CF Champions: My Story

This post was sponsored by Walgreens Cystic Fibrosis Services as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received compensation as a thank you for my post.
Another school year is in the books! And while I am excited about the summer fun ahead, I can’t help but use this milestone to reflect on the past.
For those of you who are not familiar with B’s story, you can read the full version here. The short version is that he was very wanted and very loved long before he was ever conceived. His Dad and I had a difficult journey into parenthood. One that would span two years from the time we started trying to have a family until the time I finally got pregnant. It was through many tests that we finally discovered that the reason for our difficulty in getting pregnant was becuase his Dad had Cystic Fibrosis.
Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic diseases that causes a thick buld up of mucus in the lungs, pancreas and other organs. Symptoms include breathing difficulties, very satly skin, persistent coughing and many other symptoms.
It is important to keep in mind that symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis can vary greatly from person to person and that symptoms primarily affect the respiratory and digestive systems. In the case of B’s Dad, he didn’t really have any symptoms and didn’t know he had Cystic Fibrosis until we started undergoing testing due to our inability to get pregnant. In his case the Cystic Fibrosis was only affecting his ability to have children naturally.
I say only now as if it isn’t a big deal. Back when we were trying to have B it definitely was a big deal but in the grand scheme of things, it could have been much worse.
About 30,000 people (adults and children) in the United States have Cystic Fibrosis. It is something that they have to live with every day and it affects all aspects of their lives. People with Cystic Fibrosis have an increased risk of infection and cross contamination and because of which, they may isolate themselves from others which puts them at an increased risk of depression and anxiety. The depression and anxiety in turn can greatly impact the disease.
Fortunately there is a lot that can be done for people with Cystic Fibrosis (medication and the correct treatment regimine can work wonders) and I have teamed up with Walgreens and their CF Champions: Navigating the Journey Together Program to share some of the positive momentum that is changing how people with Cystic Fibrosis live. To read more about the Walgreen CF Champions: Navigating the Journey Together program, please click here to visit their website. There are some great stories of people living very full lives on the site that I think you will find inspiring.
So how did B come into our lives? After I underwent genetic testing (it was determined that I was not a carrier of Cystic Fibrosis) we pursued in vitro fertilization and I got pregnant with B. After B was born however, his newborn screens came back positive for Cystic Fibrosis. That was super scary and he had to undergo several sweat tests which eventually led the doctors to believe that B was a carrier of Cystic Fibrosis. If he decides to have children when he grows up, that will be a conversation that he may need to have with his partner.
We are very fortunate that Cystic Fibrosis has only impacted our lives in a very minimal way. For others, the impact is far greater. We will however always feel a strong tie to Cystic Fibrosis becuase of our journey and we will continue to be an ally for the Cystic Fibrosis community. A big thanks to Walgreens for being an ally as well!

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Stitch Fix Review #23: June 2016

Stitch Fix Review June 2016

This Stitch Fix review is alternatively titled: It’s a super crazy busy week here and I had no time for styling / trying on pictures so here you go, this is better than nothing. Granted that title is very long and rambly sounding so I stuck with the tried and true title of Stitch Fix #23.

But yes, it is a busy week. It is B’s last week of school and we are gearing up for a weekend getaway to celebrate the start of Summer. And naturally my fix came this week as well. So instead of pushing myself to make time for pictures for this review, I just made do with what I had time for. I’m sure you understand.

In case you are not familiar with Stitch Fix, let me bring you up to speed. Stitch Fix is a monthly subscription service (although you don’t have to get one every month, you pick how often) that sends you clothes, accessories and SHOES (finally) based on a style profile that you fill out. You can keep what you like and send back what you don’t. There is a $20 styling fee but if you keep any of the items, the $20 fee is deducted from the total purchase price of the item(s) you keep. If you keep all 5 of the items from your fix you receive a 25% discount on EVERYTHING. Basically it is like playing dress up as an adult…..and it is both fun and addicting! To sign up to get a fix of your own, click here to use my referral link!

Every month you can also leave a note for your stylist. So if you have an event that you need some clothes for or if you just have an idea of what kind of pieces you want to add to your wardrobe you can pass that information along!

This month, I told my stylist Diana to surprise me. So let’s take a look at what she sent.

Item #1: Level 99 Cindie Printed Linen Short

Stitch Fix Level 99 Cindie Printed Linen Short

Level 99 Cindie Printed Linen Short - Stitch Fix June 2016

I could definitely use some more shorts in my wardrobe as I don’t have very many for some reason. I think it is because I naturally gravitate towards skirts and dresses.

I like the fabric of these shorts and the print but I would have prefered a brighter color versus the muted pastels. In fact, I have the exact same shorts pinned on my Pinterest board, but in a brighter print. Take a look here. These shorts also seem to run a bit big, so I would also need them in a smaller size if I wanted to keep them.

Ultimately I decided to send them back but I am going to ask Diana to send me the version on my Pinterest board next month.

Cost to Keep: $78.00

Status: Returned

Item #2: Level 99 Giavanni Ankle Straight Leg Jean

Stitch Fix Level 99 Giavanni Ankle Straight Leg Jean

Level 99 Giavanni Ankle Straight Leg Jean - Stitch Fix June 2016

I have these exact (well almost exact) pants but they are white and have a more distressed look. I love them and these pants are equally as great.

If it was a different time of the year I may have been more inclined to keep these as they really are a great pair of pants but right now I can finally show my legs since the weather is nice and I want to take advantage of that!

Cost to Keep: $98.00

Status: Returned

Item #3: Collective Concepts Claussen Ruffle Hem Top

Stitch Fix Collective Concepts Claussen Ruffle Hem Top

Collective Concepts Claussen Ruffle Hem Top - Stitch Fix June 2016

Before I get to talking about how amazing I think this top is, can I just say that the claussen part of the top name made me think of pickles? I am not the only one that thought this right?

Ok moving on.

I love this shirt! It has a very nautical vibe to it which makes it perfect for Summer! I love the ruffles and the fit of it. It’s definitely a must have Summer staple.

Cost to Keep: $54.00

Status: Kept!

Item #4: Collective Concepts Junien Split Back Top

Collective Concepts Junien Split Back Top - Stitch Fix June 2016

Stitch Fix Collective Concepts Junien Split Back Top

I am really loving back details right now and this split back top is certainly speaking to that part of me. This top is light weight and an easy breezy piece to wear on hot summer nights. It also has a nautical vibe which I am liking as well.

Despite all of those positives I am undecided right now if I am keeping it. When I initially tried it on I felt that the neckline was too high for me. I feel lower necklines are more flattering on me. But now looking at the pictures, the neckline doesn’t look high. I am going to have to try it on again before I make my final decision. What are your thoughts?

Cost to Keep: $58.00

Status: Undecided

Item #5: Fun2Fun Omar Crochet Bib Top

What’s not to love about this top?! It’s a fun color, has great detailing and it is a great price. I would keep it but I already have several similar tops.

Cost to Keep: $38.00

Status: Returned

Ready to get your own fix? Click HERE to sign up for Stitch Fix through my referral link. It makes me happy when you do! 

Want to see my past fixes? Click on the links below.

Stitch Fix #18: January 2016

Stitch Fix #19: February 2016

Stitch Fix #20: March 2016

Stitch Fix #21: April 2016

Stitch Fix #22: May 2016

What did you think of my fix this month?

What would you have kept?

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Caring Crate Review

Thanks to Janelle at Caring Crate (who also blogs at Wholly Healthy), I received one of the very first Caring Crates to review!

You may remember from my previous post about Caring Crate, that Caring Crate is a monthly subscription box that is crafted for anyone who is dealing with mental health issues, a chronic illness or anyone who just needs to give themselves a little extra TLC. I don’t know about you, but I think we all could benefit by giving ourselves a little extra self-care as far too many of us put ourselves at the bottom of our to-do lists.

Ready to see a box that is all about taking care of you??

Caring Crate Review

Item #1: Mindful Mandala Cards 

Adult coloring books are very popular right now but I love this idea even more! They are portable and have meaningful sayings on them. Who is ready to color??

Item #2: Scratch and Gran Muffin Mix

B is a muffin addict and he loves to bake with me so this is something that both of us will love. Yes, I know this box is supposed to be all about me but spending quality time with my kid is good for me too.

Item #3: Potting Shed Creations Garden-in-a-Bag

I love garden in a bag type kits because it makes gardening easy and fun. I can’t wait to get the lavender planted!

Item #4: Fable Naturals Body Balm

This smells amazing and makes my skin feel so soft! It’s going in my purse so I can use it everywhere I go.

Item #5: Pluck Teas

I am not a tea person but I will be sure to pass them along to someone who is because they sound delicious.

Want to get a Caring Crate of your own? Click here to head on over to the Caring Crate website, you deserve it!

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Rocksbox Review

Rocksbox Review

For the last few months I have been trying out a new to me subscription box, Rocksbox!

Rocksbox is a jewelry subscription box with a monthly fee of $19.00. You receive three pieces of jewelry in each box that you can keep as long as you like or you can send them back and get new pieces as often as you like. You can also purchase any of the items that you receive. Each month you will receive $10 in shine credit to use towards any item that you purchase. When you first sign up with Rocksbox you will take a style quiz and then you can add items to your wish list that you would like your stylist to send you.

I have found that Rocksbox has been a great way to build my accessory collection.

Here’s a look at some of my favorite pieces from Rocksbox so far!

Gorjana DIY Necklace with V Chain in Silver
Gorjana DIY Necklace with V Chain in Silver
Kendra Scott Rayne Silver Necklace in Slate
Kendra Scott Rayne Silver Necklace in Slate
SLATE Total Eclipse Cuff
SLATE Total Eclipse Cuff

Want to try Rocksbox for FREE? Click here to sign up and use my code BETSYBFF36 to receive a one free month of Rocksbox!

What do you think of the pieces I kept?

Have you tried Rocksbox yet?

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Tour Detroit Thursday: NKD Pizza

I received a complimentary meal from NKD Pizza in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own. 

NKD Pizza Sterling Heights MI

Last week I met up with a few of my favorite Michigan bloggers at NKD Pizza in Sterling Heights. For those that are not from the D, that is a suburb of Detroit.

Never heard of NKD Pizza (pronounced naked pizza btw)? Me neither! But now that I have been introduced properly, I will be visiting often!

NKD Pizza is very very different from your run of the mill pizza place. It was obvious from my first visit just how much they care about their customers. From taking the time to truly understand different dietary needs to utilizing only the highest quality of ingredients, they are an entirely different breed of pizza.

Are you gluten free? You can eat at NKD Pizza! Are you dairy free? You can eat at NKD Pizza! Are you a vegetarian? You can eat at NKD Pizza. Basically if you like pizza in any shape or form you can eat at NKD Pizza and you will love it.

And there are so many options to choose from!

NKD Pizza - Sterling Heights

I went with the Evermore pizza! And it was delicious.

Evermore Pizza at NKD Pizza

After inhaling our food, we got to tour the kitchen so we can see firsthand just how serious they take preparing all of the food. The kitchen was clean and orderly. And for those that are gluten free, you will be happy to hear that they use seperate areas to prepare gluten free items. They also use different utensils to avoid cross contamination. They really do understand that for some people, gluten is a big concern and not just a diet fad.

I personally do not have any dietary needs other than I like to try to give my body food that fuels it rather than food that works against it. NKD Pizza uses no additives, preservatives or artificial colors or flavors. Their regular pizza crust is made using an Ancestral Blend of 10 grains plus prebiotics and probititics. That is unheard of at a pizza place.

Not only is their pizza healthy but it is also delicious! I can’t wait to go back and try another one of their pizzas!

For more information on NKD Pizza, click here to go to their site!

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AfterShokz Headphones Review

AfterShokz headphones review

One of the perks of running in the United Relay of America with Fit Approach was getting a pair of AfterShokz headphones!

As a trail runner one of the things that I have been struggling to find is the perfect pair of headphones. I like to run with music but I still want to be aware of what is going on around me.

Prior to receivng the AfterShokz headphones, I had been running with a pair of corded headphones so that I could have one earbud in and the other tucked into my shirt. It got the job done but I was really wanting to go cordless. I did try a pair of wireless headphones which I really liked but I couldn’t hear people coming up behind me, so while I liked the freedom of not having any cords, that pair of wireless headphones did not work for me.

The AfterShokz headphones (I should clarify that I was not required to write a review about them, I love them so much, I wanted to share.) are a perfect match for me though! The earbuds rest on your cheekbones as opposed to going in your ears so I am able to hear what is going on around me very clearly. And thanks to the bone conduction technology of the AfterShokz headphones, I am also able to hear my music. It’s a beautiful thing!

AfterShokz Headphone

AfterShokz headphones are a bit of an investment. The pair that I have costs $129.95 (you can purchase on Amazon here) but for me they are worth it and I definitely would have used my own money to purchase them. They are my new favorite piece of running gear!

What headphones do you run with?

Have you found a new favorite piece of running gear recently?

Gifts Under $20

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United Relay Recap

This past weekend I joined the red team in St Louis to continue passing the baton in the United Relay of America thanks to United Relay, Fit Approach and AfterShokz. My leg of the relay took place entirely in Forest Park, a new to me running spot and a great excuse to go on an adventure to Missouri.

The whole family at the start of the Forest Park leg!
The whole family at the start of the Forest Park leg!

My route was a group stage but my group turned out to be just me and Richard (a big thanks to Richard for all of the pictures) from United Relay. We had a great time running around the park chatting about the relay, running and life.

Richard and I at the finish!
Richard and I at the finish!
Our start and end point was the Art Museum.
Our start and end point was the Art Museum.

I have to admit, that I am envious of Richard and his experience with the United Relay. Who wouldn’t want to run across the US? It sounds like he has been to a lot of great places and has met a lot of amazing people along the way.

Prior to my arrival at Forest Park, I learned through Google research that Forest Park is one of the largest urban parks in the US, even bigger than Central Park! It has many paths that are great for walking, running and biking. It also has great scenery, monuments, fountains and some fabulous attractions like the St Louis Zoo and the Science Center.

We didn’t encounter any trails on our run (doesn’t mean they didn’t exist because the park is HUGE) but it was still a good run nonetheless. It was also for a great cause which makes it even better!

If you are interested in joining the United Relay there is still time! Click here to sign up for a stage near you (or far away from you if you are up for a road trip like I was). And if you are ever in St. Louis, make sure you visit Forest Park!

My future relayer!
My future relayer!

Now tell me about your weekend! 

Did you do any running or adventuring?

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Up Next: United Relay of America

United Relay of America

This weekend (tomorrow to be exact), I will be joining the red route of the United Relay of America to run stage 280 in St Louis! All thanks to United Relay of America, AfterShokz and Fit Approach.

While it is certainly not a traditional race, I am excited to be part of this great cause and undertaking. And super stoked to run 3.5 miles in Forest Park, a new to me running location.  While running, I was also be trying out these sweet AfterShokz headphones.

AfterShokz headphones

Stay tuned for a full recap of the relay and the AfterShokz headphones next week! You can also follow along with me on my adventure through my Instagram.

As if all of that wasn’t exciting enough, Chris and I decided to turn this opportunity into a family weekend getaway to see all of the sites in St. Louis. Plus we figured the best way to determine how this whole blended family thing is working out is to spend 8.5+ hours in the car two times in the matter of three days. Fun or pure crazy? Time will tell.

Our adventures to St Louis, will be made a little less crazy by bringing along our favorite choice in hydration…Absopure! That’s right, Absopure will be on the road with us throughout the whole weekend. We never leave home without Absopure and healthy snacks because as you probably already know, most bad decisions happen when you are thirsty and hungry.

Absopure Home Delivery

Well it looks like B, has the Absopure all packed up and ready to go, so it is time for us to hit the road to St Louis!

What are your plans for the weekend?

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It’s Okay To Be Selfish

I will be the first to admit that my running can seem very selfish on the surface. I spend hours every week running and cross training. I spend time away from my son and our family when I go to races and when I am training. I even plan destination races to fun locales and then I leave my son behind to pursue my wanderlust / running passion.

Even places like Disney.
Even places like Disney.

There have been times when my son tells me he doesn’t want me to go running but I go anyways. When he asks why, I tell him it is because it is something that I like to do. Something that I need to do for myself and my health. I also tell him that he gets to do things that he likes to do, so I get to as well. He’s eight, so he understands these concepts more now than when he was younger. When he was younger he would sometimes cry when I went out for a run. I went anyways. My heart always ached but I still went.

He seems happy. But when the race started he was less than thrilled to see me go.
He seems happy. But when the race started he was less than thrilled to see me go.

So sure, on the surface my running looks selfish. But in reality, it is the best thing that I can do for my son. It is the best thing I can do for all of my relationships. And it is certainly the best thing that I can do for myself.

It recharges me. It calms me. It relieves my stress. It makes me a better person, a better Mom, a better fiance and a better employee.

Sure it was super cold but I'm happy because I'm about to get some ME TIME!
Sure it was super cold but I’m happy because I’m about to get some ME TIME!

It makes me better at whatever hat I am wearing because like most people, I wear a lot of hats. And it can be exhausting. Sometimes I don’t want to wear a hat. Sometimes I just want to be me. And that is what running does for me. It lets me be just me. During those miles I am just Betsy. I am not a Mom, or a fiance, or an employee. I am just me. It’s my me time. It’s me putting myself first. And it is very needed. And I don’t feel guilty about it (most of the time anyways).

So you may be wondering what prompted all of this rambling. Recently, in a running group that I belong to on Facebook one of the members posted that she really needed to go on a solo run but her son asked if he could go with her. She emphasized how much she needed some alone time but also mentioned she wanted to encourage his interest in running.

Most people commented that she should take him with her. The comments included tidbits of wisdom that referenced how short life is, how you should spend as much time as possible with your kids, yadda yadda yadda. (I get it trust me….)

I love every moment I get with this kid. But I like my runs to be kid free most of the time.
I love every moment I get with this kid. But I like my runs to be kid free most of the time.
But we have spent some time running together and we both loved every minute of it.
But we have spent some time running together and we both loved every minute of it.

There was a small portion of us (myself included) that replied she should go alone if that is what she needs.

As parents we tend to put ourselves at the bottom of our to do list. It’s not healthy. It’s not good for ourselves or for our kids. When we put ourselves at the bottom of our list we are showing our kids that we do not value ourselves and that they are always more important. It is a path that is certain to lead to burn out and we are creating a version of ourselves that is less than our best.

Now I am not saying that she shouldn’t take her son running with her ever. She can certainly take him running sometimes. And I am certainly not saying that running should always come first because there are days when things won’t go as planned so flexibility is key. BUT she shouldn’t feel guilty about saying no to her son on those days where she really needs time to herself.

And it doesn’t have to be running. It can be whatever it is that makes you feel like you are not wearing a hat. Whatever gets you excited about just being you. Whatever it is that recharges you and makes you feel like the best possible version of yourself after you do it.

You also don’t have to be a parent. You can take time away from your significant other, your family, your friends.

So give yourself permission to be selfish. You deserve it.

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Ipsy Glam Bag Review: May 2016

Ipsy Review- May 2016

Here’s a look at my Ipsy bag for this month! (Btw if you are not a subscriber, NOW is the time as there is no waiting list for the next 48 hours. Click here to use my referral link so I can earn some points when you sign up.)

Item #1: SOO AE 3 Collagen Essence Sheet Mask Set

Item #2: Clark’s Botanicals Smoothing Marine Cream

Item#3: Mellow Cosmetics Creamy Matte Lipstick

Item #4: Smashbox X-Rated Mascara

Item #5: Glamour Dolls Blending Brush 

This month I am most excited about the mascara and the mask set. I don’t wear a ton of make-up but mascara is one of my staple items. I love how it makes my eyes pop. I am also excited to try the masks because they will give me a chance to wind down and treat myself to some r&r.

I am least excited about the lipstick. I don’t like matte lipsticks but I keep on getting them. Ipsy is very persistent in trying to win me over with the matte trend. It will not work. lol

You know what keeps me as a subscriber to Ipsy month after month after month? Even when I say I should cancel my subscription because I don’t use all of the samples that I get? It’s their bags. They are always so cute. And they are always so different from the months before.

This month’s bag is so ME! I love to travel and this bag screams that I should travel everywhere and take it with me. And I will. The only thing that could have made the bag better is if I had gotten the purple version but I can make do with the pink one.

Ipsy Bag

Want to see my past Ipsy Glam Bags? Click on the links below.

Ipsy #1: October 2015

Ipsy #2: November 2015

Ipsy #3: December 2015

Ipsy #4: January 2016

Ipsy #5: February 2016

Ipsy #6: March 2016

Want to get an Ipsy bag of your own? Click here to use my referral link so I can earn some points when you sign up.

What did you think of my Ipsy bag? 

What did you get in yours?

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