It is 7:00am on the 3rd Monday of the month. I wave to my son on the bus after kissing him and providing a gentle shove out the door because he has likely dawdled in getting his shoes and coat on :-D. I sit down on the couch wondering if I should walk upstairs to wake my sleeping 4 year old daughter. Instead, I get sucked into Facebook and LinkedIn and she inevitably walks around the corner as I quickly hide my phone out of fear that she will think it’s another appendage.
Like most mornings, she is completely naked. When I ask her why as I cuddle and snuggle her, she responds “I don’t know what happened, Mommy. They just falled off in the night.” She watches a show on my lap while I again get lost in social media, because “it is important for business”, or attempt to cross another thing off my to-do list. All of a sudden I realize that I need to feed this naked child so that we can get out the door! It’s one of my favorite mornings of the month: Hello Gorgeous morning!
It takes another good hour to get her clothed (she has strong opinions of which “warm pants, warm undies, and dress” she wants to wear each day), fed (“you feed me”), and in the car seat (“one more kiss for Romy, mommy. She is going to miss us.” Romy is our 2 yr old rescue dog). I may or may not apply my make-up while I am at stop lights… I actually really want to put the Hill Image, LLC logo on my little Prius, but I fear my morning commuters will harass me because of my make-up application ritual.
I talk entirely too long to Hadley’s Pre-school teachers. I can’t help it. I love them. Then I actually run out of the building and into my car to make it to Adler J Salon & Spa to surprise/greet our Hello Gorgeous gal (HGG) as she enters completely unaware of what is about to take place that day!! Each lovely lady stands in shock as everyone screams “HELLOOOOO GORGEOUSSSSS” and she is handed flowers. It always takes a few minutes, yes minutes, for them to grasp that THEY are the gorgeous we are talking to. It makes my day, every time. And every single time they state something like this “whaaaaaa??? you guysssss.” And then a realization that they are center of attention sets in and they say “I would have gotten ready, had I known.” It’s quite endearing. Absolutely wonderful to see them feel so loved in that moment.
As our HGG heads back to enjoy an amazing facial and mani-pedi. I get to work prepping the outfits I shopped for the week prior. All three are displayed just so. I may even run out and grab a head scarf or hat once I understand more about her reaction to the day.
Finally, it’s go time for Hill Image. After her feet are massaged but before her toes are polished, I sweep in and provide all the details of the three outfits I have styled for her. I explain how a loved one has provided size details, her general likes and dislikes, an idea of where she typically shops, and perhaps a photo. Yet another dramatic realization for the HGG that the nomination goes far beyond typing her name in for a contest. Every single detail about her is taken into consideration and the entire celebration is specific to her.
December’s HGG is LeighAnn Brooks.
LeighAnn is kicking the pants off her second round of Breast Cancer. She’s got this! And she has so much support. Everyone at work, her sister, her mother, her devoted husband and children, and all her friends. It was so touching to hear all the fun realizations as she thought back through encounters with those who know her: “I made it to my company Christmas party last week… now thinking back, they all had to know”. Her mother quickly responded “Yes, they did.” 😀 😀 And so many others would come to mind and Leighann’s sister and mother would nod in confirmation, “Yes, they knew too.”
These are the details I was provided about Leighann that allowed me to tailor my shopping to ensure clothing confidence on her special day:
- Loves the color blue
- Typically shops at Lucky and The Buckle
- Not overly bold, but not conservative or boring
- She likes Brighton accessories
Now, you have to realize that we are provided these details from the nominator. Sometimes there are no sizes. Sometimes the HGG has lost/gained a substantial amount of weight and the nominator can not determine an accurate size. Sometimes the nominator doesn’t know what colors the HGG typically wears. Most often I am only provided a headshot of the HGG. This does not tell me her body shape or proportion. I go with what I am given. I love this challenge! How can I create an ensemble that the HGG can walk out of the salon sporting and arrive at the Surprise REVEAL lunch with all her closest friends and family??
Below are some photos and some explanations of why I chose what I did specifically for Leighann, just as I have humbly done for the Hello Gorgeous Gals before her.
- Remembering her Buckle/Lucky Brand style, I chose a duster style sweater because I knew her height of 5’9″ could pull this off beautifully.
- The pants are ponte knit and hit at the top of the foot.
- No matter how great you look in tight pants, you always need a shirt that falls at or below your zipper. And gray doesn’t do anything for anyone, so I threw in the touch of pink to create interest and warm her up.
- Her footwear is a simple pair of black booties with a low heal. I chose black to give her variation in the gray colors.
- You can’t see it here, but I added a statement necklace, a black watch with stackable pink-gold bracelets, and a pair of gunmetal stud earrings to pull it all together.
- Total cost: $97 at Walmart.
- The Buckle inspired shirt has hints of denim, blush, greens and sparkly gold studs on an oatmeal ground.
- Instead of pairing the top with your typical denim jeans, I opted to highlight the blush as it was a bit more unexpected. Plus… the pants were so super soft, I couldn’t pass them up.
- Due to her height, I knew the pants would be very short and she may not dig the length. So I chose a taller boot in a warm brown to compliment the tones in the pants and top.
- No outfit is complete without accessories and I chose a leather wrap necklace with small beads that would not compete with the bedazzled top, simple medium sized gold earrings and a watch with a band to match the boots.
- Total cost: $85 at Walmart
**As we all know, every manufacturer size differs, and although I LOVED this combo, it didn’t fit or do the trick so I was happy she opted for one of the other looks.
- Remembering that she loved Blue, I chose this open-knit sweater layered over a plaid button down top.
- Instead of pairing with a red pant or jean, I chose pants that would highlight the hunter green stripe from the shirt. Ankle pants are in and this was a great pant.
- No booties here. A pair of flats for narrow feet always work! This is where I tied in that red from her top. Just a little kick to elevate the overall look.
- I chose a camel colored purse to really make a rich statement.
- Simple gold hoops and a white watch finished it off.
- Total cost: $77 at Walmart
Ready to see what she chose?? Here she is! Completely gorgeous, happy, mind healthy, and love and support rich.
It is so sad that disease is the reason for our meeting, yet so heartwarming to know you have created a day for them they will never forget.
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Have the Happiest of Holidays everyone!
Thank you for visiting Hill Image, Leslee