That's a total lie.
I have tons.
I would like to:
drink more water than wine
stop having a cup of sugar with a little bit of coffee splashed on top
truly get 10,000 steps on my FitBit instead of just walking circles around the dining room table
floss (more than just the week before my dentist appointment...which, I'm pretty sure, is fooling no one)
stop sneak-eating chocolate in our walk-in pantry
spend less time in the Target $1 aisle
spend more time outside
remember that, before Blue, I had style and it had very little to do with black yoga pants, hoodie sweatshirts and baseball caps
It's a lengthy list that I'm not rushing into because there's still 349 days left in the year. And if I master them all in the first month, what will I do for the next 11? However, I've gotten a lot of help with that last one recently and it's rocking my world in some big ways.
My sister once lamented to me that giving birth to 2 kids had ruined her sense of style. I found this completely unbelievable because she had always been one of the most fashionable women I knew. She stayed on top of the trends and knew how to apply them to her own wardrobe. Her make-up was flawless, her accessories perfectly chosen and her overall appearance was completely polished. Even when she was simply junking on a Saturday morning, she still looked as though she had just stepped off the cover of Glamour.
I had been noticing the same trend in my own closet about 6 months ago. As some of the baby weight finally started to come off and I began to feel more comfortable in pants and skirts again, I realized that my jeans to yoga pants ratio was completely off. Especially considering how much yoga I was doing (read: none). But I was OK with petering around the house in Target stretchy pants or leggings and a sweatshirt. The real panic began when I was going out...for dinner with Neal or to a movie with girlfriends or packing for vacation. One cannot live in yoga pants alone. And I am a jewelry designer. Shouldn't I wear something other than my wedding rings and a pair of CZ earrings from Claire's? I had lost all of the joy I once felt from piecing together my look for the day. It suddenly seemed like a waste of time to put on make-up when I was only going to leave the house to run to the commissary. And would anyone really notice if my boots matched my hoodie? I had one purse which was being used well past its natural life.
After kid. I can't believe I haven't deleted this yet.
One warm, breezy Sunday afternoon this past September, my neighbor came bouncing up the walk with a folder and a smile. She had just been to a style consultation with our neighbor down the street, Kat, owner of Style on the Fly. I perused the contents of her folder and the color swatches Kat had given her. That's nice, I thought. But it's not for me. I know how to dress myself, I'm just too lazy to do it. Over the next several weeks, I saw my neighbor put into action the color and style tips Kat had given her. Her face seemed brighter and she seemed more put together, less thrown together. (To be fair, I had always been a little jealous of my neighbor's wardrobe and her waist to butt ratio, however she now played to these assets and I was shiny green with envy.) Clearly I needed an appointment with Kat.
Style on the Fly is the business Kat created based on her training with Christian beauty speaker and founder of Fashion Meets Faith, Shari Braendel and her book Help me Jesus! I Have Nothing to Wear. Ms. Braendel's mission is to help women embrace their God-given beauty. And yes, we all have God-given beauty. The way God created us is absolutely perfect, even though we dabble in hair color and try out colored contact lenses. The consultation is based almost exclusively on eye, skin and hair color so it's best to be as close to natural as possible. I've only had one set of highlights since I shaved my head 2 years ago so my color is mostly me, gray and all. And although my summer tan had begun to fade to my winter white, Kat promised that wouldn't affect my colors at all.
Teaching the importance of color.The first step was to determine my 36-color palette. To do this, Kat placed me in a chair in front of a window so I was bathed in natural light. She then wrapped several different colors of pashminas around my shoulders until she found the one that made me look the most radiant. You are a light she told me and handed me a packet with 6 layers of swatches (6 colors per swatch with everything from the best shades of blues, reds and purples for me to the size of pattern that best suits me to the color of jewelry that is most complimentary to my skin tone) and 2 cards, one explaining how the swatches should be used and one offering even more style tips for my palette (steer clear of autumn colors, think of watermelon red if you must wear red, if you insist on wearing black keep it away from your face). And at the bottom, most importantly: Remember that you are beautiful...exactly as you are! Your light coloring is a gift from God and you light up a room when you walk into it.
Oh my goodness how I needed to hear that. Right then and right there. And probably for every day since my belly (and everything else) grew round and ready. I hadn't felt beautiful in 4 years. Pictures from 2012-2015 reflect my increasing apprehension to be digitally immortalized. Thousands of pictures of Blue and Neal, but only random selfies of me and only from the collarbone up. For me, not feeling beautiful affected every other aspect of my life. My confidence plummeted and my insecurity often crept up in the wickedest ways. I called everything into question, from the fidelity of our marriage to the strength of my mother's intuition. All because I felt like a mascaraed potato sack. I did not feel beautiful.
For the next 90 minutes we discussed where hemlines should fall to best flatter my body type and how to accessorize an outfit. Before Blue, I adhered to my Granny's flawless fashion principle: Put on all of the jewelry you want to wear that day and then take one piece off. After Blue, I adhered to the Exhausted Mommy's Guide to Getting Yourself Dressed Enough to Be Seen in Public: You should probably wear a watch so you know what time to feed and nap your baby and your wedding bands because your husband spent a lot of money on them and then maybe a long necklace to show people you still remember what style is. But definitely no dangly earrings of any kind. Ever. Yes, I was still designing amazing pieces for clients and my own wardrobe still boasted quite a few show-stoppers, but they rarely saw the light of day. And who has time for all of that anyway? It will just be more stuff to take off when it's time to nap or bathe or wash dishes. And the only one who will see it is still pooping his pants. Too much work, not enough return.
One of the best pieces of advice from my style session with Kat is a handy guide to accessorizing outfits. It assigns each item a point value and gives you an idea of where your totals should be and how to get them higher (with the idea that a higher number = a more polished look). I use it everyday, even if I only plan to run out and get the mail. I try to get 8-10 points on days where we are at home and 14-16 if we are going out. It seems like such an inconsequential piece but makes a huge difference in how put together I feel when I walk out the door.
Discussing hemlines.We finished up with some make-up tips (which paid off the first time my BFF said, after seeing a selfie on Facebook, I don't know what you're doing with your make-up these days but you look fabulous!) and any questions that came up during the session. It's a lot of information to take in but all immediately applicable with instant results. I rushed home and cleaned out my closet that afternoon.
New body, new attitude. Not so scared to be in pictures anymore! Also, apparently I can wear gray but not black. Who knew??
Kat just launched her new website, which includes a list of her services (from color analysis all the way to personal shopping), an About Me section and the Style on the Fly blog. If you're local to Leavenworth, she hosts periodic group style classes with the next one occurring Sunday, January 24 from 3:00-4:30. You can email or call Kat to book. If you are reading all of this and thinking I need that in my life! But I live a bajillion miles away, she can complete a color analysis using photos taken in natural light. You can contact her here to get started. Kat is also available for speaking events and has often presented at Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPs) groups and mother-daughter teas (this is particularly effective for encouraging the daughter to dress more appropriately and showing the mother how to help). Her Facebook page is up and running and while she's getting her Pinterest boards in order, you can check out Ms. Braendel's Pinterest page, with many style tips and helpful hints, here.
As I wrap up this review, you may be saying to yourself, That's funny...this all sounds vaguely familiar. Like didn't we do this in the late 80's and it was called something else? And yes, you are most likely thinking of Color Me Beautiful. Our mothers spent an afternoon at someone's house and came back flushed with knowledge and declarations that they are a spring! Or a winter! And then a flurry of shopping. Color Me Beautiful still exists, although they are no longer training new representatives. The problem with that program is that within the 4 seasons, there are 4 more sub-categories which makes your palette very specific. A slight tan or a set of highlights would throw your whole wardrobe off. Many women ended up with overflowing closets just to accommodate the slight changes in skin and hair color that occur over the course of a year. And ain't nobody got room (or money) for that. The idea behind Fashion Meets Faith is that less is more and you can go up or down a few shades in skin and/or hair color and your palette still works. Also, your closet becomes more like a capsule wardrobe because everything coordinates, making getting dressed in the morning infinitely easier. I like easy. Because toddlers are not easy.
I may not be drinking more water than wine (see above statement: toddlers are not easy) and I may still be eating some chocolate in the closet, but I also feel radiant, confident and beautiful, both in and out of the house!