Laura was nominated by her sister-in-law in September for our “Mommy Makeover” contest. Out of nearly 200 moms who were entered, Laura was selected as one of 11 finalists. A photo and short bio was shared for each. Of course, each of our 11 moms had a compelling and heartwarming story, and we knew it was going to be a very difficult decision for our judges. And let me tell you, their decision was a heart-wrenching one! After a week of voting and hundreds of Facebook “likes,” Laura emerged as the fan favorite and was selected as the winner.
“As she read through all of the kind comments and posts, Laura felt that she had ‘won’ even if she didn’t win the contest,” said Aryn. “This part of the experience was like the inward part of the makeover, making her feel so beautiful inside.”
A widowed mother of two young boys, Laura lost her husband in a plane crash in 2011. Since then, her oldest son was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, which is an autism spectrum disorder. In the past three years, Laura’s life has been turned upside down. According to her sister-in-law, Laura has experienced every normal emotion associated with her circumstances. But rather than sitting stagnant and crying about her struggles, she puts one foot in front of the other. She seeks advice and support on how to cope and grow. But she is also a huge advocate for helping new widows. She reaches out to others to provide the same love and support she has received.
“I think all of the women’s stories stood out for the same reason as Laura’s did — inner strength,” said her sister-in-law. “Ultimately, I think people were able to connect with her loving personality and the fact that Laura does not hesitate to reach out to others who are struggling and in need.”
Laura started her day at 9:00 a.m. at Marmalade Landis Lifestyle Salon for the first segment of Laura’s “Mommy Makeover.”
“The folks at Marmalade Landis get five stars,” said Laura. “I had a manicure and pedicure, and a massage. And after all that, Caroline cut my hair, and she really did a great job. They all did a great job!”
According to Aryn, the time at Marmalade Landis really helped Laura to relax. “After she received her head massage, I could see three years of stress leave her body,” said Aryn.
After a quick lunch, Laura was off to see Vivian Johnson, make up artist and hairstylist.
“Vivian was super good,” said Laura, “and she’s worked with a lot of famous people. My favorite thing about Vivian, though, was that she didn’t change the way I look. She enhanced my features, and just made me feel really beautiful.”
“Laura was a bit nervous to see Vivian,” said Aryn, “because make up is unfamiliar territory for her. But Vivian quickly put her at ease with some great tips and showing Laura how make up can help to bring out her inner beauty and enhance her natural beauty. When she was finished with Laura’s hair and make up, Vivian turned the chair to face the mirror, and Laura’s face just lit up. It was a special moment to witness.”
Laura’s final stop was Fashion Place Mall for a shopping spree at Shabby Apple.
“Laura was once again a little intimidated by the opportunity to pick out whatever she wanted,” said Aryn. “But after we found the perfect, red wrap-around dress, she looked in the mirror and smiled at herself because she knew looked great. It watched her toss aside her insecurities and see herself as a beautiful, strong woman. It was really wonderful to see that.”
“I really feel this experience was life changing for Laura, and the memories will always be with her,” said Aryn. “It was also empowering and healing for her all at the same time. She grew as a person, because some parts of the makeover were out of her comfort zone. It was also a great reminder for her to take a little time each day to feel beautiful and nourish her self-confidence when life’s struggles get her down or feeling worn.”