Hello Again!

Sorry for the (8 month?) radio silence. It's been a while... Honestly, I just didn't really feel like posting. I lost my creative inspiration for a little bit there, so why force it when it doesn't feel right? On top of that, I've had an extremely busy summer, a lot of changes happening, and some other not so fun stuff. Blogs are usually these pretty little inspirational places on the internet that we visit. They tend to reflect the beautiful things in life and highlights of our lives. But what they don't usually reflect is the tougher stuff - the struggles, the hardships... Those are things that most people don't share, and that I too, don't post about. But the result of everything that's been happening over the past year is a good one. I have very exciting news: I am going to back to school to become a certified holistic health coach! This week, I started my year long course at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. To explain how this came to be, there is a little bit of a background story...

At the age of 19 (about my sophomore year in college), I developed psoriasis. There is no rhyme or reason for why it started when it did, nor how it started. Plus, doctors really don't know what causes it. Most importantly, having an autoimmune disease means your body is out of whack - and that there is some type of imbalance. Getting to the bottom of this imbalance is the hard part because it takes a TON of trial and error, and there is no solution that works for everyone. For the first few years, I went to the typical dermatologist. Excuse me while I get on my soap box for a second but in western medicine, doctors just prescribe something to take care of the issue immediately. Prescriptions are like a band aid - they are quick fix, but they don't cure the underlying problem. As soon as you stop using them, the condition comes back, sometimes even worse. I'm all for going to see the doctor for a broken bone, but what I've learned on this journey is that the creams, pills, etc. don't do a damn thing other than make these type of conditions worse. They only wreak havoc on your body and throw your system more off balance. Since there is no "cure" for autoimmune issues, doctors are just taking an educated guess. 

Now, I haven't had a flare up since 2012, until this summer, which was when I decided to try and get to the bottom of this, in a more holistic and natural way. I ditched the prescriptions and instead began to change the way I approached my diet as well as the products I use. I started seeing a functional doctor (shout out to Parsley Health - if any of you are in the NYC area, you absolutely should go see Dr. Berzin, she's incredible!). In short, functional medicine gets to the root of the problem. It looks at your whole medical history and starts at the very beginning (like literal beginning - any health conditions you've had since day 1). We began with an elimination diet; removing dairy and gluten. I ended up loving the diet and didn't want to enter the gluten and dairy back in! It was so easy to just go without it - I felt great, lighter almost (or course I lost a few lbs), and my skin felt great too. I still very rarely eat dairy (it doesn't have positive effects on the skin), and I avoid gluten whenever possible (it has no benefits for you anyway!).

Dr. Berzin also took a full blood test to check the levels of pretty much everything (vitamins, minerals, hormones, etc.) and boy was that an eye opener. We discovered that my hormones were totally out of whack - like not even close to normal. Well, I went off birth control about a year and a half ago but before I was on it, I never had a regular period. I remember my OBGYN telling me years ago that it was no biggie, and that I might need help getting pregnant in the future, but to not worry at all about it and that birth control would fix it. What a bunch of crap that was. Again, birth control was just covering up the bigger issue. Without going into too much detail, in 3 months, through supplementation, tweaking my diet and my activity level, Dr. Berzin got my hormone levels completely back down to a normal and healthy level. I'd also recommend Alisa if you are having any kind of "woman issues". A little more about her here.

I'll wrap it up now since this is starting to become a novel. Over the past year or so, I learned a few things. Functional medicine is incredible - I would recommend it to anyone who just wants to improve their quality of life or feel even a little better. I believe it's the future of our health care. If anything, you will learn a ton about yourself and your health. Having an autoimmune disorder has been eye opening to me in so many ways, and yet I have so much more to learn and explore. It all starts with the way you eat and treat your body - your diet, your physical activities, and your mental health. I've never felt better in my own body in my whole life, and I attirubte that to my diet and lifestyle changes I've made over the past year or so. And that is how I came to be enrolled in IIN

How will the blog change? I'm planning to do a lot more health oriented posts, whether its about natural beauty, recipes, or just posts on products I love or have discovered. I still plan to do style posts (I FINALLY took some photos again last weekend so stay tuned for those), and I still love to shop (obviously)! Unfortunately, I now have about 10 hours of "school work" each week, so I probably won't be posting too much, but still, I'm very excited to be back at it!  

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Life Lately...

The Casual Classic | Life & Style Blog

Loving the neutrals. This bag and shoes are my newest closet additions, and they're both amazing. I swear I didn't plan the matching!

The Casual Classic | Life & Style Blog

Grand Central at night. I just can't get enough of this city.

The Casual Classic | Life & Style Blog

I've been a fan of Siggi's for a while, but this flavor just sealed the deal. I also love that they have zero artificial ingredients, and very little sugar.

The Casual Classic | Life & Style Blog

Cold weather runs down by the river (my favorite).

The Casual Classic | Life & Style Blog

Trip home to Buffalo for Thanksgiving.

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The aftermath of the Buffalo snow storm (4 feet to 6 inches in less than a week - craziness!).

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All bundled up for the white stuff. J.Crew puffer coat, Club Monaco scarf & Ugg Australia boots.

The Casual Classic | Life & Style Blog

My #1 winter skin savor. This stuff is incredible.

The Casual Classic | Life & Style Blog

Took a little trip down to Columbus for the OSU vs. Michigan game, and of course had to pay a visit to German Village, my absolute favorite part of town. These decorations couldn't be more perfect...

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The streets of German Village.

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Paid my very first visit to Momofuku Milk Bar, and boy did it not disappoint. I also found out I live 3 blocks away from it. I might have to move... immediately.

There is nothing better than NYC during the holidays.

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Rockefeller Center - the epitome of Christmas in New York.

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Lazy Sundays. There's not much I love more.

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Checked this one off my bucket list. City Bakery hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows. Heaven in your mouth.

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That view though... 

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The best part of 5th Ave - Saks. Always dressed perfectly for the holidays.

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Finally tried out the new craze - maple water. It tasted like normal water with just a hint of sweetness. Delicious!

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Strolled through the Union Square holiday pop up markets on Sunday. So may cute small local shops, and great inexpensive gifts for just about anyone.

The Casual Classic | Life & Style Blog

Checked yet another one of my bucket list (I'm doing work this month!): grabbed a bagel sandwich from Thompkins Square Bagels. Again, it was everything I imagined and more. So incredibly good.

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Friday Favorites

Image via  Crystalin Marie

Image via Crystalin Marie

Happy Friday! This week flew by, didn't it!? I can't believe Thanksgiving is next week... I feel so unprepared for the holidays - they've crept up on me so quickly! Good thing next week (and the week after) are known for being the biggest sale and shopping time of the year. I plan on trying to get most, if not all, of my Christmas shopping done completely by Dec 1! I have a ton of good sale and shopping guides in store for you guys next week, so make sure you swing by the blog! For today, here are a few of my favorite things I stumbled upon this week, as well as some of the top sales (of course!). Have a great weekend!

Links I'm loving...

  • The perfect holiday cocktail recipe: spiced apple cider champagne.
  • Some style tips to prepare you for dressing for this year's holiday party season.
  • Live in NYC? Do your holiday shopping local this year... Plus a list of all the amazing farmers markets that NYC has to offer.
  • This look has me so inspired. If only I could get my hands on that coat...
  • Sometimes breaking up is the most difficult thing you will ever go through... Especially is that person has become your best friend. This letter is some great reading if you've been through a breakup at any point in your life.
  • The MOST comfortable and flattering jeans I may have ever put on. New denim obsession for sure.
  • A guide to what teas help which ailments.
  • I am loving the For Love & Lemons collaborations on Revolve. This Skivvies robe is the most gorgeous piece - the perfect gift for a soon-to-be bride!
  • I am utterly head over heels for this dress (plus, it comes in cream & red too!). Zimmermann, please have a sale ASAP.
  • You should probably make this for breakfast the morning after Thanksgiving... YUM.
  • How to look put together (and stylish) from yoga to shopping - without changing!
  • If you haven't already, make sure you check out my new holiday boards on Pinterest! There is tons of great holiday inspiration and gift ideas, and I update it on a daily basis.

Some sales & steals...

  • Piperlime is offering 25% off site wide! Promo code: BESTEVER.
  • Helmut Lang's blackout sale started today. 40% off a ton of amazing items, plus complimentary shipping on all orders. Prices are as marked.
  • OTTE NY is starting black Friday early and offering an extra 40% off already marked down items. Promo code: BLACKFRIDAYEA.
  • J.Crew is offering 30% off their winter picks. Shop all them here! Promo code: SHOPNOW
  • Julie Vos has some awesome items in her Friday Deal. Prices are as marked - up to 70% off! Check them out here.
  • Bloomingdale's annual brown bag sale started today. They are also offering $25 off every $200 you spend. Shop here for some amazing deals!
  • Theory is having their holiday kickstart sale. 40% off some amazing pieces (and tons of coats!). Prices as marked.
  • Splendid is offering 30% off their entire site (minus the sale items). Promo code: EARLYBIRD.
  • Saks Off Fifth is having a major sale by giving an extra 40% off all items, plus free shipping. For the 40% off, use promo code GOBBLE, and for free shipping, use promo code FREESHIP. Gosh, I just LOVE this site.
  • J.Crew Factory has marked down their entire site, and on top of that, they are offering an extra 15%-20% off everything. Promo code: NOCROWDS.
  • Club Monaco is offering an extra 30% off sale items, and an extra 50% off clearance items. Promo code: OOHSALE.
  • Gap is offering 50% off all purchases when you use your Gap card! Promo code: BRFRIDAY.
  • Tuckernuck is giviing 20% off all Thanksgiving collections. Shop the pieces here! Promo code GOBBLEGOBBLE.