Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hot Mama: A Shopping Spree

I understand that I am only on Day 24 of 30 right now, and as of yesterday, I still had an entire week to go. However, I've done a pretty darn good job. And you know? I am feeling pretty darn good about myself. So, I decided to reward myself for a successful (so far) Whole30.

Yesterday, my mom and I participated in Take Your Daughter to Work Day -- about a month early and 20 years late. I headed to Regency Court and helped my (hot) mama at her boutique, Hot Mama.

If you are lucky enough to live in a city that has Hot Mama, I hope you've checked it out. If you are unlucky (like we are in Des Moines), check out their website -- or, more preferably, get in your car and drive to the nearest boutique. It is a seriously amazing company with a wonderfully empowering message to women.

I mean, check out the manifesto on the back of each bag and on the tag of each item:

While it focuses on the "mamas" of the world, I think it is empowering to all women: take care of yourself in order to take care of others, think of yourself as beautiful, pursue your passions and remember your dreams, give yourself a break.

And, I love how Emma (the store manager and my new best friend) wrapped my necklace:

It reminds me a lot of the Stella & Dot packaging. And, as silly as it might be, it totally makes me smile and think just a little more positively about myself.

Before I get into my purchases (because you know that my mom and I had a little fashion show and photo shoot as soon as we got home), I have to tell you a little about me and shopping recently. Let me preface all of this by saying that I have always loved shopping: wandering around the mall, trying things on, buying new clothes, etc. As much as my bank account has hated it, I have loved it.

For the past several months, I have despised it and have pretty much avoided it at all costs.

I have not stepped foot in the mall unless it was for a very specific reason: pick up candles at Bath & Body Works, grab more moisturizer from Estee Lauder, buy a gift for a friend, or attempt (unsuccessfully) to find professional attire. I have thrown away the Express and Limited brochures without even opening them to remove the coupons and have tossed the Victoria's Secret catalogs without even choosing my new favorite swimsuits and cover-ups.

Because I have felt so awful about my body and so undeserving of clothes that make me feel cute, I have stopped shopping altogether.

Instead, for the past several months, I have lived in leggings, tunics, and workout clothes, and the only clothes shopping I have done has been for workout clothes at Old Navy.

I have not stepped on the scale for 24 days, so I have no idea if I have lost any weight. I feel different, but I'm not sure if I've lost inches or dropped sizes. (It's hard to gauge those sorts of things when you live in spandex.) But, I do know that I feel different. I feel better about myself.

So as I started this post by saying, I went to Hot Mama yesterday with my mom. My mom told Emma that I'd be coming to look for hot new clothes, so Emma was ready and raring. When I got there, though, I told Emma that I was super nervous about trying anything on because I didn't think that I'd fit into anything. She assured me that I would be just fine and started pulling things off the rack left and right.

And, she was correct: I did fit into most everything that she pulled for me, aside from two pairs of jeans (damn hips) and a jacket that was just half a smidge too small on my arms.

Here's my haul (please disregard the boring backdrop of the kitchen, the horrible lighting, the super-awkward poses, the I've-been-out-and-on-my-feet-all-day appearance, and the cat that wouldn't leave me alone). Also, I tried to link to everything, but unfortunately, some of the items are not sold online. See? Go to a boutique. :)

Side note (based on that previous paragraph and all of my disclaimers), I apparently still have a lot of work to do on that whole self-esteem thing. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

I bought this striped tank top because my mom has one and said I would live in it (it's super stretchy and really flattering) and this flowy, chiffon top (that I originally bought to be part of a different outfit -- that you'll see in a second).

I swear this looks much better in person.
This Asian-inspired chiffon "jacket" has black lace on the shoulders and is super flowy. It looks great over a black fitted dress/tunic and leggings. I think it'll also look super cute with skinny jeans and my riding boots. This is the only piece that I was second-guessing and that was kind of an "impulse" buy, as I don't think it's necessarily as versatile as the other pieces.

My mom and I had too much fun during this photo shoot.
You're welcome for omitting the super silly shots.
I absolutely love this tank top -- and really love the message on it. It's really casual and would be perfect for an outdoor concert (being the hippie that I am), but I'll still totally wear it to work with black cropped pants and a cardigan. Versatility, people (and justification/rationalization).

I was kind of on the fence about this pink- and gray-striped tank, only because it's pretty casual and something that I feel like I could find at Target. However, it was fairly inexpensive, and the fabric felt sooooo good, so I went ahead and threw it in, too. I'm really glad I did, as I think I'll wear it a lot this spring/summer.

Like the aforementioned Asian-inspired blouse/jacket thing,
this does not photograph well. I look like a semi truck in this
photo, but I swear it's super slimming.
This is the outfit that I'm pretty sure I'm going to wear on my date tonight. As I said in the photo caption, it's really slimming. It's also extremely comfortable and, I think, pretty darn classy. I love the lines of the skirt (and the slit that goes up to about the knee), and it looks really bohemian-chic with the flowy top and the turquoise tassel necklace (that I also bought today).

I originally tried this tank on in a more neutral color palette (gray, black, taupe), but then Emma brought me this super colorful one. It is so slimming -- and would've looked more slimming had this picture been taken from the side. This is most definitely a versatile piece, as I can wear it to work, out at night, with flats, with heels, etc.

The white tank top that you see under other items in four of the photos above is pretty much amazing: it's one-size-fits-all and stays where it's supposed to (i.e. doesn't ride up as soon as you shift positions). And, it kind of serves as a much more comfortable version of Spanx and keeps everything sucked in.

So, that was my Hot Mama shopping spree. I spent a lot of money, something that I was not necessarily planning on doing, but you know what? I deserved it. I have been diligent about my nutrition, I have been working out (running) more frequently, and I have not bought anything that has made me feel attractive in so, so long. It was about time.

Interestingly, I wrote today about spending a shit-ton of money on clothes. Tomorrow, I will talk about how Whole30 has helped me save money by helping me realign my priorities toward spending money on food, not on other silly things.

Just pretend this post never happened when you read that one. :)

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