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A Modern-Day Guide to Living with Substance and Style: What Would Michelle Do? – Allison Samuels

Written By: Jsol - Jun• 30•14

I am obsessed with strong independent women! I truly believe there needs to be more of us out there! Allison Samuels touches on every facet of the 21rst Century woman by using Michelle Obama as a role model. This is the “How-To” book to juggling life as a FLOTUS (I am always highly amused by this acronym, First Lady of the United States).

Who knew that I could relate to Michelle Obama so well? I mean yes, we have our obvious differences: I am not African-American, I didn’t go to law school, I wasn’t raised in a racially tense environment, and I am not the First Lady, but I still think every young hardworking woman can learn a lot from how she lived her life.

When I was in high school, I always had the notion that your life was mapped out for you in some way. I felt that everyone who was currently in their career knew exactly where they wanted to be and where they wanted to go since high school. Like my mom for example, she had worked for the same company since she was 18! The idea of being stuck with a company and that every decision you make in terms of your career would be set in stone was terrifying. My mom had to set me straight and tell me nothing is permanent. She would always say, “You can do this for now to build your resume until you work your way to what you truly want to do.” She was definitely right and the more people I talk to, the crazier the stories become as to how people wind up in their current profession. It was also true in Michelle’s case, which made me feel at ease that we can eventually find a job that we truly love. She also dealt with this decision around the same age that I am today. I feel that passion is so important and without it you live a half-life. I admire everyone who has a true passion and a dream they are attempting to reach. I think without that you’re living a complacent life. Whether you don’t make it or are still continuing to make it, I think that all avenues of achieving your passion are commendable, you’re fighting for something important and worth living!

“For me fashion is fun, and it’s supposed to help you feel good about yourself. I think that’s what all women should focus on: what makes them happy, and feeling comfortable and beautiful.I wear what I love. Sometimes people love it, sometimes they don’t, I’m fine with it.” – MO

“I never want to be a woman viewed as overly concerned with the way she looks. As a woman I know that feeling good about myself is just as important as looking good to others. I want my daughters to feel the same way.” -MO

I LOVE FASHION just as much as the next girl! In the past, I’ve worked in the makeup industry and the IT industry. Being on both sides gave me a perspective of how much society still associates looks and pretty makeup with the ditsy and the dumb. The girly side of me enjoyed fashion and makeup, which led me to work at Sephora for a while. However, the challenge wasn’t there for my puzzle-loving brain, thus I made the transition into software, which is what I currently do. One thing I will never do and still continue not to do is compromise who I am for the things I love. You can always expect that I will be wearing something sparkly or glittery. After all, my nickname at work was “Sparkles” and it was no secret that I loved the color gold. I am notorious at work for wearing makeup, high heels, and being a fashionista with my work ensembles, but don’t let it fool you, I can still troubleshoot tough client issues like the next person.  You can still look beautiful and feminine while showing your intelligence.  Michelle has had her share of fashion faux pas as First Lady, but at the end of the day what mattered was that she looked good, felt comfortable, and put together. I know a lot of ladies who would disagree with me on this one, but I truly believe you should take the time to make yourself look good. I can’t tell you where I got my girly girl gene from, seeing that my mom doesn’t care much for any of that stuff, but I absolutely love when I can put my “face” on for the day and conquer the world. I have had some people say, “Well, doesn’t that make you insecure if you always have to put your makeup on everyday!” I reply, “OF COURSE NOT!” It means I care about myself and I do it because it makes me feel good. There’s a difference when you’re putting on makeup for yourself or for others! I’ve also had some people say comments such as, “There’s no one to impress at work so I just don’t feel the need to do any of that stuff.” There may be no one at work I want to impress either, but I do need to impress myself! I dress up because I love it and it feels good! You only have one body and one face why not make the most of it and show the world how beautiful you are! It’s not always about making yourself look like a cover model, it’s about enhancing your existing beauty. Women should take more pride in themselves! Don’t get me wrong, I love my weekend yoga-pants, t-shirts, and no make-up wearing days too! Every girl needs those every once in awhile, but when you’re conquering the world, take care of yourself and always do what makes you happy!

I too, like Michelle, am a bargain shopper. TJ Maxx, Ross, Marshalls, and Burlington Coat Factory are the stores I frequent. I go there so much that the TJ maxx cashier really thought it would be in my best interest to open a store credit card (Obviously, I resisted). Every time I wear pieces from these stores, people always think I got it somewhere fancy or I shop at crazy high-end stores, but I just find good deals at these shopping outlets. I’ve purchased Michael Kors clothes, shoes, and bags countless times, where I purchase them at almost an 80% discount and it may be last season but it’s still great quality and fashionable. Michael Kors is my all-time favorite brand since his look reminds me of a stylish classy lady and he always incorporates gold into his pieces.

“The Warrior Friend: The friend who protects you and your interests at all costs. The one who makes sure you are taking care of yourself. She’ll go down fighting for your good name to the end. These friends aren’t easy to find.”

Michelle has such a close relationship with her mom and her mom was actually the first mother to stay at the white house as live-in staff. My mom is truly my best friend and I am blessed to have such a shining example. She has shared so much wisdom with me over the years, sometimes when she says things, my brothers and I look at each other in disbelief. Where did she get that from? or How does she know this stuff? It amazes me everyday. I never would’ve imagined I could live away from home, but with technology today, I am able to text my mom everyday and call her, which keeps us close. My mom has always encouraged me as the only girl in the family to keep working hard. My mom was very good at making her expectations of us known without actually telling us, which is a powerful parenting gift. She held a great balance of love and discipline. She knows how to instill a distinct lesson of right and wrong. My mom also happens to be one that is very critical of all the men I’ve ever dated. In most families, it’s usually the dad to watch out for and the mom is usually the easy-going parent that loves all of the men you bring home, but mine is quite the opposite. With my mom being highly critical of all the men I have dated, it instilled in me how much I was worth and that is so important for a woman. Sometimes we think the next man we see that is good looking, has a decent job, and a car is the one we are going to marry, but somehow my mom’s critical voice in my head always said, “You could do better!” Any time I would debate on whether a man was right for me or if he did something that made me second-guess whether he should stay in my life, my mom was always quick to say “You don’t need him. Move on.” hahaha. It was like one strike, he’s out. It makes me extremely picky, which I am grateful for, but I know my mom wants nothing but “close to perfection” for me.

“I began to prioritize exercise because I realized that my happiness was tied to how I feel about myself.” – MO

“I have freed myself to put me on the priority list and say yes, I can make choices that make me happy.” – MO

“Before marrying Barack, Michelle made the most of being a young single woman… she did quite frankly whatever she wanted to do with her own time. Being in a relationship where you share the highs, lows, ups, and downs of life can be a beautiful thing, but having the chance to spend some quality time with yourself is something to relish. The best part? Once your soul mate makes an entrance, you’ll be mentally relaxed, emotionally refreshed, and physically ready to welcome him with open arms.”

“Barack didn’t pledge riches, only a life that would be interesting. On that promise he’s delivered.”

What I love most about Michelle is how she lived her life before meeting Barack. How much I wish this for all my close girlfriends, niece, cousins, sisters, best friend’s daughters, and sophisticated ladies of the world! Michelle worked on herself 100% until she found Barack and I feel that is so important in today’s society. We have come a long way with women now entering the workforce and having equally powerful positions as men. I think so many of us women still define ourselves based on our relationship status. I can not say I don’t struggle with this as well, but when I talk to some of my close friends even some that are older, their conversations revolve around the crazy men that come and go in their life. I am definitely guilty of this as well, but I truly believe we need to find our true self before adding another complicated male into our life. I feel when we don’t know ourselves, we are even more confused when we jump into a relationship and our vision of what we want becomes muddled. Knowing yourself means being able to know what makes you happy, what fulfills your life, what are your likes and dislikes, and what will cheer you up and bring you down. I definitely have my low moments at times and I always try to think of that saying, “Only you can control your happiness, no man is going to make you happy.” How true that is! I could be unhappy and depressed today, but no man is going to walk into my life and change that for me. My unhappiness will still be there despite being in a relationship or not. They say one of the reasons for a happy marriage is when two people are not solely dependent on each other for their happiness. When Michelle and Barack started dating, they did a long distance relationship, but while they were apart, Michelle still did all of the things that she would normally do on her own: happy hours with girlfriends, travel, art/music shows, museums, concerts, and movies. I love that! This is the reason why I jump at every opportunity to travel, treat myself to facials and massages, nails and pedicures, go running on new trails, read books and go to the farmer’s market to eat right. I also feel when you can do things like that, you become a very confident and secure woman. As strong and independent as some of my friends think about me, it’s always a growing and struggling process to maintain your inner confidence, but I think it grows when you know more about yourself. When in a relationship, it’s very difficult to learn about yourself when you’re so busy trying to compromise and please another person’s interests. Thus, when you get to a point where you know exactly who you are, what you’re looking for and what you like, the right man will come into your life and be a BONUS. He should be someone who will complement your interests and not be someone who is supposed to fill a void or be your second father or provider.

Michelle balances being a powerful, smart, and independent woman but still remains a fashionable lady who still loves the cliche romantic lifestyle that involves dates, dressing up, wearing makeup, chivalry, and girlfriends. That’s truly a smart and classy woman that I aspire to be.

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