Friday, February 17, 2017

Varsity Blues Friday Saleday!

Loving our polka dot pillfold (called the Varsity) so much that it's time for a sale!

Now through Monday, take 15% off the Varsity (or any pillbag ). Use code VARSITYETC during checkout. (Love the fab french press cover? Ck out @couvacoffee ☕!)

via Instagram

Monday, February 13, 2017

Top Health Influencers of 2017 - My sincere thanks for including Despite Lupus!

Health is trending in 2017, and it's not just for new years resolutions. There are so many people who have told me that conventional medicine has completely failed them. The 7-10 minutes you spend with your doctor and the insurance mandated tests (nothing more - nothing less) leave you frustrated and still sick. I've hand picked my top health influencers of 2017. These are individuals who have struggled with and triumphed over their own failing health and have opened up their lives to help others. They are also fighting against conventional wisdom and big corporations. They are fighting for you. Meet these 17 health heroes. 

What an honor to be included in Pink Fortitude's Top 17 Health Influencers of 2017! The list of individuals is an impressive one, and I consider myself humbled to be among them.

Thanks to Holly Bertone for sharing her Top Health Influencers, and for all she does for the health and wellness community. Holly is a Social Media/Blogging/Healthy Living Advocate Dynamo. Be sure to hop over to her site to check out the full list of influencers, as well as browse her site. There's always something new, and her Instagram feed is one of my favorites, too.


Here are the kind words written about my inclusion in the list of Top Health Influencers of 2017: 

Sara Gorman is like my younger big sister in the health world. I love being her neighbor and following in her footsteps. She is taking the lupus world by storm. And PS – I have two incredibly stylish pill folds for all of my meds and supplements thanks to her!

Sara Gorman was diagnosed with systemic lupus in January of 2001, when she was 26 years old. She struggled to put one foot in front of the other on most days but she was determined not to let a chronic illness dictate her plans for the future.  A few years later, she invented a weekly pill organizer that was cool – something fun and stylish. Her solution, called the Pillfold, would serve as a constant reminder that she was still the same vibrant, hip chick she always had been, despite all of the pills in her life. She used bright, colorful fabrics and shiny, chic hardware to reflect her personality and outlook on life – something that her illness could never take from her. From now on, taking her pills wouldn’t be a drag; it would be a dose of style.
In 2009, she wrote and published a book detailing the steps she’d taken to start living well with her disease, Despite Lupus: How to Live Well with a Chronic Illness. She launched a blog by the same name at where she talked candidly about her journey with lupus. Within months, the book and blog had filled a void in the lupus marketplace. Sara was connecting with lupus patients from around the world, through speaking engagements, book signings, and conversations on her blog. Most importantly, she was able to maintain her health and wellness while continuing with her book and blog endeavors, which are still thriving today.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The secret ingredient to living well with lupus: A dose of hope.

Wishful thinking. In the 16 years I've had lupus, it hasn't gotten me very far:

I wish I felt better.
I wish my joints didn't hurt.
I wish my hair wasn't falling out.
I wish I didn't have to sleep all the time.
I wish I didn't have lupus.

I say "I wish...", but what do those words really mean?

It implies that while I wish I felt better, I don't.

I can't.

And I won't.

In wishing, there's a notion of negativity, an actual impossibility, that creeps in, silently smothering any expectation that life with lupus will, can, or should get better.

This concept, in fact, is exactly why I wrote my book, Despite Lupus years ago. I simply couldn't accept that life with lupus had to stink. I knew there had to be a way to live well, with lupus in tow.

Granted, I couldn't "wish" the illness away. Instead, I had to come up with physical accommodations, mental workarounds, and spiritual exercises in order to make my life with lupus work. In essence, I had to develop positive strategies that would give me order to find the strength, courage and patience to live well with my chronic illness.

Thus, when I ran across a republished article on hope, written by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale in a recent issue of Guideposts magazine, I was reminded of what separates wishing from hoping.

As he so eloquently puts it, "When you hope -- really hope -- then a magic ingredient comes into play. That ingredient is expectancy. Expectancy says, 'This desired outcome can happen. Right now it may be just a dream, but it's a realizable dream.' When you start hoping instead of just wishing, then expectation is stirring in you."

This is what can help propel us to live well with our chronic illness. Hope gives us the ability to make the lifestyle changes we can, to get the rest we need, and to accept the help we deserve. Once we decide that it's okay to expect more from life with lupus - that expecting life to get better is acceptable - then we give ourselves permission to do whatever it takes to make that happen. To do our part in managing the disease.

Hope gives us the clarity we need to make tough decisions about medications or treatments. It allows us to tackle difficult conversations at home or at work. And it helps us to work closely with our doctor, to continue striving for health and wellness.

The quote below appears in my book, because, for me, it encapsulates how transformative life with lupus can be. With lupus comes the opportunity to overcome an experience in life that is devastating, life-altering, and tragic. Some days you may not feel up to the challenge. But allow yourself to hope, and then expect that you are.

"Affliction produces endurance, 
and endurance, proven character, 
and proven character, hope, and 
hope does not disappoint." 

(Romans 5: 3-5)

Who needs a souvenir shop when there are beaches to comb? Collected over my lifetime, this shell display is my favorite #diy decor to date.

via Instagram