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
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

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.

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.

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.

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

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach/Author
Newman Image
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:

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
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!
Online consultations available!