Thank you for all that you have done for me. This past year alone has included some amazing experiences that were made possible with your help and creative mind. From helping Chris and I plan our wedding and bridal shower to showing up to my store's Grand Opening to starting our own Instagram account together, I couldn't have imagined any of these experiences without you. While you are my mom, you really are more like a sister/best friend to me. We do everything we possibly can together from shopping to home decorating to planning some of the biggest events in our lives. You mean the world to me and you deserve nothing but the best always. Thank you for being who you are and for challenging me each and every day to be the best person I can be. Thank you for supporting my health journey and my career and for always teaching me to dream big. There are so many things that I have been able to accomplish in my life despite constant doctors, medical tests, and not knowing what the heck I can actually eat, and a lot of that is due to your encouragement and support. I hope you have the most amazing Mother's Day because you deserve a day as special and as beautiful, as you are inside and out!
Love your Daughter,
One of my favorite accessories is a bracelet, since they add personality to any look. However, for the past five, almost six, years I have been wearing a different kind of bracelet...a medical bracelet. If you have ever had any kind of procedure done or have had to go to the ER, you know the ones that I am talking about. They are paper strips that have your name, your birthday, and of course a barcode on them. I have never really shared anything about my health on my blog or Instagram, but I felt it fitting, since May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month. Yes, I have Celiac Disease.
Celiac Disease is a severe autoimmune disease that affects 1 in 133 people. 83% of people with Celiac Disease remain undiagnosed. Symptoms of this disease are constipation, immense bloating, severe stomach pain, hair loss, rapid and unexplainable weight loss or gain, migraines, and brain fog, among 300 other known symptoms. More severe problems Celiac Disease can cause are malnutrition, osteoporosis, infertility, and cancer.
While it is super important to know the various facts and figures about Celiac Disease, I am not here to write about all the medical terms associated with it. Rather, I am here to tell you my story in order for me to do whatever I can to help others with the disease feel not so alone.
I have been on my diagnosed journey with Celiac Disease for almost six years now. However, I knew something was wrong even before my diagnosis. It all started in middle school when I was extremely thin and then just kept losing weight as a Freshman in high school. For no reason I was dropping pounds and was 5'4 and 82 pounds (see picture on the left above). This was a scary number for not only me, but also, my family and doctors. However, instead of investigating exactly what could be a physical medical cause of the weight loss, my doctor immediately suspected that I was anorexic (as did several of my extended family members and even "friends" at the time). I wasn't anorexic, nor have I ever been, and my parents knew that. However, we were all puzzled as to why I was losing so much weight. I began eating chocolate cake 3 times a week and stopped working out, but the weight kept falling off.
As I was losing weight, I also noticed that I was having severe migraines that caused me to go to my room, turn off all the lights, and just lay there until my pain allowed me to fall asleep. On top of that, I had my very first job and went to work doubled over in constant stomach pain. I felt self conscious going to a beach or pool because, even though I was only 82 pounds, my stomach was incredibly bloated.
Eventually, I decided to have bloodwork done and my general practitioner's nurse told me that I had some kind of issue with gluten. However, I didn't think much about it because the nurse said she had no idea if my number from the blood test was high or not. So, I just cut out a little bit of bread here and there, but of course, the pain continued. Finally, my doctor recommended that I go see an endocrinologist. The first thing the endocrinologist said to me was, "Hi, I'm Dr. So and So and you have Celiac Disease."
I had no clue what this meant. All I heard was "disease," and that I was diseased. My endocrinologist sat down with my mom and I and showed us my test. The scale was out of 10, so if you were greater than 10, then you had some sort of gluten sensitivity. My number was greater than 100, which meant I had an incredibly severe case of Celiac Disease. We did a biopsy of my intestine to be 100% sure, but I in fact had this disease.
That day changed my life forever. I not only had to change the way I had to eat, but also the way I interacted with friends and family. From that day on, going to the grocery store, going to high school, spending time with friends in a public place all became scary. I had to and still have to check every label, eat before any event, not participate in holiday dinners with my extended family, and of course rarely, if ever, eat at a restaurant. I didn't know that things like soy sauce had wheat in it, so I began to research day and night all about my disease.
Mind you, I was in high school when I was diagnosed, so I was teased and taunted about not only being into fashion and art, but also for the way I looked and for how I had to live my life due to this disease. Several of my extended family members and "friends" didn't understand, nor did they try to understand. "Can't you just have a little bit?" "Why are you acting anorexic by not eating anything?" "I could never do what you are doing. Eating gluten free is just too difficult." These were the constant questions and comments that I would get on a daily basis. I felt so unbelievably alone.
Holidays were the worst because everyone would be sitting together eating and I would have to make sure I was sitting away from the table, since I couldn't have a single crumb land on my food. Of course, people saw this as me not wanting to be involved and acting like I was "better" because I was eating salad versus pizza. All anyone saw me as was my disease. They didn't see Emily the girl that's into fashion and creating, rather they saw Emily the girl that has Celiac Disease.
While figuring out my gluten free lifestyle, I realized other foods like dairy, corn, some fruits and vegetables, red meat, and artificial flavors caused me pain and discomfort, so I cut those things out too, further limiting what I could eat. Now, I really couldn't eat anything. At least that's the way I felt and others made me feel.
Celiac Disease also wasn't and still isn't my only struggle. After constant bloodwork, biopsies, MRIs, and other procedures, I was diagnosed a few years later with Osteopenia, Raynaud's, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. So, I felt even more "diseased" and alone. However, I eventually realized all of these ailments are a part of me, but they don't define me. I am defined by the person I am and what I am passionate about, as well as my character.
Rather than letting myself feel down about my issues, I made it my personal mission to help anyone I come across going through Celiac Disease, as well as anyone going through anything in life. My journey with Celiac Disease has definitely taught me to be a much more empathetic person and it has also taught me the importance of finding your true supporters in life. My mom, dad, and brother were there from the day I was diagnosed and my husband has been my biggest supporter since he met me four years ago. Together, these individuals are the ones I can always count on.
Everyone has something, some people have quite a few somethings like me. However, this post is not to for you to feel bad for me. Rather, it is to be eye-opening for those going through Celiac Disease and health problems in general. If you have Celiac Disease, then I strongly encourage you to know those people that are your supporters and be sure to be open with them because they are the ones that want to help you. Also, on the flip side, I challenge everyone to do their best not to judge people so quickly because you never know what a person is going through. I was going through and still go through a lot, yet I was bullied and still get judged for the way I look and the way I have to eat.
Be kind and considerate to those around you and be that person that is there for people. I hope this blog post (which I know was super long!!) gave you some insight into Celiac Disease and the struggles that go along with it. If you enjoyed this post and want me to share more about Celiac, please leave me a comment here or on my Instagram!
Know who you are and know you can overcome anything!
With there being just two days left of 2018, I wanted to share some of my favorite moments from this year! 2018 was the busiest and most memorable year of my entire life and I am so thankful for every single second. It was a year of MAJOR change from moving out to getting married to starting a new job. Here are my top 7 favorite moments of 2018 (in chronological order):
Moment 1: Producing a Fashion Show
While in school, I was in charge of helping produce a fashion show. It was one of the craziest, yet most exciting times during school for me. I was producing this show alongside two of my best friends, which made the stressful moments more enjoyable. It was a very challenging course; however, we, as a class, were able to work together and make this show one of the most successful for our school.
Moment 2: Moving in with Chris
Chris and I decided to move in together earlier this year, which was the perfect decision for us. We found that in the last few months leading up to our wedding, it was great already being settled into our home. Having our own home is definitely something we are both proud of and we enjoy being able to come home to one another in a place that is just ours. In addition, I have found that I really enjoy entertaining and cooking for my loved ones. (I know, I need to take more photos of my home decor to show you all!)
Moment 3: Our Bridal Shower
Our bridal shower was one of the most enjoyable experiences for us this year. It was great to have all of the women in my life that I am close to at this shower and to spend time hearing their marriage stories and advice. My mom put so much work into making this day extra special for me and I just cannot thank her enough. It was a day that was just for my now husband and me and it made us that much more excited for our wedding.
Moment 4: Chris' Graduation
My husband graduated from college this year! I am so proud of all the hard work he put into his degree. He is such an intelligent man and I feel so lucky that I was able to be by his side through his journey of earning his Bachelor's degree with high honors.
Moment 5: My Graduation
Only a week after my husband graduated from college, I also graduated from college! College is something that I took very seriously and made sure I put a lot of time and effort into. I challenged myself and learned so many new things not only about the fashion industry, but, also, about myself. I discovered new talents that I never knew I had and, also, new passions. I am proud of earning my Bachelor's degree with high honors in only three years. Having this degree has only improved my opportunities for my career and my life, which I am so thankful for.
Moment 6: Our Wedding
While this is moment number six chronologically, our wedding was definitely my number one moment in order of favorites of the entire year! This day was the most special day of our lives and I am so blessed to be married to my soulmate. We felt the love of one another, as well as our family and friends on this day, as we celebrated our union as husband and wife. This day was definitely the best day of my whole entire year and whole entire life! To read even more about our wedding click here!
Moment 7: Starting a New Job
I already had a full-time job before and as I graduated from college; however, in October, I chose to start a new path with my full-time fashion career. With this path, I am excited to be working for a company that focuses not only on fashion, but, also, on giving back. Fashion has always been my passion, but I discovered within 2018 that I also have a passion for helping others and giving back. I feel blessed with the job I currently have and I can't wait to see where my career takes me in 2019!
2018 consisted of so many amazing moments and I can't believe how quickly it flew by. I feel very blessed to be in the place that I am with both my personal life and my professional life. I have made a lot of new friends within this past year, have met so many influential people, and my husband and I are officially part of each other's families.
Thank you to my family, friends, and followers for supporting me this past year. Here's to a positive, productive, and peaceful 2019!
It is officially December and I cannot believe how quickly this year is flying by! We are in the last month of 2018 and I am definitely in both holiday mode and self-reflection mode.
This time of year is always exciting, especially due to the quality time spent with family and friends, gift giving, holiday home styling, and of course styling holiday outfits. I am so excited for Christmas to be here; however, I do think it is also important to reflect on the whole of 2018 and think back to what your favorite moments were, all the great things you were able to accomplish, and where your opportunities align for 2019.
I definitely had a busy and exciting year, since I moved in with my now husband, got married, graduated college, and started a whole new career journey. It was a year of unforgettable memories, being super busy, and seeing myself grow in many ways. It was also a year of figuring out what I want out of life and how I can make that a priority.
I encourage you to enjoy this last month of December and soak up as much holiday cheer as you can, while also reflecting on 2018 and figuring out how to set yourself up for a successful and positive 2019!
Now that things have calmed down a bit since the wedding, I am excited to share our favorite images and details from our special day! All these photos were taken by photographer Jourdan Cooley, who did an amazing job capturing the essence of our wedding and who Chris and I are as husband and wife.
Chris and I got married at 2pm in the afternoon on September 7, 2018. We were able to celebrate our marriage with 100 of our closest family members and friends. Our ceremony was held in a Catholic church and our reception was held at a country club overlooking a beautiful golf course.
My parents surprised us with the gift of being chauffeured in the most beautiful white 1936 Rolls Royce. This car definitely made an entrance and helped to tie our "vintage fairytale" theme together. Plus it was super fun being able to drive around in a car that no one could miss!
Our brothers stood up for us in our wedding and we had four flower girls that were all from my side of the family. We wanted to keep the wedding party small and intimate, just like our wedding was.
My dress and veil were from a bridal boutique located in Lake Geneva, WI called All About The Gown By Judy, Inc. and Kelly from Sew Convenient Alterations and Boutique did my alterations. Kelly worked wonders on my dress by taking it from 12 sizes too big to perfectly fitting my body. We had four fittings before we achieved the perfect fit.
My jewelry was from a variety of places and I made several changes to what I originally thought was going to look best with my dress. The final look I decided on consisted of a Swarovski crystal and pearl necklace, Swarovski crystal bracelet, and earrings that also had pearl accents. In addition, I decided to wear a tiara to complete my look and to mimic, but not match the tiaras my flower girls wore. My shoes were Jewel by Badgley Mischka and they were easily the most beautiful and most comfortable heels I could have asked for.
My bouquet and my flower girls' bouquets were created entirely by my mom. My mother-in-law, aunts, cousins, and I all created the reception flower decor.
My handsome groom wore a Kenneth Cole suit that featured a subtle plaid print, along with a cufflink style white shirt, a quartz colored tie, a Michael Kors watch, and Steve Madden shoes. The suit, shirt, tie, cufflinks, and tie bar were all purchased from Men's Wearhouse. Our brothers' looks were also from Men's Wearhouse.
Family was so important to us on this day and we were lucky enough to have our entire families there to celebrate with us, including our parents, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and best friends.
Especially when it came to family, my mom played such a special role in our wedding, as she was pretty much my wedding planner. She helped Chris and I decide on all the details for the wedding and we put a lot of time into DIY-ing and shopping for this special day.
For the reception, we had two cakes. One was gluten-free and vegan for Chris and I to share and the other was a three-tier cake for all of our guests. The gluten-free and vegan cake was from Sweet Natalie's and the cake and sweets table for our guests was from SweetPea Cakes.
Chris and I shared our first dance together as husband and wife. In addition, I danced with my dad and Chris danced with his mom.
We also had the traditional bouquet toss and garter toss, which proved to be very competitive amongst our families!
Our wedding was the most amazing day Chris and I could have ever asked for! It was so beautiful, family filled, and so much fun! Most importantly though, Chris and I were able to bestow the sacrament of marriage on one another and we are so excited for our journey through life together as husband and wife!
We appreciate everyone's support at our wedding and through social media. Much love from Chris and I and...
Hi there everyone! My "She" series is back! I know I haven't posted another quote from this amazing book (She: written by: Kobi Yamada / designed by: Jenica Wilke & Steve Potter) in a while, but I decided why not start the series back up?
This quote is so empowering to me, since it really defines my personality and how I try to live my life each and every day. I consider myself a very positive and optimistic person, so no matter the obstacles life throws at me, I am always able to look at them as opportunities.
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, so I truly believe that all the good that happens and all the bad that happens in one's life is for a greater purpose. It can be hard to understand that purpose until you see the amazing outcome and/or transformation after it, but it is important to always believe that something good is going to happen for you when you conquer the obstacle in front of you.
Obstacles are there to make us stronger. I challenge you to try and look at obstacles as objectively as possible and turn them into your new opportunity! Stay positive and...
It's Sunday and it's time to introduce the first quote from the book She that I am discussing:
"She loved life and it loved her right back"
To me, this quote really resonates because when you go through life you experience a plethora of ups and downs. However, no matter if you are in a good situation or a bad one, it is important to try to find the things you love about life. I am a firm believer in what you put out into the world you will receive back. So, if you are projecting love and positivity, then you are likely to receive it back.
Sometimes that can be difficult to do if you are enduring a difficult time, but any difficult time will be solved. You will get through whatever life throws at you and will be stronger at the end of it. I, personally, have gone through so many things at a young age, but I am grateful that I did not give up hope during them. I kept on pushing through and I believe it only made me a stronger person in the end.
I challenge you to find at least two things you love about life every day, even on the difficult days! Stay positive and...
She...who is she?
My mom gave me this book called She (written by: Kobi Yamada / designed by: Jenica Wilke & Steve Potter) on the day of my bridal shower as part of my gift. Within this book there are several quotes that involve the word "she" as if the book is talking about a specific woman. However, this book is talking about all women.
I am going to start a series on Instagram and on this site (along with still posting fashion of course!), inspired by this book and the quotes in it. My goal in my life and in my career is to inspire women to feel confident and empowered, so this book aligns perfectly with that. My mom, who is my own inspiration, gave the book to me, which makes it that much more special and that much more inspirational to post about.
Each post that I will create will describe one of the quotes from the book, what it means to me, and how it can apply to many women's lives because she is me and she is you!
Happy New Year everyone! From what I have seen, 2017 seemed like a rough year for a lot of people. I can relate, since I had my own struggles this past year, as well. I also had some great successes this year too! Whether your year was struggle filled or success filled or a mixture of both, 2018 is here, so let's start the year off on a positive note!
While I don't make resolutions necessarily and I don't think I need to be a whole new me, I do believe it is important to reflect on the previous year and then see how you want the new year to look like. This way, you can see how you can improve for 2018. There are little and big changes we can make to create our happiest selves and our happiest lives. Here are some of the things I am going to focus on in 2018:
#1: Family and Friends
This year, I plan on working on spending even more quality time with my fiance, my family, my fiance's family, and my friends. It is so important to make time for loved ones no matter how crazy life gets because these are the people that bring me the most joy out of anyone and anything in life.
#2: Rest and Relaxation
In addition, making more time for rest and relaxation is another thing that I am going to focus on committing time to, since life gets to be so crazy and hectic. I want to find a hobby this year that relaxes me in addition to blogging. Maybe I will journal or take sewing back up.
#3: Career Goals and New Job
While relaxation and rest is important, I also want to further my career. With that being said, I am excited to announce that I just got a new job as a Jr. Stylist at a studio! I am very excited about this job and know that I am going to learn so much and get a lot of experience in my field. I plan on really focusing on this job and working as hard as I can to make the most of it and to further my career.
#4: Wedding Planning
Yes, Chris and I are getting closer and closer to getting married! We couldn't be more excited! I am looking forward to all of the planning from the little details to the big ones. It is going to be an amazing experience and I just can't wait for the big day to be here!
#5: Finishing School
I will be graduating from college in 2018 with my Bachelor's Degree and I honestly couldn't be more excited. School is so important and having a degree in this day and age helps to open a lot of doors. I am looking forward to graduating and finally being done with homework...that is until I decide if I want to get my Masters Degree at some point in life.
While there are many things that I plan to focus on in 2018, I also know that 2018 will have its struggles and hard times like 2017 did. However, what I plan on doing is trying to find the positives in every situation this year, rather than focusing on the negatives. Being positive and having a positive attitude will play a major role in 2018 for me.
Happy New Year everyone! May 2018 be your best year yet!
Merry Christmas everyone! Chris and I hope you have a fantastic and family filled Christmas. As much fun as it is to give and receive gifts, the real meaning behind the holiday is Jesus being born and spending time with loved ones.
As I have grow up, I have realized more and more just how important family is and what family means to me. I feel blessed to have Chris in my life, as he is my best friend and the love of my life. Also, I am lucky to have supportive and caring parents and brother, as well as a large extended family. In addition, my soon to be in-laws and soon to be brother-in law are amazing and I am grateful to have them in my life.
Every day it seems that I am just constantly busy and rushing through the day to get everything accomplished, but the holidays give me an excuse to reflect and show appreciation for what matters most. So, even though Chris and I had a busy Christmas Eve traveling around, we are excited to have a relaxing Christmas day spent with the people we love most.
Thank you all for your continued support of emilyehardt.com and we wish you a safe, happy, and healthy Christmas!