Can a Makeover Change the Course of Your Life?

April 29, 2009 at 9:08 pm 14 comments

coverI have always loved watching makeover shows on TV and will even pause and rewind to see the amazing transformations over and over again. The results are often shocking. How different someone can look with just a new haircut and the right pair of jeans. Watching tired housewives and over-worked moms go from ratty and war-torn to flirty and fabulous in the blink of an eye makes for good TV, but what happens afterward? Do they continue to bleach their hair blonde and wear stockings and high heels instead of tube socks and Birkenstocks? Do they then leave their husbands (who are usually shown sitting in the audience with their jaws in their laps) and follow their dreams of opening a boutique or working on Wall Street? Or, do things return to normal and they are left with just the memory of their potential. I have been given the opportunity to find out first-hand what happens next after winning a “Mom Makeover” from Colorado Parent Magazine. While my outward transformation may not be as dramatic as those on TV, what happened on the inside was something I never expected.

I wrote my entry for the contest an hour before the midnight deadline: in 100 words or less, why I deserve a “Mom Makeover.” Even though it’s quite characteristic of me to push myself up until the last minute, I honestly had had a very busy week including my daughter’s 2nd birthday party the day before. But, I never miss a deadline, and I wasn’t going to miss this one either. Something told me this could be just what I needed to get me over the hump — the hump of depression that had plagued me since my husband became ill exactly one year before. We had just learned that after 18 years of service, Danny would not be able to return to reserve duty as an aircrew member with the Air Force for five years, and was possibly going to be made to retire. We knew that he couldn’t go back to work as a pilot for Frontier Airlines for another year either. I needed to go back to work. I was angry at the injustice of it all and unprepared to leave my daughter. There was an uncanny timeliness to everything that compelled me to enter. Since then, I have often referred to it as a “God-thing.”

From the day I got the call that I had won, I could feel God smiling at me, telling me it’s all going to be okay, and here is a sign that I’m here. Danny and I were both choked up by the news because to us, it wasn’t just a contest, winning represented a change of luck. It felt like we had both won. I had no idea how much of an impact a makeover could have on my life, beginning and ending with “my stuff.”

Everyone has stuff; stuff in their attic, stuff in their closet, stuff in their head. Cleaning out and organizing that stuff allows room to function; at home and in life. The first part of my prize arrived in the form of a cute, little fireball named Liz Canavan of Alchemy of Order. Liz appeared at my door one day unexpectedly because we had gotten the dates mixed up for our first meeting. She had driven such a long way and was so excited and full of enthusiasm that I could never have turned her away. Liz got to see me and my house in our typical state of disarray. Probably a good thing because she could better evaluate where I needed the most help without me trying to hide my issues. To my amazement, Liz put together a team of organizers to clean out the clutter in my laundry/utility room, kitchen and office/playroom all in just four hours! It was actually a fun afternoon made more fun by the fact that this is actually what these women love to do. It is their passion and it showed. When they were done, I felt as if a huge burden had been lifted from me. Danny and I were so inspired, we finished several other incomplete projects around our house that day and in the days that followed. Liz removed the “stuff” from my house and also from my head that was clouding my focus on the larger task at hand: finding a job.

Getting past “my stuff” became the next hurdle, and that’s where motherhood and career guru, Gretchen Reid of Motherhood Transitions, came in. In addition to re-working my resume, Gretchen helped me to identify the negative talk in my head that can block possible positive events from occurring. I was allowing my own “mom-guilt” about no longer being a full-time mom for my daughter and my fear of a jobless economy among other things, steer me into a self-perpetuating anger and frustration at my situation. She also helped me to see what is possible from this experience instead of dwelling on what was supposed to be. Together we assessed my professional strengths and she opened my eyes to new possibilities in a career path. A career that I had so much as thrown by the wasteside was beginning to be revived and I was suddenly excited about it again. I have since become a fervent student of social media marketing and am working towards the goal of combining my writing, design, advertising and marketing skills with the new media to offer a complete marketing solution to clients.

Finally, it was time for the fun part: my day of pampering. And what fun it was! I spent the day at Aspen Grove, much of the time accompanied by the Assistant Editor of CO Parent, Courtney McDonough who was a delight to be with and an even more engaging lunch date! We began at the elegant Avalon Salon and Spa where my hairstylist, René discussed different hair styles and color with me and helped me to decide upon one that would best suit my lifestyle. We went with something subtle and easy to maintain. I know, drama would’ve been more fun, but I decided to leave the drama out of this part of my life! René did an excellent job at delivering exactly what I needed. After that, I spent an hour with Erin who gave me a great day look in makeup as well as tips and techniques for applying my own. All said and done — fabulous! Off to Ann Taylor where Julie and Denise helped me to decide the best look and fit for me from so many beautiful options, it was tough to narrow it down. I really had them running. I wanted to try everything! I absolutely love my new outfit which, as of this writing, I’m still saving for my first interview. I may have to break down and wear it on what has become, a very infrequent date night. We’ll see which happens first. Are you reading this, Danny? By the time “the new me” was headed home, I was realizing how way overdue it was for me to feel this good about myself again. The “stuff” that tells me to put myself last and that appearance no longer matters was being busted up. While I definitely still wrestle with this, and more days than not look like I’ve just rolled out of bed at four in the afternoon, it has been mentally noted. I am an emerging butterfly fighting my way out of my chrysalis.

So, can a makeover change the course of your life? If not changed, it has at least reset the coordinates of mine to waters unknown. I’m only just beginning my journey and there’s a new captain in charge.

Have you considered giving yourself a makeover? Or, have you had a makeover of a different kind that has changed you?

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IN YOUR FACE! Sharing personal space with your spouse 24/7/365. Daddy’s Double-duty Diaper Day!

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Angie Bennett  |  April 30, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    …so impressed with you! I cannot wait to see your cover!

    • 2. Mama Bird  |  April 30, 2009 at 7:36 pm

      It’s your cover too – Ms. Photographer. Maybe, you should open your own photography studio! Just a suggestion! 😉

  • 3. Gretchen Reid  |  May 1, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    What a GREAT article – or blog entry anyway! You really are a wonderful writer and I’m glad you are using that talent. Any company will be LUCKY to have you working on thier marketing and PR – through this new social media avenue! My blog is up – – though I have yet to write my first entry til’ I get my tutorial next week. I hope to see you on it commenting away!

    • 4. Mama Bird  |  May 2, 2009 at 9:48 pm

      Thanks, Gretchen. Your blog site looks great. I will definitely be getting your RSS feed and looking for you first post.

  • 5. Liz Canavan  |  May 5, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    You’re a brillant, thoughtful and relevant writer, Chris. A few lines struck me in particular. Was a “god-thing” a way of saying a “good” thing, but with the divine interweaved into the event? Or, was it a way of saying a happening was clearing a divine intervention? Either way…brillant.

    I also was struck by the line: “(how)..overdue it was for me to feel this good about myself again” Well put. I know a lot of women who can relate to those sentiments.

    I’m blessed to be connected with you Chris Bird!

    • 6. Mama Bird  |  May 5, 2009 at 8:22 pm

      Honestly, I feel like this has all been God-directed. He clears the way for us, all we have to do is follow.

      I’m sure most women feel like their time is overdue. It’s time we all claim it for ourselves!

      Likewise, Liz. I’m a big fan!

  • 7. Stephanie D  |  May 8, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Wow, your makeover, house organizing, and career coaching all sounds amazing. Congratulations on winning! Thanks for the nice words on our blog, and good look with the job search!

    • 8. Mama Bird  |  May 8, 2009 at 7:09 pm

      Thanks for your support, Stephanie!

  • 9. Lisa Grezlak  |  May 12, 2009 at 10:57 am


    You never stop amazing me with your fortitude, determination, and faith. You can run circles around me and I don’t even have kids or a husband!

    I think you are one of the most multi-talented marketing designers I have ever worked with, and look forward to more opportunities in the future. You are so bright!

    It IS time for YOU! I look forward to reading about it all on your MOMMY blog!!!


    • 10. Mama Bird  |  May 12, 2009 at 3:20 pm

      Lisa, you are my cheerleader! I can always count on you to pump up my ego! 🙂
      Thanks, girlfriend!

  • 11. Jennifer Coots  |  May 16, 2009 at 6:45 am


    Your writings are so entertaining and engaging. I’m glad you are sharing your talents with others. I’m so excited to see what God is going to be bringing you into in the coming months. After our recent talk (I did most of the talking!) I really felt a sense of newness for you and your birdhouse. I really love how you have woven the Bird theme throughout everything. I love the birds around my condo that sing all during the day — even the hot days — because they have only praise for our Creator. Even when it is hot, they sing of his greatness. I hear the same thing coming from your nest as well. You will be soaring to new heights on wings of eagles this year — I feel it!

    • 12. Mama Bird  |  May 18, 2009 at 2:43 am

      I’m blessed to have great friends like you, Jen!

  • 13. Nathaniel Bruno  |  May 25, 2009 at 11:03 am

    I am good friends with Liz and I read the article. GREAT STORY! It was very interesting and your follow-up thru your blog gave the a different perspective to the story. I am a true believer in the saying: The things you own end up owning you…

    • 14. Mama Bird  |  May 25, 2009 at 8:02 pm

      Hey Nathaniel, thanks for visiting my blog. Wish I had known about your business many moves ago – I’m sure my husband wouldn’t have minded. 😉


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