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GLAM-RA Gals: Holiday Parties and to be Black Swans...for One Night!

RA Gal Stephanie gets all dolled up and tells about it.

glam gal

I'm so excited! I didn't think I would be, but after being invited to a party the first Saturday in December—albeit a surprise 50th birthday party for my husband's former CEO-Boss and not necessarily because of the Christmas holidays—it still meant I FINALLY had a great reason to get dressed up and kick off this festive month properly. 'Tis the season!

What a great way to wrap up what has truly been a very tough year both symptom and pain-flare-wise, relationship wise, and with mothering a very intensive ACTIVE 2-year old boy despite and along with RA.

We debated for awhile about attending the party at all and who the potential crowd would be before RSVP'ing, and of course only after securing a babysitter! I was nervous. I always feel like I'm the black swan in these crowds, but such birds are also beautiful and rare. Why so glib? 

My husband works in the traditional banking sector in Zurich, and well, you can say that I don't "come from that world." Having RA also means that tight business suits, stockings, and heels and dressing very conservatively (read: boring) everyday are all not part of my life...thankfully. (I work instead for a local social entrepreneur within a foundation focused on helping children and families affected by a rare disease. My ambition is humanitarian not capitalistic, and thank goodness my wardrobe doesn't have to be dictated.) However, to be fair and practical, my husband's career means that together we are a team, and this allows me to devote time to write this blog and to work for such great social causes. This also helps my RA symptoms. If you need more convincing read this:  http://www.creakyjoints.org/community/hand-in-hand-for-ra.

 So, I called up my fashionably-fabulous Swedish friend who I lovingly call "my style guru". She's awesome and so cool as all Swedes seem to be, not to mention she has impeccable taste. I just knew she would come to my rescue to find a stunning cocktail dress (LBD) AND the right accessories. Reaching out and asking for her support empowered me to overcome my doubts and discomfort about this party. Plus, we just had so much fun together since we both are busy moms and your time is always on the clock. Always!

This [party] crowd was making me nervous, but I also took a deep breath and a few steps back to look at this as a wonderful opportunity. For one, I didn't have to organize anything and could just BE. I could, despite my noticeably-swollen finger joints, think about grasping my champagne flute and shaking hands (gulp and ouch!). I have a great excuse too to get past the newly-emerged deep excruciating pain originating in my spine and hip which is putting enormous pressure on the nerve leading to my foot resulting in numbness and horrible pain. Double ouch!

My feet will look stunningly beautiful and elegant since they aren't used to anything for very long which won't fit my custom-made orthotics. I now had a great excuse to get all dressed up and feel like a sexy, beautiful, glamorous woman even for one night. It's a break from motherhood too and being parents. I think it's great to have one special party such as this this time of year to enjoy nice French champagne, hors d'oeuvres, chit chat amongst a different crowd, AND simply revel in the opportunity to get all dolled up. 

So, if you need a little encouragement, here's my list of reasons just for you. Ladies (and gents!), push on!

- Book your calendar and the babysitter. Now!

- Take a break from your day-to-day. Celebrate this festive time of year. 

- Pause being a mom or dad for a few hours. You've earned it, but you don't need me to tell you that!

- Remember how fun and reenergizing adult conversations can be. 

- Use this party as a great excuse for a pampering massage and a manicure. Just tell them to be extra gentle ;-)

- Put on your nice heels even if only to make your grand entrance at the party. Then, slip on your stylish ballerinas after powdering your nose.

- Take those extra 5 minutes you may need in getting ready to "slip into" your stockings (ouch!!).

- IMPORTANT: Don't forget your meds and take any extra "dose" to help you enjoy and relax for a few extra hours or minutes.

- Shake hands gently (!) (or as we do in Switzerland, kiss the other's cheeks 3 times once on each side...each person. No ouch-ful handshakes then... sigh of relief!) 

- Find a dress that doesn't require tight Spanx or control top like I did, but which still looks amazing! In the meantime, I also uncovered a new brand (Tara Jarmon). Smile :-) Make it easier on yourself. Find a dress/suit which complements your shape but doesn't have you stressed and fidgeting the whole night. 

Think Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman" when Richard Gere says to her on their way to the private jet awaiting to magically sweep them off to the San Francisco Opera, "you're very beautiful when you're not fidgeting". 

- SMILE!!! 

Emanate confidence and be proud for you, GLAM-RA gal, made an extra effort tonight, and I'm sure YOU will be the belle of the ball. Your confidence will make you glow making everyone ask themselves, "what is she on and where can I get it?!" You are special. You are an elegant black swan, and YOU ARE GLAMOROUS!

Now, excuse me. I have to run. The sitter is here and my coach (read: "private jet") awaits!

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