90% off Valentines Day Cuteness and Why I Almost Didn't Share This Look. | Le Hoarder
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Saturday, January 30, 2016

90% off Valentines Day Cuteness and Why I Almost Didn't Share This Look.

As a nice Jewish girl I don't really celebrate Valentines day but with everyone else starting to share their looks I found these pics and thought, how perfect? Plus I just spotted this dress on Eileen Davidson's niece/assistant on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

I love the bold pop of color on my lips and bag against the black and white houndstooth. And who needs an excuse to wear a killer pair of Sophia Websters? So obsessed. These photos were taken by my talented niece, Meira.

My bargainista look from head to toe:
  • Dress: Saks off 5th Black Label, pink dot sale, $14.99 (approx. retail $158)
  • Bag: Charlotte Olympia Taboo, sample sale, $115 (retail $545)
  • Bracelet: Dannijo Valentina, sample sale, $50 (retail $595)
  • Heels: Sophia Webster Keira Doiley sandals, sample sale, $95 (retail $750)

Grand total $249.99 - not bad for a $2,048 look. OK so it's almost 90% off.







Unfortunately, most of these pieces are no longer available so I'm linking a few similar Valentines Day inspired pieces for you to shop - or just get some style inspo :)



When I was looking through my photos to see what I would be including in my next blog sale, I came across these photos that I shot a couple months ago. I have to confess that I wasn't going to share these photos because of my vanity. 

My one regret of my youth is being chicken so in my 40s I've decided I have to push myself. To put myself out there, flaws and all. My arms and thighs are a little jiggly and I have a small belly. I still bite my nails which does not help my veiny old lady hands. And let's not even start with my scarred knees and stretch marks...but for now this is who I am. I'm guessing I'm not as small as I'd like because I skip a workout or two here or there and my eating is a little out of control. I've seen so many mommies transform their bodies that I know I can do it too. I'm already halfway there. I'll finish when I'm ready. 

Like a lot of women, I have body and food issues. Even when I was a size 2 I remember being critical of my figure. As a child I was a stick figure and everyone tried to feed me. I was bribed to eat (usually with clothing or sweets) and ultimately developed terrible eating habits. Now as a mother I never force my kids to finish their plates because I find that most children have the ability to self regulate and will eat when they are hungry. I was lucky. I had an amazing metabolism and could pack away a ton of food and not gain any weight. I'd always been a bit of a tomboy and pretty active. Plus I was naturally fidgety and to this day I'd rather stand than sit. I went to an all girls private school and I think there were only 58 girls in my graduating class. Without the pressure of boys we wore shapeless clothing (it was the style in the 90s), no makeup, and baked Duncan Hines cakes for each others birthdays - and demolished them using just our fingers as utensils.

As the oldest girl in a family with seven kids I craved my independence. Every summer I headed upstate with some friends to work as a camp counselor at bungalow colonies (think dirty dancing but with Hasidim) and that was really my first exposure to boys. Finally I landed a gig at a more modern place and my naive skirt-wearing friends and I met this new breed of girl who primped, wore pants and actually talked to boys. Suddenly the pressure to be thin and pretty was on. We were fish out of water. We hid in out rooms too afraid to speak to boys, and when the boys came out with their ratings I somehow landed at the bottom. I'm thinking my shyness and lack of boobs did me in. Luckily I had just enough self esteem to realize how stupid those boys were. However, that summer I developed a terrible daily diet of a single bagel (back when carbs weren't a dirty word) and several Diet Cokes. I also air popped popcorn for a snack on occasion. That was the first time in my life that I danced in front of the mirror and loved how thin I looked. Everything fit - and that was a great feeling. My best friend started getting on my case (partially for hoarding all the soda) and eventually my love of food returned and things went back to normal.

After high school I went abroad to an all girls seminary for the year. All my closest friends stayed behind and it was the first time in my life I was really on my own. I had a few acquaintances and I made some friends but I guess I was pretty lonely. Back then there were no cell phones or internet so I waited by the payphone every Sunday for a phone call from my parents and hand wrote long letters to friends and family back home. Sometimes I paid the school office to fax my letters back home.

These new girls that I met were a lot more sophisticated - they had designer wardrobes, boyfriends, got manicures, went to the gym and seemed to exist on a steady diet of fro-yo. Again, this is back when candy and Twizzlers were still considered diet food. In an effort to fit in I joined a gym for the first time in my life. I figured as long as it was paid for I was gonna make the most of it. I hit the gym for 2-3 hours a day, 6 days a week. I took one or two toning or aerobic classes and followed with some weights, the bike and antiquated step machines. I don't think the elliptical was even invented yet. I remember one of those rail thin girls looking over my shoulder at the scale shocked that I weighed 121 lbs. All these girls seemed to weigh less than 100 and at that point other than my shapely behind, I was just as thin as they were.

I should mention that the school fed us three meals a day plus snack time. For a while they pulled snack because some girls were complaining they were gaining too much weight. Lets just say there was rioting and snack was returned to us. I started noticing the skinny girls snacking on celery sticks and carrots so I started waking up early to beat out the anorexics who would swipe all the veggies from the breakfast platters. I came down at 6 am with my Tupperware and filled it up with carrots and cucumber sticks for the day. I have to say I loved the control. I loved the self discipline of working out and measuring what I ate. I even made one of my new friends my food police - she would question me when I took a second portion. It was actually helpful to have someone to be accountable to.

When I came home my friends looked at me in horror. I had zero fat on my body. I really didn't know what the fuss was about because I still had my butt and my thighs touched at the top. It was the pre J-Lo and Kardashian era so I had a hard time finding clothing to fit over my derriere. Kate Moss was the model of the moment and nobody had curves unless they were plus-size. Back in high school our baggy clothing covered everything up. It was in my twenties that I finally learned how to dress for my shape. I had finally started developing my own sense of style. And it's when I really learned how to shop. As a Jersey girl I first discovered European designers at the now defunct Daffy Dan's (later shortened to Daffy's). When I studied at FIT I popped in to Loehmann's (also closed) just down the block or I'd subway down to Century 21 between classes. Then I discovered sample sales. My addiction to food slowly turned to my addiction to clothing. When I got my first job I suddenly had tons of money to feed my new addiction. I could walk into Barneys and buy anything I wanted. Truthfully I only did that once because the next year when I spotted one of my full priced suits at Daffy's, I swore to never pay retail again.

When I hit 25 I first noticed my metabolism started to slow down. I used to be able to drop 10 lbs in a week if I needed. All of a sudden I said "huh?" My weight would fluctuate between 125-130 for most of my twenties. When I got married at 28 I was 123 lbs. and my dress hung on me because I dropped some weight due to pre-wedding stress. My husband was able to span my waist with his hands because I was so tiny. He does have big hands though.

For all my insecurities, there were always things that I liked about my body. My long skinny legs, my blonde hair, my tiny waist...and by 30 I learned to live with my big butt so that no longer was a challenge. Then after I had my kids my body changed. My first pregnancy was great - I only gained 21 lbs and looked super cute. My B- cup became D+, I had a glow, and I had a killer maternity wardrobe. I was 31 and my body bounced right back. It was with each subsequent pregnancy that bad things started happening. My feet got bigger and none of my shoes fit. Fat started sticking to my body in places it never had before. My hair started falling out. My tiny waist was nowhere to be found. I finally topped out at almost 200 lbs. After number three, I had to learn how to hide the 50 extra pounds I was carrying. People asked when was the baby due for years after my youngest was born. It did get me bathroom privileges and many a subway seat but I wanted my body back. I was miserable.

I took back my life when I walked into Target and purchased a new Blu-ray/DVD player and a copy of Jillian Michael's 90 Day Body Revolution. I forced myself to do the workout every day. Let's just say, if I ever have to hear her call me "sweetie" one more time I'm gonna punch her in the face. I moved on to Shaun T with Hip Hop Abs and he made me laugh so much I started T25. I kept at it and eventually I was able to fit sample sizes again. Three years later I'm still doing it - but now I just do the Gamma cycle because Alpha and Beta are too easy. I'm waiting for my brother to give me Cize already so I can do something new.

I know that everyone talks about self acceptance and every body is beautiful, but every day is a struggle for me. I wish I was smaller. I worry about eating too much. I worry about eating too little. I still have to force myself to workout most days. Sometimes I go shopping just to keep me from overeating. Luckily penny hunting and window shopping keeps me from going broke. Personal shopping has also been a great outlet because I get to do something I'm really good at - for other people, with other people's money :)

So that's me in a nutshell. Probably more than you expected from this post LOL. I guess I want my message to be that behind every picture there's a real story and possibly a real struggle. I didn't want to share this look because I hate the way I look in this dress. I know I'm not fat but I don't feel that skinny anymore - and for years skinny was my identity. I also suspect that I'm 5 lbs heavier than these pics right now, but this is me taking my first step forward after taking a few back. I will be brave. I will be strong. I don't have to be the skinniest, or prettiest, I just have to be me. I spent my 30s in hiding and I don't want to hide anymore. So in full disclosure I'm gonna share that I currently weigh 159 lbs and wear a size 6. Sometimes a 4, sometimes an 8. Like I said, I've always weighed 20 lbs. heavier than I look.

Thanks for reading. I figure by getting my story out there, other people who are struggling will know that they are not alone. Right now I'm gonna take a deep breath and hit publish.

Now that that's out of the way I'll get back to work on the blog sale :)

XOXO
Shoppinggal



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25 comments

  1. My hope for you (and me) is that one day soon you can accept yourself the way you are, "flaws" and all, because so much of your energy gets wasted on this when you are so.much.more.than.your.body. I don't see the flaws you see; I see a beautiful, fun, vivacious woman with a killer sense of style. The flaws you point out, I don't see them. But we're all our own worst enemy and you know I get it, more than most people. It's so hard to be a woman in our society but I know you don't want your kids talking about themselves the way we get so critical of ourselves. And the only way to have that not happen is by not talking about ourselves the way we do. I love you Michelle and you deserve to be at peace with yourself, at this weight or 20 lbs less.

    And another note your heels are freakin fabulous.

    http://asequinloveaffair.com

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    1. Thanks Shira. I agree that in most cases we are most critical of ourselves. I'm here blogging and living my dream finally after all these years but it's still a struggle every time I have to post a photo of myself. It's really hard to come out of hiding. For 10 years I didn't let people take pictures of me and missed opportunities because I was scared. I'm working on it but there's no such thing as an overnight fix.

      And you say all those nice things because you're my friend. You're hardly an unbiased source LOL.

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  2. Thank you for sharing your story. I really admire your honesty and what you've already accomplished with raising your children. You keeping doing you!! :)

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  3. 1- the photos are great!
    2- that took a lot of courage. Good for you -- and maybe one day you will see yourself the way everyone else sees you.
    3- blog sale!! ;)

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    1. Thanks D. And yes, blog sale LOL. Every time I go to work on it I keep getting distracted.

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  4. I think that was her niece, not her assistant

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  5. Love the look and as I've commented before (I think) I LOVE those heels!

    As for the rest, Ah so relatable! I also struggle with my weigh and I've struggled since I was young. Even when I do manage to loose weight, I overeat and gain it back! It's frustrating and I also wish I was smaller and didn't have this or that but two ears ago something changed. I started not giving a crap and it helped me so much. I thought "why does it matter that I'm not a size two? Why does it matter that I have cellulite or don't look as good as I want in a bikini? No one pays THAT close attention to my flaws. And if they do, that's weird. They need a life." When I started thinking that way, I felt WAY more confident about what I wore and it actually helped me lose more weight. Now, I'm not saying I'm where I want to be, but mentally, things are healthier. I hope it helps you to think about how people aren't judging you or even noticing what you mentioned. I swear, I didn't notice any of what you mentioned. I noticed your smile and hor killer look.

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    1. Thank you :)

      It's good you've made piece with yourself. I lost some of my identity when I got heavier and I'm still trying to come to terms with that.

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  6. This look is great, and I can't believe you almost didn't share these pictures! I was so sad reading this post, because you are such a beautiful woman, and you should see it too! You look fabulous, especially after having kids. I admit that I'm incredibly nervous to have kids, because I know my body will change so much. I can relate with the terrible eating habits, and the last couple years I've really had to start watching what I eat (I would go through 5 large bags of Lays kettle cooked jalapeno chips EVERY WEEK). Not only was my cholesterol through the roof, but my jeans didn't fit too well. It's tough making changes when you've grown up a certain way and developed bad habits!

    Anyways...long comment, but just repeating that you are GORGEOUS, Michelle!!!

    www.betweentheracks.com

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    1. Thanks Morgan. Maybe it's because I edit my own photos (instead of having a photographer who does it) I have to use my super critical eye on my pics. In my head I'm still in my twenties (with my cute 20s figure) so when I see otherwise in the mirror I have a hard time. I'm really only comparing me to my old self, not to anyone else.

      I am so insanely jealous you can still pack that away. Enjoy it while you can LOL.

      People don't tell you how horrible pregnancy can be - and don't get me started on the nightmare of delivery. Still brings tears to my eyes. I mean to scare you because nobody else will tell you the truth. I think people forget how bad it can be LOL.

      And thank you :)

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  7. I love this look and want that bag! Great post

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  8. No Stinking way. Your style is gorgeous. My 16 year old daughter is very vintage in taste and would flip over this. I am sending her here to peek at that dress and those shoes.. Ohhh the shoesss <3 Ahhhhhhhhhhhh

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    1. Thank you Kristin. Yeah, the shoes are pretty amazing :)

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  9. I see a lovely woman who shops like a boss and has major style. Your hands are lovely! You have that lovely skin tone that blondes can have. No flaws - I get you though. All of us women get it. I hate it, but I get it.

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    1. LOL thank you. You really don't see all the veins and scars on my hands?

      It's nice to hear that other people get it :)

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  10. LOVE the dress. You look amazing in it. I relate to how you feel, and I have not taken my body back yet. Thanks for the inspiration.

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    1. Thank you. Good to hear I'm not alone :)

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  11. I love these cute photos, you remind me of a more stylish Julie Delpy! Thanks for sharing your story, I think we can all relate, I applaud you for putting yourself out there all the time (and looking gorgeous!!), I'm still a chicken, LOL. Oh and her niece IS her assistant just like you said ;-)

    Tracy
    www.TracysNotebookofStyle.com

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  12. I know I'm way behind but I had to comment on this post. First of all...you are so beautiful. We are always our own worst critics of our flaws.

    A lot of neuroses women feel about our appearance is because society places SO much value on women's looks. This isn't something we have usually discussed (usually too busy shopping and buying things lol) but I'm a huge feminist for this reason. Look at critiques of male politicians v. female politicians--it's fine to hate Clinton's policies, for example, but the criticism against her is SO often lobbed at her hair, her pantsuits, how old she looks. Eurgh. Or look at the shelf life of Hollywood actresses v. actors. In women, youth, looks, and thinness is valued, so when we (naturally) lose these things (or some people never had them), our very humanity is denied. In uglier parts of the internet, you see people calling larger women ugly pigs who deserve to die, or whatever. But of course women are so much more than their looks! It's such a basic concept, and yet so many people still struggle with it.

    So, you have CRAZY good bone structure (yr face omg), amazing skin, and even if you're not your thinnest, you have a great shape and great legs. You're really, really attractive, even if you don't think you're at your personal peak attractiveness.

    The thing is, even if you were 100 pounds larger, or had aged like a normal person (seriously, you freak), or just weren't pretty to begin with...that doesn't mean you become less of a person, or don't deserve to wear beautiful things that you love, or shouldn't post pictures of yourself when you want to, you know?

    Since moving to NE (woo), I've gained maybe...4-5 lbs? Part of it is just from walking less since no public transportation, and part of it is my metabolism is DEFINITELY slowing down. I eat real food and workout, so, I'm just accepting it as a part of aging and my body changing and try to be kind to myself. I have no doubt I'll gain more weight when I start having kids and getting older. But if I'm healthy and active, who cares.

    You grew THREE PEOPLE. What a f*cking accomplishment. No man has ever managed that ;) Your body is AMAZING. Love it <3

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    1. I don't know how I missed your message. Thank you for your kind words. You crack me up and I can't wait for you to get back here already. XO

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