Fashionably ill ® Turns 11 Years Old Today!

Today, Fashionably ill ® turns 11 years old. I wanted to celebrate the 10th anniversary last year but I had no time. So better late than never, right? Thank you for being on this journey with me! Here is a link to the first article I ever wrote on this blog. The article is called, “Why blog on style for sick women?” Last year, I finished the process of patenting Fashionably ill ® so Fashionably ill ® is now trademarked with the U.S. Patent Office.

my logo: Fashionably ill which features a white mask with red lipstick

Thank You For Your Patience

You may notice that the website looks a little wonky lately. I am in the process of trying to make the website more disability accessible but ironically my disabilities and health problems get in the way of me accomplishing this. It is hard to juggle doctors’ appointments and stays with this blog, homework, my healthcare advocacy, the bureaucratic red tape of being a patient in America, and other adulting things. Also, I am not a software developer. When I started this blog 11 years ago, I had zero experience in web development. But I read a book about how to start a WordPress blog in 2 days and then started this site. I want to do better. And I’m trying. Ironically, this may cause problems in the interim.

A yellow frosting cake with colorful candles that say “HAPPY BIRTHDAY.” All the candles are lit.

Some of My Favorite Hits

I just came from my pre-graduation ceremony and am writing this article on the fly so here are a few of my favorite blog posts from the past 11 years. (My graduation is in two days.) Here are some of my favs:

Top 10 Ways to Vacationize Your Hospital Visit or Stay

I realized when I was working at a previous employer that I used all of my vacation and PTO days on medical visits. I went 14 years without a vacation at one point. I decided to bring my vacation to the hospital. The first time I did it, I put SPF on my nose at my neurologist appointment. I put an umbrella in my drink. Remember paper umbrellas? I wore a lei around my neck. I have actually never been to Hawaii. What makes this article memorable is that a client who hired me to speak (I gave a commencement address at her university) told me after that her sister had recently passed away. She had spent the last six months of her life in the hospital and my client showed her this article and she said her sister loved it.

5 Reasons People Abandon a Sick Friend

This article has been viewed over 97,000 times. It’s not an uncommon phenomenon for people with chronic illnesses and other serious health conditions to lose friends. Numerous people left touching comments on the article. I am glad it resonated with people. One reader told me that she used to be in such despair over the loss of relationships but my article helped her better understand her situation, which gave her some closure.

6 Ideas: How to Get Stuff Done When You Are Depressed

This article was a follow-up to my TEDx Talk, “How to Get Stuff Done When You Are Depressed.” My TEDx Talk has 3 strategies. Of course, if you subscribe to my free e-newsletter, you can get my free Depression Tool Kit which comes with 10 tips plus scripts for asking professors and employers for accommodations. One of my favorite memories is when a reader wrote to me from Europe and said they had to quit college and always wanted to go back but had to juggle having a family with mental health challenges was too much. However, after watching my TEDx Talk, she enrolled in college. She said, if I could do it, she could too.

5 Tips for Being Reliable When You Are Depressed

This article is a corollary to my “6 Ideas: How to Get Stuff Done When You Are Depressed” blog post.

How to Dress Like Kelly Kapowski: Wardrobe, Makeup, and Hair

This one was a fun one! I reviewed the Saved by the Max restaurant when it was in Chicago. Stepping into the restaurant was like walking into a time machine. It was like living in the late ’80s and ’90s between the pay phone and the music! You know I had to come correct. So I came with Kelly’s grey Bayside off-the-shoulder top, knock-off white KEDS, light-washed denim, and hair that was very teased. It took me a week and half to get that late 80s/early 90s hair. This article is one of the most popular Kelly Kapowski tutorials online. Every September and October, I see a spike in views and people purchase Kelly’s Bayside Flashdance-style shirt.

Mad Men Style: How to Get Betty Draper’s Look

This article also peaks every September and October. I give advice and links to Betty Draper-style clothes. Ironically, in reality, Betty Draper’s style is not mine. I once had a Mad Men birthday and I dressed like Joan although my hair was more like Trudy Campbell’s. I like Joan’s style; I prefer solids over prints generally. And Joan wore a lot of green, purple, and blue–all colors which I wear often. I’m a sucker for pencil skirts and sheaths although I occasionally enjoy a flouncy A-line skirt.

DIY: How to Make a Rhythm Nation Costume; Janet Jackson

This was a fun experience! I wrote this article after my niece and I went to a Janet Jackson concert dressed as Rhythm Nation dancers. Janet danced for 2.5 hours straight. She had a baby four months before that show at the age of 52-years old. A woman wrote to me and sent me pictures from her company’s 80s-themed holiday party. She used my tutorial and went as a Rhythm Nation dancer. She looked fantastic! Her costume was a hit. I was so happy to see that my article brought happiness to other people.

Just in Case! My free Depression Tool Kit

With the website being under construction, I wanted to provide an additional way to subscribe to my free Depression Tool Kit. Click HERE to go directly to my signup form. You can also copy and paste the following URL into your web browser:

Then and Now

To close this retrospective, I wanted to post a picture of me a decade ago at a doctor’s visit and me today (see left side picture). The right side picture was taken today at my Northwestern pre-graduation activities (I’m wearing a red dress). Thank you again for being on this journey with me! Stay safe, everyone.

Left picture shows me in 2012 wearing a lei around my neck and a flower in my hair in what is obviously a hospital room with a stethoscope in the background. I am wearing purple pants and a color blocked shirt that is orange, purple, and tan. Right picture shows me outdoors with green bushes in the background. There is a sign behind me that reads "Cahn." I am wearing a red dress that has a triangle neckline and carrying a black cane. My hair is in an updo and I am wearing golden hoop earrings.
Picture of me from 2012 (left) and from 2023 today (right side).


Hi there! I am a patient advocate, writer, and public speaker most well known for my TEDx Talk, “How to Get Stuff Done When You Are Depressed.” As someone who is juggling 5 illnesses: bipolar 2, myasthenia gravis, endometriosis, psoriasis, and asthma, I’m passionate about helping people who navigate life with both chronic physical & emotional pain. If you’re interested in hiring me to speak at your event, check out the CONTACT tab.

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