Growing up in an immigrant family, I had all the basics that a child needed…. A roof over my head, warm clothes, food in my belly and some toys, so I was pretty satisfied with my childhood. No, I didn’t have any of the fancy toys, clothes or trips that my friends or cousins had. I knew we weren’t wealthy, but I was grateful that all my basics were met.
Of course, I would build an extensive wish list inside. Hoping that one day I would be able to check each one off…..Dreaming that one day my Prince Charming would take me away. Being pragmatic even as a child, I knew that would never happen. Yup, dream on!
It was disheartening at first, as I began to give up school camping and ski trips willingly to help save my parents money. My baby sister was growing up and I knew that they would benefit from the extra cash that I saved for the family.
By this time, I was a teenager who fell in love with the mall. To save money from purchasing magazines, I would borrow the newest teen magazines from the library and studied all the fashion and make up tips.
Naturally, I loved the newest fashions. But, that usually meant it could be costly. Thankfully, I had learned to do some embroidery from my mother as a child. I was able to hand sew and fix many of the holes and tears that I discovered in the clearance racks. I was able to bargain for another extra 10% off too. I was only 15 years old.
Looking for sales in the clearance sections of supermarkets and drugstores helped me save a ton of money on make up and skincare. Drugstores and supermarkets often discounted the older labels and selections of products when the new ones came out. Discontinued shades of lipsticks or eyeshadows was the best! There weren’t discount outlets back then for me to search through, so this became a treasure hunt for me.
As a fashionista teen, I taught myself to paint and draw on my own nails ambidextrously. I also learned to bleach and dye my own hair as I got older. Others saw my work and even asked me to help them.
In grade 11, I joined the Sewing Class at our high school. I became ultimately obsessed with the sewing machine. I was doing so well that my instructor told me that I no longer had to hand in anymore projects, just the year-end one for my final grade.
As the year-end project, we had to sew our own Grad gown. It was a satiny baby blue with shimmery blossoms on the fabric with a matching chiffon shawl. I was very proud of myself!
Then, I saw what the older grades had created….. their own wedding gown!
Another life goal was created…..To be continued….