Best Swimsuits EVER!

Every single time I go to the beach I look at houses for sale because I never want to leave! Any one else do this too?! 😂 It is the best form of self-care for me. I am working on a travel guide for 30A and that should be up in the next few weeks. But, until then, I wanted to talk about the best swimsuits ever! P.S. they’re on sale!

If you haven’t tried anything from Aerie, you are seriously missing out. I haven’t tried anything from them I haven’t loved. Once I discovered how amazing their swimwear is, I knew I had to share it with you all!

The Aerie brand is built on celebrating and advocating for body positivity and the empowerment of all women. Their clothing is meant to inspire customers to love their real selves, inside and out. Personally, I think their swimsuits do just that! They make me feel the most comfortable and confident I have ever been in a swimsuit.

Pictured above is what I like to call my “Carole Baskin” swimsuit 🐆 ! It is seriously the cutest thing and it is so on trend right now. I don’t normally purchase printed swimwear, but I am so glad I got this one. This style is the Wide Strap Scoop Bikini Top paired with the High Cut Cheeky Bikini Bottom. The top gives the perfect amount of support and has no padding in it, which I love! It also doesn’t dig into my skin and didn’t move around and leave me with weird tan (ahem, sunburn) lines. Let’s talk about the high-waisted bottoms for a second. Y’all, these are not the normal high-waisted diaper/grandma look. They are high cut on the leg (without showing anything you don’t want to) and the backside is just cheeky enough to keep things fun! 🍑 🍑 🍑 They also suck you in a little but definitely don’t feel constraining so you can eat as manyyy beach snacks as you like!

For this next suit, I opted for something I typically never do — strapless. I normally loathe anything strapless because more often than not you see people constantly tugging and pulling up anything without straps. It is just never a good look. But this top, the Ribbed Longline Bandeau, stays right where you put that thing on! I absolutely adore it and the bright color of this suit.

Aerie make it easy to mix and match different styles of tops and bottoms as well as prints. I recommend their suits to all of my friends and I know you won’t be disappointed if you pick some up for yourself. They also offer a great rewards program, so get to shopping today and start earning some points!

Let me know if you find one you love by leaving a comment below! Can’t wait to share more about my mini-vacay with you!

strong, but exhausted

It has (unfortunately) been a few months since I sat down to write. It was completely unintentional.

I’ve honestly just been too tired to devote my time to my small corner of the internet. It sounds like a very lame excuse, but my body and mind have been too tired to do much of anything outside of my day-to-day responsibilities.

My endometriosis has flared back up even though I had surgery a little over a year ago. It has been back with a vengeance and my symptoms continue to affect my day-to-day life. I feel out of touch with my body, I get nauseous to the point of vomiting at least once a week, and I am exceptionally tired more often than not. I feel like I am constantly cancelling plans and trying to explain to friends what’s going on. I always feel like I’m bringing everyone down when I do push myself to follow through with plans even though I am feeling bad.

Late last year I realized how terrified I was of not being able to live my life and goals to the fullest because of my health. I needed to pursue other options and I started seeking doctors out-of-state. This can be especially scary because we all know surgery in general can be expensive much less possibly going to someone outside of your insurance’s network and all the other associated costs with traveling to seek treatment.

After some thorough research, I realized how uneducated and naive I had been when it came to my first surgery and the things my then doctor told me. I soon concluded I would need an excision surgery next. The previous surgery essentially cauterized any small areas my doctor could find. This can cause many issues, but as endometriosis grows back, it grows over that burnt scar tissue, making it even more painful. Excision cuts out the endo and any other tissue under/around it that could be effected by it. Alabama actually has no endometriosis excision specialists. It feels like we are always behind.

So my next best option was a well-reviewed surgeon in Chattanooga, Tennessee! His next available appointment was a whopping five months away. While I wanted to just give up because that wait seemed unbearable, I planned a much needed birthday celebration trip around the appointment and it ended being such a wonderful time. Chattanooga is modern and progressive, but not quite as crowded as somewhere like Atlanta or Nashville. I can’t wait to be back for a multitude of reasons!

The number one reason is my scheduled surgery for May. Because this is a more intrusive procedure, I feel like I should be more nervous or fearful. But I have so much hope for a better quality of living that I can’t be anything but excited.

While I was there, I was able to visit Beast + Barrel (pictured above), a rustic-chic gastropub where I had one of the best charcuterie boards ever. I highly recommend a meal (or two there) if you are in the area.

I hope my continued chronic illness journey inspires someone else to keep pushing for a well-lived and enjoyable life. If you don’t have any type of chronic illness and you know someone with one, try to learn more about that person and what their day-to-day life is like. Just because you can’t see their illness, doesn’t make what they are going through any less than.

I will continue to keep you updated on this journey and share some fabulous outfits along the way! Keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I prepare for surgery and the recovery.

Read more of my recent blog posts here:

two months

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Abnormal, painful, heavy and/or irregular menstruation.

Intense abdominal pain and cramping outside of period.

Fatigue, bloating, nausea.

These are the vague symptoms you will find if you Google endometriosis.

Endometriosis occurs when the endometrium tissue lining the uterus is found around the organs, pelvis and other areas of the body instead of being shed during monthly menses. This causes scar tissue, chronic debilitating pain, mood swings, anxiety, depression, infertility, body image issues just to name a few symptoms.  No one brings up night sweats, blood clots, or nausea. How about chest pain, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat and dizziness. I bet you didn’t know that knee pain, back pain, certain food intolerances, and vitamin deficiencies are also associated with endometriosis.

Many women (including myself) suffer in silence and the usual timeframe for diagnosis is 10 years, as it is difficult to detect. Endometriosis is incurable. 

No one tells you how it happens, about the days you will cry because you are in intense pain or how many times you will have to call in “sick” to work with no real explanation of what the heck is going on with you. I am constantly faced with physical pains that I can’t control even with the strongest painkillers.

I can date my symptoms back ten years ago.  I was only thirteen and had to make an appointment with a gynecologist. While I won’t mention this well-known doctor’s name, she brushed it off saying, “It was just a part of becoming a woman.”‘ Uh, yikes ok. 

So I went on accepting this as my truth. Accepting the days of sitting in class pretending I felt okay that extended well into my working years. Calling in sick makes me feel guilty because my boss or co-workers don’t always understand what I’m going through and I often think I’m letting them down.

As the years went by, sometimes I would mention it here and there to doctors and they would act nonchalant as if living with this pain and discomfort was something I could get by with.

The final straw was when my previous doctor told me I was ovulating and it would pass. When I insisted differently, she suggested we change my birth control. Not only would this wreak hormonal havoc on my body, but I also knew it wasn’t the answer. So I stood up for myself. I said no.

I kicked her to the curb and demanded she refer me elsewhere.

I couldn’t do it anymore.

So after countless dollars spent on wasted doctor’s appointments, I saw a leading physician specializing in endometriosis. She suggested I have a laparoscopic procedure because she was sure I had endo.

I was overwhelmed. After I stopped ugly crying, I realized I was relieved. Finally. Vindication. Confirmation. I am believed.

I told a select few people.

What will you do? Make sure you do it. Are you going to do it? I don’t think you’ll do it. Please do it. Have you tried yoga? Have you considered meditation? Have you tried not eating dairy? How about nutrition? Medication is bad for the body and you’re an addict. All those chemicals. You can’t take that. What are you going to take instead? Can you have babies? Are you infertile? You should have a baby. You should start having babies. Why aren’t you having babies? Are you better? We can’t wait for you to feel better —to get back to normal.

Normal is now tiredness. Exhaustion. It’s being slow. It’s feeling slow. Withdrawn. Feeling sick. I am sick. Always keeping it secret. F. Feeling small. Thinking about it. Thinking about pain. Always thinking about my body. Your body. Assessing every twinge, every tug, every pull, every ache. Waiting. Holding your breath and counting. Waiting for it to stop. To get worse. To come back again.

Two months ago today, I was first diagnosed and had a laparoscopy. My endo is so severe it caused organs to shift and tilt.

I am now faced with the harsh truth that the physical pain is paired with the emotional pain of the possibility of not being able to carry a child, my first surgery will probably not be my last and I am on a medication that has kicked my body into early menopause.

While the road ahead is difficult, I know had I not been an advocate for myself while sitting in a small cold exam room with nothing but a gown the quality of a cheap paper towel, I would still be suffering in silence.

Fortunately, I have learned the capacity of my strength and fortitude due to this disease.

If you’re a woman suffering from chronic, mystery pain that doctors are just shrugging their shoulders at, I hope you are inspired to be an advocate for yourself as well.

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Coffee Break Thoughts from the Airport

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My job can be a little exhausting. Okay, sometimes a lot. We are a dedicated nonprofit with a small staff. I’m actually doing two jobs within the organization right now during a transition period.

Through my job, I am tasked with traveling sometimes. There are one-day trips to exhibit and then there are week-long trips for conferences. I have essentially traveled three weeks of the past month. I haven’t been home much and as I sit here in the airport waiting on a flight that won’t get me home until 11:30 tonight (then I have to drive an hour home), I think how fortunate I am to be able to travel alone.

I’m not sure if you’ve had the opportunity to travel alone, but let me tell ya… it makes for some serious self-reflection/processing time. As I walked every inch of the city of Louisville (and visited the underground speakeasy you see above) with no one but me, myself and I, I had the sweet, rare opportunity to really process where I was at and how I was doing in terms of life in general. I was challenged and reminded and affirmed of His love for me and plan for my life all at the same time.

I am exhausted and looking forward to some time at home for a long weekend before I fly out again two weeks from now. But I’m so thankful to have had that time to step away and be alone. I know the craziness of the holidays is soon upon us, but if you have the chance to carve out some alone time for yourself, whether it be a couple of hours or a whole weekend, I can’t encourage it enough! It was pretty transformative for me.

I am so overwhelmed and I am so thankful.

So here’s my question for you, friends, how are you doing, doing. Are you giving yourself the rest you need? Are you giving yourself the grace you deserve? I haven’t been.

There will be a million things telling you that you’re not doing enough or being enough or accomplishing enough. But you have one friend right here today telling you this simple truth… you already are. You Are. Enough.

If you’re like me and have a hard time believing that to be true of yourself, my challenge to you today is to pause. Give yourself the rest you don’t think you have time for because I guarantee you that you do.  There will always be a million excuses not to, but you know what I can promise? Life will go on. And you? You will be so much better off for it.

Go buy that Starbucks holiday drink and go on a walk around the prettiest neighborhood you can find. Or curl up on the couch and put on a Hallmark movie… and instead of checking your email inbox and finding other ways to do a million things at once, just watch. Light your favorite candle, put on your favorite worship song and spend thirty minutes journaling and pouring your heart out to the Lord. Replace one of the “to do list” things you feel like you have to do with something that brings you rest.

I know I know.. it goes against everything our millennial-multitasking minds tell us to do, and that’s the beauty of it.

Let’s fill this season with a bit more rest, ok?  That’s how I intend to round out the remainder of the year.

So before I step off my soapbox, let me just say one last thing. It is good to trust in the Lord. He is faithful, and He is the best author. Trust Him with your story, friend. In the valleys, remember there are so many pages you haven’t lived through yet, and remember that His love, which is so far greater than any love we’ll ever find here on this earth, will lead you through each one.

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