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Spring Style Challenge Wrap up

And that's the ball game.  
Spring Challenge #2 is done.  This challenge was eleventy times better than the Spring 2014 version simply because of the relationships that were formed a year ago have transformed into friendships. We have a solid group of women who genuinely care about one another and are having a blast working together.  That is by far the best part of these challenges.  
So today, instead of me babbling on about what I wore, I thought I'd follow Leslie's lead and feature a fellow challenger.  When the idea was suggested, I immediately thought of Michelle for many reasons: 
1) her style is bang on  
2) she's a fellow Saskatchewanian 
3) we've never met, and I think we grew up in the same small town 
4) her posts in the Facebook group were always genuine and sincere. 

She seemed very likeable and guess what, I was right....so without further babblage, here is her post.

Guest post by Michelle Thevenot:

Deena is a fellow Get Your Pretty On Style Challenger and I’ve admired her personally unique and fashionable outfit posts as well as her witty sense of humour. When she asked if I was interested in writing a guest post for “Shoes to Shiraz” about the Spring 2015 Style Challenge we’d both recently participated in, I was honoured! 

I’m a 27 year old stay-at-home mom to a 1-year-old and a work-from-home executive assistant for the family construction business in the area of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Life is hectic. Life has little necessity for adorable outfits. My jobs as a mom and helping run a business behind the scenes don’t require a dress code other than what is comfortable, functional, and somewhat clean. It would be so easy to stay in pajamas, workout clothes, or no clothes all day. I’ll admit, it has happened; especially in those early newborn days.

Which takes me back to reflecting where I was a year ago; an overwhelmed first-time mom questioning everything. My life felt turned right upside down and I no longer recognized anything as having to do with my former self. My body, my mindset, my activities, my lifestyle all changed. I struggled to climb out of the dark hole of identity crisis and post-partum depression. I didn’t know where to start putting my new life in order. It was about then when I stumbled upon Alison Lumbatis and Get Your Pretty On. I admired from afar during the Spring 2014 Style Challenge, wistfully thinking how awesome it would be to be able to wear such cute outfits rather than baby-stained pajamas and loungewear all day. After a year of unflattering maternity and post-partum clothing, I desperately wanted to feel pretty again. Even if my body wasn’t the same, I needed to get some clothes to better represented who I was.  Eventually I came to the conclusion that I could wear cute outfits and I justified doing something good for myself, because I deserved it after all I went through! I signed up for the Summer 2014 Style Challenge, and unknowingly entered a rare realm of life-changing awesomeness. 

The Summer Style Challenge and every one that I’ve participated in since, have all done some transformational things for me:

1) Bringing order to chaos:

When someone tells me exactly what to shop for and what to wear each day, it takes one small part of my life and simplifies it. On the most difficult days in my personal life, having just ONE less thing to think about and taken care of by someone else feels like a small piece of heaven. Order, freedom, and a touch of luxury replace some of the chaos. Having something in order, even something as simple as clothes, empowers me to feel in charge of my life.

2) Accepting change:

Instead of feeling down about trying to fit pre-baby clothes and “I look horrible," I changed my mindset to the issue being with the clothes and not my body. Old clothes from an old chapter in life no longer fit the new lifestyle I lived. I accepted that my body deserved new clothes to better represent how I wished to express myself to the world. It’s amazing what a well-fitted new garment can do for one’s outlook on life, and when there's a whole outfit or wardrobe of newness going on, perspectives change. 

3) Cleansing clutter from life:

When I started donating some items from my closet that I had replaced with updated items, I let go of some emotional ties to the past. By letting go of the old physical items, it helped me move forward. I no longer stressed about how I used to fit that dress five years ago. If I ever had a need to go to another event, I’d want to treat myself to a new dress anyway, and I’ll feel way more fabulous than I ever would in something old from another time in my life which only served to bring up negative comparative feelings. A slow and continual evaluation of my wardrobe has cleansed out any negativity I felt in regards to items associated with my body. If it didn’t feel 100% “me” when I put it on, I knew I wouldn’t reach for that item, so away it went to find a new home. My closet has never been so ordered by garment type and colour. Each time I walk into my closet, it’s a new representation and celebration of how I’ve chosen to treat myself. Cleaning out the clutter is good for the soul.

4) Women empowering women:

The female-to-female relationship is complicated. Women have the greatest power to tear down other women, and the greatest power to lift them up. For some gals like myself with a tendency towards introversion, opening up to other women requires trust that I won’t be attacked or shamed. The Get Your Pretty On private groups for each style challenge have felt like safe havens of genuinely mature, caring women who simply wanted to make other ladies' days with honest encouragement and compliments. Posting selfies of myself in clothes I was unaccustomed to wearing was a leap of faith that it would be a positive experience, and it was so much more than that. I found a multitude of women who all share the same struggles and anxieties that I have with body image, life balance, and pretty much everything that’s hard about being female. I wasn’t alone, and there was peace in finding some openness. I enjoy the subtle web of connections amongst these women changing others’ lives through one inspirational post, admission of honesty, compliment, or piece of advice. Never underestimate the impact of even the smallest act. Women are powerful influencers of each other. 

5) A new sense of style:

Last but not least, I am happily in charge of my new sense of style. When I have an outfit put together that I feel “me” in, my whole day transforms into great possibilities. Priming my outlook for the day by taking a bit of time for myself in the morning is an enjoyable routine, not a chore. I look forward to each new day by “what will I wear today?” which equates to “how will my day go today?” My style has evolved over time, and only to better represent myself. The latest Spring 2015 Style Challenge featured fun patterns and pops of colour to celebrate the optimism of the season. Here are a few of my favourite creations from the past few weeks:



Thank you, Michelle for sharing what the challenge meant to you!
Now, my friends, please pay a visit to the other bloggers and see what they came up with for the last Spring Challenge Link up!

Shoes to Shiraz | R Squared | Two Teens and Their Mama |
Confessions of a Frumpy Mommy | A Lovely Little Wardrobe |
Mishaps and Mayhem of Solitary Life | Puppies and Pretties | Daily Style Finds |
Making the Most of Everyday | She Thought She Could | Foxy's Domestic Side |
Quilty Joy Joy | Curls and Cardigans | Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After |
My Running Stitches | From Plaid to Pearls | Stashed Blog | X-tremely V |
 A Little Bit of Cheer | Nick and Nik

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