chronic illnessholidays

Gift Guide for Spoonies


It is Gift Guide week here on A New Kind of Normal and hopefully you had a chance to check out yesterday’s gift guide for beauty lovers (and enter the giveaway!). Today’s gift guide focuses on items that will be helpful and appreciated by those with chronic illnesses (aka spoonies).

If you are new to A New Kind of Normal and do not know the background of the term “spoonie” check out The Spoon Theory written by Christine Miserandino. It is such a unique and spot on narrative describing life with illness that both patients and their families/loved ones need to read it (preferably together to open up the opportunity for conversations).

Enough babbling, let’s talk about the fun stuff!

1- Every spoonie I know loves a soft, cuddly blanket! Because of my fibromyalgia and tactile allodynia, a heated throw is my BFF all year round but especially in the winter and I have used mine to death and am in desperate need of a replacement. I was doing some browsing and came across the Sunbeam Microplush Heated Throw and fell in love it the Zebra print. Microplush softness + heat + a bold print = LOVE. If your loves super soft blankets but may not be a fan of a heated throw/blanket, then you may want to check out the Northpoint Ruya Oversized Velvet Plush Throw Blanket. Yes, I said oversized! Who doesn’t love a snuggle buddy? This blanket comes in a variety of prints so there is an option for everyone’s style, I just loved the bright sunny yellow for dark winter days!

2- When I found these, I immediately fell in love. Along with my heated throw, my other BFF is my hot/cold pack and yes these adorable animals you are looking at are hot/cold packs! A sidenote/fun fact about me is that my nickname all my life had been Pig – my dad stills calls me that even at 34 – so whenever I see anything with pigs on it, I’m all over it. These hot/cold packs are by the brand Sootheze and come in a huge assortment of styles. I love, love, love the fact that the company is a mother/daughter team which makes me love them even more. A little bit of information about the product from the Sootheze site:

Huggable animals that are filled with lavender-scented and heat and cold-retaining seeds (place these little creatures in the microwave or freezer for several minutes and enjoy the lasting heat or cold effects for hours!) Not just a stuffed animal- helps soothe chronic pain, sciatica, lupus, fibromyalgia, arthritis, hip pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, leg pain, lower back pain, and even comfort those with dementia, autism, recent loss of a loved one, and MANY other uses!

So many things to love about the brand and so many adorable animals to choose from!

3- Pajamas are always a great gift idea for anyone but spoonies appreciate not only comfortable PJs but cute PJs. If you’ve ever read my post on 10 Things I’ve Learned From Chronic Illness, then you know my stance on the importance of cute PJs. If you haven’t read it, what are waiting for? In my search for cute pajamas, I came across these adorable one piece fleece pajamas and of course I had to pick the pig print (see above). I never thought I would go for one piece pajamas but I may have to make an exception for these. You can also never go wrong with adorable character pajama sets with your spoonie’s favorite characters. For this post, I went with Olaf because who doesn’t love Olaf?

4- When you live with chronic illness, you can always use some encouragement and these two books come highly, highly recommended. I have Chronic Resilience: 10 Sanity-Saving Strategies for Women Coping with the Stress of Illness on my Christmas list (so I hope Santa listens!) but I just recently picked up “Life Disrupted: Getting Real About Chronic Illness In Your Twenties and Thirties” and cannot wait to get started. I have toyed with the idea of having a spoonie book club where we could read books together and then chat about them as another way we can support and encourage each other. Ponder that and let me know!

5- Every woman loves beautiful jewelry so jewelry is always a win for Christmas but it is awesome when you can also provide encouragement and empowerment (and raise awareness while you are at it) and still gift beautiful jewelry. There are so many amazing designers out there but in this post, I’ve got to give a shout out to the amazing work of FJJCreations. The first piece I am showing is the “Be A Badass Everyday” awareness bracelet I mentioned in my Another Obstruction post. It is a great every day piece and you can get the awareness ribbon in all different colors. If you like the style of the bracelet but the saying isn’t your thing, they have a lot of other options for that as well. The second piece I featured is just a beautiful Spoonie Spoon Necklace. I cannot say enough about how beautiful the jewelry is from FJJCreations nor how sweet and amazing the designer behind FJJCreations, Jenjer is. Even if you don’t have a chronic illness or shopping for a loved one with chronic illness, the shop still offers a variety of pieces perfect for anyone and any occasion.

6- While shopping for awareness items on Etsy, I came across this adorable shop called Chronically Fabulous and this shop is full of adorable items that any spoonie would love. I features two different shirt options (you know I love any chance to wear anything with a crown) but her shop also features adorable tumbler cups, jewelry, and other goodies that would be perfect stocking stuffers. Etsy is a wonderful place to do Christmas shopping because not only is the site jam packed with all things amazing, I also love supporting small businesses.

These are just a handful of options that would make great gift ideas for your spoonie friend and loved ones. You can mix and match different options or create a gift basket with some of these items plus some other ideas such coffee or hot chocolate sets, fun adult coloring books (which I love!), beautiful pens and/or stationary sets, and even a gift voucher for various subscription services such as Netflix or Kindle Unlimited (I mentioned some beauty subscription options in my Gift Guide for Beauty Lovers post),

By the way, have you checked out that post yet? You do know there’s a giveaway involved right? So what are you waiting for! Check it out pronto! We’ll wait for you to get back!

I hope this post has helped give you some ideas on some gift ideas for your spoonie loved ones and if you have anything you think should be added to the list, leave a comment so we can all go and check it out!


P.S. Just to make sure its clear, this post is not sponsored (nor is any other post in this gift guide series). I just love sharing my favorite products and brands. If you do want a quick tip on how to save a little money when shopping this Christmas (or any time of the year), I recommend checking out Ebates which allows you to earn cash back on just about every purchase you make online (and if you are a spoonie like me, a lot of shopping is done online). I have shared my referral link but if you want to go straight to the Ebates site and sign up, that’s awesome too! Just want to share a way to stretch our often limited budgets!

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 🙂

chronic illnessfamilyholidaysproduct review

eMeals: Gluten-Free Meal Planning Made Easy

Disclosure: I am a member of the eMeals Blogger Network which includes a one year subscription to eMeals. This post also includes affiliate links. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and always strive to share brands and products that I believe can greatly benefit this community! 

Cooking has never been my forte but when I was diagnosed with Celiac disease in 2010, a lot of my best recipes had to go out the window. My lack of kitchen creativity paired with the overwhelming health challenges of the last six months meant my kitchen has pretty much been out of order save an occasional slow cooker dinner every now and then.

I know that meal planning is not only healthier for my family but is better for our budget which of course is a major concern when dealing with disability. When you plan out your meals for the week and make one trip to the grocery store for meal items, you can plan your shopping around sales and cut down on all the “extras” that somehow appear in your cart every time you make your way to the check out. When I attempted gluten-free meal planning on my own, I felt like I was using the same handful of recipes every week and that was if we even cooked at all. I definitely needed to find something new for the sake of our health (and our wallets).

When I visited Type A Conference in September, I was introduced to eMeals!

eMeals is an awesome service that allows you to create meals plans based on your eating style (such as gluten-free, vegetarian, or even slow cooker!), family size, and even your favorite place to shop for groceries! After signing up, you will receive an email with your seven day meal plan filled with simple yet creative recipes that include a main dish and sides. Not only does the email include all seven recipes but it also includes a shopping list with everything that you need customized for store you selected! To make it even better, the meal plan is coordinated with weekly sales at select stores!

Could it be any easier?!



Now that I am beginning to get my life back and I am excited to dust off my kitchen and put it to good use specially for the holidays right around the corner! I will definitely be sharing about my favorites along the way! The only thing I have noticed so far that I would tweak about the meal plans is the ability to select foods your family does not eat or other food allergies outside of the main meal plan categories. With having Celiac, I choose the gluten-free meal plans but I do not have the option to state that we don’t eat seafood or mushrooms or that I am allergic to nuts. In the grand scheme of things, I consider this a minor problem and within a couple weeks of receiving meal plans, I have many recipes in my arsenal that I am able to swap out for recipes included in the weekly meal plan that may not suit my family’s taste buds!

If you struggle in the kitchen like me (please tell me I’m not the only uncreative cook out there!) or want to start meal planning to keep your family (and budget) healthy, I definitely recommend checking out eMeals! Dinner plans start at $10 per month for 3 months or $58 for the whole year which brings the monthly cost down to $5!!! You can also get a jump on Black Friday/Cyber Monday and save 30% using promo code CYBER which makes eMeals deals even sweeter!


If you plan on spending more time in the kitchen this holiday season, where will you be finding your recipes? Family hand-me-downs, your favorite cookbooks, or trying something new (and finally putting your Pinterest boards to use) after finding a recipe online?


Disclosure: I am a member of the eMeals Blogger Network which includes a one year subscription to eMeals. This post also includes affiliate links. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and always strive to share brands and products that I believe can greatly benefit this community!