Lifestyles of the Indebted & Fabulous

In light of my recent discovery- a newly admired fashion sense- I thought it only fair to impart some of this valuable knowledge on you, dear reader.
After the birth of my first child, I reevaluated my colorful collection of post-college hoodies, comfy "finals study sweats" in an assortment of plaids, and all other male-inspired articles of clothing designed to hide every curve and swerve on my feminine body. I resolved to discard every hooded sweatshirt, sweatpant that failed to hug my curvy backside, all things plaid, and even tossed every marathon T-shirt I'd acquired during my long stint as a running road warrior. Then I began visiting a formally trained hair dresser. After that, I increased the ante by vowing to wear mascara and earrings every day. No matter how shabby you may feel, a little accessorizing never hurt anyone.
As for my daily hygiene, which was null up to this point, I have also made significant improvements. I don't know if my mother-in-law was hinting at something, or merely sharing her expensive facial habits, but every year since I turned 30, she has given me some form of anti-wrinkle, eye lift, make you look younger than you really are cream and gift certificates for facials. Yeah, okay, I finally got the message. Through her gifting, I found DeVita, who sell an all natural (don't quote me) ADH citric acid wrinkle erase miracle potion. I've used the sample size with incredible success this past year (that's how long a tiny bit will last). Want to erase your eye wrinkles overnight? Call DeVita, it's for real! (This endorsement paid for by the makers of DeVita)
More daily hygiene includes a formidable amount of exfoliating. Like sand paper for the skin! I prefer the Aveeda Daily Face Scrubs, which I can get at the local Rite Aide for about $10. I've also used Target's Black Head Remover, which is really just a more abrasive daily exfoliant. Scrubbing the bejeesus out of my face almost every day has made my skin look and feel brighter, less dry, and allows it to actually absorb the (now) expensive face cream I apply after the fact. I love Elizabth Arden's Visibly Different Face Cream, which you can now get at Costco, $30 for TWO!!
Between an exfoliation treatment and the face cream slathering, I also like a spritz of toner (I LOVE Caudelie's Elixir which smells lovely, but since I ran out, now use DeVita's Rose Toner, which serves the same purpose).
One added tip, for crusty dry lips, you can exfoliate those too! Just use your toothbrush and scrub away the dead skin cells for healthy, full, and tingly lips.
Back to the wardrobe. If you want to kick it up a notch in the wow department, DO NOT WEAR flip-flops. They, much like those damned Crocs, are the anti-christ of fashion. Something about that simple t-strap, comfy sole and easy to slip on appeal just screams, "I don't care about my appearance". So, I, for one, have opted out of flops on many occasions. If you have to wear flops, Havaianas are the way to go-so comfy they're like walking on cheese. I chose a bright yellow for my casual beach wear, but friends have sported the metallics and they are far more fabulous than any flop I've seen before.
Other miracles in my closet include a flat-iron (where were these when I was in high school???), dark denim-any high end kind, cashmere (expensive but SSOOOOoooo worth it), a good pair of black or brown leather boots (still searching for the black), a good babysitter and an understanding hubby with a willing pocketbook, a collection of all grades of scarves, one good bra (for those of us "chestly challenged" I highly recommend something from The Little Bra Company, it works wonders!!!), a few belts of interest, and the obligatory fab handbag.
Never forget that motherhood doesn't mean you're invisible. We can all still see you, sags, bags and all. May the Fashion Debt be with you.


Kindergarten Training Camp

I stepped out of my usual motherly role this morning (where I allow my children to sleep in as long as possible which in turn allows me time to consume an additional pot of coffee and savor the last moments of silence left in my day) and traded my coffee mug for a bullhorn and a whistle in preparation for the inevitable arrival of "Operation Kindergarten: Public School".
6:54 a.m. SOLDIER!!!! RISE AND SHINE!!!! Get dressed, put on your shoes and head 'em up for outdoor activity! I don't care if it's dark outside, GO GO GO GOOOOoooooo!!!!!!
Yep, we have one week before school starts to shape this preschool girl into a well prepared kindergartner, and it all begins with a wake up call.


The Almost Compliment

My neighbor is more like me than I realized. Having only met her once on the beach, clad in full wetsuits a few months before, I hadn't the chance to recognize myself in her until the conversation we shared today.
We happily greeted each other as she waved from her front yard. I guided my stroller over towards her picket fence and cooed over her newest baby boy (her third child-the woman dispenses infants like a candy machine).
"I think we saw you at the park the other day," she offered.
I now recall recognizing her daughters, who have hair like bohemian mermaids, butt-length and curled in loose tendrils down their backs. I eyed their golden locks and thought to myself if Shelby had the ability to grow long hair, which, unfortunately, is not in her DNA, that her hair would look a lot like these girls.
"Oh, your girls have the long curled hair!"
"Yeah," she answered.
"Were you with a big group of women and kids of all ages?" I asked....with the big circus tent and the elephant giving rides-there was so much action over there the table resembled a 3 ring circus act.
"Oh yes, that's us. My girlfriends and I have been getting together for ten years now."
So that's what my friends and I look like when we get together, a furious cloud of activity, like a swarm of bees you don't dare get close to.
And then she added, "You were wearing a RVCA shirt I have... I mean, I have the same shirt, and I've never known how to wear it until I saw you in it the other day. I've just always worn it as a swimsuit cover. I pointed you out to my friends without recognizing you!"
I raised my eyebrows as I attempted to recall exactly which shirt she was referring to and what my state of insanity was the day an entire group of women were observing my style of dress. Oh God, I thought, at what level was my insanity, was that the day Ana got stung by the bee and then pooped out her diaper?!?!
I was lost in my own thoughts when she delivered a line I was sure could only be uttered by me, myself and my schizophrenic I.
"I didn't realize you were such a cute dresser." And she gave a slight nod to my Monday tunic and skinny jeans.
Okay, although intended to be a compliment, her double entendre suggested that my first impression months before on the beach-albeit in a rubber wetsuit, matted with sand and topped by a coif full o' seaweed-did not parlay my zest for fashion. Where did I go wrong?
After thanking her (I think), we offered our neighborly goodbyes and headed out. And the rest of my walk I pondered ways in which to improve my wetsuit appeal. Earrings? Waterproof mascara? Maybe a trendy patch sewn onto some portion of my rubber suit. If only I had gone through with that foot tattoo when I was in Tahiti I might have come off as a lifetime fashionista. Now, I must settle for the title bestowed, a newly discovered fashion plate, the girl who came outta nowhere.
And then I smiled even wider because I appreciated her blundering gesture, the "foot in mouth, I-meant-it-in-a-good-way-even-though-it-came-out-all-wrong compliment". I think I'm going to like getting to know this neighbor better. We certainly have a lot in common...