Beauty Fashion Home Decor Life

How Shella Got Her Groove Back…

bench2

bench1

mannequin1

Top [Banana Republic] Skirt [Loft] Bag [Tory Burch] Shoes [Prada] Sunnies [Loft] Watch [Michele]

Welcome! If you’re here, I’m guessing you’re close friends and family or an insta friend who I’ve shared my new venture with! If you promise to read through this post, a semi-serious one to give you some background, I promise to never refer to myself as ‘Shella’ again. Now that we’ve got that settled, I’ve been tossing around the idea of starting a blog for years (legit, years) but was never able to figure out my niche. Yes, I love clothes. And shopping. And beauty products. And home decor. So much so that I actually worked in the fashion industry for pennies for several years of my life. But what girl doesn’t? I wanted to write about and share things that I was passionate about but I also wanted a purpose. Now to get real.

I won’t go into too much detail about my medical history but I do feel that it’s important to give you a brief overview for reference. In October of 2014, I came down with a bad virus that triggered a slew of  underlying health issues. I had no idea that a severe ‘head cold’ would change the rest of my life but it did. Just. My. Luck. For the past 10 months, my life has consisted of hospital stays, doctor’s appointments, testing, medication side effects, searching for answers, and most prominently, feeling extremely ill. Day after day I would wake up and just pray that I’d have the strength and stamina to make it through the day so I could go to sleep again. Due to the severity of my symptoms, I had to stay with my parents in New York for 5 months and really wasn’t able to leave the house. I felt like death and that is no exaggeration. I tried to remain positive but you can imagine how feeling so sick and having little quality of life can take a toll on a person’s confidence. I had little energy to do anything let alone shower daily get dressed up. However, through the frequent tears and self-pity, a beautiful thing started happening. I was mentally becoming stronger every day and even though I didn’t have any control over my physical body, I was as determined as ever to get my life back.

With the tremendous help of my husband and family, a new doctor and a few new medications, I was able to head back home to D.C. at the end of April. It was only when I got back home that it really hit me how drastically my life had changed seemingly overnight. Where did this big chunk of time go? It was like a bad dream I was desperately trying to wake up from.

A big problem with any long-term sickness is that without your knowledge or permission, you slowly become your illness. Your days revolve around what you can and cannot do, it consumes most of your waking thoughts, and if you’re lucky, you can escape from it all while you sleep (I know, don’t all sign up at once). I made the conscious choice that I was not going to become my illness. I decided right then and there that I was going to get back to “normal” as best I could. (Medical rant OVER. You made it!)

A big passion of mine as I’ve gotten older and had my own spaces to decorate is interior design. Luckily, being housebound has awarded me plenty of time not only to rearrange my parents house on the reg but also re-do my entire apartment six times since I’ve been back home…zero exaggeration. I’m pretty certain several stores know my husband on a first-name basis and how he takes his coffee being he’s spent more time fetching things for me from Bed Bath & Beyond and Homegoods than he’d care to admit. (Eddie, you’re a saint and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.)

I have also truly enjoyed getting dressed up since I was a little girl. It may seem superficial to some, but having my nails painted, wearing makeup and having nice clothes are things that are important to me and help make me who I am. There’s no better confidence booster than having your outfit on point and if it’s a good hair day– watch out, World! All of these things fell by the wayside when I became sick and if you’ve seen me in person for the last 10 months, you can vouch for my unkempt-ness. Sorry! Don’t get me wrong, looking like a hot mess was a conscious decision I made in regards to how I wanted to spend my energy, or spoons, as us-sickies like to say (brief description on that, here). Brushing Blow-drying my hair, getting a manicure, putting on makeup and visually piecing together an outfit were not at the top of my list of energy-consuming tasks. However, I realized that the longer these former-routine actions were no longer part of my day, the Michele I knew and the confidence that came along with them went out the window as well. I decided that I would no longer pick up Pedialyte pops in pajama pants (say that 5 times fast) and that I was going to start looking, and ultimately feeling, like myself again. So low and behold, if you’re still with me, the idea for Classic & Gray was born.

This blog will be a positive space to document my journey (insert peace sign emoji). If I can encourage one person to do something they love that makes them feel good about themself, I’ll call this new venture a huge success. I pledge to you and most importantly to myself that I will get back to the old me. I don’t know if my health will ever return to the state that it was in before I fell ill, but I do know that we only get one chance at this life and I’m not going to spend mine unmotivated, feeling sorry for myself, and looking like it. I hope that Classic & Gray will not only serve as an outlet for me, but also a source of inspiration for you. Healthy or not, we all deserve to look and feel our best and as I always say, ‘life is short; do what makes you happy.’ Time to start taking my own medicine (no pun intended). Thanks for reading!

Classic and Gray Post Signature

You Might Also Like

23 Comments

  • Reply
    Alyson
    August 10, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    So excited and happy for you, Michele! Thank you for making yourself so vulnerable and for sharing your story. Keep up the amazing work! ?

  • Reply
    Ang
    August 10, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    Michele my Belle…

    I am so happy you’ve decided to share a bit of yourself with the world. I am confident this journey will not only fulfill your dreams, but it will inspire others – myself included and I look forward to going along for the ride.

    Love u to the moon!
    Good luck!!!

    -Ang

    • Reply
      classicandgray
      August 12, 2015 at 9:19 pm

      Ang you’ve been supporting me from the first day we met. Thanks for all of your love and encouragement, I couldn’t have done it without you! Love you xox

  • Reply
    Lauren
    August 10, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    This is awesome Michele! I’m so happy for you!! I want you to come over and redo my apartment and closet ASAP!!!

    • Reply
      classicandgray
      August 12, 2015 at 9:19 pm

      Thanks, Lauren! Anytime? Looking forward to seeing you soon! xo

  • Reply
    pm
    August 10, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    When life gives you lemons, make lemonade 🙂 Much success and love. Mom

    • Reply
      classicandgray
      August 12, 2015 at 9:20 pm

      Love you, Mama. Thanks for everything you do, including part-time editing haha!?

  • Reply
    Brianna Burghard
    August 10, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    Love this and love you!!!

    • Reply
      classicandgray
      August 12, 2015 at 9:21 pm

      My wifey- you’ve been through it all with me. I can’t say that some of our stories won’t make it onto here one day! Love you?

  • Reply
    Annaka
    August 10, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Love love love! Congrats on the blog and so looking forward to following along. 🙂

    • Reply
      classicandgray
      August 12, 2015 at 9:21 pm

      Thank you so much, Annaka! I really appreciate the support?

  • Reply
    B
    August 10, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    I love how you’re turning a would be negative experience into a positive one. I hope others are as inspired as you are to fulfill their dreams no matter what. Look forward to your next post!

    • Reply
      classicandgray
      August 12, 2015 at 9:24 pm

      My hot-natured BC, thank you for always being there through the good times and bad. Your support is invaluable?

  • Reply
    Patti
    August 11, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    So so so happy to read this blog. It’s a wonderful way to express yourself. I hope it brings you much joy.
    It’s been a month since we visited and I can hear “happy” in your words. Keep it up!
    Xoxo Cousin Patti

    • Reply
      classicandgray
      August 12, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      Thanks Patti☺️ You’re always so supportive and I look forward to having you follow along! xoxo

  • Reply
    Maria
    August 11, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    What a great idea! Best of luck to you! IVe always been a fan, now I’m a follower of yours too!

    • Reply
      classicandgray
      August 12, 2015 at 9:29 pm

      Thank you very much, Maria! I may add a piece on your pretzel salt tricks☺️

      • Reply
        Maria
        August 16, 2015 at 2:54 pm

        Oh! That’s great! I hope it has worked as well for you as it did for Bobby.

  • Reply
    Mary
    August 12, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Amazing!! I look forward to many more inspirational posts-??

    • Reply
      classicandgray
      August 12, 2015 at 9:30 pm

      Thanks, Mary!! I couldn’t do it without your support (and purchasing some of my outfits?) Love you!

  • Reply
    Melissa
    December 23, 2015 at 6:48 am

    Wow so inspiring and reminds me so much of my story. Except months turned into years for me with my health issues and what started out as a little head cold to me turned into chronic migraines, pain and fatigue. Being home bound for months and endless doctors appointments with them all looking at me like I was crazy. They saw this young healthy looking female and thought she must just be depressed everything seemed fine. Blood tests came back normal maybe one or two levels a little low or high but to the doctors nothing alarming. I knew my body though and something was wrong something was off and it wasn’t in my mind. I got like how you described, so tired of being laid up I would drag myself out for my hubby and my kids, I worked as an interior designer and event planner when this all started and my business had taken off, I was getting job after job and making a name for myself but when my health got worse I had to stop working and lost a lot of jobs or potential clients because I didn’t have the energy. Long story short I finally collapsed last year on thanksgiving day, after being admitted to the hospital and staying for a week I was diagnosed with MS. I was so angry at all the doctors that never caught it, at all the doctors who tried to make me think it was all in my mind or I was just despressed. It has been one of the most challenging years since I got diagnosed but it has also been one of the best years. I was over feeling sorry for myself so I went out and applied for a editorial and curating position for a local magazine working on their home design and fashion sections which I landed. I never worked as an editor or curator but my prior years of working as a designer impressed the head of the magazine and she said I was exactly what she wanted. Within a few months of working with the magazine I met my current boss at a shoot and next thing I knew I was working for a fashion styling firm as a stylist and curator. I also do image consulting and personal shopping for clients on the side. I never thought I would work in fashion because I have always had a laid back style wearing ripped jeans and over sized tee shirts but they loved my style along with my ability to piece outfits together down to the smallest details. I have an eye for textures, mixing colors and patterns from home design which is easily transitioned into fashion styling. My boss is amazing she really is patient with my health stuff because I have my good days and then many bad days but every good day I am at my best and on my bad days I am so determined to not watch my life pass me by that I make sure to drag myself into that closet and put together something decent to get out the door cause once I get going it gets easier. Thanks for sharing your story and love your blog. I also have a blog and social media, I am always working on stepping up my game with my pages but work and doctor visits take up a large part of my life along with my children and hubby which are always number one. I have really learned a lot about myself, it’s funny cause eight years ago before all my health issues when my design business was flourishing I thought I had finally discovered myself. I was 30 and so proud to have learned who I was and what I loved, but I look back now and realize I had just started to know myself, it took all the struggles to see that I am a strong woman, stronger than I ever dreamed and that I can really handle anything thrown at me. I would have never had the courage to take the job I have now or apply for the position at the magazine. I have become the person who wants something and goes after it because life is too short and we don’t know how long we have really, I don’t want to miss out on anything. I have blabbed way to much lol, I woke up cause my hubby had to go to work and couldn’t sleep so found your blog after reading through your posts this one really touched me after all I have endured the last few years. I hope your health is better now and congrats on your blog it’s lovely. My blog is Dlitefultrends on blogspot, it’s something I started for fun and now I am working to get my own domain and really step it up after working in the fashion business for over a year. Hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and that 2016 is fabulous.

    • Reply
      classicandgray
      December 30, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      Hi Melissa! First off, thank you so much for sharing a part of your story! I have so many questions but am going to check out your blog for answers first! I’m so sorry to hear about what your went through and I can relate all too well. You seem like such a positive and determined person and that’s really inspirational! I am completely jealous of your jobs as interior decor and fashion styling would both be DREAMS of mine! One day, when I’m able to go back to work, I would love to try my hand at interior decorating. It’s such a passion of mine! I very much look forward to reading your posts and learning more about you! Major kudos to you and all that live accomplished while living with a debilitating Autoimmune Disease. Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I wish you and your family a wonderful, happy, and healthy 2016! Many hugs xoxox

    Leave a Reply