It is my belief that everyone should leave the house every day feeling their absolute best.
Obviously, you don’t know what each day is going to bring, but if you start out right, you may be able to handle bumps in the road a little easier than if you leave home feeling just kinda… blah. Plus, let’s face it, it’s just nice to head out being able to say “I look good and I feel good”. There’s something to be said for the extra spring that kind of attitude puts in your step.
I have 5 rules that make me feel good about myself, and ensure that I leave the house feeling like I look like a million bucks. When I was going through the motions this weekend, both Saturday and Sunday, I realized that not only had this stuff become routine for me, but that it really does make me feel good when I set foot outside. It doesn’t matter if I’m going to work or spending the day lounging around at a friend’s, I follow all of these rules everyday, and because of them, I’m a much happier person.
Rule 1: When I look at myself, I focus on the positive.
I have almost always been very critical of myself, especially in my teenage years and early 20’s. A few years ago, however, I realized that it was stupid to be so negative about myself and to constantly focus on the few things about myself that I didn’t like.
Instead, I started looking at myself in the mirror and focusing on what I actually liked. Boy did it make a difference! Instead of looking at myself in the mirror and scowling at the fact that I have cellulite on my tush and unevenly sized nostrils, I now look in the mirror and see a nicely toned core, fantastic arms and shoulders, and great skin. And since I’ve started focusing on what I like about myself, I’ve found I’m in a better mood as I start my morning, which is always a plus!
Are there exceptions? Not anymore! When I started doing this, it was really hard to move from my old, self-hating ways, to being positive. I was so used to being negative about myself, that it had become routine. But now, if I see something I don’t like, I move on and find something I do like, and simply focus on that.
Rule 2: I never leave the house without mascara.
Mascara is the one thing that I never ever leave the house without. And if I do forget to put it on (hey, it happens), I’ve been known to stop on the way to pick up a tube for quick application, even if it means I’ll be late.
Why mascara? For me, it’s two fold. Part of it stems from when I had short hair. So many people equate short hair with men, that doing something extra to exude femininity, seemed almost like a necessity to me. And mascara is one of those things that, traditionally, only women wear, so it became my go-to “I’m a woman” statement-maker. The other part of it is that I just put put together when I have mascara on. I always have, even back in high school. I think it may be because it was, aside from Lip Smackers and translucent powder, the first makeup I was allowed to wear back in middle school.
Are there exceptions? No. Unless I forget, which happens very rarely, I always put mascara on. Even if I’m throwing a hat and sunglasses on with beat up jeans and a dirty tee, to head over to the dog park. Mascara is my single must-have beauty item that makes me feel like me. It’s the one thing I can do that makes me say “ok, I’m ready to walk out the door” no matter where I’m headed.
Rule 3: If I’m going anywhere with wet hair, it’s styled.
Very rarely do I leave the house with wet hair at all, but if I do, it’s never ever down. I make sure that if I don’t have time to dry my hair, or just don’t feel like it, it’s styled wet if I’m going to be leaving the house.
Leaving the house with wet hair has always seemed sloppy to me. I think that’s largely because my hair is stick straight, and gets very stringy and messy-looking when it air dries and I don’t then brush it and round brush a few select areas. But I also feel like it says, “I didn’t care enough to dry my hair, or style it wet, when I left this morning”. Why would you not care about how you look? When you stop caring about how you look, you stop feeling good about yourself.
Are there exceptions? Nope. If my hair’s wet, and I’m heading out, it’s up in a pony tail, bun, in piggies or braids… something. I never leave the house with just limp wet hair. My hair never looks good when it dries, and I don’t want to leave the house looking partially put together, and sloppy later. Occasionally I do let my hair air dry if I’m going to be home, because it’s better to avoid heat-treating whenever possible, but if I leave to go somewhere after it’s dry, I make sure to run a brush through it and double-check
Rule 4: I always look in a full-length mirror after putting my shoes on.
Even if it means I go back upstairs, I always look at my entire outfit before I leave the house. Nothing’s worse than realizing, when you catch a glimpse of your reflection in the glass doors of your office building, that your shoes don’t work with your outfit or something like that!
So why not take an extra couple seconds to look over your entire look before stepping out? Sure, it might mean that you end up spending another 5 minutes finding better shoes, but I think it’s better to be fully confident in your look than just “any ol’ shoes will do” about it. Plus, it gives you a chance to make sure your hair is done, your makeup isn’t smudged, you aren’t missing an earring, nothing is bunched funny or twisted (or worse, on inside out–hey now, we’ve all done it!)… you get the idea.
Are there exceptions? Very rarely. I have a couple pairs of shoes that I wear often enough that I know they generally look good with certain things, and sometimes, if I know I’m going to be wearing those, I’ll plan for them and know I’m good. But I’d say 98% of the time, I look in the mirror, head to toe, before leaving the house. It’s my one last chance to make sure I’m 100% put together, and it takes no time at all.
Rule 5: I’ve stopped being crazy about dog hair on my clothes.
Once upon a time, I kept a lint roller in my glove box and I’d de-fur myself head to toe every time I got out of my car. Those days are over, largely because I’ve stopped worrying like crazy about having dog fur on my clothes. Dog fur is inevitable, I’ve realized, and as long as I make sure it’s not ridiculous to the point of looking like I just rolled around on the floor with her, it’s ok to have a little bit on me.
Now, I do make sure I check what I’m wearing for fur, sometimes prior to getting dressed. I try to keep everything hung and off the floor, and keep the dog out of my closet room as much as possible. Both of those things help limit the amount of fur that’s on my clothes. I have also learned what kind of fabrics are dog fur magnets, and avoid buying them altogether. That’s a huge help. Between realizing that fur happens and checking in advance, keeping the dog away from things, and knowing what to buy, I’ve really learned to manage the issue. I still carry a compact lint brush with me on most days (it’s small enough to fit in my purse), but I’m not crazy about using it like I used to be.
Are there exceptions? Not really. I mean, if I’m going somewhere nice (like a black tie event, or wedding), I’ll make sure that I’m 99.9% fur free by lint brushing after I leave the house. Largely though, I’ve learned what’s presentable, and what looks unkempt, and make sure I always stay on the side of presentable, even if there is a little bit of fur.
I know these rules won’t work for everyone (particularly rule number 5), but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them as a base to come up with your own set of rules. In fact, I challenge you to sit down and do just that! Come up with 5 things you can start doing that will make you leave the house saying “I look good, and I feel good”. They can be routine things you already do, like brushing your teeth after your morning coffee, or they can be complete attitude overhauls, like my starting to think positive about my body.
Think about it, write your list down, and share it here in the comments! I’d love to hear what you do to make your eyes sparkle each morning. Who knows, maybe one of your rules will become one of mine!