Friday, January 31, 2014

Pregnancy Style: Mama with the Most

As I started to write this post, I heard Charlotte's cry from down the hall in her crib.  She needed me.  She wanted to be picked up and held tightly.   In that moment, I knew I had to change what I was initially going to write.  All of my life, I have wanted to do something that matters.  Something that makes a difference in someone's life and is a position of great responsibility and power.  That is exactly why I loved my work as a news reporter and news anchor.  Every single story I did mattered to someone.  And every moment I opened my mouth to deliver the news, I had a huge responsibility to inform people honestly and accurately.  I felt the same way about working as an adjunct professor of journalism and communication.  Now, I feel the same way about this blog; I hope to inspire other women who may have had the same style frustrations I have had.  So, in that late night moment, I suddenly realized regardless of the work I am doing, I have achieved a lifelong position that makes a difference and carries great responsibility and power - I am a mama!  Everything we do matters to our babies or children - every smile, every laugh, every hug.  It carries incredible responsibility and power.   So, I have to smile and think, "I am mama, hear me roar."  And I can now truly say and believe, I am the Mama with the Most to my sweet Charlotte, as you are to your own babies.

Mama with the Most: Confidence

After giving birth, few of us feel confident and beautiful; however, we have just performed our most amazing task in this life - bringing another life into the world.  No one said it would be easy.  I was in a purely blissful state every time I held or even gazed at my beautiful Charlotte.  I was euphoric over my gorgeous daughter.  I wish I could have said the same about myself.  If there ever was a time to gather some confidence, this was it.  But, I just couldn't do it.  I didn't expect to still look 8 or 9 months pregnant when I walked out of the hospital.  And honestly, this is another reason I adore Kate Middleton.  A day after giving birth, she walked out of the hospital to face the entire world proudly displaying her post-baby bump.  I wish I had so proudly embraced my post-baby bump; I was a new mama and that was the evidence of bringing this wonderful little person to life. No one expects us to go back into our previous size the day after - except ourselves (I certainly did).  That being said, my tips focus on how your clothing can help you feel more confident and put together (I definitely needed that!) and shed some weight just with clothing choices.

Each of us are different, so we each drop the weight very differently.  A month after giving birth, I had a few people ask when I was due.  It shattered my confidence.  I went through a very difficult time finding clothes and facing the task of getting dressed every morning.  I no longer wanted to wear my maternity clothes and my regular clothes certainly didn't fit.  I bought a few key things in various sizes in an effort to feel somewhat human.  So, here are some of the things I learned.  I hope they can help someone else out there because I had such a difficult time and my confidence suffered enormously as a result. (I will write much more about this topic when I have more time because I think it's incredibly important.)

Pregnancy Style: Mama with the Most

Comfortable Fabrics:  Cotton and cotton blends are your best friend here.  You've just been through a lot and your body is healing.  I was in significant pain for quite some time, so I didn't want anything that wasn't comfortable and soft.
Wear Colors You Love:  I can usually trick myself into feeling at least a little bit better with a color I love.  Hot pink usually at least gives me some more color in my cheeks and reminds me of a lovely summer day.
Emphasize the Neckline:  Draw the eye up to your neck and face!  Accessories are the most loyal item in your closet - they always fit!  Have some fun with them!  I used another trick in pictures.  I held my precious Charlotte right over my baby bump. Clearly, everyone would focus on her and not even see my bump!  Seemed to work every time :)
No Defined Waistline:  You may want to do the opposite you may have done during pregnancy - take the emphasis and focus away from your baby bump.  So, try to avoid wearing any form-fitting dresses or fabrics.  You want slightly looser tops and blouses and straight-line dresses.  (You don't, however, want clothing so big it makes you look frumpy or larger than you really are.  Plus, you want to hopefully wear some of this again.)  

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sweet Saturday

Next Week: Sweet Pregnancy Style

Next week, I am sharing a topic very close to my heart.  Being pregnant with Charlotte was one of the best times of my life.  Sure, I got sick about three times a day and had a c-section after nearly 24 hours of labor, but that actually didn't keep me down for a second.  I felt more beautiful when I was pregnant than when I walked the stage at Miss America in the best shape of my life living out a dream.  Perhaps it was the added confidence and maturity in my 30s or perhaps it was the wiggle of tiny feet and sweet flutters of baby hiccups in my ever-growing belly, but it was honestly pure bliss.  And for once, my hair was gloriously shiny and my skin was naturally sparkling.  So, I feel disheartened when I hear a beautiful woman say she feels overweight or disgusting while she is pregnant.   There's a gorgeous glow about every pregnant woman, even if she doesn't know it.  I hope that even one small tip next week may help a mama-to-be out there feel more confident and beautiful!

Here is a preview of the topics I will cover next week:  The Sweet Secret, The Blossoming Baby Bump, The Beautiful Baby Bump, Mama & Baby, Mama with the Most, and Forever Beautiful.  These are the distinct phases I went through as my body changed.  I will also cover packing for the hospital & other mama essentials.

Sweet Pregnancy Style

Monday, January 20, 2014

Lessons Learned a Month Into Sweet on Style

It's hard to believe I've been doing this blog for about a month now.  It is a true passion of mine and I am grateful you are sharing this journey with me!  Thank you!! I wanted to break down some crucial lessons I have already learned that seem simple, but I didn't really follow until now.  If you already do, I am impressed! 

This may sound ridiculous, but I used to get really stressed out shopping even though I love it.  I just couldn't decide what to buy.  So many beautiful options, but which ones would really make a big impact in my wardrobe?  Now, I have much more of a clear answer.  So, here are my lessons learned.  I hope this inspires at least one person to avoid being the irrational, indecisive shopper I once was!  

1) Shop Your Closet:  It was among the 2014 resolutions for several designers and advice I now take seriously.  Until I did this blog, I never realized how many basic options were just sitting in my closet and probably in yours too.  Sound familiar - I'd wear an item once (maybe twice) and feel it was old.  I didn't really think about styling it differently.  It was essentially money wasted.  An expensive "throw away" look.    Now, I see that each item has the potential to have multiple looks with a little creativity.  Which brings me to lesson #2...

2)  Accessorize It:  I never realized the true power of accessories until now.  They can dramatically change the look of an outfit or top.  You can be feminine, edgy or glamorous all with the quick change of a necklace or bracelet.  And you can buy some gorgeous accessories without breaking the bank.  These can easily be your gorgeous " on trend" pieces, which leads to your "investment" pieces...

3) Invest in What You Wear:  So, what basics do you wear all the time?  I've realized, I pretty much live in slim fit black ponte pants or dark blue jeans with a top or sweater and either ballet flats or riding boots.  So, why am I wasting my money buying several inexpensive versions of these items but really only wearing the one I like all the time?  I should invest that money into buying one or two really good pair(s) of jeans and pants that I will wear constantly.  The higher quality will not only look better, it will last much longer.  Why did it take me so long to figure this out?

4) Challenge Yourself to Mix:  I have to admit, I am kind of (OK, very much) obsessed with the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, and her fabulous sense of style.  A lightbulb went off in my head one day when I saw her wearing a gorgeous dress not once but twice in two stunning different ways.  Here she is, a princess who has immediate access to any fashion house in the world and she gracefully wore the same dress over again.  It shows she has incredible style.  So, my excuse that I can't wear a dress again because I've already worn it really doesn't hold up any more :)  If you're stuck for ideas, think of how you would style each item for:  work, a casual day, a dressy event - how can you be edgy, glamorous, fun, etc.?

Sweet Style Inspiration

Monday, January 13, 2014