No More Makeovers

As women in our 20’s and 30’s, we are often chasing fashion fads—the latest hairstyle, smoky eyes or skinny jeans in an effort to live up to someone else’s idea of beauty. We find out years later how we looked when reminiscing over pictures. “Wow” you say, “I looked like a crazy blend of Madonna and Rachel from Friends!” “What was I thinking?” Worse yet, if we don’t stop going for the trendy looks, we find our kids saying, “Please tell me you’re not wearing that Mom?”

What we don’t know about the futility of these surface fixes is that the beauty we are searching for lies a little deeper. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we may have lost touch with the woman we wanted to be physically, spiritually or emotionally, and it could be affecting every aspect of our beauty. We don’t know what’s missing or how we lost it, but at some point there is an awakening. We spend our 20’s and 30’s in what I call our getting years—getting the job, getting the husband, getting the kids, getting the perfect house—only to wake up later on and say, “I may want everything I have, but do I have everything I want?”

If you want to find real and lasting beauty in your life and look, now is the time in your life to know that you have earned something more. Let’s stop wasting time on make overs, it’s time for a transformation!

I was lucky enough to spend the first 10 years of my career working on my dream of being a makeup artist, doing what I thought was making people beautiful. After working with top celebrities and truly amazing people who don’t live in the spotlight, I learned an invaluable lesson. No matter how good I am as a makeup artist I can only enhance your true beauty. Saying that usually brings up two reactions; “Yeah right” and “Great, but what is true beauty?” Your true beauty is in your passion, compassion, your tears and laughter. It’s also the times when you allow yourself to revel in your deeply beautiful qualities. Every line, every wrinkle, and every gray hair, is a wonderful part of the story of your beauty.

This next step is the most challenging for a lot of us: defining our beautiful qualities. In my experience, women would pop down in my makeup chair time and again with the first words out of their mouths being, “Could you cover this or that up” or “Make me look 10 pounds thinner” or “10 years younger?” Listing what we feel is wrong with us is easy. But when I ask women to list 10 things they feel make them beautiful, they often have a hard time. I’d like you to do that when you finish reading this. But don’t stop at 10. I want you to list 20 or even more of your beautiful qualities. These can be your hips, lips, smile, sense of humor, listening skills, intelligence, or anything else that makes you a stunning one-of-a-kind woman.

From there, I want you to post your list where you can see it, maybe even break it down into smaller lists. Put them on post-it notes on your make up mirror or the visor of your car. Just be sure to put these reminders of your beauty in places that constantly reinforce the definition of who you are.

Busy women fall out of touch with who they are and forget what they have to offer. Sometimes they need a reminder of the divine gifts they are to the world. They need permission to celebrate themselves and know that it’s okay to bloom, soak in the sun and express the wild colors they were created to be.

Let your list be your reminder and before you spend any time at the end of this year or the beginning of the next thinking about what you don’t have, remember the beauty you DO have!

Putting a Wrinkle in Your Sweet Tooth

Here is some news that’s not too sweet – experts believe that a lifetime of overeating sugar can cause wrinkles. A natural process called glycation is the culprit. With glycation, sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called “advanced glycation end products,” or AGEs, appropriately. The more sugar you eat, the more AGEs you develop. The more AGES you develop, the more they damage adjacent proteins in a domino-like fashion, according to Fredric Brandt, MD, a dermatologist and author of “10 Minutes/10 Years.”

Besides damaging collagen, a high-sugar diet also affects the type of collagen you have – another factor in how resistant skin is to wrinkling. The most abundant collagen types in the skin are I, II and III, with type III being the most stable and long-lasting. Glycation turns type III collagen into type I, which is more fragile, making the skin look and feel less supple. It also leaves you more vulnerable to sun damage. Diabetics can have up to 50 times the number of AGEs in their skin than non-diabetics. Another good reason to cut out sugar and eat your veggies.

If your sweet tooth does kick in, you may want to reach for some fresh watermelon. Besides being loaded with fiber and nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin A, B6 and potassium, recent findings suggest that watermelon may help in lowering blood pressure. Researchers at Florida State University found that two amino acids found in watermelon, L-citrulline and L-arginine, had powerful heart-protecting effects, able to help keep blood pressure at a healthy level. In fact, the researchers found that the amino acids led to improved arterial function, which resulted in lowered aortic blood pressure in every single one of the participants.

by Jackie Silver, AgingBackwards.com

Jackie Silver is the founder and president of Aging Backwards, LLC and author of “Aging Backwards: Secrets to Staying Young.” Sign up for her free newsletter at: http://agingbackwards.com/ and connect with her on Facebook , Twitter  and Pinterest .

How To Create Your Own Signature Style

how-create-your-own-signature-styleEvery woman wants to wear clothes that make her feel amazing, but in my job as a celebrity stylist, I know that creating that perfect look requires much more than just clothes. It takes deliberate choices about who my client is, and who she wants to be. I don’t just choose clothes that flatter her figure, either. While that is incredibly important, a stylist knows that to truly flatter a woman, clothes must capture something of the woman’s essence. Style is all about spirit: who you are, who you aspire to become, and what inspires you each and every day.

So while I can’t go shopping with you (though I’d love to!) I want to share a few of my favorite style strategies from my best-selling book, THE BEAUTY BLUEPRINT. I want you to learn what your own signature style is, and then embrace it!

Find Images That Appeal to You

First, go collect all the old magazines in your house. You can also grab some clothing catalogs or even go to online stores or designers’ websites. (I love the Chico’s website, for example.) Your first assignment is to look for hairstyles, accessories, and outfits you love, and then cut (or print) them out. Whenever you see an image or photo that immediately “pops”—one that appeals to you in a real and powerful way—grab it!

“But what if I’d never wear that?” some of my clients ask when we do this exercise together. “I love the look in this picture, but I couldn’t pull it off.”

Cut it out anyway! That’s all you have to do. This is an exercise—not a commitment to buy. I just want you to collect whatever inspires you regardless of whether or not you’d ever wear a certain outfit or copy a hairstyle. Fashion isn’t always meant to go straight from the photo to the street. Fashion is an art form, with each designer expressing a unique idea.

I’ve been backstage at the world-famous Fashion Week in New York City. I’ve stood next to the teeny-tiny models and the absolutely outrageous designs they wear. And you know what? I loved every minute of it, even though I would never wear many of the fashions myself. I understand the mission of those wild, over-the-top ensembles: all that creativity, the total fearlessness of the designer, inspires the rest of us. The excitement of innovative ideas and cutting-edge styles flood the market, and it enables everyone to interpret their own style in fresh new ways.

Fashion and design is all about experimenting with textures, colors, fabrics, patterns, and styles. Good designers find new ways to express what makes women like us feel beautiful. That’s what you’re doing in this exercise. You’ve become your own designer! You have identified images that moved you or piqued your interest, evoking powerful, pleasant emotions. In fact, that’s how I want you to feel every morning when you get dressed.

I want you to collect these images so you can see very clearly what most inspires you. I am helping you, through this exercise, to understand that style is about more than just the clothes. So many times, we confuse the excitement of a sale with inspiration!

Embrace What You Love About Your Body

I want you to embrace your body just as it is today. What is it about your figure that you really like? Your hourglass shape? Your strong legs? Your toned arms? Your graceful neck? Write down your best features. Can you come up with at least three? I hope so, because I know you have them. You need to know that, too. When you begin picking clothes, it will be important to know what physical features you want to accentuate.

My number one rule with all my clients is to accentuate the positive. Even celebrities struggle with this concept. We live in a world that harps on our figure “flaws” instead of celebrating what makes each woman unique. Creating your own special signature style will keep the emphasis on what makes you unique, and uniquely beautiful.

Identify Your Style Key Words

Next, what is in your heart and spirit that you’d really love to express to the world? I call those your “style key words.” To better understand this idea, let me share a story. . . .

I once had a client who would only wear black clothes and red lipstick. She interpreted this look as “dramatic creativity,” and those words made her feel beautiful. (Did I mention she was an artist?) This woman judged all fashion and style choices by this standard, until she realized that it was actually restricting her creativity instead of enhancing it.

Together, she and I hunted for photos of clothing styles and makeup looks that appealed to her, and she chose some wild stuff—including, to her surprise, ensembles that weren’t all black. Doing this exercise gave her the freedom to fully discover her sense of style. She still loved the notion of “dramatic creativity,” but now it could be expressed in many different ways. In the past, she would have skipped aisles of clothes that didn’t prominently feature black tops and bottoms. Now, she had a clear idea on how to incorporate new pieces into her wardrobe to freshen up her look without losing her identity.

Knowing what images appeal to you, and matching them to your style key words, will give you a beauty breakthrough. So what are your style key words? Read through the following list, and in your journal, jot down the names of those that appeal to you. When you’re finished, narrow your list down to your top five.

Style Key Words

  • Accessorized
  • African
  • All-American
  • Animal prints
  • Artistic
  • Asian
  • Bold primary colors
  • Casual elegance
  • Classic, timeless
  • Clean lines
  • Comfortable
  • Contemporary
  • Delicate
  • Detailed
  • Dramatic
  • Earthy
  • Edgy
  • Effortless
  • Embellished
  • European
  • Exotic
  • Feminine
  • Flirty and fun
  • Functional
  • Jewel-toned
  • Lace and ruffles
  • Latin
  • Lean
  • Leisure wear
  • Lightweight
  • Luxurious
  • Minimalist
  • Modern
  • Neutrals
  • Outdoor adventure
  • Romantic
  • Sexy
  • Sleek and chic
  • Soft
  • Sophisticated
  • Sporty
  • Statement pieces
  • Structured
  • Tribal
  • Versatile
  • Vintage

Not only have you identified your style key words, but you can also see fresh ways these looks are interpreted in fashion, hairstyles, and cosmetics. This can have an immediate payoff. As a former salon owner, for instance, I can’t tell you how many women thought they were describing what they wanted when they said, “I like Jennifer Aniston’s hair,” or “I like the layered look.” In reality, I had very little idea why those looks appealed to a client. My stylists and I would have to make an educated guess. But if a woman came in and said, “I like a sophisticated look with a modern edge. Here are a few photos I cut out from magazines that really appealed to me.” Wow! That information gives me so much more insight—and the ability to create a hairstyle that my client absolutely loves. As a stylist, I needed both the key words and the pictures—and so do you.

You’ve just created your very own Signature Style, just like all my clients who use my techniques from THE BEAUTY BLUEPRINT. Keep a copy of your choices, words and images in your purse. You can get put this information right to work, and it will save you hundreds of dollars. You can shop with the confidence of a stylist, knowing what features you want to emphasize, and what colors and designs reflect your spirit.

Don’t go shopping without this information! Without it, it’s easy to fall back into old habits and choose items that don’t reflect your style key words and images, or your best features. You might pick up something to please your spouse or peers, or because you found it on the clearance rack. Now you have an easy way to stay grounded and check whether something is aligned with your personal style before you hit the cash register and potentially waste money.

Always remember that the more you honor your true beauty, the less prone you will be to caving in to old insecurities and making the same old mistakes in life or at the cash register. You have a signature style to come back to, which allows you to rediscover (and celebrate) the real, beautiful you every day.

Celebrity stylist and life coach Michelle Phillips (www.MichellePhillips.com) shares secrets from her new book, THE BEAUTY BLUEPRINT, to help you save money and look fabulous.

After working in the beauty industry as a make up artist and stylist for celebrities, I can tell you- first hand- that the women who sat in my chair did not look nearly the same as they did once they had an army of stylists, lighting experts, photographers, and then computer experts create their on camera look.

With so many girls comparing their looks to those of the models and actresses they see on TV, in the movies, or magazines, it is important that they understand that what they see is not reality. What we do need to see is the beauty inside of us all. While working to help my own daughters develop a positive outlook on their beauty inside and out, I encourage them to focus on all of their unique qualities. They are uniquely beautiful and it is important for them to take pride in their kind nature, compassion for others, their gifts, and talents. These are just of a few of the things that make them truly beautiful.

I am posting this video to show our girls what goes on behind the scenes to make models and on camera personalities achieve the looks that for 99% of us is unobtainable.

Hats off to the Dove campaign for their continued effort to help real women and young girls love who they are for their own unique beauty!

The Miracle of a YUMMY Body – Guest Post

This is re-posted from my friend Leah Carey’s online Miracle Journal. Her original post is here; you can find her full journal at www.TheMiracleJournal.com. She posts a miracle every day on her journal.

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By Leah Carey

If you’re familiar with my book Transforming Your Body Image, you know that it is the chronicle of my own journey from feeling “Fat and Ugly” to being okay with my body just as it is and helping others to do the same. In that book I wrote,

“As long as I keep my focus on being healthy, my self-image is not tied to my weight. My weight still fluctuates, but it’s not the end of the world, because I’m busy being the best person I can be!”

This is absolutely true…AND there’s more to the story.  I have good days and I have bad days.  There are days when I look in the mirror and think, “I look really cute today” and that is a HUGE miracle, because for 20+ years I thought I looked hideous.  But there are other days when I look in the mirror and think, “Who dressed you?  You look so washed out.  I wish these pants looked better on me…” and more.  Feeling better about myself doesn’t mean feeling perfect.  It means that I can look in the mirror and feel positive about what I see.  But there are still days when I’m not completely in love with what I see.

Then there are times like the last couple of days.  It has been a perfect storm of body appreciation.  On Tuesday night, I played in my closet with a friend, creating new outfits out of the same old clothes – she put things together that I never would have imagined.  She got me looking at the same clothes in new ways.  It was amazing.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m working through a workbook that’s about opening my heart and inviting in new love.  Yesterday’s exercise was about appreciating my body.  The instructions were to stand naked in front of the mirror and focus on each part of my body.  At each part, I was to apologize to it for the negative thoughts that I’d held about it, tell it something I appreciate about it, and then thank it for something – from the feet to the calves to the knees to the…well, you get the idea.  I’ve done mirror work before but something about the way that this exercise was laid out and explained felt completely new to me and I felt my energy changing as I did it.

By the time I got to my face and head, I had a thought that was so new – so completely revolutionary – that I actually started dancing around in my bedroom in front of the mirror…and that thought was:
“I HAVE A YUMMY BODY!!!”
WOW!!!

Later in the day I stopped in to my friend’s consignment clothing store (see why she’s the best person to play in my closet with?!) because she had just received several fitted blazers that were exactly the type we had determined I needed in my professional wardrobe — hello, miracle!  As I was trying them on, another customer came into the store and these two women – one a good friend, the other a person I’d never met – started commenting on my “luscious” curves and what a beautiful womanly body I have.  All of this without me saying a thing about the work I had done that morning.

Truly amazing.  What a miracle.

Do you have any suggestions about things that help you to feel good about your body?  If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!  And don’t forget to head up to the “Share Your Miracle” tab and let me know about the miracles that have been happening in your life!

If you’re interested in the mirror exercise, you can find it on Day 32 of Calling in the One by Katherine Woodward Thomas.  If you’re interested in my book, Transforming Your Body Image, you can find it here.

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Leah Carey is the creator and facilitator of the Live. Write. Share. workshops. Her mission is to help people share their stories as a vehicle for healing old wounds and finding their own inner resilience. She facilitates workshops and gives lectures throughout the US and Canada. She is online at www.leahcarey.com.

Beauty Meditations

Women longing for inner and outer beauty are invited on a personal devotional journey with author and speaker Ginger Garrett who offers expertise, encouragement, and biblical guidance. Readers will gather life-changing insights alongside practical ways to nurture their spiritual, emotional, and physical health.

Meaningful meditations and compelling prayers that speak directly to what women are experiencing will gently guide readers to discover how:

  • beauty and radiance begin in the soul
  • joy, laughter, and friendships restore a youthful glow
  • simple steps lead them to reflect the beauty God sees in them
  • inner and outer transformation happens when shame and secrets are released
  • kindness to themselves and others starts the journey to loveliness

Readers will enjoy and benefit from Ginger’s vulnerability and expertise as they explore the unique relationship between worshiping our Creator and caring for ourselves.  To order a copy click here

February 14 – The Most Beautiful Date You’ll Ever Have

The day of love is upon us and it’s time for the most beautiful date you’ll ever have…YOU! Love is the light that reveals your beauty to the world!

My guests will be Leah Carey and Michael Chase.

Leah is the creator and facilitator of the Live. Write. Share. workshops that help people to share their stories as a vehicle for healing old wounds and finding their own inner resilience.

Leah writes a daily Miracle Journal where she recounts the miracles she finds in her life each day. I’ve re-posted her entry “The Miracle of a YUMMY Body” – about loving her own body with all its feminine curves – on my blog; also click here to read a perfect Valentine’s Day treat, “The Miracle of Amazing Men: In celebration of the male spirit“.

Leah’s blog is at www.themiraclejournal.com. Find information about her book, “Transforming Your Body Image” and her workshops at www.leahcarey.com.

Michael is affectionately known as “The Kindness Guy” and he is one of today’s most powerful voices for creating a kinder world. At the age of thirty-seven, Michael ended an award-winning photography career to begin The Kindness Center. His book “Am I Being Kind?” is set to be released by Hay House Publishing on April 15 and is now available for pre-sale at Amazon.com.

From his “24 Hours of Kindness” events to his “Caffeinated Kindness” days, Michael brings the message of kindness to cities and towns around the country. He is dedicated to doing small acts of kindness for others and has made it his life’s mission to spread kindness across the globe. His passionate keynote presentations have inspired thousands by revealing the secrets to true happiness and how we can all create a better world. Valentine’s Day is one of Michael’s favorite days of the year because it’s a day when we focus on the best in each other.

Find Michael online at www.thekindnesscenter.com.

Top 5 Tips for Enhancing Your TRUE Beauty

Glance at any fashion magazine and you are sure to be inundated with products and techniques to keep up with the latest celebrity looks. Here some simple tips to enhance our own true beauty without breaking the bank.

First of all, we need to go back to the basics of classic beauty. Less is more! It’s that simple!

  1. Concealer is a must…even if you don’t wear a foundation. Try a concealer with a yellow base to it. Apply only on the inner corner of your eye and lightly blend out. There is no need to apply to the outer corner of eye. If you do this, you will look like a raccoon and accentuate any fine lines you may have
  2. Fill in your brows! Properly arched brows that are lightly filled in with a pencil or powder that matches your brow color will create more of an open eye look and lift the eye area. The goal is to look more youthful!
  3. Blush…apply your blush on your cheekbone…not under. Blush should never be applied below the imaginary line that goes from your nostril to your ear. The lower the blush is applied the older you will look. Avoid Brown tones when it comes to blush, brighter tones will give you a healthy glow.
  4. Eye shadows should remain neutral. Trends are fun…but only on teenagers. Warm tones bring out any eye color.
  5.  Mascara is best when applied on the top lashes only. For a more dramatic evening look go for top and bottom. If you have dark circles under your eyes, avoid mascara on bottom lashes all together.

We are all beautiful! Keep in mind that make up is supposed to enhance your beauty, not cover it up.

Fall Skin Care Tips

The changing weather can wreak havoc on your skin. During this time it is important that you take the steps to make sure your skin is protected from the cold weather to prevent premature aging. Below you will find a few tips to help you through the transition from hot to cold. To do this…your first step is to exfoliate

Tip 1: Exfoliate, Exfoliate!

Too much sun exposure from, the summer sun, can often lead to dry, flaking skin – even if you have been diligent with UV protection. Regular treatment with exfoliating face and body washes, scrubs and lotions can work miracles to improve the tone and texture of your skin.

Moisturizing helps to deliver hydrating ingredients and keep your skin’s barrier system intact. Look for products with a slightly thicker moisturizer than what you were using in the summer, even if your skin is naturally oily. If that’s the case, just find non oily products that are a little more substantial. Consider a range of effective products containing retinol, alpha hydroxyl and antioxidants ingredients to help improve hydration and the texture of your skin.

Tip 2: Don’t Forget The Sunscreen

Pay attention to sun care. Protecting your skin from the sun isn’t just for the summer. Just because the weather is colder doesn’t mean that you can’t get sun damage. If the SPF products you were using in the summer were too harsh for the colder climate, switch products. But definitely don’t skip this step.

Tip 3: Show Hands Respect

Try as you might, it’s difficult to keep hands out of water and the elements. Even if you’re diligent about using gloves, frequent hand washing and life in general, can cause hands to dry and crack. If you’re like me and can never remember to wear gloves then it’s a good idea to strategically place hand cream around. I always keep a tube in my purse, in the car, at the sink and on my bedside table. You really can never have enough!

Tip 4: Dull Hair

Hair exposed to the sun and water can appear dry and lack lustre. Go easy on the heating elements such as flat irons and other treatments that can damage hair further. Consider switching to a gentle line of shampoos, minus harsh cleansing ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate which strip away oils and can irritate sensitive skin