As I am quickly approaching 35 later this summer, it has dawned on me that I am actually a bona-fide grown up.  Now when that happened, I really have no idea. I mean, the last time I checked, I was 27. And before that, I was 23.   Anyhow,  here are a few things that I have learned in my years.

*  you really can’t go cheap on most things.

I have tested this theory over and over and have yet to find a generic product that works as well as the name brand or better made product.  Here are some random things I have tested and have determined I would always spend the extra money on the normal product vs the equivalent discount type.

Kraft mac n cheese vs. store brand. I mean, there is absolutely NO comparison.  End Of Story.

Tweezerman tweezers vs. store brand.  I couldn’t find my Tweezerman tweezers the other day and resorted to using some off brand.  It was misery!  I maybe got one hair pulled.  Sheer frustration.

Diet Coke vs. store brand.  Again, no comparison.

Cheap ass candles vs. Soy candles.  They just burn cleaner and smell better than the mass-produced junk like Yankee Candles.  Blech.

generic brand skin care vs.  A more spendy brand that actually works.

generic shampoo and conditioner vs. Bumble & Bumble or Aveda.

Now, I’m not saying I want to spend oodles of money for the basic necessities, and I sure love me some Target shopping, but honestly, you get what you pay for.  If I want a pair of shoes that will last me a season, I’ll go to Payless.  If I want them to last me a long ass time, I get the brands I love and the prices I don’t want to pay, but will.  Same goes for clothes.  Sure, Target did me real well when I was pregnant.  And they are great for a t-shirt or swimsuit here and there, but I can’t maintain my wardrobe there.  Things just fall apart too easily and it’s all too basic.

* it really does make a difference how you look.

I used to be very childish in my dress.  I wore jeans and Disney clothes for the longest time.  White Keds were my shoe of choice and I wore a ponytail more times than I can count.  It took me years to realize why people treated me so much younger than I was and I just never got the respect I deserved.  It took me many years to realize  just how important impressions are.  Especially in the working world and especially when you look as young as I do.  Having a few key pieces in your wardrobe will go far and they need not be expensive, either.  Here are a few of my staples:

Jeans that fit really well. And I don’t mean tight with camel toe, either.  You shouldn’t have to lie down to put them on.  And they should NEVER be mom jeans, no matter how old you are.

A nice suit.  Simple trousers and a jacket will suffice.  Sure, now that I’m a stay at home mom, I don’t often have the need to wear a full suit anymore, but it sure is nice to have one on hand for when I need it. And the trousers and jacket and be mixed and matched with other items as well.

Mid length shorts.  Gone are the days of daisy dukes, though I know I can still get away with wearing them, especially since I still consider myself a Dallas Fort Worth.  heh.  I just don’t feel comfortable letting it all hang out anymore.  Shorts that hit mid thigh are perfect for me now.

A few knee-length flowy skirts for warmer days.  They can be dressed up or down depending on what I’ve got going on.

Cardigans in basic colors like black, brown and navy.  They are so much nicer than sweatshirts.

Khaki pants.  They are so nice and light when I don’t feel like wearing jeans. I like the ones that hit right at my ankle so I can wear flip-flops in the summer.

Nicely fitting t-shirts.  My faves right now are the basic ones by Hanes that you can get at Target.  They come in pink, white, grey and black.  I rarely wear shirts with slogans anymore, unless it’s race shirt and I am training.

Flowy tops rather than longer t-shirts. I like blouses that are slightly fitted with a flutter sleeve as they tend to look more polished.

These are just a few things that I make sure I have on hand as they can get me through pretty much any situation.

*  skin care is actually as important as they say.

I have recently spent some time looking at myself in the mirror.  Really studying myself.  When all of those laugh lines, sun spots and wrinkles appeared, I have no idea, but I don’t want any more of them,that’s for damn sure!  I have been experimenting with finding the right products that work for me.  I started with Philosophy, and I loved their Purity face wash, but wasn’t soo keen on the rest of their product line.  Then I tried Khiels and they were not right for me, either.  I even tried La Mer, but I just could not justify the price.  I tried Avon, but it was too oily for me.  Then I found Arbonne and I love it.  I’ve used it for almost a month now and I totally see the difference in my skin.  The best part is the products are vegan and good not only for me, but for the environment as well.

*  Eating better really IS good for you and really DOES make you feel better.

Since Bunny was born, I’ve been eating better.  I don’t know if it was a conscious decision to do so or not, but it sure does make a huge difference in how I feel.  I now buy products that are organic, full of whole grain goodness, and range free.  Okay, so I still love me some Mc Donalds and I adore diet coke and let’s not forget the deliciousness of jamba juice, but I realized if I do it all in moderation, I’ll be just fine.  Sure, it’s a little more expensive, but it’s SO worth it.  Thankfully, I live in an area where fresh produce and free range meat is readily available.  And we have a rather large garden and my husband hunts, so we don’t have to spent much more on the good stuff.

Everyone parents differently. And that doesn’t make anyone wrong, unless they think different from me.  heh.  kidding.  sort of.

Parenthood has definitely been a journey for me, but I wouldn’t change any of it for a moment.  I was one who never thought she’d have children.  Then, a few years ago I got the urge and we found ourselves pregnant.  I was so worried about being a parent because I literally had NO CLUE what to do.  I didn’t have a strong connection with any adult woman, so I had nowhere to turn for advise.  I threw myself into reading anything I could get my hands on, taking what I wanted and leaving the rest.  My pregnancy was rough an uncomfortable, the birth was scary and full of emergency, but even that, I wouldn’t change.  Bunny was born and the maternal gene that so many had told me about had actually kicked in and I have never once looked back.  Sure, there have been struggles, but I am so proud to say I have done it all on my own.  I have had very little help and while there are days that I want to tear my hair out, I always know that tomorrow is another day and I have another chance to start over.  To me, it was a great blessing that I had no clue about motherhood and that I had no preconceived ideas about what I would or would not do.  Things have just fallen into place for me.  But, this has made me realize that motherhood is very hard for a lot of women.  And sadly, for a lot of  my friends.  I think quite a few of my friends had rose colored glasses on and have been so shocked when they fell off to reveal just what the world had in store.  People really do change the most when they have children.  I know I sure have.  But I am so very grateful that I take life as it comes and know that l am doing the best job I possibly can.

*  I am so, so glad that I had a crazy life before I had Bunny.

Because of this, I don’t have any regrets.  Sure, I have many days/weeks where I don’t remember what happened, or have but a mere foggy recollection of things, but I would much prefer to have things happen that way than to be some crazed 40ish housewife and have a major break down because I just don’t know who I am or who I am supposed to be.  Now, I’m not saying all my fun days are over, just that I no longer feel the need to prove myself or test out the waters and see what asinine stunts I can pull.  Because believe me.  I’ve pulled a ton in my day.  heh.

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