faithfamily

A Sweet Letter From My Sister: A Letter of Love, Grace & Inspiration

LETTER-FROM-MY-SISTER

 

To all of your beautiful warriors.

I am deeply honored to have been asked by my sister to be a guest writer on her blog. She gave me a few possible topics that I could share about but I’m going to go a different direction.

I’m going to talk about us. Our relationship. I love my sister with all my heart and I think about her all the time. I worry about her nonstop. I get scared to death when I get a text from her or our mom/ I get scared that it may say something was dreadfully wrong. I want nothing more than for her to be healed. I’ve prayed and prayed for healing, but for some reason (beyond my earthly knowledge) this is her illness and only God can heal in His time.

I am 22 months older than Jamee which is not that far apart so we were a year apart in school and I’ve always been thankful for that. Growing up, Jamee was always the silly, goofy one and a lot more outgoing than I was. I was super shy and backwards. Almost terrified of people in some ways but thankfully, it is a trait that is not a part of my life today and none of my girls have inherited it. I was able to befriend her friends and they took me in as part of their group. Jamee and I fought a lot growing up (like most siblings do), but she really was one of my best friends.

A-LETTER-FROM-MY-SISTER

Sadly it took me until my late 20s to completely acknowledge our journey and understand how our relationship evolved and how we fit together as we grew older. And it was then that I apologized for every mean thing I ever said to her and our relationship has continued to grow and deepen as we get older.

I’ve always admired my sister. She has a strength and a way about her that makes her stand out. A certain charisma that draws people to her. I saw some of that light fade when illness started to take over, but she won’t back down. She fights back.

I’ve watched her get ink on her body that is permanent (I wish I was that decisive). I’ve seen her color her hair in various bold shades (both on purpose and on accident) from orange to violet to black and walk into a public space just daring someone to make a negative comment.

I have always been a people pleaser. Constantly busy trying to keep everyone happy. Even if this meant giving up my own happiness. I’ve made a lot of choices in my life basing them on the feelings of others rather than my own heart. I worry about hurting the feelings of those close to me or making someone mad at me. Constant worrying can be exhausting.

I started to feel like a coward but then I started thinking of my sister and my mood changed. I was inspired. I said to myself, no more. I’m going to be true to myself and stand up for myself. I have three beautiful little girls who look up to me. I’m their role model. Do I really want them to see a coward, or a strong, proud woman?

Thank you, Jamee. You are an inspiration to me. You are amazing and I’m so proud of you.

Love from your big sissy,

Brandy

BRANDY-AUTHOR-INFO

 

chronic style

Fall Makeup Wish List 2015

Makeup Wishlist

Fall is an exciting time for makeup! Its time to break out the vampy lipstick and there are loads of new releases in stores in preparation for the holidays. I will do a holiday gift guide later on but I want to share a few items that are on my Fall Makeup Wish List. Most of the items are affordable, drugstore brands but I did include two splurges. Let’s start window shopping, shall we?

1. NYX Rocker Chic Eyeshadow Palettes – $18

NYX-ROCKER-CHIC-EYESHADOW-PALETTES

Source: NYXCosmetics.com

Anything with studs, sign me up but I think these palettes are so adorable and are packed with such fun shades! If you are used to neutrals and want to do a little experimenting without buying a large palette, these are a great option without a big investment (even though Heart of Gold is still a great neutral option). If you love an edgy look and want a compact palette to take with you when you are traveling, these work for that too! The names of the palettes front to back are California Dreaming, Heart of Gold, and Tainted Love (which is my personal favorite). These palettes are available on Ulta.com but the packaging is slightly different (you lose the the studs in favorite of a clear palette cover) but we all know it is hard to resist the deal and the coupons of Ulta.

2. NYX Los Angeles Eyeshadow Palette – $20

NYX-LOS-ANGELES-EYESHADOW-PALETTE

Source: NYXCosmetics.com

NYX is on it with their new palettes they are releasing. I love this palette as well as the small Rocker Chic palettes. This palette contains ten shades versus five and contain a nice variety of neutral and bold shades. There is also a NYX California Palette that is also gorgeous but contains lighter shades. I love the pops of color and I think you could make some fun neutral looks with a pop of color that would match perfectly with some vampy lips, don’t you think? I would assume these palettes will eventually make their way over to Ulta but at the time of publishing this post, they were only on the NYX website.

3. NYX Custom Pro Palette – $15 for palette; $5/$6 for each pan

NYX-PRO-PALLETTESource: NYXCosmetics.com

NYX completely has their game face on. Consumers were asking and they listened and there is finally a Custom Pro Palette  where you can full customize your palette with not only your choice of twelve different highlight and contour shades but they also offer twelve different high definition blush pro shades. I would assume (and pray!) that they bring these options to Ulta but at the time of publishing this post, it was only available on the NYX site.

4. ULTA Illuminating Powders – Reg. $10, sale 2 for $10

ULTA-BRAND-ILLUMINATING-POWERS

Source: Ulta.com

I really, really want to try out these highlighters because 1) I’m obsessed with highlighting, 2) these actually look like enough for my uber pale skin and can give of a “glow from within” look (at least that is what the reviews are say), and 3) I love a good highlight. Ulta is currently running an amazing sale of select products in their makeup brand. They have mascara, foundations, powders. setting sprays and primers 2 for $10! They are also offering their eyeliners, gel eyeliners.eye shadow, lips, and nails for $3 for $9! I wish I had gotten this post up earlier to share the good deals. I have head amazing things about the Matte Lip Creams so I will definitely be try those. I think I might do a battle of the Matte Lip Cream (since every brand seems to have on now right?) – would that be be something that you guys would be interested it?

5- Colourpop Forever Freshman Eyeshadow Collection – $30

COLOURPOP-FALL-2015-FOREVER-FRESHMAN

Source: ColourPop.com

You cannot make a wishlist without including anything from Colourpop and you most definitely cannot create a fall wishlist with including anything from the new Fall 2015 Throwback Collection. I will admit that I own most of the single eyeshadows from the fall collection (ok, I admit I own A LOT of ColourPop shadows in general which are all $5) but I have been drooling over this collection for its unique, limited 1edition shades. I love Baby-T which is the deep blackened blue but it really is way too hard to chose a favorite! I want them all!

6- ColourPop Ultra Matte Lips – $6

COLOURPOP-ULTRA-MATTE-LIPS

Source: Colourpop.com

With the matte liquid lipstick craze in full swing, ColourPop also hopped on board with these these Ultra Matte Lipsticks. They do dry down matte but without being too overly drying and I have the ColourPop Lippie Primer that I use before and that makes a huge difference. I own six shades I believe but I added this to my Fall Wishlist because they came out with some beautiful fall shades and some plain ol’ fun shades! How fun are Dr. M and Jellies? I know not everyone wants to wear blue or green lipstick but some days it just calls for something different!

7. ColourPop Lippie Stix – $5

COLOURPOP-LIPPIE-STIX

Source: ColourPop.com

Last Colourpop product I promise and I will make this brief! In addition to the matte liquid lipsticks, ColourPop also has Lippie Stix with matching Lippie Pencils (which makes matching your liner to your lipstick a breeze!). The reason I put these particular products on my wish list is because these colors are a part of the Fall Collection and they take me straight back to the 90s.I’ve got flannel shirts, chunky heeled shoes, choker necklaces, and these shades of lipsticks on the market. I feel like I’m back in high school again! Since my October Loved & Loathed Beauty Products will be centered on ColourPop products, you will definitely be hearing more of my thoughts!

8- Butter London Lady In Red (Online Only at Ulta.com) – $22

BUTTER-LONDON-LADY-IN-REDSource: Ulta.com

I considered this choice to be a middle of the road between affordable/drugstore prices versus more high end. I love Butter London nail polishes but those are $15 on their own so considering this is both a nail polish and a beautiful lipstick, you really cannot beat the price. I seriously cannot own enough red lipsticks. Especially now that my hair is back dark, I could easily rock a red lip every time I left the house and be perfectly ok with it. I must admit though, now I can’t get the song out of my head! If you don’t know what song I am talking about, you are too young! LOL

9- Urban Decay Moondust Eye Shadows – $21

URBAN-DECAY-MOONDUST-EYE-SHADOWS

Source: Ulta.com

As I mentioned in my September Loved & Loathed Beauty & Style Products, I picked up one of these shadows in Moon Spoon (with a name like that, how could I pass it up?) and fell in love so of course I had to put a couple more shades on my wish list. You can always use a good purple (Ether) but I have to admit that Scorpio and Solstice look the most unique. The best way to apply them is to use a glitter glue eyeshadow primer (ELF has an awesome one for $2) and then use your finger to apply. Whenever I create a look with a sparkly shadow, I always do my eyes first so I can do damage control after! My plan is to record my first tutorial but that will depend on how this flu and upper respiratory infection progresses!

10- PUR Cosmetics Eye Polish Pure Pigment Eye Primer & Top Coat – $26

PUR-EYE-POLISH-PURE-PIGMENT

Source: Ulta.com

I had never really even heard of this brand or paid it any attention until these little pots started showing up all over YouTube and caught my attention (definitely watch – and follow –  Jessica Braun’s review (formerly JAMBeauty89). The colors swatch absolutely gorgeous and the reviews are through the roof. I want them all but if I had to pick, I think I would go with Caviar sit is the most unique I think and I think it would go well with my hazel eyes. We will just have to see if any late birthday presents show up or any coupons come in the mail! LOL

Those are 10 things that are on my Fall Makeup Wishlist? What items are on yours? What do you look for to changing out when the seasons change?

chronic illness

Allodynia: The Pain No One Sees

Allodynia & Invisible Pain

One of my most frustrating symptoms of any of my chronic illnesses is the one that is the least visible and the least understood. The medical term is “tactile allodynia” or simply “allodynia” but is often just referred to as hypersensitivity. Sounds like such a simple description for something that causes excruciating pain. Of the variety of types of pain I deal with on a regular basis, this hypersensivity is by far the most frustrating because there is so little that can be done for it. Allodynia is often associated with conditions such as fibromyalgia, neuropathy, and migraines or may not be connected to another condition at all. The joys of all the unknown that comes with invisible chronic illnesses.

I felt so alone when I started dealing with it on a regular basis but after writing a blog post about the frustration in dealing with allodynia in 2012, I quickly learned that I was not alone. To this day, it continues to be one of the most popular posts here at A New Kind of Normal. I have learned a lot about managing hypersensitivity since then through my own trial and error but I have also learned a lot through the comments left by readers and the community.

Today I am going to share some options for managing the pain and frustrations of hypersensitivity that I have found helpful over the years of battling allodynia:

1- Hot bath/shower: Sometimes one of the best things I can do to knock the intensity of the hypersensitivity down is to take as hot a bath or shower as I can stand. Epsom salt helps when I can soak in the bath. I would LOVE to have a whirlpool tub (maybe one day!). There have actually been times where I have crawled to the bathroom in the middle of the night just to have to soak just to knock the pain down enough to sleep.

2- MyPainAway Fibro Cream: Usually I would pass by this cream on the shelf without giving it a second glance thinking it was some kind of gimmick but I am so glad that I gave it a try. I found MyPainAway Fibro Cream at my local CVS and it is is a homeopathic cream to relieve pains associated with fibromyalgia and neuropathy. After taking a hot shower or bath, I will put this cream all over and it really helps cut down on the hypersensitivity. I also really appreciate that it doesn’t have a strong odor like so many other pain relieving creams have. A bonus perk is that 3% of all the sales are donated to the Fibromyalgia Research Foundation.

3- Invest in soft sheets/blankets/pajamas: When allodynia flares at its worst, even the softest fabrics can feel like sandpaper but it is really important to have some items on hand that feel soothing on your skin whether it is a really soft cotton or silk. I’ve always been a big fan of investing in pajamas that make you feel good (whether they are just really cute or really comfy) when you have a chronic illness but when you suffer with hypersensitivity, it is extra important.

4- Lidocaine can be a miracle: Lidocaine is a numbing agent that comes in a variety of forms (creams, patches, injections, etc) that can do a variety of miracles. Unfortunately, in my experience, when my allodynia flares, the vast majority of the time, my vulvadynia flares as well which makes sense since both are related to overactive nerves and the pain from vulvadynia can be excruciating. It hurts to stand, sit, or lay down. Sometimes even the pressure of wearing panties is enough to make you want to climb the wall. My apologies for the TMI if there are any male readers but for my fellow female warriors, if you deal with allodynia, do you deal with vulvadynia as well? After a hot bath, I use lidocaine gel to help knock down the pain but unfortunately, this is one of those symptoms that just hast to pass on its own.

5- Sometimes medications like Lyrica, Cymbalta, and Neurtontin can be helpful: All medications come with a list of side effects but sometimes the benefits can far outweigh the side effects. Unfortunately medications help people differently so there will be some (sometimes a lot) of trial and error involved in finding the medication that helps you the best but once you do, it feels like the heavens part and angels start singing.

 

Other helpful resources:

When Touch Hurts & Blood Matters: Getting At The Pain In Fibromyalgia & CFS

Allodynia: When Touch Hurts But Shouldn’t

Migraine, Allodynia, and Central Sensitization

 

Do you have any recommendations for dealing with allodynia?

INVISIBLE-ILLNESS-AWARENESS-WEEK-2015

 

P.S. Check out the original post, My Hair Hurts: Dealing With Tactile Allodynia & Fibromyalgia, to become a part of the community and read the many ways other battling allodynia are choosing to fight!