Monday, December 12, 2011

Baby, If You've Ever Wondered....



Just the other day, my inbox contained a very nice – and surprising – message. It was from a wonderful gentleman with whom I had the good fortune to work with during my radio days. I’ve not seen nor spoken to him in the last two decades, but he’d been on my mind recently, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to hear from him. Out of the blue. Just like that.

After the initial “How ya doing/what ya doing/” back-and-forth, my friend asked me whatever happened to our former boss, a man (and I use the term loosely here) I’ll simply refer to as Old Shan. Old Shan served as our station manager. My friend hosted the morning show, and yours truly was simply referred to as ‘The Afternoon Girl’. Anyway, Old Shan left quite an impression on my friend and me – and it’s not the impression he wanted to leave, I’m sure.

To put it bluntly, Old Shan was not a nice person.

Old Shan was not an emotionally stable person.

Old Shan might be your best friend one day, and your worst enemy the next.

I can support the above statements with the following examples: yelling, cursing, snap decisions, reversals of those snap decisions, poor business judgments, poor hiring choices, sexual harassment, manipulation, and far too much unpaid overtime.

And these all happened on our ‘good days’.

I stuck it out there for over a year, so you can imagine my reeling head when I finally wised up and left.

I’d often thought that perhaps it was just me. As the only on-air girl (and that term applies – I was only 21 or 22 years-old during this stint), I assumed that I was the problem, and that all of Old Shan's big and little rants actually meant something. Perhaps I wasn’t working hard enough. Perhaps I wasn’t doing my job effectively. Perhaps he didn’t like women. Perhaps he simply didn’t like me. I didn’t understand it then, but looking back, I realize that it wasn’t me.

It was him.

He treated everyone on staff deplorably.

During our exchange, my friend recalled some of his own Old Shan experiences, which were, of course, quite similar to my own. He said he’d often fantasized over the years about tracking him down and giving him a piece of his mind. I confessed I’d done the same thing, but because I truly believe in karma, I’m hopeful that Old Shan has learned a lesson, and has come out better for it.

And I have to hand it to Old Shan, for he taught me how to better deal with a couple of other ‘bad bosses’ I’ve had over the years. I suppose he entered my life in order to teach me that the world is made up of all kinds of people, and if you want to get anywhere in life, you’ve got to learn how to effectively deal with them. It’s okay, too, I learned, that if you can’t deal with them, you can certainly leave them. No need to get bogged down in someone else’s bad mojo.

A job is a job is a job….do what you love, do it well, and reap the rewards.

My friend is doing just that. He’s still in radio (God bless him!), and he’s tapped into another passion of his – he opened his own bike shop. I’m delighted for him, and so glad to reconnect with him.

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hosts, Guests, and other Malcontents


With Thanksgiving just a couple of days away, ‘tis the perfect opportunity to remind you, Sweeties, of how to host, how to guest, and how to generally not make life-long enemies this time of year. Remember, our image goes much deeper than the clothes on our backs: part of it includes our ability to entertain graciously within our homes, our dedication to being the best possible guest ever, and most importantly, to leave everyone wondering, “How does she stay so pretty throughout the day?”

Hosts

Don’t Kill Yourself – In our modern world, it’s quite easy to have someone else do the heavy lifting. I haven’t put it to paper, but I would venture to guess that you can cater your Thanksgiving meal just as affordably as you could should you go ‘the old-fashioned route’. I know for a fact that you can easily feed 6-8 people their turkey, stuffing, gravy, and dinner rolls for $39.99. Have your guests bring additional sides and pies. This way, you won’t have to get up at 4:30 am Thanksgiving morning, nor will you spend the biggest part of the day in the kitchen (unless you simply have to do so in order to get away from ‘those people’)

Spot Clean – Cleanliness is next to Godliness, so you should really take a good, hard look at yourself if your home requires more than a bit of dusting and mopping before your guests arrive. Those newspapers stacked up aren’t really newsworthy anymore, and what is now referred to as ‘The Bathroom Mishap of ‘88’ should have been dealt with back in ’88, don’t you think?

Look Smashing – Nobody likes an unkempt hostess. Go out of your way to wow your guests with your charming style. Avoid track suits, crocs, a bathrobe, or an oversized sweatshirt. Your guests will be so impressed by how fabulous you look that they won’t notice the overcooked turkey and undercooked mashed potatoes.

Keep On Hand – aspirin, Tums, extra wine, toilet paper, Diet Coke (only if your father-in-law is Larry Newman, and if he’s not, what’s he doing at your place and not mine on Thanksgiving?) Benadryl (if you’ve got guests who are allergic to cats), and a good sense of humor.


Guests


Bring Something – it’s in poor taste to show up at someone’s home without a little something –something for the hostess. She went to a lot of trouble to look nice for you. A little trinket of some sort, in addition to the side dish you’ve been assigned, is a nice gesture. Guests who bring me things I like (for example, a good bottle of Merlot), are sure to be invited back next Thanksgiving.

Arrive On Time, and Not Any Earlier
– your hostess needs those last few minutes in order to go over last-minute, vital details (place settings, false eyelashes, the usual)

Look Before You Sit – My old cat, Kramer, seldom moves from his spot on the couch these days. Please don’t sit on him.

Don’t Complain – Nobody wants to hear your gripes, particularly if they’re aimed at the hostess or her home.

Don’t Touch That Dial – Never take the liberty of turning on a television that doesn’t belong to you. If you simply must catch ‘the big game’ on Thanksgiving, stay home to do it.

Leave and Don’t Come Back – when I was growing up, we developed a peculiar tradition of spending most of Thanksgiving Day at my grandmother’s house, then leaving, then going back that evening for leftovers. This only created extra work for my grandmother. Leave at a reasonable hour, take leftovers if you’re invited to do so, and let your hostess get on with her business (tidying up, napping, finishing up that Merlot you brought, etc.)

Common courtesy and good intentions go a long way on Thanksgiving. Be on your best behavior, look your best, and enjoy a blessed day with your loved ones. Cheers, Sweeties!



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

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Fashion Review: The CMA Awards



What started out as a mind-numbing exercise of ‘seeing what’s on telly’ last night turned into a great deal of work, thought, and snarky comments. I’m talking about the CMA’s, celebrating the alleged best and brightest of country music. I’ve been a fan of country music since I was a little girl, and although not much of it today could actually be considered ‘country’, there are a few current artists I enjoy. Of course, me being me, I paid particularly close attention to the fashion, and offer you my thoughts -and a few lessons- we can take away from it all. (The focus is primarily what we saw on stage, not the red carpet, by the way).

Keep it simple – while our hostess, Carrie Underwood, looked smashing on the red carpet, her constant outfit changes and over-the-top styling absolutely exhausted me. I realize I’ll take some heat here, but I found each of her looks too fussy. Too much makeup, too much hair, and overall contrived, stiff wardrobe choices. The key to true style is that it should appear effortless, and Ms. Underwood looked anything but. I imagined her backstage with a team of twenty people, all of whom spent the commercial breaks powdering, combing, embellishing, and stapling her into outfits.

Fit is vital – Female Vocalist of the Year Miranda Lambert looked fine in her purple dress, but she needed to pay attention to the fit. She spent most of her acceptance speech tugging at the top of the dress in order to keep from coming out of it.

Black is slimming….sometimes – Sara Evans’ all-black ensemble was a snooze fest and could have certainly done with some bling. Ms. Evans needs to remember that when wearing form fitting pants, even in darker shades, Spanx will work wonders in smoothing the silhouette. Television can be terribly unforgiving, and that’s a lesson Hillary Scott from Lady Antebellum needs to remember. Ms. Scott is not a size 2, and that’s okay, but she would have looked much slimmer and more put together had she worn a top with some sort of sleeve and gone up a size in her trousers.

Dress for the Occasion – Because I work a great deal with young girls, I keep a very close eye on Taylor Swift, one of the current darlings amongst the younger set. She looked very pretty and appropriate on the red carpet, but her choice of a simple sweater and blue jeans during her performance left me baffled. You’re on television, Sweetie, and considered a style icon – take it up a notch!

Pretty much every male who took the stage could have done the same. It’s an awards’ ceremony, and must be treated with a sense of occasion. Blue jeans, ball caps, and sunglasses just don’t cut it, as far as I’m concerned, so I have no choice but to give my ‘Snappy Gent’ award to Vince Gill, who was the only gentleman to perform in a suit.

I’m Not Sure What it Is, but I Like It– I’ve taken a shine to The Band Perry, the family act that took home The Best New Artist Award. Front-woman Kimberly Perry looked lovely in what appeared to be a vintage dress straight out of the 1940s, while her brothers, Neil and Reid, look like throwbacks to the 1970s. Their look truly seems authentic, not something thrown together by marketing ‘geniuses’. I dig it!

Of course, I wouldn’t be me unless I included some thoughts on certain behaviors throughout the evening:

Classy – Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, and Vince Gill performed a beautiful tribute to legend Glen Campbell, who has embarked on his farewell tour following his recent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. All three gentlemen not only looked great, they performed with an incredible amount of sincerity – and sincerity, in all that we do, is really what it’s all about. Mr. Paisley gets an extra nod for respectfully removing his hat when Glen Campbell took the stage.

Not Classy – I had no idea who Luke Bryan was until last night’s award show, but his performance entitled, ‘Shake it for Me’, along with a bevy of scantily –clad dancers had me absolutely reeling. It wasn’t country, it wasn’t classy, and I pray to God I never see anything like that again.

So today’s moral, boys and girls, is this: country can be sophisticated, and simplicity and sincerity in our words, actions, and manner of dress, shall always win out in the end.

For pics from last night’s show, visit http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/step-right-up-jason-aldean-blake-shelton-join-elite-at-country-music-association-awards/2011/11/09/gIQAoATL5M_story.html?tid=pm_entertainment_pop

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

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Holiday Simplicity


Two weeks before Halloween, several shops in my neighborhood began decking their halls.

Two minutes after Halloween, not a ghost or goblin graced store shelves. They’d been replaced by Santa and his reindeer.

Christmas tunes already blare at one shopping strip near my home.

And it’s still two weeks until Thanksgiving, that seemingly forgotten holiday.

I don’t believe for one minute that the yuletide rush has anything to do with the true ‘reason for the season’; it’s simply a brash, bold move in the name of commercialism.

That’s right – I believe our society is one of over-the-top consumerism. Manufactures and retailers know this, and they play upon us to ‘get it now’, ‘get it while it’s on sale’, ‘get it so your children will love you’, and that sort of thing.

Personally, I’ve had enough of them telling me what to do because, quite frankly, I choose to live simply. I don’t have a lot of stuff. I don’t want a lot of stuff.

I don’t need the newest, most high-tech device out there because I like what I currently have. According to my husband, I’m a notorious purger – I simply don’t like anything unused taking up space in my house.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t understand the big whoop in having a lot of material things. That’s not what the holidays should be about, and it certainly isn’t what life should be about. Some of the most miserable, unhappy people I know are the ones who can (and do) go out and buy any old thing any old time they want.

Keep it simple – that’s my motto. I’ve seen children delight in gifts I’ve given them from The Dollar Store just as much as when they receive gifts I’ve given them from The Fifty Dollar Store. Perhaps if adopt a more childlike (rather than childish) stance, the holidays would be less mentally, emotionally, and financially stressful.

I’d love to see us all take a more elegant approach to giving, receiving, and celebrating this time of year. That means we refrain from camping out in front of stores as Black Friday approaches. It means we steer clear of gigantic inflatable outdoor monstrosities that pass as ‘decorations’. It means realizing that the biggest isn’t always the best, and when we do what we do from the heart rather than for show, we’ll all be better off in the long run.

So I encourage you to celebrate thoughtfully and simply this season.

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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Respond So Very Promptly


One thing I absolutely love about this time of year is that it signals the official launch of Newman’s Own Party Season! Sure, spring and summer parties are fine, but I much prefer those that occur during the fall and winter months because: a) we have snazzier fashion choices, b) we’re offered snazzier food choices, and c) there’s less sweating.

And even though it’s a party, certain rules exists that one must follow, the primary one being that of the RSVP. The RSVP is a request for a response from the invited person. It comes from the French phrase répondez s'il vous plaît, meaning "Please respond". That’s your cue to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’. It’s quite simple, but not practiced as diligently as it should be.

I have been guilty of a last minute RSVP recently. Although it was a family ‘do, I verbally responded to the key players, but I didn’t officially notify the hostess until a couple of days prior to the event. Shame on me. I felt terrible and vowed never to leave a hostess hanging in such a manner because I know what it’s like to have potential guests who don’t commit. Having learned my lesson, I shall now pass my vast knowledge of party etiquette on to you.

The ‘Maybe’ option on an invitation (we see them quite a bit on electronic invitations) drives me mad. A decent host will issue invitations weeks before a party, and your selection of ‘Maybe’ sends the message I’ll come, unless I find something better to do. Typically, a host will request an official ‘yes’ or ‘no’ by a certain date, so there’s really no need to respond immediately with a ‘maybe’. Your host needs an accurate head count in order to know how much food to prepare and how much wine to have on hand. If you actually show up to the party, still on the ‘maybe’ list, you may be out of luck when it comes to cheese ball portions and the good wine.

‘Yes’ responders are my favorites, particularly when they show up. Should you RSVP a ‘yes’ and are struck by an illness, family emergency, or a recent arrest, contact your hostess immediately, offering your regrets. That’s classy, especially if you’re the latter and it’s your one opportunity to make a phone call.

‘No’ responders usually feel the need to explain why they can’t attend. I don’t need an explanation, but word to the wise: I party by the Three Strike Rule. If I’ve invited you to three different parties and you’ve yet to come to one, you’re off the list, especially if you’ve responded ‘maybe’ to each one and have yet to show. I take a tough love approach to throwing parties.

As much as I adore going to parties, I simply can’t make them all, unfortunately. I work wonky hours sometimes, which keeps me away from a few shindigs. My husband works nights, and, call me old-fashioned, I don’t go to parties without him unless it’s hosted by a family member or is one of those ‘Girls Only’ type of things (Pampered Chef parties, bridal showers, baby showers, etc.) held in someone’s home or in a restaurant (I won’t go if it takes place in a club – especially if it’s a baby shower (tacky) – because, as a happily married woman, I don’t believe I have any business hanging out in bars without my husband present, even if it is with ‘the girls’. I didn’t always feel this way, but after a Come to Jesus moment a few years ago, I realized this is what’s right for me. It may not be right for you, and that’s okay. You’re not me, and I’m not you, so let’s just band together and practice individuality, shall we? ) I mention this because I get many invitations to clubs, thanks to the number of musicians I know who want me to come to their shows, and I simply want to set the record straight. It’s not you, it’s me. It’s always me. When I must turn down a request for my presence, I’m always sure to thank the hostess for including me on her invite list.

The point of this little musing is to remind you that it’s common courtesy to respond promptly and accurately to your party invitations. The pointer point of it is to let you know that the size of my cheese ball depends on you. And I take my cheese balls very, very seriously.

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shop Smart!



Alright, Sweeties, we’re down to the wire: it’s officially shopping season! If you’ve not yet hit the stores in order to snag some fabulous new fall finds, you must hop to it! Before you do, however, remain mindful of the following:

Inventory
– shop from your closet first. If you didn’t wear it at all last season, chances are you won’t wear it this season. Get rid of it. Make a list of what you need in order to revamp your wardrobe. This includes not only your clothing, but your shoes and accessories as well.

Budget- yes, you can be frugal and fabulous. Most stores and boutiques are already offering markdowns on fall merchandise in order to make room for incoming holiday collections. Stay within your budget. Get on customer rewards programs offered by most boutiques, and take advantage of the deals and coupons they offer.

Do Your Homework – look online for looks you love, and visit only those stores. I limit myself (and my clients) to two places during any shopping excursion. Call ahead to insure those stores carry what you’re seeking (not every store sells what is available online). Some boutiques will allow you to call ahead and hold certain items providing you’ll be in within 24 hours.

Be Classy – use those coupons, but don’t ask for a ‘double dip’. Carefully consider having a sales associate ring your items up under several different transactions in order to use several different coupons, particularly if the store is crowded and you won’t save that much more money in the long run by having her do so.

Show Some Respect – After trying on clothes, re-hang the ones you’re not taking and leave them neatly in the fitting room. The sales associates are not your personal maid service, nor are they your personal punching bag. Always remain kind and considerate to those who assist you.

Wear Proper Undergarments – If you’re shopping for cocktail attire, don’t wear a jogging bra. Wear your Spanx to insurer a smooth silhouette.

Child’s Play – Never allow your child to roam freely in a store. Not only does this put the child in danger, it could also present a liability to the store. Small children and boutique shopping really don’t mix, so do try to leave the kids with a sitter while you shop.

Return to Sender – Should you discover that recent purchases won’t work for you, return them to the store in which you bought them. Stores take a ‘hit’ anytime you return, and it’s not really fair to penalize Boutique North because you changed your mind about what you bought at Boutique South. Most online purchases include a return address label – use it.

Remain focused, smart, and considerate – happy shopping, Sweeties!

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

Beth’s book, 365 Days of Fabulosity, is now available through Amazon!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Classy Warfare


I read the headlines each morning. I scan all of your Facebook posts and tweets. I review the stories brought to me weekly by Star magazine. I try to stay well-informed, and in doing so, I’ve come to the following conclusion: classy people are few and far between these days.

Classy People are those who simply live their lives, doing their best to bring a little fabulosity into the world. Ruled by the greater good, rather than their own ego, they share what they feel might be interesting, entertaining, or inspiring to others.

Non-Classy People do just the opposite. They’re crass, bothersome complainers who definitely possess a membership card from the doom and gloom club: the world is ending, and it’s all the government’s fault. A slight sniffle is most likely a symptom of something deadly, because, after all, everything will kill you nowadays. Never trust a rich, white man – you know, that sort of thing.

A sub-section of the Non-Classy People consists of the Attention Whores. With social media, everyone’s a celebrity. I believe that with that ‘celebrity’ comes responsibility: be smart in your posts; today alone I’ve seen everything from vomiting jack-o-lanterns to bitch-slapping cats. Not classy.

A good wit – that’s classy. People doing their own thing and helping others to succeed at doing their own thing – that’s classy. Parents who force their children to write thank-you notes – that’s classy.

Talking on your cell phone in public – not classy. Bragging about your hangover from your binge last night – not classy. Proclaiming yourself as a princess or diva – not classy.

Hang on – I’ve got more:

Leaving the party a tad early – classy.

Hanging around long after the party’s over – not classy (just plain sad, at that point)

Treating your spouse with respect - classy.

Badmouthing him to others because he’s being himself – not classy.

Treating your wedding as simply the first step toward a long, happy life of teamwork – classy.

Proclaiming that your wedding is ‘your big day’ or ‘your time to shine’ – not classy.

Delight when others dig the people/places/things you dig – classy.

Possessiveness over the people/places/things you dig – not classy.

I could go on, but rambling is not classy. And I, as a disciple of fabulosity and all things elegant, know that I must keep class in the forefront of my mind. I invite you to join me on my classy mission. Let’s rise up, have some fun, and put the kibosh on the negative messages hurled at us each day. The world isn’t doomed, nor will it end because you have an undiagnosed rash. Sure, Jennifer Aniston still graces far too magazine covers, but perhaps if we stop buying those magazines, she’ll go away. Maybe if we turn off the so-called reality TV, somebody, somewhere might re-introduce us to quality entertainment. We’ll all be better off if we simply live our message rather than preach our message. A little outreach is good – being in someone’s face isn’t. Classy Warfare is on - who’s with me?

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach/Author
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!
Beth’s new book, 365 Days of Fabulosity, is now available through Amazon

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Coming On Strong


Given recent events that have occurred in my life, I feel I have no choice, boys and girls, but to address an issue that I’ve discussed before: coming on too strongly in social situations.

Nothing will rob you of your fabulosity more than doing so.

Not only will others consider you a pest, but you’ll ooze an unattractive sense of desperation. Take note, therefore, to avoid the following:

Dominating the conversation – it should never, ever be about you. A charming gal, or guy, will ask questions of others and listen intently to the replies offered. Steering a conversation into the ‘all about me’ category is a huge turn-off, as is incessant rambling about any-old-thing. Someone of few words, who quietly possesses that certain something, will receive plenty of attention with great ease.

Cornering – I have been the victim of cornering, and it’s no fun. No one has the right to back another into a corner in order to discuss his divorce, his work-out routine, or the ugly shirt he recently bought in France. Trust me, if a woman wants to be backed into a corner, she’ll give you the vibe (and I have never emitted that vibe, even when I was single). Pick up on vibes – or the lack thereof – and act accordingly. And if you know for a fact that she’s married – get lost.

Incessant calls/texts/emails – “Please give me the minimum amount of information with the maximum amount of politeness.” This quote, by one Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, is one that I live by. If it’s important, enlightening, or entertaining, I’ll respond. If not, I won’t. It’s that simple.

Provocative gestures/clothing – Before you do it or wear it, ask yourself: would my mother approve? Would my daughter approve? Would Beth Newman approve? If the answer is no, then don’t do it and don’t wear it. Sure, you’ll get attention for certain moves and certain outfits, but it’s the wrong kind of attention, and it only lasts a little while.

In a sense, I do feel sorry for those who come on too strongly. I know they’re missing something in their lives. But I also know that if they’d take a moment to really develop their self-awareness, and to pick up on the reactions of others, they’d be much happier, and thus attract that certain something they feel they may be lacking.

Get to know yourselves, Sweeties – that’s the first step in fabulosity.

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

Beth's new book, 365 Days of Fabulosity, is now available on Amazon!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sudsy Lessons



Recently, the mother of a teen-aged girl lamented the fact that her daughter, going through ‘that phase’ has latched on to the local ‘bad boy’. ‘I guess we all went through it,’ the mom said. ‘Hmmm…’ I replied, recalling boys from my past. Though many of them could be categorized (sociopath, narcissist, closeted homosexual 1, closeted homosexual 2), I wouldn’t necessarily toss them into the snarling, brooding, anti-establishment bad-boy category.

‘Do you suppose,’ chimed in another friend, ‘that this current fascination with vampires is sending certain messages to our girls?”

THAT’S IT!!!

In my day, vampires didn’t exist.

Well, of course they did, thanks to old movies and books certain teachers forced me to read. They were not, however, as prevalent as they are today, and certainly didn’t shape my views on relationships.

Soap operas did that.

Yes, Sweeties, yours truly was and is a soap opera junkie. As much as I preach the whole ‘create your own reality’ idea, a big part of my reality includes a good old-fashioned daytime storyline, an over-the-top peek into glossy, complicated worlds so different from my own - worlds that offer a mere hint of realism, but a great deal of food for thought when it comes to analyzing people and forming relationships.

Thanks to soap operas, I learned very early on that villains can have their heroic moments, and heroes can certainly fall from time-to-time. Soap writers, at least back in my day and with my shows, proved that not everyone is either this-or-that. People, even fictional ones, are a complicated species.

The men of my soaps didn’t simper, and they sure as heck didn’t cry (well, not too often and certainly not in front of a large group of people). Some of them were only figurative blood-suckers. They were strong, gainfully (if not at times illegally) employed, and just plain interesting.

A certain element of glamour existed in my soapy teen-aged world. Everyone practiced good grooming habits. The men actually looked like men. No room existed for a greasy-haired, pasty-skinned, tattooed, low muscle-mass young man on daytime TV, and if he did make a rare appearance, he’d be killed off fairly quickly.

My, how times have changed. Those greasy-haired, pasty-skinned, tattooed, low-muscle mass young men pop up everywhere these days (television, books, music…but not soap operas – ha ha!). Girls love them. Many grown women love them (and I’m saving that topic for a future musing). Please tell me what I’m missing here!

Sadly, the daytime drama is a dying genre. Within the last two years, two long-running soaps (Guiding Light and As the World Turns) have been cancelled, and one more sits atop the chopping block (All My Children). Praise the powers-that-be who have determined that One Life to Live will live on past its ABC demise via the Internet. I’m officially hooked on OLTL – several of my favorite GL actors are now on it, and the whole Man With Todd’s Face storyline completely suckered me in (side note: I could have gone either way on that one – I like both those guys’ faces, even the one with a scar on it).

Anyhoo…

The sad fact remains: today’s 'entertainment' bombards our girls with morose and questionable fictional heartthrobs. Our girls are led to believe that they can change a bad boy (we can’t change anyone but ourselves, Sweeties. I learned that lesson a long time ago. From a soap opera). They’re not learning the complexities of human nature, nor are they learning the following: how to fake their own deaths, give birth after menopause, recover from amnesia, or run a multi-billion dollar company fresh out of high school.

But that’s just me…I could be wrong.


Beth Newman
Image consultant/life coach/author
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

Beth’s new book, '365 Days of Fabulosity', will be available through Amazon later this month!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

July's Nutshell


Here I sit, a few days into the month of August, and I’m still reeling from some events that transpired during the month of July. As you know, I like to muse elegantly at the end of each month about lessons I’ve learned, truths I’ve discovered, new amusements, and anything else that’s caught my fancy within the last four weeks. So here goes nothing (or something, depending on your point of view):

Skyrockets in Flight – We live in a great nation, in spite of all the political drama that plagues our headlines. When we come together in a spirit of celebration, I realize that, essentially, we are all the same. We’re all connected. We live in a place where we can choose to be and do anything we wish. However, when we choose to be a line-cutter in order to score the last of the Kettle Corn, we will receive dirty looks. Prepare yourself for the fall-out should you go this route.

Waves of Clarity – For me, sitting and staring at a large body of water is necessary for my peace of mind. I’ve come to greatly depend on the Gulf of Mexico for answers (and she’s yet to let me down). When we turn off, we tune in, and it’s that inner guidance that will ultimately put us on the right path. I’m really excited about changes on the horizon.

Summer Reruns– History continues to repeat itself. No matter how much I’ve desired certain outcomes, I’ve wised up to the fact that some people simply won’t change. How sad…

We All Scream for Ice Cream – When you enjoy lunch at a favorite restaurant with a gorgeous, vivacious and incredibly sweet young woman, the management rewards you with free ice cream. Henceforth, I shall only dine out with attractive, fabulous people.

Beware of False Prophets - Enlightened, great individuals don’t have to tell others just how enlightened and great they are. They simply need to live it.

Nerd Alert – I will stop what I’m doing and forgo a night on the town just to watch a Star Wars marathon.

That is all.

Beth Newman
Image consultant, life coach, author
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Peeing With Steve Martin


Years ago, Steve Martin filmed a movie in my hometown. A gentleman with whom I worked at the time had the great fortune of peeing next to Mr. Martin in the men’s room of local comedy club.

This gentleman babbled nonstop about it for three days. He spoke of it as if he’d found the cure for cancer. All excitement….like it was some sort of earth-shattering discovery.

I feel sorry for most celebrities. After all, they’re just people. But because they’re in the limelight, in some form or fashion, we pedestrians feel as if we own a little piece of them. We attend their movies, buy their music, and spend countless hours watching them on TV. As a result, we give ourselves permission to praise them, bad-mouth them, and force ourselves upon them at any given moment.

A friend of a friend once saw Tommy Lee Jones at a convenience store. She approached him, asked for a picture, and he replied that he’d rather not. She was offended, but I think Mr. Jones was perfectly fine in declining her request. Convenience stores simply aren’t, well, convenient most of the time. We’re there to get gas, buy a candy bar, and then hit the road. In and out – we usually don’t have time to take requests.

Just because one’s famous doesn’t mean he wants to be bothered.

And this is true for anyone with even the slightest bit of fame.

When I worked as a radio disc jockey, a woman attending one of my live broadcasts told me that she didn’t like my hair. She didn’t say ‘hello’, or ask how my day was going. The first thing out of her mouth was her opinion about my hair. So, how does one respond to this? Quite baffled as to how to handle the situation, I told her we were out of bumper stickers and donuts, but thanked her for stopping by anyway. We had plenty of bumper stickers and donuts, but I didn’t feel as if she deserved them after her tacky comment. Was this the right thing to do? Probably not, but I felt a little vindicated nonetheless.

Had I been a bank teller, a doctor, or a librarian, would she have done the same thing? Probably not, but then again, scores of weird, rude people roam the streets daily, so you just never know.

A lot of folks are star-struck, but I’ve never been one of them. During my stints in radio and television, I met an awful lot of famous people. Some of them were absolute gems – others, not so much. For laughs, I tell my friends about the time I interviewed a certain up-and-coming country music superstar who behaved dreadfully. He was rude, snarky, in desperate need of a shower, and definitely overstayed his welcome. After the interview, I said to my boss, ‘This guy will never amount to anything.’ A year later he was the hottest thing going, and today his music still tops the charts.

Shows you how much I know.

Anyway, I don’t tell this story in order to make him look bad – I really don’t. It was just truly one of the most uncomfortable and absurd moments in my life, so I have to share it with those who are near and dear. Trust me, I didn’t lose any sleep over it, and I’m happy that things turned out well for him.

Of course, in this age of technology, anyone can become a celebrity. We’ve YouTube stars popping up and garnering some pretty serious attention. Anyone with thoughtful or entertaining comments can gain quite a following on Twitter or Facebook.

So I guess the lesson of today’s little musing is this: we’re all basic, standard, run-of-the mill people. The movie star is no different from the maintenance man – he just makes his living a different way. Just because someone is ‘known’ does not mean that you have the right to pester him. Please respect the privacy of others and don’t paw at them. Mind your manners and speak kindly. If they’re having a private conversation with someone else, don’t interrupt them.

And let them pee in peace, why don’t you?


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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer School


Something about this time of year always has me feeling a bit nostalgic. As a kid, I loved summer vacation, and it always proved to be just that: a vacation. It meant time away from school (a good thing), trips out of town (a necessary thing, particularly for my overworked father), and an opportunity to improve myself (even back then, I was a self-help nerd).

Although I made fairly good grades (provided I enjoyed the course), school was not necessarily ‘my thing’ (ironic that I devoted twelve years of my adult life as a school teacher, don’t you think?). Don’t get me wrong – I believe a great deal of merit exists in most of these academic and athletic camps that have become quite popular these days, but I fear too many of our children are overscheduled right now when they should be relaxing and recharging for the upcoming school year. My youngest client, a girl of eight, comes to me three afternoons a week absolutely exhausted. She attends two summer camps daily, and when she leaves me, she heads to her piano lesson. It’s too much!

Sometimes just living life, even a kid’s life, can provide concrete learning that will ultimately shape our adult selves. Allow me to share a few of my own childhood discoveries that I still fall back upon today:

-Motor skills can be improved upon when one’s teen-aged aunt forces you to cut pictures of Shaun Cassidy out of Tiger Beat magazine. It wasn’t always easy – sometimes his face was in the shape of a heart.

-The ability to coordinate outfits and dress for any occasion is quite important and can lead to a great career (at least in my world). I am forever indebted to Barbie for that one. She slept in a Kleenex box, but she always looked fabulous – that’s a great example of understanding your priorities and ‘making do’ (to quote my mother) with what you’ve got.

-Sharing equals caring. Always the gentleman, Han Solo (in the form of an action figure) consistently offered his blaster to Kate Jackson when she and the other plastic Angels fought crimes in the Miller family living room. That’s also a good example of chivalry, which I’ve always found to be an incredibly attractive trait.

-I learned quite early in life the importance of good grooming thanks to Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers and a boy who encouraged me to get in touch with my feminine side (he’d already found his, and I truly loved him for it) by applying Vaseline to my eyelashes in order to make them shine.

-I can’t solve an algebraic equation or play an instrument well, but I do know the finer points of overthrowing one’s father as the head of the family business, faking one’s death, and overcoming amnesia thanks to countless summer hours spent watching Guiding Light (man, do I miss that show!)

-Lessons in compromise and strategic planning tactics occur when you share a room with your sister, particularly when negotiating which walls Duran Duran posters should grace, and which walls Rick Springfield posters should grace.

-Reading comprehension skills are greatly improved upon when one devotes hours to Seventeen magazine. A girl can hone her critical thinking skills by taking each quiz in the magazine, and discover, too, what type of boy she will marry, the colors that look best on her, and which hairsprays are the best at keeping her bangs resembling those of a mutant rooster.

-My music lessons came from listening to Amarillo’s All Hit Z-93. I would grow up and become the ‘Mid-Day Girl’ for that station a decade later. That’s one of those Law of Attraction spiritual-type lessons, too: what you think about, you bring about.

And I thought an awful lot about having fun, enjoying myself, improving myself, acting silly, and diving into weirdly creative activities each summer. I still do…

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

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Loyalty


I had no intention of addressing the subject of loyalty today, but, for myriad reasons, I’m compelled to do so. Loyalty – a vitally important concept that simply isn’t put into practice enough these days.

Our society, I fear, can only be described as a disposable one. Many folks are far too concerned about ‘the next big thing’ without really taking a moment to appreciate what they already possess. It occurs in relationships and in businesses. It happens because we pretend to have some fantastic, pie-in-the-sky vision of how things should be, rather than nurturing those things that currently are. Oftentimes, ego gets in the way. Sometimes it’s due to boredom. Other times, it’s the quest for the almighty dollar. In the end, though, it simply boils down to the ‘what’s in it for me?’ mentality that is overly-acknowledged and seemingly celebrated in our culture.

Case in Point 1: A woman was recently fired from her job of 10 years due to ‘restructuring of her department’. Truth be told, a friend of the boss wanted a gig within the company, and the only way to make this happen was to squeeze this woman out. Where’s the loyalty for those years of service? Had there been an issue with the woman’s job performance, should it not have been addressed? (And her performance reviews indicated that no such issue existed, by the way.) Isn’t it the boss’s job to nurture those whom he feels may not be up for the task, rather than merely cutting that someone off so abruptly?

Case in Point 2: A young wife discovers that marriage to a man who adores her isn’t quite how she envisioned it. Following the fairy-tale wedding, reality set in. She took up with someone new, devastating her husband. She made a commitment, yet felt no obligation to fulfill it. You may call it flight-of-fancy if you’d like, but it’s purely an act of disloyalty to make a promise to someone and not see it through. It’s unfair not to express any concerns or misgivings one may have and to simply abandon ship just because one feels like it. You made a vow to your significant other, and you owe him or her the opportunity to hash out any problems before leaving.

Case in Point 3: The higher-ups at one office encouraged its employees to stick it out in spite of air-conditioning gone kaput - for several days at once. In triple digit heat, the bosses expected the staff to stay and remain productive. Working from home was simply not an option. Not only does this make poor business sense to me, but I feel it’s a right-out health risk to the employees, and certainly not a morale-booster by any stretch of the imagination. Where’s the concern for their well-being? Where’s the loyalty and commitment to insuring that these workers remain happy, thus leading them to greater productivity in the long run?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe anyone or any business should subject themselves to misery and unproductive practices. I do feel, however, that we owe it to ourselves and to one another to at least try to work toward a positive solution. We must remain mindful of the big picture and ask ourselves the following questions: have the people we’re dealing with regularly proven themselves to be loyal and committed to our particular cause? Have we taken the time to help them when they may fall short of our expectations? Are our motives for doing what we do honest and of the highest standards? Do we practice the loyalty we seek?

Loyalty, ultimately, shall reap rewards. Perhaps not anytime soon, but that is why we must practice patience and faith. As a true believer in karma, I know all good deeds, including loyalty, result in multiplied blessings. Lack of loyalty, too, shall be recognized….but not quite so positively. Keep this in mind when you begin to experience disloyal leanings…..

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


If you feel lead to do so, I cordially invite you to check out the Elegant Fund. Proceeds benefit Girls, Inc., an organization that encourages girls to be strong, smart, and bold! http://www.newmanimage.info/Elegant.html

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Nice Girls WILL Finish First!



Over the course of the last few days, I’ve had the same conversation with parents regarding this mean girl epidemic that, evidently, isn’t going away anytime soon. One parent expressed his concerns, asking if he should encourage his daughter to blaze a mean girl path for herself because, ‘she’s just not making as many strides academically or socially as the girls who are more aggressive.’ One mom told me she’s all but given up, and has expressed to her daughter the old ‘if you can’t beat them, join’ them cliché.

Quite disheartened, I pondered this for a good long while. It seems as if our society is constantly inundated with reports and examples of bad behavior that are not only rewarded, but encouraged. All is not lost, though, I’m sure of it – as long as we adults continue to fight for what’s right and shield our children (and ourselves) from those negative, mean forces out there.

Set the Example
When you sneak into that coveted parking space at the mall (the one that the driver of the Camry had been waiting patiently for, complete with flashing blinker), you’re sending the message to your child that cutting in front of someone is a perfectly acceptable act. When you mention that the clerk behind the counter gave you too much change – change that you kept – you’re telling your child that it’s okay to essentially steal (which is what you’re doing when you don’t return the money). We must show our children that we are aware, compassionate, and concerned with being good citizens. Anything less than this could very well plant a few mean girl seeds.

Keep Them Busy (But Not Too Busy)
As one mom and I planned for her daughter’s summer consultations with me, I grew shocked as I discovered that the giant, color-coded calendar on the kitchen wall belonged solely to the girl (who is twelve-years-old). Mom has registered Daughter in every camp, club, and private tutorial session available in our community. ‘What about down time?’ I inquired. ‘Oh, we don’t believe in down time. It’s best if she’s busy. She’ll stay out of trouble that way.’ I politely disagreed, for I’ve seen too many overscheduled students in my fifteen years of education to know that when a child has too much on her plate, she grows weary, frustrated, and tends to rebel a bit more than her less active counterparts. Down-time is good; please trust me on this.

Limit the Media
Unfortunately, we live in a dumbed-downed era in which just about anything passes for entertainment. Many shows geared toward teens and pre-teens are highly sexualized, and often celebrate mean girl behavior. A good portion of the music aimed toward the same audience is guilty of this, too. I encourage you to know what your child is watching, listening to, and reading.

Get Involved
As a parent, it’s okay to make a nuisance of yourself: know who your child spends time with, get to know her friends’ parents. If you don’t feel comfortable about someone within her circle of friends, tell her so. Limit her time with them. You are the parent – you’re not her best friend – so take charge. Ask questions. Speak to her – not at her. Remain calm, knowing that any tantrums she throws willpass.

Nice Girls Do Win Out…In the End
It’s important to express to your daughter that good behavior will always be rewarded in some fashion. Karma is a very real thing, I believe. We must teach our children patience while practicing it ourselves. We must always take the high road in all that we do and say, and encourage our children to do the same. We must realize that a little lazy time is good for the soul. We must band together, do what’s right, teach what’s right, and remain vigilant in our fight against the mean girl syndrome.

If you've enjoyed today's musing, I encourage you to contribute to the Elegant Fund. Proceeds benefit Girls, Inc., an organization that encourages girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Details at http://www.newmanimage.info/Elegant.html. Together, we can make a difference!

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

Friday, June 10, 2011

Life Lessons from Judy



I’m compelled today to pay a little tribute to someone who I feel epitomizes elegance: Miss Judy Garland, who would have turned 89-years-old today. We hear an awful lot, still, about Judy’s tragedies, but I’d like to focus on the good things about her, and how we might take a few ‘Judy-isms’and apply them to our own lives:

There’s No Denying Talent - we live in age in which lip-synching and pitch correction are the norm. In Judy’s day, an artist was expected to be just that: an artist - someone who could actually rise to the occasion and offer something substantial to her audience. Judy sang with such tremendous emotion, and even her few ‘off performances’ still outshine most of today’s musical offerings. As far as her acting goes, sit down and view A Star is Born. Enough said.

The lesson: When we are passionate about our craft, we shall overcome adversities and contribute something positive for the good of all.

Beloved Mother – Yes, Judy’s children speak of her later years, recalling how her prescription drug abuse affected the family dynamic. Yet they do so lovingly, defending her, and are quick to point out that she did the absolute best with what she had. Take a look at Liza and Lorna: A Tale of Two Sisters http://youtu.be/VezePOqEjdI. That’s the true meaning of family, if you ask me.

The lesson: We must remain mindful of the powerful influence we hold over children. We must support them, have fun with them, and encourage them to strive to be the people they want to be (not who we want them to be).

Surround Yourself With Cool Cats:

Need I say more?


The lesson: We’re known by the company we keep. Our circle of friends determines others’ perceptions about us. Choose wisely.

Look Fabulous Without Being a Cookie-Cutter Replica of Others – Early in her career, the powers-that-be at MGM took Judy to task about her weight, her nose, and other things. One of the things I love most about Judy is that she didn’t look like all the other Hollywood starlets of her time. I think she was most beautiful during the run of The Judy Garland Show. Her to-die-for wardrobe and simple hair and makeup screamed Sheer Elegance.

The lesson: We must find our true style, and never let those who think they know best influence us about our face, figure, or fashion. If we can retain the great Bob Mackie to design for us, all the better!

So there you have it: my little musing about an icon whose talent has withstood the test of time. Fifty years from now, will we reflect as such on the Taylor Swifts and Beyonces of our time? No offense intended, but I think not.



Monday, May 30, 2011

May's Nutshell




Hello, Sweeties! I’m just sitting here, sipping my third cup of coffee, and reflecting on the life lessons brought to me by the month of May:

Spend Time With Old People – they won’t always be around, and no matter how much you think you know, you can still learn something from them.

Get Over It, Beth Newman – As much as I try to let go, I still find myself quite disheartened by the downfall of what was once a very special place to me. Apathy has virtually destroyed something for which I worked extremely hard. I take comfort, however, that I’ve made life-long, positive connections with those who were with me during this entity’s heyday, and I recall proudly that, once upon a time, this entity was a very special place.


Revelations
– Should you feel compelled to show pictures of your lovely wife to a virtual stranger, do insure that nude photos of yourself are not included in the mix. Count yourself lucky, too, that the woman with whom you shared those photos doesn’t name names in a certain little elegant blog she writes.

Awkward discoveries – you may learn that someone from your present life has a negative connection to someone from your past. It’s best to come clean about how you fit into this picture (no matter how insignificantly), and insure both parties that you don’t have a dog in their fight. (Note to self: get this done ASAP)

Here and Now – you are where you are right now for a reason. The people in your life right now are here for a reason. Always show yourself to be classy, comforting, and supportive. You may, in fact, change their lives by doing so.

Bi-Lingual – When one uses Google translator to insure that her cleaning lady completely understands requests, one must prepare herself for the fact that the cleaning lady will, in turn, leave detailed notes – in Spanish, for her. Time to order Rosetta Stone, I think.

Hollywood Tragedy – I was quite saddened to learn about the death of actor Jeff Conaway, who portrayed Kenickie in the iconic film, Grease (just like every girl who grew up in the 70s ad 80s, I’ve seen Grease dozens of times). His struggles with addiction were, of course, noted in the tabloids, and I rooted for his recovery (as I do with anyone who deals with any sort of struggle, whether publicly or privately). I hope he’s found peace, and I shall always recall fondly these wise words: A hickey from Kenickie is like a Hallmark card…..

And that concludes my month. Cheers, Sweeties!

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

ps...If you've enjoyed this little musing, I invite you to contribute to the Elegant Fund. Proceeds benefit Girls, Inc., an organization that inspires girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Details at http://www.newmanimage.info/Elegant.html.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Giving Gladly


I’ve been reading a great deal about the concept of giving lately. I’ve always believed myself to be a ‘good little giver’, but until recently, I never really considered my attitude while giving. I’ll confess, it’s not always as positive as it should be. As a society, we’re expected to give our money, our time, and our attention to various people and entities. We’re taught that we’ll reap blessings when we give, but here’s the kicker: we won’t reap anything positive if we’re not giving joyfully and without expectation.

When we give of ourselves, we shouldn’t expect anything in return. Giving should feel good, and when it does, we know we’ve done it for the right reasons. If it feels forced, or if we get upset because we weren’t recognized for our efforts in a way that we thought we should be recognized, then we’ll never reap a blessing from it.

In The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra tells us that we must give those things we want out of life (respect, happiness, time, money, etc.). It’s a karmic thing: what goes around comes around. When we give for the right reasons, we will certainly be rewarded in some way.

In his book, Attract Money Now (http://www.attractmoneynow.com/), Dr. Joe Vitale makes the same claim. He goes on to discuss the importance of giving only where we find inspiration and spiritual nourishment. We can apply this ‘money-making’ concept to each aspect of our lives. Where are we placing our attention? How are we interacting with others? How are we spending our time? Are we really getting what we want out of life?

Again, the key is giving gladly.

Don’t let Bono or the Baptist Church tell you how to give. Don’t allow anyone to monopolize your time and energy if you don’t receive a boost from it. Don’t expect anything in return. Search your heart, and give lovingly your time, attention, and yes, even your money to those people and causes that are special to you, that inspire you, and that you feel are truly worthy of your efforts.

Then grab an umbrella, because blessings shall rain down upon you.

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

If you've enjoyed this free article, I invite you to help me show some love to Girls, Inc. Details at http://www.newmanimage.info/Elegant.html. Together, we can make a difference - thank you!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Audrey Hepburn: An Elegant Tribute




Audrey Hepburn epitomized grace and style, not only in her appearance, but in her very essence. On this, what would have been her 82nd birthday, I’d like to pay tribute to Ms. Hepburn, and remind us all that true style goes much deeper than fashion.

True, she was born with beauty and enviable bone structure. When Audrey hit Hollywood, the prevailing notion of the acceptable way for women to dress was highly sexual (hourglass shapes teetering upon mincing heels). She offered another way for women to style themselves – and behave. She proved one didn’t have to carry herself ‘in a certain way’ in order to garner attention. Her subtle beauty continues to resonate with women everywhere, I believe. That’s why fashion designers still pay tribute to her in their own ways: crisp white shirts, clean lines, and little black dresses will never go away. It’s all about class and simplicity.

But it went much deeper than fashion with Ms. Hepburn. Audrey was one of the first celebrities to utilize her fame to help others – particularly those that no one seemed to care about. Long before Angelina Jolie made it chic, Audrey visited some of the most desolate places on earth, committing herself fully to reaching out to others who were less fortunate. She continued to do so long after she left the spotlight, and didn’t need a slew of photographers to record her every move. That’s a hard concept to grasp for our ‘reality TV’ generation, but it just goes to show that when you do something from the heart, something you’re passionate about, you don’t need an audience.

Of course, she faced struggles, as we all do: she grew up without a father, survived the Nazi threat in World War II, dealt with unfaithful husbands and two divorces, and lived under constant scrutiny from the media – all while managing her extraordinary film career and raising two children. By all Hollywood accounts, she was absolutely adored by everyone because of her kindness and compassion.

So I guess the point of today’s little musing is this: you can look fantastic while keeping it simple. You can survive anything as long as you have hope, and you can make a difference in this world, provided you’re doing it for the right reasons.

With that, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Audrey:

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.

Very true, Ms. Hepburn…and thank you.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Own Backyard




Charity begins at home – Andria Terence

I believe in giving. I believe in assisting others less fortunate than me. I believe we are a global community, and we must do what we can.

With that being said, I don’t believe that we have to look too far in order to find someone who could use our help.

Our society seems to be a little too focused on reaching out across the seas to lend aid those less fortunate. While my thoughts go out to those in far-away lands who are hungry, ill, or trying to piece their lives back together after some sort of devastation, I can’t help but think there is someone in my own backyard who is also in need.

I wonder what might happen if we focused a little more on our own community. Perhaps our ‘at risk’ kids wouldn’t be at risk anymore. Perhaps the homeless man on the street would have a permanent place to call home. Perhaps the struggling single mom could rest easy knowing she and her children are safe.

Perhaps our country as a whole would be a little (or a lot) better off.
Of course, with myriad charities out there, how do we know where to begin?

My advice: listen to your heart. What are you passionate about? Personally, my concern is children, particularly young women who run the risk of traveling down very dangerous paths. I’m also concerned with the well-being of our four-legged friends. I wish I had the funds – and energy – to contribute to every cause, but I’m just me, and can only do so much.

And if you’re truly passionate about reaching out further than your own backyard to assist someone, go for it. Please don’t let the mainstream media or some dopey celebrity influence you here, though. It’s very chic right now to raise funds for international causes, but chic isn’t what it should be about. Trust me when I tell you, there is someone very close to you who will be just as grateful (and probably more so)that you took time for them.

Let’s clean up our own backyard before we try to tackle someone else’s. We might just amaze ourselves by the results of our efforts.

Beth Newman
Image consultant, life coach, author
Newman Image
www.newmanimage.info
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!


PS....If you’d like to join me in supporting Girls, Inc (a local organization committed to empowering at-risk girls), please visit http://newmanimage.info/Elegant.html.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wordly Wise




Words equal power.


In this day of instant communication, and society’s seemingly incessant need to purge itself at every turn, we forget this. In my quest these last couple of years for something more substantial, I’ve discovered that there are consequences to the words we choose. Joel Osteen refers to it as speaking a blessing – when we proclaim ‘woe is me’ or ‘my ex is a worthless sack of you-know-what’, we are ultimately putting the kibosh on good vibes intended for us.


You may not believe in God, or any sort of higher power; that’s your prerogative. You might, though, agree with me that sorry, negative language never benefits anyone. Sure, you may feel better after popping off at the distracted woman behind the counter, but odds are you’ve just ruined her day. She, in turn, will most likely let her ruined day affect someone else. It’s called the ripple effect.


Author and success coach Jack Canfield says that one of his requirements for his staff is that they must avoid negative comments and words while at the office. Mr. Canfield knows that we cannot achieve success if we’re not speaking positively and for the greater good of all involved.


There are four avenues of communication I’d like to share with you today. My intention is, at the very least, that they provide some food for thought.


Social Networking
I suppose the posts I read each day through the likes of Facebook and Twitter got me thinking about the way in which we communicate. I know far too much about people – some of whom I’ve never met. I encourage you, Gentle Reader, to carefully consider everything you post. When you speak ill of someone, it reflects poorly on YOU. I know we must vent from time to time, but the Internet is not the place to do it (unless, of course, you start your own blog like I have ;) Keep it light, breezy, entertaining, and informative. Thank you.


Sarcasm
Now, don’t get me wrong. I tend toward sarcasm on a regular basis, but it is always in jest and only with those who truly know I’m acting silly. There exists a fine art to sarcasm; one must practice it, hone it, and only use it with those who know you well.


Swearing
I’ll admit it: I swear. Not regularly. As with sarcasm, I only do it –on occasion – to get a laugh out of my loved ones. I know my audience – that’s a big one. Words acceptable to my sister may not be appropriate to use in front of my mother. Words acceptable to my mother may not be appropriate to use in front of my grandmother. Timing is everything, too – letting an expletive fly after stumping one’s toe, or following a mascara wand mishap are understandable. Peppering one’s daily language with dirty words is not. To me, those dependent on foul language in order to make a point or to tell a story, come across as uneducated and ignorant.

Oh, and don’t get me started on children who swear. It’s not cute and shouldn’t be encouraged.

Grammar
I’m a former English teacher, so humor me, please. Much of the general adult population needs to go back and review what we learned in middle school. As with swearing, grammatically incorrect conversation benefits no one. If you feel as if you need a quick review, pick up a copy of Clinton Kelly’s How to Be Freakin’ Fabulous (ironic he includes grammar lessons in a book with the word ‘freakin’ in the title, but it’s his book and he can call it whatever he likes). He’s got fun examples on proper parts of speech and correct usage. You can click the Elegant Reading tab here on my blog to order a copy.

I encourage you, Sweeties, to take care when communicating. Represent yourselves well. Insure that what you say serves as a blessing to others…and to yourselves.

PS…If you’ve enjoyed today’s little musing, I’d like to tell you about the Elegant fund I’ve established. Proceeds benefit a wonderful organization called Girls, Inc. To get the scoop, visit http://newmanimage.info/Elegant.html


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

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Garbage In, Garbage Out


You may recall several years ago when Oprah Winfrey stopped airing shows that dealt with the usual day-time talk show fare. Oprah’s smart. She realized the old concept of Garbage In, Garbage Out – what we put into a heads and hearts will surely manifest itself into our daily existence.

A few years back, I found myself in a dark place. I knew I needed to make changes, but I’d built a wall around me so thick that it took a serious Come to Jesus Moment for me to realize just how far I'd gone. Ready for peace, I began taking desperate measures to restore my well-being: I turned off the TV (e-gad!). I stopped reading dumb chick books. I tuned out a lot of music. Best decision I’ve ever made, my friends.

I don’t think we realize how much junk enters our subconscious minds on a daily basis. When we fill our minds with garbage (our own or someone else’s), it truly does play a role in how we feel each day. You can’t feel fabulous in a garbage bin.

In order to establish real relationships (and that includes the one we have with ourselves) we simply have to turn off the noise and start filling our minds with ideas and concepts that will positively serve us. We have to reach out to others in kindness; our goal must be to uplift and enlighten others. What goes around comes around…and that includes everything we say, do, and post on social networking sites. Keep that in mind the next time you feel like going off on a rant…you may feel better, temporarily, but you’ve heaped a huge amount of garbage on someone else (or, at the very least, you’ve forced them to block you from their newsfeed).

Because we live in such a negative society, unfortunately, it’s hard to find sources that nurture us rather than torture us. So I’ve taken the liberty of scouting out a few sites that I hope will provide you with excellent ways in which to occupy your time:

http://www.jackcanfield.com/articles.html
http://www.enlightennext.org/magazine/current/
http://www.contacttalkradio.com/hosts/carimurphy.html
http://www.drwaynedyer.com/daily-inspiration
http://www.joelosteen.com/Broadcast/VideoStreaming/Pages/VideoStreaming.aspx

I also encourage you to remain vigilant about with whom you spend your time. If you don’t feel good around them, get away from them. It really is that simple.

Garbage In Garbage Out – remember that, my friends, and insure you do your absolute best to shield yourself from the junk.

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

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Sidewalk


A true tragedy occurred in my little corner of the world recently. Without going into too much detail, a troubled young man is no longer with us. I saw this young man frequently, we chatted occasionally, and that was the extent of our relationship. I witnessed authorities remove his lifeless body from his parents’ home, and it’s had me thinking an awful lot about life…how we spend it, with whom we spend it, and how much of it is caught up in idleness and unproductive behaviors.

It’s caused me to review how I while away my hours. I know I tend to spin my wheels and focus on business far too much. I’ll burn myself out on it completely– physically, emotionally, and spiritually -if I’m not careful. I need a hobby…a daily diversion…a little outlet, if you will, in order to wind down from the day-to-day.

That, of course, leads me to the whole ‘life balance’ issue: have I been diligent in forming true bonds with people? Do I follow-up as well as I could with family and friends? Truth be told, I’m terribly shy and guarded, and I often go on the assumption that my family and friends know how much I care about them. That old cliché of action speaking louder than words exists for a reason….

I suppose this young man’s death opened my eyes a little bit, and it certainly has forced me to take stock in my own life. I need to reach out a bit more. I need to slow down. I need to become more aware that someone who shares a sidewalk with me might be in the market for a bigger smile as we head to our cars each morning, or a little more conversation at the mailbox each evening.

Because, really, when it gets down to it, life is about making those true connections. We should never leave anyone wondering how we feel about them. We should never get so caught up in ourselves that we miss out on true, meaningful, life experiences. Simple concepts, really, but ones we don’t adhere to as often as we should. I intend to change that about myself; how about you?

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

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

February's Nutshell


I believe in the importance of regularly conducting a life inventory, and have made a monthly practice of it. It never ceases to amaze me just how much I learn about myself and this world when I allow myself time for such reflection. So it is with much love (and a little sarcasm) that a share with you, Gentle Reader, my little epiphanies for February:

-Valentine’s Day is an over-rated conspiracy instigated by card companies. My beloved and I don’t need a specified day in order to express how we feel about each other. We do it daily, through our words and deeds (though I confess he’s much more a pro at it than I). Anyone who gets her nose out of joint because her Mister didn’t send the right flowers should really take a good, hard look at herself.

-On the subject of love, nothing strengthens the bonds of a relationship quite like the shared experience of a bad restaurant. And by bad restaurant, I mean poor service, under/overcooked food, and watered-down lime juice described as the House Margarita. Throw in a woman blowing her nose quite loudly at the next table, and you’ve got yourself a surreal experience, for sure. So thank you, TGI Fridays of Sugar Land, for laying yet another brick in the already strong foundation of Team Newman!

-When it comes to haircuts, sometimes it’s best to take matters (and scissors) into your own steady hands, no matter how much you adore your well-meaning but partially deaf hairdresser.

-When one starts visualizing and setting intentions for certain outcomes, one must be ready for doors to open. I’m quite thrilled with certain events that have transpired…events that will benefit me and others. I am grateful.

-I’ve learned over the past couple of years just how precious time is. That’s why I’ve grown quite particular about how I spend my time…and with whom.

-We’re all energy, and the amount of energy and the type of energy we emit into the universe certainly comes back to us.

-Anyone who drops the ‘F Bomb’ while accepting an award should have that award immediately ripped from her hands.

And that, Sweeties, is my month…in a nutshell.

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

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Some Achy-Breaky Accountability


Billy Ray Cyrus told GQ Magazine recently that Hannah Montana is to blame for his family’s troubles.

Really, Mr. Cyrus?

Who allowed his young daughter into the spotlight at such a young age? Who insured that he’d get a co-starring role in her show once his own fame had dwindled? Who seemed ok with a questionable photo shoot a couple of years ago?

You did, Mr. Cyrus.

Accountability is defined as taking responsibility for one’s actions, and there’s precious little of it, these days.

It’s quite easy to point the finger and blame others for our woes, but when the rubber hits the road – as it certainly will, we are ultimately responsible for what happens to us. Now, with that being said, Miley Cyrus, at 18, is plenty old enough to take responsibility for her actions. Teens do stupid things, yet most don’t have the opportunity – or misfortune - to do it in front of a camera. I find it quite distressing that Miss Cyrus was, evidently, never taught that with fame comes responsibility…little girls everywhere once looked up to her, and those little girls may have grown into young women who still look to her for their cues.

And please don’t give me that garbage that bad behavior comes with being a child star. For every Miley Cyrus, Lindsey Lohan, and even Danny Bonaduce, I offer you a Ron Howard, Jodie Foster, and Kurt Russell. I’ll see your cast of Eight is Enough and raise you The Cosby Kids (with the exception, perhaps, of Lisa Bonet). Kirk Cameron from Growing Pains sponsors his own ministry these days, and the only faux pas committed by The Facts of Life girls came from Mindy Cohn, when her poor fashion choices landed her on What Not to Wear.

(Side Note: I watched too much TV as a kid, and have definitely aged myself in that last paragraph)

As adults, we are accountable for our successes and failures. We are responsible for encouraging and inspiring our children to grow into good, decent adults. We must stop playing the blame game and take ownership of our lives. We must fess up to our mistakes and get on with things. And you can put that in your achy-breaky pipe and smoke it, darling.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An Elegant Review: Grammy Fashion 2011


I must preface this by telling you, Sweeties, that I’m not big on award shows, particularly the Grammys. I won’t get into all the reasons why; I’ll merely share with you today what I think is the most vital part of any awards ceremony: the fashion! So let’s take a look at Beth’s Hits and Misses for the 2011 Grammys:

Hits:

Nicole Kidman – She looked absolutely stunning. Her dress (John Paul Guiltier) suited her figure, complexion, and her revised, ravishing red locks! The fact that her face is once again mobile is a plus – she truly looks like a happy woman, and happiness surely is the best style accessory.

Jennifer Hudson – Had she worn her particular choice (Versace) to any other awards show besides the Grammys, I wouldn’t have been all that jazzed about it. But given the venue, I loved it. Everything about her look worked!

Kelly Osbourne – She’s gone from a semi-bratty, potty-mouthed child of rock to a lovely, potty-mouthed fashionista! Her dress (Tadashi Shoji) exuded sheer fun, and worked so well for the occasion.

Honorable Mention – Jennifer Lopez. Not usually a fan of super-short dresses, I thought J. Lo looked fantastic and completely at ease. Everything about it rocked!

First Style Fashionista Award: Selena Gomez – Absolutely lovely and age-appropriate. Her dress (J. Mendel) worked for her on every level – fit, color, and completely suitable for someone her age.

Misses:

Rhianna – Precious few can get away with vertical stripes, and Rhianna is no exception. I’m desperate for her to lose the orange hair, too.

Kim Kardashian – Her metallic number just didn’t seem to fit her. She’s a curvy gal, and nothing about her choice worked for her in any capacity (including the Miss America hairstyle)

Nicki Minaj - Ugh

Near Miss

Eva Longoria. If she were only a bit taller, I would have loved her in this outfit. Gals on the shorter side must exercise caution with any sort of drapping and or ruffle effect.

First Style Oh-No-She-Didn’t! Award: -Willow Smith. Talk about a hot mess, and shame on Will and Jada for allowing their daughter to leave the house in this one…to attend an awards show, no less. Parents, please stress to your children the importance of ‘dressing for the occasion’


And the Gents…

Hits

Keith Urban, John Legend, and Mick Jagger get my vote for the best dressed of the evening.

Honorable Mention John Mayer exemplified casual elegance.

Misses
Usher disappointed me with his strange choice in footwear. Sean Combs usually impresses me, but I didn’t care for his choice of trouser. Nothing about Adam Levine’s look worked for me.

And the First Style Fancy Lad Award(sorry, it’s the best name I could come up with on short notice- but it’s kind of catchy, don’t you think?)goes to Justin Bieber – looking snazzy in his slightly oversized white tux!

Of course, my Man, WTH award goes to Cee Lo Green. Honestly – what was that all about?

To check out photos of my hits, misses, and everything in between, visit www.stylebistro.com.

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

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Emerge from the Dark Side


Sometimes, we don’t understand just how dark it is until we start to see the light.

As children, society tells us that there are certain things we can and cannot do. Rewards and recognition may have come with ultimatums (‘If you don’t get better grades, I’ll be so angry with you. You’ll never go anywhere in life if you don’t hang out with this group of kids, and such). Perhaps we were flat-out told to do something in order to make someone else happy (Darling, marry a rich man who can support you – you know, that sort of thing).

We thus become the victims of a limited way of believing. As children, we’re surrounded by the intentions and ideals of parents and teachers. They have goals for us, which is good – to a degree – but oftentimes those goals are presented with the ‘do this or else’ caveat. As a result, we grow up to fear a few things, shun a few things, and generally repeat the cycle as adults.

These limited beliefs, however, only stunt our growth. They may exist as beliefs about our own capabilities (I’m not smart enough), beliefs about what it takes to succeed (I don’t have the funds to do what I want to do), beliefs about how we should relate to other people (even though he’s a pain, I should call Uncle Leo more often), and such. Moving beyond a limited belief system is a critical first step toward becoming truly happy and satisfied. No matter your age, no matter your status (socioeconomically, relationship, etc.), the time to take control and emerge from the darkness of limited belief is now.

You can learn how to identify those beliefs that are limiting you and then replace them with positive ones that support who you want to be (You’ll never be seen as fabulous if you spend most of your time in the gutter). This shift in thinking can mean the difference between a lifetime of ‘could haves’ versus accomplishing what you really want in life.

The key, which you already hold, is to make a decision about who you want to be, how you want to act, and how you want to feel. Our feelings and thought processes play a huge role in creating our lives. Yes, I said creating because that is what we do, whether we realize it or not. Our thoughts, our words, our actions, and even our manner of dress dictate the outcome.

No challenge is too great. We merely must set our minds toward success, feel ourselves being successful, and offer gratitude for the success we’re currently achieving. Replace any thought or belief that is keeping you from achieving your goals with an empowering thought or belief that will take you closer to your goals. Ignore the doom and gloom crowd. Surround yourself with positive, uplifting people, places and things. Stay focused on who you want to be, and know that you are worthy of being that person.

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

Monday, January 31, 2011

January's Nutshell


We’ve officially survived the first month of a new year, Sweeties. 2011 shall rock for us all-if we allow it to do so. It’s important, I believe, to reflect upon our victories and the general day-to-day in order to gauge just how far we’re coming along in the game of life. I’ve been doing just that, and have drawn the following conclusions:

-I really, truly don’t mind getting older. I’m comfortable in my own skin (maybe too much so, at times) and no longer feel as if I have something to prove. Terribly driven in my twenties and thirties, I now realize that my thought patterns far outweigh any actions I could take. Fabulosity is a mindset, and spinning ones wheels won’t get us to our desired destination.

-With age comes a few new ‘adventures’ (my doctor warned me about these), and I’m actually glad to have experienced what I can only assume was my first official hot flash, which occurred on the coldest night of the year. Talk about convenient! Note to husbands whose wives are dealing with the same thing: it’s sweet of you to offer us Advil, but Advil won’t cut it during these particular episodes.

-Going on television is really cool – don’t listen to those who say it’s not (unless, of course, they’ve been featured on some sort of America’s Most Wanted – type show; I can totally understand why they’re not too keen on going before a camera).

-And speaking of cool – reuniting with the grown-up versions of the kids I once taught truly does a heart good. ‘Newman’s Own’ have made me awfully proud!

-Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People, by Amy Sedaris, is a parody of craft books. Those who assumed they’d learn the fine art of macramé or whatever they’re into should have done their homework before buying the book (and sending it, unseen, to their grandmother for Christmas). Sedaris is dark, a bit twisted, but incredibly talented and funny. Her brand of comedy is not for everyone, so if you’re easily offended, take a pass on this one. Silently. Those of us who dig her will appreciate it.

-While on the subject of books, I encourage anyone seeking an elegant role model to read Joanna Lumley, the biography written by Tim Ewbank. Most of us know Ms. Lumley for her delicious portrayal of Patsy Stone on Absolutely Fabulous. A model in swinging sixties London, she rose above many of her peers. Her story is one of hard work, philanthropy, and sheer elegance. Those interviewed for the book describe her as kind, professional, funny, and as someone who goes out of her way to make others feel fantastic. These are traits we should all strive for.

-If you have a connection to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, please let me know the best way I can get my hands on discounted Keith Urban tickets.

And that’s my January, in a nutshell.

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