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Kelly Bibza

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Happy Saturday, friends!!  What are you up to this weekend?  We are at Ryan’s cousin’s wedding!  It’s a beautiful barn wedding in Waynesburg, PA.  I love fall weddings.  The colors are so rich and the air is so nice and crisp in the evening.  I’m sure it will be an amazing day!
When I’m not wearing dresses like I am today, you can find me in jeans.  In fact, I’m usually in jeans.   I can’t even count the number of pairs of I have in my closet!  They’re definitely my go-to for everyday wear.  I couldn’t be more excited to see that flare leg jeans have come back in a big way!  The bohemian trend has been with us for a while, and the flare leg jeans have been hanging around too, but they’re all the more in style right now more than ever!
I love flare leg jeans for several reasons.  The first is that it makes a petite girl like myself look much, much taller!!  All you need is a good pair of platform shoes or really high block heels, and you’ve got yourself some legs that go on for days!  😀  Another reason I like flares so much is that they really balance out your shape.  If you have broad shoulders, and are thin through the hips, or if you are really curvy, the bring some balance to the bottom of your figure.  Not that I don’t love me some skinny jeans, but jeans with a little bit of flare at the bottom can really make your figure look much more proportioned.  I also adore flares because they give me that boho, hippy vibe that I love so much!  Nothing like some peace, love, and rock’n roll feelings 🙂
This pair from Free People is my current favorite.  I really like the faded black color.  They look nice and vintage inspired.  I paired them with two different tops also from Free People!  Are you sensing that I like this brand a lot?  I seriously do.  I wear their clothes more than any other brand, probably.  They are always so comfortable, flattering, and super cute and trendy.  This yellow top is smocked at the bottom, so it accentuates your waist and is nice and flowy up top.  I love this color of gold!  It’s one of my favorites right now.  The maroon sweater is really soft and a little sexy as it falls slightly off the shoulder.  I sized up a size from my usual in Free People for a little more slinky fit.  This is another awesome color for fall.  You can wear it for a cozy date night and it would look perfect!
I’ve linked these outfits and accessories below! Have a wonderful weekend 🙂

It has been such a struggle for me to write this. There’s so much to say… I think I would be best served to just write a book because this post may be way too long for a blog and I might lose a lot of readers halfway through… But, for those of you who bear with me to the end, I want to thank you for reading.  So much needs to be done for Lyme Disease awareness and education.  I’m trying to do my part.  It’s very difficult and emotional to talk about, so I’ve done my best here for now…

For me, Lyme disease hasn’t been a moment in time where I might I recall getting bit by a tick, or seeing a bulls-eye rash… for me, it’s been quite the opposite of a moment.  Rather, it has been an endless series of grueling moments of pain, slow realizations of debilitating terror, and shape-shifting never-ending symptoms that continue to elude many of the sharpest and well-respected practitioners in the country.  Oh, and absolutely none of this is covered by any insurance, either.

Starting at the “beginning” is hard to do in a situation like this, where you’ve been miles down the path well before you even knew the path existed.  I recognized for sure that something was very wrong one February evening in 2016 after I had just finished a workout that seemed much more difficult for me than usual.  I had been in recovery and remission from autoimmune hepatitis (not viral, a chronic inflammation of the liver) for about 6 months at that moment, and was working hard to reclaim my health, body, and life.  I had been diagnosed with the autoimmune disease 6 years prior when I went completely jaundice one day with no explanation.  I had been unwell for a while prior to that day, but I was young and didn’t know that what I was feeling wasn’t normal, because honestly I’d felt unwell for years.  So when I was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease, I went on a strong cocktail of corticosteroids (Prednisone) and immunosuppressants for 6 years. Steroids are supposed to help bring down inflammation, and the immunosuppressants suppressed my immune system, weakening it so my body would “stop attacking itself”.  After five and a half years of this cocktail not working, my specialists gave up and told me I would have to go on the liver transplant list.  It was then that I took things into my own hands and started the autoimmune paleo diet and an all natural supplement protocol that got my liver disease into remission in less than 6 months!  So, I started to wean off of the steroids at that time, and thought I was getting my life back.  However, that’s when things got really ugly.  I slowly started to notice I was more and more fatigued. My liver remained in remission, but everything else got much, much worse!  I kept on pushing, trying to work out and battle through… Which then brings us back to February 2016 after that particularly rough workout.

That night, as I made dinner I noticed a heavy feeling start to creep over my body, like I was coming down with something, HARD.  It continued to get heavier and heavier and was so overwhelming that I was crying out in pain!  I couldn’t lift my fork to my mouth, or carry my plate.  My muscles were at complete failure.  My body felt like I was wearing a lead suit it was so heavy.  I felt like my eyes were about to pop out of my skull. I had a constant fever for weeks. I had never felt so sick or weak in my life!  Something was seriously wrong.  I tried to tell myself that maybe it was just the flu or mono.  After a few days I went to the Dr and he couldn’t find anything wrong in my blood work or x-rays.  As time continued, my body crashed even harder!  The first 6 months of trying to figure out what was going on were horrifying. I was in so much pain, and was so weak, I could barely walk across the room without falling over.  The pain in my head was like someone had taken my skull and slammed it off of a cement curb.  It throbbed and ached morning to night.  I felt like I was carrying around a 100 lb lead ball on my neck.  The pain shot down my neck and my shoulders, into my back.  I had joint pain that ached and radiated so deeply in my knees, hips, elbows, hands, and wrists that I would sometimes scream and cry. Little did I know this pain would follow me for years to come.  My muscles ached so badly.  The smallest amounts of movement like chewing would cause so much pain.  I couldn’t sleep.  I would go to bed and lie awake for hours maybe catching a few minutes here and there but never into a deep state.  Every couple of hours I would crash even harder, not able to get up or move about as I wished.  I couldn’t read.  My mind couldn’t keep up to make sense of an entire sentence.  By the time I reached the middle of the sentence I had forgotten the first few words completely.  I couldn’t follow the story line of TV shows or movies.  My husband took me to see The Book of Mormon and I can’t for the life of me tell you what that show is about!  🙁  Everything was like sensory overload!  Music was too loud, lights were too bright, smells were overpowering.  All I could hear was noise and it made me extremely anxious and nervous, I just wanted to scream!  The smallest unexpected noise would send me over the edge!  I couldn’t recover from being startled in the slightest.  I had to stop watching suspenseful TV and exciting movies.  I couldn’t have stressful or emotional conversations without intense physical reactions.  My head and my heart would pound so hard, it was so loud inside of my body.  I also couldn’t find my words.  It was like my vocabulary had been deleted from my memory.  I felt like I had lost complete control over every part of my body.  We were trying to look at new houses at the time.  Sometimes I couldn’t look at more than one.  I would walk through the house, sometimes not even making it upstairs and be so completely wiped out that we would have to drive straight home.  I got scooters at stores because I couldn’t walk the aisles without fainting.  And nobody seemed to have a clue as to WHY.

My PCP told me he thought it was my thyroid.  I knew better.  This was much more than my thyroid. But I couldn’t seem to get any Dr to listen to me.  All my tests kept coming back normal to them.  I went to an endocrinologist specialist, who couldn’t tell me anything either, except that I was slightly hypothyroid and that that shouldn’t be causing all of these symptoms. People would look at me and think I looked perfectly fine!  Newsflash!  You can’t see inside someone’s body!  I spent years masking how I felt inside, so it’s no wonder you couldn’t see it on the outside!  Plus, a little bit of concealer, bronzer, blush, and mascara, and who doesn’t look normal?  I’m not a loud or overly expressive person.  I’m pretty quiet, polite, and sometimes timid.  None of the doctors I went to in my health insurance network could pinpoint anything.  So, I moved on.  I finally found a whole team of like-minded people in functional medicine, integrative medicine, holistic naturopaths, chinese herbalists, and chiropractors who helped diagnose me with Lyme Disease and extreme adrenal fatigue. Along the way, these natural health practitioners have found so many other issues going on in my body that are causing problems.  It was such a relief to find answers!  I felt like  someone was finally telling me, “No!  You’re not going completely insane!  Something really is wrong with you!”  Sometimes just hearing that I wasn’t crazy would bring me to tears, let alone the fear of the diagnosis itself.  The natural health care field goes above and beyond to find what most conventional doctors do not.  They really dig deep to find the root cause of the issues instead of treating the body like individual compartments that need repair.  I realize that this might not be the fault of Western medicine doctors because they aren’t trained to look for Lyme Disease or root causes of illness in this way and that in-depth testing of this sort isn’t in their standard procedure.  But, for so long now conventional medicine has completely missed the boat for me and for so many friends, friends of friends, family members & others I connect with through support groups.  I really wish the practices would change to help more people find the causes of their problems… I’ll share more on that in another post.

Chronic Lyme disease is very difficult to diagnose and to treat.  Once it has been in your system for a while, it more often than not does not show up in the usual blood tests.  If you have had it for a long time, your immune system becomes so suppressed that your body can’t make the antibodies that would show up on the blood test.  It also hides in your organs, and forms something called a biofilm that is a protective shield around it that antibiotics cannot penetrate.  So, just taking the antibiotic like most people do when they first get bit does not work for someone who has had it in their system for a longer period of time.  I know so many people who have tried many rounds of antibiotics for their Lyme and are still so sick and now have damaged their gut and immune system so much.  My Lyme Dr says that if you catch it within three weeks and take the antibiotic, that it will kill the borellia.  But, if it is in your system longer than 3 weeks, it has gone into it’s second stage where it forms the biofilm and becomes chronic. That’s when you are in big trouble.  You may not have severe symptoms or any symptoms at all sometimes for many years.  But, when your immune system is weakened, for several different kinds of reasons, the disease will activate and spread.  So, when I was on the medications for my liver to decrease my immune system, the Lyme disease was only getting stronger.  But, the steroids I was taking were masking many of those symptoms because they pump you up and give you energy and reduce inflammation!  So, the entire time I was taking those drugs that never helped my liver, they were hurting my immune system and making the underlying cause of the autoimmune disease, the Lyme, even worse!

I never remember seeing a rash or a tick. Less than half of the people who get Lyme disease see a rash.  Don’t depend on seeing a rash to determine whether or not you may have Lyme.  But, when I think back to my childhood, I remember that around age 12 I was having bad pain in my knees and really struggling in dance classes.  The Dr said it was growing pains or Osgood Schlatter disease.  Thing is, that pain never went away, I just got used to having it.  In fact, it got worse in high school when I had a job at Osh Kosh B’Gosh.  I worked 8-9 hour shifts on my feet and would come home an aching, tired, miserable, mess.  My hips and knees were the worst!  I also had a severe bout of anemia in high school as well.  I would pass out if I walked up the stairs, or scrubbed my head in the shower.  I ended up having to stay home from school for a few weeks and had to quit all of my physical activities.  I didn’t mind the pass on gym class, but I was really sad to stop my dance classes.  I never got back to them.  I tried, but my body just didn’t work the same.  I would even fall asleep in the shower in the mornings.  Thinking back on it, I was really fatigued, and it wasn’t at all normal.  But at the time, I didn’t know any better.  My health didn’t get any better in college.  I had terrible fatigue coupled with anxiety and depression.  I started having awful digestive problems in my early 20s, too.  But still, no one had any answers for me other than that I was depressed!  Well, of course I was depressed!  I felt like total crap all the time and had unknown pathogens wreaking havoc inside my body!  It wasn’t until I was 26 that the autoimmune diagnosis came along which lead me to find the Lyme disease several years later.

My first step in treatment for the Lyme disease was to start an protocol that came highly recommended by a trusted friend and health coach.  The Chinese herbalist was Dr. Zhang.  He has his own clinic in NYC specifically for the treatment of Lyme disease and other difficult to treat diseases.  When I first started the protocol, I felt like I was dying. I started to even prepare myself for the possibility.  The reaction to the treatment was horrible.  When you treat Lyme Disease, you have something called a Herxheimer Reaction.  It’s the body’s response to toxic die off.  You feel worse and your symptoms intensify before you feel better.  In the Lyme world, we call this “herxing”.  I felt like I was in an endless herx.  I would detox daily with my infrared sauna, ionic foot baths, teas, other supplements, colon hydrotherapy, massage therapy, epsom salt baths, anything I could try to lessen the blow I would.  I would break down almost every night for the next couple years and sob because I wasn’t feeling better.  I knew that people with chronic Lyme disease did not lead comfortable lives. I could barely leave my bed for months. If I did, I paid for it hard later.  Eventually, I felt a small amount of relief.  I could read again, and I had a tiny bit more energy.  Some of the joint pain was slightly better.  But, I was still extremely ill and after 10 months on this protocol, I had plateaued and knew it was time for me to try something new.

I was and still am very involved in the chronic Lyme disease community online, particularly on Facebook.  Through that group and through word of mouth I was connected to a person who lived near me who was now in Lyme remission and was doing great!  She had gone to a local wellness center that treated Lyme with a different herbal protocol and had great success.  So, I went there, did their testing and started their treatment.  They told me that I was one of the sickest patients they’d ever had (you’d be surprised how many times I’ve heard this!).  I hated hearing that because I was already so down on my luck with the first protocol not working that I didn’t want to think of the chances of this one being unsuccessful, but they were confident that it would work.  After their testing of all my organs and systems, their opinion was that I had had this disease for well over 20 years, which would have put me back at the age where I first started noticing the joint pain.  Things were going okay on this protocol until I increased the dosage for the first time, and it hit me like a truck!  The herxing was beyond anything I had ever experienced before.  I was so sick, I couldn’t get out of bed.  I couldn’t do anything for myself.  Showering was extremely difficult.  We had to bring in help to cook, clean, and do errands and things around the house (Thank you Vicky, we would have been lost without you!).  They told me to go back down on the treatment to the first dosage, but I continued to be just as sick as I was when I first learned I had it, and I knew my body just couldn’t handle this protocol.  I once again felt like I was on my death bed.  So, I stopped the treatment all together and hoped to regain some strength.

During this time, we knew we had to find another route for treatment.  It seemed as though my body, specifically my liver was not capable of handling the herbal protocols.  They were just too strong and knocked me out entirely.  We were seriously considering a stem cell treatment center in CA.  It was a huge investment of money and time and the reviews were not that stellar.  Some people had success, others none at all.  We were so confused and uncertain of what to do.  Thankfully, my husband was still out in the world making waves and helping others and someone came into our lives at that time that has forever changed ours and we couldn’t be more thankful.  Angela, a client of my husband’s was selling t-shirts months before for her own daughter to go to CT to have a rare laser treatment done for Lyme disease.  I remember when Ryan came home with the T-Shirt and told me the story of Angela and her daughter at that time.  In our desperation for possible avenues, my husband recalled Angela and reached out to her to ask her about how that treatment went.  She said that her daughter was doing amazingly well and told us how to get in touch with the Dr who did it.  Everyone we heard of that went to have this treatment was doing much better, at least in terms of their Lyme disease.  We were put on a waiting list for 5 months.  Those were the longest, hardest, most terrifying 5 months of our lives.  I wasn’t on any treatment at all because nothing was helping.  We felt like if this treatment didn’t work, we had no idea what to do next.  I couldn’t imagine continuing to live in the state I was in for the rest of my life.  It was an incredibly emotionally difficult time for us.  We wanted to be so hopeful about it, but with our experience of being hopeful and then being let down in the past with other protocols, we knew it would be foolish to put all of faith into it.  But, we kind of did anyway.

Finally that 5 months was up and we left for CT.  We were there for 12 days, with a total of 8 treatments.  He determines which strains of Lyme you have as well as which coinfections (when you get bit by a tick, you do not get just Lyme borrelia, you also get other infections that they carry like Bartonella, Babesia, etc).  I had 14 strains of Lyme of both stage 1 and stage 2, and 7 coinfections, including Babesia and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  He said that of the strains that I tested positive for, some were from 20+ years ago, and some were more recent years, so it was likely that I had been bit more than once!  It was in all of my organs, but the majority was in my brain stem and cerebellum. On the final day when he said I no longer have any Lyme in me, I couldn’t even believe it.  I was having herx reactions to the treatment, so I didn’t feel well at this time, but I knew eventually the herx would fade.  We left the office and went outside and cried in the car!  That night we went out for a fancy dinner to celebrate and headed home the next day.  I was in so much pain the car ride home, but my heart was full of hope!

When we got home things got worse.  I continued to herx for several months.  It wasn’t until 4 months later that I really began to notice a change.  In the meantime, I’d been diagnosed with yet another chronic condition called Interstitial Cystitis or Painful Bladder Syndrome; likely also caused by my immune system being weakened for so long, wrecked with Lyme disease and other pathogens.  This was another huge blow that really sent me in a downward spiral emotionally.  I had constant stabbing pains in my bladder around the clock.  Interstitial Cystitis is a different subject, so I’ll write more on it another day, but it really floored me how yet again, I get another major diagnosis in the midst of trying to recover from the previous one.  I can’t seem to escape!  But slowly, I started noticing my Lyme symptoms were getting better.  I was able to walk further, I had less pain in my head and joints, and I could start to do more than one thing a day.  We went to Hawaii in January, and I walked in the sand!  That was a major moment!  I hadn’t been able to do that just 6 months prior.

Now, exactly one year later, I am doing much better than I was before that treatment in CT!  I am able to function at a higher level!  I can cook again, I can take care of myself, I can walk around the neighborhood, I can run several errands, I just have more energy in general!  The constant headaches are gone. (I do owe some of that to Family Chiropractic in Cranberry.  Dr. Amanda Jordan and Dr. Cotey Jordan have an amazing Migraine Challenge every year, and they really helped me out, I would highly recommend them!)  The joint pain is much better.  The fatigue is much less.  My overall hope and state of well-being has really improved.  I look forward to living a full life instead of fearing a life of misery.  I am still struggling with other pathogens and organ dysfunction in my body that cause me pain and fatigue.  I still have to take very good and careful care of myself.  I can still get really run down.  But, all of my blood work currently shows no signs of Lyme disease.  There is no test that can definitively tell you for 100% certain that you DON’T have Lyme disease.  But, all other tests that might indicate that it’s there are negative.  It’s possible there are some stragglers still inside of me and I know I still have a co-infection that we did not know about at the time of the treatment in CT.  But, I’m still hopeful and determined to eliminate them and continue on my healing journey!

Having chronic Lyme disease opens you up to a whole other host of disease and health problems, not just the Lyme disease itself.  I myself have experienced severe adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism, bladder disease, autoimmune liver disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, IBS, arthritis, kidney dysfunction, parasites, anemia, gastroparesis, among other things.  If you get bit, I would urge you to seek treatment immediately.  It is not something that you want lingering in your system.  It causes all of your body systems to go completely haywire.

I am so thankful for my husband who has always believed me, believed IN me, and trusted me throughout this entire journey.  I wish it was over, but he remains so faithful to seeing me through it.  He’s been a constant source of love, support, and patience for me.  I would never have made it through any of this without him.  When everyone else told me I was fine, he stood by my side and fought for me.  So often when women have chronic illness, men, and other people in general, but particularly the men, will overlook it and think you’re just overreacting or “it’s all in your head”.  We aren’t taken seriously because we “don’t look sick”.  We sit in social situations and smile while we’re in great amounts of pain.  So everyone just assumes you must be fine.  They don’t know that adrenaline kicks in when you’re out and you want to be normal for a little while, so you ride the adrenaline and then come home and completely crash after a few hours of being “on”.  I am so grateful to Ryan for looking past all of that and for knowing my limitations and accepting them.  I’m sure it has been so hard for him to not be able to live the way he would if his spouse wasn’t so ill all of the time.  But, he has been so patient and loving in the way that he deals with it, never making me feel bad.  He knows I carry a lot of guilt, but he never makes me feel guilty.  I’m so glad he has never had to feel the pain that I feel, but I know he gets it.  I couldn’t love him more for tirelessly taking such good care of me. With everything that I’ve endured, I’ve always known how lucky I am to have him for a husband.

And so, if you’ve read this far, thank you!  I hope that you learned a little about chronic Lyme disease and what is like to have it.  If you know someone who might relate to this, I would encourage you to share it with them so that we can connect.  I love to be a source of support for my fellow sufferers. Having a community of support really makes a huge difference! Life isn’t all about suffering.  We find ways to enjoy the beauty in it, too!  Part of that beauty is supporting and loving others in the same or similar situations.  Anything I can do to help someone else who’s also hurting always helps to ease my own pain.  I’ve also realized for me that things like fashion, decorating, and creating other beautiful things around me is a way for me to channel my frustrations and pain and to bring beauty into the world.  So, I hope that you enjoy my blog and that it brings a little fun and enjoyment into your life as well!  I would love for you to share anything in the comments below, or message me, about your journey or things you like to do to bring beauty into your life, too 🙂

 

 

Hey, friends!  How is your week going?  It’s been rainy and dreary here in Western, PA.  But, I kind of oddly like it, at least for a day.  It makes me feel like slowing down a bit, curling up with my hubs and puppy, and putting on a movie 🙂  We had a great weekend with Ryan’s family who was visiting from CA.  His cousin is getting married in PA this weekend, so everyone is coming in for the festivities!  Fun times!

As for what’s up on the fashion front… I couldn’t be more excited to see plaid skirts back in style!  I love the classy look and feel of a knit or wool plaid skirt.  It is such a cool weather classic that has been with us for decades, but really reminds me of my childhood in the 90s.  Who can forget Cher from Clueless who rocked this look better than anyone, or of course my beloved Britney Spears, haha!  But, really when I think of plaid skirts, I think of fall days, high socks, and saddle shoes 🙂

Plaid skirts really made a big splash last winter, too.  When I was looking for holiday outfits, every plaid skirt I searched for was just about all sold out!  They went FAST!  So, I made sure to snag one earlier this season.  Plaid skirts are perfect for holiday get togethers, they have a festive feel when you want them to and always look chic and classy.

I found this adorable one at Zara!  I love the zipper detail down the front and the cute belt buckles, too!  It is a great length – not too short!  The black and white checks make it so easy to style!  I went with a black turtleneck, also from Zara, with gold buttons on the sleeves that give it an extra fancy feel.  But, you could easily wear any color of sweater or blouse with this skirt!  I chose some above the knee boots from Amazon to make it feel all the more like an autumn outfit, but you could do any kind of heels, tights, flats, mules, open toes, it is very versatile.

As for accessories, I picked out a statement earring from one of my favorite jewelry designers, Ettika!  I love all their jewelry, it is so trendy, modern, and fun!  You can get 20% off on their website on any item using my code: DRESSWELLBEWELL 🙂 They have so many awesome styles of jewelry, I’m beyond excited to use this code myself! To give this outfit a little color, I picked this adorable red trunk bag from Zara, too!  I’m obsessed with this bag!  It’s the perfect size for all of your essentials and is just too cute.  It can go with so many different outfits.  I can’t wait to use it more this season!

I’ve linked this entire outfit for you below, and each piece is under $50!! YAY!! 🙂

 

I used to hate wearing sweaters!  I think it dates back to third grade when I wore my mom’s sweater to school as part of an ensemble for hat day.  I had this huge red hat on with her white sweater which was totally oversized on me.  Who knew I was setting trends at such a young age!  I saw a picture of myself in the sweater after I wore it and I was not happy about it!  I felt like I looked like a huge whale!  I was kinda chubby at that point in time, but the sweater just bulked me up even more and I was really embarrassed about the photo.  Ever since then, I hated wearing sweaters because I thought they made me look bulky.  Crazy how a small little traumatic experience can change our way of thinking for so long.  I didn’t really start wearing sweaters again until more recently when I realized that I don’t really care if I look bulky, I care more about being warm!  I love the cozy feeling.  I would wear an afghan everywhere if I could!

My favorite sweater look right now is the cropped sweater with highwaisted denim!  I love oversize sweaters, too, but for going out purposes, the cropped sweater is my pick!  I think it adds a little more excitement to the everyday sweater when it’s cropped and has some other detailing going on, like cable knit, voluminous sleeves, and interesting textures and patterns.  I like anything EXTRA, haha.

This sweater is by ASTR The Label.  I found it online at Revolve.  I love the steel grey color and the pattern detail in the knitting.  The sleeves are nice and full and I like how it is cut slightly higher in the front and longer in the back.  It’s also a cotton blend, so it’s not itchy at all.  I paired this with some distressed black jeans from Express and my favorite new grey/lavender boots by 1.STATE from Nordstrom.  My super cute little crossbody is by Rebecca Minkoff!  I LOVE the color!

I’ve linked this outfit and accessories and some other cute cropped sweaters I love this season below!





 

Fashion can sometimes be predictable if you think about it.  Slowly, we start returning to previous decades to bring back all the goodness that was and put a little bit of a modern spin on it.  We’ve seen it happen with the return of flare leg, bell bottom pants (I’ve seen this trend now twice in my lifetime) that were hugely popular in the 70s (they actually date back to Navy uniforms from the early 1800s, didn’t think you were going to get a history lesson here, did you?), micro mini skirts from the 60s, chokers from the 90s, you get the idea!  I can’t tell you how many times I have picked out things and my mom has said, “I used to have something just like that in high school (or college)!” 🙂  I think that’s kind of cool though that she sees her kids reliving her old styles!

Anyway, one of my favorite current trends from the 80s is the puff sleeve!  We all remember the big puffy sleeves on the likes of Molly Ringwald, Madonna, and Tiffany!  I was pretty little, but being a fashion lover from an early age, I always watched what the bigger girls were doing.  My sister used to get so annoyed with me for copying her outfits!  Haha!  Sorry, E.  So, when I saw some big designers with puff sleeves on their runways, I was pretty excited!

A statement top like a puff sleeve is a great way to keep your style casual, but still eye catching.  I love this one from Lovers + Friends because it is such a trendy color, and has a lot of fun detail!  You could wear it a number of ways.  I chose to pair it with a pair of distressed jeans by Articles of Society for an every day look.  But, you could definitely wear it with dressier pants or a skirt.  Don’t be afraid of the puff sleeve!  It’s back in a big way and if you haven’t already, you will be seeing it everywhere!

My boots are from Vince Camuto!  I am obsessed with these booties!  They are so soft, and extremely comfortable!  They come in several different colors, I’m tempting to get more of them.  An excellent purchase for the fall wardrobe! I found some just like them, also by Vince Camuto on sale at Amazon, too!

I’ve linked my entire outfit and accessories as well as some other puff sleeve tops and accessories from Amazon that I am loving! 🙂

What are you all up to this weekend?  Any fun plans?  I think we might go check out a local winery we have never been to before!  Hope you have a great one 🙂

 

Good day, friends!  I hope this finds you well!  I am currently having another one of my sick spells in the middle of the night, so I’ve decided to make use of this time and write to you about paper bag pants! Lol.

The paper bag pant trend has been around now for a bit, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise.  But, I don’t foresee it going anywhere anytime soon!  Lucky for us, these pants are not only very comfortable, but they can also be very flattering!  As with all high-waisted pants, they hit at the smallest point of your waist, drawing your eye in to that point and accentuating your curves.

You might be wondering, “why the hell are they called paper bag pants?”  Valid question.  Well, they are called paper bag pants because the top of the waistline resembles a paper bag when you cinch it in and tie a sash around it, just  like you do with the pants.  Most paper bag pants do have sashes or belts around the waist, which makes you look all the more pulled together.  

The trick to styling these pants is to make sure that the top half of your outfit is not as baggy as the bottom half.  We want to create balance and not be too heavy or voluminous all over.  So, you might try a fitted knit top or sweater, a cropped top, or a blouse or simple button down but ALWAYS tucked in!

These paper bag pants are by TOPSHOP.  They’re a nice neutral color, so you can wear them with all sorts of things.  They are really soft and comfortable.  The nice thing about them is that you can wear them with flats or sneakers or dress them up with heels for work or a nice dinner out!  I topped mine off with a cropped, fitted, turtleneck from Free People and some suede stiletto heels for more of a professional/night out look.

You can find paper bag pants at pretty much any retailer these days, but I have linked these ones (which come in regular and petite! And, I think I forgot to get them in petite which is why they are longer on me than the model, ugh…) and some other of my favorites for you as well!  There are lots of different lengths and styles, so be be creative and have fun with it!  Just always remember to keep it smaller on top!  What do you guys think of the paper bag pant trend?  Love it, hate it?  I’d love to know 🙂

How was everyone’s weekend?  I hope it was great!  I had a decent one.  I got to see one of my best friends and go out to dinner at a new spot!  I had some sick spells in there, but I managed to get a fair amount of sleep and still get some things accomplished, so I call that a win!  I am doing treatments right now for the various pathogens I still have in my body since my immune system has been pretty much dead for the last decade.  I had a very successful Lyme disease treatment this time last year which I will write more about later, and since then I have majorly improved in many areas, but other things are still pretty bad, or even worse.  So, I still have work to do on my health, which I am extremely dedicated and determined to do. I’m getting there! I’m working on viruses like the mono virus that linger in your system after exposure and can cause great amounts of damage.  It can reactivate when your body is weakened like mine has been and wreak havoc.  I have it going on in really high levels right now.  So, I have the symptoms of having mono all the time, but I am not contagious.  It’s at a different stage where it is not contagious, thankfully!  So, the treatments I do often make me sick because my liver will get overloaded with toxic die off from trying to eliminate the viruses and other pathogens.  That makes me so sick to my stomach, causes me to be up all night in pain, and then my sleep schedule gets totally thrown off and I’m one hot mess.  But, we are making progress and I know that this won’t last forever!

As for my “secret”… I discovered this brand a few years ago, and have been in love with them ever since!  It was before they even hit the major stores.  I was honestly kind of sad when I saw they were available in all the stores because my secret was out!  Haha.  But since I have this blog now, I can’t keep my secrets from you guys!  I gotta spill the beans on all the goods!  So, if you haven’t already been introduced by now, this lovely little dress is by Misa Los Angeles.  I love Misa Los Angeles’ feminine, bohemian, exotic, and modern style.  The garments are designed with the world traveling woman in mind.  Their pieces can take you all over the globe in style!  I always feel so amazing wearing their clothes, it’s definitely a special experience!

I am on cloud nine in this dress!  The color!  Can we talk about how beautiful this color is?!  Jewel tones are really back this season.  I am excited for that because jewel tones look amazing on every skin color!  I have a hard time with the pastel and blush tones because I feel really washed out unless I pour on the bronzer!  But, this rich, deep, emerald looks amazing on anyone.  I love the layered ruffles, they are so feminine and flirtatious.  The silhouette helps any of us who are less curvaceous to appear more so.  I can’t get enough fit and flares in my life!  The bottom is embellished with gold grommet pieces to give it extra flair!  This dress is so effortless and can be worn for so many occasions. I will probably have this in my closet FOREVER.

So now you know my secret go-to brand whenever I’m in need of something special.  I feel like now you should tell me a secret!  😀  It’s only fair! What is your go-to designer or brand for a special occasion?

One thing I’ve always loved about fall fashion are the rich colors!  I love the deep, warm tones.  They always bring out the best in people’s skin tones, eyes, and highlights in the hair.  Plus, they feel warm and cozy, and who doesn’t love that?  I am obsessed with this copper color for fall this year!  I’ve been seeing it everywhere and I think it is so pretty.  It reminds me of cinnamon sticks 🙂  I was really excited to find a cute wrap dress in this color!

My all-time favorite style of dress is the wrap dress!  It is universally flattering on every figure, not to mention almost always very comfortable, too!  It accentuates a woman’s most attractive features, the waist and the curves!  You might think that drawing attention to the waist might bring unwanted attention to that area if you’re self-conscious about it, but it actually gives you much more of an hour glass shape than a shapeless dress like a shift dress might.   I like the fact that wrap dresses have a v-neckline because it also elongates the neck, making you look leaner and longer!

This dress is by C/MEO.  If you have never heard of this brand, you should make note of it!  It’s one of my favorites.  Their collection is really trendy and modern, yet they keep it very classy!  This piece is super comfortable.  I love the silky fabric, it has such a pretty sheen to it.  The statement sleeves are right on trend with the gathered detail and billowing.

I kept this look neutral with nude heels and handbag.  My earrings are my current favorite by Vanessa Mooney!  Such a fun take on the classic gold hoop! They are so cute and versatile!

I’ve linked this wrap dress, my shoes, bag, and accessories, as well as some other wrap dresses I love for this season!

I gotta tell you guys… doing these photos for the fall outfits has really been rough!! Lol.  It’s been about 90 degrees or hotter here in the Pittsburgh area almost every day for a while now!  I have been sweating bullets and leaving these shoots completely dehydrated, haha!  I swear it felt like my face was melting off.  I can’t WAIT for it to cool down a bit.  Just a bit.

One of my favorite trends right now is the sweetheart top!  It’s actually always been a favorite of mine because I love the way it showcases the collarbone!  I think they are so sexy without being too sexy.  Does that make sense?  Similar to showing off your ankles… almost 😀

I love this sweetheart top by Lioness!  The crushed velvet floral pattern is so romantic.  I like the way it buttons all the way up the front and on the sleeves.  The puffy shoulders are also really on trend!  It reminds me of what women used to wear with long, full skirts and petticoats back in the early 1900’s.  I adore the vintage vibe!

I paired this with my current favorite TOPSHOP jeans and black stiletto heals that I got from Amazon last year.  But, I’m linking a pair very similar for you as well as some other of my favorite sweetheart tops!

 

Alright ladies, I am a HUGE fan of this one! I think you either LOVE IT or HATE IT, but animal print is sooo hot right now!  Sorry, I love Zoolander.  I picture myself at 85 years old (which is a pretty steep assumption that I’ll make it that long, lol) decked out in animal print, sequins, and wearing allll of my rings at once!  But until then, I am going to try to do animal print at chicly as possible.  Is chicly a word?

You can wear animal prints in so many ways.  If you aren’t so bold but want to try it, try doing an animal print clutch, like a leopard, snakeskin, or cheetah print!  You can also do a shoe, like a mule slide or even a stiletto heal!  Think of animal print as a neutral!  It can go with any color, really! It of course looks great with black, brown, white or ivory, but you can definitely pair it with reds, purples, pinks, greens, the list goes on.  It can even go well with stripes if you’re into mixing prints!

I love this top by House of Harlow 1960.  Everyone remember Nicole Richie?  Well, you may have thought that she dropped off the face of the Earth, but she has actually been very busy since her Simple Life reality show days.  She is the creator and business woman behind the brand “House of Harlow 1960”.  She started out with jewelry and now has a full clothing line as well.  It is super vintage and really fun, just like her! Not that she’s vintage, just that she likes to dress that way, haha! This leopard print top is a cute take on an off the shoulder boho blouse.  I love the overlay on the top, and the cute cinched-in bell sleeves.  It is actually a bodysuit, which works for looking less disheveled so you don’t have to constantly be doing the tuck-in.  It’s really silky and flowy and is perfect for a fun night out with the girls or date night!

I love this top with a pair of high waisted jeans to accentuate the smallest point of your natural waistline, and some super high stilettos to make your legs all the longer!  I added a belt for a little dressier vibe as I plan to wear this out in the evening.

I’ve linked this top, the rest of my outfit, and some other fun tops I like below!

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