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Guests and Ghosts

Can you believe a brand new year is upon us? It's crazy to think that 2016 is behind us. If you're like me, your time went to the demands of everyday mommy life. Getting kids to and from school, activities, play dates and doctor appointments, not to mention running a household, making meals and even getting yourself to and from work. Speaking of which...I probably should be doing one of the aforementioned things right now...

How often do you forget what day it is, or things are so hectic that your kids’ names become some merged version of everyone’s name (“Emmaowen...whoever you are”). Heck I’ve even called my kids by the cat’s name. Life is crazy, I get it. My kids are 6 and 4, are 18 months apart, and they sure keep me busy. In addition to my full time mommy job, I work part time as a family photographer. There are days when I don’t even know my own name.

Sometimes, I feel so rushed and frazzled that something as simple as remembering my kids’ doctor appointment seems like a huge accomplishment. This one appointment in particular, we got there EARLY, only for the receptionist to look at me and say there’s no appointment in their calendar...that the appointment I was thinking about was from last year (I blame my phone). Whoops! Guess I need to make an actual appointment, then.

There have been so many times when I feel like a duck in water, calm on the surface but paddling madly underneath. Thanks to all this, up until recently, I paid very little attention to myself. Style? No way, I didn't have time for that. I couldn't care about something so trivial when there were two kids who needed me... every bit of me and my energy. Same pants, same shirt for days in a row? Sure! Who cares?! Ok, that might be an exaggeration, but if I wore the same clothes repeatedly before washing them, that’s less laundry to I right?!

go to outfit

(My go-to outfit, circa 2012)

But someone did care; she just didn't realize it yet. In the midst of mommy duty, probably sometime between activity #3 and doctor appointment #27, something happened. I took time for myself. It might have started with a new haircut or new glasses or a shopping trip alone. You know those glorious moments when you can stroll the aisles of a store and actually think?! It was during one of these trips that I noticed I avoided the mirrors.

When I did accidentally catch a glimpse of myself I wondered, Who is that frumpy lady? The baggy shirt and tired shoes...what is that on her shirt?!? I realized then that I had to find myself again. That reflection wasn’t really me. My younger, pre-kid self screamed at me to make a comeback; I wanted to start paying attention to myself again. I took a long hard look at my wardrobe, as sad as it was: five shirts - most of which had holes, two pairs of jeans that sort of fit, zero dresses, zero skirts, and 1,954 pairs of black leggings or lounge style pants. Oh, and three pairs of shoes: the sad beat up flip flops, my “fancy” sandals and a pair of boots. Then I thought...How is it that my 4 year old daughter has a more extensive wardrobe?!?

So, I did it. I said goodbye to my ill-fitting, but oh- so-comfy, jeans. Adios to my baggy t-shirts with holes (you know those tiny mysterious holes that show up on the bottom half of shirts!). So long to wearing pants all year long, because who has time to shave?!? I even got rid of my tired, but beloved shoes.

But how would I start to rebuild my wardrobe? Standing over a pile of frumpy clothes has a way of defeating you, like it might be easier to climb Mount Everest then to conquer refreshing your style. But don’t be afraid, take your time, find the way. How? I joined a very uplifting Facebook group, Outfit of The Day. I looked at the women who posted their outfits, paid attention to their advice, and tried to find similar pieces. I started a subscription clothing service, Stitch Fix, to help me break from my dowdy rut. Finding time to try things on is never going to be easy, and creating this new, better version of myself didn’t happen overnight. But with the help and encouragement from my husband, I did it. Now I am a new me, a better me. Better because I feel beautiful and more empowered. I get up, get dressed and get to it. Being a mama doesn't mean you have to sacrifice yourself. If anything it means you have to better yourself.

goto outfit

(Go to outfit, circa 2016)

I did it and so can you. Style doesn't have to be out of reach. It's attainable and I can help! Follow me and I will show you what I’ve learned. From thrifted style (which is a favorite topic of mine) to active wear, dressy and casual put together looks. Even how I put outfits together and pre plan what I will wear for the week ahead. Style can be many things but it has to be beautiful and true to you. If my 4 year old can rock four different patterns then add rainbow leg warmers on top of it all and feel stylish, then we mamas can handle a bit of style too. Maybe just not the rainbow legwarmers.

So tell me: where do you want to start?!

Lorraine is a family photographer in Fredericksburg, a mama to two young kids, a wife to a supportive husband and a style enthusiast. Lorraine graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2006, with a degree in advertising photography. She enjoys quiet moments, silly kids, clothes, shoes, coffee, and a little wine too.

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