Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Success Strategies for a New Year



As a new year approaches, we tend to reflect on our lives and devise ways in which to make improvements. Obviously, a new year signifies a rebirth, of sorts – a time to review, revise, and perhaps reinvent. As I’m in the ‘makeover business’, I humbly offer the following food-for-thought as you make those plans for 2011:

1. Decide What You Want – We won’t find success and happiness driving aimlessly through life. We must come to terms with what it is we truly want. Years ago, I decided that full-time broadcasting wasn’t for me. I wanted to teach, and I did that in a traditional classroom setting for a number of years. I realized, however, that middle school English (as noble and rewarding as that profession is) was not where I needed to be. I wanted to instruct others on living well and abundantly. I wanted to help others find their style. I created a plan, and took steps toward bringing that plan to fruition. Scary? You bet! Sailing into unchartered territory always is. My faith and unwavering support from my husband, my family, and my friends helped guide my way.

2.Surround Yourself With Success – We won’t climb higher by hanging out in the ‘Woe is Me’ club. I encourage you to seek out others who have what you want. Hob-knob with the truly happy among us. Bask in the positive vibes of those who have your best interest at heart. Seek those who live serenely and joyfully. It’s time to divorce ourselves of those who bring us down and make us feel less- than-fabulous.

3. Act (and LOOK) the Part – One of the best keys I’ve discovered toward any sort of success I’ve had is by playing make-believe! I started to play the part of a successful person, and very soon doors opened that allowed me to achieve many of my dreams. Too often, people downplay their outer image, thus hindering their chances of reaching certain goals. Track suits, grungy jeans, and crocs do not scream success. Clinton Kelly says, ‘The way you dress tells the world how you expect to be treated.” Do remember that the next time you head out the door.

4.Find a Role Model – Whom do you admire? What traits do they possess that you wish you possessed? Find out as much as you can about that person, and adopt those habits as your own. For me, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis comes to mind. Her sense of style, her mystique, and the way in which she gracefully overcame tragedy are only a few of the things I admire about her. Insure that your role model is someone who contributes positively to society.

5. Turn off the TV – As I child, I learned the concept of ‘Garbage in, garbage out’. Whatever we put into our heads eventually comes out through our hearts. If we absorb the bad behavior we see on ‘reality TV’, then we’ll soon discover that we’re channeling a great deal of negativity. Say ‘no’, I implore you, to dumbed-down ‘entertainment’. Set your sights on only those things that uplift you. Get out and visit with your neighbors. Go for a walk. Talk to your spouse. Call your mother. Find ways in which to make real connections to real people.

6. An Attitude of Gratitude – When we choose to focus and give thanks for the good things in our lives, more good things come our way. It’s true! God, The Source, or whatever you choose to call it, reads our signals. When we feel grateful for what we’ve got, that higher power gives us even more. Ignore the bad stuff – none of it means anything, anyway. We’re here for only a short time. Let’s be grateful for every second of it.

It is my sincerest wish for you that 2011 will be your happiest and most successful yet!

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach/Author
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

My online course, New Year, New You begins Monday, January 3. Details on my website.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gracious Guests and Happy Holiday Hosts


Preface: I wrote this little bit of tongue-and-cheek scribbling last year after a particularly trying holiday season. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the holidays, but I feel it’s in our best interest to review our behavior before we begin making our travel and party plans. Enjoy!

My grandmother, who’s just shy of her ninety-first 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) her in 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 spending the holidays in 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 over the years.

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 provide 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 probably 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 nunchucks.

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 the state of the economy. 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.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Enough


Now that the hoopla surrounding Black Friday has died down – a bit – I think it’s time for us all to sit down, have a re-think, and really take a moment to prioritize our values.

Priorities… values…two concepts that many folks have tossed out the window, it seems.

I’m all for saving a buck, but at what cost? Do we really need to drag our behinds out of bed, don a ball cap and sad track suit, and hit the stores at 3AM?

No.

Nobody needs anymore stuff.

Gadgets, gizmos, and bright shiny things ain’t what it’s all about.

It’s about connecting with one another. It’s about taking care of ourselves so that we may take care of our loved ones. It’s about realizing that everything we need already exists inside of us – if we take a moment away from the media-driven ‘you’ve got to have this or you’re a total loser’ mentality to find it.

Stuff is merely our egos talking.

Every day is Black Friday for those-so-many souls in our society who don’t have enough to eat. Nobody gives two hoots and a holler for gigantic TV’s when they have no home to hang them in. Neglected and abandoned children prefer a hug and a little quality time with some caring soul as opposed to a hand-held device that makes noise. Instead of behaving like untrained animals, why aren’t we spending a little more time helping God’s other creatures find good, loving homes?

Now, hold on there, Ms. Elegant’ you may be interjecting right about now, ‘aren’t you that same gal who stresses the importance of clothing…of surrounding ourselves with lovely things….and all that jazz?’ Yes, that’s me, and I’ll gladly share a little insight as to the workings of the fabulous little universe I’ve created for myself:

I don’t own that many clothes. People are quite shocked at the few items I actually have hanging in my closet. I don’t buy it, unless I know I’ll wear it – a lot! God gave me the talent to mix and match, so I ran with it. I drive a ten year old car that doesn’t look so great any more. It gets me from Point A to Point B, and that’s really all I’m concerned about. My home isn’t large, but it serves its purpose for the two people and the two very spoiled cats who inhabit it. We don’t have a lot of junk taking up space on walls or on shelves. The couch has definitely seen better days, but we all wind up snuggled happily together on it each evening. Nobody’s complaining. My house is clean, peaceful, and full of love and laughter, and that’s really what matters most to me.

Now, didn’t you even make an offer on Black Friday for your Facebook friends? Something about saving a little money on those Holiday Style Certificates you keep harping about?’

Yes, I did, for two reasons: I like to offer discounts to clients and future clients when I can. My main intention, however, was to keep at least one person from hitting the stores before the crack of dawn. In my humble opinion, knowing how to put an outfit together is a skill that will last a lifetime. It’s a confidence-builder, and will carry a person much farther in life than a twenty dollar bracelet marked down forty percent of its original cost.

The news reported that a local Wal-Mart lost power for a few hours on Black Friday. I can’t help but think that it may have been God sending us a message. Let’s take heed of these little signs, my friends, before it’s lights out – for good.

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach/Author
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tis the Season


And so it begins.

Here we find ourselves, a week shy of Thanksgiving, and already the holiday spirit has grasped us. Many shopping centers, aglow with twinkles, blast Christmas tunes in order to add to the seasonal vibe.

I’ve a bad feeling, though, that the seasonal vibe has devolved into something less-than-joyful, for I’ve heard too many complaints already about the headache of shopping, the headache of family, and the fears of actually losing one’s house in order to buy his kid the latest high-tech gadget.

Enough, already, I elegantly and humbly ask of you.

It’s the time of year in which we first and foremost must count our blessings. Be grateful for all those folks on your shopping list; there are so many among us who have no one to shop for this time of year.

Oh, and I’ll let you in on a little secret: those on your list will benefit far more from a small gift from your heart rather than something bright and shiny that will add undue stress on you. I hope to never receive something that would put my loved ones into debt (even though I put a $1600 couch on my Amazon wish list. I did it to make my sister laugh. She did. My job is done). I have far more than I’ll ever need, and really the greatest gift I could ever receive is the opportunity to spend time, good cheer, and a lot of laughs with my loved ones this time of year (preferably on a new couch, so if you’d like to contribute to the Beth Newman Sofa Fund, feel free to do so. I’m kidding, of course. My current couch, though old and cat-clawed, suits me just fine.)

Commericialism has gotten so out of hand, particularly around the holidays. A dear friend of mine once told me that she’d informed her children, when they were small, that they could have anything they wanted for Christmas provided they didn’t see an ad for it on television. As a result, her children asked for musical instruments, art supplies, and such, and grew into three of the most loving, giving, and interesting young adults I know.

Perhaps if we related the concept of charity early on to our children, their desire for so much stuff would dwindle. Perhaps if we, ourselves, had been denied a few things as children, we’d be a little more focused on the actual reason for the season.

Here’s my challenge for you, dear friends: this year, take a portion of what you’d normally spend on loved ones and give it to charity. Spend some of that holiday shopping time volunteering in a homeless shelter, animal shelter, or senior citizen facility. Make the kids come along with you so that they can see just how good you’ve got it.

Heck, make this a practice throughout the year.

Remember, it’s all about our feelings and intentions this time of year. Stress, resentment, and worry should never factor into it all.

I truly wish for each of you a holiday season full of love, faith, and charity.

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach/Author
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Project REALLY?!


I’ve had a week to mull it over, and I’m still feeling no better about Gretchen Jones’ win on Project Runway.

Aside from the fact that I didn’t particularly care for her designs (hippie mama just isn’t my bag), I was actually more upset that questionable behavior and a generally snarky attitude reigned over the acceptance, support, and encouragement demonstrated by the other contestants.

I truly believe in having confidence in oneself, but at what cost?

True, Gretchen won a couple of the challenges early in the season. From that point, she adopted the role of Queen Bee in the workroom.

Yet it was the team challenge in which Gretchen displayed some truly appalling behavior. Not only did she coerce team members into following her lead, she then proceeded to throw them under the bus when the judges questioned them about their poor designs. This came right after Gretchen made them all vow to stick together in front of the judges.

This is the only episode I can recall in which Tim Gunn actually scolded a designer. He didn’t hold back and, according to his vlog the next day, Gretchen went to the producers insisting on a private (i.e. - not intended for television) meeting with Tim. The producers informed her that any meetings would be filmed, and Gretchen dropped the subject.

Another incident that stands out regarding Gretchen’s behavior occurred when the designers were instructed to create a new look for Heidi Klum’s sportswear line, available on Amazon. Gretchen created an item that wasn’t even close to what the line offers. In the workroom, Heidi questioned Gretchen’s choices, and Gretchen informed Heidi that her line was missing something. That’s basically telling the boss that her vision just isn’t quite good enough. Big mistake.

Oh, and let’s not forget the fabric tossing scene, either. Throwing things is a no-no, in my humble opinion.

Another thing that resonated with me with regard to Gretchen was how often she mentioned that she needed to win because she needed money. Of course, that’s the point of the whole contest, but I don’t recall any other designers speaking about their financial woes. Personally, I think talking about money is crass.

Although I don’t agree with the final decision of the judges, I do accept it. I’m not taking to the forums to complain, nor am I going on Michael Kors' Facebook page in order to tell him he’s an idiot, as hundreds have done. I’ll just muse elegantly about this one time.

I take comfort in this: good deeds, kind words, humility, and hard work will always overcome in the end. Sure, Gretchen may have won this season, but time will tell just how far she really goes. I am hopeful that if we do see more of Gretchen, it will be a much kinder, softer version of the one we met on the show.

I also take comfort in the fact that some past Project Runway designers who did not come away with the top prize have created quite successful careers for themselves, such as Austin Scarlett and Santino Rice. With that in mind, I think we’ll see much more of Mondo Guerra.

And if I’m being brutally honest, the only winner of Project Runway who’s consistently kept his name in the magazines and his clothes on the runway is the fabulous Christian Siriano. I looked back over the list of winners, and I can’t recall most of them.

Next season, I’m hopeful that each contestant is required to read Tim Gunn’s latest book, Gunn’s Golden Rules. It might make for a much nicer season for them, the judges, and us viewers.

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach/Author
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info
www.firststyle.webs.com
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

Friday, October 29, 2010

October's Nutshell



As Tallulah Belle and I chatted this morning over coffee about this past month, I realized that I’ve learned an awful lot these last few weeks. I’ve discovered that we really should let certain issues go, while we should address others rationally and of course, elegantly. So here goes my month, in a nutshell:

-Be wary of washing machine repairmen who claim that buying a new unit would be far more affordable than having the current unit repaired. It’s not true. Also, don’t offer the repairman any candy until he’s sufficiently completed his job.

-I must thank Sienna Cleaners on Lexington in Sugar Land for providing such great laundry service while the aforementioned washing machine was on the fritz. There really was no need to hang the towels and washcloths, though, on individual hangers; folding them would have been just fine.

-Kudos to my neighbor for posting a notice to our little townhome community about the dog issue. The noise and mess are truly getting out of hand, and this particular notice makes much more sense than last’s months notice that we all meet to complain about the trees that were chopped down. No one mentioned actually replanting the trees….they merely wanted us to join in a good, old-fashioned gripe session. We passed, obviously.

-I understand that we all have our own tastes, fashion-wise, but I simply cannot come to terms with the fact that Gretchen Jones and her Whole Foods, hippie-inspired monstrosities were crowned winners during last night’s season finale of Project Runway.

-On that note, I’ve fallen madly in love with Tim Gunn. I encourage those of you who aspire to more elegant living to read Tim’s latest book, Gunn’s Golden Rules.

-In other book news, Rick Springfield’s Late Late at Night is truly a remarkable read. On his book tour, he’s primarily asked about his bouts with depression, his infidelities, and of course, Jessie’s Girl. I’d love for reporters to ask him about his journey toward spiritual awakening, for that’s what I enjoyed most about the book. I’m no longer 15-year-old Beth with a mad crush on him; I’m 40-year-old Beth with nothing but deep admiration and respect for him, his talent, and his candor.

-The Toot N Totum on I-40 and Washington in Amarillo, TX refuses to allow EMS workers the use of its restrooms. This is nothing short of shameful. EMS workers spend long, exhausting hours insuring our well-being, oftentimes putting their own safety at risk. I think a very elegant boycott is in order, don’t you?

-Why is it so difficult to find Halloween goodies three days before Halloween? If I were in the market for chocolate Santas and marshmallow jingle bells, I’d be in luck, but that’s not what I’m in need of at the moment.

-The Doodle Buddy application for the I Phone is a God-send for those of us who are called upon to keep a three-year-old entertained.

-Dr. Scholl’s Her Fast Flats come in men’s sizes. Don’t ask me how I know this – I just do.

And that, Sweeties, is my October in a nutshell! Cheers!

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach/Author
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info
www.firststyle.webs.com
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

More Than a Little Scary, I Think



Information revealed on last night’s episode of Fashion Police stunned me: reports claim that the best-selling Halloween costume thus far is that of Snookie – you know, the little gal who represents what I hope to be the worst part of New Jersey.

Honestly?

Now, I don’t watch her show, and therefore know very little about her. My limited knowledge stems from what I read in Star magazine. From what Star tells me, I can only assume she’s loud, obnoxious, and a heavy drinker who’s experienced brushes with the law.

She doesn’t sing, dance, or act. But she’s famous – really, really famous.

So yet again we observe another example of our society as a whole sinking further and further into the depths of déclassé amusement.

I’m weary of it, darling, I truly am.

Of course, Halloween is intended to frighten us a bit, to provoke us a little, and to take us on a short stroll along the darker side. Witches, goblins, and ghosts, however, have been replaced by pimps, ‘ho’s’, and the aforementioned Snookie.

Oh, I don’t get this one either: why are there so many costumes designed to sexualize? Strolling through my local costume shop the other day, I saw Sexy Nurse, Sexy Cat, Sexy Demon, and Sexy Clown. There’s nothing sexy about them, in my humble opinion – I just find them trashy and sad.

I’m no prude by any stretch of the imagination. I’m just a simple gal longing for a little elegance and creativity during Halloween (and throughout the year, for that matter).

If an adult chooses to Snookie herself up this year, that’s okay – it’s her right to do so. With that being said, should an adult encourage a child to do the same, I shall take issue. Any junior Snookies (or ho’s or sexy whatevers) will not get candy should they ring my bell on All Hallows Eve. They will get a copy of my book Become a First Style Fashionista (sorry for the shameless plug, boys and girls!) and the adults responsible for allowing them to show up at my door in such unacceptable costumes will be given my raised eyebrow.

Think long and hard about your costume this year, my dear.

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach/Author
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info
www.firstyle.webs.com

Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Successful Shopping Strategies




Over the last few years, I’ve spent many an hour with women inside various boutiques and department stores, searching for those outfits that will make them feel like a million bucks. As the aforementioned stores have officially begun their peak season, I want to take this opportunity to share with you some thoughts on making your next shopping spree a true success for you – and for them:

1. Wear the right undergarments. If you’re in the market for a silky, clingy cocktail number (and you should be, by the way, for party season is quickly approaching) don’t show up in a jogging bra and cotton underpants that are two sizes too big (or small, for that matter). Wear, or at the very least bring along, what you’d normally wear under an evening ensemble.

2. Look your best. It’s hard to get excited about trying on clothes when you’ve not a hint of makeup nor have taken the time to fix your hair. These little things truly make a difference.

3. Know what to expect. Cost-wise, boutiques are generally mid-to higher range, so be prepared to spend a little money. Don’t complain about the prices, and don’t have the audacity to ask for discounts. If you’re looking for steals, visit the well-known discount places, but do so with this in mind: most of what they carry is from last season. Develop an awareness of the shops before you hit them!

4. Be mindful of returns. Know the store’s return policy (it’s most likely printed on the bottom of your receipt). Don’t buy a boatload of clothing with the intention of returning a portion (or all of it) – not only does the store take a hit when you do, the stylist who sold it to you does, as well. Yes, most stylists work on commission, and most of them spend hours sorting out things just for you, so be mindful of that if you should start to have second thoughts about your purchases.

5. More on returns. I find it incredibly tacky when someone has obviously worn a garment and then has the gall to return it. Trust me, the boutique’s staff knows what you’re up to; they see the makeup on the collar, and can smell your perfume on the garment. They also know that wine stains were not prominently featured on the item when you left with it. Don’t try to pull one over on them, please, for they do remember – and talk about – these things.

6. Customer service. Boutiques pride themselves on hiring actual, trained stylists who are more than happy to assist you in fitting rooms. You won’t find that in department stores or the discount places, so don’t expect it. I also encourage you to take to heart what the stylists tell you. They’ve a trained eye, and those with integrity sincerely have your best wardrobing interest at heart. (Side note: if you’ve no intention of buying, don’t waste the stylist’s time. One stylist friend of mine once spent two hours in a fitting room with a woman, who claimed to love everything, yet left empty-handed. Seek attention elsewhere, please).

7. Refrain from including your teen-aged daughter in your fashion decisions. Nothing baffles me more than a woman who will hold off on buying something new for fear her teen-aged daughter will disapprove. You’re the adult; she is still a child. Even if she’s fashion-forward, she doesn’t know what works best on your 40-something frame. Parents who constantly seek approval from their children worry me; but I’ll save that for another blog.

So there you have it – my little spiel on successful shopping strategies. My intention is to guide you on the art of seeking out new clothes. Enjoy the experience, and remain open to new, gorgeous things!

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach/Author
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

September's Nutshell


Here I sit, reviewing the month of September for any startling revelations or any a-ha moments. What have I learned this last thirty days? What’s amused me…baffled me….made me go ‘hmm’? Surprisingly not that much; but you know me, I’ll always dig up something to share.

-I like to work. I really, really do. Keeping busy keeps me alive. I’m blessed to pursue those things I truly love to do.

-A certain squirrel I know is nothing short of a menace. I see you eyeballing my patio, and strongly advise you to think twice before entering.

-Every experience builds upon itself, thus taking us to the next level – if we allow it to do so. As I get older, I realize that I never should proclaim, “Well, that was a mistake and a huge waste of time.” The mistakes and time wasters are intended to teach us something.

-I'm baffled when someone tells me, “I need something to go with a pair of black pants,” Aside from pastels, pretty much anything will work with a black trouser.

-We really should pay very close attention to our dreams, for the subconscious mind is a powerful little cuss. In the back of my mind, I’ve known that I’ve not eaten terribly healthfully nor worked out like I should these past couple of weeks. Last night’s dream of vegetable hummus wraps eaten at the gym’s café have motivated me to get back on track.

-Is there anything more fun or more reviving than cleaning out one’s closet and revamping one’s wardrobe? I think not!

-Is Kim Zimmer enough to lure me into watching One Life to Live?

And this, my friends, concludes my monthly review. How did you fare in September?

Friday, September 24, 2010

An Age-Old Conundrum


A couple of weeks ago, as I tarted myself up for a night on the town, I discovered an old tube of lipstick in the back of a vanity drawer. Ruby Red Rush, it was called. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d rushed for ruby-red lips, but I thought, ‘what the heck, let’s give it a shot’. Once applied, I gave myself a good long look in the mirror, and realized something: I looked like my father...in drag (the thundrous whirring noise you hear is him spinning in his grave at the very notion).

I realized that evening, as I wiped Miss Ruby Red from my lips, that I’ve reached the age in which I can’t pull off just any old thing. I once loved sporting the reddest red of lips, but alas, thanks to the fine lines Mother Nature keeps imbedding around my smile, I can no longer sport a loud mouth (this refers only to lipsticks and glosses, by the way…I’ll still spout off when I shouldn’t , most likely).

That, in addition to September’s focus on the new fashions, got me thinking about age-appropriateness. It does exist. It does not, however, mean that those of us who’ve reached a certain age must reach for the elastic waist-banded trousers and blue hair rinses. It merely means we must become cognizant of what we can and cannot get away with anymore.

Makeup: Go lighter with lipsticks, and pay very close attention to eye makeup. I, personally, prefer a dramatic eye, and thanks to Nova Lash eyelash extensions, the focus remains up, up, up rather than down, down, down, where years of sunbathing and heaven- knows- what -else have dragged the rest of my face toward the floor.

Hair: Bangs rule, and are much cheaper than Botox. A face-framing cut does wonders for a gal’s look and psyche.

Clothes: We get into trouble here. Just because we still have it in certain areas doesn’t necessarily mean we should flaunt it. No matter how tight your tummy is, it’s still no match against an ab-solutely toned belly of a 22-year-old. (And for you younger girls: please don’t flaunt anything less than a perfect stomach. Crop tops are really not that flattering on anyone). Long legs don’t give us license to wear the latest minis if we’re over the age of 25. If you’ve got the cleavage, go for it, but only if your skin is impeccably smooth.

Word to the wise: Form fitting is much more flattering than overly exposed skin – at any age.

The Venue: Keep in mind the importance of the setting. Those outrageous, dominatrix-inspired boots have their place. Visiting the folks back home is not that place. Cocktail attire does not consist of spandex. Flip-flops do not fall under the dress code of church.

Think about proportion and silhouette. I love the marriage between classy and funky, and with a little homework, we can all find the right look that’s not only flattering but exudes a youthful vitality. It’s all about confidence, baby. Find your look and rock it!

Beth Newman
Image Consultant, Life Coach, Author
www.newmanimage.info
www.firststyle.webs.com
Online consultations available!
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The World Keeps Turning...Or Not


Well, the world stopped turning today.

Of course, I don’t mean literally. After fifty-five years, the CBS soap, As the World Turns, came to an end.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Although I’ve enjoyed the show sporadically over the years, its demise didn’t knock me to my knees in grief they way last year’s cancellation of Guiding Light did. Guiding Light was family; As the World Turns merely friends you always enjoyed seeing on occasion.

My interest reignited when I learned a few months back of the show’s imminent departure from daytime. And I have to hand it to the powers that be: it ended on a far better note than that of my beloved Guiding Light. Not only were veteran cast members utilized in interesting and even surprising ways, the show brought back some old favorites (including a guest appearance by Julianne Moore, who got her start on ATWT). The tribute to Helen Wagner and her character, Nancy Hughes, brought tears to my eyes. The finale centered on the retirement of Dr. Bob Hughes, which I thought a nice touch.

Of course, now the big question is this: which soap will I jump to next? I can’t seem to wean myself from the genre, but I’ve no clue where I’ll get my daytime drama fix!

If Rick Springfield reprises his role of Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital, I’ll definitely go there. Perhaps I’ll trek over to Genoa City for some Young and The Restless. They have Newmans there, so I’m sure I’ll feel right at home.

I fear, though, that soap operas may soon be a thing of the past, and that makes me sad. I spent my childhood watching ATWT and GL with my mother. During college, my friends and I arranged our class schedules so as not to miss one second of each show. As twenty-something singletons, no matter how late at night my sister and I would get in from doing heaven knows what, we’d always watch ‘our stories’ together before drifting off to sleep.

With that being said, thank you, As the World Turns, for always being there for me…even during those times I totally ignored you. Sorry for that - I will miss you!

Friday, September 10, 2010

What They're Doing Now


I learned a great deal from Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine, the originators of What Not to Wear, which aired a few years back on BBC. Through their show and in their books, I came to understand the importance of fit, proportion, and color. Although they presented concepts that I didn’t necessarily agree with (come on, we can wear black occasionally), and their technique with clients was a bit more aggressive than I thought necessary (must they grab every woman’s breasts whom they encounter?), they were usually dead-on in their assessments.

Naturally, I became intrigued when I heard about their new endeavor, What They Did Next, an Internet series (http://www.trinnyandsusannah.com/live/content.php?Item_ID=12) that captures their comings and goings following their What Not to Wear triumphs. Confusion is the only way I can sum up how I felt upon viewing the first episode: Is this a documentary? Are they trying to be funny? Are they presenting caricatures of themselves? Baffled, I clicked on to watch episode two. The confusion morphed into sheer and utter disappointment. The two women who forged the way for fashion awareness come across as nothing more than two completely unaware, selfish, and ungrateful brats.

I understand now that they’re not portraying themselves. What I don’t understand is why they’re portraying such sad, desperate, and distasteful versions of the Trinny and Susannah I came to admire years ago. They’ve obviously stolen concepts from the absolutely fabulous Absolutely Fabulous, and the results are disastrous. (Let’s remember, Absolutely Fabulous is a work of fiction, and I’d be hard pressed to find anyone who could top the comic genius of Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley).

Trinny, with her newly inflated lips and not-so-subtle hair extensions, presents herself as an incredibly vain, overly pampered potty –mouth. Susannah’s constant drinking and chain-smoking have me longing to call an intervention. Where’s the fashion? Where’s the chic- factor? Where are their children while this nonsense is taking place? Both are mothers, but the setting of this show would lead us to believe that they’ve no one but each other and a small group of hangers-on (who, incidentally, don’t hang on too long).

Granted, I only watched two episodes, but one thing I do know about marketing and presentation is this: you’ve got to hook them early in order to win them over.

With that being said, I realize there is a great deal of what passes for entertainment these days that appeals to the lowest common denominator: mindless, negative fluff that does nothing to uplift or enlighten. I suppose Trinny and Susannah recognize this, and have jumped on the ‘do anything to get your face out there’ bandwagon.

Ha-rumph.

But then I happened upon this excerpt from Tim Gunn’s new book, Gunn’s Golden Rules, and realized that there are those who work in the fashion industry who still have heart, character, and class. Trinny, Susannah, and the rest of us should take a cue from Mr. Gunn’s advice:

1. Take the high road – Tim recalls how he’s sometimes mistaken for Clinton Kelly from the American version of What Not To Wear. Rather than take offense at this faux pas, Tim graciously and kindly lets them know that he’s not Clinton. (I can’t imagine him cursing or throwing a fit the way Trinny and Susannah have done when they’re not recognized on What They Did Next.)

2.Be Nice – Tim tells how Fern Mallis, the genius behind New York Fashion Week, offered this bit of advice to designers during season two of Project Runway. Tim goes on to say, “There is absolutely never any reason to be a fire-breathing dragon”. (Trust me, a great deal of fire-breathing exists on What They Did Next. Heck, it existed when Trinny and Susannah hosted What Not to Wear)

3.Never Underestimate Karma – Tim describes how he feels as if casual politeness has become extinct (I’m with you, Mr. Gunn). Bad behavior will always be punished in some form. (Hmmm…perhaps that’s why Trinny and Susannah are no longer working with BBC…)

I can breathe a little easier knowing that individuals such as Tim Gunn are out there in the fashion industry, doing their best to mentor others without aggression and snobbery. It’s fantastic witnessing designers Austin Scarlett and Santino Rice make dreams come true for small town women in their show On the Road with Austin and Santino. The wonderful Clinton Kelly can point out a fashion mishap humorously without making a gal feel bad about herself. His counterpart, Stacey London, swings from brash to teary-eyed at the sight of a woman who finally gets a sense of herself, fashion-wise.

So, I suppose today’s lesson is this, boys and girls: class reigns supreme, if we allow it to. Self-loathing and over-the-top self-parody might result in undesired consequences. Gratitude for past success and hope for the future carries us into the realms of greater success.

And no one can out-fab Patsy Stone and Edina Monsoon, so why even bother?

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach/Author
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info

Friday, September 3, 2010

September's Good Buys



Dear friends, I cannot stress to you enough just how much I love the month of September. The lazy, hazy days of summer have disappeared, and now we look forward to reviewing, reenergizing, and revamping our look. Even if you’re still suffering sweltering heat (as am I here in Houston), it’s wise to store the warm-weather wardrobe and bring out the Autumn-inspired outfits that will carry you into the cooler months ahead.

And in order to ready oneself for the seasonal transition and ultimately the change, it’s now wise to buy:

Pocketbooks and wallets – a great fall or winter bag will carry you through an Indian summer, a prolonged fall, and the whole of winter until spring springs forth. You may carry it for some months, so choose carefully; now is the time for the indulgent bag you’ve been craving.

Party dresses – although you may not feel like it at the moment, it’s the best time to snag a couple of to-die-for dresses to see you through the holiday party season. Channel your inner-Audrey: keep it classic and elegant, and store it properly for use in years to come.

Winter separates – Again, high temperatures in your part of the world may tell you otherwise, but most likely the stores in your neighborhood are already stocked with winter wear. Trousers, skirts, sweaters, and long-sleeved tees await you. Take advantage of their presence now before they disappear.

For more information on the season’s best, I invite you to read Elegant – the little ‘zine dedicated to fabulous living – at http://newmanimage.info/Elegant.html.

Here’s to falling beautifully into September!

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach/Author
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info
www.firststyle.webs.com
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best! Online consultations available!
Beth's book, 'Become a First Style Fashionista' now available through Amazon!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

August's Nutshell


Over coffee this morning, I reviewed the month of August in order to determine if I’d learned any lessons or discovered something fabulous. Did I find amusement in unexpected places? Was I pleasantly surprised at any point? The answer to all of the above is a resounding ‘yes’, so here I go with my so-called epiphanies:

You can’t tell me that negative energy doesn’t profoundly affect people, places, and things. I think a whole darn building could rot when old, negative vibes aren’t shooed away and replaced by happy and healthy ones.

Sometimes, situations really do come full circle. Familiar faces from long ago might appear in the most surprising venues.

Those little Ped socks, when worn over carefully moisturized toes at night, can save a pedicure without burning you up in your sleep.

Can a cat suffer from male-pattern baldness? The jury’s still out, but so far, all signs point to ‘yes’.

As much as one would like to assume that certain people have changed, evidence, unfortunately, reveals otherwise (although we still must remain hopeful for positive change and remain mindful of the fact that there is power in leading by example). On the other hand, those who may have been written off as lost causes might just step up to the plate and, in their own weird way, try to make amends for past dirty deeds.

I am truly overwhelmed by the support and loving vibes I get from people each day. Please know that I send that support and love right back to you!

Gary Stewart was one of the most underrated honky-tonk singers around.

And that, dear friends, is my August in a nutshell!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Just Stuff


I spent last night – well past midnight, mind you -purging my closet.

It’s that time of year, I suppose, in which I’ve grown absolutely weary of my summer wardrobe, and am none too keen on my current fall offerings.

Something inside simply won’t allow me give the stuff away, even though I know darn good and well that there are many women in my area who could use it. So I shall compromise: mark each piece down to an almost sinful price and sell, providing me with a little extra cha-ching for the new clothes I’ve been coveting in boutiques all over town.

As I sorted through my stuff, I got downright sentimental about a few things. Could I possibly say goodbye to the fabulous little white Calvin Klein all-weather jacket that protected me from inclement weather during my trip to Italy? Could I bear to part with what I affectionately refer to as my ‘Mary Tyler –Moore’ wrap dress that my wonderful husband bought me a few years back? And what about those bright yellow stilettos that turned oh-so-many heads back in the day when I actually wore them?

The answer, sadly, is yes. Though I hate to see some things go, I realize they must. They’ll hang neglected in my closet, eye-balling any new wardrobe editions, and become jealous. Some may grow depressed, others may riot, and I just don’t have the time to deal with any of their drama.

So here they sit by me in my office, stacked up, bearing little stickers that read $1, $2, and so forth. Signs for my afternoon ‘Patio Boutique Sale’ have been placed throughout the neighborhood. I’m hopeful each will go to a good home, to be worn with pride by someone who cherishes them as much as I once did.

Each piece really does have a story to it: the awful suit I bought last year because I simply felt I must have an actual suit. I wore it twice, and felt like Hillary Clinton each time I did. The long satin skirt – an EBay find – that made me feel like movie star. The cropped jacket with ¾ sleeves reminiscent of one of my fashion idols, Jackie Kennedy. I wore it quite a lot during my teaching days, and it will always remind me of the girls in my class who raved about it each time I did. Oh, and my favorite travel bag, the one I just found over twenty euro in, that was by my side throughout France, Spain, and Greece…if that bag could talk…….

But the fashion beat goes on, and I must dance along with that beat. Such is life: change is inevitable, and when we recognize that change is in order, we must take action. We must let go in order to make room for new, beautiful things to enter.

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info
www.firststyle.webs.com
My book, 'Become a First Style Fashionista' now available through Amazon!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Who's Better?


During last week’s First Style Fashion Camp, I caught the tail-end of a very serious discussion amongst my little fashionistas. “Who’s better – Taylor Swift or Selena Gomez?” The debate lasted well past snack time, and I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself at the very question – who’s better? Not who’s more talented? Not who’s prettier? Simply, who’s better?

My good Baptist upbringing taught me to believe that in God’s eyes, we’re equal. Schmuck A is no better than Schmuck B. Yet our image-conscious society convinces us otherwise. Certain girls with certain attributes certainly seem to make out like bandits compared to their ‘less-attributed’ counterparts. Certain boys with certain toys are regarded a bit higher than their toyless buddies. Perhaps if we removed our blinders and actually tried to see through the eyes of God, we’d be a little less critical and a lot more loving.

Now, this may sound crazy coming from an image consultant, but my philosophy is this: it doesn’t matter how shiny your shoes are, if you are critical – of yourself and of others – you really won’t be happy. If you’re too focused on the outward without paying diligent attention to the inward, you’ll struggle. And life, my friends, should never be a struggle. Challenging at times – yes, but we should never feel put-upon, threatened, or worried about certain things that just don’t matter. A higher power protects us and looks after us…but we must be willing to allow this higher power to do so.

So to answer the question who’s better?, let me just say this….we all have different talents, tastes, dreams, and desires. None are better than those of anyone else. We are all the same. We all have something positive to contribute. If we all recognize this, our world will be a much better place.

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info
www.firststyle.webs.com
My book, 'Become a First Style Fashionista' is now available at https://www.createspace.com/3470009

Thursday, August 5, 2010

August's Good Buys



The time is now to fall into….well, fall.

Yes, dear friends, I realize the last thing on our minds right now is finding fabulous fall jackets and the perfect winter coat. With summer’s sweltering heat, all we really want to do is lounge by a pool with a refreshing frosty beverage in hand. But think about it, we must, for it’s the best time to score wonderful wardrobe additions for cooler months ahead. You’ll find many stores stocked for fall already.

When shopping for jackets, go for fitted – nothing boxy or oversized. Try to snag a few that are lined on the inside for an ultra-chic look. Your winter coat should provide warmth, obviously, but don’t let it overwhelm you. One can’t go wrong with the classic trench; camel will be the hot color for the season.

It’s also a good time to shop for jeans (select sophisticated, darker denim), flat shoes (DSW carries incredibly cute ones), and load up on big costume pieces and textured tights - they are still all the rage, and are trickling into stores right now.

There’s no need to buy an entirely new wardrobe, so before embarking on a shopping frenzy, take inventory of what you already have. Get rid of anything that doesn’t fit or that you haven’t worn in a couple of years. You can probably donate most items, but do throw away anything with rips or stains.

The best part about the upcoming fall and winter season is that we continue to see a return to a more classic, refined look. Let’s make the cooler seasons ahead our chicest yet!

Beth’s Pick for Fab Fall Finds:
White House Black Market (www.whitehouseblackmarket.com)
New York and Company (www. NYandCompany.com)
Charming Charlie (www.charmingcharlie.com)

For details on the 80's trend that's not going away soon, check out the August edition of Elegant - the little zine dedicated to fabulous living - located at www.newmanimage.info


Beth Newman
Image Consultant and Life Coach
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info
www.firststyle.webs.com

My book, 'Become a First Style Fashionista' will be available through Amazon next week!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

July's Nutshell


I believe we can learn an awful lot about ourselves and others by sheer observation. This month, I challenged myself to take notes on the-out-of-the-ordinary (and not so out-of-the-ordinary), in order to figure out what makes people tick. I didn’t figure it out, but I did see and experience a few things that made me go ‘hmmm…’

*It’s always nice to get together with friends you haven’t seen in a while. It’s even nicer to encounter and befriend new people who share your outlook on life.

*Getting upset about or questioning the activities of others serves no purpose whatsoever. Live and let live – it’s an old cliché, but a mighty good one.

*Creating a scene at the grocery store because you misread a coupon is never a good idea. Taking up the time of the busy grocers to question it and demanding they honor what you believed the coupon represented is even worse. Slamming your cart into the cart of a certain gal as you storm out of the store is inexcusable, and may result in unwanted attention, as that certain gal you slammed into may take to her blog and muse elegantly about it.

*There are truly some wonderful and helpful souls among us who go out of their way in order to help us succeed. Take the time to thank them.

*Meddling in the business of others is just a bad idea, no matter how noble your intentions are. And if your intentions aren’t noble, then shame on you.

*Renewing an interest in As the World Turns is only going to cause you pain when the show ends in September. You’re still stinging from the cancellation of Guiding Light, so why on earth did you put yourself in this position?

*Positive attention brings much greater satisfaction than the negative variety.

*If you’re not in the habit of looking your spouse in the eye every day and sincerely telling him how much you love and appreciate him, do it. Now.

*Rainy evenings are best spent eating pizza and enjoying a marathon of Christopher Guest movies. Be careful, though: you may find yourself tossing about lines from those movies for days to come. (Current faves in the Newman household: Wha’ happened? Dibbit schmibbit, I said ham, and the ever-popular This one goes to eleven.)

*Exercise extreme caution when allowing the over-85 crowd access to tequila.

*Never wear a jogging bra when shopping for clothes. Do shower before hitting the fitting rooms; boutique owners and stylists everywhere will appreciate it.

*There really is no substitute for Fresh Step cat litter.

And that, my friends, is my July in a nutshell. Here’s to a fabulous August!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Fashionable Sneaky Peek!



I’m sweltering in the Houston heat and humidity, so I must confess, Sweeties, that I wasn’t too terribly interested in opening any of the many fashion magazines I subscribe to, all of them proclaiming
“What’s Hot for Fall!”

But open them I did and found myself in for some truly delightful and inspired reading.

My goodness gracious, we’ve got ourselves a regular popourrie of new styles coming up, and I couldn’t be more thrilled! My fave five fall looks are as follows:

Fur-bulous! (faux or real): an explosion everywhere on the runways, from vests to jackets to fur-lined collars.


Dare to Drape: Draping will be HUGE this season! We’ll also see a lot of ‘cut out’ looks as well.




Leggy looks: skinny and slim-cut pants reign supreme. Don’t be afraid to try a pair on – you’ll love them! Panty hose are still out, but brightly-colored tights are still in.




Bye-Bye Bling Bling: Fall’s accessory must-have is the fantastic layering of pearls or beads.



Color Story: We’ll see a lot of burnt sienna and camel. Other big colors for autumn include gray, lipstick-red, teal, and purple. Michael Kors covered it beautifully!You can catch his fall fashion show here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inkRKFWpbUI

Boutiques everywhere are already bringing in a bit of fall, so hop to it, my friends!




Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

My book, Become A First Style Fashionista, will be available through Amazon in August!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Old Razzle Dazzle



Give 'em the old razzle dazzle
Razzle Dazzle 'em
Give 'em an act with lots of flash in it
And the reaction will be passionate

(‘Razzle Dazzle’ from the musical, ‘Chicago’)

Razzle dazzle. I often associate it with sequins, boas, glitter, and perhaps a disco ball thrown in for good measure. I love razzle dazzle, but I don’t necessarily think it needs to be limited to tangible bright-and-shiny objects.

Razzle dazzle is an attitude and some people emit it so beautifully that it can actually bring me to tears. These are the fabulous people…the people we desperately want to come to our parties…the people whom we’re convinced are far more interesting, intelligent, and glamorous than the rest of us.

Take heart, Sweeties – everyone possesses the power to razzle dazzle.

Everything we say, do, feel, and yes, wear can increase our razzle dazzle quotient considerably. The razzle-dazzler will not show up anywhere in public wearing just any old something-something. She’ll look far more interesting than her beautifully-garbed friends: an antique broach, an old derby hat, riding boots….sure beats the uniform look of mass shoppers everywhere.

The razzle-dazzler lives up to his name because he can tell a deliciously gripping story. Getting shot at while working undercover for the government – that’s razzle dazzle. A gruesomely-detailed account of a bunionectomy – not so much. An online status update that he’s just shared a fabulous dinner with Liza Minnelli – that’s razzle dazzle. An online status update that he just downed a burrito from the corner 7-11 – not so much.

A razzle-dazzler emits light. She walks into a room and owns it. She’s relatively quiet, though, preferring to observe what is most likely a group of well-meaning-yet-trying-too-hard-individuals. The razzle-dazzler doesn’t have to try at all. People are naturally drawn to her. She’s mysteriously fascinating. She appears genuinely interested in what others have to say. She keeps her voice low, and her sly sense of humor makes those over-the-top-bawdy girls seem rather sad.

The razzle-dazzler does not seek entertainment from a satellite-empowered box; he gets his kicks by simply living. His artistic, literary, and musical tastes are quite varied, and he’d never bore you to tears with political talk or tell you to get right with the Lord.

So you see, razzle dazzle truly is within our grasp. We simply need to make an effort toward it. Wouldn’t the world be a far more interesting and enlightening place if we did?

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!
Online consultations available
My book, 'Become a First Style Fashionista' will be available in August through Amazon.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July's Good Buys: The Beach Emergency Kit



‘Tis the season when many of us – including yours truly – set sail for sand, sun, and perhaps starlight soirees by the sea. Don’t you dare do it, though, without your Beach Emergency Kit (henceforth known as the BEK).

Most of this applies to the ladies, but gents, there are a few little items you, too, could afford to take along (in your own bag – hers is already full!)

A spare swimsuit: in the event you’re invited to a pool party or dinner aboard a handsome stranger’s yacht, you’ll want to wear something different…something not covered in sand and seaweed.

A pair of cheap lightweight earrings: to go along with the spare swimsuit should either of the above occur.

A baseball cap: it will keep the glare off you whilst riding the waves. Your regular sun hat won’t do – save it for when you’re lying on the sand sipping a frosty beverage.

Refillable spritzer bottle: Fill it up with water for a quick refreshing face or body spray or to wash off the salt and sand.

There’s more I’d like to place into what I’ll refer to as the “Well, Duh” category.

Honestly, I’m surprised how often people turn up at the beach without the following: sun block, lip balm, sun glasses, a small mirror, a comb, a tiny pouch of tissue and baby wipes, travel-size deodorant (please), hand cream, a big bottle of drinking water , and money (a few bills and maybe some change – nothing major)

Of course, you should personalize your BEK with other products that you can’t live without (hair gel, extra pair of contact lenses, etc.)

Now, should you have an inkling that the day’s beach activities will lead to a little night action, remember the following, and add accordingly to your BEK:

In addition to the small earrings, throw in a cheap, beach-inspired necklace or bracelet for added pizzazz.

Create a new evening look from what you’ve already got in your BEK. Perhaps your bikini top stayed dry. If so, pair it with the bottoms of the spare (be sure they coordinate, though), or you could simply put on a pair of shorts. A sarong utilized as a swimsuit cover can easily be transformed into a halter top. Play around with it until you get it just right.

Pack the jeweled flip-flips. They’re much more suitable for evenings.

Of course, it’s vitally important that before you reach your evening destination from the beach that you put your comb, baby wipes, tissue, and deodorant to good use.

Do right at the beach without looking too done-up. Have fun, remain flexible, and strive for a truly fabulous fun-in-the-sun summer vacation!

Ps…if you have any other additions to the BEK, I’d love to know about them!

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

online consultations available; my book, 'Become a First Style Fashionista' will be available in August through Amazon!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Heavy Handed


Summer has officially dawned, and I think an attitude of ‘lightening up’ is in order, particularly when it comes to our handbags.

My darlings, if you’re still toting the black leather number you bought last November, I implore you to open your eyes and take a look at the wondrous warm-weather bags ripe for the picking:

Color is essential. Shades of blues, yellows, and even lovely summer-reds line boutique shelves, just dying for you to take them home.

Straw is also a viable option: I discovered the most deliciously elegant straw bag at Charming Charlie’s earlier this season (Yes, Charming Charlie’s – I’m not snob, when I find something fabulous and affordable, you can bet your sweet bippy I’ll grab it). This bag is, without a doubt, my ‘go-to’ favorite of the moment. It’s huge (which I need for lugging essentials like wallet, lipstick, magazines, candy bars, and such), chic (works well with my ‘taking care of business’ attire), and versatile (doubles as a shopping bag when they’ve run low at CVS).

Too often, we forget that the little things really do matter when it comes to our wardrobe. The bag, the shoes, the belt, the bracelet….although small details, really, they make a tremendous impact on our overall look.

Store away that lovely black bag for a while. It’s simply too heavy for summer’s light-and-easy looks. Time passes quickly, and very soon you’ll be able to haul it out once again.

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

online consultations available
my book, 'Become a First Style Fashionista' will be available through Amazon in August!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My New Friend


I met the most fascinating woman this week.

Our introduction occurred in a clothing boutique. I struggled to determine her age (it’s impolite to ask, you know). Twenties, a very good thirty-ish…I couldn’t figure it out, and of course, it didn’t really matter. We began chatting, and I found myself totally in awe of her. She’s tall, with the most beautiful, unruly head of hair I’ve ever seen. Her deep, smoky voice rarely rises above a whisper. She revealed very little about herself. Originally from New England, she made her way to Texas last year because she felt ‘it would be best’. I don’t like to pry, but I confess I could not wait to hear her story, because I knew it would be absolutely delicious.

Randomly, she asked about my posture. I told her that standing up straight was merely a habit, and anyone could do it. “I want you to help me,” she said, “feel free to physically straighten me up anytime you see me slouching.” There’s no small talk with her; she gazes into your eyes intensely, asking questions, and really wanting to know things about you.

She has no car (not even a drivers’ license), and lives ‘with a few people’. “I like to work,” she said. “When I’m not working I’m at home. I have no family here. What else am I going to do?”

By this time, I’m bursting with intrigue. Her mysterious aura mesmerized me. I want to know everything I can about her!

“Have you read The Secret?” she asked. Of course, I have. “What about The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success?” I explained to her that Chopra’s little guide was the one that got me started on my journey toward enlightenment. “Me, too….yeah, me too….” She responded dreamily.

All I could gather from our first conversation was this: she’s smart – almost ‘scary smart’. She’s taking steps toward finding out ‘what it’s all about’ (her words). She’s been in some trouble that’s separated her from her family. She doesn’t party, because she’s ‘done with that scene.’

And here’s the kicker: she’s only 18-years-old.

She carries with her such presence, such mystique, and such confidence that I naturally assumed her to be older. She possesses that certain something that a few women spend a lifetime seeking. She’s not interested in figuratively purging herself as so many are. In a day in which anything goes, she’s guarded enough to keep others coming back for more – a breath of fresh air, to be sure.

We’ve talked every day this week. She asked me if I might serve as ‘a bit of a mother figure – nothing heavy’ for her, since her own mom is so far away. Having no children of my own, this is the sort of request that really gets you right where you live.

I’ve often heard about old souls, and I know I’ve met a few of them in my life, but none has fascinated me more than this young woman. A kinship between us already exists – one that I cannot explain. And I look so forward to seeing where this ride may lead.

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!
Online consultations available!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dress The Part!


I’ve often heard (and have always preached) that in order to get ahead in the workplace, one must dress for the job she wants, rather than for the job she currently holds. I think the same philosophy rings true for life, too: if we want to convey a certain something, and to get ahead personally, it’s vital that we dress the part.

As shallow as it may seem, my friends, society does judge us by the clothing on our backs. As Clinton Kelly from TLC’s What Not To Wear says, “How you dress tells the world how you expect to be treated.”

And honestly, don’t we feel better about ourselves when we’ve put forth a little effort? It’s a great little mind-trick. When you know you look fabulous, you’ll walk a little taller. You’re more willing to make eye contact with others. Heck, you might even smile at a stranger. Others will view you as confident, intelligent, and generally far more interesting than the Croc-wearing woman standing next to you in check-out line.

Now, I’m not saying we must don our Sunday best for mundane errand-running; I’m telling you, though, that an oversized t-shirt and baggy shorts simply won’t cut it.

With the onset of summer’s heat, I constantly hear, “It’s too hot to dress up”. Hogwash. Plenty of cute, casual, and comfortable clothes hang in shops right now, begging you to take them home and wear them!

I realize money might be a concern, and it really needn’t be. Get on the email list for affordable places such as New York & Company and Express – they’ll send you loads of coupons and are notorious for sales. Join the Black Book Club at White House Black Market and save 5% on each purchase (in addition to regular sales, coupons, and birthday bonuses). It’s a rare occasion in which I’ll pay full price for an item, so I certainly don’t expect you to do so. (Side note: a gal does not need a ton of clothing. Get a few separates for mixing and matching)

“But I just really don’t care what I look like, or what other people think of me.” I’ve heard this one before, and I can’t help but think that an underlying issue exists with this way of thinking. Why are you afraid of getting noticed?

Also, given the overload of information we’ve access to these days, there are those who still aren’t quite sure what suits them, wardrobe-wise. They don’t realize the power of color. They’ve no clue about the importance of fit and proportion. My advice is to find a role model and emulate her style. Be realistic, though: if you’re not built like Jennifer Aniston, chances are you won’t look as snazzy in some of the numbers she wears. Pick up a copy of Vogue, Marie Claire, or Lucky to discover the current, hot looks. Enlist the help of a trusted, honest friend. Take the plunge and hire someone to help you (I just happen to know of a fabulous woman whose job consists of the very thing we’re discussing……)

The point of it all is this: we must develop an awareness of the silent message we’re conveying to the world. In order to attract good friends, good times, and good vibes, we’ve got to dress the part!

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!
online consultations available!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Little Information, Please


Please give me the minimum amount of information with the maximum amount of politeness.(Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis)

This statement provides me with yet one more reason to adore the late JBKO. In this age of information, one can literally become overwhelmed by it all. It doesn’t help, either, if you find yourself stuck with Chatty Cathys all day long.

Why do so many feel the need to purge themselves by talking incessantly about anything and everything? Do we owe it to “reality” TV, where so many people have license to say and do the most outrageous things? Do we owe it to cable news and the internet, where up-to-the-minute reporting prevails? Or is our society becoming so narcissistic that we naturally assume the rest of the world sits on the edge of its seat, waiting impatiently for our next word?

I enjoy good storytellers, provided that they’re actually telling a good story. I don’t enjoy rambling accounts of mundane activities. I don’t enjoy hearing private information that should only be discussed with one’s spouse/doctor/priest/therapist. I don’t enjoy someone telling me how fabulous he is – his actions should reveal it, not his words. I really don’t enjoy repeat offenders – those who tell the same tale over…and over….and over.

And please don’t get me started on those who walk through stores and other public places chatting on their cell phones. Take it to a more discrete location, and finish your conversation, please.

A mentor of mine kept a book on her desk entitled With Silence Comes Wisdom. She lived it, too, by working hard and not partaking in the typical water cooler conversations. She told us what we needed to know, and did so graciously.

My mentor never sat in another’s office for minutes on end, keeping them from their work. Before any conversation, she asked, “How are you?” and really listened to the response. She seemed genuinely more interested in hearing about other people. As a result, she got the best out of her employees.

That, in my opinion, exemplifies grace. It’s also great communication tactic. She accomplished extraordinary things with little verbal fanfare, much like the aforementioned JBKO.

With silence comes wisdom. So true.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Now That's Classy!



In every society, there are ‘human benchmarks’- certain individuals whose behavior becomes a model for everyone else – shining examples that others admire and emulate. We call these individuals ‘class acts’ – Dan Sullivan

Some devotees of etiquette and style turn their noses down at the word ‘classy’ – they feel it just isn’t, well, classy. I’ve always liked the word, though. As a little girl I equated ‘classy’ with overly-suntanned women wearing white swimsuits and gold necklaces who sipped Tab by the pool all day. They’d later change into lovely caftans and join some hunky, heavily- mustached gentlemen for a glass of Ruinite while listening to the Captain and Tennille’s Do That to Me One More Time on their hi-fis.

You’ll have to pardon my limited childhood scope. I grew up in a very small-town. No one wore white swimsuits, and almost everyone blew off steam with a cold can of Coors and Willie Nelson blaring from an 8-track.

As I got older and expanded my horizons, I realized that classy goes far beyond the message the 70’s television ads were trying to send to poor dumb kids like me: classy is a state of mind. It’s the way in which we treat one another. It’s the way in which we treat ourselves.

Waking up each morning with a big grin and the words thank you on the tip of our tongues – that’s classy.

Taking the time to put on a little lipstick and something that doesn’t make us look like we just got out of 7th grade PE – that’s classy.

Asking others about themselves and really listening to their answers – that’s classy.

Minding our manners and our language both in and out of the public eye – that’s classy.

Choosing to surround ourselves with positive influences – that’s classy.

Focusing on every good aspect of our lives, and choosing to ignore the crummy ones – that’s classy.

An excellent sense of humor – that’s classy.

Remaining true to who we really are without fear of judgment or repercussion – that’s classy.

Allowing The Captain and Tennille and Willie Nelson to share space on our IPod – that’s classy.


All we have to do, my friends, is raise the bar a little higher for ourselves.

Let’s uplift others while enjoying each day. Let’s be the kind of people whom others look forward to spending time with.

To those of you who truly strive for classiness each day, I raise my Tab and salute you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Style Watch with Beth Newman: Summer Product Watch!

videoFor additional episodes of Style Watch with Beth Newman, please visit www.youtube.com/user/newmanimage

Monday, June 7, 2010

Summer Fashion Flubs Fixed!



With summer heat looming, many of us suffer from style melt-down. Yes, we must dress for the weather, but that does not mean we should throw our good fashion sense out the window. We owe it to ourselves to take the time to look our best – even when the temperatures soar.

Say no to ratty, ill-fitting T-shirts. Say yes to colorful wrap tops – they complement the silhouette more.

Say no to wearing spaghetti-strap camis as shirts (they are, essentially, underwear). Say yes to fitted tanks (which, by the way, look far more interesting when layered).

Say no to too-short shorts. Say yes to Bermudas. Anything that hits just above the knee is far more flattering, especially if you’re like me and your legs have seen better days! (Regarding shorts – if you’d never wear a particular length in a skirt – thigh-high, for example, don’t wear it in a pair of shorts)

Say maybe to Capri pants – they flatter so few people, really. Insure that yours fall just below the calf, which is the widest part of your lower leg. Say yes to lightweight trousers or, better yet, flirty, floaty skirts and dresses.

Say no to black during the day. Say yes to bright blues, corals, and greens – colors that complement the season. Black is very dramatic, and should be treated with far more respect than we’ve been treating it in recent years.

Say no to heavy fabrics. Say yes to light ones that breathe.

Say no to sky-high or chunky heels during the day. We need to lighten up this time of year. Say yes to ballet flats or elegant sandals. NOTE: sandals really are not appropriate for the office (a peep toe, though, is acceptable).

Say no to flip-flops, unless you’re at the beach. Say yes to…see above.

Say no to forgoing accessories. Say yes to bringing out your big, bold, best. Accessories really do make or break an outfit.

Other heat-beating hints:
In your handbag, place a style emergency kit – include moist towelettes, travel-size antiperspirant, a ponytail holder, and face blotting tissues.

Spray your tootsies with an aerosol antiperspirant, such as Suave, to keep your feet fresh during the day.

Wear a hat. Not only are you protecting your hair from the sun and shading your face, you’re also adding a bit more panache to your look.

And for you gentlemen out there, I invite you to check out our For The Boys section in June’s edition of Elegant – the little ‘zine dedicated to fabulous living – located at www.newmanimage.info for your summer style tips.

Don’t let the heat zap your style – fight those fashion faux pas of the season!

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!
Online consultations available!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Choices


Life is all about choices. Some may argue that things simply happen, or may play victim to life’s circumstances, but I believe that where we stand in life is a result of choices we make. Of course, forces beyond our control throw rocks at us from time to time, but our attitude and our effort to rise above any occasion sets the tone for the day. And yes, we do have control over attitude and effort.

It begins with our first thought each morning. A friend used to rise each morning, groan, and say, “Aw… (insert your favorite expletive here)”. Rather than experience excitement at a new day, he chose to focus on “all the (again, insert your favorite expletive here) I have to do,” with no effort to acknowledge his blessings. We didn’t stay friends for very long - too much negativity for me.

Call me shallow, but I truly believe that our image choices affect our attitude. It’s a fact: when one looks his best, he tends to feel his best, and that will ultimately lead him to do his best. That’s why I find it so surprising how little effort many folks put into their appearance these days. The schlumpy sweatpants and flip-flops worn to practically any public place have caused a schlumpy mindset in our society, I think. I’m tired of schlumpy – aren’t you? (Although I like to say “schlumpy” – it’s a fun little word that rolls off the tongue)

Day-to-day living can certainly lend itself to a drop in positivity. That’s why we must make the effort to look for the good things and to get out of a routine. We must work, that’s true, but must we eat lunch at our desks every day? Might we wander out and grab a bite at a local café with a friend? Could we forgo the hours upon hours of TV each night to visit with friends, go to a museum, or simply stroll through the neighborhood?

Finally, at the end of the day, we must count our blessings, offer thanks for all that we have, and acknowledge that those rocks that may have been thrown at us are intended to teach us lessons.

It’s a choice to enjoy life and to do those things that make you happy. It’s a choice to strive for a positive attitude each day and to treat yourself – and others –well. Will you make the effort or won’t you? The choice is yours.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Was It Something I Said?


Yours truly has recently been called out regarding a couple of articles I’ve written, so I thought it wise to come clean about a few things.

First of all, I’m not writing about you. I take little bits and pieces of things I witness, things that I feel should be addressed, and attempt to shed a little light on the matter. I’m not judging anyone, nor am I attempting some sort of underhanded jab at anyone. That’s not my style, and anyone who truly knows me understands that.

Second, it’s fine and dandy to question anything I’ve written. As a writer, I expect it. Heck, I encourage it. Let’s generate some sort of dialogue and get a ‘big picture’ movement going. With article-writing and blogging, we tend to write in generalities – the genre simply won’t allow us to dive in too deeply and cover every aspect of every situation. I’ve got my views; you’ve got yours, so let’s chat!

I’ve never claimed to be perfect, and anyone who’s spent a good five minutes with me can certainly attest that I am not.

So rather than musing about it all, I’ll just make a list and let you know where I stand on certain things – things that I’ve actually been questioned about lately:

-We’re all here for a reason, so why not make it a good one? I like to help people, I really do, and I know that within us all dwells the power to create meaningful, magnificent lives. If I can help you tap into that power with any little musing I might publish, then I’m a happy girl, for sure! Any guilt or resentment you may feel upon reading any of my little scribblings might be an indication that something isn’t right in your world. I’d be more than happy to help you figure it out, because I want you to live joyfully and peacefully. I sincerely mean it.

- For me, personally, television is a big waste of time. What little free time I do have is spent outdoors – by the pool, on the beach…just seek out some water, and you’re sure to find me there. Don’t ask me if I’ve caught (insert your favorite program here) because I haven’t. I’m a fan of Absolutely Fabulous; I own the DVD collection and watch it probably far more than I should, Sweetie-Darling. Project Runway is a hit with me, and occasionally I’ll catch The Office and 30 Rock. You have your shows, I have mine, and that's that, as far as I’m concerned.

- As a woman I find Sex and the City truly offensive. I can’t say why, specifically – I just do. Please stop asking me if I’ll go see it with you. If it entertains you, that’s great – that's what it's supposed to do. It leaves me sad and a bit frightened…but that’s just me. I, evidently, have overlooked that certain something that makes it so popular. (And yes, I did watch a few episodes, and am baffled that it became not one, but two smash movies - go figure!)

-Generally speaking, I have no problem with plastic surgery. I’ve no problem with Botox. I’ve an issue, however, with overall transformations on the Heidi Montag scale. I’ve often found, too, that sometimes those little nips, tucks, and augmentations never truly satisfy a girl. Confidence, self-esteem, and happiness must come from within.

-I do not have a problem with people who are overweight. I’ve been there myself, and I know how challenging it can be to lose it. I am, however, concerned by those who merely complain about being overweight rather than actually doing something about it.

-I’ll never understand the popularity of crocs, nor do I get why so many people choose to wear track suits during air travel.

-I don’t get your garden gnome, and I get it that you may not understand my framed photo of Rick Springfield that sits on my desk.

You see, we all have our ‘things’ – our likes, our dislikes, our preferences, and such. I’m really not trying to push any sort of ideal off on you. I merely want to inform, perhaps enlighten, and maybe even entertain through my writing.

And that, my friends, is me in a nutshell: a silly girl who believes that life should be a worthy and fun adventure, a gal who believes in the power of fabulous shoes, a chick who enjoys a good laugh at the absurdity of pretty much any given situation, and someone who truly never intends to offend anyone.

I’m me…you’re you…and it’s all good, as far as I’m concerned.

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!