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There was a time when I shied away from wearing anything that might potentially make people notice me. As a kid, I wasn’t allowed to choose what I wanted to wear, so my clothes were often times funny and strange. It wasn’t until high school that I owned my first pair of jeans. By the time I could make my own clothing purchases, I stuck with three colors: Black, white, and blue. In other words, the more I could blend in and disappear so my peers could leave me alone, the better.

Even as an adult, the thought of wearing a bold red dress to a party was frightening. A little black dress was not only elegant, but safe. I didn’t own my first red dress until I was 23, and only because Mr. Wonderful (we were just dating at the time) announced that I was banned from buying any more black dresses because that was pretty much the only dress color I owned.

The first time I wore the red dress was to a friend’s wedding, and as I sat down at our designated table, I immediately felt shy as a beautifully stylish couple seated themselves next to us. As the woman looked at me and then whispered into her significant other’s ear, I thought, What was I thinking trying to channel Julia Roberts in this stupid red dress? I should have stuck with black. I will never be anything but that girl who looks like a boy, and the best I can do is to blend into the background like a wallflower.

“I love your dress,” she said. “I was just telling my boyfriend how much I like the back detail. It’s so subtly sexy.”

Sometimes one sincere compliment is all you need to soar on cloud nine, to give you the confidence that hey, maybe sometimes I can break out of the black and pull off the red. I now have three red dresses in my closet, including the very first one I ever purchased. I still love it.

This Valentine’s Day, go ahead and take a risk. Be bold. Be Julia Roberts a la Pretty Woman if you want to. Why not? Because quite honestly, that sort of beauty and fabulousness lives inside each and every one of us. The world is waiting.

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Dress: Kensie | Shoes: Coach | Accessories: Michael Kors

Photography by Brian M Lee

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

-Marianne Williamson

One more day to enter my jewelry giveaway!! Ends 2/14.