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

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.

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