chronic styleholidays

Gift Guide For Beauty Lovers (+ Giveaway!)

 

Gift Guide for Beauty Lovers & Giveaway Sponsored by A New Kind of Normal

It is that time of year and in addition to love shopping, I love shopping for others this time of year! Today’s post features this year’s Gift Guide for Beauty Lovers (ahem, like myself!). I had planned on getting these gift guides up last week but as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I got a little held up. I’ll make it up to you. I promise (hint: there’s a giveaway at the end of this post!).

Just like the focus of Chronic Style, this gift guide and the ones to follow are focused on affordable yet quality products. I know like many spoonies, budgets are limited but that doesn’t mean we can’t treat our friends and loved ones to some amazing gifts.

Enough rambling, let’s talk some amazing beauty deals in this year’s Gift Guide for Beauty Lovers:

1. Colourpop Blitzed Eyeshadows: I mentioned this set in my fall makeup wish list but it is so beautiful, it is worth mentioning twice. I am a huge fan of Colourpop. The prices are amazing and the products are out of this world (I plan to do an entire post dedicated to the brand after the New Year in a series of my favorite affordable makeup brands so I’ll try to keep my gushing to a minimum). The shadows included in this set are all absolutely stunning and one thing I love about Colourpop is that they always give swatches of the products on a variety of skintones so you always have an idea of how the color will work on your skin. All Colourpop shadows are $5 so this set of 6 is the most expensive set on the list coming in at $30 but you can use the code THANKSBABE to save $5 and they are so absolutely worth every penny!

  1. Colourpop Foxy Ultra Matte To-Go Set: This is another amazing holiday gift set from Colourpop. I have been a passenger on the matte liquid lipstick train for some time now and Colourpop Ultra Matte Lips are some of my favorites so this gift set is perfect for those who may be new to liquid lipsticks, new to Colourpop, or just enjoy a variety of lipstick shades. This set includes 5 mini-sized ultra matte lippies in some of their best selling shades for $20. They also have another holiday set called Kitty Ultra Matte To-Go which includes all new, limited edition shades. Both are equally gorgeous and on my wish list!

  2. ELF Artistry Eyeshadow Palette: This palette is a new discovery and one I cannot wait to get my hands on! If you are familiar with higher end makeup brands, the setup of this palette looks a lot like the Urban Decay Vice palettes but for less than half the price coming in at $20. ELF is another one of those brands that is very affordable but has some amazing, quality products in their lineup. This is a limited edition palette for the holidays and includes 20 shades ranging from neutral to vibrant in a variety of finishes. The palette also houses a large mirror which definitely adds bonus points in my book!

  3. ELF Illuminating Palette: Lately there are two things I cannot get enough of: liquid lipsticks and highlighting powders. I’ve already mentioned some of my favorite lipsticks so now its time to talk highlights. This palette includes four different shades of illuminating powders to suit any skin tone and for only $6, this makes a perfect stocking stuffer!

5. ULTA Sophisticated 4 Piece Brush Set: You can never have too many makeup brushes (does anyone else hate washing brushes as much as I do?) and this cute little set is a perfect stocking stuffer and is also perfect for holiday travel. The set is a $52 value but is a steal at the regular price of $20 and to make it even better, it is currently on sale for only $10 making it another perfect stocking stuffer!

  1. Makeup Revolution Ultra Blush & Contour Palette: As I mentioned a few minutes ago, I have become a sucker for highlighting which makes this palette a dream as it includes contour, blush, and highlighting powders. Makeup Revolution began as a UK Brand but has now made its way to the US in ULTA which is uber exciting as they are another affordable brand with a wide range of products. I have not gotten my hands on a lot of Makeup Revolution products yet (with a big emphasis on yet) but I have tried some of their highlighting and bronzing powders and they are stunning which is why I had to add this palette to the list! For only $10, the palette includes 8 shades of blushes, bronzer, and highlight. The palette comes in two shades: Sugar & Spice (which is described as a “pinky palette combines warm and cool tones to help you achieve your ideal demure flush”) and Hot Spice (which is described as “rusty neutrals and pinky peaches smolder with intensity in this spicy collection”). Did I mention these palettes are only $10?
  2. NYX Cosmetics Rocker Chic Eyeshadow Palette: This was another item that showed up on my fall makeup wish list and since posting, I have added two out of the three palettes to my collection and I am in love. I have been a big fan of NYX for quite a while and these little palettes pack quite a punch. I own California Dreaming and Tainted Love and definitely wouldn’t mind rounding out my collection with Heart of Gold. Each palette contains five vibrant shadows that allow you to take your look from soft to rockin’ and the fact that the palettes are studded just makes my rocker heart go pitter-patter. The palettes are regularly priced at $17.99 but are currently on sale for $13.49.

  3. Essence How To Make Your Face Glow Palette: This is another great all-in-one palette to keep your face glowing at holiday and New Year’s Eve parties. Essence is another affordable brand that surprises you with many products that pack a beautiful punch. This handy palette includes a bronzer, blusher, and highlighter along with a guide to achieve different looks for only $9.99. This palette makes a great stocking stuffer or party gift for playing Dirty Santa (or White Elephant as its sometimes called).

 

Some other options include giving a gift voucher for beauty subscription boxes such as Ipsy or Birchbox to name a few (these are two of my favorites).

Of course another gift option for your beauty lover is to make your own gift box or stocking including your favorite beauty items like this:

Gift Guide for Beauty Lovers Giveaway Sponsored By A New Kind of Normal

 

 

I’ve compiled a lot of my favorite beauty items into a beautifully decorated Christmas box and one of YOU will be the recipient! The box contains some of my favorite powders, highlighters, mascara, eye shadow, eye shadow bases, lippies, nail polishes, and more! This box is full to the brim!

This giveaway is open to anyone in the US and will run through Wednesday, December 16, 2015.

To enter this giveaway:

  1. *Mandatory Entry*: Leave me a comment telling me what beauty product you would add to this gift guide for beauty lovers with a link to the item so we can all check it out!
  2. For an additional entry: Tweet about this giveaway and leave me a separate comment letting me know that you did with the URL of your tweet.
  3. For another additional entry: Share about this giveaway on any other social media platform (Facebook, Instragram, etc) and come back here and leave me a separate comment letting me know that you did with the URL of your post!

 

There you have it folks! My 2015 Gift Guide for Beauty Lovers! I hope you enjoyed it and got some shopping ideas for friends and loved ones (and entered the giveaway of course!).

Stay tuned for the rest of the week as I will be sharing my Gift Guide for Spoonies and my Gift Guide for Bloggers. See you soon!

 

P.S. If you want to save even more money while doing your holiday shopping (especially if you are an online shopper like myself), be sure to check out Ebates. You earn cash back on just about everywhere you shop online and Ebates also keeps track of current promo/coupon code offers so no more scrambling between different sites looking for the best deals. Ebates often offers double cash back which makes the deals even sweeter! There is even a plugin you can add to your web browser so it basically does all the work for you so all you have to do is shop and see your cash back add up. There is a mobile app as well to use on the go. This is not sponsored but I am a huge fan of saving money which makes me a huge fan of Ebates. I have linked my referral code (I am all about 100% transparency) so if you’d rather not use it, I totally understand but I still recommend signing up directly on the Ebates site so you get the sign up bonus & start earning cash back right away. 

P.S.S. Just as an FYI, this gift guide, nor are any of the gift guides in this series sponsored. I am just sharing my favorite products and brands with you guys and the giveaway in this post was put together by yours truly. Just want to make sure its all out on the table 🙂

familytravel

Top 10 Disney Christmas Memories 2013

As a part of our Christmas, my family packed up and headed on a family vacation to Walt Disney World! We went the second week of December which allowed us to see everything decorated but not have to deal with the killer crowds the two weeks surrounding Christmas. I have never been this time of year so I was so excited to see everything decorated and lit up in lights! I mean, Cinderella’s Castle is breathtaking on its own at night but with Christmas lights? Be still, my pixie-dusted heart!

 

Disney Christmas Vacation 2013

It was such an amazing week and while I could talk about it for days, I will share with you our top 10 Disney Christmas memories (in no particular order):

Landing!

I thought I had learned a lot about traveling from our first trip to Disney in 2011 but I was not prepared for the winter weather! It was such a stressful day of travel due to bad winter weather. We were flying out of Greenville, SC and my parents were flying out of Roanoke, VA and the forecast definitely had me biting my nails! Flying itself gives me anxiety but the stress of wondering if both of our flights would fly remotely on schedule gave me heartburn! My parents had the worst of the winter weather and while they had a delay, they landed in Orlando before lunch. Our flight was already scheduled to arrive 8 hours after my parents but while we didn’t have horrible weather at our airport, the flights were backed up because of delays elsewhere. We didn’t take off until almost 10:30pm but thankfully its only an hour flight. My parents were ready and waiting at baggage claim to pick us up and get the week of fun started! Aren’t glittery shoes the only way to travel to Disney?

Top 10 Disney Memories

The weather!

When we took off in SC, the temperature was hovering around 40 degrees but when we walked out of the airport at almost midnight, it was over 80! We were shedding layers as we walked to the car! We could not have asked for better weather the week we were there! It was warm enough to enjoy wearing shorts and skirts but we weren’t melting. It never rained. I’m not sure if we even had any overcast days! My joints were very happy with the warmth and sunshine!

Disney Vacation Memories

Tower of Terror & Expedition Everest!

I have always, always wanted to ride these rides but being that I was only 4 weeks post-op at our last visit, I wasn’t able to ride the bigger rides.While Abby wasn’t quite tall enough to ride and John definitely wasn’t going to ride so they checked out shows and characters while I got the chance to ride Tower of Terror (Hollywood Studios) and Expedition Everest (Animal Kingdom) with my parents! Oh my goodness! These were amazing rides! I was worried about both of them being too jerky but I was pleasantly surprised! There was only one turn on Everest that was a tad rough (right after you started going backwards) but I was able to keep my hands up the whole time (earning me a $1 from a bet with my dad that I wouldn’t be able to do it). Tower of Terror wasn’t jerky at all surprisingly and the only thing that bothered me was the spinning stars that made me a little dizzy. I definitely give both rides 2 thumbs up! Hopefully by next visit, Abby will be tall enough for both!

Disney Vacation Memories

The Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights!

Oh my goodness. Seeing the dancing lights at Hollywood Studios is reason enough to travel to Disney World at Christmas! It was absolutely breathtaking! Words seriously cannot describe it! It was actually the very last year for the Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights as Hollywood Studios began major renovations removing Streets of America (where the lights were set up) to make room for the future Star Wars area.

Disney Vacation Memories

Gluten-Free Barbecue!

I have mentioned before that I think WDW is one of the best places to vacation if you have Celiac disease (or other food allergies) because they are so allergen-friendly. And its not just one or two things that are available at the parks that are gluten-free but a HUGE variety throughout all the parks (Allergy-Free Mouse is a great resource). When you place an allergen-friendly order, a manager takes your order and that is the only person who has contact with your meal from start to finish! That attention to detail to avoid cross contamination issues is worth every minute of the wait! We didn’t eat in the parks much for budget reasons but stopping at Flame Tree Barbecue at Animal Kingdom was not up for debate! Their gluten-free barbecue is AMAZING. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING (and yes, it worth all-caps!). If I could have found a way to box it up and ship it home, I totally would!

Test Track!

This ride was definitely at the top of all of our favorite rides list! Even my not-crazy-about-rides husband loved it! When you shoot out on the outdoor track to hit top speeds, it is a total adrenaline rush! It was so much fun building your car and then being able to check out how your creation would work on the track! Abby took charge of the design process and we basically ended up with a glittery Barbie jeep with a lift-kit! We killed it on all categories except being eco-friendly! Oops! We still earned 1st place!

Disney Vacation Memories

Meeting All The Characters!

Abby had the opportunity to meet a lot of the characters on our first visit so this year we put the princesses she didn’t have a chance to meet at the top of our to-do list! The top ones on that list were her girls Rapunzel, Ariel, Brave, and Jasmine! Her level of excitement in having her turn to meet the princesses was written all over her face! She was so enamored with all of them! She was wearing her Tangled wedding dress when she met Rapunzel so she thought that was amazing and maybe earned her some extra time posing for pictures! Abby was totally a natural in front of the camera! She ate it up!

Disney Vacation Memories

Introducing Abby to some “big girl” rides!

Abby has grown quite a bit since our first visit to Disney and she was so excited to cross the 40″ mark so she could ride some of the “big girl” rides! She absolutely loved the Goofy’s Barnstormer roller coaster that is part of the new Fantasyland and the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad coaster in Frontierland! She also thought the Star Wars ride at Hollywood Studios was a cool ride because she got to shoot the bad guys! Two “big girl” ride fails were the Dinosaur ride at Animal Kingdom and Splash Mountain! I had never ridden the Dinosaur ride before but it was quite a dark, rough ride so she came off the ride in tears. Mom fail! The reason she didn’t like Splash Mountain was because she didn’t like her butt getting wet from the seats! Mom scored some points back since I packed some spare bottoms! This is the before shot of Dinosaur when she was all smiles (I am so glad that we do not have an after):

Disney Vacation Memories

Meeting Anna & Elsa

Meeting the princess & queen from Frozen needed a spot all its own! Throughout the entire week, the longest line we waited in by far was to meet Anna and Elsa! We waited around 1 1/2 hours but a cast member shared that during the busier times the wait was a minimum 2 hours! I cannot imagine what the lines were the week of Christmas! Pure insanity I’m sure! Just before it was our turn to go in, Abby had her face plastered to the glass as she anxiously awaited her turn! When she was greeted by Anna and Elsa, I don’t think anything else in her world existed! You could just see the wonder in her eyes! As we were leaving she turned to me and said, “Mama, that was worth every single minute of the wait!” That definitely made it worth every minute for us too!

Disney Vacation Memories

 

Being a Family!

I soak up every minute we are able to be together as a family and there is just something magical about making memories together at Disney. Before we took Abby the first time in 2011, I never understood how people could visit year after year and not get bored. Then we took Abby and I saw the magic. I have always loved Disney but this visit definitely infused my veins with pixie dust for life! One of the most important lessons I learned from our first trip to Disney was to take the time to take it all in and just enjoy yourself! Put down the camera every once and a while and focus on seeing the wonder through your child’s eyes and making memories together is an experience I will never, ever trade for anything. Our first visit in 2011 was a total family affair (which was amazing) but we went this year with just my parents. When you live away from your family, it makes those times together even more special! I am super close with my parents and love any time that I get to spend with them! It was just a magical experience and I honestly cannot wait to plan our next visit!

Disney Vacation Memories

Now to finally figure out this whole couponing thing so I can start saving and planning for our next trip!

chronic illnessholidays

Finding Peace At Christmas

Today’s post is the last guest post in the Surviving the Holidays with Chronic Illness series and it couldn’t come at a better time! So often we can get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season that we forget to take the time to sit quietly and reflect on the true meaning of the season. Finding peace at Christmas and taking refuge in our Savior knowing the HOPE and PROMISE that was given to us to many years ago. Today’s post is written by Claudia from Until I Rest In Him so be sure to visit her blog! P.S. I am working on recovering from our trip to Disney and cannot wait to share our experience and pictures with you guys!

Finding Peace At Christmas

Almost within a week of having our Christmas tree up, something I could not quite put my finger on was calling to me. Every time I would look at the tree, something just kept calling to a part of me that I felt so detached from yet still something SO familiar.

As the days went on, and that “something” continued to call to me, I began to get creative visions. I would have visions of this beautiful tree that had a “woodsy” feel to it but yet still elegant. A tree that had earth tone hydrangeas throughout its branches and somehow had a vintage feel to it a tree I could keep up ALL year round that I could decorate to reflect each individual season.

I kept the vision to myself for quite some time as I allowed the feelings of confusion to stir. I slowly began to get clarity on what it was I was feeling more and more each day. Something inside me felt as if it were shifting. It felt as if there was a deeper part of me that was trying to communicate with me but somehow there was still this disconnect…and the more I felt it, the more I yearned to connect to…”it”.

I began to pray for clarity and ask God why this felt like more than just an idea I had to keep some tree up all year round. Why did this idea speak to me in a way nothing had in longer than I could remember? My mind was racing with what this was all about and how I would make this happen among the countless other thoughts whirling around my head…and then…a whisper…not in my ear…in my body…my whole body. It was an invitation to be still. Be still…and just allow the thoughts to whirl around…and see what happens.

I tried over and over and over again to….be still. I couldn’t do it. So, I continued to research on the computer all the elements I would need to make this “seasonal tree” trying desperately to piece together all the fragments of thoughts, ideas and feelings that would bring some wholeness to this…”thing” that was beckoning to me.

As I continued to ask for God’s help still not yet successful at being still, the pieces began to come together. Next thing I knew, I was finding discount stores online that carried the elements that once again spoke to me and felt as if they were each a missing puzzle piece in this creative endeavor…whatever it was to come to be in the end. From there I went on a website designed for independent artists to showcase and sell their work, found a bunch of very talented artists who made homemade gift tags that were just the right size and style, and went to town! I was thrilled to have also found a gorgeous handmade burlap tree skirt to match the burlap ribbon I used on the tree (For a list of the artists I purchased the tags from, as well as the artist I purchased the handmade burlap tree skirt from, scroll to the bottom of the blog post). I felt so blessed that God had given me the idea that if I decorated the tree with artistic gift tags, I could do the entire tree for EVERY season and EVERY holiday within my budget. Awesome! I had a BLAST picking these out. The tree was still decorated for Christmas and the research was just getting started but the creative juices were flowing!

Soon, Christmas had come to pass and the tree stood there completely stripped of all decorations and the only thing I had expressed to my husband was that I wanted him to please leave the tree up because I had an “idea” as I called it at the time. Now, to my husband this was music to his ears because at that point, he didn’t care what the idea was. All he knew was that he didn’t have to take the tree down and that alone was a wonderful idea to him! 🙂 

Day after day, my husband would see these small packages arrive in the mail from various etsy shops and discount floral stores online and my eyes would light up like a little kid…on Christmas morning. It wouldn’t matter what kind of day I had. When those packages would arrive, “it” lit up…that “thing” inside me came alive.

My husband had no idea what any of this was at this point. All he knew was that it all had to do with this idea I had to keep the tree up year round. Since I just kept the vision at bay with “you’ll see” as my standard response to any questions he had, he just let it go and said “ok, whatever makes you happy” Happy…hmmm. Well, it was more like…alive. I felt…alive. For that brief moment I held the packages in my hand each day they would arrive, and the vision began to take shape….something in me that had laid dormant day after day – would come to life. It didn’t matter that it was only for a short time. I still cherished what it felt like to feel something other than weary.

With each passing day, the racing, whirling thoughts began to settle down and were replaced with a peace…a silence from within where I began to feel what would be normal to describe as “lost” in putting this seasonal tree together piece by piece. What I find so ironic about that phrase is that this project allowed me to silence my mind. It allowed me to put the whirling thoughts to rest…it allowed me to find stillness…I FOUND STILLNESS….I FOUND SILENCE….only when I listened to the calling from within and allowed myself to get LOST in following the whispers did I FIND….MY SPIRIT.

The self-defeating thought I chose to believe was…

“A tree that you would leave up ALL year round…what?! That’s such a stupid idea. Only you would think of something so ridiculous like that. Besides, nobody’s going to get it. How are you going to explain yourself when people walk in your home and they see a tree up? Ridiculous. Besides do you have any idea how expensive something like that would be? Forget it already.”

If I were to allow myself to receive the gift of God’s grace and place all my faith in the Word, then in God’s eyes, the truth is…

John 10:27 (ESV)
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

Today I recognized Jesus…

Ok, not to sound like a broken record here but let’s look at this from another perspective. I had to LOSE myself in order to FIND my SPIRIT, right? Well, what’s even more intriguing to me is that I did it while putting together my first ever seasonal tree for…
Valentine’s Day

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
– Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

My spirit chooses to trust it’s intuitive nature and interpret that as yet another sign from God that this journey for me personally, at this time, is not about trying to be like everybody else and beating myself up day after day because I can’t seem to ‘join the crowd’. No, it appears to me that this journey is at this time, about learning to LOVE MYSELF THROUGH MY FULL ACCEPTANCE OF WHO I AM IN CHRIST.

In otherwise, it’s not my job or my calling to ‘fit in’ right now. It’s my job to…

‘make peace with the silence.’ MY silence.

It is MY personal belief that then and only then, can I begin to heal…REALLY heal. So, for me, putting those hearts up on the tree one by one, started off as just decorating the tree around a theme. Now that it’s decorated and I’m able to step back and take it in day after day, I see the irony of it all.

I cannot sit here and FULLY embrace that I am a child of God in one breath if in the other breath, I’m going to turn around and continue allowing this self-talk to weaken my spirit.

I MUST continue to pray EVERY DAY that God keeps me focused on the very thing that is giving me life…MY SPIRIT.

What’s another way to perceive our spirit?
AS THE VOICE OF GOD.

So, for me, it appears this might be the toughest part of my journey now…making a decision that may take me some time to surrender to. Will I continue to allow the voice of the trauma to define who I am…or will I accept and EMBRACE who I AM and ALWAYS have been in Christ…and listen to the voice of my spirit?

“I will no longer wound myself with the thoughts and questions that have surrounded me like thorns: that is a penance You do not ask of me.”
Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas

So, why did I not post this on Valentine’s Day?

Well, having gotten in the habit now of paying a BIT more attention to my spirit, I felt this post wasn’t quite ready. However, what strikes me about that is that Valentine’s Day itself is all about focusing on showing those around us just how much we love THEM…and that’s what it should be…on Valentine’s Day and EVERY day. I get that. I really do….but I have another theory as to why God didn’t settle my spirit in regards to posting this until AFTER Valentine’s Day.

As many of you know, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can often rob us of feeling ANY LOVE for OURSELVES. Now, I know that sounds like a very selfish statement. I get it….but it’s not. Why? Well, because it is my personal belief that THAT is what MY journey is all about AT THIS TIME. Discovering who I am in GOD…REALLY embracing his unconditional LOVE for ME and learning to RELEASE all other thoughts that I am less than worthy of His love.

Closing prayer to Jesus:

Dear Jesus,
Wow. Between the creation of the tree which included hours of searching online for just the right decorations, creating and recreating the tree over and over again until it FELT in alignment with my spirit, the confidence I had to allow you to build within me to SHARE this endeavor, the photography and countless pictures I took before finding just the right ones to post, etc…(deep sigh)…AND the hours it took to not only write this post but again, tweak it where it felt it was in alignment with my spirit’s message….well, it’s safe to say this tree…this post…is ALL a TRUE reflection of MY spirit…of YOU living within ME.

I now call it….my Spirit Tree.

So, for that reason alone,
the tree is perfect…just the way it is…until St Patrick’s Day 🙂

“Make peace with silence, and remind yourself that it is in this space that you’ll come to remember your spirit. When you’re able to transcend an aversion to silence, you’ll also transcend many other miseries. And it is in this silence that the remembrance of God will be activated.” 
― Wayne W. Dyer

Personal Reflection

Have you ever had a moment where you felt connected with your spirit through a creative endeavor of any kind? I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments below!

 

Claudia De Mauro is a 42 year old woman with Spina Bifida/Chiari/Hydrocephalus/Tethered Cord Syndrome/Complex PTSD/Gastroparesis and struggles with extreme isolation due to the PTSD as well as the deep grief of being childless not by choice. Claudia is the author and creator of Until I Rest In Him (you can also find her on Twitter). The mission of “Until I Rest In Him” is to be the stepping stone on a path that leads another to trust in and rest in Jesus.