Our new feature, Makeover Diaries, tells the stories of women's real-life beauty transformations. This week, Karen Francis, a financial rep in Atlanta, realized that a bad marriage and a punishing work schedule had taken a toll on her looks - and resolved to do something about it.
Photos: Courtesy of Karen Francis
When I was married to my now ex-husband, I endured so much criticism from him that my self-esteem deteriorated. If he wasn't telling me my clothes were too tight, he was saying they were too matronly. It felt like nothing I wore was good enough. It became easier to just give up on my appearance. I found myself in sweats most of the time.
Meanwhile, my job as a senior financial representative was taking its toll, too. My hours were pretty intense, and there were days when I worked from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., speaking with clients or trying to capture new business. Many times I just collapsed when I walked in the door. I eventually realized that my exhaustion was not only showing up on my face, but in the way I interacted with my clients, friends and family. When co-workers began to tell me that I looked like I needed some rest, I realized it was time for a makeover.
There were so many things I wanted to change about myself. I wanted to change my hair, my clothes and even my body. It was overwhelming! I started looking through one of my favorite magazines, Lucky. The ideas and suggestions I found there inspired me to start with my hair. I began giving my hair deep conditioners and washing it at least once a week. I noticed the difference right away, as my hair looked and felt so soft and manageable. My favorite shampoo and conditioner to use was Creme of Nature, which I can find at any Sally's Beauty store. Since the only makeup I ever wore was lip gloss, I decided to turn to a professional. I asked a beauty consultant at a local Nordstrom store to show me how to apply makeup. She really took the time to show me their line of M.A.C. makeup that was light and fresh and didn't take a lot of maintenance, so I have now added eyeshadow and mascara to my beauty regimen.
My hair and makeup felt like a good start, so I decided to try the nail salon. I never wore color on my nails, but once inside I went all the way and chose a bold red. It was shocking to see the color on my nails, but I loved it! After my manicure and pedicure, the stylist offered to wax my eyebrows. I was a little skeptical, but I quickly decided if I was going to be made over I would go for it. I felt great when I left the salon, but didn't realize how different I looked until I went to work the next day. My co-workers said, "WOW!" They told me my face looked so bright and alive, and my nails looked great. My makeover was working!
I was well on my way to becoming the woman I really wanted to be, but I was still unsatisfied with my body. I had been a size 5/6 for most of my life, but during my troubled marriage became so depressed and gained so much weight that I was now pushing a size 16! I decided to join a local LA Fitness. I really began working out hard, typically two to three hours a day. I soon realized that my energy level was rising and my body was shrinking. After six months at the gym, I went down two or three sizes and was very pleased.
Life is a journey and not a destination and so it is with my makeover. Today, I feel confident, beautiful and my self-esteem is off the charts. If I can do it, you can do it!
Got a makeover story you'd like to share? Visit Seed.com to find out how you can contribute.