March 24, 2015

Stitch Fix Review Numero Tres

Back when I was a good little blogger, I used to post Stitch Fix reviews and #WhatKenzWore posts much more frequently. I got an e-mail last week from a reader who said she really missed that and I then realized I miss it, too! So I scheduled a fix and vowed to get my review up within a week. :) Even though I'm a broke college student now, I remembered that I had some credits on my account...what girl doesn't love getting new clothes for spring?! Hello, perfect timing!

I didn't understand how the whole thing worked at first, but once I started getting fixes regularly I felt like a pro! Basically, you sign up, fill out your style profile, and schedule your first fix for a flat rate of $20. Your stylist picks out things she thinks you'd totally ROCK and it arrives at your doorstep on the date of your choosing. From there, you try everything on and decide what you'd like to keep. You login to your account, choose the things you wish to purchase, and send the rest of the items back in the prepaid shipping envelope they send along. The best part? The $20 flat rate you originally paid can be put towards whatever item(s) you decide to purchase!

1.) Virginia V-Neck Top: I love polka dots and I'm pretty sure all that stylists I've had at Stitch Fix know this. ;) I was super drawn to this top and excited to try it on, but I didn't end up liking the fit at all. It was strangely ruffled in the front and didn't lay on my shoulders comfortably. I wish it had fit me better because I loved the outfits they put together on my little inspiration card! Verdict: SENT BACK!

2.) Tucker Split Back Top: Pictures of this top simply do not do it justice. The color combination is perfection for my spring/summer wardrobe. It has a higher neckline which I LOVE because then it's the perfect piece to pair with a statement necklace! The fit is flowy without being too much and it's sleeveless! I love pairing my sleeveless tops with cardigans in the spring/fall -- I know I will get my use out of this one and it was in my price range. :) Verdict: KEEPING FOR SURE!

3.) Assymetrical Zip Cardigan: Ah, I almost loved this sweater more than life itself. I have been dying to get one of these asymmetrical zip cardigans for a long time and I was so happy when it showed up in my fix! So comfy. So cozy. So versatile. The only issue was the price tag. Though I know I would get my use out of it, $68 isn't in my budget for clothing purchases at the moment and I found the same one on Modcloth for $54. ;) If anyone knows where I can get one even cheaper, let a girl know! This is a piece I definitely want to add to my closet. Until we meet again, pretty little cardi... Verdict: SENT BACK!

4.) Justice Detail Blouse: There are no pictures of me wearing this delicate little beauty because it did not make it on my body. The sleeves were TINY and I could not even get it over my shoulders. YIKES. Major strike out with this one, but I wish it had been my size. I am not an XS, that's for sure! ;) Verdict: SENT BACK!

The fifth item in my fix was a bracelet that I forgot to snap a photo of. It was pretty, but I'm not one to pay $30 for any piece of jewelry! I'd much rather shop the Target clearance or hit up Forever 21 if you know what I mean! 

Have you gotten a fix lately? 

If you decide to sign up, click right here! Help a girl out and get her a credit for referrals! Pretty please with a cherry on top... :)

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March 13, 2015

When I Feel Like I Can't Anymore

When you are first diagnosed with a chronic health condition, there are things that you are absolutely sure of and there are things that you are so cluelessly and desperately unsure of. There is no in between, usually. The way you feel and think about things becomes pretty black and white. It's one or the other.

It's yes, you're going to follow through with your commitments; or it's no your pain level is far too high to stick to the original plan(s). It's yes, you're going to class and work today; or it's no, you'll be staying in bed resting and attempting to *maybe* save up just enough spoons to take a hot shower.

You are sure you are in pain. You are unsure of how long said pain is going to last. You are sure there was a point in your life when you were not in pain. You are unsure of how that painlessness felt. You are sure you are "okay." You are unsure of how much longer you will be "okay" for.

Though I do it on a daily basis and dealing with the pain has become that of a second nature to me, there are times when I like I no longer can. There are times when, for lack of a better word (channeling my inner white girl here), I feel like I just can't even...anymore.

For example, on Tuesday, I had spinal injections for the first time in about 10 weeks. My neck pain and migraines were coming back with a vengeance the week and a half before. I was excited for relief, but I knew that (as the case with any procedure)...relief is not instantaneous. In fact, the 48 hours following spinal injections usually sucks a good amount.

The next morning when I awoke, I could hardly hold my head up. It was in the exact moment that I let my head fall back onto the pillow again that the words "I just can't," echoed through my mind. As pain shot back and forth from my head to my neck and then back to my head again, I reached for my iPhone and started emailing the professor of my morning class. "I won't be in class this morning due to pain following a spinal procedure I had yesterday. I can't..." I wrote and continued on. Though it killed me to write two words that made me feel so useless, helpless, and just plain angry all at the same time -- I accepted them.

Call it hopelessness. Call it settling. Call it depression. Call it denial. To me, it's normal and arriving at the awareness of feeling like I can't helps me to eventually arrive at the feeling that I can...and that I am.

When we feel as if we can't (in any circumstance), we need to remind ourselves of who we are. For example, I'm Kenzie. No diagnosis, no amount of pain, no medication, and no test or scan result will change the fact that I am alive and human in this moment. We need to remind ourselves of this fact daily. No, MOMENTARILY. That we have a life to live and the choice on how to live it...and if we aren't living our individual lives, no one will.

I got out of bed for my next class on Wednesday. Though the pain was still running rampant between my head and neck, I managed to remind myself who I am and the strength that came from doing so got me to the shower, into some clothes, and on my way to class. The strength I found in remembering carried me through until I finally could lay down to rest again that evening. 

And all that remembering led me to some more remembering...remembering that when I feel like I can't anymore, I can pray. When I feel like I can't anymore, I can utilize my support system. When I feel like I can't anymore, I can continue to seek Christ. When I feel like I can't anymore, I can worship. When I feel like I can't anymore, I can ask for help. When I feel like I can't anymore, I can allow myself to rest. When I feel like I can't anymore, I can reflect all the times that I did...

...and, suddenly, when I feel like I can't anymore, I CAN.

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March 06, 2015

He's Trying to Change ME

It's been eerily quiet around here lately...and not just in the physical sense. Emotionally. Spiritually. It's been quiet. After surgeries just over two months ago, I've been working through some tough things. Things I didn't want to document or discuss or admit to even though they have been consuming me.

The doctor's warn you about the possibility of post-operative depression when extensive or back-to-back surgeries are done. They warn you and they give you resources to combat those feelings if they happen to arise, but they don't tell you how it's going to affect you personally. They don't tell you because they don't know.

And, so, I was warned. I knew what to *possibly* expect. But much to my surprise, I didn't recognize when those feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, and frustration began to affect me and every little piece that makes me who I am.

Immediately following surgery, I was in agony mainly due to the fact that I was in a lot of pain and struggling to get any sleep because of it. I was out of it/completely dazed for majority of Christmas break. I stretched, showered, napped, stretched, napped, ate, stared at the TV, and attempted to nap some more. Repeat. Day after day after day. I didn't feel much except for when it was time to take my pain meds again.

After New Years, I moved back into my dorm at school and started to prepare myself for j-term. I was on crutches and still in pain, but I was ready to get back to the school routine and be surrounded by the awesome ladies on my floor again. I didn't have a clue what I was in for.

As the days passed, I found myself internalizing anything and everything. I found myself avoiding my pain med because of the nausea it caused and in turn lying in my bed miserably for hours at a time. When people asked how I was doing, I would quickly respond "I'm good, how are you?!" in a peppy voice with a fake smile plastered on my face.

It wasn't that I had forgotten God's goodness. It wasn't that I had forgotten His faithfulness. I'm not even going to allow myself to blame it on being in pain. The bottom line is that I was looking at my circumstances -- the here and now -- as if they would never change. As if I would never heal from my surgeries, as if I would never be able to study in my favorite place on campus again, as if the friends I'd made would stop pursuing a relationship with me. I allowed myself to be drawn away from the eternal perspective God calls us to have, and that made me angry, bitter, and desperate for an awakening.

On the last night of j-term, I was lying awake in bed praying about my math final the next day. I had done all the work. I understood the overarching concepts. I had studied. In the middle of praying about that test, I was interrupted by something I still can't seem to put my finger on. All of the sudden, a thought hit me like a ton of bricks:

I used to pray that God would get me through the week, the month, or the season that He had me in. I used to pray for clarity hoping He would make my decisions and sacrifices easy. I used to pray for answers and for prayer to change circumstances to fit my desires. I used to pray all of these things, but now I finally understand...

In that moment, I finally grasped the logic that Jesus moves us to when the Bible talks about trials of many kinds, especially in Matthew 10:29 which says, "Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. Therefore, do not fear." 
I finally grasped that instead of "getting through" certain seasons, He wants to use us in them. He wants us to thrive and He wants us to enjoy the journey. I finally understood that instead of clarity and ease, He wants us to learn that fully trusting Him is the only way to overcome anything this world throws our way. I finally understood that instead of explanations as to why things happen, He wants us to simply have faith in His perfect plan.

I finally understand that He's trying to change ME, not the circumstance at hand. In all my muck and mess, He's trying to change ME. Now THAT'S what I love about the God we serve. Instead of brushing over the issue or sweeping things under the rug, He gets to the heart of the issue. He looks at the causes of the hurt...He looks at the causes of the desperation...He looks at the causes of the sin and He seeks to change those things so the causes can ultimately change the effects. He seeks to change all of those things IN us. And when those pieces of the puzzle begin to change, so do our circumstances. Why? Because the way we perceive them is never the same again. Though not without great challenge, I understand all of these things now.
And now that I finally understand these things, I hope that it will be a little less eerily quiet in every last nook and cranny of my life...right down to this little ole' blog. :) But before I make that promise or get to writing and publishing new posts, I just need to say this:

Thanks for sticking this out with me. I'm glad you're here.

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February 23, 2015

What's In My Bag?

I haven't published anything around here in what seems like FOREVER. I have tons of blog posts in the draft folder, but I've been struggling a bit with writing + sharing and want to wait to publish them until I'm ready! Not to mention, my second semester started about a month ago and having homework while also working hard in physical therapy takes up a lot more time than I'd originally anticipated. All that being said, I wanted to keep today's post lighthearted and simple! Oh, and for girl's only. ;)

1.) It Works Blitz Cards and Greens -- It Works has done so. stinkin. much. for me the past few months. From the supplements that help control my joint pain to the amazing power of a packet of Greens for energy, I have been changed for the better. Not to mention, the financial opportunities this business offers are insane. I love, love, love sharing that with others.

2.) An assortment of chapstick/lipgloss -- I'm a self proclaimed chapstick hoarder and the lipgloss isn't far behind. There's a tube of each brand I own in my purse about 99% of the time, I would say.

3.) Chronic Pain Essentials -- I always, always, always keep acetaminophen on me, and when brain fog doesn't get the best of me, I usually carry my emergency pain med with me as well. Aside from medication, I like to keep Lidocaine patches and IcyHot with me at all times!

4.) Lavender Essential Oil -- I started using Lavender several years ago to aid with sleep and relaxation. In the process, I found that it helped control my headaches and neck pain. Plus, a whiff of this stuff is crazy relaxing...I need more relaxation in my life!

5.) U by Kotex Essentials -- Not only do they come in cute, colorful packaging...they are my favorite brand of girl supplies. U by Kotex offers a full line of feminine care products for periods including pads, liners and tampons. Their motto? "Outstanding protection that keeps you one step ahead." Thank you, U by Kotex.

What's in your bag, ladies?

Full disclosure: this article is financially supported by U by Kotex.

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