Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Intentions


So here we find ourselves approaching a new year.

Everyone’s talking about their resolutions.

I’m focusing on intentions this upcoming year.

Resolutions are those things we vow to fix about ourselves. I really don’t think any of us need ‘fixing’; we merely need to think about what we truly want out of life, and declare our intentions for bringing those things to fruition.

We can resolve all day long about losing weight, making more money, relaxing a bit more, but when it comes right down to it, we never set a true course for reaching those goals. That’s where the power of intention comes in: by stating specifically what we honestly want, we’re sending strong signals to the universe in order to make those things happen. Our intentions must be recognized daily, and we must support them through our thoughts, actions, and words.

I encourage you, dear friends, as we greet 2010, to make yourself and your desires a strong priority this year. Surround yourself with people and things you love, and say goodbye to emotional vampires and bad habits. Focus on all the positive occurrences in your life, and pay little attention to any negativity thrown your way. Consider yourself blessed for all that you have, and don’t worry about the things you don’t have. Recognize that positive energy and an attitude of gratitude will take you far.

I wish each of you much love, peace, joy, and success in the upcoming year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Gracious Guests and the Hosts Who Love Them


My grandmother, who’s just shy of her ninetieth birthday, keeps her home temperature at 140 degrees. On Christmas day, she usually entertains about 2,000 relatives (maybe not that many, but it sure seems like it at times)in her small house….all of whom become hot, sweaty messes within an hour. No one complains about the heat, though, at least not to Nanny’s face because a) it’s rude, and b) Nanny still hits really hard.

Having learned the finer aspects of being a gracious guest very early in life (“We’re all hot; just go outside and roll yourself in the snow!”), I’m compelled to review with you the finer points of what to do when entering someone else’s home. I say review because, honestly, deep down, I know you know these things. Yet friends, family, neighbors, and clients have all relayed to me truly horrific tales of truly horrifying guests recently.

Any hostess worth her salt will inform guests ahead of time of any home issue that might inconvenience her guests (broken heater, low water pressure, a sick cat, etc.) That’s your cue to figure out how to accommodate yourself (bring along a sweater and leave the extra-sudsy shampoo at home). It is incredibly rude to point out the obvious, especially if she’s already pointed it out. Doing so WILL embarrass her, WILL hurt her feelings, and WILL result in her silent vow never to have you back. Should Fluffy’s hairball issue prove too much to bear, feel free to politely excuse yourself and go home (but only after thanking your hostess for a wonderful time).

Body odor is never an acceptable form of protest. If problems exist with your host’s plumbing, you still must find a way to practice good hygiene.

Remember the old saying, “Guests and fish start to stink after three days” (and in some cases, after three minutes). Never overstay your welcome. If you notice your hostess yawning or appearing glassy-eyed, take the hint and leave. (A side note: if you’re co-hosting a ‘do, never tell your co-host, “I told so-and-so-to come over whenever”. By golly, you better call so-and-so back and tell them a specific time -2:00-2:30 sounds nice. Time frames are helpful and give hope).

Never turn on the television in someone else’s home, unless you’re invited to do so. If you must catch ‘the big game’, there’s a lovely sports bar just around the corner.

If you’re an overnight guest, learn and live the rules of the house and always pick up after yourself. Keep your bags and toiletries tidy and as inconspicuous as possible.

Leave your dog at home unless your host gives you the okay to bring him. Don’t yell at other guests if Fido happens to make a run for it out of an opened door. Fido is your responsibility.

Having small children does not give you permission to tell others how to baby-proof their homes. Your hostess may like sharp objects – that’s why she doesn’t have kids. Take heart, though: a hostess with enough snap is already one step ahead of you, and has caged her pet raccoon and locked up her guns.

Don’t take the liberty of dusting someone else’s home, unless you’re asked to do so. A guest who asks, “You know what would make this room look really good?” deserves to be smacked in the gob, so watch it.

Don’t bring brussell sprouts to a party.

If your hostess keeps a framed photo of a certain ‘80’s pop star on her desk, it’s okay to say, “My goodness, you’re so silly,” (trust me, she knows she is), “Hey, look, it’s that guy!” or “My god, that man still looks fantastic after all these years!” (because he does). It’s not okay to say, “Why on earth would you have that?” Your hostess may be tempted to respond with, “Why on earth would you wear those shoes in public?” But your hostess has class, and would never point out something she feels is ridiculous.

If the topic of conversation is the return of the legging, it’s a safe bet no one wishes to discuss health care reform. Parties and FOX News do not mix.

Remain mindful of your volume. If you notice other guests going to another room to chat, covering their ears, or waiting by the door for the cops to show up regarding noise complaints, that means you’re probably too loud.

If the party invitation states BYOB, then do it.

A huge difference lies between “Pour me another” and “Call me a cab”. Know your booze limits, and never assume your host will allow you access to her guest room, couch, or front lawn if you pass out.

If you notice a small fire in the bathroom, please alert your host immediately.

Our homes are our sanctuaries, and we should all feel honored when invited into someone’s home. We must remain on our best behavior at all times, even with our closest of kin and best of friends. We expect our children to act accordingly, and they certainly won’t learn that lesson unless we lead by example. Good guests are rewarded with invitations to come back, the fancy coffee (‘not the swill we serve everyone else, Darlene’), and increased admiration. Practice the Golden Rule, my friends, and treat others’ homes they way you’d like for yours to be treated.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holidays and Happy Days


I suppose I was about four years old. Christmas loomed large; our small home sparkled with multi-colored lights, my mother spent hours whipping up all sorts of holiday treats, and I learned a great lesson about the true meaning of the season. I didn’t learn it from my family or in Sunday school. I learned it from the coolest cat around in the mid-1970’s: The Fonz.

In the early episodes of Happy Days, Arthur Fonzarelli had yet to ingratiate himself into the Cunningham household. He was merely a hoodlum mechanic who spent a little time with Ritchie and the gang. One Christmas, though, he found himself alone. He gave the guys some story about visiting relatives in another town. Everyone bought it except Ritchie and me. I knew Fonzie was to be alone, and it made me sad…very, very sad. I remember fighting back tears, my young heart aching for Mr. C to invite the Fonz to their home for Christmas.

Finally, Mr. C and Ritchie went to Fonzie’s place and confronted him (this was before the Fonz moved into the Cunningham’s garage apartment). They tried every trick to get Fonzie to join them. “We’ve got a great big tree!” Ritchie proclaimed. “I got a tree,” Fonzie replied. The camera cuts to a small, sad-looking table-top tree. I cut to the bathroom, where I had a good cry.

I finally got control of myself and was able to catch the last five minutes or so of the episode – a happy ending, of course. The Fonz spent Christmas with the Cunningham family, and I realized that Christmas wasn’t all about the glitzy lights, the presents, and Santa Claus. It was about reaching out to those who needed it, and offering the best present of all – our time. The best part about it, of course, is that it need not only apply during the holidays.

Happy days, indeed, are the result.

Beth Newman
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Holiday Ease (Part Four)


We’ve already discussed giving and why we do it. Today I’d like to share some great little finds friends and I have discovered that make wonderful gifts or stocking stuffers:

For Fashion Forward Gal Pals:
Anything from the Miss Oops line (www.missoops.com). Quick little fixes for the fabulous at heart. Delivery is super fast.

For the Traveling Man Who Has Everything:
Travel-size versions of his favorite colognes, shampoos, etc.

Light Reading for the Well-Read:
Magazine subscriptions (Vogue, Men’s Vogue, Town and Country, Vanity Fair)

For the House Proud:
Poopourrie (www.poopourrie.net) A small little miracle for any bathroom. No more overly-scented room deodorizers!

For Kids Who Aren’t Your Own:
Gift bags filled to the brim with all sorts of inexpensive little goodies (Silly Putty, whistles, colored chalk, etc.)


Tipping
Now, I’ve received many inquiries regarding tipping and gifts for those who provide year-round service. My general rule of thumb is a follows:

Manicurist/Pedicurist/Massage Therapist/Hair Stylist – Double the tip you normally give them, and throw in a lovely little box of chocolates (or something to that effect).

Housekeeper- If you use a service, include a small tip for each person who cleans your home (that’s in addition to what the service normally charges). If you use an independent cleaner, I’d recommend a generous tip or even doubling what you usually pay them. A jar of nice hand cream along with the extra cash will be greatly appreciated!

Favorite Waiter/Bartender – Again, double your usual tip and slip them a card expressing how much you appreciate their attentiveness as you wine and dine.


Charitable Giving
Should you desire in lieu of gifts to make a charitable donation in someone’s name, do check with that someone to make sure it’s okay. Yes, giving to charity is vitally important, just don’t assume your loved ones (especially children) will be completely on board with it. .

Again, dear friends, it’s our intentions while giving that really matter. I encourage you to do it willingly and from the heart.

Happy holidays to you and yours!

Beth Newman
Fashion and Lifestyle Advisor
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Holiday Ease (Part Three)


Too often, we forget the real meaning of the holiday season. Gift-wise, we’re focused on what we’ll give rather than why we give. It seems we race from one store to the next for quantity rather than quality. Surely, we could make things so much easier for ourselves if we find one great thing for a loved one, something he or she will really love and can use, rather than merely load up on “stuff” for him or her.

I’m reminded of O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi. The characters, Della and Jim, had little money and ended up giving up their most prized possessions (Della cut her luxurious locks while Jim hocked his pocketwatch) in order buy the other the perfect gift. Their gifts were heartfelt, but perhaps not necessarily wise: Della gave Jim a chain for his watch (even though the author points out that Jim needed a coat and gloves), while Jim presented Della with decorative hair combs. Useless, of course, since those gifts were intended to complement what they no longer had. I like Della and Jim, though, for their desire to please and their willingness to sacrifice. Their gifts for each other came from the heart.

I fear that a good deal of gift-giving today isn’t necessarily from the heart. We merely go through the motions and do it because “it’s that time of year.” Oftentimes it’s accompanied with complaints of cost and the time spent at shopping malls.

We should give because we want to give, not because it’s expected of us. Those heartfelt gifts truly are the best. Think about it as you make your gift list this year. Think about your family and friends and what might make them feel truly special.

That, to me, is the reason for the season.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday Ease (Part Two)



Indeed, this time of year many of us find ourselves caught up in a whirlwind of parties. It’s fabulous, to be sure, but can cause undue stress. It shouldn’t; whether you’re hosting, guesting, or both, remember that simplicity saves one’s sanity every time.

Hosting
Each year, my much-better half, Mr. Kent, and I host a simple holiday soiree, and these are the things that work for us:

The Layout and Mood
Because our home is small, we make the entire downstairs(living room, dining room, kitchen, my office) available for our guests. I even set up an additional serving table in my office to encourage our friends to mill about.

I’m not a fan of overhead lighting, especially during parties. Utilize those dimmer switches, lamps, and candles – it just makes for a far more intimate setting (plus, we all look better underneath a subtle glow!)

Our music tastes are quite broad, but I do enjoy playing the standards (Sinatra, Bennet, etc.) during a party. It just seems to lend an element of class to the occasion.


The Guest List
We limit it to our nearest and dearest.

The Menu
Nibbles are far easier than sit-down dinners. Party trays found in most grocery stores work well. We pick up several varieties (however, we do place the food on nicer serving trays) As far as adult beverages go, we’ll have wine and beer on hand, and invite our guests to bring their spirit of choice.


Guesting
Do:
RSVP as soon as possible

Follow the requested dress code, if there is one. If there isn’t one, you still need to make the effort to look your best (no sweats or tattered jeans, please!)

Bring a small token for your host (a bottle of wine, candles, etc.)

Phone or email your host the next day to thank them, again, for a fabulous time

Don’t:
Get tanked up – limit yourself to a couple of drinks

Overstay your welcome.

Make a mess. If an accident happens, clean it up.

Keep the hostess to yourself. It’s her job to mix and mingle with all of her guests.


And another thing…..

It’s perfectly acceptable to invite only a few of your closest work colleagues to your party; however, do stress to them the importance of keeping mum about it.

If a Babbling Betty does spill the beans, be gracious and do your best to accommodate. Think twice, however, before inviting Babbling Betty back to any of your future shindigs. She has committed a huge breech of etiquette and, honestly, do you really want to associate with such an offender?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Top 10 Ways to be Unhappy



What’s that you say, dear friend? Aren’t I the gal who’s always yammering on about finding joy, abundance, and peace? Yes, I am, but I feel the need to shed some light on certain behaviors that are sure-fire ways toward an unhappy path:

10. Not taking the time to spiffy up. It’s a fact: when we look our best, we tend to feel better about ourselves. A little lipstick can go an awfully long way.

9. Spending time with social vampires. Social vampires are those folks who drain us mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. They may come in the form of a boss, a companion, or so-called-best friend. No job or relationship is worth dealing with one. Surround yourself with positive people.

8. Unhealthy living. Bad diets, too much drinking, too much smoking, lack of exercise, weight gain….these will lower your happiness factor tremendously. Get out, get active, and get some good food into your system. You will see and feel results!

7. Watching too much news. It’s all bad, so why spend an entire evening glued to FOX News or CNN? Too much negative information about our world never serves us. Yes, stay informed (check the headlines daily), but don’t get mired down in it all.

6. Watching too much television in general. Sure, we all have our shows (and I’m still in mourning about the cancellation of Guiding Light), but if we’re viewing more than a couple of hours of tv a day, we’re wasting precious time we could be spending with family, friends, or in beautiful meditation and solitude.

5. Comparing yourself with others. It doesn’t matter what you look like or how much money you have, there will always be someone prettier than you who more money than you. Get over it, and focus on YOU and what you can contribute to society.

4. Lack of spiritual awareness. There is a higher power, and we must appeal to that higher power often. We can’t just attend church for one hour a week and consider ourselves done with the spirit. It requires daily nurturing through meditation and prayer.

3. Anger at situations we’ve created. We are the artists – everything that happens to us is a result of our thoughts and actionS. We’re magnets; what we focus on the most is going to come back to us. Be mindful, always, of what you’re thinking and doing. Let’s not blame others for our problems.

2. Waiting for the big ‘bang’. Some people await one single ‘thing’ to bring them happiness. That’s not how it works. Things don’t just happen. We have to go out, make them happen, and create our own bliss.

1. Lack of gratitude. When we aren’t thankful for what we have then, sure, we’re going to dwell on those things we don’t have. It doesn’t matter how many material possessions you own; offer thanks for that ten-year-old car, tiny apartment, or hourly-paying job. You’ve got it better than many folks do.

It’s Thanksgiving, and I can’t think of a better time to re-evaluate how we’re getting by. I’ve said it before: a huge difference lies between really living and merely existing. My sincerest hope is that we’ll realize the power of our thoughts, actions, and intentions. We must reprogram ourselves to focus on all the positives and not dwell on the negatives. We must offer thanks for all we have. Only through these steps will we find our joy, our bliss, and our authentic selves.

I wish you and yours an abundant Thanksgiving!

Beth Newman
www.newmanimage.info
'Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!'

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Holiday Ease (Part 1)



During a recent discussion about the upcoming holiday season, one of my dearest friends mentioned the stress that always seems to befall her this time of year. “The shopping, the cooking, traveling, planning outfits for parties and dinners….it’s just too much!” she proclaimed. I agreed with her, of course – it is too much.

It doesn’t have to be, though.

Through sheer determination and trial and error, I’ve discovered a few tricks that can make for a hassle-free holiday:

Early online shopping
My family and I post wish lists on Amazon.com and other websites. That way, we know what to get each other, and we can relay what we’d like to have (it’s a much more refined way of saying, “Buy this for me, please.”)

Do consider gifts that keeps on giving. Wine.com proved to be a big hit with my mother last Christmas (she receives a couple of bottles from around the world each month). Magazine subscriptions are also a nice option.

Fabulously easy feasts
Unless you enjoy spending most of the season in the kitchen, I encourage you to consider catering Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. Many restaurants and grocery stores offer some sort of prepared fare at reasonable prices. I’m not allowed in the kitchen, so this is a necessity in the Newman house.

Traveling
Mr. Kent and I travel a great deal during the year, and we’ve finally reached that comfortable position of letting family know we’ll spend the season at home, and those who wish to join us are more than welcome to do so. No more “We spent last year with your mother, so this year we must visit my folks…”

If this isn’t an option for you (loved ones unable to travel, etc.), please realize this: December 25 is merely a date; the spirit of the season can fall wherever you chose. I knew a woman whose daughter was stationed in Iraq during the holidays. When the daughter returned on leave – in June- the family celebrated Christmas then, complete with a tree, wrapped gifts, the works.

The point is to work around various schedules, and to make time whenever you can for stress-free family visits.

Party Frocks
If you don’t know yet what you’re wearing to holiday parties, decide now. It will save you a tremendous amount of agitation to already have your outfit in place. Remember, too, that you need not accept every party invitation – this will certainly help in the wardrobe department. I learned this the hard way a few years ago, so I now limit myself to one Christmas bash hosted by friends, the bash Mr. Kent and I host each year, New Year’s Eve, and my birthday, which falls right after the new year. That’s only four party frocks I’ll need. I will be wearing three from previous seasons, and one new splurge that I’ve yet to find.

A carefree holiday season can exist. It just requires careful planning and going easy on oneself. It is the most wonderful time of the year - enjoy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Developing A Habit


As I sit here working on outlines for my upcoming online course, New Year, New You, I obviously begin thinking about my own resolutions for the upcoming year. Yes, I realize we’ve not hit Thanksgiving yet, but I like to plan ahead….

Actually, I don’t like the word resolution. I much prefer to use the word goal. Goals are important. They offer guidelines on what we want to do, and who we want to be. Without them, we wander aimlessly - from job to job, friend to friend, etc.

Life is too precious for that.

Now, I'm not saying set a goal and allow no room for flexibility, dear friends. Flexibility is key when striving to reach whatever it is we're reaching for.
Studies show that it takes three weeks to develop a habit, and I know that to be true. Several years ago, a good friend - a coach- noticed that several within our group were starting to get a bit "doughy" (her word, not mine, but quite accurate in my case). She organized a workout group, and showed no mercy when we whined, begged, and pleaded with her to let us skip a day or indulge in those foods she deemed "naughty". The workouts were simple but tough - thirty minutes of cardio one day, thirty minutes of weight training the next, repeat, and on the seventh day, rest.

Three weeks later I was ten pounds lighter.

Six weeks later I was down to the weight I had in college.

Almost ten years later, I still rise at 6 am to exercise.

It's a habit that my body won't let me break.

Those first three weeks were, in fact, the toughest, but they were vital in helping
me become the person I am. The physical changes, obviously, were great, but more importantly I learned discipline. I learned the value of teamwork, and I learned that good friends - true friends - will encourage you to be the best you can be.

I encourage each of you to think seriously about your goals, or resolutions, or whatever you choose to call them. I'm here for you - just a click away.
For information about New Year, New You, feel free to visit the Classes and Seminars page at www.newmanimage.info.

Beth Newman
Fashion and Lifestyle Advisor
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Just Wondering....


What happened to Thanksgiving?

If your town is anything like my town, you’re probably already bombarded with Christmas decorations and signs reading Sale! Start Holiday Shopping Now! On October 30, I popped into my local Garden Ridge to stock up on last minute Halloween supplies; it took me 45 minutes to walk through plastic Christmas trees (in purple and pink, no less), to find one tiny, sad little aisle dedicated to tiny, sad little ghosts and goblins.

I fear the spirit of commercialism has taken over, and by the time Christmas actually does roll around, many of us will have rolled our eyes and asked, “Who cares?”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the holidays; it truly is my favorite time of year. I just feel that the sense of urgency to buy gifts as soon as possible has overshadowed the reason for the season.

And we seem to have forgotten about Thanksgiving altogether.

Many of us are too caught up in the bright, twinkly lights and the twenty percent coupons to pay attention to the one day set aside for reflection and gratitude (we really should set aside a time each day for reflection and gratitude, but I’ll save my thoughts on that for another time).

I’d like for all of us to take a moment, take a deep breath, and focus on what this time of year really means.

It’s a time to count our blessings, and to share with others just how much they mean to us. It’s a time to offer up thanks for every good thing we’ve got, and realize the bad things are merely lessons to help us grow.

In the grand scheme of things, it really shouldn’t be about how many gifts we buy or how many decorative Santas we can place in our homes. It’s about spending our time – and money – wisely, and enjoying ourselves and the company of our loved ones.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What You Say (Part 2)


We continue our look at words and wardrobes:

Loud and Proud
You say, “I’m scared of boring.” I say, “Do you fear that others may think you boring?” You say, “I love bright colors and outrageous accessories.” I say, “Do you fear growing up?”

Consider this: the looks you get from the general public are not ones of admiration. Clashing colors and misshapen garments do you no favors, my dear, for we don’t really see you at all. We’re too focused on your outlandish wardrobe to really get a sense of the authentic you.

A death-defying dress sense won’t make you a more interesting person. Do you truly possess the confidence of someone who doesn’t give two hoots what others think of her, or are you a little shy and vulnerable, and use your fashion senselessness to hide who you are?

Your current state of dress misrepresents you. Don’t you think the time is right for us to meet the real you?

Advice for the Loud and Proud
Go bold with one accessory and keep everything else, including your outfit, on the conservative side.

If color is your passion, spend a little time each day drawing, painting, or collecting something that catches your eye. You’ll create a vibrant journal of your life!

Something tells me your wardrobe is not the only chaos that surrounds you. Rid your home of clutter, and get yourself organized. Hire someone to help you if you must – just do it!

Take a little time to simply people-watch. It’s far more entertaining than anything on television. You’ll learn better how to read people and pick up on the subtleties of human nature.

Moms and Daughters
You say, “I look as good in my daughter’s clothes as she does!” I say, “Are you trying to reassure yourself that you’re still young and slim?” You say, “These funky jeans are the latest and greatest!” I say, “You seem desperate to hang on to your youth.”

Midlife could certainly be a tough time for women, particularly those with teenage daughters who are now getting the attention the moms once did; however, there comes a time when we must grow up, move on, and accept that we are no longer the spring chicken of the coop.

Aging should bring about a sense of empowerment. This can be an incredibly positive time for us, and a sexy one to boot. Just ask Demi Moore!

Advice for Moms with Daughters
You can feel youthful through the power of clothing. Find fun, age-appropriate accessories to rev up an outfit. It also sets a great style example for your daughter.

Create a to-do list of things you want to accomplish, none of which have anything to do with your family. Choose one thing and go for it! Sky-diving, anyone?

Re-evaluate your home. If it resembles anything from Barbie’s Dream House, redecorate!

Find a role model, someone who is strong, respected, and chic. Scour the magazines if you must – there’s absolutely nothing wrong with emulating the style of Nicole Kidman or Cate Blanchett.

Married To It
You say, “After so many years of marriage, why bother?” I say, “Do you have moments of utter disappointment, ones you never verbalize?” You say, “The thrill is gone.” I say, “Are you and your husband intimate? Physically or emotionally?”

After years of marriage and raising children, many women blend into the background and are oftentimes mistaken for furniture. Peering into their closets, we might find clothing inspired by images they have of their mothers or grandmothers. They feel that because they’ve reached a certain stage of life, they must adhere to the role of the invisible woman.

They seldom realize the difference between being needed and wanted. These lovely women have reached a crossroads. I encourage them to rediscover and reestablish themselves, their style, and their sex-appeal.

Advice for the Married To Its
Avoid matchy-matchy like the plague! Colors and accessories should complement one another, not reflect as mirror-images of each other.

Even if you don’t have the body of a twenty-year old, invest in good, sexy lingerie. Your husband may not take notice (the bum), but it will make you feel sexy, and that’s really what it’s all about.

Where the mind leads, the body will follow. Visualize yourself as a healthy, vibrant, and interesting woman, and by golly, you’ll become her.

Put yourself first. The kids are grown, and your husband is certainly able to help out around the house. Take an evening class, join a gym, spend a day at the spa – you deserve it for your wonderful years of service!

For the Boys
You say, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” I say, “Do you think that’s really all you have to offer?” You say, “I get hit on a lot.” I say, “You know what they’re really after, don’t you?”

Ah, the good-time girls! Merely out for a laugh, a drink, and any sort of attention they can get. Of course, it’s easy to get attention when one’s fruits and vegetables are on full display.

Most of them have never considered the fact that they way they dress sends the opposite message of the one they hope to send. “Look at me, I’m easy to love!” could easily be misread as “Look at me, I’m easy!” I’ve found that deep inside most of these girls resides a longing to feel true love and a fear that they’ll never find it. They use their scantily-clad ways as a defense mechanism to protect themselves from a past hurt they’ve endured. Usually, they blame themselves for the hurt, and as a result, they’ve an incredible amount of self-loathing.

Advice For the Girls Who Do It Strictly For the Boys

Reveal just enough of your physical assets to keep them guessing. Show a little cleavage, but keep the rest covered. If your legs are to-die-for, wear that short, slinky skirt with a turtleneck and boots.

For one month, stay out of the clubs. Go to dinner with your girlfriends, call your mother, or simply sit at home alone with a good book. Trust me; you’re not missing a thing by not being out there every night of the week.

Set goals. What do you hope to accomplish in five years? Twenty years? By the end of the week? Write your goals down and study them each day. This is a great method for helping you get what you want out of life, and will also help you think twice about questionable behavior now (behavior that could very well come back to haunt you!)

Realize that you are smart, charming, and gorgeous. You have more to offer the world than the gossip surrounding your drunken, unseemly behavior.

I do hope this little series has provided some food for thought. When I tell women I want them to look, feel, and live their absolute best, I mean it!

Beth Newman
Fashion and Lifestyle Advisor
www.newmanimage.info

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What You Say (Part One)



Our wardrobe selection reveals a tremendous amount about who we really are. Stop snickering…it’s true! When working with clients, I hear tons of excuses for not making an effort, fashion-wise. I also receive loads of reasons why one makes too much of an effort. I suppose that’s how I stumbled into mentoring as well: clothing merely scratches the surface of what’s going on inside. Below are a few excuses – and remedies; see if any may ring a bell:

Mommy Dearest
You say, “My children always come first.” I say, “That’s fantastic, but do you feel as if you’ve lost your identity in the process?” You say, “I spend most of my money on my children.” I say, “Again, that’s fantastic, but are you afraid that you’ll appear selfish if you spend a little on yourself?”

Motherhood is the greatest job on earth – no doubt about it! I find, however, that too many moms get caught up in that role and loose themselves. Then, when the kids have flown the nest, moms struggle to find themselves again.

I encourage moms everywhere to take that little extra time to look chic (and yes, you can find chic looks that are durable, stain-resistant, and easy to maneuver in). Nothing sends a more powerful message to children (particularly daughters) than a mom who takes pride in her appearance.

Advice for Moms
Your eight-year-old cannot drive to the supermarket, but he can certainly make himself a sandwich and clean his room. Tap into resources and stop trying to do it all yourself!

Go out with your girlfriends at least once a month, and don’t talk about your children. This is your time to be you!

Make time to be alone with your husband. Schedule a date night, or put the kids to bed early and enjoy a cozy evening at home.

Working Girl
You say, “Black works with everything.” I say, “You fear standing out at the office.” You say, “I have to maintain the corporate image.” I say, “Do you prefer it to your self-image?”

Our jobs play a huge role in our lives, at times infiltrating the very essence of who we are. Word to the wise: dress in a dull way, and rumors will fly that you’re a dull person. Yes, you must maintain a professional image at work, but professional doesn’t mean dull-as-dishwater.

Advice for the Working Girl
Pants are practical. Why not indulge in a skirt, or even a dress, for the office?

Find tailoring to suit your body shape.

Take a break during work. Leave the office during lunch hour, and do your best to leave work at work!

Natural Woman
You say, “I’ve got more important things to think about than my clothes.” I say, “You might fear you won’t be taken seriously if you dress up.” You say, “I’m not materialistic.” I say, “You’re unsure how to keep up with the times.”

You could possibly pass yourself off as an interesting intellectual. Hair driers and mascara are sheer frivolity as far as you’re concerned. You’re all about the mind and spirit, but appear as if you’re stuck in a time-warp.

Advice for the Natural Woman
Invest in a decent and flattering haircut. If you’re sporting the style you sported at Woodstock, you’re long overdue for a visit to the hairdresser.

Look to nature and find colors that will suit your complexion.

It doesn’t take long at all to apply a tinted moisturizer and a bit of lip stain.

Material Girl
You say, “It’s important to be somebody.” I say, “Do you feel like a nobody inside?” You say, “I’m surprised by how many things in my closet I’ve not yet worn.” I say, “Are you buying things to fill some sort of void?”

You spend a fortune on the latest trends, and the labels displayed proudly across your chest, butt, and on your handbag prove it! With all those names strapped to your body, however, you look like a billboard announcing you have money, but don’t know how to spend it in a classy way.

Advice for the Material Girl
Get out of the boutiques and into the community. Volunteering takes away any gnawing feelings of emptiness.

Do something fun and messy! Go for a run in the park, or spend the day lolling about in the sand. A little dirt will do you good.

Learn to love what you have by keeping a gratitude journal. This is a sure-fire way to make those desperate Prada purchases not so desperate anymore.

In order to become truly fabulous on the outside, we must come to terms with who we really are and what we want out of life. Coming soon, we’ll discuss Loud and Proud, Moms and Daughters, Married to It, and For the Boys.

Enjoy a stylish week, dear friends!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cast A Spell!


With Halloween just around the corner, I thought it might be fun to share a little magic with you, particularly if you’re hoping to attract a certain someone! The following (discovered at http://www.romantic-lyrics.com/love-spells.shtml) are ancient potions, supposedly conjured up by witches long ago:

Love Potion #9: In a small pot, simmer a half cup of jojoba oil and, moving your spoon clockwise, stir in 9 drops each of the following essential oils: ambergris, cinnamon, frankincense, jasmine, lavender, musk, orange blossom, rose, violet, and ylang ylang. Let cool and store in a dark glass container. Dab yourself with it as you would your favorite perfume before a night out (or a night in) to drive your loved one wild with desire.

Enchanting Brew: Pour a quart of red wine or grape juice in a non-reactive pot and warm to a near simmer. In a doubled piece of cheesecloth place two cinnamon sticks, a teaspoon of rose petals, one teaspoon each of ginger and cloves, a wedge of orange peel and a piece of fresh ginger. Gather and tie the bundle tightly with butcher's string, and place it in the liquid to steep. Taste the brew every few minutes until the flavors have been infused, but remove the bundle before they become overpowering. Chill if desired. Share a glass with your loved one and toast to an enchanting evening.

Herbal Bath: In a piece of doubled cheese cloth, place a tablespoon each of dried rose hips, lavender buds, and bay leaves. Wrap the herbs in the cloth and tie at the top with a pink ribbon. Fill a tub of hot water, toss in the herbal bath and sink into it to awaken loving energies.

Love Charm: To draw love into your life, cut a three by three inch square of aluminum foil. All metals have attractive properties, and work much like a lightening rod which draws electricity from the atmosphere. Sprinkle a pinch each of dried parsley, rosemary, and thyme onto the center of the foil. Carefully fold the foil to keep the herbs sealed inside. Keep it against your heart to attract loving energies to yourself.

Now, I don’t know if any of the above are guaranteed to attract love and attention, so I’d like to share my own spells to help you become truly bewitching:

Always act like a lady: The number one question I hear from men of all ages is, “Where are the ladies?” I sincerely believe a man wants a woman who is charming and consistently minds her manners.

Always speak like a lady: Soft-spoken, thoughtful, and kind remarks are far more appealing than foul language, tasteless comments, and verbal, bombastic assaults.

Always dress like a lady: It really is best to ere on the conservative side. And, yes, you can be superbly chic and conservative at the same time!

Respect yourself…and others: Taking advantage of people is a no-no, as is rudeness. Realize you don’t have to adopt the dreadful ‘diva’ attitude to get what you want.

Nothing more powerful exists than the law of attraction, which states that we get what we give, through our actions and our thoughts. Do focus on attracting treats rather tricks, and enjoy a fabulous and fun-filled Halloween!

Ps…If you’re planning to dress up Halloween night in anything associated with ‘pimp’ or ‘ho’, I implore you to reconsider!

Beth Newman
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and live your absolute best!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Glamour's Glory Days



I love old Hollywood. The stars of the day knew how to dress and knew how to carry themselves. We don’t see that so much anymore, and it makes me sad. Celebrities today just don’t seem to put forth the effort that was expected back then. I’ve often wondered if that’s why many of us regular folks just don’t make the effort anymore. Or is it vice-versa?

There’s something to be said for putting forth effort. I’m amazed (and skeptical) when someone tells me they simply don’t care how they look. For good or bad, our appearance is the first thing people notice about us; call me shallow, but I believe trying to look one’s best is important.

I also believe that what’s on the outside is an indication of what’s going on inside. Think about it: what’s your initial thought when you see someone who’s sporting ill-fitting sweatpants and flip-flops?

Carriage is also important. While I commend First Lady Michelle Obama and her handlers for attempting to present her as a fashionista, I can’t help but wish she’d stand up straight. Poor posture is an insult - to ourselves and to our clothing.

Back in the day, we wouldn’t see Audrey Hepburn walking barefoot across a gas station parking lot in a pair of cut-off jeans. We wouldn’t see Ava Gardner in a slogan t-shirt. And something tells me that Sophia Loren always remembered to wear underwear out in public.

You could blame today’s paparazzi, tabloid press, and “reality TV” for giving us easier access to our stars. Consider this, though: everyone in show biz has a handler and someone to take care of their PR. Jennifer Aniston is still getting press for being dumped by Brad Pitt, yet we’re finding precious little new information about the David Letterman scandal. I think the folks who continuously grace the magazine covers know exactly what they’re doing – perhaps that’s why those Kardashian girls are the hottest thing going right now in spite of the fact that they haven’t actually done anything.

Old Hollywood offered us an air of mystic. Today, everyone –celebrity or not – possesses a willingness to purge even the most personal of details. To me, mystic is a vital component to glamour, and glamour is something we’re missing as a society. Celebrities don’t have the only claim to glamour, though; we ‘common folks’ can just as easily adopt it in our manner of dress, behavior, and discretion.

I’d like to start a movement to bring glamour back. Let’s say sayonara to those reality shows and make our celebrities work for us by giving us true entertainment in the form of movies, music, and television shows. Let’s insist that because we’re making an effort to look great and behave ourselves, they must, too.

Who’s with me?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Coventional Living


My husband and I don’t necessary have what one might call a conventional lifestyle. He makes his living playing rock and roll; I make mine telling people how to dress and behave. We don’t have children. His hair is longer than mine. We seem to prefer evenings at home rather than ones spent hitting the town. We don’t make a tremendous amount of money, but we have every material thing we need (a comfortable home, running vehicles, hair care products….), and we enjoy a few small luxuries along the way (dinners out, trips to the beach, and a lovely woman who – God bless her- comes to our house and cleans up after us every week). We don’t necessarily fit society’s suit, but that’s okay, because we’re blissfully and unapologetically happy.

The standard nine-to-five, make X amount of dollars, have X amount of children lifestyle never appealed to either of us. It’s a fantastic lifestyle for those who really want it, and I commend them for it. It takes an awful lot of drive, determination, and dedication to make it all happen. It’s not a fantastic lifestyle, though, for those who merely think they want it or think that it’s the right thing to do. They may be living it, but they’re missing the key factor: happiness.

I know people who have lots of stuff but are missing the happy factor. Somewhere along the way they got the idea that being normal was the only way to go. Now they’re stuck with mortgages that they don’t want, spouses they don’t really like, and children who are far more work than they ever imagined. Blame it on parents who told them what to do. Blame it on schools that encouraged them to move in a certain direction based on test scores (my test scores were so poor, my high school counselor had no clue what to tell me, and for that, I’m grateful). Blame it on television for making everything a competition these days. I don’t know whose fault it is, really; all I know is that too many folks are doing what they’re supposed to do and remain unhappy.

Perhaps if parents/schools/media promoted the try this method rather than the do this method, the definition of the word conventional would change. We just might see an explosion of people who are truly living rather than existing. We might finally learn that we cannot count on other people or outside factors to make us happy. It has to come from within. We simply must know ourselves and go from there in order to find joy and our passion. It’s a pretty unconventional idea, but why not give it a shot?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Charmed Life


A flower without perfume is like a personality without charm (Eileen Ascroft)

Through her teachings of etiquette and charm, Ms. Ascroft stressed one thing: no woman, no matter how beautiful or clever she may be, can live her life fully without utilizing charm. The good news, of course, is that every woman is born with charm; it’s our birthright. Today’s society, however, doesn’t necessarily lend itself to charm, and this is unfortunate.

With a little guidance and patience, tapping into charm can be quite easy.

The first step is in getting to truly know ourselves. Too often, we merely say to ourselves, “I’m this…” or “I’m that…” without taking the time to reflect in silence our likes, dislikes, beliefs, and ideals. Most of us spend precious little time in the mirror determining ways in which to enhance and improve our outer beauty. We allow magazines and television to guide us, and as a result end up in unflattering outfits and displaying unflattering behavior.

We spend an outrageous number of hours flitting from one bad relationship to the next, hoping to find our new best friend or soul mate. This futile endeavor leads us to frustration and trust me, there’s no charm in that. Spending our time wisely with positive, uplifting people is certainly a better route, don’t you think?

Poise has certainly gone by the wayside these days. Many women proudly display the diva or bitch (pardon my language, please) badge and honestly feel that their loudness, their rudeness, and their overall bawdiness is endearing. It’s not. (A side note: these seem to be the same women who complain incessantly about not having a man…hmm…I wonder if there’s a connection.) The charming woman is the woman who knows how to enter a room gracefully, turning every head as she does so, without having to say a word.

The charming woman is also the one who is looked upon favorably because she’s kind, speaks ill of no one, and smiles genuinely. She’s dressed conservatively yet spectacularly. She stands up straight and sits like a lady. She dances like a lady, too – no rumpy pumpy pole moves for her!

You’ll discover, too, that the charming woman has a wonderful sense of humor. She’s witty, and would never resort to cruel or crass jokes.

Most importantly, the charming woman enjoys her own company and feels truly happy on the inside.

I firmly believe, as Ms. Ascroft did, that every woman wants to get the best from life and make the most of her opportunities, appearance, and abilities. Charm is the magic key to happiness and success. Every woman possesses the seeds of charm within her. She has only to learn to liberate it.

Beth Newman
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and live your absolute best!

The Magic Key to Charm online course coming soon. Visit www.newmanimage.info for details.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Change in Season



I’m writing this on the most perfect of days.

The oppressive summer heat has made its exit, and we enjoy pleasant days and cooler evenings now. We’ve recovered from summer’s steady stream of activities, and the delightful insanity that comes with the holiday season hasn’t quite hit us yet. It’s that peaceful, easy feeling that comes as we transition into fall.

To me, autumn is the most fabulous of seasons. The days are a bit shorter now, and the leaves are beginning to change. Sunrises seem much more brilliant. Nature’s begging for our attention. It has mine.

It’s a wonderful time for reflection. Not sure where to start? How about here:

1. Do I wake up each morning with a passion – an excitement – about what the day may bring?

2. Do I take pride in my appearance by taking the time to dress and groom myself properly and appropriately each day?

3. Do I take the time to eat well and get some form of physical exercise each day?

4. Do I blow my top at life’s little inconveniences, or do I tend to handle trying situations with grace and good manners?

If your answers aren’t quite what you want them to be, now is the time to figure them out in order to live more abundantly. Remember, with silence comes wisdom. Let the quiet beauty of fall assist you in reassessing you goals (or in making new ones). A change in season could lend itself to a change in you.

If you’re seeking even more inspiration, I invite you to join me for my online course, Inspired Style. Details at www.newmanimage.info

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Light Lessons


Now that the CBS soap Guiding Light has been turned off for good, I’m compelled to share lessons I’ve learned from the show. Yes, I realize just how silly it is for one to become attached to one’s show, but Guiding Light, with its rich, seventy-two year history and character-driven storylines, made a huge impact on me at an early age, and continued to do so as I grew into adulthood. These are lessons I cherish, ones I will surely pass along to younger generations until someone has me committed. Enjoy!


Love Is In The Air….
Who cares if the woman you love marries your brother, your father, and several other men in the community? Who cares if she drives off a bridge in the Florida Keys after having your baby? Deep down, you must know that she really loves you, too…."always". (Josh and Reva)



Should you begin to fancy your mother’s boyfriend, it’s best to make your move during a city-wide blackout. Be careful, though: photographers just may catch the two of you in a compromising position, which could dash his hopes of a political career. (Blake and Ross)


Wealthy young men will always fall for the poor girl, particularly if she’s had a troubled past. (Phillip and Beth, Alan-Michael and Harley)


Medical Miracles….
Should you discover that you suffer from a rare, deadly disease, bone marrow donated by your adoptive father who has a long history of heart ailments will save you. It may not, however, be the best thing for him. (Phillip andAlan).


Heart transplants are quite easy to come by, and the recovery time is remarkably short. (Rick and Olivia)


Amnesia, too, is quite easy to acquire. One may even get a book deal out of it, or marry island royalty. (Beth andReva)


Don’t mourn the loss of a loved one too much; they may, in fact, turn up alive and well years later. Check the strange man lurking behind the mask, an Amish community, or an insane asylum. (Roger, Reva, Phillip)


Don’t believe a drug-addicted nurse when she tells you that your twins were fathered by two different men.(Blake and Annie)


You can have a baby after menopause! (Reva)



Friends Forever….
A good friend will understand when you win the heart of the girl he fancies. He will also help you fake your own death and forgive you when you kidnap his son. (Rick)


A Family Affair…
Do insure that your home is large enough to accommodate a child you’ve no recollection of giving birth to. (Reva and Jonathon). Also, the child you secretly gave up for adoption years ago will return some day – you can bet your sweet boots on that! (Vanessa and Dinah, Sara and Cassie, Reva and Dylan)


It’s easy to forget about family members once they move away (every family in Springfield)


Faking one’s pregnancy never works, particularly if you’ve locked a pregnant teen in your attic hoping to pass her baby off as your own (Nadine and Bridget)



Getting Ahead…
Sure, accelerated medical school sounds like a good idea, but it may cause you to become dependent on amphetamines (Rick)



One needn’t have any formal education to run his father’s (or grandfather’s) multi-billion dollar industry (Phillip, Alan-Michael, and Lizzie)


Intimidation, blackmail, and playing on the heart-strings of others works, but karma will always come back to get you. (Roger)



The Ties That Bind…
Through life’s unpredictable ups and downs, there are those people with whom you’ll always share a connection. It may not necessarily be a love connection, but it’s a deep, soul-driven power that brings you together every time. (Holly and Ed)



The Bad Guy…
Deep down, no matter how dastardly his deeds, even the worst among us can bring a little good into this world: Alan’s ultimate sacrifice for Phillip, Roger’s undying love and devotion to his daughter, Blake, and Edmund’s attentiveness to a young, cancer-stricken Lizzie.



And let’s face it – the villain is far more interesting than the upstanding citizen. I’d rather share a glass of wine with India Von Halkein than Michelle Bauer any day.



Finally….
There’s much t o be said for remaining calm during any storm: I could always count on Ross Marler, Ed Bauer, and Josh Lewis to think problems through clearly. They were strong, wise, and respected leaders.



Speaking of strength, there’s much to be said for overcoming abuse and adversity with grace and elegance – thank you, Beth Spaulding and Holly Reid, for setting that fine example.



And there’s nothing better than a feisty, intelligent, attractive older dame who consistently looks fabulous and is generous with sharp, snappy comebacks. I hope to be you, Alexandra Spaulding, when I growup!



So, as you can see, dear friends, there have been some truly substantial life lessons I’ve taken away from Guiding Light. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to tamper with my neighbor’s medical records, buy a dog for a hearing-impaired, impotent detective, pick up a tube of lipstick for a man pretending to be a woman to get back at the woman who spurned him, and check in on my secret daughter who’s currently being raised by carnival folk. If time allows, I’ll push a former lover off a cliff, and check in with the local asylum to see if any of my relatives may be there (believe me, some of them should be). Then it’s off to Company for a Buzz Burger. All in a day’s work, Springfield-style!




Sunday, September 6, 2009

Comfortably Numb


I'm comfortable right now, dear friends. As I sit cross-legged on my couch, lap-top at my fingertips, I glance down at my 'knocking around' outfit of choice: dark-washed, straight-legged jeans, a charcoal-gray fitted T-shirt with the words Rick Springfield emblazoned elegantly across my back, and a blue and gray beaded necklace dangling from my throat. This isn't something I'd normally wear out in public, but I could if I had to - therein lies the difference between casual chic and casual catastrophe.
The 'C' word comes up repeatedly when I'm helping someone pick out a new outfit. "I just want to be comfortable!"..."I could never wear those shoes - what's wrong with the flip-flops I picked up at Walgreen's? They're so comfortable!" It seems that many of us use comfort as an excuse for sloppiness. This stems, I think, from living in a visually-numb society: we've become so accustomed to seeing track suits, ragged shorts, and ratty shirts that it's now acceptable to show up in just any old thing.
It's time for change, don't you think?
Now, I'm not saying every occasion is a black-tie one. It's not; we must, however, be aware of our surroundings and dress appropriately for them. Pajamas are great for bed, but not for the grocery store. Swimsuits are perfect for the beach, but not in the restaurant located across the street from the beach. Get the picture?
As we transition into fall, I'd like to offer some tips to take you from comfortably numb to comfortably nice:
Dark wash jeans - be they straight-legged, flared, or skinny, a dark wash is far more visually pleasing than a faded one. They're slimming, too.
Fitted T's and knit tops - do insure, though, that they're wrinkle and stain-free.
Ballet flats - perfect for running errands. Save the tennis shoes for the gym
Accessories - nothing over- the -top for casual outings, but a little something is necessary.
Jackets - structure is essential for pulling your look together.
I'm a firm believer that when we make an effort to look our best, we're actually doing society a favor. That's really how my fashion passion emerged: I realized early on that no on wants to see me make-up free with my hair carelessly piled atop my head. No one wants to see just how much I resemble a twelve-year old boy when I wear a baggy shirt. No one wants to see my big hips balance on my scrawny legs through the power of spandex shorts.
All we must do is realize that our clothing does, in fact, send a message about who we really are. Let's do our part to beautify our surroundings!
Beth Newman
Look, feel, and live your absolute best!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Blessed and Highly Favored

I had the extremely good fortune to speak at an outreach seminar this past weekend. The women attending are residents of a drug-rehabilitation facility who seek to start anew. Many of them have lost their children; many of them will be homeless once they’re released from the facility. These are women from various age groups and walks of life, covering a wide range of ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds.


My job that day was to discuss with them interview techniques and dressing professionally.

As I set up for the seminar, a woman, whom I’ll call Flo, entered the room.

“How are you today, my dear?” I asked, fumbling with booklets, pens, and what-not.

“I am blessed and highly favored, thank you very much!” she proclaimed through a toothless grin.


Soon several women joined Flo and me. We began the seminar, and I literally had to take pause: these women, eager to learn, took notes, asked great questions, and genuinely seemed excited about the information presented. We laughed, we pondered, and more than one tear was shed when several shared some very personal information about their pasts.

After the seminar, Flo approached me.

“You know, now I’m not only blessed, I’m empowered, too! I don’t know what’s going to happen or where I’ll go when I get clean, but I’ve got faith, and I’ve got some knowledge, and I’m going to be okay. I’ve got a purpose!” We hugged, and Flo departed.

Flo’s comment really struck me for a couple of reasons: First of all, there truly is nothing greater than faith to carry us through tough times. Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Just step out on faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” These women I spoke with that day possessed such faith, and seemed genuinely excited about what the future had in store for them.


Another reason Flo’s comment was so right-on is because she recognized that even a bit of knowledge will take us to a new level in life. Those women were there because the wanted to be; their desire to learn how to work and function is society was incredibly strong.


Flo was correct, too, when she mentioned her purpose. We all have one, and we cannot let set-backs or poor choices deter us from our true calling. We must remain focused, centered, and allow the universe to guide us in all that we do.


The experience truly put things in perspective for me, and you can bet I counted every blessing I had on the drive home. Which reminds me – nothing blesses us more than reaching out and helping someone in need. We can’t be stingy with our time, or too wrapped up in ourselves to share what we can with others.

We’ll find ourselves blessed and highly favored, for sure.



Beth Newman

Fashion and Lifestyle Advisor

http://www.newman/

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Product Watch!


Oftentimes, when working with clients, it goes much deeper than picking out clothes. They want to know about those fabulous, off-the-beaten-path sort of products that raise one’s style status. Newman’s Top Five are as follows:

1. Miss Oops Fabric Tape – great for securing a hem when time won’t allow us to sit and stitch. Also helps to keep those straps in place! (http://www.missoops.com)

2. Benefit's Brows A-Go-Go – a great brow is a true frame for the face. This little kit includes two shades of powder, wax, highlighting powder, and an under eye concealer. Available at Ulta.

3. Sally Hansen Airbrush Makeup for Legs – the perfect thing for bare legs that are less than perfect. Various shades for various skin tones, and it’s waterproof. You can find it at Walgreens.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar – a super product for hair. Shampoo, rinse, and then rinse again with a cup of ACV. Condition. Then, ready yourself for soft, luxurious hair!

5. Coconut Oil – Fabulous for all-over moisturizing! It also contains the good stuff our bodies need, so don’t be shy about taking a teaspoon-full a day.

With style, the little things do matter. There are so many little tricks we can use to keep us looking are best. When we look our best, we feel our best, so I encourage you to look out for those little things that can set you apart from the pack!
Beth Newman
Look, feel, and live your absolute best!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Graceful Gestures

A beautiful gesture is really a very rare thing – Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis

I fear our society has evolved into an extremely self-centered one. In these days of online networks and reality TV, everyone can claim celebrity. Oftentimes with celebrity comes an inflated ego, which can ultimately lead to forgetting everything Mama said about good manners.

Graciousness, perhaps, is becoming a thing of the past, and that’s truly a shame.

What many people don’t recognize is that exuding grace really sets us apart from the herd today. The gal who asks polite questions is far more interesting than the one who constantly runs her mouth, repeating the words me and I at lightning speed.

The winds may be changing, however; I’ve encountered several women recently who are tired of all the noise and rudeness, and want to know what they can do to make a difference, to perhaps go back to an era when wearing phrases across one’s backside was unacceptable.

They ask, so I offer two bits of advice:

1. Drop your ego at the door
It mustn’t always be about you, dear (and even if you feel it should, at least pretend that it’s not). Ask questions. Learn people’s names. Don’t prattle on incessantly (when the person you’re prattling on to becomes glassy-eyed, you know you’ve gone too far), and for heaven’s sakes, don’t make your conversation sound like a resume. If you’ve nothing pertinent or intelligent to add to the conversation, it’s far better to say nothing. No one will assume you’re an idiot; if anything, you’ll develop a bit of mystique. Remember that old saying about still waters……

2. Never, ever become an Interchangeable Woman (a phrase I snagged from writers Shelly Branch and Sue Callaway)
I’ve mused elegantly before about the IW. In case you’ve forgotten, she’s the gal who looks like every other gal these days: a trend-follower who perhaps has adopted the porno-chic look that so many have adopted these days. She might like to refer to herself as a diva. Some IW’s may even realize their outrageous behavior and assume others find it endearing. Trust me – they don’t.

Adopting a more graceful way of life isn’t that hard, really. It’s about enjoying life simply yet fully (so sorry to disappoint, but there is no ‘big bang’ that happens in life that will make one happy – one has to discover happiness on her own). It’s about following that old, clich├ęd, Golden Rule. It’s about treating ourselves, and others, with respect, and there's no greater gesture than that.

Beth Newman
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and live your absolute best!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

80's Ladies

As a child (okay, teen verging on adult) of the 80’s, nothing delights me more than witnessing the retro-look that’s sweeping fashion these days. The neon, the strong shoulders, and all that layering take me back to those carefree days.

Many of us from that era may be tempted to re-embrace the 80’s look whole-heartedly. The general rule of thumb, though, of fashion is this: if one is old enough to have worn it back in the day, one should not attempt to wear it again now. Take heart, though, dear friends; there are several ways in which to incorporate a few of the new trends in order to keep us looking fresh and ‘with it’:

1. A bit of neon goes a long way. Pair your conservative look with a bright structured bag or neon scarf.

2. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the big-shouldered look of the day is slightly different from the one made famous by the gals of Dynasty. Today’s shoulder pads are more streamlined, with just a tiny swoop at the top.

3. Ruffles and leather are huge this upcoming season. Don them sparingly in order not to be mistaken for Adam Ant.

4. I’m a big fan of big hair – always have been. Today’s volume should come from the crown only. I love Bump-it’s – they’re perfect for achieving the right balance, provided your hair is not overly layered on top.

5. As far as makeup goes, I’m afraid we must keep it simple. That means no shimmer or colors that virtually glow in the dark. Consider, though, going a bit heavier with the eyeliner and mascara on the upper lids only. We’ve reached that stage in life when we must keep the focus up, up, up!

6. It’s okay for us to dabble in icon tee’s from time to time. My personal favorite is the Rick Springfield Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet tee from his 1982 tour. Just make sure the tee is fitted and paired with dark denim jeans, a structured jacket, and a fab pair of heels.

Trying to embrace a trend completely after a certain age will, in fact, age a gal or make her appear as if she’s stuck in a time warp. If you saved your prom dress from 1988 and are considering wearing it out for cocktails, please think again. Pass that dress on to your daughter, and adopt a more subtle approach when tweaking your look for the season.

Beth Newman
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and live your absolute best!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Living the Dream

Once upon a time, there lived a girl who always did exactly as she was told. Be good, eat your vegetables, don’t talk to strangers – she abided by them all. Her desperate desire to please didn’t disappear as she entered adulthood. If anything, it multiplied. Fear of conflict, fear of losing a job, fear of disappointing her friends and family kept her in a constant tizzy. Her painted-on smile and keen acting chops served her well. No one knew the degree of misery in which she lived.

Time, along with a couple of serious kicks to head, led this girl to what I refer to as a come to Jesus moment. She realized just how weary she’d become of it all. Her attempts to keep everyone happy weren’t worth it anymore because they simply did not work. Taken for granted too many times, she decided to call it a day.

She quit her corporate job to pursue her passion. She cut out negative people who had influenced her. Granted, she doesn’t make a lot of money and she spends many Friday nights alone, but she’s happy – and that’s a first for her. She finally came to understand that she had the power to create her own life.

Faith plays a huge role in her creation. When times get tough, she knows the Universe will supply everything she needs.

She doesn’t necessarily feel more enlightened than anyone else, but she can’t help but wonder about those folks who choose hatred (of job, family, life) over happiness…those who choose fear over faith…those who choose blah over beautiful.

Part of her life’s mission is to help others overcome the obstacles that keep them down. She doesn’t preach, though; if anything, she merely leads by example and offers advice only when it’s asked. She understands that living one’s dream is possible, if only given the chance.

Beth Newman
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and live your absolute best!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Living Well


A huge difference exists between living and living well. Too often, people merely want to get through the day, work toward the weekend, and then start the cycle over again come Monday morning. They rely on fast-food for sustenance, television for entertainment, and a wardrobe consisting of black slacks and white shirt that they assume will carry them anywhere.

My friends, life is far too short not to live well.

Living well does not mean one has to have a lot of money. Living well does not mean one must live in a mansion. Living well does not mean that one must look a certain way. Some of the happiest people I’ve ever known didn’t have much to call their own, but they knew how to live well. They laughed. They enjoyed different types of art and music. They enjoyed the company of a variety of people. They gave of themselves…their time, their wisdom, and even a shoulder to cry on from time to time.


I find it a little sad when someone says, on a Monday morning, “Wow, I can’t wait for Friday afternoon!” I’m equally disheartened when Friday afternoon rolls around and someone cries out “TGIF!” It’s important to make the most of each day; to find excitement in what it may bring, and to be pleased that those past mistakes were in fact learning tools.

Look, feel, and live your absolute best – that’s the motto I use for my business and the one I live by each day. I feel that those concepts work together to create a meaningful, joyful life - a life that’s lived well. And don’t we all deserve a life that’s lived well?
Beth Newman
Look, feel, and live your absolute best!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Message Sent...Message Received

A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life – Oscar Wilde.

Given the nature of Oscar Wilde, we naturally assume he was joking. I don’t think he was. Wilde, quite the dandy, actually designed his wife’s clothes and lectured on aesthetics. He knew the power of clothing.

Our wardrobe selection reveals a tremendous amount about us. It sounds crazy, but it’s true. Yes, what’s on the inside really matters most, but too often people become turned off by what’s on the outside. Many of them won’t spend time in getting to know what lies beneath.

Sometimes, it takes just a bit of fine-tuning to send a powerful and positive message about ourselves:

Color – Bright hues will modernize the old standby classics. First Lady Michelle Obama does this quite well.

Age – certain fabrics and cuts fast-forward the clock (brocades and long, boxy-cuts are the greatest offenders).

Jackie or Tacky? – The former first lady easily got away with form-fitting fashion. Her secret? She wore clothes with discretion – nothing flashy or revealing. Her clothes fit, but were not skin-tight.

Winner or Sinner? -Outlandish fashions with designer labels in full view steal our style. Set yourself apart from the herd by keeping your clothing and accessories understated.

Hair-do or don’t? Cut and color are vital. A great-looking hairstyle is well worth the money, as is investing in quality makeup. Tweak both hair and makeup each season, but avoid the trends. If you know you can’t pull of a shimmery look (I certainly can’t, thanks to fine lines and enlarged pores) then don’t even try it.

Silhouette or Side-of-the-Barn? No matter your body type, it’s important that clothes fit properly. Anything loose and baggy with give us a portly appearance; anything skin-tight will do the same (especially if we’re a little on the thick side). If you’re clothing gives you a rectangular appearance, then it’s time for a change.

One final note: the ‘errand wear’ many of us sport these days also sends a message, and it’s not a positive one. The croc-sporting, baggy t-shirt, no-makeup look doesn’t do anyone any favors. We can be casual and chic at the same time.

It takes only three seconds for us to form an opinion about someone. Obviously, we won’t get to know someone in three seconds, so what’s the moral here? As humans, our initial impressions are based on the visual. We can reveal so much about ourselves through our fashion choices. Think about that the next time you reach for those crocs.

Beth Newman
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and live your absolute best!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Inspired Style

Know first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly – Epictetus

When it comes to establishing one’s style, I’ve discovered that most people simply don’t know where to begin. Daily, we’re bombarded with so many visuals – magazines, television, etc. – that it’s difficult to know the difference between what’s great and what’s garbage. Because our society tends to be a trend-obsessed one, we tend to buy just any old thing without considering whether or not it truly represents who we are.


Understanding who you are is the most important key to the content of your style. You can’t have style without inspiration. When I embark on a style journey with new clients, we do a little exercise designed to help them become attuned to things that inspire them. Using a corkboard and pushpins, I’ll ask my new client to cover it with anything that brings her or him joy: quotes, photos, colors, pictures of role models, fashion looks they love from magazines – anything that makes her or him smile. (This is actually a technique designer Isaac Mizrahi discusses in his book, How to Have Style)


This concept goes much deeper than fashion, and it changes as one’s moods do (that’s okay; our style is meant to grow over time). It encourages one to think in visual terms.


One client filled her board with fabulous stilettos, yet had nothing but flats in her closet.


Another client’s board was awash in vibrant reds, purples, and golds, yet she wore nothing but black and gray.


They each learned a lesson about themselves: their wardrobes were not a true reflection of who they really were.


I encourage you to follow Shakespeare’s line, To thine own self be true. That truth will set you free!

Beth Newman
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and live your absolute best!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Dating Game

My husband is a musician. Recently, at one of his shows, while he was rocking away on stage, a young man approached me to inquire about my status (quite flattering as I’m a good fifteen years older than he). Anyway, rather than walk away when I kindly informed him that I’m taken, he pulled up a seat and began lamenting the state of dating today.


“It’s so hard to find a nice girl these days,” he said.


“What do you look for in a girl?” I asked.


“I want someone who acts like a lady. I’m tired of all these girls who show up half-dressed and act like they’re porn stars or something.”


Pretty soon, his friends joined us, sharing the same thoughts.

“Sure, the girls who dress provocatively and come on strong get my attention, but only for a while. I’m over it already,” proclaimed one of them.


I’ve wondered just how long this porno-chic, diva-like trend would last. I’m no prude, but I’m quite appalled at the behavior I witness from many women of all ages. I realize the nightclub setting tends to lend itself to certain things, but so many gals these days leave very little to the imagination. Their manner of dress, the words they say, and the way in which they carry themselves is quite disheartening. Evidently, I’m not alone in the way I feel.


Later that evening, a dear friend of mine who’s in his mid-forties and still searching for someone special, concurred with what my new friends said earlier in the evening.


“One lady – that’s all I want. I guess they all must be taken.”


I’m sure they’re not all taken, and I’m sure there are some potential ladies out there who simply don’t know what to do. Ladies, let’s unite and bring back the elegance that’s missing. The men out there will appreciate it, I think.


Beth Newman
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and live your absolute best!