Blogger, mother, animal-rescuer, and chronic illness warrior Kendall Rayburn built a curated collection of her favorite pieces from Dia. Her Style Edit is full of pieces that flaunt her boho style and that comfort her when her endometriosis pain flares up, clothing that she is always craving. We sat down with Kendall to get to know her a bit better, understand how she got started as a blogger, and why she feels comfortable sharing her journey navigating through life with chronic pain.
Dia: When and why did you start blogging? What do you blog about?
Kendall: I started my blog back in 2009 as a way to share my DIY craft projects. At the time I was living up in northern Michigan with my husband, attending college in a small town. There wasn’t a lot to do, and propelled by my love of writing, I decided to start a blog as an outlet.
Dia: You are such a boho babe. How did you discover your personal style?
Kendall: First, thank you! Being called a boho babe is such a compliment! Dia&Co had a huge part in helping me discover my personal style. I live with a chronic illness so when it comes to fashion, I want pieces that are comfortable. I started getting Dia&Co boxes to try out new styles and have someone else shop for me at first so I could see how things fit my body and what cuts and styles I preferred. And from there I was hooked! Once I felt the feeling of putting on an outfit that made me feel my best, it really changed my journey of healing. Fashion is literally healing my heart and mind day by day.
Dia: What pieces make up your everyday uniform?
My everyday uniform consists of comfy pieces that I can wear while working at home, running errands, and hanging with my kiddos. All of my picks in the collection are items perfect for every day. Anyone can wear them and feel great and not worry too much about what to pair with what because so many of the items go together! Creating a cute look from those pieces is so simple!
Dia: What do you always look for in an outfit?
Kendall: In an outfit, I’m always looking for something comfortable, stylish, and unique. I love wearing floral prints, mixing textures, and of course, whatever it is has to have a little boho flair.
Dia: What is the scariest thing about being an influencer and talking so openly about your life on the internet?
Kendall: The scariest part for me is making sure my kids are protected. I love sharing about our life as a family, but I also make sure never to share information about the exact location where we live, where my kids go to school, etc. Sharing our story as a family has already helped so many people, I just can’t imagine not sharing it. Everything from my chronic illness to my son Wyatt’s Autism, to my other son Levi’s clubfoot journey–they’ve all helped people out there. But yeah, sometimes putting yourself and your family out there in the open is daunting, I try to be really smart about it.
Dia: You suffer from a chronic illness but instead of keeping this private information to yourself, you chronicle your journey on your blog and social media. Why do you talk so openly about your experience with chronic illness?
Kendall: I’m open and vulnerable online with my audience because it’s therapeutic for me, and because it’s helpful to so many others. I get e-mails daily from people that have seen my story battling endometriosis on Instagram, Pinterest, or came across me through a random Google search. I get e-mails from young girls who are just getting diagnosed to women who have had countless surgeries like myself and simply find comfort in knowing that they’re not alone.
Dia: What is some advice you’d like to give someone who was recently diagnosed with a chronic illness?
Kendall: Stay strong, surround yourself with people that love and support you. I’d also recommend therapy for working through some of the other issues that can come along with having a chronic illness. Therapy has worked wonders for me and truly has helped me on my journey to a better mental space.
Dia: Tell us about your two little ones at home!
Kendall: Ah, my kiddos are my world! My husband and I have two boys, Wyatt is 8 and Levi is 6. Wyatt has Autism and is always keeping us on our toes and reminding us when we take the wrong exits on road trips. He is very good at remembering directions, hotel room numbers, parking spots, all of the things that I forget! He is sweet, spunky, and so very fun to be around! Wouldn’t change him for the world!
Levi’s more sensitive. He is a thinker and is truly the sweetest little boy on the planet. Levi is so great as a brother to Wyatt and has helped him break out of his comfort zone in so many ways. I am so grateful that my husband and I were able to have our boys because so many other women with a similar medical history to mine have not been so lucky. We are so very thankful for our family.
Dia: You have lots of pets, both cats and dogs. How did they come into your life, and how many furbabies do you have?
Kendall: Oh my goodness, I could go on for days about this topic but I’ll keep it short. My husband and I have a huge heart for rescue animals. We have three rescue dogs, three rescue cats, and I just busted a one-eyed kitten out of the pound that my boys have lovingly named Kevin after their favorite minion. My husband and I first started adopting animals when we got our first place together, and through the years we’ve added more to our family. So as of right now, we have 7.
Dia: If you had to pick, are you more of a dog or a cat person?
Kendall: Ah, this question is so hard for me! I truly am a split person when it comes to cats and dogs. Dogs definitely have a way of welcoming us home which we love, but there is nothing more soothing than a purring kitten on your chest after a long day. I am just an animal person all-around, I’ve always found comfort in them.
Dia: Where are you based? What do you love about where you live?
Kendall: I live in Michigan and I love it because we truly get to experience every season! The fall here is just unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s like a painter took his prettiest fall colors and painted the trees. And our winters, although brutal sometimes, are still absolutely stunning!
Dia: Have you always been a fashion lover?
Kendall: I’ve always loved fashion. When I was in high school I wanted to be a writer and a fashion designer, my love for writing slowly started to take over as I got older. It’s funny how things work out because now I have the pleasure of doing both!
Dia: What does body-positivity mean to you?
Kendall: To me, body positivity means loving yourself for exactly who you are. It means finding peace in the body you have and learning to love and respect it. I work daily on how I speak to myself and about myself, especially in front of my boys. They know they have a curvy momma and they love how “soft” I am.
Dia: There are so many words that can be used to describe our bodies: plus-size, full-figured, curvy, thick, fat, fluffy… What words do you like to use?
Kendall: I think all of them work, I learn toward plus-size when describing my body but curvy also comes into play!
Dia: Are you a morning or night person?
Kendall: I’m a night person 100%. I hate waking up early in the morning, I am a total night owl. In fact, most of my best writing has happened late at night in the silence of my home after the boys have gone to bed and the pets settle in for the night.
Dia: What is one surprising-but-true fact about you?
Kendall: For a short time after high school, I lived in my car. Sad, but very true. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say I had humble beginnings, which I think is what makes me so grateful for the life I have now.
Dia: Who are your style icons?
Kendall: Sarah Jessica Parker is and has always been my fashion icon. Every look she creates is chic, timeless, and amazing. I also gather a lot of inspiration from the plus-size community as a whole—just seeing other women with bodies like mine makes me feel so much more comfortable about putting something on and rocking it!
I’ve also always been in love with my grandmothers style. She knew how to rock a turtleneck better than anyone I’ve ever met. She passed away last year and I miss her every day. I wish she could be here to join in the celebration of my picks for Dia&Co, but in a way, I know she can see me and is sending me love.
Dia: What is the best part of your job?
Kendall: The best part of my job, honestly, is the ability to connect with people from all over without having to leave my bed. Somedays I work from my bed, the majority of the time I’m on the couch with 1-3 of my pets surrounding me. I could never have a normal desk job with my pain levels and my families needs, it just wouldn’t work. But at the point where I am now in my career, and believe me it took years of hard work to get here, I can build my work schedule around my life and not the other way around.
Dia: What does your morning routine look like?
Kendall: I am the luckiest girl on the planet because my husband wakes up with the kids every morning, gets them ready, and drops them at school. When he gets home he comes upstairs to wake me up around 9:00 am. I am so grateful to have his support each day, and even more grateful that he understands my needs surrounding my illness and never makes me feel guilty because of them. He was able to leave his job a few years ago to go full-time with me on the blog and since then our lives have been so much better.
Dia: What is your go-to karaoke song?
Kendall: Hands-down it’s Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio. I also love Dixie Chicks, The Cranberries, and anything Mason Jennings.
Shop Kendall’s Style Edit and see all of the comfy cozy pieces she chose for you to shop to elevate your winter wardrobe.