Introducing… Professor Mommy Style Darling


As 2018 winds down, I can’t help but reflect on how much my life has changed in the last year. As some of you may or may not have noticed, I took a yearish-long break from the blog grind. This was because my life and priorities changed drastically. While I have always adored all things about fashion and exploring my personal style (this will never truly go away), I was faced with little to no time to regularly document my outfits, nor was I able to take a breath to seek inspiration in new trends to compose daily posts. Developing my blog and establishing a relevant online presence in the world of fashion blogging had long been a goal of mine. I believed that I had an empire to build, one blog post at a time. I relished in the challenge and was hungry for it every moment of every day. But sometimes, a curveball changes everything.

I became a college English professor. Teaching was never a dream of mine, but once offered the position (with five days to spare on my birthday weekend to create an entire syllabus for a Developmental Writing course for struggling student writers), taking the next professional step just made sense. Life before academia had been great, albeit static. I felt I had all the time in the world to blog and post on social media about every fashionable thing I experienced. I was content in the steady craziness that was my weekly schedule because it was what I’d become accustomed to for so long.

Upon accepting to teach the class, I dove right into the responsibility to mold young minds (with the very spare basics of writing) and it became utterly overwhelming. My respect for education has always been held in the highest regard since I’d been a perpetual student until I earned my Masters degree in 2016. Because of this new job, I turned into a maniac with lesson planning and preparing assignments—ever the perfectionist Virgo that I am. Just like with exploring my wardrobe, I was obsessed with the details of a topic and strengthening my grammar muscle. I couldn’t sleep until everything I was about to hand out to students was proofread, articles had been vetted for reliability, and questions were answered by colleagues to help guide me. If I had even a spare minute on the computer, it was completely dedicated to research and class prepping. I feared not knowing what I was doing in the classroom.

It all started with one class (at the college where I’d been regularly tutoring for about five years), but then it turned into two more classes at another college (with barely a whole weekend to prepare). By the end of 2017, I’d been working four different jobs (teaching three classes at two colleges, tutoring part-time during the week, and styling part-time—mostly on weekends). Once 2017 wrapped up, I was offered a full-time professor position teaching English at one of the colleges. Style Darling Daily seemed to be fading in my rearview mirror.

Just when I was getting my feet wet with the new job, 2018 also threw me for a personal loop as well. I was engaged, moving, pregnant, and planning a summer wedding. Don’t get me wrong—these were all good things that took up my time and changed my life, but no matter how much preparation I put into my career, the off-the-clock hours flew by faster than I believed was possible.Chris and I were married in July and our daughter, Melanie, was born in September. Our wedding was beautiful and I couldn’t have been happier with those memories. Melanie is healthy and growing happier every single day. She keeps us busy and laughing all the time. However, after her birth, I spent the better part of two months in pajamas, sometimes forgetting to wash my face—I was so tired, uninspired, and getting dressed was the last thing on my mind. Though, I wanted more than anything to dip my toes back into my Style Darling routine to regain a sense of my identity that no longer seemed feasible while adjusting to life as a mother.Not to mention, my perception of my body changed. I lost all my baby weight rather quickly, mostly because I choose catching up on sleep over eating when presented a few hours of reprieve when the baby was sleeping or help had arrived. I accepted the fact that the shape of my body had changed, but it made making decisions about how to get dressed in the morning (when I did return to work eight weeks later) difficult. For so long, I relied on staples to mix and match for my pre-baby figure. Fit was never anything I had to consider since my arsenal of go-to pieces was constantly at the ready. I had a uniform in place and could automatically put together an outfit; excitement came with pattern mixing, glitzing it up, and reinventing old favorites.

Post-baby, I could still wear the same dresses I had previously, although my collection of tights was no longer viable because they were all too small for me. My maternity leave occurred in the transition from summer to fall and I had a whole closet flip to conduct before returning to work. Also, the pants I’d searched high and low for (pants were always the enemy—I’m a dress girl) were too snug around my healing middle. I was uncomfortable wearing anything tight to put pressure on my C-section incision. Lastly, time to get ready in the morning is even less available, so I have to plan a week’s worth of work outfits in a hurried and harried 20-minute span the weekend before, if I can.

Just to clarify, all of the above information is not shared with resentment or unhappiness. After years of dating the wrong guys and waiting around for the next big thing to happen to me, everything fell right into place when it was supposed to. I am lucky. I thank my lucky stars for Chris’ love and patience with me, my family’s unyielding support, and every one of Melanie’s cheeky smiles.

I’ve figured out (for now, at least) that I can take a minute to breathe and think usually in between classes, while driving home, or feeding the baby for the now one time she wakes up in the middle of the night. I’m excited to seek out inspiration again for Style Darling Daily—taking baby steps (pun intended), of course. I want my daughter to grow up seeing me take care of myself, especially in how I present myself to the world. I want her to play in my closet one day and ask me about the purple leopard print cardigan (that I wore on my second date with her father) or those seashell stud earrings (that I commandeered from my mother).

With that, I’m more conscious than ever about my shopping budget. I was gifted gift cards to my favorite stores, so I’ve been considering any purchases very wisely, investing in unique pieces and favorites that I can get a lot of mileage out of. Also, Melanie is getting spoiled with her own wardrobe and I have a lot of fun coordinating colors, patterns, and themes with her when the occasion arises.

All and all, I’m tiptoeing back into blogland and I can’t guarantee the “daily” anymore for Style Darling Daily, but my heart is still in it, so please stick with me on this stylish journey. I’m back to work full-time and appreciating the opportunity that I have to reacquaint myself with my style sense. I have all the possibilities in the world ahead of me. I’d like to introduce myself while wearing all my fashionable hats. I’m Professor Mommy Style Darling. I love to sparkle and slay, so stay tuned.

What styling challenges have you faced over time? Where does your style inspiration come from? What advice do you rely on when considering your daily wardrobe? Happy Styling!

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Brooding with Grace (Because Negativity is Not My Style)


_MG_3306As a writer, and more specifically a memoirist, self-reflection is the name of the game, like wine goes with dinner and feet belong in heels. Much of my past writing was derived from experiences that left me disappointed and feeling like half of a person, where I questioned my place in the world on a verbose journey towards self-discovery. My stories about past relationships always revolved around the role I filled in them and their aftermath. I couldn’t be myself, nor could I admit that there was a self to be.

All ambiguity aside, my relationship status has changed, meaning that the relationship I was in is something of which I am presently out. Perhaps it’s the numbing blur of a heavy Sunday masked as inspiration to write some great epic essay about self-respect and identity, but all I want to write about is that I deserve to receive the love that I give. Waiting for someone to catch up with you when they admit that they don’t see it happening is an unhealthy waste of lovely home-cooked meals, planning weekends away, as well as cuddle-filled movie nights and Game of Thrones binges. Speaking of, I’m writing this while about to embark on my first single girl night’s sleep in a long time after escaping into a season four marathon of Orange is the New Black (because fictional misery and prison trifles oddly seem very calming at this point). I’ve consumed more green tea than is probably a good idea, but maybe I will rest easy with the clarity that I am responsible for the life I build for myself and anyone who I invite to be in it.

In the last enlightening twenty-four hours, I’m reminded that even when life takes a turn for the seemingly worst, it’s up to only yourself to feel bad about it. Turning a very negative negative into a positive isn’t necessarily something that can happen overnight (although inevitable manic cleaning fits of the Swiffer and Clorox variety help). I just can’t stay quiet. At the same time, I don’t want to rant about heartbreak or what a bad guy he is because neither will serve an intelligent or proactive purpose (especially because I will always see the good in him, even if he doesn’t see it for himself).

I’d hoped that most of my current blog writing would focus on questions about defining beauty and body image, style and fashion, being a 2016 woman, confidence, or friendship; this post is a culmination of all aforementioned themes. Even if I haven’t covered them all yet, they’ve been circulating from my heart to my head and now to my hands and onto the screen. I am a better woman because I can love and I know the kind of person I want to love. Before I entered this relationship, I’d abandoned the whole planning-a-future-with-someone thing and the what-comes-after part (partly because I was a grad student in thesis mode, but also) because I’d obsessed about all that happily ever after stuff enough in my twenties, getting let down much too much by plenty of poor choices in partners. Now love is awake inside of me and rather than letting it torture me, I’m returning the love onto myself, one that is stronger than ever.

I am a more beautiful woman because I can look in the mirror and believe that I’ve been good to the people who I care most about. I have loved in the only way I know how to. I am enough and no one can convince me otherwise. I’ve stated before that I have the life I want in the home I’m living in. I share my life with friends who light up my heart with their support and joy; they have given me a larger sense of family. I have gained the power of using words in a way that can (hopefully) inspire creativity and beauty (even if I’m writing about relationship woes). While nothing in life is wholly perfect, I would not profess that I am without flaw. It takes a long time for me to stop loving someone, even when I know it’s better to move on and upwards (which is essentially what I’m trying to write about here), but these things take time, so brooding with grace it is. That’s more my style. Grace goes with a-line dresses and maxi skirts anyway. This is just something I know.

My greatest fault would be overprotecting myself for too long in ways that my partner will never know, but it’s a regret that I can live with since the in-the-long-run picture is coming into focus with solely my curly-haired smiling selfie and any opportunity ahead that I can seize. It’s with a deep, thoughtful breath that I remain positive (despite the tearful waves of panic and loss that will sneak up on me). What is meant to be will be and the strength I have inside of me will take me there.

It’s probably a good idea to delete some of those Gwen Stefani songs from my iPhone and revamp my playlist with some tunes a little less based on having a significant other. With optimism in mind (and maybe the fact that I know our paths will cross again), here’s a little song I wanted to end on: “Maybe” by Birdy.