A Battle He Will Win

So often in life we are faced with difficult situations. Most of them we overcome, some of them set us back and a few of them almost ruin us. But with each heart breaking, soul shattering, life changing event we push forward. On Saturday, we got the news that my best friends husband was diagnosed with cancer. A man in his twenties diagnosed with a disease that devastated their family and friends. After a long week of waiting for those results, my stomach sank when I saw her text message. You never really think that tragedy will strike in your circle. My group of friends on the other hand has faced some pretty serious tragedies over our 16 year friendship and yet again one of us will battle through something so awful that it’s hard to put into words. My friend’s husband is a man you can only dream that your best friend will find. When I gave my maid of honor speech at her wedding I had little flashes of their future as I read the words that came so easy to me when I wrote them. A specific part stands out now… “A girl can only hope that her best friend finds a man that puts her first, treats her like the amazing woman she is and values everything they have together. I know that Joey is that man for Michelle. I admire him for choosing such a spectacular woman to live his life with. And I am so proud of her for finding someone who is just as spectacular.” And now, just 7 months after this amazing day, this spectacular couple will face the biggest challenge of their lives. They will have to fight cancer together and although he is the one diagnosed, she will fight just as hard until he’s cured.

I’m an optimist and I think he is too. He will give everything he has to beat this and continue being the amazing father, husband, son, brother and friend that he is now. This moment in their lives will not define them but it will strengthen them. There is no other option but to get through it and when that happens, the appreciation for life and love will be greater than ever.

He couldn’t have a more perfect person by his side as he goes to war against cancer. She is the one you want in your corner and the one whose experience and strength will prove imperative. She will stand when he can’t, smile when he needs a reminder of how important it is to fight and she will love him more and more each day so that he never feels like giving up.

With their wonderful families and the friends that he has had his whole life, this tragic situation will soon only be a memory of a tragic situation. This will be a chapter in the beginning of their book. A chapter followed by so many more that it will eventually be a story told to their grandkids about how this strong man defeated cancer and everything that came with it.

It hits so close to home for too many people and although they didn’t expect it, they will rise to the challenge in order to defeat it.

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I pray for them and for everyone else fighting this same fight.

Xo,

Chelsie

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Second Thoughts…

I typed up the post about our second IUI and then for some reason I had an overwhelming urge not to post it.  After the last post I received so many wonderful encouraging words. But with those beautiful words came a few that irritated the shit out of me! So, I think for the sake of not raising my blood pressure I will save my post as a draft and keep pushing through this intense time of my life without putting it all into words. Sometimes things are better left unsaid anyway.

2015 is coming to an end and it really wasn’t my year but as a good friend and my husband like to remind me… Not all years can be great.  There have to be some that are just okay.  So 2015 was okay and I’m sure 2016 will be better. After all, “I think I can I think I can,” “If you believe it you can achieve it,” “Believe you can and you’re halfway there” and all that good stuff.

So 2015 you were alright and 2016 I look forward to you!

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IUI: I Underestimated Infertility

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It’s been a long time since I started on a not so fun journey. In January 2013 my husband and I decided we wanted to start our family. Who knew 2 years and 10 months later we would have failed horribly on our own and once so far with the help of great professionals and hormones.  I haven’t written about this aspect of my life yet because I’ve battled back and forth with myself about whether or not I wanted to share it with everyone. I’ve talked about it with many but once I put something in writing it becomes really real.

Recently I’ve sat down with two friends who have struggled with infertility in their own ways. One who has a son and now another on the way and one who is going through IVF after not having any luck with IUI.  Infertility shows itself in different ways. We’ve talked about the lack of people who share stories like this and/or the over abundance of negative stories on blogs that surround the process of trying to overcome infertility.  So after some consideration and some emotional turmoil in the last few days I decided to put it in words.  It will be real and in the end this will stay positive. Because there’s just no use in continuing to be negative about it.

I consider myself to be intelligent, rational and one who overcomes tragic life events. So that side of me is trying hard to keep all of this in perspective. The other side of me gets my hopes up, is a sucker for happily ever after and really wants to be a mom.  That side of me is really struggling with life at this moment.  I’m tired of waiting and I’m tired of being the one who waits while everyone else gets what I so desperately want. That’s life right? Not everything always works out the way you want it to… But it doesn’t make it any less shitty!

So almost 3 years later we’ve decided to move onto the next step.  We started at HRC Fertility in September. We have had all kinds of tests done, none in which show anything wrong with either one of us.  So the doctor decides IUI, or intrauterine insemination, is the best option for us as we move forward.  We’re both very healthy and our reproductive parts are working just fine. Unexplained infertility is the issue but we’re not really sure if there is an issue? It doesn’t really even make sense! So on day 3 of my period I started Clomid for 5 days. Then the following Monday I had another ultrasound which showed my ovaries reacting well to the meds. Tuesday I got a shot in the stomach of HCG and on Wednesday I went in for the first of two inseminations. In a future blog post I’ll talk about that day and what I went through physically, but more importantly, mentally. Fast forward two weeks later and I’m staring at another negative pregnancy test.  Am I surprised? No. Am I disappointed? Yes.

So now I wait for day 3 of my period and for this whole process to start all over again. Although I’m very aware that my body failed me for that last few years, I really had hope that this IUI would have magically worked… Hence “I Underestimated Infertility.”  But I’ll put on my positive panties and we’ll try this again.  As my husband said “Our lives are so great already and a baby will be an awesome addition but it won’t make or break the wonderful life we’ll have together.” With perspective and some help I’m still hopeful that this will work for us someday.

P.s.  This blog is not geared towards infertility. It’s not really focused on one specific topic at all. It’s complied of stories, experiences and advice from my life.  I’m an almost 30 year old, passionate, dream chasing woman who is always looking for the bright side even though I can’t always find it. Infertility is a part of me but it is just one of many things that consume my life right now. I hope you find something here that helps you, interests you or makes you want to share. And please, if you have something positive to say about your infertility journey please share. We need all the positivity we can get.

Xo,

Chelsie

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Xtending My Limits

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In late June I started Barre.  A friend from work bought us a two week Groupon for Xtend Barre in Rancho Cucamonga. I was a little nervous going into the first class because it was 100% new to me.  I had come off of a 2 year obsession with distance running. After a half and a full marathon I decided to try something new in 2015. I started the year off with Yoga and then I did a little jump aerobics at a trampoline place. Neither were very appealing to me for longer than a month.  I lifted weights for a couple weeks with my husband but that also wasn’t my thing. Barre came next and it was love at first try.  I was awkward and a little embarrassed because my balance was a lot less than perfect. The work outs were hard but fun. The instructors were helpful and motivating. Two weeks went by and I felt great so I bought the one month unlimited pass to see if it could keep my interest. It did, plus some. That month passed and I decided that this was my new kind of fitness. I signed up for the year contract of unlimited classes. I pay a monthly fee and it’s absolutely worth it.  September started the 30 day Challenge : 20 classes in 30 days. I saw the challenge on social media the day before it started and was unsure if I wanted to participate. It meant I’d have to go to barre 5 days a week and with work and other obligations it seemed like a little much. The next day I walked into class and one of the instructors had the big challenge board. She challenged me and I’m just not one to turn down a challenge.  So she signed me up.

Barre every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday after work and then on Wednesday and Friday mornings. It was a long 30 days and my body was tired but the results were great and again I had set a goal and accomplished it. Yesterday was day 30 and yesterday I finished the 20th class.

Xtend Barre Rancho has changed my body and the way I feel about working out.  I look forward to going to class after work. I look forward to seeing the instructors and the girls I xtend with. It’s a good feeling to actually look forward to working out. I, like many, have struggled for years with finding physical activity that I didn’t hate, get tired of or start to dread. When I found my way to running and became good at it, I knew that the fit life was something I’d live for the rest of my life. I knew that I would continue to seek out different ways to move.  My body is important and it only took me about 26 years to figure it out. With fitness I gained more confidence, a more positive body image and a mental strength that I didn’t know I had. Now at 29 years old I am in the best shape of my life. Barre has been one more positive aspect to add to my continuing chain of healthy choices. Lean, sculpted and strong legs have been a great result from barre.  A more firm and muscular butt is my favorite result so far.  Growing up I had a negative body image and I was incredibly self conscious about how skinny I was. As a woman I have often felt not “womanly” enough. A couple weeks ago my husband took a picture of me flexing when we were doing some fitness photos for his website. I couldn’t believe that my body looked like it did. The light was perfect, we were in a cool place and I could see so many different muscles. Muscles that I didn’t know I had. It was in that moment that I finally felt like I’d been doing it all right. Barre was the perfect workout for me.

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So as I finished the 20 in 30 challenge I am happy to have found something that I love so much. I’m happy that each week I am surrounded by some pretty awesome women. Women of all shapes and sizes who come from different careers. Some who are mothers and other’s who aren’t. Some who are just finding their way in their own fitness journey and some that are looking to change up a long standing routine. We’re at different ability levels and we’re probably doing this for different reasons. But…. We’re all there together, doing the same thing at the same time. I AM SIMPLY OBSESSED WITH XTEND BARRE!

If you are looking to change up your fitness routine or if you’re looking to start one, I really do suggest trying barre. A little pilates, a little ballet, a lot of fun.

Xo,

Chelsie

P.S. Check out Xtend Barre Rancho on Instagram and Facebook. #xtendbarrerancho

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NEW Sunscreen Obsession… Bare Republic

I’m always looking for better ways to protect my skin. I also always use a different sunscreen for my face than for my body.  For the last couple of years I’ve been using Neutrogena Clear Face.  I really like this sunscreen but in the last few months my husband and I have decided to make a few life changes.  We are buying organic food and trying to be more cautious about what we put in and on our bodies.  We are slowing incorporating better foods and products into our daily lives and I’m feeling really good about it!  So back to sunscreen… I was at Target last week and I was looking for sunscreen for a couple trips I have coming up. After spending about 10 minutes in that aisle I decided to try something new. BARE REPUBLIC caught my eye. Great packaging with everything you need to know on the front of the box. (Natural Mineral Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum SPF 30, Chemical Free, Water Resistant).  I went on to look at the social media sites and there were so many great comments and reviews. So here’s mine:

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I have extremely pale skin. I have had more sun burns then I can count. I am not a fan of aloe, vinegar baths, dark spots or skin cancer scares.  So in my adult years I have been a lot more responsible about using sunscreen. I look for non greasy, non heavy and good smelling sunscreen. Bare Republic is all of the above. It has a different texture than any other sunscreens I’ve used. It was extremely light weight and it went on smooth and dried almost instantly. It did feel greasy at first but it was dry within seconds with no greasy aftermath. My face felt smooth and it had a bit of a coconut smell. It smells like summer! It didn’t make my face feel gross and I put make up over it within 5 minutes. I applied once and I was in the sun for hours. I didn’t get my face wet and it does say to re apply after 40 minutes but without water I only applied once and was in the sun for an hour straight and then on and off for a couple more hours. I didn’t burn and I didn’t have any darker spots on my face either. Bare Republic SPF 30 FACE is a winner! I look forward to using this face sunscreen through out the summer and I’ll probably try the body sunscreen as well.  $15.00 for 1.7 oz and a little bit goes a long way. It’s a little more expensive than other sunscreens but feeling good about what you’re putting on your face is worth it. I have a new product obsession and this is it!

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Check out Bare Republic on Instagram and Twitter: @BareRepublic

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How To Throw a FABULOUS BackYard Bridal Shower

When your best friend gets married and she asks you to be the maid or matron of honor, you should go all out for her special day.  Your most demanding job will probably be throwing your bride to be a bridal shower.  This celebration is all about her. It’s a time to gather all her female friends and family and celebrate the woman she is and the woman she’ll be as a wife. The months leading up to a wedding are an emotional roller coaster. Brides experience happiness, excitement, frustration, sadness, worry and anxiety.  The bridal shower is a unique event. It’s doesn’t compare to the grandness of the actual wedding and it’s on a different level than the girl party of a bachelorette.  The bridal shower is your chance to show her how much she means to you and all those that know her.

When planning my best friend’s bridal shower I had amazing help from her mom and sister who was the other maid of honor.  It was such a great bonding experience for us and I grew even closer to the most important women in her life. We came together with loving intention and the upmost attention to detail.  Here are a few of my tips for throwing a FABULOUS backyard bridal shower. It was not cheap but it was worth it for one of our favorite girls.

1. Figure out who’s house you can use for the shower and make sure the backyard can fit your vision. It’s best to use yours, the mother of the bride or a close family member. That way you can come and go as you please. You can make all the decisions without worrying about the home owner disapproving of what you want. You can guarantee the venue will be just the way you intend it to be. And it will be free! But keep in mind that you want your guests to be comfortable. A tent is a great idea as it protects from the elements because you can only guess what the weather will be like. You don’t want to get stuck in a bad situation if it rains or the temperature is too hot.

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2. Don’t tell her much about it. Let it be a surprise. Tell her what color to wear, what time to be there and ask her for the guest list. Other than that listen to her likes and dreams for her wedding and re create a spin off that is just as beautiful but slightly different.Let her relax and not worry about this specific part of the wedding process. Is she a modern or classic bride? What’s her favorite flower? What do you want her to see when she walks through the doors and lays eyes on all the work you have done to make sure she is in awe? Think about who she is to you and find the inspiration to create something perfect. (My bride talked about a coffee bar she saw somewhere so I added that to her shower. I also wanted to give her something to keep with a little message from her guests so I had people write a memory or something they liked about the bride and pin in to a cute cork board)

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3. Write down your vision and execute it one item at a time. Need inspiration? Use pinterest. There are so many beautiful things that can inspire you there. From food to decor to meaning full words. You can find great ideas and so much can be ordered from Etsy.

4. Start buying things a little at a time leading up to the day.  My BFM (best friend’s mom) did this and I think she was right on. She started stocking wine and paper wear, buying utensils and ordering food. That left the week before for the last minute things we forgot and the food purchase and pickup. It wasn’t overwhelming and we felt prepared leading up to the event.

5. FOOD! What’s a party without great food? Choose something you know you can accomplish both physically and financially. Food is expensive and you should figure out your budget early on so you avoid surprises and last minute splurges that you regret later.  It also can be overwhelming to prepare. We asked a few of our closest girls to bring a dish we designated to them. We also ordered a few signature items from a local caterer. And a couple talented friends/family made some beautiful cupcakes, heart shaped rice krispies and little parfaits.  We decided that dainty finger foods and pretty salads were easy and they fit in with the look we were going for. We did mac and cheese cups, caprese kabobs, fruit, heart shaped cheese, tea sandwiches and salads. For drinks we served only white wine, lemonade and infused water.

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6. Wake up extra early the day of. Don’t assume that a few hours is enough time. If you are someone similar to me, you really need things to be perfect for the people you love. You’ll think a couple hours is enough to set up but what if it’s not? What if a few things go wrong?  Give yourself at least 6 hours pre start time to get everything set up.  If you’re done early you’ll have more time to get ready, relax and/or enjoy a few laughs with the rest of your bridal shower team.  Having too much time is absolutely better than running out of time. (We started 8 hours before the start of the event and I still ran 15 minutes late.)

7. Make sure the little touches are focused on. The perfect flower arrangement and a few pieces that tie into the theme, as well as a memory for the bride, can really be the difference between a fabulous meaningful shower rather than a cookie cutter shower. Don’t just add pieces to add pieces. Get creative. Make sure that they compliment the overall look. I found so many pieces in my house that went with our theme. Candles, vases and picture frames were among them. That’s a great way to save a few bucks. But in my personal opinion the most important decor is the flowers. They are beautiful and they represent new and fresh beauty.  They are classic yet can be arranged in a trendy way if needed. Shop whole flower markets. Google and yelp to find the closest one to you. Pick them up the morning of the shower and give your self time to arrange them. don’t underestimate the time if takes. The pop of color or the drama of all white will add so much to the perfect bridal shower.

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8. Take plenty of pictures before the bride arrives. Make sure you get enough because she probably wont remember to capture all the details and she’ll want to look back and remember. Trust me. She’ll take pictures with the people there, but you should take pictures of everything that makes up this beautiful day. Get up close and use your amateur photog skills to get some cool shots focusing on the details.

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9. Toast the bride. Tell everyone what she means to you. Let her know how important she is to your life. Speak from the heart, tell a funny short story and explain what this moment and her soon to be marriage means to you.  Your words will stick with her and the look on her face when everyone raises their glasses to honor her will stick with you.

10. And last but not least, make sure you have a few trusted people to help you clean up. A group of 5 can tackle the aftermath so much quicker than you can by yourself. You will be so happy you have others to share the last bit of responsibility with. 2 is better 1 and 10 is so much better than 2. Keep that in mind. (We had so many flowers and with a few special women helping us out we got everything taken down and the flowers distributed amongst us all in less than an hour.)

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I hope you can find everything you need to make your special girl’s bridal shower everything you think she deserves. I hope she walks through the doors and smiles and cries because she loves it so much. Make her feel like the luckiest girl in the world. That’s your job as her maid of honor and the host of her bridal shower.

I hope you’ll PIN from this post to share a little advice on how to throw a Fabulous BackYard Bridal Shower!

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Xo,

Chelsie

…And to my best friend’s mom and her little sister/maid of honor, thank you for allowing me to be such a big part of this day and for wanting it to be just as perfect as I did. And thank you for not getting mad at me for being an obsessive perfectionist who needed every little thing to be just right. I love you and I feel like I got closer to you both with all the time we spent together. I’m grateful for those moments.

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Coffee Table Decor: Pop of Summer

I love spending some time on the weekends watching HGTV, buying fresh flowers and rearranging/decorating my apartment. My home is a place I love spending time in. It’s calm, pretty and relaxing here and I take pride in it. As seasons change I like to change decor. Adding pops of color or texture are a couple of my favorite ways to spice up my living room, bathroom, bedroom and kitchen. Books, candles and accent peices are a few things that I always incorporate. Today, I decided to update my coffee table as summer quickly approaches. I’m into symmetry, color schemes, interesting shapes and gender neutral reading material.  Fresh flowers, gold peices and magazines are a few of my fave add ons. Here is today’s simple yet fabulous apartment coffee table design. Just in time for the #SummerYourHome challenge on Instagram.

What’s on your coffee table these days?

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