Life Changes and #RealBloggerBeauty

About Me

Today is the day Maya at Charmingly Styled launches her #RealBloggerBeauty project. I’ve been thinking for a month about what I wanted to write about. And in the past week I’ve had some pretty big life changes that I think fit the bill.

My initial thought was that I wanted to write about these two photos.purple_top_two_ways

The photo on the left was taken in June 2012. The photo on the right is from July 2013. The skirt on the photo on the left has since gone to the donation pile because….it’s too small.

I’ll be honest, I LOVE the way I look in that photo form 2012. I’m not a  fan of the way I look in the photo from 2013. You probably don’t see much of a difference, but I do. And it’s such a silly thing to be concerned about. I’m still in great shape (I ran 7 miles on Saturday, biked 5 and hit up three different festivals) and I know that my worth is not my skirt size. But taking photos of myself everyday for almost two years is a pretty good way to see how my body has changed.

Is it bad? No. Do I need to do something to change the way I look? No. Haterz on the internet have called me frumpy and outdated but this is who I am.  I’m a runner who strength trains. I’m a cheapskate who doesn’t spend a ton of money on clothes and who hates getting things tailored. I am who I am. Am I always happy with the way I look? Nope. But I think that makes me normal. Right?

And I’m honestly not sure I’d be able to do anything about it anyway. I mean, I mentioned some big life changes.

You may recall that we got a new puppy.


Chewie is sweet and adorable and he finally loves my husband just as much as me. But he hates being outside, he barks non-stop at anyone who comes into our apartment, and he is afraid of other dogs.

In short, he’s going to take a lot of love and training to become a secure, friendly, sociable dog. Honestly, that’s not what I wanted but it’s what I got. And as long as he loves Jason and me that’s a good start. But, it’s stressful.

Finally (and this is my big news), I’m starting a new job next Monday. A new job with a casual dress code. Would you believe I’m stressed out about what this means for Loop Looks?

I’m so excited to start a new job in a new position at a new company, but I’ve always wanted to be a blog where women who CAN’T wear jeans to work could turn for outfit ideas. And now I’ll be one of those women who CAN wear jeans every day.

I DON’T know what that means for Loop Looks just yet. I really don’t. But I hope you stick around whatever happens. Because we’re all in this together, right?

And speaking of dress codes, I’ve got a giveaway going on that those of you who read Loop Looks because of your office dress code might like!

BqM2ESPCAAId5itLinking up with  On the Daily Express | More Pieces of Me

35 replies on “Life Changes and #RealBloggerBeauty

  1. Anne

    I think you look fantastic in both pictures, but I totally understand the feeling. My weight keeps going up and down, and I’ll feel kind of bad about it until I realize that, say, I’m thinking I look fat in a 10 mile race picture, but missing the point that I RAN 10 MILES!

    My office has had a casual dress code for years now – some people do wear jeans every day, but you certainly don’t have to. That probably just means Loop Looks can showcase more ways to make jeans interesting for work, along with your regular business casual outfits.

    Have you guys thought about working with a trainer for Chewie? We did a few sessions when we adopted Meko because she’s crazy around other dogs, which was making it impossible to walk her and Jude at the same time. It’s hard work and it takes a lot of time to start seeing results, but it really does help (and I’d love to recommend ours if you’re interested, she’ll come to you!).

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      Obedience class starts for real next Tuesday night and if he’s still having issues after that we’ll probably have them come to our house for private lessons. Another blog reader recommended them since they helped with her skittish dog so fingers crossed they’ll work with Chewie!

  2. Jen

    Thanks so much for sharing. I can definitely relate to this whole blogging thing being a pretty intense reflection of how our bodies change over time (and they will – up and down – whether we want them to or not). Crazy that people would leave comments like what you say – why would people even waste their time to do that – just go elsewhere if they don’t like what they see?! The Internet’s a big place, to say the least.

    As far as the new job, that’s exciting, and definitely more important than worrying about what you’ll wear for the blog. I’m sure we’ll still enjoy seeing what you wear everyday (and maybe I can wear it on casual Fridays). 🙂

    ~ Jen

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      Believe it or not there are entire websites devoted to criticizing bloggers! Sometimes they have constructive criticism but other times it’s just plain mean. I honestly don’t mind the constructive criticism but the meanness is uncalled for on both sides!

  3. Carrie

    I’m sorry to hear about the haters, but so happy for your new job and puppy! Since I started reading your blog, I’m more thoughtful about how I dress for work. I’m more adventurous with stripes and patterns. I now have a template or a way to work with them in the context of work attire.

    I totally understand the feeling of reflecting on your body from one year to another. I’ve lost 42 pounds in the past year. Nothing fits me or looks right. Your blog has been a great guide for finding trendy, but classic pieces as my size changes.

  4. Maggie

    I can wear jeans at work … and I rarely do. Between The Limited’s Exact Stretch pants, dresses and tights, and also putting on a few pounds, I’m much more comfortable in “nicer” looking stuff. Or maybe I just need to buy a pair of jeans in a size larger, with a higher waist and more stretch.

    This is your blog … post about what you want. Personally, I find jeans to be boring (probably another reason I rarely wear them), so it might be a fun challenge to make them more interesting.

      1. Maggie

        I struggle with doing something other than jeans-and-top combos. I’d rather just wear another pair of my neutral pants.

  5. Sabrina

    It’s amazing that you run for such long distances! I can barely run down my driveway without wanting to stop and gasp for air. Ok, I may be exaggerating a bit, but my point is that you seem very healthy.

    I think Chewie is the cutest puppy! Love his colors. The German Shepherd we have barks at anyone who comes up to our door. Good guard dog, but very noisy!

    Anyway, hope you have a great start at your new job,

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      Thanks, Sabrina!

      We used to have a German Shepherd mix and she was one of my favorite dogs of all time. She barked at the door when people knocked but stopped barking once they came in the house. Chewie just keeps barking!

  6. Bethany @ Accidental Intentions

    Well, as the woman who can wear jeans to work, I, for one, am VERY MUCH looking forward to any suggestions you may have for casual summer office wear. I think I’ve finally started to figure out how to go from “putting on clothes” to “putting together an outfit” when it comes to winter wear (so many opportunities for mixing and matching with different sweaters! It’d be a challenge to wear too many layers during a Chicago winter.), but I don’t have the foggiest idea how to do that in the summer, when my goal is to get by with the bare minimum of clothing necessary since the last thing I need is extra clothes on when it’s a bazillion and two degrees outside. Now that StyleUp doesn’t exist anymore (RIP 🙁 ), I can just copy what you wear! This will work out wonderfully for me! Haha 😛

    I think it can be really frustrating to look back on old pictures and see the way your body’s inevitably changed over time (“How was I ever so thin?! How do I get back to that?!”), but something that’s kind of nice at least for me to remember is that while my body’s changed, a lot of other things about me have changed, too — I may have been lighter five years ago, but I also couldn’t run a marathon. I couldn’t COMPREHEND running a marathon — I thought even a 5K was completely out of the question, because what kind of insane person can run 3.1 whole miles? (lulz. How times have changed!) I didn’t know the first thing about strength training, or cooking, or baking, or dancing, or any of the things that enrich my life now. So yeah, while most days I’d happily swap out my current stomach for the one I had in high school, I think I’d rather take all the non-visible great things that have changed about my life since that time over the stomach I had at 17.

    1. Bethany @ Accidental Intentions

      Oh, and as for the puppy woes — I’m pretty sure Chewie is the advanced-reincarnation of my dog, who, oddly enough, has a name that rhymes with Chewie (advanced-reincarnation because my dog is still alive for the moment…old man won’t make it a whole lot longer, though :/ ). Anyway, he can definitely be a handful–going on vacation was always tough because boarding him was NOT an option–but as time went on, we learned the various ways to his heart (he loved walks, so he learned to love my aunt because she’d walk him whenever she’d come over. He also loved treats, so having a stranger give him a Milkbone usually warmed my dog up to said stranger). The good news is since he’s so young, you’ve got a lot of time to mold him into a friendly pup…which we could’ve done, but didn’t, so instead we had a grumpy, antisocial dog for 14 years. I think with training he could learn to be a little less like my dog haha. But for what it’s worth, my dog absolutely adored me (because I adored him), and though he may not have had good manners, he was still my bestest buddy, which, at the end of the day, is I think what matters the absolute most (though having a good mannered dog who was ALSO my bestest buddy may have been better 😛 )

      1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

        Chewie just go so worked up with my mom in our apartment that he wouldn’t even take a treat!! I really hope obedience class or private lessons helps. I want him to be an awesome dog, not a troublesome dog!

    2. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      Summer is a lot more difficult, for sure! Dresses, sandals, and the occasional necklace is all I can handle sometimes.

      I completely feel you on looking back at old pictures and wondering how I can look like that again. But your point about how we grow life-wise is MUCH more important!

  7. Darlene

    The only thing I really hate is haters. But I was taught to say nothing if it can’t be nice or neutral. I started following your blog because you are REAL. Please never change that. I can’t wait to see how your blog evolves with this new casual dress code.

  8. amy

    i’ve really enjoyed reading all of the posts from maya’s linkup today! 🙂 i can definitely understand where you’re coming from – i am never 100% happy with the way my body looks either and it’s hard not to compare myself to others or even my younger thinner self! but the fact that you can run and bike that far is amazing to me – don’t forget that! i certainly am not that fit, ha! xo

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      It’s definitely more important to me to actually be fit rather than just look like I’m fit. I just have to keep reminding myself of that when I look at old pictures!

  9. Andi

    Congrats on the new job and good luck with the new puppy! I also have to say that you look great in both photos (but I completely understand feeling that way). I do need to lose weight for health reasons, but it’s easy to get caught up in shallow reasons for being skinny, and I have to remind myself that I just need to be healthy!

    I work in an office where I could wear jeans every day, but I try to limit my casual outfits to once a week. I just feel better when I’m a little more dressed up. So you might end up still wearing fancier stuff!

  10. Allyson

    Congratulations on the new job! Your new job sounds like it has a dress code that’s more like my office, so I am actually thinking this will be a great change for the site.

    Glad to hear the puppy is coming around too! My in-laws were just telling me last night that our dog is now a “completely different dog” (for the better!) than she was when we adopted two years ago. So it does take time but it won’t take forever 🙂

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      That’s good to hear that puppies just keep getting better! I’m so happy he warmed up to my husband but now we just need to work on strangers, outdoors, and other dogs 🙂 One step at a time, though, I suppose.

  11. Katie @ Live Half Full

    First of all, I think you look amazing and healthy in both of those pictures. But I DID realize how much more muscle you’ve gained last time I saw you- and you look awesome! As far as the dog, hang in there and be consistent. It’s a tough situation and believe me I shed a few tears when we were transitioning Penny. (and things are still not perfect) With the new job, I know you’ll find your groove and put your Loop Looks spin on the dress code, have fun with it! (and don’t be too hard on yourself)

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      Thankfully Chewie hasn’t made me cry yet, but I do get a bit mopy when I’m out and see other well-adjusted dogs! Fingers crossed both our pups get better over time!

      And thanks for the wonderful compliment. Muscles are sexy 🙂

  12. Emily @ Out and About

    You look FANTASTIC. You are in the most amazing shape, ever. Think about all the incredible athletic feats that you accomplish while barely breaking a sweat. I really, truly admire you. I mean that.

    I am super excited to hear about the new work! HUGE CONGRATULATIONS!!! And oooh with the plot thickening on a casual dress code. When I was working at UChicago, there was no dress code but I generally still went biz casual. It just made me feel more polished, you know? So I am looking forward to seeing how you mix things up. =)

    I absolutely can’t wait to meet Chewie!

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      Thank you for the wonderful compliment, Emily! I’ve been meaning to say that I can definitely notice all your hard work in your photos recently, too!

      Fair warning with the Chewster: he will most likely just bark at you!

  13. Sarah Lagen

    Congrats on your new job lady!! However you dress everyday — you will find the perfect way to transition that with Loop Looks! You’ve got a great thing going here, and it will stay that way however you take it girl!!

  14. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style

    Thanks for sharing about your life and work changes — it can be so hard to do that, which might sound weird given that we’re bloggers. But I will keep reading and supporting you! And thank you for the shout-out on your recent interview — so sweet and much appreciated 🙂

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      I feel that years ago before blogging was a “thing” it was easier to share about life. But now with it being so easy to find information about people online everyone has to be a bit more careful. It’s a tough line to walk!

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  16. Valerie

    Yeah girl! Amen for athletic bodies! And I can’t wait to see how your style evolves with your new work environment. Congrats by the way- so exciting!!!

  17. Suburban Style Challenge

    I think you’ll gracefully transition into wearing jeans to the office. (Welcome to the dark side, BTW! MUAHAHAHAHA!!) And I think you’ll work things out with that cutie Chewie too… Trixie was an unsocialized, bitey, wild little beast when we got her, and we had to work SO hard to socialize her, train her, and teach her not to bite. It was hard, like, I’d cry out of frustration regularly hard. But now she’s a wonderful, sweet, adventurous little thing that everyone loves to pieces 🙂

    And FWIW, I’ve recently realized how much of my muscle tone I’ve lost, and noticed that a couple pairs of shorts are a little tighter this summer than they were last summer. Guh. Not happy. Pretty sure I spent like, an hour looking at old pics of myself comparing them too.

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