LuLaRoe – An Unbiased View of Company, Clothes and an Independent Fashion Consultant

{Summary: Biggest skeptic turned addict.}

The first time I heard about LuLaRoe, I rolled my eyes. Not metaphorically. I am a physically dramatic person. I literally rolled my eyes.

I don’t remember much about the situation but the facts are these:
– I didn’t know the person speaking or the person being spoken to
– My eavesdropping started when they mentioned comfy clothes with pretty patterns
– I rolled my eyes when they discussed the business structure
– I searched LuLaRoe as soon as I got home

At the time there were only a few styles up on the main website. The models were plus sized while the styles were mostly baggy. My exact thought was, “well, of course it is comfortable, they are baggy clothes for plus sized people.”
Quick PSA: Just because someone is over weight doesn’t mean they should wear a sheet, so at the time the company made me frustrated.

One year later I found myself in a similar situation. While waiting for a friend so we could meet up for one of our  “lady lunches,” I overheard a woman telling her friend about the LuLaRoe business. Both were on the heavy side and I wanted to speak up to tell them that they shouldn’t support a company making parachute clothes for plus size women, but of course I kept it to myself.

Fast forward to the summer of 2016 and THREE of my friends on FB announced they had been chosen to become consultants of LuLaRoe all in the same week.

“Yeah, because they ‘choose’ who to take money from… yeah, right.”
(If you didn’t read that with sarcasm go back and read it again.)

This confused me. I had associated the company to be geared towards plus size women. All three of these friends are the same size as I am. I honestly didn’t know they made clothes for my size. On top of that, all three of those FB friends are honest, kind and caring people. Not the type to get involved in “pyramid schemes.”

Based solely off of the character of the women who were about to embark on this endeavor, it couldn’t possibly be as bad as I had made it out to be.

I went back onto LuLaRoe’s main site and saw that they now had TONS of new styles that showed women’s figures. I saw FB posts of my friends wearing what LuLaRoe they had. That was when I started going over to the “Roe Side.”

spoiler alert I am now obsessed and own 11 pieces.

When the online sales started I loved some of the prints, but I was concerned about the fit. Am I the only one that hates ordering clothes online because most of the time the fit is terrible and it ends up in the deep dark corners of your closet for the rest of eternity and your husband asks why you never wear it so you feel guilty giving it away or throwing it out? Ok, so maybe it is just me, but still.

I decided to visit the closest friend of the three.

Kara Mangum’s boutique was really quite impressive. She has a cute little space that she has set up all of her clothes in that make it easy to shop through. The first thing that hit me was how much inventory she had! I was afraid I would drive out to her place, everything would be picked through and there would be nothing would be left in my size. I was incredibly wrong. I found TOO many pieces I liked.

The first items I had my eyes on were the leggings and a Randy. Then I found a Maxi skirt print that was gorgeous but I have never owned a Maxi skirt so I wanted to make sure to try that on. I also grabbed a Nicole dress and a Cassie skirt.

Kara showed me to her guest bathroom which was super homey, clean and smelt amazing. I was glad she had a floor to ceiling mirror (just like you would find in any fancy retail store dressing room) so I was able to see exactly how I looked.

I loved everything. There was not ONE piece I didn’t like on me. I knew my bank account was in trouble.

Those leggings. When they say they are “buttery” and soft… it is no exaggeration. I didn’t want to take them off. I was sold. The Randy was super cute, it is a basic baseball tee, so I put that in my pile of things to buy. Then I tried on the Maxi and it was super flattering, comfy, light, soft and I had to have it. The Nicole I loved on me but I wasn’t crazy for the patterns available in my size so I am still on the hunt for one of those and the Cassie was the same way, but I am not a pencil skirt person so I was able to pass on that style without inner turmoil.

One of the nice bits of this buying experience is that Kara had size cards! This way I could try everything on in her boutique and then keep my sizes on the card so when I saw something I liked in her future online sales, I could reference the card to know what sizes I needed to look for.

Paying for everything was a breeze.
** LuLaRoe’s site isn’t AmEx friendly though they do say they take AmEx (I don’t think the form is set up properly for the 11 digit (versus 12 digit) CC# and the 4 digit (versus 3 digit) security code.

I HIGHLY recommend checking out LuLaRoe and joining several groups since every consultant gets sent different patterns. This was a very smart move on the company’s part. Instead of the consultants seeing themselves as competitors, it creates a family dynamic because none of them compete with each other. They all have different inventory.

Here is Kara’s link to her VIP page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/lularoekmangum/.

As a side note, I mentioned to Kara how I really wanted unicorn leggings (which LuLaRoe is rumored to have) and about three days later she told me she was able to track some down from a fellow consultant, connected us via FB and now I have AWESOME unicorn leggings. Where else can you get that?!?!

Have you been tempted to try LuLaRoe? Are you a fellow LuLaRoe addict as well? Share below.

My Fitness Journey

I love fitness.

I started my fitness journey about 9 years ago. I had always been an active child and my mom was always very fit, even after her three pregnancies.

I don’t remember what really kicked my butt into gear. I have always been thin. My weight has always been around 115-125 pounds and then jumped to 160 during my 10th month of pregnancy (here is where you fellow mothers laugh) December 2014.

I danced at a local studio from 2 years old to 10 years old. At the beginning of each class we would do an exercise routine to keep our bodies strong and stretchy to avoid injuries. I remember at after school care during nap time (I was the only one that wouldn’t nap) I quietly counted 200 crunches to pass the time. I was a strange kid. Looking back I should have just napped. I never appreciated naps till I was in college.

I stopped dancing because it is so damn expensive. Forget the class rates. The costumes are ridiculous and you only wear them once. Hey! Maybe that is why I didn’t have a traditional wedding. I picked out a beautiful $300 dress and was done with it. Please forgive my public display of self revelation there.

After dance I had to do something. In between volunteering at the local animal shelter every day after school I started doing sports. I was the only girl on a basketball team (we go 1st place that year), on an all girls soccer team (we got 2nd place that year), joined Girl Scouts and ended up doing Cheerleading for a short (very short) period. Cheerleading ended up being a joke. Before you Cheerleaders get your bloomers in a bunch, I loved Cheerleading. The problem was that I was the least cool kid in the school and even at well under 100 pounds in 7th grade I always got stuck as the spotter. I also couldn’t afford the competitions let alone any outfit other than the actual skirt and halter. During games I would try to lead cheers and let’s just say I was cheering to myself.

When I was 20 I was exercising every morning and sticking to a strictly healthy diet. Not “diet” like mainstream social assumptions would make of the word. I ate fresh ingredients and was always cooking. I made sure what I ate had a lot of nutrients and shockingly out of character cut out 95% of sweets/sugar.

I did that for a year. I loved DVRing the workouts on Lifetime early in the morning and using those for my routines. I would run a short mile or two at least twice a week.

Then I realized I was only twenty. I had great genes. I was healthy and for heavens sake WHY am I doing this at 20 when I know I won’t gain weight? If I can get away with eating a whole pan of brownies now, why would I stop eating them now? Why not stop eating them when it becomes a problem? And I don’t mean a problem in which my husband judgingly stares at me and then complains he didn’t even get to eat one…

So I stopped the healthy diet. What I couldn’t stop is the exercising.

I love to exercise. I love feeling strong and sore. I love being able to see my hard work reflect in my posture and body shape.

I hate being skinny. By skinny I mean that I hate my body when I don’t exercise. I see the difference. Things are droopy and I remind myself of thick cake batter that is being slowly poured into a pan when creates those ripples? You know? I know you know if you like cake the way I like cake. You can be skinny and still look like that.

Working in the restaurant industry since I was 15 helped, too. Those jobs always keep you active and my arms looked so strong from carrying all those trays and bus tubs. I loved the way my arms looked when I was a bartender/server.

Again, I love to look and feel strong.

Quick note: If you like to look and feel strong, too, try a pole dancing class. The acrobatic kind. Ah-mazing.

When I attended UF for Theatre and Dance I signed up for a stage combat class. The instructor is the fittest person I know and intimidating in all aspects of her life except her personality. Ok, fine, her personality is intimidating, but in the “always an optimist, smiling and making the funniest jokes you have ever heard in your life” way. Not the negative way.

That instructor kicked my ass. I fought to get into 3 of her classes. I was only a BA and that made it difficult for me to maneuver my way into some classes. In every class she starts with yoga. What I would call power yoga, my favorite kind. The type of yoga that you curse under your breath at, that you sweat buckets while doing, that you almost get injured falling over while doing, etc. It was incredible and accelerated my ambition to get fit. Really fit. I felt like a badass in her classes. I felt strong. No, I knew I was strong.

In 2013 I was able to land a job at a local gym. I actually applied for this job because I wanted to join a gym but was too cheap to pay for it. My solution? Get a job at one. I had three other jobs but for someone like me who loves working and who is very active this made sense to me.

This wasn’t your typical gym. This gym was LOADED. On steroids, if you will, like many of their members… I was in love. I had never really belonged to a gym. I have always been a mix of cheap and poor so gyms never appealed to me. I had a short stint of a gym membership 6 years prior but I wouldn’t call going to workout on the treadmill three times a true gym membership and I also wasn’t paying for it.

So my new job was heaven. Not only was it fun, I had a free membership to all three of our locations, all of our group classes and our top of the line equipment. Not to mention I had seemingly unlimited access to personal trainers’ knowledge about all things. That was a blessing when I was pregnant, working 5am to 10am M-F, and my sciatic nerve was making my leg almost give out. Our gym was huge and I would get 15,000 steps in every morning shift so I needed to be mobile.

I got much more out of that gym than a fitness lifestyle. I landed the role of supervisor within three months, gained valuable life and business experience and gained so many great friends.

The only reason I left was because my husband had a job opportunity in a city that would give me the opportunity to pursue my theatrical career goals. I still miss it. Every day.

Moving put a damper on my habitual exercising. More than my pregnancy did.

Exercise is a habit that easy to break and not so easy to restore.

This is my journey towards that restoration.

Brave and Beautiful Woman Nursing in a Restaurant in NYC Winter of 2006

Dear Brave and Beautiful Woman Nursing in a Restaurant in NYC Winter of 2006:

I vividly remember you. What I remember more is my ignorant and naive expression I made at you. We never met or said hi. I can’t remember what you were wearing or if you were eating alone or with someone. I remember two things. You were gorgeous, you were nursing and I gave you a strong look of disgust for not covering your newborn child while eating in the middle of a busy restaurant.

My husband and I were only 18 and 19 at the time. We decided to visit NYC because I had a friend living not far from the city in New Jersey. We had minimal bills and serving jobs so we had the money at the time to be extravagant. When our paths crossed, we wanted to go out to a fancy restaurant and indulge in highly rated and overpriced cuisine. I couldn’t tell you the name of the place and the experience turned out to be horrible. Our server was a complete bitch and after paying the bill she said something about how she could have just kept our CC and used it without our knowing. I now consider that our instant karma.

I am sorry. Deeply truly sorry.

I am a mother now. All these years later. My son just turned one and he is still breastfeeding. Sometimes for nutrition and sometimes for comfort.

You see, I am a very modest person. I have been involved with theatre for my entire life so try figuring that contradiction out. It probably has to do with the disdain I have towards my own body more days than not.

Since becoming a mother my disgust for your choice has turned to envy and admiration.

At the time I just saw a beautiful woman flaunting her perfectly shaped breasts in my husbands face. I did. I am not proud of it but the truth is the truth.

What I should have seen was a woman who was in the middle of a crowded restaurant, breasts swollen (maybe in pain), worried about getting stares for a crying baby, desperate to feed her rapidly growing child the best food she could provide while feeling exposed, uncomfortable and confused.

After one year of breastfeeding my child in public I wish I had the confidence and bravery to not cover my child eating. My child hates being covered and while feeding him it is a constant battle between keeping him latched and my desperate attempts to not flash any strangers regardless of their gender.

So, here is to you Brave and Beautiful Woman Nursing in a Restaurant in NYC Winter of 2006.

I understand now and I am sorry.

Sincerely,

Your Strongest Supporter

The Competitive Nature of Raising a Child

 

Everyone wants their child to be impressive. Everyone wants to brag to their friends and family about how advanced their child is. As a first time mother, until recently, I wanted my child to be the first and best at everything. I was ecstatic when my son was able to hold his head up for long periods of time at 6 weeks old, I held my head high when all of his percentiles for weight, head circumference and length came in the 90th percentile and I posted every milestone on Facebook. I will still post them; however, now it will be more for updating friends and family on my son’s growth instead of it being more of a “nany nany boo boo” tone.

I have about ten friends that had babies within a 6 month span of when I had my child. Some were first time mothers and some I would consider “seasoned professionals.” I am lucky to have this many new mothers on my news feed. I have people to relate to and people to bounce ideas off of or ask questions to. This is also why I finally came to the realization of how LITTLE it matters how advanced my baby is versus others.

I want to take this moment to explain that I wasn’t hoping anyone’s child was slow or behind on the “expected” growth chart. I just felt like it was a race and I was training my child in order to keep him in the number one spot. I wouldn’t cheat by tripping the other runners or hindering them in any other way, I was focused on my son, and my son alone. I would also like to add that I was still ECSTATIC when my friend’s children started crawling or walking. I LOVE seeing all the updates, but in the back of my mind I thought, “my son did it first,” and that made me so proud.

Here is what I realized. Everyone learns to move. Whether it be walking, crawling or a child has an issue so they have to learn to move differently than everyone else. Everyone learns at different speeds. Everyone is different and that doesn’t make you better or worse.

I fell into that competitive trap. It was the main reason that adoption wasn’t an option for us when it was taking us a lot of time to conceive.

(6 months isn’t a long time in reality, but to us we were anxious and ready and it felt like forever. I had a mental image of an empty crib with a mobile of all of my bloody tampons because every period I got was an ugly reminder of a baby I might have never gotten to have.)

The idea of adoption is always tainted with people exclaiming, “what if you get an addicts baby?” As if they don’t deserve a loving home that allows them to flourish. “You just don’t want to go there, it would be hard and they might grow up to kill you in your sleep,” is something I felt like people were actually saying when they spoke of the concern of ending up with an addict’s baby.

People think this way because of the competitive nature of raising children. They don’t want to start the race five paces behind. They don’t want to invest their money, time and heart in a child that will come in last. How incredibly selfish and dissapointing.

Listening to one of the last chapter of Yes, Please by Amy Poehler in my car, she talks about her time in an orphanage. I cried. It was heartbreaking. As a new mother I couldn’t imagine holding a child and then realizing that there is no mother to hand the child off to. That the child clinging so desperately to you, a stranger, will cry in a corner to console themselves over the fact that everyone leaves and you, an infant, are alone. It was the first time I ever really thought about the fact that these children are seen as the last place kids. These kids aren’t trained and groomed to be in first place. They are in dead last and aren’t worth anyone’s time because it would be too much work.

Heartbreaking.

Raising any child is hard. They all have their own setbacks and shortfalls. They are human. We fail as adults, but we hold our children to standards where failing isn’t an option. Instead of being viewed as a learning opportunity, failures are viewed as shameful. We don’t post our failures to Facebook. We keep those private so we aren’t looked down upon by others.

So along with the Anti-Mom Shaming movement, let’s add the idea that every child’s milestone is an amazing feat, no matter what age they do it at. Whether a child walks at 10 months or 14 months, they are walking! That is an amazing thing!

I’m going to take this time to talk a little about my brother. He is one of the sweetest people I know with a HUGE heart. I love my brother and I am so lucky to have him. I was always on the honor roll and just wasn’t. Our father tried very hard to motivate my brother but he gets discouraged easily, especially when it came to school. He ended up dropping out and getting his GED. I was still so proud of him. He did what was right for him at the time. He is now about to start college and is buying his first home with his fiancé. He is a success in my eyes because he works hard for what he wants.

Success is perspective. I hate when people claim they don’t hang out with successful people. Money and fame don’t make you successful. What makes you successful is based on your own personal goals, not anyone else’s.

So what I am trying to say is that if we stop making raising children a competitive sport, then all children will view themselves as successful. If we stop making raising children a competitive sport then all milestones will be equally celebrated as they should be.

The Bare Essentials

 

So you have a needy little human coming and you are completely lost in what to get and the baby registry has your eyes crossing.

You are a minimalist but the quickly approaching due date makes you think you will soon be hiding in a bomb shelter with no way to contact the outside world… then this is for you.

Are you breastfeeding?
– Then you don’t need pumps, bottles, blah blah blah. You don’t.
– Are you going to use some form of daycare? Then call your insurance and get a free one. I love my Medela In Style Advanced pump, but I never pump two breasts at a time and honestly I am also in love with my manual Medela one, too! Pros and Cons for each. I also didn’t even pump for the first 3-4 weeks because my son was always with me and I was (wrongfully) afraid I would take from his supply. My pump didn’t come with bottle nipples which was fine because I planned on using the Kiinde system. I love it, check it out!

Are you not breastfeeding?
– Formula.

Diapers and Wipes – obvious, but I’ll add it to the list anyways.
– There are good and bad diapers out there… you just have to see which ones fit you. I love my cloth diapers even when traveling.

Carseat – another obvious… and also the law.

Clothes – something warm for the cold months, sleeping robes with a sewn in mitten option are great for bed. Contrary to popular belief, you can have too many clothes. Maybe it is just my opinion, but more clothes just equals more “to fold” laundry for later. The more clean clothes I still have left to use the less likely I am to fold the ones right out of the dryer.

Burp cloths – get a lot of these for a newborn… or just do laundry more often – and these can be rags/hand towels/wash cloths you already have so you don’t have to spend $$$ on burp cloths at stores.

And that is it.

The hospital had diapers and wipes we took home, they also gave us two pacifiers which we waited to use until our son was 6 weeks to avoid nipple confusion, they have hats, they have blankets… just ask what they have to see what you can save money on later.

What you don’t have to have, but you might want to splurge:

  • baby wash cloths and towels… you already have those and adult ones work just as well, they just aren’t as cute.
  • baby tub – makes it SO much easier, but you could hold them against you, too… they can’t even take baths until their umbilical cord falls off.
  • crib – if – is right for your family then you really don’t need a crib, at first we used our MamaRoo but now we use a pack and play for naps.
  • diaper changing station – yes they make things more convenient, but you can (and will) change a baby anywhere.
  • bibs – until they are eating “solids” they don’t need them, but they help with saving baby clothes from spit up!!
  • Swaddle blankets – helps baby sleep and unless they get spit up on them they can be reused more than once so you don’t need a whole lot of them

I ended up getting way more than we needed, but it helped me feel prepared and ready for whatever might come my way and that was worth it in my book.

Are you a minimalist? How did you prep for your baby?