Letters to My Daughter, Strong, Smart, and Beautiful in that Order

I've written bunches of blog posts on how negative popular opinions on the female body have affected me.  Now that I have a daughter, it bothers me even more that she will have to deal with some f***ed up prejudices in her life.  I want to pass along advice, wisdom, and hopefully self-esteem to the little girl I'm sending out into the big bad world, so I'm writing letters to her that convey my hopes, wisdom, and advice for her future.  If you guys don't mind, I'm going to share them online because I think they are relevant to all women, not just my little girl.
 
Dear the Kid, 
I held you the other day in front of the mirror when I was getting ready to go somewhere.  You have just started to notice there is a reflection with two people, so I said to you, "You are strong, smart, and beautiful, in that order."  It's vital to me that you know that being strong is the most important thing I will work to foster in you. 
 
Personal strength allows you to be kind, have hope, and to persevere in the hard times you are bound to encounter.  Strength will carry you forward in ways that intelligence and beauty never will.  Be strong and when you aren't strong, let me and the people who love you be strong for you.  If you are kind, have hope, and persevere, you will attract even more strong people to help hold up your burdens in life.
 
I hope like all parents that you will be smart because knowledge can only grow with time.  You have better choices in life if you are smart, and you can understand yourself and the world around you with deep insight.  Having that insight can be hard because not everyone will see and understand what you do, but it is ultimately a gift.  Even if you aren't as intelligent as I think and hope, use whatever measure of this gift you've been given to recognize the difference between what is changeable and what is not.  The world is a harsh place, and you can bend with it using your strength and intelligence.
 
Know that you are beautiful to me from top to toe.  I hope you view yourself this way one day, too.  As you grow up, you will be told mean things about your appearance.  You will age, and your face and body will change in ways you will find difficult.  And, you will confront a popular notion that your physical beauty is more important than your inner beauty.  Remember that it isn't.
 
I dream of building you a world that views women as capable of anything and deserving of equality no matter how they look, but I know that is likely impossible.  Instead, I endeavor to raise you as a young woman who can use her strength and intelligence to look beyond any differences or imperfections in her physical self.  And, if you stumble into a place of negativity and self-doubt regarding your own beauty, I will help you to draw on that strength and intelligence to move beyond it. 
 
With unending, bottomless love,
Your Mom

Crawfish and Moms, Sunday, May 10th, 2015

My new house is finally starting to feel like home, BUT it's not great for entertaining.  A big part of this is we have no backyard for crawfish boils.  So, when the idea for a Mother's Day crawfish boil started floating around, we decided to hit my parent's place.  That's where these pictures were taken. 
 
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I've gone over the basics of what to wear to a crawfish boil a bunch of times on the blog.  Short and sweet, just don't wear something that could get ruined or that will make you hot.  I opted for jean shorts (jorts) and a skull t-shirt with skull sneakers.  You can never have too many skulls.  In fact, I have purchased the kid her own set of skull sneakers because I'm determined to convince her to like them as well. 

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It was my first official Mother's Day, and I relished it.  Low key, no pressure, time with family and crawfish, so many crawfish.  Also, there were croissants because that was what I asked for as a "present."  It's okay to eat copious amounts of croissants from your favorite place if they are gifts.  Just nod all of your collective heads and agree with me.  
 
Sunglasses :: Loft
Heart pendant :: gift from husband
Skull tee :: Fleurty Girl
Jorts :: Forever21+
Skull sneakers :: Converse
 

My Inner Skinny Girl

I was driving home from work yesterday and feeling super bleck because:
  1. I was missing the Kid.
  2. My car needed gas, and I had to hit three gas stations to get some.
  3. I was stuck in funky traffic.
So, my mood was pretty sour as I pondered my overall look for the day.  I was wearing black skinny crops, a black top, a blue cardigan, and a long necklace with my glasses and wild, crazy, curly hair.  Pretty much the kind of look I generally love because it has neutrals, doesn't take much time, but still looks professional. 
 
Not this day...  I felt like my hair hadn't curled tightly enough.  I thought the green cardigan I initially had on that morning would've been the better choice to match my necklace.  I was fixated on how large my pants looked before I put them on earlier in the day.  I was generally sour on my look and on my body because what I wanted to look like didn't match how I felt I looked.
 
I was obsessing over what I like to refer to as "my inner skinny girl."  Maybe you also have this ideal image of yourself when you're feeling good.  You think that you look hot in those pants, that you hair is tight, your outfit is super cool, and nothing could make you look better than you do.  Your outside matches that ideal woman you dream of being and projecting to the world.  Yesterday, I wasn't matching up to that lady, and I was bashing myself for it.
 
I'd say six out of seven days my inner skinny girl helps me to be confident despite the things I'd change about myself.  I mean, we all have those things that we hopefully learn to not concentrate so much on.  For me, those flaws often reflect back on my size/weight because it's the hardest thing for me to change.  I'm never thinking that my body is perfect (probably in an issue in and of itself), but I feel empowered by that mental image most days.
 
But, like all things in life, my inner skinny girl can be double-sided.  I was down, and I didn't feel I could measure up to the sparkly, fancy, perfect version of myself I strive for.  For me, it's like somebody took the Vaseline off the camera or stopped Photoshopping me.  I "realize" what a hose beast I really am, and it seems, in those moments, that I am as far removed from my inner skinny girl as I could possibly be.
 
It's funny how for me, and I think for many women, when life is difficult, we turn against ourselves, especially our physical selves.  None of those three external factors had anything to do with my body or my clothes.  So, why do I immediately turn to my weight when I'm feeling blue?
 
It's really a shame, and I don't know why it happens that way.  I don't know why I insist on tearing myself down when I already feel insecure.  The world at large is hard enough to take on without attacking myself when I'm in a funk.  I guess I just have to hope for me and people in general that we learn to express frustration in positive ways rather than beating ourselves up. 
 
Any tips Internet friends?  Do you ever have a moment when you feel like you see the true version of yourself and it's not a pretty picture?
 
 

Black and Blue, Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

I've discovered how much harder it is to get outfit photos now only four days into returning to work.  In the mornings, I'm working to make sure everything is packed up, and in the afternoons, I just want to hug the kid in my comfy clothes.  Today was the exception as she was eating and therefore unhuggable when I got home.  So, I pulled out my camera and stood in front of the door.
 
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I like this outfit even with my wild hair.  All of these items are new and haven't appeared on the blog before.  I'm wearing those shoes all the time and loving the blazer because it's so lightweight.  I patted myself on the back this morning for realizing I could wear the blue shirt with the blue blazer together.  Mind blown.
 
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Also, I threw in one goofy photo as the husband was making jazz hands at me while I was taking pictures trying to get me to laugh. 
 
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Glasses :: Rivet & Sway
Heart pendant :: gift from husband
Blue blazer :: Marshalls
Blue top :: Old Navy
Black pants :: Old Navy
Black clog platforms :: Dansko
 

Post-Partum Purchases, Shopping Bags

I haven't been shopping regularly since last year, so I thought it was time to do another shopping bags round up. Plus, I've been focusing on a different type of purchase since I'm dressing a postpartum body and finally back in my office.  I've zeroed in on a lot on neutrals and basics I didn't have.  I did, however, pick up a few fun items that will work even after I get back to my pre-kid size.  Here's the list of everything I've bought since January 2015:

February 2015

A black and white stripe dress from Kmart for $25 has a zipper down the front making it great for nursing.  Plus, it was on sale and fits my current body.  It's a pleasure to have something that makes me feel pretty.

March 2015

A blue button up structured top from SteinMart for $15 hides my paunch.  I like the idea that an architectural top works well with jeans and distracts from the area that I'm the most sensitive about right now.
A black leather purse from TJMaxx for $50 is super soft leather and a good size to work with my diaper backpack.  I like that it's got a kind of casual, cool vibe and that it's strap is convertible from shoulder to cross body strap.
A blue cropped blazer from Marshalls for $17 was super cheap and fits well.  I plan on wearing it with jeans and some inexpensive tanks for work while I try to lose the last of my baby weight.  Plus, it's blue, and I love blue.
A navy top from Old Navy for $15 isn't just a fun play on words.  I can wear it to work and on the weekends with virtually anything.
A black top from Old Navy for $12 is one of my essentials.  Black is my go to top color when I'm wearing a colorful skirt or jeans.  This fills a big hole in my wardrobe.
A cream lace top from Dress Barn for $30 was a surprise because I've never tried this store before.  I love a great lace top, so this will tide me over until I fit back into my stash.
Three coral, cobalt, and striped dresses from Old Navy for $20 each are the perfect shape.  I can wear these casually and to work with sweaters and a nice pair of shoes for summer, so I'm not too weirded out at having three of the same thing.

April 2015

A black pair of pixie pants from Old Navy for $30 are an investment in my work wardrobe.  I don't have any work pants that fit right now, so these are absolutely necessary.
A black pencil skirt from The Limited for $25 is another important piece of my closet puzzle.  This little gem will round out my closet wardrobe nicely.
A pair of round framed tortoise shell sunglasses for $25 from Loft are a fun purchase to replace another pair that have worn out. 
A pair of black Dansko clog sandals for $130 from Zappos are a nice alternative to my dangerously high platforms from my pre-tiny person life.  I like how comfortable they are, too, and that I can wear them casually and to work.
A pair of denim shorts from Forever21+ for $20 are the only shorts I have that aren't maternity.  While I'm okay with wearing maternity shorts for now.  In case it takes me longer than anticipated to lose weight, now I have a real pair without elastic.

                          For Fun Purchases   $222
For Now (Post-Partum) Purchases   $232
                               Total Purchases   $454

Easter, Sunday, April 5th, 2015

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This is one of the three identical dresses I picked up from Old Navy.  I feel super comfortable and pretty in it.  The only thing it's missing is pockets, but you can't always get everything.  I like it so much that I wore it twice in one week!  


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The first time was for family portraits with the husband and the kid, and then again today for Easter.  I don't really celebrate, but it was a good reason to visit with some family.  I went basic with a little cardigan, flat nude sandals, and minimal jewelry.  I can't wear dangly earrings because of grabby hands, so you'll be seeing a lot of these studs in the future.

Pyramid stud earrings :: Anthropologie
Pipe necklace :: gift from Mom
Cream cardigan :: NY&Co.
Blue dress :: Old Navy
Nude sandals :: Old Navy

Bite the Bullet, A Haircut

It was time to bite the bullet and get a real haircut, Internet friends.  I have been growing my hair out since December 2013, and it was a hot mess.  I am lucky that I could hide the scary with curls the last many months, but after revealing the length of time I'd gone in between shearings, Elle demanded I go in and get a trim.

I had been avoiding a haircut for three reasons.  One, I have been super busy since finding out about the baby and getting ready to move back in May of last year.  Two, I wanted to get my hair longer, but I wasn't sure how long.  Three, I couldn't decide on a specific haircut.  The last one was the big stumper.  I've had very specific ideas each time I've gotten a haircut in the last few years, but I couldn't pin down what I wanted.

I basically set an appointment with no idea of what was going to happen.  I was just thrilled my regular hair dresser hadn't up and disappeared in all that time.  I asked her to keep it long, so I can pull it away from tiny grabby hands.  I asked for no super short layers and for something that I could wear curly (my favorite) or straight (my luxury of time option).  I am so thrilled with the way it turned out.  Now, I just need to get a pic of it curly and update my blog photo!


Sorry for the iPhone pic, but it's all I had handy in between a tiny person yelling at me.