I am not what you would consider a “girly girl”. I rarely wear makeup, haven’t been in a dress since my daughter’s wedding, and in general believe less is more when making decisions about my personal appearance. (And just look how smoking hot she is. Makeup ruins faces. That’s why I get to be married to a woman who is hurtling toward 50 like an out of control freight train, and when I look at her, I see a 16-year-old girl. Wear less crap on your face, that’s my advice to all you chicks out there. Not for me, I’m not in the market. But for whoever you’re trying to snag. Or keep. Or trade up to. – Lee) That being said, as I climbed up the corporate ladder, I started to pay more attention to these things because your appearance does change the way people look at you. Eventually I came up with a “look”; short hair, Brooks Brothers shirts, nice slacks (mostly purchased at second-hand stores), and some killer shoes that are the female version of the male dress shoe. (Don’t be fooled. All this project manager, masters degree, Six Sigma crap is an excuse so she can have a “look”. And the look is an excuse to have shoes. Oh my dear Lord in heaven, the shoes. They’re everywhere. There are shoes in the closet. Shoes under the bed. Shoes AROUND the bed. Shoes in drawers. Shoes under the couch. Shoes right. in. the. middle. of. the. damn. floor. There are shoes INSIDE of other shoes. And all of them are slightly different shades of dark blue. I swear. And guess what sentence I hear more than any other? Wait for it….”Have you seen my shoes?”. Yeah. The struggle is real. – Lee) The look took years (and countless pairs of shoes) to develop so I was a bit concerned when we started to explore this lifestyle on how that would change. There is a limited amount of space for clothing in an RV so you need to be very careful about what you bring. It’s true that I tend to wear the same things over and over..and when working in the rig I am a jeans and T-shirt kind of girl. I also brought a condensed version of my professional wardrobe, which I use for travel and trips to the local offices. (She only just barely condensed the shoes. She really does have a lot of shoes for someone who drives and flies everywhere. – Lee) It’s worked out well so far and largely how I dressed before this life is the same as how I dress now…just more shorts and t-shirts. Other “look” items have been a bit more challenging though.
Makeup is another item that has been a non-issue for me. I’m lucky that Lee vocally prefers me in no makeup and I only wear it on special occasions. I brought a few pieces with me..not even sure where they are, because I haven’t touched makeup once since we’ve been on the road. (I’ve thrown all of it away, to make room for shoes. – Lee) I am using a light tan as my base, a gleam in my eye as my mascara, and excitement as my blush. Ok, that’s kind of silly, but truly I think I look great because of those things and no makeup has been applied. My friends who do wear makeup, still wear it on occasion and please feel free to chime in on how that’s working in the comments section because for me it’s been largely a non-issue but I know that’s not the norm.
Nails, however, were a major change. I have had my nails done for over 12 years..clear gel with white tips, because my nails are very weak and I used to nibble on them. It cost me $42 a month to maintain them, but I always considered it a business expense so it didn’t really matter. Fast forward and we are doing our budget and I decide I needed to find another solution. Luckily my friend Dr. Jo found this amazing product at Walmart (Nail-Aid), and I tried it and it actually worked!! It’s $8.99, but lasts a really long time and seriously my nails used to bend and tear they were so weak and now that’s gone. For color I use Sally Hanson Diamond Strength Champagne Blush…which gives me an opaque pinkish tint which lets the whiteness of the tips show through…not as good as a french tip but very good for doing it myself…and finally a Clear coat of Diamond Strength Flawless. so I’ve saved my $42 a month with a $15 investment that will last several months and I like the way my nails look. I redo them once a week and feel pretty great about it. (It stinks the place up, but it makes her happy, so I don’t complain much. – Lee)
Pedicures on the other hand, well, that’s a different story. Pedicures were not a business expense but a treat and I did them a few times a year in the summer time. Fast forward and my feet are bare more than they have ever been but I don’t have pedicures in the budget and I simply cannot duplicate what the professionals do…not even close. I somewhat jokingly asked Lee if he was willing to give it a shot, but the answer was an unequivocal no…so I miss them and hope to figure our a way to either get them inexpensively or find a good substitute. Maybe I should check out Groupon.
And so we finally come to hair, which for me has by far been the most stressful. As I’ve mentioned before I had the same hair dresser for 13 years and I really dreaded leaving her. The first haircut went much better than I expected, but now it’s past time for the first dye. I was really struggling though with whether I should dye it our not. First there is the cost ($80 at Super Cuts including tip) and the fact it really needs to be done every two months. I could go back to dying my own hair (did it for years) but I love the blonde streak in the front and that is beyond my capability to do. Then there’s Lee’s reaction. The grey has been coming into my hair pretty steadily and Lee really likes it. I mean really likes it…every time I go to get the hair cut he says “don’t dye it”…he touches it a lot and says how much he likes it. (It has a really great texture. Seriously, next time you see her, touch it. I mean, don’t be weird or creepy, just point behind her and ask what kind of bird that is, and when she turns around, touch her hair. But just for a second, because, hey, that’s my wife you’re groping. I have a sense of humor and everything, but don’t get all grabby. In fact, forget the whole thing, just take my word for it. It feels great. – Lee) I can’t remember him ever caring what color my hair was before but he really likes the grey. But the grey says something in our culture and it can have a business implication. Lee can go completely grey and he looks distinguished, a woman goes grey and she looks “old”. At least that is what we are conditioned to believe. So I was struggling, but needed to do something because I had a work trip scheduled and my hair was a shaggy mess. I called my friend Cori and she neatly summarized it. Yes, people could judge me, but did I really care what those people thought. Dammit!! I hate when she does that. So getting my hair dyed turned into a conversation with myself about who I am versus who I want to be. I was still on the fence though so I called the person who has been giving me hair advice my entire life…my mom. She said that she’s letting her own grey grow in because that’s in fashion now. Things got interesting! You mean I can be true to my new self and still be in fashion?…SOLD!! So I kept the streak and the rest I am letting go. It only cost $38 for a cut, eyebrow wax, and the one strip died…a bargain!! I did give Jim a $20 tip because he did a fantastic job but still $60 was cheaper than $80 and I normally won’t tip that much I think I was just on a high from the whole being my new self thing. (And with all the money she saved, she can put a down payment on a shoe! – Lee)
OK, so, we’ve talked about makeup and clothes, nails and hair….what’s left?….well shoes and purses of course. I seriously streamlined how many shoes I have, although it is definitely 3X as many as I need…(the first step is admitting you have a problem…) but baby steps right? I gave all my Coach purses to the girls and bought a new one for myself that was more low-key when we went on the road. I have found it’s actually okay to have one brown purse and wear it with everything. Crazy right? I would like to talk a bit about designer things though. When I was 14 years old I was pretty thin and nothing fit me very well. The first time I put on a pair of Calvin Klein jeans they actually fit me like a glove and I learned how well fit clothes could make a difference. Yes they were $44 in 1980, but I was lucky that my mom wanted to give them to me because of all the years she couldn’t afford to spend that kind of money on me. I never was a person who cared about a label for the labels sake, but I learned from Lee of all people who sometimes a well cared for quality product can actually save you money. For example when we were young I spent $25 on a new KMart purse 3 times a year (they fell apart on me so I always needed a new one. Then Lee talked me into buying my first Coach purse on sale for $90 which lasted a full two years actually saving me $60 over a two-year period plus I had a purse I really loved. So, before you immediately dismiss quality think is it something that will outlast its cheaper competitors and take that into consideration. BUT, and it’s a big but, sometimes paying for the label is just stupid. Recently I broke a $20 pair of sunglasses I absolutely loved and have been trying to find a replacement ever sense. Lee said find a quality pair of glasses and take care of them. His last pair of Ray Bans that lasted 12 years which roughly worked out to $12 a year, cheaper than buying 2-3 pairs of $20 sunglasses a year. (And guess what I replaced them with? The same damn Ray Bans, I won’t wear anything else, because I use them to protect my eyes, which I use to look at my wife. I am really not as complicated as people think I am. – Lee) His rationale is if it’s more expensive you’ll take better care of them, which is true but when I was in the airport today looking at $225 Versace sunglasses I thought; no freaking way. (Damn right. You gotta work your way up. You can’t just go leaping willy nilly from gas station shades to Versace. – Lee) So I went down to the Bijoux knock off store all the airports have (where everything cost $10) and found a really nice pair. They even gave me a little cloth bag to put them in. So yes, quality matters and yes sometimes it is even cost-effective, but sometimes it’s just dumb. The trick is knowing the difference!
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