Make Yourself Over: Kristen Proby's Tips

Don’t we all just dream about seeing our past crushes and wowing them with our current awesomeness? You know, you swan in, graceful and gorgeous, and his jaw hits the ground. (In this fantasy he’s not balding with a beer gut, either.) How to make it happen? Today Kristen Proby’s sharing her best reinvention tips. After all, Kristen’s heroine Cara, in her RT Top Pick! Loving Cara, manages to finally catch her guy’s eye after years of flying under his radar.

In Loving Cara, my heroine takes one simple chance on something new—and it leads to so much more. I think there’s a lesson there for all of us: sure, safe is nice, but sometimes a little change can bring us what we’ve always wanted.

Here are my (and Cara’s!) five suggestions for little changes that might just have some big results:

1. Change your hair. Handsome hero Josh takes note of how Cara has ditched her hated high school curls for a more sophisticated style. Sure, it seems like a cliché—but every cliché has some truth to it. How many of us settle on a hairstyle in high school or college and then wear that sucker for the next 20 years? But what if you twisted your pin-straight style into a mass of just-left-the-bedroom waves? Or pulled back your riot of curls into a naughty-librarian twist? Or dyed it all blond, or red, or heck, purple—just to see how it changed your outlook? Maybe that daring new hairstyle will encourage you to accept another dare or two.

2. Change your job. Cara loves her work as a middle-school teacher, but she needs a summer gig, and takes a job tutoring Josh’s troubled 12-year-old nephew. It might seem like teaching is teaching, but she quickly finds that this tutoring job will test so much more than her knowledge of fractions and American history. What skills do you have that you haven’t tested in a while? Maybe you have a hobby that ought to become a business, or is something that would be valuable in a volunteer setting? Are you a jewelry designer, a fabulous organizer, or maybe…a writer? Carve out some time to treat your talents like your job, and see where it takes you—maybe to the bestseller lists!

3. Change your outlook. Cara begins spending more and more time on Josh’s ranch, and even though it’s only half an hour out of town, it feels like a different world. Remember the feeling you get when you take a vacation in a new locale? There’s something about the way a new setting refreshes your senses that makes you imagine endless possibilities. Live in a city? Maybe it’s time for a trip to the nearest forest, or mountain or beach, where the wide open spaces can free your mind. Feeling a little stale in your small town? The energy of Manhattan, or the excitement of Paris, could inspire you with new energy.

4. Change your perspective. On their first kinda-date, Josh wants to show Cara the ranch, and how better to do so than on horseback? But Cara’s not exactly sold about sitting on a 1200-pound animal six feet in the air…funny how different everything looks from up there! Don’t have a spare horse lying around? How about slipping on a pair of amazing platform heels that make you four inches taller? Just that little lift could have you carrying yourself differently, and the feeling of looking someone directly in the face when you’re used to craning your neck up at them can be a heady experience indeed!

5. Change your friends (well, not the good ones!). Cara’s best friend, Jill, is here to stay, as best friends should be. But along the way, Cara has the opportunity to meet some people she’d never guess would be wonderful friends and supporters. As we go out into the world, isn’t it worth staying open-minded about the people we meet? After all, you’ve seen how easy it can be to reinvent yourself…what if the rest of us are doing it too? Take a chance and talk to that guy with the full sleeve tattoos—maybe you love the same bands. Or get to know that woman you see every day at the elevators, but only talk about the weather—who knows how much you might have in common?

- Kristen Proby

Feeling inspired to make a change? (We surely admit to rocking the same hairstyle since high school … ). Loving Cara is available now in stores and online, if you need further proof of how mixing things up really works! And for more modern-day love stories, be sure to visit our Everything Romance page.