Crystals, Chakras & Affirmations

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Life is about balance - and, as we all know, imbalance.  Whether it’s in our work life, personal life, or family life, we’re constantly working on creating, maintaining, and realigning our balance.  

For most of our day, we are usually balancing our external self - trying to juggle hobbies, jobs, and pleasures without toppling over.  However, there is an internal balance that requires our attention as well: it encompasses the physical, emotional, and mental states within the body and mind.

Common methods to maintain our internal balance include healthy diets and getting plenty of rest; scheduling a spa day or making time to exercise are also great ideas.  However, it can be overwhelming to try and maintain our external and internal needs at the same time.

Chakras are an internal balance system that works as a foundation for balancing all parts of our lives.  The best way to envision the seven chakras is suggested from the root of its name, which comes from Sanskrit: “wheel.” Chakras are not a hierarchy, though they are commonly depicted this way; each chakra is no more important than another, but can appear more prevalent than another in any given moment of our day.  They are constantly in motion among each other, never in perfect balance but constantly fluctuating, carrying energy up and down our spine, where they are housed. 

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Each chakra has an influence on our physical body, along with a specific color and energy vibration that influences our mental and emotional bodies.  These vibrations, which can be positive or negative, constantly resonate within ourselves and radiate into our environments.

Imbalanced chakras are a consequence of a chakra being blocked or too open.  If a chakra is blocked, it’s positive effects are limited or nonexistent; the chakra has no influence on our being in any way.  If a chakra is too open, the opposite effect occurs: the chakra’s positive effects become poisonous on our being; a chakra’s positive influence of confidence twists into over-confidence, resulting in egotism and bullying, as an example.  With imbalanced chakras, it’s important to remember that too much of a good thing can be bad, and too little of a good thing isn’t sustainable.

Rebalancing the seven chakras can be done with active or passive attention, making it a perfect solution to balancing the internal and external part of life.   Light energy is a crucial energy source for passive chakra realignment.  Sun light is the best source; the second best light energy source comes from crystals.  Active realignment comes by, at its core, practicing happiness for yourself: positive thinking, meditation, yoga, even doing a little dance to your favorite song can aid in chakra rebalancing.  Pair these activities with placing or wearing crystals that correspond with the chakras that need realignment. This is the ultimate way to bring balance - and, consequently, happiness - into your body and life.

The seven chakras can be divided into the lower and upper chakras.  The lower chakras are not lesser than the upper chakras; each group serves a different purpose.  The lower chakras - root, sacral, solar plexus - are more concrete, and primarily influence our physical, every day selves.  The upper chakras - throat, third eye, crown - are more abstract and intangible.  The heart chakra is the only chakra that isn’t solely lower or upper; it bridges the tangible and intangible.

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The crown chakra is physically the topmost chakra on our body. It has direct alignment with our mind; its white energy influences consciousness, awareness, personal expression, and absolute perception. The crown chakra can be blocked by alienation or condemnation.

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The third eye chakra rules over our intuition, awareness, and wisdom.  It guides our ability to think, analyze, and form reason.  It is housed where our third eye would be located, between our eyes. This indigo chakra can be blinded by egotism, controlling issues, and eye issues.

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The throat chakra is the first of the upper chakras, and resides in our throat.  Its blue energies influence creativity, communication, and truth. The throat chakra is choked by sore throats, creative blocks, prejudice, and close-mindedness.

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The heart chakra is the chakra of all love.  It is housed in our chest, and can radiate a green or pink energy.  This chakra signifies where the upper and lower chakras meet, and embodies compassion, intuition, and contentment. The heart chakra can be blocked by suppression, heart or immune ailments, withdrawn emotions, and rage or hatred.

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The solar plexus chakra intertwines with the nervous system.  It’s our call to action, and where willpower lies.  The yellow chakra houses determination, sense of purpose, destiny, self-control, and laughter.  This chakra can be blocked by victimization, over-emotional or attached love, or a fear of being alone.

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The sacral chakra is the emotional chakra.  Radiating orange energies, it is located in the body’s core.  This chakra affects our emotional health and relationships with ourselves and others.  Pleasure, desire, and tolerance are rooted within this chakra. Blockages occur from emotional toil, guilt, and lust.

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The root chakra is the base chakra, and can be found at the literal base of the spine.  It embodies a source of vitality, a life force for the body.  Embodying stability, courage, and patience, this chakra keeps us grounded to the world around us.  The root chakra can be blocked by paranoia, insecurity, and a sense of disassociation, or displacement from reality.  Blockage of any kind disrupts growth.  

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How to Create a Crystal Grid

A sole crystal can be a great reminder of our own personal intentions all on its own.  However, there are times when one crystal just doesn't have the energy to aid us when we need it most.  Whether your goal is to practice self-love, to balance your mind and body, or to sleep more soundly through the night, crystal grids are a powerful, easy, and fun method to set a much more powerful reminder of your intention!

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Crystal grids unify the energies of the crystals its made up of within a sacred geometry to amplify the focus of an intention.  There are many different geometries and crystal combinations you can use. The crystals and geometry you choose, based on their meanings or shapes, compliment the intention and amplify its energy.  A quick guide to crystal meanings can be found on our Crystal Meanings page to help you choose the crystals that resonate best with your grid's purpose.  The crystals you choose for your grid can be in any form: geodes, points, clusters, tumbled, raw, or a combination.  Points, namely, are best for directing energy, and are often used for a grid's center crystal, best known as the Master Crystal.  However, the most effective crystal grids are created by listening to your intuition and choosing the crystals, geometry, and crystal placement that speak most to you.  

How to make a crystal grid

After selecting your crystals and geometry, cleansing your space and crystals creates a fresh, neutral base for your crystal grid.  Cleansing removes negative energy, allowing your crystal grid to embody the whole of your intention with no lingering and distracting energies.  A full guide to cleansing your crystals and space can be found here.  You should choose a space that will help amplify the positive energy of your grid: your office, bedroom, a study space etc.  Placing your grid on a flat, safe surface, such as a table or shelf, is best.

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As your intention is the focal point of your crystal grid, crystals should be placed on your grid from the outside in.  As you're placing your crystals on your grid, keep your intention in mind, filling each crystal with a piece its positive energies.  The crystal you place at the core of your grid is your Master Crystal: the whole of your intention and the direction of the other crystals' energies on your grid lead to this sole crystal.  When placing this crystal, be sure to really hone in your focus on your intention; if you wish, you can also write your intention on a piece of paper, fold it, and place it underneath your Master Crystal.  Once the Master Crystal is placed in the center of your grid, your crystal grid is complete!  

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Once your grid is completely pieced together, you may take a quartz crystal and connect the dots with the crystals on your grid.  This is one method of activating your grid; another is to quietly meditate, centering yourself and visualizing your intention being completed.  

Download FREE printable PDFs below to practice putting together your very own crystal grid!

How to Cleanse Crystals

When you first dive into the magical world of crystals and their various uses, it can be overwhelming to take in the abundance of information about proper uses, meanings and methods to having a crystal enriched life.

One topic that people have a lot of confusion about is cleansing their crystals; they don’t know how to do it, let alone the reasoning behind it. The purpose of this post is to help you figure that out.

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Crystals have many uses both in everyday life and healing. They can:

  • Draw out negative energy

  • Distribute positive energy back into the world

  • Be programmed based on their original properties

As crystals draw out your negative energy, they store it. However, like a flash drive, they can fill up and no longer work as well as they once did. That is why you must cleanse your crystals regularly, so they can continue to properly absorb and release energy.

You should also cleanse new crystals as they can pick up unwanted energy from anyone they’ve come in contact with previously. (This does not apply to a crystal that has been programmed for you.)

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There are many methods for cleansing your crystals:

  • Salt

  • Water

  • Earth

  • Smudging

  • Visualization

  • Use of other crystal forms

Some crystals do not do well with the use of water or earth, so we will focus on the methods that work well for the majority of crystals and stones.

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Placing a crystal into an Amethyst or Quartz geode / cluster for 24 to 48 hours is another simple way to cleanse a crystal. Although simple, this method is extremely effective as Amethyst and Quartz will also recharge your crystal for you.

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Smudging can be done with incense or smudge sticks composed of a combination of sage and either sweetgrass, sandalwood, or cedar wood. Simply ensure the crystals are exposed to the smoke for 20-30 seconds and you have successfully cleansed your crystals.

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Visualization requires no outside materials and can be useful if you want to program a crystal as well. To use the visualization method:

  • Simply hold the crystal and clear your mind

  • Imagine a bright white light surrounding the crystal and passing through it completely

  • Keep the light there until you feel the crystal is sufficiently cleansed

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You can program a crystal after any cleansing by holding the crystal for a few minutes and focusing on the power you want to enhance in the crystal.

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After you cleanse the crystal, you need to recharge the positive energy as cleansing leaves the crystal essentially blank.

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You can recharge the crystal by leaving it in direct moonlight for one to two nights for a gentler energy or sunlight for a stronger energy. However, be warned that the strong sunlight can change the colors of crystals, so use sunlight near sunrise or sundown to reduce damage.

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You can also recharge a crystal through positive physical contact. The Native Americans believe you can use your own energy field in order to recharge crystals. Think positive thoughts while you handle the crystal and allow your energy to flow into the crystal for a few minutes.

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Overall, cleansing your crystals is an important yet simple process that helps you fully utilize their energetic abilities.

How often you cleanse will depend on your level of use, but once a month will do for the average user. Remember to research the types of crystals you have before exposing them to certain cleansing methods to prevent damage.

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A Month of Intention: February + Rose Quartz

February is the month for a warm drink on a dreary day, for restarting some of those New Year's Resolutions we set in January, and, of course, for love.  Love is present in every month of the year, but it is sometimes unbearably present during February.  Chocolates, teddy bears, and secret admirers aside, this month gives us the perfect excuse to exercise a little more love than usual.

Love comes in various forms: it can be platonic or romantic, familial or unconditional.  Each is expressed in unique ways, distinct from culture to culture, individual to individual.  No matter how different love appears, though, the most important of all kinds of love is self-love.

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Rose Quartz is the little pink stone of universal love.  It is the stone of the heart: it restores trust and peace in relationships while encouraging us to release the tensions of past relationships. It clears out anger, jealousy, and resentment of others, allowing us to heal and open our hearts to let more love in.  

No matter where it’s directed, this crystal helps us to remember love’s pure intent.  The pink crystal opens the heart chakra and fills it with the warm and gentle vibrations of love, protection, healing, positivity, and emotional health.  Just like the effects of love, the warmth found in this crystal doesn't just affect you: these soft vibrations also radiate like warm sun-rays to those around you, whether it be to your partner, your family, or a stranger.

Rose Quartz can easily fit into any unique lifestyle:

  • Meditate with your stones. Relax your vibes and let it resonate with your energy.
  • Carry it with you.  Hold it in the palm of your hand, or slip it into your pocket/purse for benefits all day long.
  • Feng shui in your home, your office, or wherever you need a little boost of love the most.
  • Create a crystal grid to embody your intentions and serve as a reminder of love's intent.
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This month, treat yourself to some real love: let it's unconditional, warm vibrations radiate from you and, most importantly, resound within you.  You deserve it.

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SHOP ROSE QUARTZ

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??

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.
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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!

 

 

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!