted to improve something: more toned arms, bigger butt🍑, flatter stomach, slimmer thighs, etc. I just went through this cycle of punishment when I wouldn't see the results I wanted. .
NOW I'm intaking as many calories as possible and trying to GAIN weight!?! It's the weirdest shift ever, but I finally am at a place where I appreciate my body so much and only want to do what's BEST for it. I don't care about a scale. I care about my #strength, how I feel physically and emotionally, and just. being. #happy. from all the awesome stuff I'm putting in my body. Who's with me??

OSU Delta Gamma Pop Up

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This past week, we were super excited to host a pop-up shop with the lovely ladies of Delta Gamma at Ohio State. As we approach the end of the semester, we enter into “Date Party Season” as members of greek organizations all over campus call it, and Rocks With Sass pieces are the perfect way to add a little sparkle and sass to any outfit! The pop-up was held after Delta Gamma’s weekly chapter meeting, so plenty of members got the chance to get their hands on some crystal goodies. It was a major success and we are so thrilled that 5% of the proceeds from all sales will be able to be donated to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. We want to thank the women of Delta Gamma for welcoming us into their home and allowing us to share a little sparkle on a dreary Ohio night!

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If you are interested in hosting a pop-up shop with your sorority or organization, please email Amanda at amanda@rockswithsass.com.

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FIGHTER: Madison Williams

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Hello! My name is Madison and I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2001 as a first grader. However, I think it is important to note that my diagnosis was not a simple one - though really, I am not sure they ever are.

Over the years I have gotten accustomed to the phrase “I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease.” because that has become accepted as the general consensus by my doctors over the years. However, a more realistic statement would be, “I was diagnosed with an Irritable Bowel Disease”. When I was younger, despite countless tests and various medical procedures, it has always been a bit of a toss up between Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. I often forget about this since it has largely been accepted that I have Crohn’s Disease, but recently, I was reminded of this discrepancy and told by my surgeon that it actually may actually be Crohn’s Colitis - though there is no way for us to confirm this one way or another. Regardless, I have struggled to get a handle on this disease for the past 16 years and still have yet to find a medication that works for me. A few weeks ago, I tried to go through my medical history and assign a number to the ridiculous amount of medications I have tried, but honestly, I lost patience with this daunting task after listing about 20 different medications without even making a dent. What’s important though is this: if it can be used to treat an IBD, then trust me, I’ve tried it.

Now, as a 22 year old college student, having this illness is second nature to me. I grew up dealing with the difficulties that come along with an IBD and after more than a decade, have more or less learned how to deal with them. However, over the past few months I have been giving a lot of thought to how simply dealing with these issues is stopping me from living the life I want. I want to be able to get in my car and drive to school without feeling the rush of panic that comes along with not knowing if I’ll make it to the nearest restroom. I want to know what it’s like to go somewhere without having to meticulously plan out every last detail and ensure that I will have access to the facilities. I want to reclaim the freedom that this illness took from me as a young child. For this reason, I, along with the help and support from both my GI doctor and my family, have decided to embark on a new part of this journey. Currently, I am in the midst of an array of pre-op appointments and procedures to prepare for what is to come at the end of this year: a total proctocolectomy with permanent end ileostomy.  

Looking back, it’s hard not to be sad for the younger version of myself who had to go through all of the testing, trial and errors, and pain that unfortunetly comes along with such a diagnosis. I tear up when I look at pictures of myself from the times I was on prednisone and had the signature “moon face”.  When I think of the times spent with my friends in middle school and high school, rather than remembering the fun I’m sure we all had, I recall the anxiety - which I desperately tried to repress at the time - of not being near a restroom constantly. Even looking back on some of my college years, which I’ve been told are supposed to be some of the best years of my life, I can’t help but lament for the girl who just wanted to go on a normal date or tailgate with her friends without having to worry about hiding the stomach pain and urgency to use the restroom in an effort to feel slightly more normal, if only for a few hours. However, despite all of this, I am also able to look back and see some pretty amazing positives come out of these circumstances. Living with an IBD has made me a much stronger person than I ever thought possible. Beyond simply being able to get blood drawn without even blinking an eye, it has forced me to appreciate even the smallest of things. Days that I am able to go on a bike ride and not feel that tinge of fear just as I reach the furthest point from my house are some of the best days - and though they are rare, they mean the world to me.

However, I think the most powerful thing that this disease has taught me is that it is okay to be different. I spent a large portion of my life doing everything I could just to keep up the appearance that I was “normal”. But now, as I am rapidly approaching my surgery date, I am finding that feeling better and gaining back control of my life is exponentially more important than maintaining a perfectly healthy appearance. For one, who decides what a “healthy appearance” is anyways? While yes, for some, this may be a perfectly sculpted body and flawless skin, for other - myself included - it is the proud display of an ostomy bag that afforded us the freedom that was stripped away before we could even begin to comprehend what was happening in the first place. For the past few years, I had started to feel as though there was no point in trying new medications because I had began to accept that fact that I would never get my life back. However, with a new outlook on my condition, I am proud of how far I have come and genuinely look forward to conquering my symptoms in the new year.  

Instagram post @thesimplespoonie - LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN 🎉 After my appointment with hepatology this morning, we found out that my surgery is officially a go! Thanks to some minor changes to my pre/post-op schedule, as well as a change in blood thinners to help get rid of the one in my neck, this time next month I will be colon free and on my way to recovery!

Instagram post @thesimplespoonie - LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN 🎉 After my appointment with hepatology this morning, we found out that my surgery is officially a go! Thanks to some minor changes to my pre/post-op schedule, as well as a change in blood thinners to help get rid of the one in my neck, this time next month I will be colon free and on my way to recovery!

Instagram post @thesimplespoonie - Just a little appreciation post for pretty pink bathrooms and white tile

Instagram post @thesimplespoonie - Just a little appreciation post for pretty pink bathrooms and white tile

Instagram post @thesimplespoonie - Sometimes, life just really does not seem fair. Yesterday morning, I was still experiencing some pretty intense neck pain and was having difficulty breathing so I made the decision to go ahead and go to the ER. After about 7 hours, a chest x-ray, an ultrasound of my neck, and a CT scan, they discovered that a blood clot had developed in my neck as a result of my pre-op procedure last Friday. So, I will now be on blood thinners for the next three months. • • •  Normally, figuring out what the issue is and coming up with a plan to solve it is something I am grateful for. However, for this, the only emotion I’ve been feeling since I left the hospital is anger. Because I am now blood thinners, it is not likely that I will be able to have my surgery next month - and if I can’t get it done next month, I’ll have to wait until next May and start this entire process over again. (This also means I won’t be able to take any internships over the summer which has been something I was very much looking forward to.) I have been planning and preparing for this surgery for quite some time and now I’m being told that it probably won’t even happen. To say I am upset at this point, is an understatement. • • •  I keep trying to tell myself that I should be glad they found the blood clot and that something is being done about it, but when you’ve been looking forward to finally having a break from the suffering you’ve been dealing with for 16 years, and then in the blink of an eye every ounce of hope you had for the new year is just ripped away from you, it feels impossible to stay positive. While yes, there is a very small chance that my surgeon will agree to do the surgery - right now it really isn’t looking like this will happen. • • • Note: I realize this picture does not accurately encompass how I was feeling yesterday. I took it right when I got to the hospital and was thinking they would simply tell me I was still healing and needed to give it time - which, was clearly not the case. Head over to the blog if you want to read more about everything going on and what led up to this!

Instagram post @thesimplespoonie - Sometimes, life just really does not seem fair. Yesterday morning, I was still experiencing some pretty intense neck pain and was having difficulty breathing so I made the decision to go ahead and go to the ER. After about 7 hours, a chest x-ray, an ultrasound of my neck, and a CT scan, they discovered that a blood clot had developed in my neck as a result of my pre-op procedure last Friday. So, I will now be on blood thinners for the next three months.
• • • 
Normally, figuring out what the issue is and coming up with a plan to solve it is something I am grateful for. However, for this, the only emotion I’ve been feeling since I left the hospital is anger. Because I am now blood thinners, it is not likely that I will be able to have my surgery next month - and if I can’t get it done next month, I’ll have to wait until next May and start this entire process over again. (This also means I won’t be able to take any internships over the summer which has been something I was very much looking forward to.) I have been planning and preparing for this surgery for quite some time and now I’m being told that it probably won’t even happen. To say I am upset at this point, is an understatement.
• • • 
I keep trying to tell myself that I should be glad they found the blood clot and that something is being done about it, but when you’ve been looking forward to finally having a break from the suffering you’ve been dealing with for 16 years, and then in the blink of an eye every ounce of hope you had for the new year is just ripped away from you, it feels impossible to stay positive. While yes, there is a very small chance that my surgeon will agree to do the surgery - right now it really isn’t looking like this will happen.
• • •
Note: I realize this picture does not accurately encompass how I was feeling yesterday. I took it right when I got to the hospital and was thinking they would simply tell me I was still healing and needed to give it time - which, was clearly not the case. Head over to the blog if you want to read more about everything going on and what led up to this!

 

 

Fall in Love with Your Skin

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Recently, one of my friends told me that she’s overwhelmed and intimidated by skincare because she thinks it’s too complicated to figure out. Your skin is the most intimate part of your body, so taking proper care of it is essential. There is nothing to be afraid of when it comes to skincare, especially once you find products that make you fall in love with your skin. A great skincare routine leads to healthy, glowing skin and is especially important during the cold fall and winter months. Here are a few great products to help you get your best skin:

  1. The True Cream Aqua Bomb $22-$38 - Belief’s Aqua Bomb is oil free and is formulated without parabens. This ultra lightweight gel formula refreshes and instantly cools irritated skin. The hydrating cream is perfect for normal, combination or oily skin. Rich in antioxidants, this product will help with dullness and uneven texture, leaving your skin with a natural glow.
  2. Soy Face Cleanser $38 – This cleanser is by far one of my favorite skincare products. Many cleansers strip away all the good “stuff” in your skin leaving your complexion dry and dull, but this gel product softens skin for a more radiant look. Fresh’s Soy Face Cleanser uses a combination of rosewater, soy proteins and cucumber extract to gently clean skin, so it’s perfect for all skin types, even if you struggle with sensitivity.
  3. Luminizing Black Charcoal Mask $34 - Boscia’s revolutionary mask is both innovative and powerful. The charcoal works as a detox to remove impurities in your complexion while helping to minimize pores. If you’re looking for a deep clean, this mask will deliver.
  4. Pore-Balance Facial Sauna Scrub $28 - The key to beautiful skin is exfoliation. Exfoliation helps leave skin looking healthier and softer. OleHenriksen is a major leader in skincare, especially with their new dual-action face scrub. The scrub is made with volcanic sand to help remove dead skin cells. When using the product, you can feel the warmth of the crystals working, followed by a cooling sensation. This Pore-Balance Facial Sauna Scrub is ideal for normal to oily skin because it absorbs excess oil and minimizes the appearance of pores.

All of the products listed here are available at Sephora. With a little experimentation, your best skin will reveal itself with the right combination of revolutionary skincare essentials. Find the skincare routine that works best for you and fall in love with your skin!

MEGAN MATHEWS

 

 

 

MASTER THE ART OF WHAT TO WEAR TO BRUNCH

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Fall and brunch: two of my favorite words. The weather is finally cooling down, which means it’s time to pull out the sweaters and boots. Fall fashion is great not only because of the colors and layering, but also because of the variety of fabrics. Denim, cotton, suede, wool. . . the list is endless.

I can’t think of many things better than getting ready for brunch with friends on a crisp fall morning, putting on my comfiest fall garments. Accessorizing with jewelry is just the icing on the cake. Personally, I love the look of sweaters with long necklaces and delicate earrings. Using my sister as my model, I put together some outfits perfect for attending brunch this Autumn.

Picking out a suede burnt sienna tank top for the main piece, I accessorized with an Agate slice tassel necklace and the gold dangle earrings to emphasize the warm fall tones. Black jeans and suede booties perfectly complete the look.

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Next, I paired a black and white speckled knit sweater with a cozy jean jacket to create a layered look. With the sweater’s wide V neckline, I think a quartz statement necklace in aqua complements the sweater perfectly. Following the glimmery look of the necklace, I added holographic earrings. Super light wash jeans gave this outfit the perfect early-autumn look, but it’s also cute with a black denim skirt!

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Finally, I picked out my comfiest chunky knit sweater. I especially love this turtleneck sweater because it’s big and roomy. I decided to pair it with a geode pendant necklace in silver and a mini gunmetal druzy ring. This sweater with the grey glittery jewelry is great because they pair with almost any pants, but I chose distressed light wash jeans.

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Overall, I chose to go for comfortable yet stylish looks. It’s hard to go wrong with fall attire, and in my book, nothing is better than fall sweater weather.

SHOP THE POST:

  1.  Agate Slice Tassel Necklaces - $29.99
  2. Holographic Earrings - $8.99 (color worn: Unicorn)
  3. Statement Necklaces - $49.99 (color worn : Aqua)
  4. Geode Necklaces - $29.99 (color worn: Silver)
  5. Mini Druzy Rings - $9.99 (color worn: Gunmetal)
  6. Dangle Druzy Earrings - $9.99 (color worn: Gold)

The Season for Sass

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Wearing: Mini Druzy Ring & Druzy Earrings

Wearing: Mini Druzy Ring & Druzy Earrings

Wearing: Mini Druzy Charm Necklace $13.99

Wearing: Mini Druzy Charm Necklace $13.99

Ah, yes- it’s finally autumn. The season for leaves falling, apple picking, holidays and pumpkin spice everything.  But most importantly, it’s the season of fashion. With New York Fashion Week just passing, everyone has become inspired to spice up their wardrobe with the next best fashion trend. Some of my favorite things this season include: oversized sweaters, jackets, warm golden colors, and minimalist jewelry pieces; all of which give me the confidence and sass I look for in an outfit.

Although I daydream endlessly about owning every piece from the NYFW runway, reality sets in— I’m a college student and I most definitely cannot afford Gucci. So, instead, I create my own affordable looks with pieces from my favorite clothing and accessory stores in Columbus, Ohio.   

The “crazy cozy” trend of oversized sweaters and jackets is my jam. I mean, who doesn’t like being comfy and looking stylish at the same time? I love this trend so much because it’s versatile; I can dress up or down with any of my bulky sweaters. One of my newest go-to accessories that pairs well with this trend are Rocks with Sass druzy earrings, necklaces, and rings. The classic stud earrings add the perfect amount of minimalism and unique spunk to my look. The crystal rock design is different than the typical diamond or pearl stud earring, and they can go with any look.

Also, the brand concept of donating a portion of their sales to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America makes me feel even better about wearing these pieces.

Below are a few of my favorite Rocks with Sass accessories and how I incorporate them with my favorite fall trends. The possibilities of styling your outfit around these pieces are endless, so if your sense of style is a little different than mine, don’t be discouraged; you can always put your own twist on things!

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Vegan Basil Pesto

My garden is bursting with basil! I don't know about you, but I've only been able to find one type of vegan (cheese free) pesto in the stores - and $6 for tiny jar of pesto just seems absurd. This recipe is the perfect alternative and freezer friendly! Need some inspiration on how to use pesto in your meals? Check the bottom of this post for a list of ideas!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: nutritional yeast

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice and red pepper flakes in a food processor or high powered blender and pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped.
  2. While the machine runs, slowly add  olive oil in a steady stream until it becomes a smooth paste. If the pesto is too thick for your taste, continue to add olive oil until you reach your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

     As you can see from the photo above, I made a huge batch and separated it in little ball canning jars. These will last in the freezer for months, just defrost in the refrigerator before using. 

Looking for some fun new ways to add pesto to your meals? Check out these ideas!

Lasagna Soup Recipe - Gluten & Dairy Free

Since building the new website, I have been brainstorming ideas for using the blog feature, and then it hit me: RECIPES! As a Crohn's fighter, it has been a long winding road finding recipes and products that fit my dietary restrictions (gluten, dairy, beef free) and still taste good. So get ready, here is the first of many recipes to come!

Spring may be just around the corner, but I'm not through with my winter soups! This crockpot recipe is super easy and can be thrown together in 30 minutes or so. It's made with gluten and dairy free ingredients, but can easily appease the cheese lover with some shredded mozzarella added on top! 

I like to think of recipes as guides, so add mushrooms, use beef sausage, or less garlic and don't worry so much about measuring! I personally like to use salt free canned goods, so much healthier! And turkey sausage instead of beef - you save on calories and fat, but don't sacrifice the flavor (trust me! in this recipe it works, normally I wouldn't enjoy turkey as a beef substitute).

Ingredients

  • 1 package Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 2.5 cans water
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp basil
  • heaping 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • salt and pepper
  • gluten free rotini pasta
  • OPTIONAL: mozzarella cheese, for topping

directions

  1. Combine sausage, onions, and carrots in a large skillet over medium-high heat. You can easily squeeze the sausage out of one side of the casing. Cook for about 7 minutes, until the sausage is browned and the vegetables have softened. Be sure to break up any large pieces of the sausage. Stir in minced garlic for the last 30 seconds of cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, mix tomatoes, sauce, spices, and water in crockpot.
  3. Use slotted spoon to scoop the sausage mixture into crockpot, leaving any grease in the pan.
  4. Cover and heat on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8-10 hours.
  5. Cook pasta separately. Drain and add individually to each serving.
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This recipe is a great freezer recipe! Freeze the soup in separate containers and make a fresh batch of pasta when you are ready to eat. If you are not interested in freezing any of the soup you can simply add the pasta to the crockpot for the last 10 minutes of cooking. I just like to keep it separate, because then you get to scoop exactly how many noodles you want and they don't get soggy!