My Progress!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Where do you buy your clothes?

Someone just posted a comment on my blog asking where I buy my clothes. Thanks for your sweet compliment btw :). I have to say that now that I have lost weight, I LOVE LOVE LOVE getting dressed every day. Two years ago, I LIVED in 8x tshirts and workout pants that never saw the inside of a gym. I rarely bothered with hair and makeup and felt anything but pretty or feminine.

It is so funny because the people I work with, the friends I’ve made over the last year or so…they only know THIS Michelle…the one that gets pedicures, has her nails done, enjoys dolling herself up, even if it is just to go to the grocery store. In the last year, I’ve had so many people remark about what a “girly” girl I am…I can’t help but wonder what they would have said if they had seen me just a few years ago?

The sad truth is, this is how I was in my 20’s. Erik used to call me his “glam girl.” Not a lot, but he referred to me a few times and one time when he was being honest with me about what he missed the most with my weight gain, he admitted that he missed how much care I took with my appearance; how “together” I was.

Now don’t get me wrong; putting clothes together doesn’t come naturally to me, but I’m getting better at it. I have many days I’m sure I’m a major fashion “don’t,” but I have fun playing around with clothes and accessories now. Speaking of fashion don’ts, you see the leopard dress I wore in a few of those pics? That was a dress I bought for my birthday party and I felt like a diva out that night! However, when I was looking back at the pictures I laughed because the first thing that came to my mind was how Wilma Flintstone would get all decked out to go with Fred to the Lodge…THAT is what I looked like :P Oh well, now I know what I’m going to be for Halloween although I’m hoping that dress will be too big for me by then.

Incidentally, that dress was a size 18!! I haven’t been in a size 18 since I was 21! I know today’s 18 is probably more like a 22/24 back in my 20’s, but still ;) Overall, I am fast moving out of 22/24 and more into 18/20 now and it feels amazing. I haven’t been in a 14/16 as an adult EVER and it is surreal knowing that is the next size down. I just can’t wrap my brain around it.

Ok, so where do I shop? Here are the stores I buy most of my clothes from:

Lane Bryant
One Stop Plus
Ashley Stewart

I’m at a point now where I can also shop at Ross as well.

I actually got quite a bit off craigslist, but most of them come from these stores. Lots of people getting rid of clothes for the same reason I now have 3 32 gallon totes full of clothes to get rid of. For $60 I got about 30 pairs of jeans, capris and other pants along with numerous tops from one woman. Another woman gave me 2 big totes full of clothes to go through for about $20. I couldn’t wear all of them, but found some cute stuff in there. The black top with the little gold halter thing in one of my pics was one of my favorites.

For today, I’ll elaborate on some items I’ve purchased at Avenue and go through the other stores each day this week. Please don’t think I’ve gotten full of myself and feel like I have any major fashion tips to pass on. Honestly, my friend Shannon thinks my sense of style is atrocious lol! She says I’m too trendy and she’s probably right. Most of the stuff I bought in my 20’s I probably couldn’t have worn now even if I hadn’t gotten rid of them years ago. I actually had a pair of harem pants guys lol…hows THAT for trendy? I’m sharing mainly because:

1. someone commented on my blog and I love talking clothes now even if my sense of “style” often isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
2. I know how hard it can be to find cute stuff in plus sizes.
3. I’ve discovered certain cuts and styles tend to flatter my particular shape so those of you who have similar body types (hourglassy) might want to try similar cuts and see how they look on you.
4. I do actually think I can offer some tips on how to get decent clothes on a budget which can be tremendously helpful when you go through the sizes like crazy after bariatric surgery.

So, over the next week, watch for me to go through each store, point out some stuff I actually purchased and maybe a few things I like. I’ll also talk jewelry and other accessories towards the end of the week.

Now for the fun part :D The blue and pink floral ruffly tops I was wearing in many of the pics were purchased at the Avenue . They tend to rotate this particular style in different colors throughout the seasons and I have to tell you ladies…men LOVE them! I get more compliments from men (and women, but who cares about them ;) when I wear them. I guess because they are so feminine and frilly without being overly frilly. Here are some links to similar tops:

Camilla Printed Ruffle Tank (this is actually on sale for $19.99)

Tiered Leopard Print Tank (this is also on sale for $24.96) I have this and usually pair it with a white pair of capris and a jean jacket or with black pants and a black shrug. I was a bit worried about all the ruffles, but it is actually pretty slimming. I would love to get this skirt to wear with it , but I think I’ll wait until it is on clearance)

Printed Cross Strap Cami(on sale for $12.96) This is MUCH cuter on and I pair it with a pink shrug kind of like this. I usually get compliments when I wear it. I may have a picture of my friend shannon and I trying them on. If I can find it, I’ll include it in this post to give you a better idea about what it looks like on. ETA, I actually found the pic of me out seeing a KISS cover band that I thought was more fun although I defo needed a better bra on. It looks more flattering when I have a decent bra on and since then, I've found a few that support the girls a bit better. I'll share lingerie hits and misses later in the week :)

Here are some others that are kind of my style. I haven’t actually purchased these and probably won’t to be honest (my closet is already stocked and I’m trying to pay off my financial aid and save for plastic surgery…more on this later, but I’ll keep an eye on clearance and if they go on clearance, I may buy them in 14/16 ;)

Asymmetrical Ruffle Convertible Tank
Crochet Trim Tunic Tank I like this one in both colors, but if I had to choose, I’d probably buy the green.

Printed Criss Cross Tank: Love this in both colors, but I think I’m most partial to the pink.

Maxi Dresses: I have a few dresses similar to this one. I don’t particularly like this pattern, but I’ve found it tends to flatter my body shape and hides a myriad of massive weight loss flaws lol (nothing that a good pair of spanks can’t smooth out ;) I actually bought two dresses very similar to this one at a place here in San Antonio called Melrose. They were on clearance and I got them for about $8 a piece! (I love telling people that too when I get compliments on the dresses)

Shoes: People…I have big ol’ ugly Fred Flintstone feet. They are big and wide and they have always been a chore to buy for, but I can sometimes find some cute shoes at Lane Bryant or Avenue. Avenue recently had a buy one get one free sale on their shoes so I bought the following:

Rosie Embellished Flower Sandal I bought these in both colors and they are SO cute!

Erica Jeweled Gladiator:
I bought these in all but the coral. I had to buy them a size larger to fit the width and the ankle part can get a bit snug towards the end of the day (I have cankles from hell :(, but they are comfortable even later in the day and look great with capris, even some dresses.

Maureen Flower Flip Flop:I know these are kind of ridiculous, but I thought they had just enough whimsy to warrant a purchase. Again, I'm sure Shannon is going to roll her eyes when she sees them; especially since I got them in the pink! One tip the sales girl mentioned that I thought was great was if you have hard to fit feet and you find shoes that fit you, but you can’t afford to buy them in every color, buy the “off” color because you KNOW you can always find wide shoes somewhere in black, white or neutral.

Lona Braided Gladiator SandalI bought these in the pewter and gold.

I’ve managed to get better at walking in heels too and I bought a pair of these recently in white. They are fairly comfortable if you aren’t standing on your feet all day. I also think these are super cute, but I haven’t actually tried them on so no idea if they’d even fit my feet or how comfortable they are.

So there you have it…take a look at Avenue yourself and let me know what looks you love! I can always use some fashion tips so feel free to suggest away or critique my style :P

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What a fine mess...

Hello again. I begin by offering my apologies. I’ve been busy (see slide show). Busy with good things and busy learning some hard lessons. I haven’t lost a ton of weight since you last saw me. Presently, I sit at about 262, but I’m working on it. In the last two years I’ve gone from wearing 8x tshirts to squeezing into 18-20’s. I’ve gone from carrying a chair with me when I go shopping to canoeing down a river with my son and planning a trip to Fiesta Texas where I plan to ride every ride with him. I’ve made a ton of new friends, dated my heart out (almost literally) and learned that ultimately, the most valuable opinion of my self-worth is what I define guided by my creator.

In the past several months, I worked at either losing or maintaining my weight while I spent time doing what my weight had prevented before surgery. I made friends, got out socially (probably overdid it a bit in this category), prepared for my divorce (which will hopefully be final before the summer is through), started a PhD program in Psychology (and ultimately decided that I would switch to an MS in Mental Health Counseling due to lack of time for residency’s and an academic year in residence in the PhD program…incidentally, got a 4.0 my first quarter in the PhD program ;)

This post will address the dating front…presently I am dating one of the men I mentioned in my prior post. He was the sweetheart with the daughter…the one I said I should probably devote my time and energy to. One problem though, I discovered about two months into it that he has a serious drinking problem and has for some time. Our first date broke a month of sobriety. He eventually told me himself while explaining that he couldn’t be my drinking buddy…that we had to find things to do that didn’t involve going out and drinking because it had been a serious problem for him for many years. Fast forward to now…he continues to struggle with his drinking which typically causes him to drop off the map where I’m concerned. I’ve gotten a handle on mine, but in the past months, I’ve gone drinking with him despite knowing his struggle with alcohol…I’m not proud of that.

I suppose it would be easier for me to have dropped him like a hot potato if he was the typical alcoholic…but he never really lets me see that. We could get together, have a few drinks, enjoy a nice dinner, watch a movie…whatever. What I didn’t know is that after I was gone, he would REALLY drink. If he went on a binge, it just meant that he would “fall off the map.” I wouldn’t hear from him, couldn’t get in touch with him, he just disappeared.

At times I felt conflicted because I decided that I wasn’t going to give him ultimatums or try to change him because, let’s face it, if he couldn’t get his act together for his daughter, he sure wasn’t going to do it for some woman he barely knew. For several months, we weren’t exclusive…I don’t think he was dating anyone else, but I was. I just couldn’t open myself up to being vulnerable and exclusive knowing the demon he was wrestling with. What I didn’t count on was that somewhere along the way, I’d start to develop feelings for him regardless of how fiercely I was guarding my heart.

Some of you might wonder how that could happen, but I can tell you…apart from this very serious problem over which I am completely powerless, he is also amazingly brilliant, thoughtful, funny…we get each other. Maybe I see a lot of myself in him…I’ve struggled with food, he struggles with alcoholism. Almost 9 months later, he still insists on opening my car door for me, treats me with respect, gives me sage advice when I need it, treats me as if he values me beyond what my body might look like or do for him. I realize though, that all of these other things don’t matter or shouldn’t matter. He’s still broken, but I see in him a desire to honestly try to get his life together. However, whether he will succeed has nothing to do with me or anything I might do or not do.

Recently, he fell off the map again. I knew he was on a binge. What I realized this time around was that I really cared about him and that changed how I viewed this whole twisted scenario. After about 4 days of not being able to get in touch with him, I went to his house, knocked on the door, texted him that I was sitting in my car until he came out to talk. He finally came out, opened my car door and half smiled as he said “You really can be a pain in the ass you know that?” We went out on his back porch and talked, really talked about his drinking and how my feelings for him changed how I felt about his drinking. He once jokingly said he thought I was perfect for him…he enjoyed spending time with me, we had the same sense of humor, and…I was probably one of the few women who would put up with his BS. I reminded him of this and told him that, up until this point, I had put up with it because while I cared what happened to him, I didn’t really CARE about him. I told him that he couldn’t rely on me putting up with him drinking, falling off the map, etc anymore because there would be a tipping point…a time when it wasn’t ok. I told him that I because I truly had feelings for him, that it hurt to see him like this…I couldn’t be party to it anymore. What I didn’t say was that I realize I’m worth better than this and while I care about him, I still need to look out for me, for Tanner.

So, I’m fairly resolved that the next time he falls off the map, I’m going to have to move on. As I type this, I’m heartbroken, because I worry that it isn’t an “if he falls off the map,” but “when he falls off the map” he's told me as much himself.

This probably sounds like an incredible mess, but honestly…it’s usually the messes that teach us the most about life, about ourselves. How messy things can get when we make the wrong choices or misuse the gifts God gives us. I’m thankful that despite the fact that I can still make a pretty big mess of things, somehow God keeps working on me…whispering in my ear…waiting for me to listen for a change, giving me glimpses of truth and clarity until I can see the path through the mess I’ve made. I’m sure I’m going to have to stumble and grope a bit more as I find my way; sometimes my journey is slow going because of the obstacles I manage to create for myself, but I always seem to find myself just a bit further down the path than I was before. So, despite setbacks and obstacles, I’m getting there; wherever there might be.

Thanks to those of you who have followed my journey and who will hopefully stick around through my haphazard posting habits to see where the path leads me. Now I have to think about what I’m going to cover with my next post…job, school, tanner? Guess I’ll have to see where I find myself the next time I sit down to write :)