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Risk-taking & the dress that reminds me of Peter Shankman

So yesterday was Mother’s Day. It was my first as the mom of two boys and my only request was to sleep in as long as possible before it was time to get ready for church.

Mainly, I just didn’t feel like “doing breakfast” and navigating the newest rendition of 40 thousand questions before coffee. Thankfully, I have a killer husband and he gave me my heart’s desire.

He even locked the bedroom door to foil Oscar’s secret plan to come and jump on me in my sleep. Score! It really was the best Mother’s Day I have ever had.

Earlier in the weekend I decided that I might like a new dress for the occasion so I set out to see what I could uncover at Marshalls. I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for. I just knew that I wanted to feel special. I had initially planned to get a long dress because while I am losing some of that baby weight, I still feel like I need to cover up. And while I am being all up-front and whatnot, I’ll admit that I am unsure of myself and still a bit ashamed of my “Mom” physique. Of course these are personal issues that I am overcoming as time goes on, but you know. Baby steps.

I found a dress that looked just plain ridiculous on the hanger. It was floppy and odd with pleats and pulls in the weirdest places, yet I was drawn to it. It was shorter than any dress I own, but I loved the weight and feel of the fabric and I just couldn’t put it down. I thought, why not try it on? You never know.

In the fitting room I went through over 10 dresses. Some cute, but nothing was working. They were safe. They were OK, but not special. And then I turned to the strange dress. I slipped it on over my head and the transformation was instantaneous. All of my insecurities about this imperfect mom body just melted into the beauty and comfort of the dress. It was like a second skin. And it fit perfectly. I knew I had found my dress.

What does a dress have to do with Peter Shankman?

When I was at the Disney Social Media Moms conference, I heard Peter Shankman speak for the first time. He is somewhat of a Social Media hero to many people in this industry so I was excited to hear him speak. I was inspired by his honesty and ability to communicate so much of what this business is about in a way that was both entertaining and educational. But what stayed with me was the simple phrase,

Nothing exciting happens inside your comfort zone.

Among many other nuggets of wisdom from the conference, this one stuck with me. As I was standing barefoot in the Marshall’s dressing room, I found myself repeating it over and over in my head.

When I got dressed on Sunday, I realized that I was standing taller, smiling bigger and just generally feeling more like myself in this dress. I took a chance on something that didn’t seem like “me” at the time and it ended up being a better fit than any of the typical, safe options. Interesting.

And as I am prone to dwell on things, I realized that is exactly what we do as writers. As bloggers who live our lives out loud and online, we can so often fall into the rut of safety and comfort. So often I see women writing about how they just feel stuck or like their content is stale. I have been there. And while I don’t think you need to jump out of a plane (unless that is your thing), it might just be time to take a step outside of the box and see how you feel. How long has it been since you took a risk as a blogger? As a writer?

Wearing this dress was like a breath of fresh air for me. It woke me up in ways that I had no idea a dress could. And I think we all know it wasn’t really the dress, but the way it made me feel – like I am finally starting to be myself again. I am not my old self, but the newest version of Andrea Updyke. Wife. Mom of two. Writer.

And comfortable in my own skin.

What risks should you be taking? What’s stopping you?



I'm a travel-loving boymom living in Raleigh, NC. I love making life a little bit easier and a lot more fun by sharing easy recipes, travel tips, and holiday treats. Read more...


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Sunday 1st of July 2012

I love how you took a part of Peter Shankman's talk and put it into action in your own life. And you look gorgeous!


Tuesday 5th of June 2012

Great post! @petershankman inspires me, too!


Friday 18th of May 2012

What a great post. You're happy and yes we discover amazing things when we step outside our comfort zone. Thanks for the reminder, as I job search and feel slightly out of


Tuesday 15th of May 2012

I must say, you snagged me with your headline. Smart writer. Hot writer. Smart, hot friend. That last part is my favorite. BTW, it is not the dress, it is the attitude you exude while in that dress.


Tuesday 15th of May 2012

You look gorgeous! I love this post.

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