Megan Galbraith before (left) and after (right). Photos courtesy of Megan Galbraith

In our new column, Makeover Diaries, women tell the stories off their real-life beauty transformations. When upstate new Yorker Megan Galbraith lost her job as a communications director, she gave her sagging self-esteem a boost with a bold new look.

The week I decided I needed to change my look was the same week the universe threw me an unexpected curve ball: I was laid off from my job as communications director at the State University of New York. New York State had been digging itself deeper and deeper into a budget hole, so it wasn't exactly a huge shock. But it was a huge blow to my self-esteem, which, let's face it, was about as low as my 40-year-old-plus metabolism.

I was throwing myself a pity party, frankly.

So, what's a girl to do, but confide all the gory details to her favorite hair stylist, Paul Pintavalle, at Transformational Beauty in Albany, NY, and demand a different 'do. I told Paul I was either going to get bangs (which I had been secretly craving for a few months) or I was going to dye my hair platinum blonde. He quickly went to work and silently saved me from looking like Lady Gaga.

Although I'm not averse to change, I had to admit that I loved my current, bang-less hairstyle (thanks to Paul). So when he started cutting, I had to do some quiet deep breathing exercises and chant -- "It's hair, it grows back; It's hair, it grows back..."

Paul finished my transformation to bangs in less than a half hour. When I walked out of his shop I felt lighter, a little younger, and yes, a bit sexy! I actually took off my glasses to draw more attention to my blue eyes.

Now, I would describe myself as Tina Fey's older, fatter sister (the Tina Fey before she lost the 30 pounds and became a bombshell.) I'm the oldest of three sisters, daughter to an aging Dad, mother of two amazing teenage boys, and wife to the world's best husband (who tells me every day how beautiful I am -- although I have yet to completely believe him.) I am also a chronic overachiever and the main breadwinner of the family, so suddenly finding myself laid off was not exactly my idea of a relaxing summer vacation.

I figured a new haircut might be the best small investment I could make in myself these days -- along with buying an insane nail color and giving myself a summer pedicure.

I also decided to use a friend's black-tie optional wedding in Saratoga Springs, NY as the launching pad for my mini-makeover. I spent my lunch hours hunting down cocktail dresses before finally settling on a gorgeous chocolate satin, strapless, ruched number from Nordstrom that matched my style on every level – it was sophisticated and understated. Of course, I had to buy two pairs of shoes before deciding to go with the leopard pony-hair pumps.

I also vamped up my makeup that evening and focused on my eyes (which are one of my better assets). I love Bare Escentuals mineral makeup and dusted my shoulders with Clear Radiance and lined my eyes with their super-sparkly Azure to complement a deep kohl liner and mascara (L'Oreal's Voluminous mascara and liner are amazing).

I felt prettier and more confident than I had for a long time, and was quite overwhelmed with compliments at the wedding. It was just the morale boost I needed. Instead of being self-deprecating (which is my default) I embraced the positivity and spent the night feeling good about myself. It was a welcome change!

Makeover Diaries showcases real-life makeover stories submitted through Visit to find out how you can contribute.