Happy 2019!

I love resets, and January 1 represents a nice, fresh restart.  I don’t actually *believe* in New Year’s “resolutions,” though, because – while typically made in earnest and followed by a full-bore (albeit (also typically) short-lived) burst – they are so often abandoned, left to fade into the rush of life…until maybe a year later.  When, of course, the same thing happens again.

What I DO believe in, however, is that we have the opportunity to make life changes at any moment, on ANY day we so choose – you can take January 1 if it’s nice and tidy, or just go for it at any time that best suits you.  (We just need to make sure we PICK a time, not procrastinate).  The decision is generally a great deal easier than the follow-through…but then everybody knows that!  But, if we can find a way to work towards something meaningful and realistic…the rewards are worth the price.

We all have areas in which we’d like to improve – sometimes strictly for our own well-being, and yet in others, for the impact it will have on those around us, and even the world.  One of the most important things we can do for ourselves (and others) is to choose to be “happier.”  Happier is something we all must define on our own – there’s no one size fits all when it comes to what makes each of us “happy” inside.  And, PS, it is an inside job.  But I can guarantee you that whatever the goal posts, if you do make it to “happier” (even if in tiny increments), you will see a marked change in the world around you.

Life is precious.  We don’t know how much time we have, neither can we be certain of that given to those we love, so happiness matters.  We all deserve the blessing of “happiness,” and no matter how different that may look to each of us, it is more than achievable.

Amidst an undoubtedly hefty resolution list, this one is an “overall makeover” that can both help us to reach many of our other goals, as well as be manageable enough that we can have some real success.  It also happens to be a relatively realistic goal because we don’t have to be at the pinnacle of perfection…rather we are aiming for more “happy” in our lives, which can come in smaller increments (the “-ier” suggests it is more than our current state not necessarily a massive jump—> those baby steps are worthy)!

Short-term boosts are great, but I’ve seen too many resolutions fail because they are not appropriately backed by an equally ardent “I really want to make a lifestyle change”…which, let’s be honest, is the only way any achieved result will still with us long-term.  We need to think about how we can incorporate our goals (and the steps we need to get there) into our daily routine withOUT it feeling like torture (torture = not going to do it.  Period).

MAKING CHANGES

Any life change – or the endeavor to make a lifestyle change – requires the following:

  1. We truly want the change ourselves (we honestly want it, we aren’t being coerced, or forced, or guilted into it).
  2. The change is realistic (for example, we can lose weight or be healthier, but we can’t suddenly look like someone who is an entirely different body type than we naturally possess).
  3. The change is one we can maintain over time (we aren’t instituting so rigid a plan that we fail to account for human error and natural, flexible fluctuation).

That’s really it!

Well, then what gets in the way…?!

ROADBLOCKS

  1. Our “resolutions” and hopes for a new way of living are sometimes at the mercy of temporal constraints.
  2. As above…excuses are insidious.  It’s easy to find reasons why “ohhh, I’ll do it tomorrow – I’m just too tired / don’t have time.”  Or, “well, I’m already down hill so may as well keep going!”  That kind of thinking will derail anyone!

Okay…so then how do we DEFEAT the roadblocks?

OVERCOMING ROADBLOCKS

  • Promise yourself that you will make time Time is limited for us all – sometimes I’m amazed how much other people fit into the day, and how much they know!  Well…they’ve got the same 24 hours so that means I need to figure out – if I want to fit something in – how I’m going to do that.
  • Our excuses need to be exposed for what they are.  They need to be acknowledged and nipped in the bud AS SOON AS THEY APPEAR.  Keep tabs on yourself and be honest with you.  If you need to write them down, do it.  If you want to post goal pictures or positive affirmations around the house, do it.  If you need to recruit a partner, do it.  Whatever you need to squash those pesky excuses…DO it.  You are NOT alone.  We all make excuses.  But…
  • Remember that a tiny effort each day WILL get you headed in the right direction.  Baby steps are still progress and it is SUPER important that you notice your efforts and any progress you make (again…little steps are still steps)!

Fortunately…again…

“Happy” is something that we all can make strides towards.  We owe it to ourselves to put it on the top of the priority list not only because we deserve to enjoy life, but also because being “happier” contributes to the overall picture.  When we FEEL happier, so much more falls into place – we feel motivated, we feel invigorated, our mood and attitude improves…and we find more of that self-confidence that we both deserve and need to be successful in life.

  • Make a list of what contributes to YOUR happiness.  Try to incorporate more of THAT into your day.
  • Look for the little improvements…and pat yourself on the back.
  • Force a smile when you don’t feel like it (sometimes – it’s also okay to need time to “feel”).
  • Make a gratitude list…
  • Be yourself, and be proud.  You’re worth it.

Blessed 2019 to all…

 

You Don’t Need To Be Perfect

I loved this sentiment because the reality of life is that none of us are, nor ever will be, “perfect.” Bound to countless socially and personally imposed definitions, the word “perfect” encompasses far too much for any one person to attain. And to what end would we wish to achieve the title? To appease our inner critic and absolve ourselves of any future self-deprecation or doubt? To impress someone else in effort to quell the internal need for belonging…or to bathe in the external, social rewards?

It’s a tough path to travel, the one to “perfection.” The word itself is saturated with such infinite criteria – as defined by everyone in a different way – that it would be nigh impossible to satisfy all conditions.

 

We are, as human begins, all flawed and fragile. But, it is in imperfection that the world then becomes so beautifully diverse. Our quirks and eccentricities may in fact be what others can relate to. So too can our personal struggles and challenges be what brings others into our circle, or to look to us for advice. These things allow us to connect to others in the world, and therefore provide us an opportunity to inspire every day.

How do we handle adversity or when things that don’t go our way?

Can we be the bigger person and admit when we are wrong or say we are sorry when appropriate?

Can we treat others with respect and kindness, even when we disagree or are upset?

Do we approach the world – ourselves and others – with an attitude of acceptance and appreciation that we all have our “stuff”? (e.g.: we aren’t perfect, we are learning.)

Our behaviors and actions can inspire others to “rise above,” to find strength in tough times, and to do what they can to see the positives in each day. We don’t have to do those things perfectly ourselves, either – remember that others may be inspired because they see YOU trying your best. They see you struggling but still holding on to hope and working hard… They see you being the bigger person in the face of another’s poor behavior…

Those things might give others the support and strength they need – they see that it doesn’t HAVE to be executed perfectly to work (and that’s the whole point.) 

We will never be able to achieve the grandiose “perfection” because it is a word that has no single, defined definition. Perfection is many things to many people and it – by default – leaves no room for humanness, for growth, or for mistakes. Mistakes, however, are a huge part of life, as is a human vulnerability that we all possess. How we approach life on those terms, however imperfectly, can be even more inspiring than if we were the “ideal individual.” Why? Because if we can do it, in spite of a world that is ever-changing and challenging, then so can others – seeing the effort in the face of difficulty is why those actions ARE so inspiring.

So fear not if you falter, if you have flaws, or don’t make your mark every day. Because you are always working towards your goals in a positive and meaningful way in spite of your missteps, “mess-ups,” other people’s poor behaviors, you are inspiring others to do the same. You are inspiring others by being exactly who you are – unabashedly – and that in and of itself is empowering.

Yesterday You Said “Tomorrow”

This has always been a favorite, ass-kicking quote of mine. When I say I’m going to do something and I lollygag, I’m in for a nice trip to Self-Disappointment Central. This quote reminds me that if I commit to something – doesn’t matter what – come hell or high water, I’m going to go for it.

I don’t have to be perfect – it’s about progress, NOT perfection! – but I damn well need to try. SOME effort is better than ZERO effort in my book.

Never mind that… The prospect of spiraling downwards, getting stuck, or making life harder for myself (longer climb the longer I “put off what can be done today”) is absolutely horrifying. So much so that I flash this quote in front of my face and I start somewhere.

Ever have a moment where you think, “holy smokes! Is it (- day of the year –  ) already?!” or...”when the hell did I turn 40?! Where did the rest go?!”

Life moves FAST – in the nigh-literal blink of an eye. Cherish what you have today.

START working on your goals today.

Today turns into tomorrow, then next week, then next year before you know it – instead of drowning while your head is reeling, take a step forward. A little one is still in the right direction. You got this!

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Knowing Your Darkness

To face oneself head-on is to show true strength, for none of us shine without some darkness in the mix.  To openly delve into our depths is to learn, to grow, and to better grasp the nature of Life.  No man is without some sin or flaw, but if we can see our own shortcomings rightly, we are all the more able to accept, understand, even appreciate those around us – the battles are always raging, though often they are invisible to the outside eye.

There is no perfection among us, neither any living species. Perfection is an elusive and false idea that cannot be achieved nor, frankly, should it – without darkness, as they say . . .

Life molds us in such a way – through beauty and pain – but with gentle acknowledgement, and a lot of work, we can be better people each day.

The journey takes time – sometimes a life to its full.  It takes failure, making mistakes, patience, forgiveness of ourselves and others, and willingness to learn. . .but it is possible not only to come out unscathed, but grateful, healthy, happy and wise in the end.   

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Humor, And The Perfect Woman

I give myself a SERIOUSLY hard time sometimes.  I’m not exactly a typical female and though I am thankful to be as I am, there are times when I have felt badly when other impose their own interpretations of what a woman “should be” on me.

Heaven forbid I say “I don’t cook.”  I mean that generally.  You won’t find me with an apron on baking casseroles, for sure, but that doesn’t mean I’m a total dolt.  I can manage with the smaller variety of things I eat…and I’m absolutely certain I can follow a recipe (I cooked a lot with my parents when I was little.)  But just because baking isn’t my favorite hobby…or being ultra feminine won’t work for my sportier lifestyle, I shouldn’t feel badly.

And you shouldn’t EITHER.

Don’t let anyone else define you, put you down, or place you in a box. 

Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that another person’s definition of “perfect” may well deviate (even substantially) from our own.  There is nothing wrong with that!  

We all have gifts, and all have room to grow.  

We all have preferred activities, and those that just aren’t so much our thing.  

And in the end, that’s kind of what makes the planet so interesting, isn’t it?  If everyone was cookie cutter, I think I (for one) would be highly disturbed! 

I appreciate my glamorous friends, as much as my sporty ones, my bohemian ones, and the workaholics… I love them all, and appreciate most that THEY are happy.

Conforming just doesn’t work for me – it’s such a drag, and not worth anyone’s time to stress about!  If, as a human being, you do feel down about it, remember that YOUR “prefect” may not be everyone’s “perfect”…but there are countless others to whom your ideal is also perfection.

It’s all in the way you define your terms anyway.

I DO cook.  

I definitely “IRON.”  

And I always make sure home is nice and clean. 🙂

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Before and After

I love Before & Afters!  It is so important for people to know that the bulk of images we seen in magazines, ads, even on-screen have been retouched.  

And it isn’t only in an age of Insta-filters and photoshoping apps – when I was a kid, photos were being retouched.  So much so that the supermodels in magazines seemed like an alien race, void of marks, clogged pores, greasy hair…

But because technology has enabled the average person (without a stitch of technology in his or her background!) to adjust with total abandon (not to mention ~gasp!~ for FREE!) …it is far more commonplace to see an altered photo than a real one.  

In a largely-virtual social landscape, we are presented with perfection at every turn.  

Seeming perfection, that is…

I love when I see women bare it all.  No, not in the full body sense… I’m talking the visage (vee-z-ah-juh in French.)  Traditionally boasting perfect porcelain or choco skin, smoothly lined lips, batting lashes, glowing cheeks and nary a wrinkle nor blemish to be seen…those faces. 

To see a woman without her “war paint” (an affectionate term from my Ballroom days!) is a lovely reminder for ALL of us.  It isn’t that the image represents something less than perfect, so much as it says that imperfection IS perfect.  

Imperfection is beauty.  

Imperfections always exist…and that’s okay!

You don’t have to hide…

And you ALSO don’t have to worry that you aren’t as “seamless” as what you see…because that isn’t always the reality.

We are still amazing underneath! Our natural lines and curves and colors are BEAUTIFUL.

Bravo to Makeup Artist @kristytheodoremua and ALL participating ladies for her awesome posts.  Way to inspire and bring us all down to Earth. ❤

 

Hakuho-Do + Sephora Kanpeki Brush Set

The Hakuho-Do + Sephora Kanpeki Perfecting Brush Set has the most beautiful illustration on the front.  I actually looked it up because I loved it so much! The limited edition set includes six brushes, all handmade using a technique from Japan that is 200 years old.

The contents are as follows:

  • Small teardrop pointed highlighter 
  • Wedge sloping powder brush 
  • Large teardrop pointed powder brush 
  • Fan cheek brush 
  • Angled concealer brush 
  • Crease brush 
  • Keepsake box 

The brushes are made from an “innovative synthetic bristle material…that creates a softer, fluffier feel with actual bounce while retaining the benefits of synthetic bristles. As a result, these brushes are soft as cashmere, yet deposit more product onto the face due to less absorption and are more hygienic than natural hair.”