a letter to my fellow Style Challengers

Monday, May 5, 2014

It's no secret I've been participating in a style challenge over the last 21 days. I'll be posting a little about what I learned from the Style Challenge in another post, but I felt I really needed a separate post specifically to the women in the Facebook group that was part of the style challenge. So, feel free to skip this entry if you have no clue what I'm talking about... everyone else, read on.


Dear fellow Style Challengers:

THANK YOU. I started this challenge because I was at a point where I was feeling generally "frumpy" and thought this would be a great way to start to build my wardrobe and learn how to style things. And then you all happened and I didn't anticipate how much you'd impact my life.

I feel somewhat awkward posting pictures of myself. Sometimes I like my outfit but I still feel like I'm trying to be something I'm not. Like I'm playing dress-up. And then I posted a pic and you all starting commenting. By the end of the 21 days I looked forward to posting my daily pics, I made sure I wasn't wearing yoga pants because I didn't want to disappoint and I wanted to join in on the pic posting fun. I looked forward to the comments, quite frankly, because you were ALL so kind and thoughtful.

On days and weeks where I was functioning on very little sleep, you all managed to put a smile on my face and a little bounce in my step. When I felt like crap, you made me feel pretty. And that was the point, wasn't it?

Right after the challenge started, I had a sick baby, returned to work after a year off, and was struggling with trying to find a new normal. I wasn't feeling like myself and I wasn't feeling like I was doing well at very much. The group was somewhat of a reprieve. I was tired exhausted and missing my baby and you really made me smile on days where I wanted to do nothing but cry.

I have been in lots of groups of women. Some small and others rather significant in size. In ALL of these situations there has been some level of cattiness, snark, bitchiness or passive-agressiveness. I fully expected that in this group. Oh how (pleasantly) surprised I have been, in a group of almost 500 women, that not ONE person has said anything even remotely mean or insensitive. In fact, it's been the opposite.

In the last 21 days I have seen numerous women going out of their way to build others up. I have read stories of women in the group who have been significantly impacted by all of the kind words. Confidence has been lifted, wardrobes transformed, friendships created and faith in others restored.

You have all changed me. Made me feel a little better about my fashion choices but most importantly about myself. As someone who has struggled with self-esteem, the weight of this is immeasurable. I know, without a doubt, that I am not the only one who this group has left an imprint on and that is truly a magical thing.



Alison, I know when you started this you likely intended to help women feel pretty and maybe help us put together outfits with a little more ease. I don't think you ever could have anticipated this. You have helped changed lives. Seriously! Thank you. Thank you for starting this, for continuing this, and for being so sweet yourself. I am guessing that part of the reason this group is so full of such wonderful women is because we all have you in common. Your sense of style, your beautiful smile but most importantly, your down-to-earth nature makes you one of my most favorite bloggers. Clearly, your followers have some of these things in common with you. I am so excited that you will be doing more challenges and I hereby reserve my spot in ALL of them ;)

Finally, you have ALL made me more aware of the power of my words. How influential a simple compliment can be. As this challenge has been nearing a close I have found myself (genuinely) complimenting people more and feeling really great about the smiles that result. I know how great you've all made me feel and I'm excited to be able to share that. A compliment is a small effort with such a great reward. We NEED to give them more often, it's the most inexpensive gift there is.

Thank you, I don't feel like my words have done my feelings justice here but know that the impact you've all had on me is unforgettable.

with love

a not so frumpy mommy

28 comments:

  1. Shaunacey! I'm crying my eyes out again. :) Happy, happy tears. What a difference we can all make in each others' lives as females. It really is time for us to be kinder to one another, freer with the compliments, to remove the comparisons and competitions and just be our wonderful, beautiful selves. The best part of this challenge was seeing that this really is possible and knowing that we all had a safe place to do just that. You were such an important part of this too. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining!

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    1. I'm so excited for the next challenge and I'm hoping I'll be bringing a few friends and coworkers along for the ride!

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    2. Shaunacey, <3. I hope you know that I adore you! You are sunshine even on those cloudy, sleep-deprived days. Watching you blossom during the challenge was such a blessing! I couldn't agree more with you about how great our group was--so unusual, so rare to find a group of women who were ALL there for EACH OTHER, and not just themselves! I'm SO glad I got to share the challenge with you and hope that we will be able to "see" each other more in the challenges to come!

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    3. And YOU Denise have been one of those wonderful women who is always uplifting! We were all lucky to have you in the group!

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  2. What a beautiful, well-written sentiment! You have written what every single one of us feels. Thanks friend, for putting it out there. :)

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  3. Shaunacey, this is absolutely wonderful. I know many of us are feeling the same way but NO ONE could have said it better!! I also looked forward to your daily pics...I got a lot of outfit inspiration from you throughout the challenge! I'm so glad to have "met" you through this, found your awesome blogs and have been able to share this experience with you. Look forward to future challenges!

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    1. thanks Katie, and I got a lot (and still am getting) of outfit inspiration from you!

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  4. Shaunacey, what a beautiful writer you are, keep it up! I read through some of your blog posts, will be following from now on. I have three children (all boys, currently 19, 17 and 13), with the first I went back to work full time, after the second three days a week and with the third I was fortunate enough to stay home for a while. No matter what, it is not easy, but it does get better, so hang in there. One thing that a wise friend, with experience, one told me, that has helped immensely, still to this day is to remind yourself, "they are only this age once", helps when they are one all the way until they are 19! It doesn't matter if they are teething, potty training, heading to kindergarten or learning to drive! I constantly repeat this in my head, it reminds.day me that "this too shall pass" and to also appreciate the ages and stages. On Saturday, we will be driving to Boston to pick up our oldest from his first year of college. Last August I could barely sleep and swear I was having panic attacks, I was so worried, now the year is done, we all survived and I must say, he thrived! P.S. About a week before he left, I bought a really cute pair of fall boots so I would have something to look forward to when he left. I am a true believer of retail therapy!

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    1. 3 boys you brave woman!!! I know it will get better, it's just this tough period we need to get through!
      I will definitely use "they are only this age once" although, thinking about it makes me a little sad ;) could be the lack of sleep!

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  5. Your words reflect exactly how I feel. Thank you for putting into words what I am sure the whole group feels. I loved the style challenge but more than anything I loved the friends I made even though we have never met. I was very reluctant to post pictures and only did so a few time. I plan to change that for the summer challenge. Each of you were so encouraging and made me feel so good when I did post pictures! I have missed you all today!

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    1. We loved seeing your pics!! Summer challenge here we come!

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  6. Oh Shaunacey, you wrote this so beautifully. It should be the manifesto of the Style Challenge! Lately I have had some very negative friends in my life who put me down a lot. It was so wonderful to be part of this group of women who were so kind and complimentary. I'm going to try and get better about posting more pictures when the Summer challenge rolls around. Thanks again for saying so well what all of us are thinking!

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    1. your most welcome! I couldn't let the opportunity pass to express my thanks and I knew i wasn't the only one feeling that way.

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  7. As a member of one (or 3...) of those catty groups, I'm glad you were able to find such uplifting women :-) You're making me want to join the next challenge even more!

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    1. hahahah Chelsea! DO IT!!!! It's seriously been absolutely wonderful!

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  8. Well said! I hadn't anticipated the impact of this challenge, either, but I have a heightened confidence, a budding sense of style (still getting there), and the pleasure of getting to know a group of women who STILL lift and inspire me.

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    1. so you'll be joining us for the summer challenge ;)

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  9. Beautiful letter, Shaunacey. I am in the middle of a stressful time in my life. My husband has been laid off for the 3rd time in 3 years and I have just started a job after being a stay-at-home mom for 20+ years. This group has been a safe place to fall during this transitional time of change. I'm so glad to have been a part of it and am looking forward to the summer challenge and continuing with you and the other lovely ladies in the spring challenge.

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    1. So sorry to hear that. Going back to work is never easy is it? I guess neither is being a mom!
      thank goodness for our group!

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  10. Shaunacey, beautifully written and it captures exactly what I'm sure all of us (including myself) felt about this Spring Challenge. I was unable to participate online as much as I wanted to, but I sure felt the love and friendship! Can't wait for the Summer Challenge!

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    1. yay summer challenge! hope to see you online more!

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  11. Such a heartfelt letter...open, honest and so touching. I followed Alison and all the other women she would post about on her blog and I have to say, what a beautiful journey it has been. Loved everyone of the challenges she put up and how everyone did on it. Kudos to you, for helping yourself be helped.

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    1. thank you so much, such a great experience all around.

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  12. Sweet angel baby! I am so glad I stumbled upon this letter and your blog. Thank you for pouring your heart and soul out to those of us in the challenge and for allowing us to get to know you better. With over 400 women in the group, it was difficult...impossible to "get to know" everyone but I felt a connection to you from the first. I look forward to the summer challenge and getting to know you a bit better. In the meantime, I will be following along in your life through your blog. Much love to you!
    P.S. In previewing this comment, I realized that my picture and Google account reflects my past life as a librarian. I retired (regretfully) in December and need to figure out who I am now. Guess I should start by updating Google.

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    1. thank you so much, that means a lot to me.
      First, you don't look old enough to be 'retired' AND what a better time to figure out who you are!

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