chronic style

If I Could Only Keep 1 . . .

As a part of my new life moving forward, I am tired of setting my own expectations too high and constantly feel like I am letting the world down as a result. Instead I want to focus on doing the things I love which includes letting other women with chronic illness know that they are not alone, they are loved,  they are beautiful, and they are total badasses and should walk with their heads high.

My favorite way to celebrate my own badass-ery is through having fun with my makeup and style.

If someone was going to take my entire makeup collection away and I had to choose one of my favorite makeup products to keep from each category, I would choose:


If I Could Only Choose One Pt 1

1- Becca Backlight Priming Filter ~ $38

This primer does a fabulous job of blurring imperfections and creates a luminous canvas for your foundation. I like the “healthy glow” this primer creates, especially if I am wearing a more matte foundation.

2- Rimmel Lasting Finish Foundation ~ $6.97

This foundation is incredible and so, so affordable. It has the perfect amount of coverage without being too heavy or cakey and wears perfectly all day long. Rimmel has recently released a ‘breathable” version of this foundation but I hope that doesn’t mean this version is being discontinued because it is stellar! If you see it in this packaging, grab it!

3- Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer & Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer ~ $29 & $8.99

These two products are a match made in concealer heaven for under the eyes. I use the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind in the Brightener shade which is a pinkish shade to counteract the dark circles and then use the Urban Decay to create a smooth under eye.

4- Maybelline Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder ~ $7.99

I have tried so many powders for under my eyes but this one is something special. The powder is very finely milled so sets my concealer perfectly and keeps it from creasing all day. My favorite way to apply it is with a damp beauty sponge.


If I Could Only Choose One Pt 2

5- Wet N Wild MegaGlo Contouring Palette ~ $4.99

I’m not big into contouring so this palette by Wet N Wild is perfect for when I am looking for a little more definition. The contour powder is the perfect shade and the highlight powder works great to brighten the under eye. I use the shade Dulche De Leche which has a more pink highlight powder but they do have a warmer, more yellow shade available (Caramel Toffee).

6- Physcians Formula Butter Bronzer ~ $14.99

This bronzer is hyped up all over social media for good reason. The shade is perfect, the formula blends fantastic on the skin and the smell is absolutely heavenly. It smells like summer in a compact.

7- Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso ~ $7.99

This is another product that is hyped up on social media for good reason. This shade is absolutely divine. It is the perfect peachy-pink to work on just about every skin tone and it goes along with just about every look under the sun. Plus the price is great and it is available just about everywhere!

8- Laura Geller Baked Balance-n-Brighten ~ $33

This powder is amazing for balancing your complexion, setting your foundation and adding a little bit of coverage. The swirled pigments of the powder really do a great job of doing just what the product name says it will do and it doesn’t leave your skin looking powdery or cakey.


If I Could Only Choose One Pt 3 

9- Anastasia Beverly Hills Amrezy Highlighter ~ $28

This product hasn’t been out long but it has quickly rose through the ranks to become one of my favorites. It is seriously a shade that somehow magically works on every single skin tone. Every. Single. One. How? I have absolutely no idea but somehow it does. Because I am so fair, I have a very hard time finding a golden highlighter that is not only light enough but also not too warm/yellow. The formula is also stellar and although it is a powder, it is very creamy. Although this is high end, it still isn’t crazy expensive and is worth every penny. I really hope they make this permanent.

10- Milani Make It Last Setting Spray ~ $9.99

When I first started getting into makeup, affordable setting sprays were difficult to find but thankfully the drugstore market has caught up. Setting sprays can perform different functions. Some focus on melding your makeup together. Others focus on making your skin more dewy. Others focus on adding lasting time to your makeup look and this one from Milani is one of those. This spray does a great job of setting and really locking in your makeup and the mister on this spray is perfect.

11- Milani Color Statement Matte Lipstick ~$6

If I had to narrow my traditional lipstick formula down to one, it would have to be the Milani Color Statement Matte. The formula is matte but it is still creamy, comfortable, and wears beautifully. The line is very affordable (and often on sale) and has a wide variety of shades. If I had to narrow it down to just one lipstick, it would be Matte Naked which is the absolute best nude for fair skin.

12- Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink Lip Color ~ $9.49

Something that I love more than a matte lip color is a long lasting lip color but the tough part is finding one that is comfortable and doesn’t dry your lips out like the Sahara. Maybelline got it right with this one. The formula is comfortable, wears evenly, and lasts until you scrub it off.  The color range is also fantastic. If I had to choose one shade, I would go with Ruler. Loyalist would be a close second.

13- Milani Color Statement Lipliner ~ $5

Maybe its just me but lipliner isn’t something I feel you need to spend a lot of money on. There are plenty of great formulas at really affordable prices. Milani has a great formula with the necessary shades at only $5. Can’t beat that.


If I Could Only Choose One Pt 4

14- Milani Eyeshadow Primer ~ $6

I have tried out several different kinds of eyeshadow primers and always end up coming back to this one. It does a great job at providing a smooth canvas for shadows and helps lock it in for all day wear. A little goes a long way and you can’t beat the price.

15- Lorac Mega Pro 4 ~ $59

Of all the different eyeshadow formulas I have tried, Lorac shadows have to be my absolute favorite. They are so creamy and buttery. I have several different Lorac palettes but I chose this one because it has the widest variety of colors. Also, even with its variety of shades, it is still cohesive. Some large palettes just look like a bunch of colors thrown together but this one doesn’t. I love that for the most part it is a cooler toned palette which has been rare these days in eyeshadow palettes. I also like traveling with it as even though it is large, it isn’t bulky.

16- Colourpop Super Shock Shadows ~ $5

This may be considered cheating but I am adding in my favorite single eyeshadows and my favorite liquid/creatm eyeshadows. Colourpop by far has my favorite single eyeshadow formula with their super shock shadows. They are almost creamy in their formulation. The metallic shadows are absolutely heavenly. Just pat them on the lid with your finger and watch magic happen.

17- Butter London Glazen Eye Gloss – $24

Like the Colourpop shadows, these eye glosses also have a very unique formula. Although it is a cream, it almost feels like a gel. There is most definitely a learning curve but once you figure it out, the glittery goodness makes it worth it.

18- Physicians Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Boosting Eyeliner & Serum ~ $10.99

I don’t know about its serum or “boosting” properties but this is my absolute favorite eyeliner. I could not figure out how to do winged eyeliner until I tried this one. The brush tip is perfect for creating the wing and the formula is nice and rich (however you must be sure to pick up the Ultra Black not the Black). I always stock up when there is a sale as it is a must-have in my collection.

19- NYX Micro Brow Pencil & Brow Mascara ~ $10.99 & $6.99

NYX has a ton of great products but they are really on their brow game. They have many great formulas at great prices. My two favorites are their micro brow pencil and their brow mascara. The brow pencil is nice and thin which allows you to create more natural brow strokes to fill in your brows and the mascara/gel formula holds your brows in place all day long. You don’t need to spend a lot of money when you can find great products at affordable prices.

20- L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara ~ $9.99

This mascara is well on its way to having its own cult following on social media since its release. The brush and formula is perfection if are looking for rich volume. Its a dry formula to start with so it does try out quicker than some other mascaras but it is worth it!


There are the 20 of my favorite makeup products that I would keep in my makeup collection if I was only allowed to keep 1 item out of every category! I could definitely get by but I will be the first to admit that I enjoy having a variety of items to play with 🙂

What are some of your favorite makeup products in your collection?

chronic illness

Reality Accepted: New Dreams On The Horizon

Abdominal Adhesive Disease

The past few years of my life have been challenging. It is almost as if I never recovered from my bowel obstruction surgery. I was re-hospitalized several times during the course of recovery. I attempted to return to work but ultimately had to quit and officially file disability. Just as I was preparing for my final disability hearing, I had to have surgery #7 in order to remove my gallbladder that not only had decided to quit working completely but managed to create over 200 stones in the process.

That surgery itself was not a big deal. I actually remember waking up in recovery feeling relieved versus the usual “did anyone get the name of that train that just ran me over” feeling and begging to be put back under. I had been so disgustingly nauseous for so long that once they removed my kaput gallbladder it was almost as if I could breathe a sigh of relief despite having been cut open.

But it didn’t end there.

My surgery didn’t quite happen as scheduled. While waiting for my surgery date, I was in so much pain and so sick that I went to the ER and they decided to go ahead with the surgery that night. I went into the OR around midnight. By 9am, my surgeon was in my room ready to send me home but he wanted to go over his findings first. I vaguely remember what he said about my gallbladder other than it was being sent to pathology but what caught my attention was his description of my lower abdomen. He said my lower abdomen/pelvic region was full of adhesions and it was only a matter of time before I obstructed again.

In that moment, something changed.

The events surrounding my obstruction were traumatic and while I knew that there was a high chance it could happen again, the thought that another obstruction was imminent set off a whole new level of anxiety and fear. It was as if he handed me a grenade, pulled the pin, and left me standing there afraid to breathe for the fear of setting off a chain of events.

I have spent the last 2 1/2 years holding that grenade afraid to move.

Any time I have tried to ask that surgeon or another general surgeon why they didn’t remove the adhesions while I was already in surgery for my gallbladder, I never got a direct answer. One would say that if they weren’t in the way, they wouldn’t mess with them. Another surgeon stated that while it was obvious that the adhesions were causing pain (and affecting certain functions), I was considered too high risk to go in preemptively so they would wait for an emergency which only made my anxiety that much worse. The more anxious I got, the more questions I asked. The more questions I asked, the more vague the responses.

I couldn’t get a clear answer and all it made me do was hold onto that grenade even tighter.

I couldn’t move forward with my life until I had an answer.

Two weeks ago I had enough. I set up an appointment with Dr H, my endo doctor/surgeon that I have been seeing for over a decade. I put it all out on the table. All of the anxiety. All of the questions. All of the anger. It was all out.

She did the same. Instead of dancing around the truth (as some of the previous surgeons had), she told the truth, no matter how scary. The truth of the matter is that they don’t want to mess with my adhesions because they don’t want to kill me. The type and placement of my adhesions would make trying to remove or separate them an extremely delicate process. She described abdominal adhesive disease and the complexity involved in treating it and she said that unless it was absolutely necessary, the risk would be too great to go in otherwise.

I could finally put the grenade down.

Is knowing the details of just how dangerous of a situation I could be in because of my history and my adhesions scary? Heck yes. Absolutely. But knowing the truth allows me to process and accept it versus constantly fearing the unknown. I am a tangible learner. I need something in my hands to understand it and being able to recognize abdominal adhesive disease, even with all its dangers, allows me to take it in, process it, and find a way to move forward despite it.

Knowing the danger is better than knowing nothing.

For the first time in years, I feel like I can move forward. I didn’t realize just how stuck I had become until I was able to move.

I can breathe.

I am finally able to sleep which means I am finally able to dream.


Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash
bloggingchronic illness

Top 10 Posts Of All Time

top 10 posts of all time

It is so hard to believe that A New Kind of Normal has been in existence for over 10 years (almost 10 1/2!). Since thing were so crazy last year, we never really got to celebrate the 10 year mark, I thought I would take a day out of Bloguary to earmark the top 10 posts of all time here on A New Kind of Normal (well, at least they are the top 10 posts for the last 10 years)!

Here they are counting down from 10 to 1:

10) Things To Say (& Not Say) To Someone With Chronic Illness

9) What Is In Your Flare Survival Kit?

8) Mission Aborted: When Routine Procedures Go Wrong

7) Fighting The Tube: Recovering From Bowel Obstruction Surgery

6) Surgery Survival Kit

5) The Bowel Prep Survival Kit

4) One Little Word For 2014: Fierce

3) A Frozen Birthday & Bedroom

2) My Hair Hurts: Dealing With Tactile Allodynia & Fibromyalgia

and….drumroll please…..

1) The First 7 Days After Bowel Obstruction Surgery


I Am Bold

It is hard to believe that it has been over 10 years since A New Kind of Normal was born! So many amazing – and challenging – things have happened along the way but I am excited about what is going to happen this year and hopefully for many, many more years after!

Bloguary Day 9

Here is to Living Boldly for another 10 years!