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MS

OOTD Roundup: World MS Day 2021

May 30, 2021

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. … A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12

And just like that, another World MS Day is upon us! It seems like a few months ago when I was celebrating this day of global solidarity and hope for the future for the first time. I kept my new tradition going and did an OOTD roundup to commemorate the occasion, because every day is worth celebrating. Truly. So I put on a bright orange dress (orange is the official color of MS awareness), my current pair of favorite shades and a smile and rocked this mini photoshoot. As symbolized in the second image, sometimes living with multiple sclerosis feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. There’s so much to worry about — the unknowns about the progression of my condition; managing my symptoms while balancing work, family and friends; and still trying to find joy in the process. Life with MS is not easy, but with my support squad by my side and looking to other people who are triumphing over the same struggles, it makes things better. I’m grateful for every one of them!

The World MS Day theme from 2020 to 2022 is “connections.” Last year, I chose to focus on my gals who supported me during the early stages of my MS diagnosis and journey. This year, I’m highlighting my fellow MS warriors who I’ve connected with via social media. Funny how the vast world of chronic illness can feel so small and inclusive! They have lifted me up and encouraged me by simply being who they are. These lovely ladies — seen below in their various shades of orange — include Kaci, the radiant roller skater; Ashleigh, a rose of an inspiration; Roxy, the remarkable MS fashionista; Diane, the dope DJ; Moyna, the marvelous motivator; Risha, the beautiful blogger; and Bianca, a beaming MSer who was recently diagnosed. Get to know about these inspiring women below, as they share what the MS community means to them and what makes them hopeful for the future.

Kaci Bell

• Name: Kaci Bell / @myelinmoxi
• Location: Dallas, TX
• Occupation: Realtor
• Diagnosed: August 2017

“The MS community means so much to me: It means knowledge of other’s experiences and perhaps a foretell of our own. It means instant friendships/connections — it’s hard enough to talk about this, it makes it so much easier to communicate with someone going through the same thing. It means strength and resilience, because we don’t let each other feel sorry for our disease, we continue to uplift each other and encourage positivity with our MS. It means having a bond, especially when wearing an article of clothing that mentions MS, it’s a talking point between strangers that is either knowledgeable or creates a relation between them. This community has been the most embracing one I’ve ever identified with and it’s been the most helpful resource since my diagnosis. 🥰

Ashleigh Rose

• Name: Ashleigh Rose / @arose
• Location: Florida
• Occupation: Founder of A Rose Collective
• Diagnosed: November 2018

“The MS community means (cliché warning) the world to me. When I was newly diagnosed, I didn’t find many positive accounts that showcased that yes, living with MS is tricky, but it’s not the end of my life. So I wanted to change that narrative. Be the person I needed for others. So I turned my personal IG account @arose into a safe space to share my journey and spread Multiple Sclerosis awareness. Opening myself up to the world, to the beautiful connections I’ve made, has been more than rewarding. It’s been life-changing. My story continues at A Rose Collective and I look forward to making many more MS Connections! Xx”

Roxy Chanel Murray

• Name: Roxy Chanel Murray / @multiplesclerosisfashionista
• Location: London, England – UK
• Occupation: MS Advocate and Podcaster
• Diagnosed: 2012

“The MS community means so much to me. They have become a massive part of my life. Bringing me so much joy, light, love and guidance on my journey. What makes me hopeful for the future is the progression that’s happening currently in the medical world with drugs and medical trials that show that there may be a brighter, happier future for all MSers. As well as the way the community has connected and created greater spaces, less loneliness and better well-rounded information resources available for all.”

Diane Palaganas

• Name: Diane Palaganas (a.k.a. DJ Danga Dang) / @_danga_dang
• Location: Long Beach, CA
• Occupation: Part-time DJ, Full-time WARRIOR
• Diagnosed: January 2016

“The MS community is an inspiration of hope and motivation. No one else understands the pain and fight we go through. When I see other warriors surviving and thriving with this disease, it makes me push and fight even harder. I believe anything is possible. I am open to all the possibilities of the future and am thankful for everyone with me on this journey.”

Moyna

• Name: Moyna / @lifewithmoyna
• Location: New York City, NY
• Occupation: Paralegal, Freelance Writer and Content Creator
• Diagnosed: December 2019

“The MS community is very warm and welcoming. I hope for the future is that more POC MS patients can be displayed. Seeing people who look like me in MS advertisement and other PR materials. Representation is SO important. It is helps to see others like you and know you are not alone!”

Risha Serrano

• Name: Risha Serrano / @reeshespieces_
• Location: Las Vegas, NV
• Occupation: Executive Administrator of a healthcare facility and Blogger
• Diagnosed: January 2018

“The MS community is strong, resilient and supportive of one another. Reassures me that I am not alone in my journey. It gives me hope that I can continue to live a fulfilling life despite having MS.”

Bianca Sair

• Name: Bianca Sair / @beeezzzyy_
• Location: Philadelphia, PA
• Occupation: Direct Support Professional
• Diagnosed: February 2021

“I’m new to the MS community so it’s still a lot to learn. I do hope to gain support as well as give support to my fellow warriors as well as gaining knowledge. I just hope a cure for MS is coming soon so we don’t have to continue to suffer inside.”

To see more Outfit of the Day/Night posts, click here.

Ashley 🖤 Adores Is 9!

February 5, 2021

Yes, time has just flown by!

Hey, friends! Today marks a very important milestone for Ashley 🖤 Adores — it’s my ninth anniversary. A quick little trip down memory lane for ya: On this day (February 5) in 2012, the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots, 21-17, in Super Bowl XLVI. “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele was the No. 1 song in the US. And just six days later, our beloved songbird Whitney Houston passed away. President Obama was campaigning for his second term (which, spoiler alert, he won). Peplum dresses and wedge sneakers were all the rage. What a time to be alive!

While this occasion calls for celebration, I’m using this moment as a recalibration of sorts. As you may have noticed, a lot has happened since I started this blog nine years ago. Life. That’s the main thing that happened. Admittedly, I lost the passion to pursue this blog wholeheartedly after playing the comparison game and not ascending to highly flawed, self-imposed levels of success. Those things truly are the thief of joy.

Most notably, I got sick in the fall of 2017 and ultimately was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in March 2018, prompting many things to be placed on the back burner, including this very blog. Just finding stability and coming to terms with the fact that I am living with a disease for which there is no cure was a process that completely upended my life. I write about my journey in my newly released book, Jesus Year, which is currently available at ashleytheauthor.com, Amazon and Barnes & Noble, by the way. I took it one day at a time. One weakened, dropped foot in front of the other strong one. I’m proud of how far I’ve come.



And just like I slowly got my life back on track, so will I put one foot in front of the other to regain the momentum with Ashley 🖤 Adores. That’s right. It’s time to get back in the game! No longer will I put more energy into my day job than I do for my own endeavors. As I’ve gone through this trying health journey, I’ve come to realize that I’m my best investment.

I’ve gotta start doing the things that bring me joy, and that includes stunting in Outfits of the Day, capturing photos of the beauty I come across on the daily, encouraging my readers with Wednesday Words, chronicling my thrift store finds, and so much more. I mean, let’s be realistic. I will be taking baby steps to start. To hold myself accountable, I’m setting a goal of posting at least once a week as often as I have the energy to do so (hopeful once a month). Boom! It’s written on this blog on the world wide web so it’s now a thing.

If you’ve made it this far, you’re a real one. Thanks so much for supporting your girl! There is so much more in store for Ashley 🖤 Adores. I appreciate you coming along for the ride. XO.

Heading image and book cover credits:
Photographer: Brian Freeman
Makeup: Kim Freeman
Hair: Marlisha Lofton
Nails: Redondo 7 Nails

Outfit of the Day: New Year, New Me

December 24, 2018

When I think back on all that happened this year — perhaps one of the toughest of my life — I’m grateful that I made it through. I know it sounds cliché, but I’ve got “New Year, New Me” on the brain. That includes a fresh perspective on productivity, career, finances, and, most importantly, my health. I showed you how I’m keeping fit in style in last week’s Outfit of the Day. Here’s another look at how PrettyLittleThing is helping me get workout-ready for 2019.

“You have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued my enemies under my feet.” Psalm 18:39

If 2018 has taught me anything, it’s how to fight. Three months in to the year, I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. I had to use all that I could muster up to regain my energy, my self-confidence, my passion and my strength. I’ve been back in the gym building up my stamina and slowly making progress. Thankfully, PrettyLittleThing is helping me look good while doing it. The mesh crop top paired with the black paneled leggings makes me look like a total bawse, if I can say so myself. And the PLT script peeking through the top softens the look by adding a little feminine touch.

See more of this ensemble and shop the look inside!

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Outfits of the Day: Keeping Fit in Style

December 17, 2018

I’m really excited to show you how I’ve been keeping fit in style! I recently partnered with PrettyLittleThing — a one-stop shop for all things wonderful womenswear — to add some flair to my workout wardrobe. And, friends, did I need it!

“She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” Proverbs 31:17

Not gonna lie, my current fitness attire consists of oversized T-shirts and well-worn leggings, which was not really helpful in getting me active. Since my MS diagnosis this March, I’ve been on a bit of a wellness journey. A lot happened in the months following, and working out took a back seat, given the weight of wrapping my mind around my new reality. I’ve slowly been getting back on the wagon (shout out to my wellness coach, Lisa!). But nothing motivates me like a stylish outfit! Thankfully, PrettyLittleThing has plenty of activewear to get me pumped up do some yoga or a HIIT routine at home, hit the gym, or get my body moving in general. And don’t be surprised if you see any of these pieces repurposed into nighttime ‘fits!

See more of this outfit and peep the second look inside!

Continue Reading…

Wednesday Word

May 30, 2018

This Wednesday Word No. 107, spotted on Pinterest, happens to fall on World MS Day. You might be wondering why I’m posting about multiple sclerosis, one of the most common neurological disorders and causes of disability in young adults. The truth is, I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS on March 9, 2018, after an arduous six-month process of trying to figure out why my left foot went numb out of nowhere. I’ve had to repeat the words in the image above to myself more times than I can count.

MS has been a journey that has challenged me in ways I could never have imagined. I often fear how this autoimmune disease will attack me. How long it will be before I have another flareup. If I’ll be able to walk unassisted down the aisle on that big day when it comes. What people assume when they see my lopsided walk and leg brace (I’ve dubbed it my “bionic boot”!). If I’ll ever regain strength, feeling in my left foot. Whether this was something I could have prevented (MS is caused my environmental factors and is prevalent in people with Vitamin D deficiency). How long it will take me to find my “new normal” and what that will look like. If the sting of (well-meaning?) passersby and strangers greeting me with unsolicited remarks like “What did you do to yourself?” and “What’s up with your foot?” will ever be less jarring. If the physical therapy will be enough to help me get my old gait back.

I try to take these struggles — these minuscule mountains that stand before me day after day — in stride, but I must admit that this battle kicks my butt some days. There are prolonged periods of fatigue that seemingly take forever to shake, where I fall asleep on the couch after getting home from work, only to wake up at 1 a.m. with all the lights on and my dog running around irked because I haven’t yet walked him. There are times when walking to my car a block away from my apartment or even across the office to a meeting room is a chore. There are an onslaught of drifting thoughts that rob me of my focus, and cloud all semblance of collectedness and clarity.

Last week I started experiencing new symptoms — intense tingling in my right leg — and it was super scary. My neurologist recommended I undergo an IV infusion of medrol/steroids over five consecutive days to reduce the inflammation. I laughed when he told me. It was unreal how matter-of-factly those words rolled off his tongue. That’s something that I’m still getting used to — the big words, the unheard-of remedies, the expectation that I automatically wrap my mind around them once uttered. It’s still all new to me. The IV treatment lasts four hours. Today was day two of the treatment. It’s taxing. Saddening. Draining. Uncomfortable. It forces me to sit there and come to grips with this illness. I hope these visits don’t happen often.

As I type this, tears stream down my cheeks from the weight of it all, and Berkeley, my four-legged cuddle bug, promptly hops on my lap to comfort me. It’s these little moments that that give me strength to press on. To the friends and loved ones who’ve checked on me daily; called to chat about current events like Cousin Meghan and her royal wedding; made me guffaw heartily at their East Coast shenanigans; let me know that they “got” me and not to hesitate to let them know if they can help in any way, no matter how big or small; sent me throwback memes and videos (Raise your hand if you remember the 1990s PBS gem “Zoom”!) on the Gram; entertained my antics; presented me with unthinkable theories about the Sixers mascot and “Atlanta” that literally floored me with laughter; made the mundane feel magical; came to have lunch with me at my job; or texted a simple “How are you, homegirl?,” “Praying for you” or “Thinking of you” — it means more to me than you’ll ever know. And a special shout out to my fellow MS warriors who have given me pointers and guidance at the height of my feeling lost. You guys are my tribe and I’m blessed to have you all in my life. I refuse to let my diagnosis be a death sentence. If God woke me up today, that means He has given me a gift that I can’t pass up. It’s my charge to make the most of these 24 hours. And by golly, I’ve been fighting to make them count.

In honor of World MS Day, I hope that you’ll learn a little more about this disease that 400,000 people in the United States and 2.5 million people around the globe are living with. And I hope that if you know anyone with MS that you’ll send them some love today and whenever they cross your mind. We need it to survive.