Fall Fashion Lookbook 2014

Disclosure: One item in the Fall Lookbook was sent to me by FitClubDesigns on Etsy to facilitate a review but all other items featured were purchased by moi. As always, opinions are 100% my own.

I cannot even begin to put into words how excited I am that fall is right around the corner! Cooler, crisper weather. The beauty of the changing leaves. The return of one Leroy Jethro Gibbs on Tuesday nights. Candy Corn M&Ms are back.The smell of pumpkin spice is everywhere. My birthday is on its way. There are just SO many things to look forward to!

I am in the process of overhauling my wardrobe. I have been pulling out things that either don’t fit anymore or things that I don’t need anymore because I am no longer working in an office so I have 2 massive bins of clothes that I need to list on Poshmark! In turn, I have picked up some new pieces when I’ve found good deals or have been inspired. I have definitely been on a journey of figuring out what my style is and being able to truly own it so I am very excited to open my closet and put some new outfit ideas for fall! While out shopping last week, I had one of the store employees compliment my style. Not my earrings or top but my overall style. That felt so good! I feel like I have finally arrived and finally feel like I know my style and can now fully own it. Its taken some time and trial and error even a few fashion flops but the endgame is worth it. If you are in the midst of trying to figure out your own style, hang in there. You will find it and when you do, the fierce confidence that comes along with it is such an amazing surge of energy. When you have chronic illness, it is so easy to lose yourself in the midst of treatments, doctors visits, and yoga pants but it is all part of the journey and the ups and downs are what grow us into stronger people and the moment you own that, you are on your way!

I have created 3 different looks for the first edition my Fall Fashion Lookbook 2014.

Look #1: Casual Fall Glam

Fall Fashion Lookbook 2014 - Casual Fall Glam

Fall Fashion Lookbook 2014 - Casual Fall Glam

Fall Fashion Lookbook 2014: Casual Fall Glam

Outfit Details:

Black Blazer ~ Ebay

Disney Princess Tank ~ FitClubDesigns

Rockstar Skinny Jeans in Plum ~ Old Navy

Necklace & Earrings ~ ShopMissA.com

Quick Mini-Review: I had been searching for a Disney Princess shirt and when I came across this “I’m 99.9% sure I am a Disney Princess” I knew I needed it in my life! The variety of tanks and tshirts created by FitClubDesigns is amazing. This tank is a workout tank but since I haven’t been able to work out lately, it was perfect to pair with a pair of skinny jeans and a black blazer for a laid-back glam that is perfect for fall. The material of the tops is perfect, not too thin to be see-through but not too heavy to make you a soggy mess after a workout.I have worn and washed mine several times and have not had any issues. I hang dry mine because I was right on the line between a medium and a large and went with the medium but probably should have gone with the large. The “girls” would have liked a little extra room! LOL! Next time I will get the large because I know I will definitely be adding another to my collection!

Look #2: Feminine Edge

Fall Fashion Lookbook 2014: Feminine Edge

Fall Fashion Lookbook 2014: Feminine Edge

Outfit Details:

Black Moto Jacket ~ Old Navy

Blush Chiffon Maxi Skirt ~ Ebay

White T-shirt ~ Old Navy

One of my favorite things that I love to do is mix feminine pieces with more edgy pieces. I love to feel girly and feminine but I also like to keep my edge and spunk mixed in as well. I think the soft chiffon maxi skirt in the color blush was the perfect counterbalance to the black moto jacket. A simple top was all that was needed but you can also try swapping the plain white shirt for a graphic tee for some extra spunk. This look also leaves a lot of freedom to try different types of jewelry such as a statement necklace or a long, layered necklace. Definitely make time to play around and find what best shows off your fierce personality!

Look #3: Leather & Lace

Fall Fashion Lookbook 2014: Leather & Lace

Fall Fashion Lookbook 2014: Leather & Lace
Fall Fashion Lookbook 2014: Leather & Lace

Outfit Details:

Moto Jacket ~ Old Navy

Lace Chiffon Dress ~ Forever21

Tights – Walmart

Lace-up Booties: Forever21

Abby’s Outfit Details:

Ever After Dress ~ Kmart

Denim Jacket – Old Navy

Boots ~ Marshalls

It would be hard to pick a favorite out of these three looks but if I was forced to choose, I think it would be this one! Again, I love the mix of feminine and edgy with the leather jacket (well, faux leather jacket) and the lace paneled chiffon dress. I liked adding a belt as it shows off a more defined waist and it adds some personality in lieu of not wearing a necklace or bracelets.

Here are the mood boards from these 3 looks that may be helpful making some modifications to make this look your own!

Casual Fall Glam

Casual Fall Glam by anewkindofnormal featuring h&m skinny jeans

Feminine Edge

Feminine Edge by anewkindofnormal featuring a chiffon maxi skirt

Leather & Lace

Leather & Lace by anewkindofnormal featuring nylon tights

Which of these looks was your favorite? What looks are you looking forward to rockin’ this fall? Are there any new trends you want to try that may be a little out of your comfort zone but you want to go for it anyway?

Disclosure: One item in the Fall Lookbook was sent to me by FitClubDesigns to facilitate a review but all other items featured were purchased by moi. As always, opinions are 100% my own.

Coming Up For Air: Reclaiming Life With Chronic Illness

Reclaiming life with chronic illness
This past week may have been the hardest week of my life. I don’t think I have ever been so low before. I felt like I was in the bottom of a deep, dark pit and life with chronic illness had become suffocating. Until now.

As you know, I am in the process of fighting for disability due to my multiple chronic illnesses. In addition to filing for SSI with the help of an attorney, I have been trying to file my claim with my long term disability company as I have paid on a LTD policy for over eight years while working for my previous employer. When my doctor put me out of work, I thought that SSI would be the headache as I believed paying into a policy in case of circumstances such as this would provide necessary resources. After all, is that not the point of purchasing short term and long term disability policies? Needless to say, working with my LTD company has become a complete nightmare.

After months and months and 28485620 pages of medical records, I received a letter from the company that hit me like a ton of bricks. It felt like so much more than a denial letter. I am not sure if I have ever felt so judged, belittled, and demeaned not only as a patient but as a person. I am too young. I am too put together and look too well to be as sick as I am claiming. I am exaggerating my symptoms. I haven’t been to the hospital enough. I’ve worked this long being ill, why stop now. There were six pages of statements such as these.

Obviously feelings are probably at the bottom of the company’s priority list and avoiding making payments is at the top but the picture that they painted with the words they used of my life and the impact that multiple chronic illnesses have on every aspect of my life could not have been farther from the truth. They even tried to pin the doctors not only against me but against each other which added to the hurt. I had always bragged that I had such a great team of physicians supporting and advocating for me so it was almost a double whammy. At that moment, not only did I feel judged and disrespected by a faceless insurance company but betrayed by doctors I had grown to respect over the last ten years.

It was the hardest thing I have ever had to read. Thankfully my husband was home when I read the letter because honestly, I am not sure how I would have reacted if I was alone after reading the letter. It was like I had been stabbed in the heart and I plummeted very quickly into a very dark place.

I felt completely empty and even the smallest things took an enormous amount of effort. My anxiety was through the roof and I began to question everything.

The only thing I could cling to was the promise that God was with me through even the darkest moments. I had to believe that He was with me and had plans for me despite the hardships I was facing. Clutching Hope in one hand and the hand of my husband in the other is what got me through. He supported me in a way surpasses understanding.

So here I am a week later working to put the pieces back together. I had an appointment with my rheumatologist yesterday which helped to put me back on the path to healing (at least mentally and emotionally). He listened patiently and compassionately as I emotionally regurgitated my feelings and fears about the current my state of health and the disability process. He reminded me that no matter what the letter said that I have his complete support. He was worked with companies like these for years and they with exploit every loophole possible while pinning the blame of denying the claim on the doctors versus themselves. He had my back.

For the first time in a week, I feel like I can breathe again. I am ready to start reclaiming life with chronic illness and ready to start feeling like myself again. My true self.

I have purple dye on my hair as I type. I have plans to overhaul the blog design to get a fresh jumpstart. I am full of ideas to pour myself back into writing.

I am ready.

Fresh air feels good.

Photo credit: spinster cardigan / Foter.com / CC BY