I hadn’t worn anything like this in YEARS

I’m quickly approaching the empty nest, not that I’m not looking forward to it. We just went through a long battle with my mother and mother in law and breast cancer. I was their primary caregiver all the way through home hospice. They both passed exactly 2 months to the day apart in the Spring of 2018.

It took its toll on the entire family but as a couple, us particularly hard. We retreated to our respective corners of the house. I started therapy and she asked me what I could do for myself right now. I was not happy with myself in any way shape or form. I had gained weight, not taken any sort of care of myself in a while.

No wonder nobody wanted anything to do with me. My solution was to get a mani/pedi and my hair cut by an actual hairdresser, not Great Clips. I bought a new outfit and put on makeup. My husband actually noticed and invited me to go on his business trip to Atlanta the next night. Talk about a boost to my self-esteem. I had been wallowing in my misery. My therapist asked me to set another goal. This one was a little more ambitious, lose some weight before our family vacation to the beach. I joined Noom and found out I’m not the only person struggling with body images. I got some support and lost 20 lbs for the trip.

My husband was gushing. So I kept it up. To date, I’ve lost 65 lbs but I still don’t see anything but what I was. I wanted to do something special for my husband for our 30th anniversary. That’s when I saw Kristen’s ad. At first, I was going to be very conservative but as I was planning and shopping I discovered that 19-year-old newlywed was coming out. I know I’m not 115 lbs anymore but I’m also not at my heftiest 250 lbs either.

I have so many flaws on my body. Not only have I gone through 6 pregnancies, 4 live births, nieces 4 babies but my body has betrayed me several times with illness. I look like I’ve been ridden hard and put up wet one too many times. When I walked in there was this beautiful woman who was going to see every one of those flaws. Kristen never gasped or anything. She made me feel welcome and was excited about the whole thing. She helped me finalize my outfits since I’m so indecisive. We joked and laughed and she put me completely at ease. I pretty much forgot about everything except how much fun I was having.

I started out doing this for my husband but it turned into something very special for me. For the first time in a very long time, I felt like I was something more then someone’s mom, housekeeper, taxi driver, chef, etc. I felt like myself. This is something I would have done if I had a chance when I was much younger. I just forgot this lady was trapped inside.

Hair and makeup by Declan + Mae