Hip Mom: It’s Hip to be Yourself

Real Tulsa moms share their secrets to looking (and staying) fabulous.

There’s a stereotype out there that once a woman becomes a mother, she physically (and mentally, but that’s another article) falls apart. Well, certainly we moms will sport unkempt hair, spit-encrusted clothing, dark under-eye circles the size of Rhode Island, and a certain eau de blech at times. But, unless you’re deep in the foggy, groggy newborn stage, or have a houseful of sick children, most moms do a whole lot better than we’re given credit for by the talking heads. In fact, from my vantage point, I see a lot more groomed, put-together moms than slovenly, greasy moms at school, at ballet class and at soccer practice. But, say you, appearance is so superficial! We have BABIES to take care of; how could we possibly take any time to put efforts into ourselves? Well, here’s my answer: self-preservation. Self respect. And the little reminder we need to repeat to ourselves day in, day out: “I am a person. I am a woman.  Someday these little stinkers will fly away, and I will still BE SOMEBODY.” And I maintain that to BE SOMEBODY, you have to make the effort to take care of that somebody — even if it’s just combing your hair. So, here are a few secrets from a sampling of some of the lovely mamas of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Ailee Nowlin is a mother of two, a third-grade boy and first-grade girl. She assists in her husband’s orthodontics practice and volunteers prodigiously at her kids’ school. Here are Ailee’s secrets:

Q: Where do you shop? Any “real life” or online favorites?

AN: It depends on what I’m looking for. If I am looking for something to wear during the day to meetings or events, I really like Anthropologie, J. Crew or Ann Taylor Loft. For something a little dressier or to wear to a dinner with friends, I like Saks and Little Black Dress locally. Online, I like ShopBop, but I prefer to shop local so that I can try things on and look at them. J. Cole is a must for shoes! Sometimes ordering online can be difficult unless you are familiar with the brand and know how it fits.

Q: Any favorite cosmetics or hair products?

AN: I love Aveda Smooth Infusion conditioner and Moroccan oil for my hair. As far as cosmetics, I mainly use Laura Mercier products. My favorite lipstick and lip gloss are both Chanel – they stay put and are extra glossy!

Q: Do you follow any fitness regime?

AN: Yes, I joined Tulsa Fitness Systems about a year ago and love it! It’s a full body cardio/weights workout all in one, so it’s efficient! I try to go three times per week. I don’t really follow a specific diet but do try to limit carbs and sugar.

Then there’s Marissa Bennett, whose career as both a licensed drug and alcohol counselor and a licensed family and marriage therapist is currently on hold so she can stay home with herdaughter, 4-year-old Elise:

Q: Where do you shop? Any real-life or online favorites?

MB: Here are some of my favorites right now… at the mall, I will pop into Ann Taylor, Windsor, Express, J Crew (on sale items!) and Banana Republic. Online, I shop Victoria Secret clothing and shoes. I also shop DestinyOne (an Etsy store showcasing handmade jewelry) for unique pieces. Boutiques such as Emy Couture in Tulsa (just north of 91st and Sheridan) carry special items I haven’t been able to find anywhere else. I love their headbands! I can’t forget about Kohl’s —  I like Lauren Conrad’s line. I generally purchase my shoes from Dillard’s or DSW.

Q: Any favorite cosmetics or hair products?

MB: I use Paula’s Choice, Urban Decay and Mac Cosmetics. As for my locks, I use Luv Naturals (I purchase online), Shea Moisture, and anything from the Giovanni line. I also like to create some of my own hair products.


Yes! To make hair products, I will mix shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil (basically a bunch of oils) with a mixer and pour into a container. For hair gel, I boil flax seeds and then dispose of seeds or I use plain aloe vera gel from Walmart. Also for added moisture and shine, I might spray my hair with an aloe vera juice/water mixture. For a deep conditioner sometimes, I blend banana or avocado and let it rest on my hair for a while and rinse. There are so many hair product recipes on Youtube (I like naptural85 for natural hair). I use a combination between homemade natural products and store bought products. Just depends on my mood/time.

Q: Do you follow any kind of fitness routine or health regime?

MB: I do not have a consistent fitness routine. I’m striving to exercise at least four times per week. I like workout DVDs, like Hip Hop Abs, Jillian Michaels, and the older The Firm videos. If I need a quick sweat, I use Fitness Blender online. The workouts are free and broken down by calories burned, time, and body parts trained. I try to eat organic when possible and limit processed foods. Currently, one of my goals is to increase my water intake. My favorite staple is coconut oil: I cook with it, eat it, use for my hair and body! I also regularly take probiotics and fish oil.

Q: Anything you would like to add?

MB: I love accessories! A cute necklace/earrings can dress up an outfit and make it appear as if you put more effort into your outfit! Splurge on a nice pair of jeans, they will last forever! Throw on some lipstick/lip gloss or nail polish. One of my favorite and easy (but sometimes painful) beauty perks is to get my eyebrows threaded – this keeps them groomed for a long time. Moms need to take time for themselves!

Then we have the lovely and resilient Jennifer Garrett, a single mom who works both full time as a recruiter and as a mom to three boys, ages 11, 9 and 2, and still has the energy to stop traffic with her 8000-watt smile:

Q: Where do you shop? Any “real life” or online favorites?

JG: Target or Old Navy. I love On a Whim but it’s only for special occasions. I don’t do a lot of shopping since I am on a budget. I love to borrow things out of girlfriends’ closets. I also have purchased a few things on Facebook’s buy, sell or trade groups.

Q: Any favorite cosmetics or hair products?

JG: I love Bobbi Brown’s Stick Foundation and MAC Eyeliner. I use the drugstore for everything else. I color my hair once every six months or so and am very thankful that ombre is in style.

Q: Do you follow any kind of fitness or health regime?

JG: I am a single mom with three boys and work full time, so I struggle with this, but I love yoga and walking. Especially the “hot” yoga at Salt Yoga – I try to go if I ever have any free time and funds available. I also try to spend a lot of time laughing with my girlfriends. It really is the best medicine.

Q: Anything you would like to add?

JG: My mom always says be happy with yourself now because in five years you are going to wish you looked like that again. It is very true —  life is too short to not just be happy with who you are now and enjoy life.

Finally, we have Marjorie Gooding, a mom to 14-year-old Maddie and 8-year-old Mason. She is also a busy teacher at Jenks Southeast Elementary.

Q: Where do you like to shop? Any real life or online favorites?

MG: Stores I love include Nordstrom, Gap, Ann Taylor Loft, and The Dainty Hooligan. Online, the blog “Pinterest Told me To” is a must-read; you can shop her Instagram photos. She keeps track of sales and pretty much shops at all the same places I do — and she is really funny.

Q: Any favorite cosmetics or hair products?

MG: I use a little bit of everything…Nars Lip Gloss and Blush, Tarte BB Tinted Treatment, Dior, Smashbox Primer, and Naked Eyeshadow are some of my favorites. I also use Aveda skincare products and exfoliate with a Clarisonic.

Q: Do you follow a certain fitness or health regime? 

MG: I really have to mix my workout up or I tend to get bored. So I do the treadmill and different classes. I love the Insanity workout…well maybe not “love,” but it is great!

Q: Anything else? 

MG: My daughter, Maddie, is my go-to on what to wear/what not to wear…my very own Stacy London! She is not afraid to tell me “uhhhh, no mom!” We love shopping together and finding a great deal.

So there you go: secrets of beautiful mamas. But perhaps what all these women have in common is self-confidence, poise, a certain glint in their eyes that assures us that despite the occasional vicissitudes of motherhood — and life — these ladies haven’t lost their sense of humor. Or their sense of self. And those qualities, of course, are the most attractive qualities in the world.

Categories: Hip Mom