Wednesday, July 28, 2010

100 Free Ways to Add a little style to your life....

42. Create a play list or CD of music that you find to be romantic or that creates a particular ambiance that you want to create. Better yet, create different ones for different moods.
43. Be secure enough to hold firmly to your convictions against pressure, yet do so with gentleness. There are occasions that demand a little righteous indignation, but make sure that your indignation is truly righteous and not selfish or petty. Let any righteous indignation spur you to do what you can to make things better.
44. Be well-mannered and considerate of others. The goal of being well-mannered is to be considerate of others. Manners are like an oil that can be applied in everyday situations to prevent unnecessary friction. Every person of principle will face times of necessary friction, when one must hold to an unpopular conviction. However, there is no virtue in making sparks by being thoughtlessly rude. Most of us need to spruce up our knowledge of etiquette every now and again. It's great to read a book about manners and etiquette that was written sometime between the 1930's to 60's and one that is up-to-date, with guidelines for twittering, texting, and the like. Between two such tomes, you should glean enough about etiquette to handle the daily events of life with tact. Again, manners stand out in today's world.
45. If you are married and have small children, do your best to make time for your marriage. Children benefit when a husband and wife keep their relationship happy and loving. Also, children will grow up, while you and your husband will continue to live together and build on the relationship you created during the years your children were in the home. It may seem impossible to balance being a wife and being a mother. You may be so exhausted you can't even think of keeping your friendship with your husband alive, much less taking time for romance. But, if you find creative ways to make time just for you and hubby, you'll be a happier mother.
46. Pick your battles wisely. The woman who gets upset over every little thing only makes herself and those around her unhappy. The woman who lets her anger fly without judgment wounds herself and her family. The woman who nags about petty things again makes herself and others around her unhappy. Nagging, snapping, and carrying a chip on your shoulder are ineffective ways to deal with others. When an issue arises, ask yourself if this is something that is really worth confronting someone about. It might be or it might not be. At least ask yourself the question. If you find yourself becoming contentious over a great number of things, ask yourself why. Chances are, you are not at peace within yourself and need to deal with your own heart.
47. Find what is good in others and learn how to draw out another's best qualities.
48. Be warm and open.
49. Live in the moment.
50. Don't forget to have fun. Being a woman, wife, and mother in today's world can be stressful. Sometimes, women lose their sense of humor under pressure, and they also feel that they shouldn't take time to play. If their husband or children suggest fun times, they may even put down their ideas. Yet, it's healthy to include fun times in your life. If you are too busy to enjoy life with your loved ones, you are probably too busy period.


Friday, July 23, 2010

100 Free Ways to Add a little style to your life....

31) bien dans sa ame -- Be well in your soul; attend to your soul's well-being. It's the only way you can truly be bien dans sa peau, that quality of well-being and feeling at ease in one's skin that is b beauty secret prized by French and Italian women.

32) bien dans sa peau -- French and Italian women rate feeling at home in one's skin, or being poised, or having a sense of well-being and confidence as one of their greatest beauty secrets. See above.

33) Prize skin care over makeup -- A little makeup does wonders, but it works best if your skin is radiant and you apply your makeup sparingly. Take the time to put on your sunscreen, clean and moisturize your face before bed at night. Since we're talking about the intangibles of beauty here, don't forget that you probably have some of the best skin aids on hand in your kitchen. Olive oil and coconut oil, for examples, are two powerhouses for the skin. Also, learn how to give yourself a home facial. When it is time to spend money, search out reviews for skin creams, cleansers, etc. Price and hype are not the best indicators of which skin care items are best. Study and spend your money wisely. Also, for me at least, pretty cosmetics are more tempting to buy than the skin care basics, but, again, cosmetics are best used only as slight enhancers to beautiful skin. Also, if you notice anything concerning about your skin or you are past a certain age, don't forget to visit a dermatologist. Make sure that you get a check-up once in a while to catch any little skin cancers or pre-cancers that might be forming.

34) Deep condition your hair with olive oil or coconut oil. Shampoo hair. Towel dry gently. Apply the oil to damp hair. Be careful not to apply too much. With a little experimentation, you should be able to tell how much to put on your hair. Tuck hair into a plastic shower cap so that the cap will retain the heat from your scalp. Wear at least an hour. Rinse the oil clean.

35) Use olive oil or coconut oil as a cuticle softener.

36) If you have an oily scalp or flat hair near the scalp, apply any conditioner that you use from the ears down only. Concentrate most of the conditioner near the ends, which are the most damaged part of your hair.

37) Dry scalp? Condition scalp as well as hair.

38) If you have very long hair, coat your palms with an oil, such as olive, and gently pat the ends of your hair. Don't use too much. This is a leave-in treatment for your ends. Use just enough to protect the damaged ends without the oil being really visible.

39) Another way to apply oil as a deep conditioner is to mix it with water in a spray bottle. Spray it on and leave it in overnight. Shampoo and style as usual in the morning.

40) Learn something new now and again. Learn something that is interesting to you. This adds to loveliness in many ways. It helps to keep your brain healthy as you move through the ages and stages of life. The excitement gives you a bit of a glow. It helps you from falling into a dull rut. With all the access we have to information in our day, we have no excuse not to keep developing our interests.

41) Keep up with a few topics that are good for conversation. You don't have to become an expert unless you want to. Just learn enough to ask some informed questions or to make a comment or two. Learn enough that you can share in the interests of others in your life. For example, even if you don't like sports, chances are your dear hubby does, and there are likely others in your life who like sports, as well. You don't have to turn into a sports fanatic, but you can learn enough to at least keep up with major happenings. In fact, those who enjoy sports will enjoy sharing their knowledge with you if you learn enough to know some questions to ask. Taking an interest in topics that others like not only helps you to relate to other people, but you just might find a topic that interests you more than you thought it did.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

100 Free Ways to Add a little style to your life....

21) Edit. -- The lovely woman knows how to edit her thoughts, her words, her wardrobe, and the things in her surroundings. Choose a little of what is best over a lot of things that are "Ok". Go for quality over quantity. De-clutter. Neaten. Don't forget to be creative. If you have a skillful eye, you might notice quality where others overlook it. For example, you might realize that the worn piece of furniture that was donated to a thrift shop has better basic quality than a brand new item from a discount store. With a little know-how and elbow grease, you might be able to restore the thrift store item to a piece of real beauty.

22) Cook with love. Learn to cook well. Ideally, the keeper of the home prepares most meals herself. However, if you don't have much time in your life to cook or you don't especially enjoy cooking, at least learn to cook a few signature dishes. Also, learn how to combine fresh ingredients with commercially prepared foods to increase taste and health. If you cook most of the time, have a plan for putting together an improvised meal in an emergency. Also, if you are already an accomplished cook, you can still learn something new to take your ability to an even higher level. When you do cook, put love into it.

Cooking is pleasure and an integral part of what is called l’√©quilibre alimentaire, a balanced approach to eating. Mireille Guiliano

Cooking is conviviality and sharing, especially when cooking with others—a spouse, a friend, or children. Mireille Guiliano

Love is patient and kind, Love is not jealous, conceited, proud or boastful, it is not arrogant, selfish, irritable or rude. Love does not keep a record of wrongs. Love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth, Love never gives up, and its faith, hope and patience never fail. Love is eternal.''

- 1 corinthians 13

23) Write thank you notes and attend to invitations with R.S.V.P. written on them. Old-fashioned courtesy stands out in today's world.

24) Practice five new ways to do your hair with the cut that you currently have.

25) Review your days, weeks, months. Are there things you did and wished you didn't do? Are there things that you need to make right? Are there things you left undone? Are little urgent things pushing you along, while you don't make time for the things that really matter to you? Are you living according to your purpose? What can you do to make time for loved ones? The goal is not to beat yourself up, but to keep yourself on track.

26) Don't fret about the past or worry about tomorrow. Live today well.

27) Take time out to have fun. Take time to relax. Take time to enjoy your loved ones. If you are the type of person who lives at high speed and who stays ultra-busy, you may have to schedule this on the calendar.

28) Celebrate being a woman.

29) Accept your age and stage in life and physical features that you cannot change. Forgive others and seek and accept forgiveness for yourself. To paraphrase the "Serenity Prayer", accept the things you cannot change and change the things you can and want to change and ask God for wisdom to help you know the difference. Don't envy others or wish to be someone other than who you are. This will help you to be mentally poised and comfortable in your own skin.

30) Notice and nurture children. Do this for your own children and for the children of others.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

100 Free Ways to Add a little style to your life....

16) Value God over style. Value people over style. Value substance over style. Have a grand passion in life, preferably loving God. Style comes across as fake and self-centered if it's not founded on substance and genuine caring for others. Yes, we have to work at the externals in order to be lovely. However, style is often a by-product in our lives, rather than a means to its own end. Style is a little bit like happiness in that the more you pursue it for its own sake, the further away you get from truly having it. But, if you pursue a purpose that is greater than you are and if you put others first, you will likely naturally develop your own particular style.

The great value of life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.

- James Truslow Adams

17) Make a list of fun free things to do in your area. Knowing how to get up a fun event is always an asset to style. Since we're keeping this on the cheap, search out fun and free things that you and your certain someone or you and your friends or you and your family can do together. Every place has some things to do that are free and fun, even if it's only a particularly pretty spot for a picnic.

18) Exercise. You knew this was going to be on the list, didn't you? We all know about the health, beauty, and mood-enhancing benefits of exercise. The trick is to do it consistently. Many methods of exercise don't cost anything.

19) Stretch. Stretch keeps you lithe, and it helps you move in a way that is youthful. The older you are, the more you need to stretch. Also, stretching can help reverse today's postural problems that result from hunching over computers and phones and the like. It's also beneficial when you travel, because sitting too long without stretching can actually be harmful to the body. Taking a break now and again to do subtle little stretches will help your health, beauty, and state of mind on a long trip, especially if you are flying.

20) Linger over your meals and chew your food thoroughly. Eating on the run means that you consume your food so quickly that your body doesn't have time to register that it is satisfied. Thus, you are likely to eat too much. If you eat more slowly, however, you will probably consume less food as you will be better able to sense when your body has had enough food. Chewing food thoroughly also helps your digestion and your nutrition. Some of the process of extracting nutrients from your food happens in your mouth. Also, your esophagus and stomach are better able to handle well-chewed food. Eating slowly is more attractive than shoveling in food anyway. Plus, you will have time to enjoy your meals. Because of the pace of our modern life, finding time to eat slowly is difficult. However, even if eating more slowly means that you can only have a few nibbles before heading off for your child's soccer game, you'll be better off than gobbling larger amounts. You can always enjoy a leisurely snack later on.


Friday, July 16, 2010

100 Free Ways to Add a little style to your life....

60 something Catherine Deneuve

11) Keep a little mystery about yourself. Open communication is healthy! However, there are some things that don't need to be mentioned either in public or to a belove aged, ed spouse. When asked by a reporter her tips for staying beautiful as she aged, French grandmother responded, "I never talk about such things in front of my husband." If beauty tips are better left to the imagination, so are the nitty-gritty details of many an ailment.

12) Every day, find one thing for which to be grateful. Another bit of advice from a French mother -- or, at least, it was allegedly said by a medeival French woman to her daughter on her wedding day -- "Always find at least one thing in your day about which to be happy." This is similar to some of the tips posted yesterday, but it implies the effort of really looking for the blessings in your day. Some days in life are hard, but there is usually at least one thing for which we can be grateful. Learning how to find these jewels in our days goes a long way toward creating in us a beautiful attidue.

13) Use up all those jars of lotions, potions, and cosmetics. Some women buy a cosmetic or skincare product and use that one product until they run out. Others of us buy too many. If you find yourself in the latter categroy, determine to use up what you have before you bring anything else in. Also check use-by dates and throw away anything that is old and, thus, possibly contaminated. (Mascara, in particular, is one cosmetic item with a short shelf life.) Using what you have before buying more will de-clutter your dressing space and make it look prettier. It will also be good for your budget.

14) Keep a spray bottle of chilled water in your fridge. You can use this to freshen up on a hot day. You can even spray a slight mist over your face without ruining your makeup, if you are careful. Don't forget to re-apply sunscreen if needed.

15) Learn to mend and alter. Many a skillful woman throughout the ages has extended the life of her wardrobe with careful mending and alteration.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blah to Fab for Free: 100 No-Cost Ways to Put a Little Style in Your Life...

When we want to spruce up our wardrobes or or homes, we have lots of resources to guide us. For example, there is Nina Garcia's popular list of one hundred clothing pieces and other items she considers essential to creating personal style.

For me, an attack of the frumps often has as much to do with my mindset and habits as it does what is actually hanging in my closet. Or, when looked at from another angle, a dowdy wardrobe is an outworking of my inner being.

So, I thought it might be fun to come up with a list of 100 intangibles of loveliness. After all, what woman couldn't use some no-cost tools in her beauty kit? Besides, the outer wrapping doesn't wear well until the inner foundation is in place.

Here are my first ten choices, in no particular order of importance.

1) Posture. Sit, move, and stand in a way that is not only graceful, but also promotes health. This is a weakness of mine, so I'm focusing here, first.

2) Smiles. Cultivating a generally pleasant expression not only preserves the face, but also makes us seem friendlier and more approachable.

Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important. ~Janet Lane

3) Tears. While it's important to smile, there are also occasions for compassionate tears. It's good to know how to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. It's also healing on occasion just to sit down and have a good cry.

"There is a sacredness in tears...They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief...and unspeakable love."
Washington Irving.

4) Words. Speaking words that meet the need of the moment is a great skill. Speaking kindly, gently, and directly is a great art. Knowing how to say only that which builds others up takes loving insight.

5) Ears. Great listeners make the most fascinating conversationalists.

6) Eyes. Eyes to notice others. Self-centeredness is anything but appealing.

7) The cultivated eye. The cultivated eye knows how to arrange the elements in a room in a pleasing manner. The cultivated eye also knows how to dress to best advantage. The cultivated eye understands line, color, space, symmetry, visual balance, and light. The cultivated eye can arrange a pleasing table. The cultivated eye knows how to take a room from being cluttered to calm by carefully editing and organizing. I'm not referring to someone who likes or understands "high style", but someone who can take every-day elements and create from them a space that is warm, cozy, and welcoming. Some of us are born with a talent for such things. Others of us have to learn by careful observation and practice. We may need to enlist the help of a friend whom we know has a good eye for arranging things. One caveat: In cultivating our eye to see how to create loveliness out of the ordinary, we need to guard against becoming discontent with what we have or critical of others who might do things differently than we do. We're not aiming for artistic snobbery here, but we're simply doing the best we can with what we have at our finger tips.

8) Dress in good deeds. Care for those in need. Love the unlovely.

9) Watch your thoughts. Think about things that are pure, true, lovely, admirable, noble, righteous. Set your mind on things that will last for eternity. Then, the passing of time will be glorious to you and not a reason to mourn.

There is no cosmetic for beauty like happiness. ~Lady Blessington

10) Get the big picture, but attend to the details. When we take a first look at some beautiful spot in nature, we see that the whole vista is beautiful. Yet, when we take a closer look, we find that the scene is made up of a myriad of details. Just examining the many little details that comprise one lovely flower can keep us busy for a while. Even the lowly dirt is comprised of many elements and is home to many creatures. In fact, our whole world is made up of tiny, tiny details that we can't even see with the naked eye, such as the parts of atoms. God created things that are beautiful and good and functional, and He placed structure and order and detail and pattern into the universe.

If a woman is to create a lovely, organized, efficient space around her, as well as present herself well and do her work to her greatest satisfaction, she will need to attend to the details. (Not my strong suit!). Yet, at the same time, she needs to keep an eye on the big picture so that she doesn't get lost in the details and miss the overall significance of what she is doing. This is a delicate balance.

Attention to details is necessary in loving a husband, caring for children, cooking, sewing, laundering and ironing, mending, arranging rooms, setting tables, organizing one's self, cleaning, completing one's work for an employer, organizing a wedding or other social or family event, taking care of your grooming, and in being charitable and hospitable to others. In fact, it's hard to find any aspect of life in which taking care of the little things well doesn't add to the success of the whole endeavor.

If we are a big picture type of woman, we can train our eye to notice details and train ourselves to take care of the behind the scenes work. If we are detail oriented to the point that we spend a whole day taking care of dust bunnies and leave more important things undone, we can train ourselves to have a better grasp of the larger picture. So much of our happiness and effectiveness in life comes from knowing how to best spend the moments of our days. There is a time to be exquisite in our attention to detail and a time to do our best on a project and let it go. There's a time to make and ice a cake from scratch, for example, and there's a time to run to the bakery and buy one ready-made.

Attending to the details of life doesn't win us any glory. In fact, we may work hard to do a task well, only to feel that our husband, children, boss, friend -- whomever -- doesn't even have a clue how painstaking our work was. If we want to do our work well, we can't base our entire happiness on whether or not another person understands how hard we worked. We must get some satisfaction simply by knowing in ourselves that we poured our hearts into it.

In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject. The little, smallest human detail can be a Lietmotiv.
Henri Cartier-Bresson

So, these are the first ten in my list of "the intangibles of beauty and style". Next time, we'll explore items 10 through 20.

What about you? What's on your list of 100 Free Ways to Add Beauty and Style to Your Life?