Pregnancy and Attention

I'm not a girl who's afraid to stand up and make a presentation to a large group or even act a fool in front of strangers.  I've done plays, given concerts, and led tour groups, so I wouldn't exactly call myself shy.  I do have conditions for being the center of attention though; I need to be "on".
 
"On" is feeling together in my clothes, hair, makeup.  Sometimes, I have a glass of wine or a cocktail.  I am "on" at work during my day-to-day meetings, whenever I meet a bunch of new people, or even if I'm with friends/family and would rather be home watching TV.  Being "on" takes a lot of effort and mental power.
 
It's not that I mind being "on." It's just tiring and better accomplished in small doses, which is where pregnancy comes into play.  You see I'll be continuously pregnant for the next six months or so.  When people find out, they're super excited, and they want to talk about it.  They direct a lot of attention at me, leaving me easily overwhelmed.
 
It's hard to explain for me, or maybe you guys understand completely.  It's not that I'm not happy or that I'm entirely avoiding talking about my pregnancy.  I'm neither of those things.  Really, I'm not naturally social, and I've had a lifetime of experiences--starting in childhood--that taught me that communication without effort on my part equals awkward interactions with other people.
 
What does this have to do with blogging?  Well, I've always strived to be better, more comfortable with myself, and happier through this hobby.  I've written about some of my experiences here with attention in the past and building up my own confidence.  Somehow, writing about this new awkward stage seemed to make sense.  Pregnancy is another journey that will challenge my sense of self and hopefully help me feel more at ease in the world.
 
I know I need to relax a little bit and stop worrying about saying something dumb or rude or getting funny looks.  I know I need to stop feeling off when people examine my middle with their eyes to see if I'm showing yet.  I know that most people are genuinely happy, and they just want to be a part of my experience.  But, knowing is just the first step.
 
So, if you're my friend or especially my family reading this, you should know I'm really uncomfortable right now.  It's not because I'm worried about gaining weight.  It's not because I don't deeply care about you.  It's because I feel like I'm a tiny person with a huge spotlight shining right at their head.  The attention, especially the idea of things like showers, makes me an anxious mess.  Bear with me while I try to figure out how to handle the warmth of your kind words and thoughts.  It's really not you, it's me.
 
Have any of my bloggie friends run into situations where suddenly they were the center of attention?  Maybe you had a great accomplishment, received an award, or even experienced a loss?  Let me know any tips you have for relaxing in those situations when it feels like everyone is staring.

All New, Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Let me just say how good it feels to wear clothes that fit.  Maybe these jeans are a little bit loose in the middle and maybe they go up to my boobs, but you can't see that shiz.  All you can see is skinny jeans that could pass for black pants and a loose, flowy cream top. 
 
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I was skeptical of this top when I ordered it because of the way the husband's least favorite black dress fits.  Batwing isn't really about flattery, so much as style.  I ended up really loving the way it looks though, and I think it has to do with the volume and rounded hem at the bottom.  In love.
 
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Everything in this look is new except for the boots, which are kind of painful.  I wear these sometimes and love them; others, I want to throw them into a river.  I just ordered another pair of flat black boots I'm hoping will be a replacement for these guys.  Send me good shopping vibes.
 
Pencil charm necklace :: Anthropologie
Cream top :: Forever21+
Black tank :: Loft
Black jeggings :: Forever21+
Black ankle boots :: Target
 
 

Surprise, Monday, August 4th, 2014

I was a schemer in helping to surprise a friend for his birthday today.  To pull off the sham, the husband and I pretended we were going to dinner for our anniversary.  It is actually our 13th anniversary today, so this helped further the ruse.  We don't normally celebrate, so I welcome the chance for fancy dinner. 

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To ensure I looked the part of celebrator, I dressed up a little.  Plus, a giant shipment of clothes from Forever21+ just came in the mail greatly expanding my closet options.  I chose this black pencil skirt, my white lace top with black collar, and black ballet flats at work.  Then, I switched to platforms for dinner.   

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It's nice to be wearing stuff that fits and makes me feel good again.  I can't explain how little wearing oversized, sloppy clothes does for my mood.  I like to look nice and accomplish that quickly, so fingers crossed, I can keep it up with my new duds.
 
White lace top :: Marshalls
Black pencil skirt :: Forever21+
Black ballet flats :: DSW
Black platforms :: Nine West outlet
 

Adapting to and Hiding a Pregnancy Belly

Around the 11th week of my pregnancy, it started to look like I gained back all 10 pounds I just lost on Weight Watchers.  Since I was trying to keep my pregnancy under wraps*, my doughy middle presented an interesting challenge.  Even thirty pounds heavier, I've focused on highlighting my shape, not hiding it.  How was I going to dress my body, hide my pre-bump, and not be constantly sloppy at work?
 
A couple of things stood in my way.  I was not motivated to pay attention to getting dressed 'cause I was exhausted**.  My closet was filled with lots of body skimming shapes like fitted blouses and pencil skirts that were quickly getting too tight and un-wearable.  And, there wasn't much in my wardrobe that fit in with the standard pregnancy advice of "loose, flowy clothing" because baggy isn't really my style.

So, what did I do?  First, I gave myself a break.  I was juggling a lot and I needed to expend my energy where it mattered.  I know that I went into work a few times looking "less than" my regular self, but I had to let go a bit.  I focused on getting my work done and through the day.

Then, when it made sense, I shopped at online plus-size retailers with generous return policies like Asos Curve and Forever21+.   I bought items that would fit me until at least 5 months pregnant and that would work again after I have the baby.  Everything came it at around $20 or less except for a single pair of true maternity pants, which were $35. 

I also dug into my stash of slightly oversized clothes and put away everything that was too tight.  Why stand in front of the closet wishing I could make outfits with stuff that doesn't fit? It was counterproductive, so I just accepted that my wardrobe was smaller for now. 

In the end, I realized that I couldn't control how my body was changing; I needed to use my shopping skills and creativity to figure out solutions.  It reminded me of my shopping habits when pennies were much tighter in my house.  I was excited to combine my old sale hunting and bargaining skills with my fresher styling and shopping skills.

How do you use clothing to conceal something you would rather others not see?


*I was keeping my pregnancy a secret until my first trimester was over.

**Reasons for exhaustion include:  general pregnancy fatigue, looking for a new house, and preparing old house for sale.  Who wouldn't be tired? 

Ladies Night, Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

Another day was spent working on our current house to put it on the market.  BUT, the husband and I both agreed we needed a break, so I took the night off to go out with the ladies.  It was just supposed to be Elle and I, and then Sizzler, T, and Dr. J decided to join us for sushi.  Deliciousness. 
 

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Since I spent the day in old paint clothes and covered in dust from scraping windows, I wanted to look nice but fast.  Enter the maxi dress.  I don't think you guys have seen this one yet, so finally, something new on the blog.  To add color, I put on a head scarf--maybe a little bit, too, because my hair was messtacular.  Prepare to see the dress on repeat.
 
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Head scarf :: thrifted
Heart pendant :: gift from husband
Pearl ring :: gift from Mom
Crystal ring :: Margaret Elizabeth
Black maxi dress :: Marshalls
Nude sandals :: Old Navy

The Breakfast That Almost Wasn't, Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

I'm back in photos, and I have a good story.  Yesterday, I was driving home when this a**hat stopped short in the road for no reason.  There wasn't a single person or car around this guy.  I jammed on my brakes, and the entire contents of my purse spilled onto the passenger side of my car.  I thought I managed to get everything, but turns out I was wrong.
 
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Fast forward to this morning... when I arrived a bit early for work, I decided some eggs and a banana would be a welcome breakfast.  I start rummaging through my purse to find my wallet, and it's nowhere to be found.  Now, I'm super embarrassed and digging around for change to cover my eggs.  Then, this very nice stranger says he will pay for my breakfast.  Much appreciated very kind stranger.  My banana eating wouldn't have happened without you. 

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As for clothes, I'm wearing a dress that's comfortable and doesn't restrict my middle area.  Dark colors are nice for camouflage.  Sweater dresses are a bit expandable, and I really wanted to wear those two rings together again.  I've missed accessories, and now that the hubbub at home is winding down, I am feeling a bit more comfortable with playing dress up again.

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Heart charm pendant :: gift from husband
Pearl ring :: gift from Mom
Quartz ring :: Margaret Elizabeth
Navy dress :: Anthropologie
Navy slip :: Target
Nude flats :: Old Navy

My Hair, The Mop

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Now
 
There it is peoples, my hair.  That sort of shaggy shapeless frizz is the best I've been able to manage lately.  I know that it probably doesn't help that I haven't had a haircut since December 2013.  See the photo below for a reminder of what it looks like when I actually seek professional help in taming my wildness.   

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Back in January
 
I really need to take care of this whole messy business, but I'm scared.  I don't want to lose much length, and I love having the ability to do a ponytail.  What I'm thinking might look cool is a bob that angles a bit towards the front.  I could wear it curly, wavy, or straight.  I dream that this look would be magic.  What say you Internet friends?  Do you think I need a haircut?  Do you have any suggestions that won't lop off all my hard grown length?