I chose our next Women We Love because she is someone who has inspired me so much on both a personal and professional level. Angie Rose Randall is a fellow new mom who I met one day at the swings in Wicker Park (gotta love this city!), and quickly bonded with over babies and blogs. She immediately impressed me because A: Her blog had about as many readers in four months as Lux & Concord did after two years. B: She makes her own baby food. C: She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis shortly after getting married and deciding to start a family, and hasn’t let that slow her down in the slightest. It’s actually the premise of her honest and inspiring blog, Well & Strong With MS, which chronicles her life with her new daughter, Chloe, her gorgeous home decor, her skinny-girl recipes, and how she does it all while managing her disease.
Check out our chat, below, then bookmark her blog to catch up on tonight over a glass of wine.
Also! Angie will be popping up on L&C here and there as a guest blogger covering family and lifestyle topics for us, so watch out for her on the site, too.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR BLOG. WHY DID YOU START IT? WHAT DO YOU COVER?
Well, I originally started “Well and Strong with MS” to chronicle my journey after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and to show others – both with and without MS – that you could still live a normal, active life with this disease. When I first learned I had MS, I – like many others – assumed the worst and thought my life would change drastically. But, throughout the last two years, I’ve learned how to manage the disease through living a healthy lifestyle and with medication, and think it’s incredibly important to show others that they can too. (If you’re curious about learning more my diagnosis and inspiration behind the blog you can read about it here.)
So, my blog – just like my life – focuses on much more than just having MS. It follows my life as a wife, a new mom to my baby girl, Chloe, and our adventures together. It also focuses on my interests, hobbies and recommendations for places I’m loving around Chicago. I attribute a lot of my success with MS to living a healthy lifestyle, so I like to share wellness tips and carb-free, easy recipes in a series called “Tasty Tuesdays” which are a favorite amongst readers. I also love to entertain and decorate (especially now over the holidays!) so I feature festive, decorating ideas and recipes to tie into the season. There’s really something for everyone (well, every woman) and I try to mix up the topics so I cover a little of each every week.
YOU’VE GAINED A PRETTY STRONG FOLLOWING QUICKLY. WHY DO YOU THINK PEOPLE CONNECT WITH YOUR BLOG?
You know, when I started the blog, I really put myself out there. Writing for me was very therapeutic and I shared my story very candidly which I think people appreciated. I think being honest and authentic is critical. While my readers may not all have MS, they can probably relate to my story in some way – whether through motherhood, seeking a healthy lifestyle or overcoming obstacles. I try to find a balance between all of the above, and share some tips to help others too.
BEFORE WELL AND STRONG WITH MS, YOU WORKED IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY. HOW DID YOU FIGURE OUT HOW TO START A BLOG?
Well, writing was pretty easy for me but actually blogging…not so much! I have a marketing and communications background, so writing was an outlet that came naturally. But, the technology and all the back-end stuff with a blog is tricky, let me tell you! Luckily, I had a bit of help setting things up, and I’m hoping my writing and marketing background can help me grow the blog naturally over time.
WHAT’S BEEN THE HARDEST PART ABOUT RUNNING A BLOG?
Doubting myself and feeling as if people may not be interested in what I have to say. It’s tough – not everything you write about is going to resonate with every reader. But, I’ve learned that that’s okay and people can pick and choose what they read based on what appeals to them.
WHAT’S BEEN THE MOST REWARDING?
I’ve actually met so many people through my blog – especially those with MS – and the feedback I’ve gotten has made it all worth it. I set out to accomplish a few things with the blog – raising awareness and changing the perception for MS being the most important ones. I’ve had so many people tell me how relieving it’s been to read my blog after being diagnosed and believing that they, too, could be okay. That’s not to say that I have all of the answers – or my “way” is the right way. But, through diet, exercise, medication, and above else, having a positive, optimistic attitude, has been life changing for me. If readers could walk away with one tip that works for them too, I would feel like the blog is accomplishing its goal.
YOU HAVE AN 8 MONTH OLD DAUGHTER. HOW DO YOU FIND TIME TO GET EVERYTHING DONE?
Well, this is where the Type-A in me comes in! (ha!) I’m very good at multi-tasking and being efficient with my time. I try to really maximize the time I have – both being present and in the moment with my daughter, but also taking advantage of her nap and early bedtime. Every day is different and some days do not work out as planned, but I do the best I can to balance it all.
HOW HAS YOUR MS DIAGNOSIS CHANGED YOUR OUTLOOK ON LIFE? WHAT HAS IT TAUGHT YOU?
Your life can change in an instant – that’s for sure. Never take anything for granted – not your health, your family, or the things you value in your life. It’s crazy but you can’t control some of the biggest parts of your life – which for me, was a difficult concept to accept. You can only control your attitude and how you tackle these challenges. For me, I can’t cure my illness but I can take control of my situation by being an advocate for my health and leading each day with a positive attitude. I will always ask questions, problem solving for a better solution, and never settle just because it’s the easier thing to do.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO TEACH OTHERS WITH MS WHO READ YOUR BLOG?
Well, I have two things.. I hope that’s ok.
- Be your own advocate. Stand up for yourself, and take control of the things you do have control over. When you have any type of illness, it’s overwhelming how much you have to manage – whether it’s your diet or managing doctor appointments and tests, medical bills or dealing with insurance claims – it’s easy to let things fall through the cracks. But, I make it a priority in my life to stay on top of these things because if I’m not healthy and at my best, I cannot be as good of a wife or mother.
- Stay Positive. Attitude is so underrated sometimes but I think it’s probably the #1 reason why people who are upbeat and positive do better…it’s because they want to do better!
WHAT’S THE BEST LIFE ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
“Thoughts become things. Pick the good ones”. An optimistic attitude is pretty damn powerful.