The other day, I referenced a post I had written back in September 2010, when my son was just six months old, titled “The Road to Schlumpadinkaville?” In that post, I was feeling that I had gotten into a serious beauty slump as a new stay-at-home-mom. Everyday, I was putting my hair up wet, wearing no makeup, and my uniform was a pair of khaki capri pants and a tank top. Jewelry was out of the question, even my wedding ring! Even if you’re not a SAHM, you might be able to relate to “letting yourself go” and you want to get your spark back. When you work outside the home, it sort of forces you to get ready in the morning, but I remember many a workday where I got by with the bare minimum and didn’t feel all that great about myself.
On the recent blog post, Autumn left a comment that has stuck with me where she asked,
I’ll take that as a compliment Autumn, and although I know I’m not perfect, I have some tips to share with you for how I changed my ways (#recoveringSchlumpadinka) and got out of Schlumpadinkaville and now only visit occasionally! 😉 And by the way, thank you Autumn for your comment and inspiring this post!
____________________________________________________________________5 TIPS FOR GETTING OUT OF SCHLUMPADINKAVILLE
1) DECIDE YOU ARE WORTH IT
For some, deciding you are worth putting the extra time in to care for yourself comes after you’ve taken some of the other steps below. For me, I was mostly just tired of looking like crap everyday and wanted to feel better about myself. I know on the days I take the extra time (and it’s not that much more), I definitely feel more confident and ready to face the day.Especially as a mom, there’s many a morning where it crosses my mind that I could really use the extra 40 minutes it would take me to do my hair and makeup to: a) sleep, b) clean up the kitchen, c) start the laundry, d) work on my blog, e) run the mile-long list of errands that need to be done. There could always be something else that needs to be done. But, if you always put everyone and everything first, you are always last on your list. My Grandma always wisely advised me, “take care of you” and her words ring in my ears often.
I also feel like it’s more polite (and I don’t know if that’s exactly the right word) to look decent when I pick my son up from school and when my husband comes home from work. I actually feel embarrassed when my hubby gets home and I’m looking all schlubby. He would never complain, and maybe it’s my own issues, but I’m sure he does appreciate coming home to a nice looking woman (and he’d really like to smell food cooking on the stove) . . . but that’s another blog post!
I may have taken this bit of advice to the extreme by competing in two bikini contests in the last two years, but you don’t have to be “bikini ready” to notice the difference in both your health and physical appearance when you start working out. Do I want to go workout 4-5 days a week? Hell, no! Do I have the time? Not really. Do I make the time? Yes, because you better believe I feel 10x better when I do.
After you make exercise a priority on a consistent basis for even two weeks, you start to feel powerful and strong and you start to have more energy for life. Lots of times when I feel crunched for time, I just put on my running shoes and iPod and head out the door for a 30 minute jog. Of course it’s harder to make time when you work full-time, but it can be done. The best time might be before work (rise & shine!) or right after dinner, before getting the kids down to bed.
Looking back, my fitness posts for 2015 were among the most popular on my blog, so I know wanting to be healthy and in-shape resonates with you. It sounds corny, but “just do it!”
Hand in hand with exercising is eating better and I know that when I work out, my diet is much easier to clean up. It just makes sense that you don’t want to spend all that time, energy and effort to exercise just to blow it on bad food. The days I workout are always the days I eat the healthiest.
I’m still exercising (albeit at a much lower intensity at 30 weeks pregnant) and it’s helped this pregnancy feel much better!
3) BUILD A WARDROBE WITH A FEW PIECES THAT FIT AND LOOK GREAT ON YOU
You don’t need to go invest a lot of money on new clothes, but you would feel 100 times better with a few things that a) fit and b) look great on you. Many of us are wearing things that are too big or just unflattering to our figure.I feel like this could be a whole post on it’s own, so I’ll expand on this in the future, but investing in just a few basic pieces that you can build a flattering wardrobe around and mix and match will take you far and last a long time.
For me, my work wardrobe was pretty good, but my casual clothes were a mess and I didn’t really have anything cute or very flattering for a new mom, which likely contributed to my Schlumpadinkaville dilemma. You might be in the opposite boat and need more work options, so I’ll be doing a post on that soon. I know as a working woman how challenging it can be to come up with exciting outfits on repeat, so I’ll put together some of what worked for me back then soon.
For now, the point is just to go through your closet and figure out what fits and what’s flattering and start there. For example, find a pair of jeans that you look and feel good in, then just change out your look by adding different tops, sweaters, shoes/boots/booties, and accessories.
If you prefer a tall boot, this pair is awesome (and fit true to size). They have a 3 1/4 inch heel, not too chunky, and I wore them comfortably for several hours while running errands. Or try these if you like a lower heel.
I also swear by a couple of great, chic tee shirts that are casual and easy to wear, but don’t look frumpy. You can dress them up with accessories or layer them under a jacket, cardigan or sweater.
One of my favorite tees is by Halogen and I don’t see the exact one currently available, but it looks like they have a new jersey v-neck tee that is silky soft and flattering (and comes in several colors). Also in regular and petite.
Another good basic tee is by Caslon and it’s also less expensive at $25, also in lots of colors (love the striped one!) and regular and petite.
4) FIND A HAIR STYLE/COLOR THAT FLATTERS YOUR FACE AND FITS YOUR LIFESTYLE
I used to have a terrible cut/color that looked awful on me. I grew up blonde as a kid, but as I got older, my hair got darker. I hated having to go get my roots done every 6 weeks (my hair grows fast), so I tried going dark brunette thinking that I’d be done with the constant trips to the hairdresser. Wrong! The brunette faded rather quickly and I realized I’d have to continue to get it darkened until all the blond grew out, making for just as much maintenance.
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For a long time, I had a weird “in between” brown/blond color until I finally realized that, although it’s a commitment, blond looks best on me. I get a combo of highlights and lowlights to keep it from looking too solid blonde – I like the dimension of blending the colors and have gone to the same colorist for most of my adult life, my good friend Renee.
I also used to have super long hair that I dreaded fixing most days, especially in the dog days of summer in Houston when it was so hot. A couple years ago, I chopped it to about shoulder length and haven’t looked back. It’s so much easier to fix now and I think it flatters my petite frame much better. Many of you have asked for a hair curling tutorial and so I’ll do one for you soon.
5) USE MAKEUP TO PLAY UP YOUR GORGEOUS FEATURESA makeup-free face is fine and I’m not saying you need to get all dolled up to workout (I usually workout with no makeup, maybe just mascara), but makeup can really enhance your features and take you from schlumpadinkaville to hot mama in about 10-15 minutes.
I used to never wear blush (I guess I didn’t think it was necessary), but now I see that it adds a youthfulness to your face and takes away that flat look. The NARS Hot Sand and Orgasm blush and bronzer is a good one for achieving that fresh look. It’s not essential, but a sweep of “the multiple stick” right at the top of your cheekbones will help reflect the light and give your face a nice shimmer. You can use this one on your eyes, lips and body too.
It’s good to break out of your lip color rut too. It wasn’t until my friend Audrey strongly suggested I try a red lip that I got out of my pale pink lipstick stage. Now I love adding a bolder lip color. It really wakes up your face and is flattering! I love a matte lipstick for the long-lasting wear but if it’s too matte and I want some shine, I’ll add a dab of lipgloss to the top center and bottom lips.
6) HAVE FUN! & DON’T PUT PRESSURE ON YOURSELF TO BE PERFECT
Just be the best version of you that you can be! I can remember being out with a single guy friend years ago and asking him what type of woman he was attracted to. His response stuck with me over the years. He said he didn’t necessarily have a type and he wasn’t always attracted to the prettiest girl in the room or the most fit, but rather, he always appreciated a woman that he could tell was making the most of what she’d been given and who had put in the effort to be her best self. He remarked that he liked it when he could tell a women took care of herself because it said something about how she’d like to be treated and would probably treat others.
A happy woman is a beautiful woman! Here’s to all of you beautiful ladies and to leaving Schlumpadinkaville behind! 😉