Feeling Alive

After an entire week off school last week due to snow, I eagerly laid out all of my son’s clothes for school this week. An outfit for every day, show and tell, snacks, right down to socks and underwear ready to go. This week, we would get back into our routine.

And Monday and Tuesday were glorious. I was not productive, because I chose to take the time for myself instead of work.

This, incidentally, turned out to be a wonderful decision, because snow, ice, and cold temperatures struck again and school was cancelled for two more days.

My son has gone to school 6 days this entire month. There are 31 days in January. He has gone to school for 6 of them.

This exhausting trend has led me back into old patterns reminiscent of my stay at home mom days when he was a baby.

Days of exhaustion and pajamas, days when accomplishing one load of laundry was my highlight of achievement. Days when I would go days (weeks) without any makeup and I did not wear jewelry for years to avoid the tiny tugs of baby hands.

I have these wonderful ideas of getting the house clean and enjoying the indoor time while at home, but everyone knows those kind of fantasies are futile when you’re trapped at home with a little one.

I looked in the mirror this morning and saw that part of myself again. My face that had not put on make up in two day, my hair in an un-styled ponytail. I was wearing pajamas and was back in a cycle where putting on black work out pants would actually be more dressed up than my current state.

The house is a wreck because my son and I had not left it in two days. Honestly, I am feeling like I am at the end of my rope.

And I remembered those early baby days when sometimes I felt the same thing. I felt so isolated and so “not me” without a sense of busyness; a reason to leave the house, a reason to put on real clothes and make up.

I’ve discovered that a schedule and looking put together make a world of difference in my mood.

Right now, we are curled up watching the new “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” and blogging. But in just a minute, my son and I will venture out of the house for the first time in two days. Clothes, make up, and all.

And I’m so very much hoping it will make me feel more alive.

For some reason, sparkly things make me feel more put together and bright. I am hosting an online trunk show with Stella and Dot. There are some amazing pieces and come just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Shop here: http://www.stelladot.com/ts/kkyv5

The Transformation

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It’s amazing the transformation that can occurimage

When you have a lot of make up

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Some false eyelashes,

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and some bright red lips.

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The look you can create when you allow yourself to fall into another world.

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A world of performance.

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For the Broadway style production I’m in, I play a lead role of a 1920’s flapper named Lillian, who is blonde, sassy, and so much fun.

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She is not me at all, but I am honored to bring the character to life.

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I am drawn to performance for so many reasons, but I know that the chance to play dress up and create life to another person is a huge part of the allure. The transformation from boring Mommy to fun flapper was something I was thrilled to be a part of.  It’s amazing what can happen when we allow ourselves to be open to a world besides our own.

Style Evolution

I just stumbled across this blog tutorial on how to do hair and make up and my first thought was, “This girl does not have kids.” It’s an adorable blog, with a lot of great tips, and I was memorized for hours a while, but who puts this kind of effort into their looks? Oh, women who are not mommies. And who have time. And who care about their appearance. Kind of like me, when I was 18.

I wish I could blame my lack of style and hair and makeup knowledge on being a busy mom and never having enough time, but that just wouldn’t be the truth.

The truth is, I lost my style long ago.

In high school, I was stylish. I was in the popular crowd, I knew what clothes were acceptable and what weren’t, and I even prided myself on never wearing the same outfit twice. I also spent hours doing my hair and make up, which involved a long routine of shower, blowdry, flat-iron, and curl. And of course, occasionally style up in some way, but only after completing the above process. My make up routine was equally involved with foundation, concealer (for what I don’t know…my 18 year old self would be appalled at my now nearly 30 skin) powder, blush, 3 different layers of eyeshadow, two different eyeliners, mascara, lip liner, lip gloss, and shimmery highlighting powder. Whoo, just writing that made me exhausted.

When I went to college, I discovered this horrible thing called the 8 am class. That meant I had to be up and ready to go by 7:15? Usually after staying up until wee hours the night before? That hair and make up routine got dropped pretty quickly. My college uniform quickly turned into jeans, a college t-shirt, a ponytail, mascara, and chapstick. I still knew how to get pretty for evening activities, but I never made any friends in classes. I was into sleep more than impressing co-eds.

After college graduation, I took my first job as a nanny. No need to dress up for a newborn, a 3-year-old , and a 5-year-old, right?

When I got my first teaching job, it was in a pre-school/day care environment where you could not wear jeans (oh no!) but you could wear scrubs or “professional sweat suits.” I don’t know what that means either. I took it to mean gray sweatpants, t-shirts and soaking wet hair ponytails, and got away with it. I am actually still terribly embarrassed that I went to work like that.

For many reasons, that job wasn’t a good fit, and I interviewed and got hired by a “real” school, a local public elementary school. There was a professional dress code here! You had to wear stuff like khakis and real shirts! (I also had things like a salary and benefits. I was a grown up!)  But I was still teaching Kindergarten. So my wardrobe became fitted with all things Old Navy and Target. Khakis and v-neck t-shirts people. Outfits of the stars. (Seriously. I think my class was the shining stars…or something like that.) I also upped my hair and make up routine by wearing my hair in a deep part, low side bun every day and actually wearing make up! But this time, the routine consisted of Bare Minerals foundation, mineral veil, eyeliner, mascara, and lip gloss. So quick, so easy, and I looked so presentable every day! Amazing.

A year and a half  later, the stay at home mom gig started. I would go for DAYS without putting on a trace of make up. Or getting dressed. Or showering. Or touching my hair. Yes, my husband is a lucky, lucky man.  Fortunately, the baby didn’t care.

As I started to feel better and get back into the world, I realized that I honestly forgot how to do this. This body was different. This hair did not style the way it used to. This skin does not conceal! Seriously, having this baby changed EVERYTHING!

Slowly, I found my way back to the deep part low side bun ponytail. Bare Minerals saved my life. And I only had to invest a million dollars use a few resources to get back to a wardrobe I’m comfortable with. Which now involves jeans, v-neck t-shirts, and the occasional print blouse. I know, my style is so enviable.

I have also discovered that I need to keep my hair at a manageable length. Although I love my hair long and styled, long with a baby just meant daily ponytails. But too short also means daily styling, which just doesn’t work. So a medium length gives me the freedom for ponytails often, but also the capability for a down do every once in a while. I also learned to keep make up in the car. Parking lot mascara anyone? The toddler even knows to wait just a minute after we arrive at a destination so “Mommy put on make up and not look scary.” He’s a charmer.

So I am not the most put together mom, and even though the morning ritual of lets-fight-about-putting-on-socks-and-shoes definitely interferes with my make up time, having a toddler isn’t the only reason I’m not so put together. My style has just been a constant evolution. My adult life has been devoted to the caring of children; often in non-structured environments. And it’s just so hard to put forth the effort to get all done up when you just don’t have to. (And when you have little people yelling at you. Like right now. The toddler needs juice.)

I suppose it is something that will continue to evolve and change as my life does. But it kind of also looks like I just might not be as girly as I used to think I was. A style evolution and a personal revelation; who saw that coming?

So, my friends, do you have any style advice for me? As long as I can still do the pre-school drop off by sitting in my car with no bra and sweat pants, I would love to take you up on suggestions. :)