Earlier this week I traveled to Minneapolis to kick-off a long term partnership with Evereve, a women’s clothing store. Now with over 65 stores nationwide, I’ve shopped there since the early days back when it was Hot Mama 10 years ago.
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During my quick visit, I had the opportunity to chat face-to-face with Megan (Founder & CEO), tour the headquarters and even participate in a fantasy-worthy shopping spree and photo shoot. It was one of those work trips that felt nothing like “work” and more like a dream come true.
In the coming weeks and months I’ll be sharing more about Evereve’s unique story, trendy clothes and truly one-of-a-kind shopping experience but I wanted to first get something off my chest. This post is not sponsored, I simply feel a huge sense of urgency to open up my heart to all of you, my loyal readers, about why this partnership means so much to me, on a very personal level.
If you follow me on Instagram, you likely saw countless behind-the-scenes photos and videos from my exciting visit to the corporate office and during the professional photo shoot. I was practically about to explode with joy and excitement in every clip, beaming from ear to ear, because I simply can’t believe that this is my life. But probably not for reasons you expect.
Don’t get me wrong, it was an absolute BLAST and a true honor to play dress up with a professional stylist and pose in front of a camera crew. I’m a girly girl at heart and love any chance to dress up and look pretty, especially considering I wear gym clothes or pajama pants most of the time. But this experience and this partnership with Evereve actually means much more than that..
As many of you know who have been following my story and reading my blog for a long time, 10 years ago I began a weight loss journey that resulted in me losing over 60 pounds. I’m proud to say that through regular exercise and healthy eating habits I have kept the weight off, including through two pregnancies.
All that said, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the fact that for the first 27 years of my life I was extremely overweight with a BMI in the obese category. In high school, before plus size clothing stores existed, I had to shop in the men’s department at Gap to find pants that fit to match my XL women’s top.
Too embarrassed to tell the people I was shopping with, and not wanting to make them feel badly, I would literally sneak over to the men’s department when they weren’t looking to buy my clothes. Even more common? I go to the mall alone and shop. When you’re a teenager hoping to have your first kiss or meet your first boyfriend, nothing kills your spirit quite like having to wear men’s size 42 waisted jeans.
When I moved to Boston at 17 to attend Boston University, I had a whole new set of amazing friends (who I’m still friends with to this day, btw!) and we would go shopping regularly, just as any college kids living in a major city would. Since there was no way I would fit into anything sold in a boutique store, I was thrilled when I discovered a shopping mall that I could reach via subway that had one plus size clothing store.
Too cold to shop downtown during the frigid Boston winters, my friends and I would head to this shopping mall regularly. Not wanting my friends to feel bad or pity me, I would pretend to shop with them. Literally, I would thumb through the racks of clothing knowing full well that none of it would fit over my 215 lb body. Basically, I would “fake shop” and pray no one noticed that I never tried anything on or made any purchases.
Fast forward to today, I’m now 36 and wear a size medium top and 10/12 bottom. I exercise six days a week and eat a high protein, low carb clean diet 80% of the time. While I’m mostly maintaining at this point, it’s actually a lot more difficult than losing weight was in the first place. You don’t have the consistent weight loss milestones to keep you motivated, people don’t comment like they did when you first lost the weight and of course your metabolism slows down with each passing year. Add in a couple of kids, a growing business and everything else that life throws at you at this age, it’s a lot of work to keep this body into a size 10/12 jeans. Note: I said 10/12, not 2, 4, or even 6. Keeping it real, friends.
To say that my partnership with Evereve holds a special place in my heart would be a significant understatement. Considering 9 years ago I couldn’t even fit into the clothes sold in their stores, it is a huge milestone in my life to have been chosen as an ambassador to represent their brand. What’s even crazier? I’m the only person they chose who isn’t a professional fashion and lifestyle blogger.
My fellow style ambassadors are inspiring, passionate entrepreneurs but they are also all thin and gorgeous. When you spend the first 70% of your life being plus size, it’s hard to pretend that there’s anything normal about joining a crew full of ladies who look like this representing a high-end fashion line in the ranks with Nordstrom, Anthropologie and Lululemon. Don’t get me wrong, free clothes and fancy photo shoots are AMAZING. They truly are. But this means so much more than that to me. And I will forever be grateful.
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