I had a rude awakening recently, and it’s made me look hard in the mirror and ask myself, “At what point, Jennifer, did you stop trying to look exceptionally cute…ever?” I know I’m not alone in this!
Here’s what happened: I had dinner with a very dear, loved, bestie best friend I hadn’t seen in almost a year, Nicole. Let me tell you about Nicole for a moment, so you get the full idea of what happened to me while eating with her. Nicole is a Disney princess. I’m not joking, I have gone on out of town trips with her and she WAKES up looking like the most beautiful girl in the world. Truly! She’s a Phoenix Suns dancer, and just one of the most naturally gorgeous women I’ve ever seen in real life, up close. With no makeup, air-dried hair and sweats on–she’s prettier than 98% of the population. Aside from all that annoying natural perfection, she is always primped up a bit. Always. Her eyeliner is on, her outfit is adorable, and her hair is just so. So, back to the story, we met up for a birthday dinner last weekend (our birthdays are two days apart) and when she walked up–and heads were literally snapping from turning to look at her–I realized that I USED to be like her! Back when we hung out all the time and she practically lived with me and we slumber partied every night, I always had on the cutest outfits and my hair was pretty spectacular, I won’t lie.
Somehow, though, in the last year or so, because I’m SO busy and SO tired–I toss on jeans and a tank daily, never EVER wash my hair (gross, but so true…I tell myself updos and headbands hide a week’s worth of…yeah, ew), and throw on makeup as I drive down the freeway to work. I hadn’t noticed how far I’d gone off the frumpy deep end until I saw and Nicole and thought, “Whoah, where did I go?????” So. I’ve shaken off that slump and taking a vow to actually get up early enough to check myself out and do some little things that used to be standard for me! I know I’m not alone, ladies, holidays are coming, you have kids, you have work, you have less and less sleep–but that doesn’t mean we should all toss in the towel on being pretty! It’s our right, as women, to look softer, prettier, sweeter, and more fetching than the other half of the population. It’s powerful! Shakira said a great thing in an interview once that has always resonated with me, “Women in my country want all the same things US women want, but we know there is power in being different than a man, we know that our sexuality is a strength, not a liability.” So, here are the little things I’m bringing back to my routine, because for me (and I bet for you too), when I feel like I look good, I feel good.
My very beautiful friend, Nicole. Good thing she’s so funny and fun, or we’d never last this long, with her looking like this and all. No makeup, all made up–she’s just lovely!
Nightly Beauty Rituals
I used to use my teeth whitening trays every month to keep my teeth brighter. I hadn’t done this in MONTHS until last week, and now I made a point to go get bleach and bring it back. I also started slathering myself in body butter before bed, as well as painting my nails. I don’t have time to do this during the crazy, hectic day, but at night, I can do this stuff before bed. Take a long bath and slough off the dead skin, do a deep conditioning on your hair, use a face mask, or just get to bed an hour earlier so you get that youth elixir–sleep! I know you’re putting the kids to bed and getting the laundry done and working late and all those other things–but you can take a few moments for some self-beauty treatments. You’ll be thankful in the morning.
“There’s no such thing as natural beauty,” Trudie- Steel Magnolias 🙂
I know that not everyone is as clothes obsessed as I am, (which is probably a good thing for the world as there are things like war and hunger to focus on) but you know, you know that when you’re in a cute outfit, you feel great! I don’t have time to do a fashion show every morning before work, so I plan my clothes out at night–it’s just what works for me. I also took a day recently to really go through my clothes and take note of what I need to get and what things I’ve not worn in some time. Before I go to sleep, I head into my closet and decide on an entire outfit-shoes, watch, jacket-all of it. I feel so much better the next day when I am wearing it, and it wasn’t just something I threw on in my exhausted, sleepy haze and headed out the door.
Spend some more time doing this!
Keep Your Hair/Nail/Skin Appointments
I know we’re all scarping up pennies for Christmas, and we’re all financially strained, but I firmly believe, FIRMLY believe that things like hair color and Retin-A prescriptions shouldn’t be cut out. You can cut out other things. I bring my lunch all week and sometimes I’ll stay home all weekend to conserve gas–because those things can be cut back on, but my hair appointment is happening. It’s not every day, it’s every 6-9 weeks and I keep aside a little bit of each paycheck to make sure I have hair money. I know what I feel like if I hate my hair, and it isn’t good! I’m also a freak about my eyebrows and I have ONE waxer (she’s a genius, it’s honestly like I’m getting plastic surgery or something after I’ve seen her) and it’s $30 every two weeks. This might be silly to some people, but it makes me feel better, so I’ll skip out on cocktail hour Fridays or eat at home on the weekend so that I can like my face. That’s me. For my mom, she needs a pedicure the way I need the eyebrow attention. She just needs it, and when she gets one, she bounces a bit more in her step. Don’t get rid of these luxuries. Maybe you have to see a less expensive stylist, or in between major colors you do touch-ups at home, or maybe you do your own pedicures at home so that you can get your facial next month. Whatever it is, don’t give it up. There HAS to be something else you can pass on, to keep these little things that mean you feel better and more confident.
You know this sign makes your heart speed up, as it does mine.
Buy Something Pretty
I don’t care if it’s a $5 hair flower from Target, or a new dress at Nordstrom. It’s a new season, get something new and pretty. I am headed to the east coast in a couple weeks so I have to go get some winter clothes, and I’m making a concerted effort to pick pretty things. Girlie, cute, pretty things. It’s cold outside and Christmas is coming…for some reason to me, this means I need to look extra pretty. Call me crazy or shallow, but I know we all operate the same, even the men reading this (do men read this?), when you look better, you feel better. It’s scientific. I know it is.
You don’t have to get all Becky Bloomwood on it, but I am giving you persmission to go get ONE or TWO pretty things. Or ten….I mean who am I to boss you around?
Good luck pretty ladies, let’s un-frump. I’m telling you, Nicole looked that good at dinner. Good enough to inspire an entire blog post, and a revamping of my slump status. No more frump-slump for me! Proof point: I’m wearing a pink-and-purple striped mini dress, long gray cardigan, and knee-high brown boots today, with CLEAN hair. Major strides have been taken. Love to you all!