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By Holly

The other day, I had an epiphany. I was on my way out the door to go to the commissary before dinner. My always-diplomatic husband said, “You know, honey, now that you’re finding all these great deals on fashion, maybe you can pick up some new things for yourself.” And because I usually commandeer the sofa before bed for my Netflix time, he was not relegate to sleeping on the couch!

But as I looked down at my stained gray sweatpants and the shirt that I’d worn for three days because I got so wrapped up in my blog I’ve forgotten to do laundry, I realized that maybe he had a point. Here I am, a fashionista, and I looked like a hobo! (And not the hobo chic cute look, either!)

So on my way to the commissary, I decided to hit the Exchange and see if they had anything cute, cheap, and at least a little bit less odiferous than what I had on. While I was there, I picked up a new pair of black yoga pants (the staple of every mom’s wardrobe!), a pink fitted tee, a new pair of jeans (which I have to return because my butt isn’t quite as small as I thought it was), and a pink fitted button-down shirt (with those adorable puff sleeves that I like so much!). I got some new panties (since I have about four pairs in total) and I even bought a bra! (That’s a super big deal for me, because I seldom wear bras unless I’m nursing!)

By way of background, I must explain that I haven’t shopped for myself since our house fire in June. I’ve restocked wardrobes for my children and even my husband, but my own wardrobe has been a random collection of donated clothes (most of which don’t fit right) and the few pieces of underwear I’ve picked up out of desperation. So this was a big deal for me.

And because a little spending leads to a little more (at least for me!), I also got some new razors, shaving cream, face stuff (the Clinique cleanser, toner, & moisturizer), body scrub, and shampoo. And the piece d’resistance: I picked up a bottle of the Chanel perfume that my husband introduced me to and adores.

Please bear with me – I know this is long!

I kind of smelled. And the thought of going into the commissary looking & smelling like I did was a bit daunting, so I changed clothes after checkout in the bathroom. Then I did my commissary run and headed home.

When I walked through the front door, my husband hugged me, smelled me, and kissed me. He said, “You smell great! Did you get new perfume?” Then he looked at me and told me I looked beautiful. And the truth is that I almost cried.

I don’t think of myself as beautiful. I think of myself as a mom. These days, I don’t even think of myself as being somewhat pretty! But when I walked through that door and my husband held me and told me I was beautiful, I guess I realized what I’ve been missing.

I’ve realized that something as simple as a new outfit or a new perfume can make me look and feel gorgeous. And I realized how important that is.

I’ve spent most of my life believing that looking good is a sign of vanity. Vanity is an aspect of selfishness. And selfishness is bad. But I know now that looking good is not a sign of vanity; it’s a way to care for yourself and others.

My husband is fond of saying that the entire house reflects my mood. When I’m happy, everybody is happy. Everything is peaceful. Everyone is smiling. And when my mood turns dark, the entire household descends into hell.

By putting on a new outfit or splashing on a little makeup, I can change my mood, and I can become a better mom and a better wife and a better friend. And I can have that mental and emotional boost every time I pass by a mirror!

That’s what I want to do with Frugal Ella. That’s where my heart lies. It took starting this venture to realize how much power there is in something as simple as a tube of lipstick, a pair of shoes, or a sparkly necklace. And I want to share this beauty with the people I love and care about.