Do you ever have those days when you cannot decide what to wear? Of course you do, we all have them. Even men have them. Although I have a hunch that women have them much more often. Most likely it is our hormones. I cannot tell you how often in the past I ended up on the floor of the closest in tears (and trust me I rarely cry) because nothing fit, or nothing felt right on my body that day.
My usual instinct is to always be comfortable. Presentable, but comfortable. What makes things more complicated is when I have to do a presentation, whether in front of a larger group of people, or a group of leaders. It makes me think that much more about being comfortable while also presentable. I occasionally miss the years of my life when I worked from home and my only “clothing” mission of the day was that I take a shower before Chris came home from work. I could at times go days before ever leaving the house. I do not have that luxury anymore. Each day is a new day with all of its newness, oldness, and everything in between.
When I came across this photo on Pinterest, I thought “oh man that is so me.” On those days when I have to give a presentation and all I want to do is be ever so cozy, and yet I cannot be. Instead, I need to be a bit more put together. I need to be more aware of how what I wear does not distract from the ideas I am sharing or the strategy I may be rolling out. In the end, dress, clothes, and what we wear matters. That does not mean that I believe that you have to dress up, but what you put together and how you present yourself matters.
Does it matter for men in the same way? Yes and no. In many ways I have seen it first hand where a guy can wear a t-shirt and jeans and it not matter if he looks less “put together” and yet if a woman wore it in the same situation she would be considered dressed down. Not fair, but at the moment it is the state of things.
Embrace the days where you sit on the floor of your closet. See if you can find something that can express who you are supposed to be today, who you are, and who you want to be.
By the mere fact that you are reading this blog it means you are on a smartphone, an iPad, or on your computer. A device that lets you connect to the Internet and go to a webpage. I love all my blog readers and followers, but for today I am going to tell you, read this blog today, watch the video below, and then turn it off for the day, or better yet, pick a day of the week to put your phone away, or a day a month, or if that might be hard for you, start by putting your phone down for an hour a day, and maybe gradually increase that to more and more time.
Some of you might have already seen this video, or it has been displayed on your Facebook or Twitter feed. Regardless I encourage you to watch it again and think about how many opportunities have you lost because you were too busy reading emails, scanning your Facebook feed, sending a tweet, or posting to your Pinterest board? I am just as much to blame. Yesterday I was at a conference and found myself in and out of a distracted mind between work emails, the presentations, and feeling completely out of it. I took ideas away from the day, but what if I had just turned my phone off? How many times are you in meetings and you see the same behavior (yourself or others) throughout the day?
I have written before about Sliding Doors moments, and I wonder if our phone is often that train that means that because our head is down, or our focus is off, that we miss out on important eye contact, fun moments, and maybe worse of all I wonder if our distraction actually makes others not trust us. Do we ever lead people to think that our phone is more important than they are to us? Yikes. There are times when Chris and I will go out to a nice restaurant and have somehow over time built a pact that we are there to be together – aka – no phones.
Watch this poetic way of getting us to realize how many moments we miss each day.
I remember two specific houses that I always wanted to avoid when trick-or-treating as a kid. One was a woman down the street who would take a dime, a cotton ball, a piece of orange tissue paper and make little mini jack-o-lanterns with the dime as the flat base, the cotton on top wrapped tightly with orange tissue and the face drawn on with black marker. Borrrrrring. Yet, she was so before her time. That would be something I would find today on Pinterest. As a kid though, I thought it was such a waste. A dime? Really. I got more from the tooth fairy, and that was not saying much.
The second house was about five streets back where the houses were larger and usually occupied by doctors and dentists. I knew most everyone in my neighborhood due to the afternoon newspaper I delivered to a large percentage of the neighborhood, and the many, many years of Girl Scout cookies I sold. This particular house was owned by a dentist and again, borrrring. They did not hand out apples, but rather Bazooka gum. Which out of all the gums it was more of the sugary kind, but I was not a gum girl. I guess gum, even with a little sugar, was better then getting a dime on Halloween.
I do remember one year when I was the last kid to the dentist’s house, or maybe they were just done for the night. They gave me the rest of their bag of Bazooka. That was like winning the lottery as a kid, especially as a kid who rarely had candy and treats at home. I took it home and of course hid it from my sister and brother. I learned early on that to share meant it would be gone in moments and I would have to wait until next year. In our house when treats were like water in the desert, you found ways to hide your bounty. Funny how “hiding” meant under your pillow. I am sure I had many lumpy nights of sleep. Until many months later when my sister and I found the bag of Bazooka under my bed, hard as a rock. It must have fallen under the bed while I slept and I had forgotten about that gum. There was no way that we could ever chew any of it, the entire bag like tiny bricks. An interesting thing that happens when you do not share. Sometimes your bounty just goes to waste.
My wedding was different. We both wanted it that way. We wanted it to be about us. The focus was about two distinct and unique individuals coming together to take vows to spend our life with each other. We did not want to get caught up in making other family and friends happy, or to cater to everyone’s little need. I have seen it happen so many times, where the bride and groom get so sucked into the wedding and party afterwards that they forget to breathe and remember why they are bringing their lives together. The most important moments of a wedding day is not what you look like, if your hair looks perfect, or if your mom is happy, but those precious moments when you promise to keep your vows. That is what a wedding is truly about, the vow and promises that are the beginning steps of a marriage.
Now that you have heard my rant and thoughts about a wedding, you can probably guess that Chris and I got married just the two of us. We did not elope per se, because we alerted folks that we were going to run off to the beach in Hawaii to make our promises to each other at sunset. Getting married with just your life partner in tow might not be for everyone, but it was so right for us. We still comment on how perfect it was for us, and have not regrets.
Yet a few things could have been easier. Those things had nothing to do with our vows, or family, or even because we almost missed our appointment to obtain our marriage license. The parts I might do differently were the silly, unnecessary wedding details. My dress. A cake.
the cake made for our after wedding party
Finding a dress was complicated. At the time, I could choose a big ass dress from David’s Bridal, spend more than I was on my wedding and get something unique, or do what I did and purchase a dress at Banana Republic for $100. There was not a wedding dress line at J. Crew or Banana Republic at the time. I know I might sound old, or many other women before me might say that I had more options than they did, but whatever they may say, the options are now endless.
When I recently came across the website: Loverly, a Pinterest site of sorts that specifically focuses on weddings, I thought: “Bummer, wish such a site was available when I got married.” Sure, theknot.com was around, but it was more for creating a website and registry pages. There was not a pin board type site where you could find endless creative ideas. Even though I have been married for almost ten years, I recently had so much fun exploring the different boards on Loverly. We did not have a wedding cake, instead a very generous friend made a cake for us for a party after we got married. It tasted amazing.
Maybe for our upcoming tenth anniversary, I will have a cake made, invite friends over, and eat to our hearts content. The dress, well in the end, mine was perfect for a beach wedding.
Some of my friends have become Martha Stewart moms. On Facebook I see photos of the amazing Valentine’s Day cards they have made for their children to take to school. They are clever and creative cards. They completely blow away the cards we pulled out of a box, sorted through, selected our favorite for the friends we liked the most, signed our name, folded, and shared. With the addition of Pinterest to the social media scene, I see moms outdoing themselves from the plethora of ideas and possibilities in front of them to create fun ideas.
Blast back to the past (yes to the 80’s) when the triangle on your butt was the most important thing. Were you wearing name brand jeans? Were they Guess or a knock off brand? Many times your place at school and in a clique of friends had to do with what you wore or had. Sad, yes, but true.
my Pinterest boards…
Has there been a cultural shift? Is Pinterest part of that shift?
Yes. By giving moms (and no I am not leaving you out dads, I just see more of these photos from my girl-friends), easy access to ideas that they can “pin” to a bulletin board and pull out during holidays, school events, etc. With direct access to how to execute on a project, we have born an organic DIY revolution of moms to become very creative and industrious. It has brought back my youth, and it is the new thing. I can remember many times when my mom made my clothes and I was embarrassed by it (there was no brand label). Many of the gifts from my childhood were homemade, and I hated it. If only I could go back to that time and appreciate those special moments more.
So, thank you, Pinterest for the cultural shift you have brought to homes. You’ve empowered moms to be creative, try new things, and hopefully in the process they have included their kids in the make-your-own Valentine Pinterest style.