Friday, September 2, 2016

Milestone: 111111

I've driven three cars past this milestone and I think I like it more than 100K. I still remember the first time I passed it. I vowed that by the time my car reached 165K miles I would move to California and chase my dreams in the sunshine. I'm not sure where that life would have taken me because shortly after 111,111, my car broke down and I lost track of some of the waves that were beckoning me westward. Instead, I settled into a life without a dramatic relocation and let my heart be content for a time. I remember being 22 and feeling attachments that set me into a patterned life just like the linear display on my dash. What I would say to myself if I could go back in time is, "you're free."

Driving 111,111 miles in a car gives an opportunity for reflection. I still remember driving it off the lot after trading in my 1990 Benz and being teased that my car was old enough to vote. A lifetime ago, I felt cool shuttling models from the train station to the photo studio where I worked in this car until I had to pick a radio station. This car carried me to the hospital in the midst of contractions and later took my baby for her first ride as her Dad coasted through the very first stop sign we ever passed. I've been on road trips, paved the path to the grocery store a million times, carried all my belongings out of a home I loved, and prayed to all that is holy that it would accommodate three car seats in the back row. Miraculously, it did all that and more.

It's not time to let go yet, but it definitely feels like the days are numbered behind this wheel. I haven't set a milestone or a destination that I'm aspiring towards. Sometimes I feel so far from my goals that I'm almost crippled by the idea of acknowledging that they used to be out there. I stick to the simple: get dressed, fill refrigerator, go to yoga. But there should be more. I really think something amazing should happen before I drive past 165,000 miles. I've got about 4 years to figure it out and to focus on my 2020 vision.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Style Dreams in the Distance

You guys, I have to thank you for the outpouring of support towards my style goals. In just a day, I've gotten suggestions of where to shop, offers of hand-me-downs, and invitations to shop together. I love each and every one of you for the page views, likes, and comments. It makes this whole journey that much easier to tackle. Although, it's not that easy to tackle as evidenced by my experience thus far today.

First of all, I am still suffering from "I hate my shoes" syndrome. Even though I have finally decided to answer the age old question of what color shoes to wear with a navy dress as black, I still almost considered kicking it in my tan sandals. But what this dress really needs is heels, and unfortunately I got rid of all my heels post-pregnancy in the expectation that I would never again wear heels since I was always pregnant or holding babies for 5 years straight and the thought of them taking up so much closet space and coming with me in a move seemed preposterous. (The heels, not the babies. Obviously the babies came with me AND I don't keep them in the closet.) So it is ironic that I am a woman with so many children I don't know what to do, who consequently also does not have the right shoe.

My second problem is that I put on moisturizer this morning and I hate it. I am proud to say that I am a woman of my word in taking actions to improve what I consider the parts of my personal brand that need upgrading. However, this stuff is not my jam. It feels heavy and greasy and I think it is congesting my throat if that is even possible. I tried to apply something to my lips, too. It's from Pacifica and I wouldn't call it a lip stick or stain because it has basically no color, but that's what you get in the natural beauty aisle at Target, so I need to try again on that front. All that being said, I can admit there is room for improvement and work to correct it. It's just that whenever I think of buying beauty supplies, I daydream about being a cosmetic chemist and making all of my own from fresh, organic, botanicals. Truthfully, this is something that I must draw the line at sugar scrubs because making my own toothpaste and deodorant was a bigger disaster than I have time to post about right now. Instead, I have to tell you about my lunch.

I was inspired by a food slideshow to pack a BLAT for my lunch. Yes folks, it's a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich with avocado. Since I decided to assemble it at work so that the avocado wouldn't turn brown in my wrap, I dropped the avocado right on my dress and ended up with a large, green, BLAT in the crotch. I'm never packing one again because I don't even like tomatoes and I feel guilty eating bacon in front of my vegetarian co-worker. Oh who am I kidding? I'm just upset about the avocado stain. I could never have bacon-induced guilt. It's too good.

The moral of my story is that, through it all, I am trying. I woke up today with beauty (!) and fashion (!) goals in mind. I missed the mark a bit, but this is trial and error in real-time. It's going to get better. It has to.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Fashion Upgrade Needed

One of my favorite shows to watch in college was "What Not to Wear." It debuted on my 18th birthday and featured Stacy London and Clinton Kelly as they upgraded helpless fashion victims by giving them styling tips and a great budget to fill the closets they empty at the beginning of the show. Catching the show between my design and merchandising classes, I filed away the tips as though I would be able to some day help others through fashion philanthropy. Little did I know that I would one day fall into my own motherhood-induced fashion moratorium. It enveloped me over time as I cast aside relic after relic from my own dwindling closet without replacing or upgrading anything. Now it's time for me to take stock of my new assets and needs, while creating a style that vibrantly showcases a beautiful side of me that has been hiding.

This isn't necessarily going to be easy. The last time I felt in control of my fashion destiny, I was 22, single, newly employed, and moonlighting at the Banana Republic for the amazing employee discount. I filled a closet with so many quality styles that when Clothes Mentor opened and I sold (literally) all my clothes, I made over $300. If you've ever tried to sell clothes there and glanced at the receipt for $3 per shirt, you'll know this is no simple feat. While I do miss those clothes, I try not to look back too wistfully because they wouldn't fit me now anyway. I've gone up 4 sizes since those days and I'm pressing on stepping into the next size. However, all that growth was for good reason. I've got three amazing kids to show for the stretch marks and I wouldn't have it any other way.

A few months ago, I went back to work after five years as a stay at home mom. Initially, I scrambled and put together 6 outfits which I repeat religiously. I don't think there is anything wrong with minimalism, and I'm actually really enjoying the simplicity, but I'm missing out on the zest of enjoying my wardrobe. I've been trying to zone in on what I enjoyed most about my life before kids, before divorce, before the past 10 years of my life, and what I'm remembering is a youthful and creative relationship with fashion. I'd like to step back into those shoes. (Oh how I miss my shoes!)

So here I am. I am a Mom, a professional, a yoga instructor, a church goer, an infrequent vacationer, and a fun wing woman for ladies nights. It's time for me to up the ante and outfit myself with styles I really love. I'm going to use this space to share them with you. In honor of this jumping off point, it's only fair to break it down and give myself some love as a beginner on this journey.

The good: pink! I love pink. french braid. natural.

The bad: black bra under light shirt. no accessories.

The ugly: need to elevate my makeup potential. i'm thinking moisturizer and lipstick would do the trick. also my belly sticks out in this shirt, but you can't see that yet.

Let's make this fashion happen.