Inner Beauty Inspiration

Photoshopped Photo Horrors: Before and After

We live in the digital age, and it’s fascinating, isn’t it? We are all on the internet. No, not just sitting here looking at the screen, but we actually have virtual lives on the internet – e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc – social media and online dating have made it possible for us to really live on the web.

A friend was showing me the other day pictures she had altered with Photoshop – some just to play with the colors, some to adjust the light – and then one, which she said she had posted the photo shopped version of on her Facebook page. She had blurred her skin, altered the colors, and changed the shadowing to make the picture look completely different.

It made me recall all the reoccurring photo-shopped scandals we’ve encountered over the years.

I know this topic is brought up time and time again over the decades since the advent of photo editing technology, but why hasn’t anything changed? We are still so hungry for perfection that we are willing to look past the fact a picture we see in a magazine has been pinched and stretched beyond normal human proportions and not only admire the photo, but think to ourselves – “man, I want a body like that”.

What’s shocking is that some tiny tweaks are so not necessary – like Kim Kardasian’s hips getting smoothed out, or Cameron Diaz’s tummy tucked in the photo below.

I, for one, would love a magazine of ALL real-life women. No photo-shopping allowed. I would rather see some reality rather than yet another pinup of unattainable “thinspiration”.

What do you think – are we aware of the fact nearly every photo published is now edited, or are we blinded by wants of perfection?

Embracing Imperfection

“I like flaws and feel more comfortable around people who have them. I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.” Augusten Burroughs

I came across this post the other day about models falling and how when gorgeous models fall, it’s hard not to laugh. Exhibit A:

I can’t say I agree with that sentiment. For me, when someone absolutely gorgeous and wonderful takes a tumble – physically or metaphysically – I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief. It’s more of a, “thank heavens they AREN’T perfect!” kind of a reaction.

The most inspiring for me is when an outwardly perfect person, someone who many people – from young girls to grown women – want to be just like happens to fall and gets up gracefully. You know, with one of those “well, it happens, I’m human” type attitudes. A celeb with just that attitude towards life is exhibit B, Lady Gaga:

“I would say that a really big challenge, especially in high school, is the pressure to be cool, and to do things that people think is cool. My best advice is to just be yourself and to do what you believe in and, you know, that being yourself is the best thing to do.” Lea Michelle

I mean, who wouldn’t fall in the high boots and shoes Lady Gaga wears every day? And really, who doesn’t have flaws? Or have hard times, challenges, and difficulties – no matter how perfect they look on the outside? I for one just adore anyone who embraces their differences, and realizes that not only do these differences not make them flawed, but instead make them unique. I remember spending so much time growing up just trying to fit in with all my friends – do exactly what they did, wear all the same clothes, and look the same as them from how I did my hair down to what my face looked like.

I have to laugh as I look back, because today all I find myself doing I trying to set myself apart, embrace my differences and find my own style, niche, and life.

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” Marilyn Monroe

We all have “flaws”, none of us are perfect, and once we realize that and embrace it, we are able to let go of a lot of the insecurity that holds us back.

Shape Your Attitude, Shape Your Life

“My theory is that if you look confident you can pull off anything – even if you have no clue what you’re doing.” — Jessica Alba

This quote applies to every area of our lives, whether it be as significant as the choices we make or as small as the skirt we decide to throw on one morning. A few years back, I had an interview for a short term job that was a little challenging for where I was in my career at the time – which in reality, was nowhere, because I was only a sophomore in college with very little real world experience. I thought the odds were stacked against me, but I gave that situation my best. I dressed to the nines, went to the interview, and offered my ideas as confidently as I could, not knowing if they would love or hate what I had to say. Despite my doubts, I got that job, and they explicitly commented that they thought I had what it took to tackle the task at hand. Since then, I have always done my best to rise to the occasion and give something challenging my best effort – even if sometimes it makes me feel like a fish out of water.

Attitude is everything when it comes down to anything.

We can’t always be positive that taking a bold leap is going to work out. We don’t have a magic window into the future that will tell us what is coming next. Sometimes we win some and sometimes we lose some. Sometimes we really do have to fake it until we make it. However, all experiences, whether they are expected or not, planned or not, desired or not, shape us into who we are. Be confident in every step you take and you are far more likely to make every experience a positive one.

Photo Courtesy of: style.popcrunch.com

Becoming the Best YOU

“Self-care is critical to having a strong inner foundation. Taking good care of YOU means the people in your life will receive the best of you rather than what is left of you.” – Lorraine Cohen

Summer is ideally a time to kick back, but unfortunately for most of us, a day at the beach and an afternoon sipping lemonade in the sun is just not in the cards. Being busy isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but forgetting to take care of ourselves because we are too busy definitely is.

Stress takes a toll on us emotionally and physically when we forget to make time for just us.

It is much too easy to get so caught up in the day to day to-do’s that we completely let our own well-being slip away. Set aside a block of time each week to have some quality you time – and to help  you get started, here are a few easy and quick ways to put yourself first.

1. Go for a Workout

This is one of the simplest and most beneficial ways to give yourself “me time” to clear your thoughts. Head to the gym, sign up for a yoga class, or just simply take a walk outside. Working out is great for your health and helps relieve stress – and if you recall from the classic line from Legally Blonde – “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.”

2. Get Your Nails Done

There is something about having freshly primped and polished fingers and toes that does the soul good. Treat yourself to a mani-pedi at your nearest spa, and get pampered with some aromatherapy and quiet time. Or, if you like to do your own, pick up a new summer color and dedicate some time just to yourself.

3. Take a Bubble Bath

This is a “me time” classic. We all gotta get clean, right? Skip the shower and opt for a soak instead – add a capful of lavender scented bubble bath and a scoop of epson salt to warm, running water, light a candle, turn the lights down, and relax. You deserve it.

The Beauty of Your Spirit: Don’t Sell Yourself Short

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Nelson Mandela

I came across this quote today and it stuck with me. So many of us have a hard time believing in ourselves and what we are capable of. Every day we face things that challenge us, and every day we find a way to doubt our ability to overcome our challenges.

We turn to our outer selves, primping and pruning in order to make our inner selves feel more confident. In reality, if we only look at what is inside of us and let that shine above all else, it is then that we become beautiful.

We become “powerful” and “brilliant” as Mr. Mandela encouraged us all to become during his inaugural speech in 1994.

Another one of my favorite quotes is “a happy girl is a pretty girl” by Audrey Hepburn.

When we let ourselves become so bogged down by our insecurities, doubt, and negativity, we let ourselves lose an integral piece of our beauty as well. So today, take those doubts and kick them to the curb. Today, remind yourself of how much you are worth, how far you have come in your life, and everything you have to offer. Think of that one thing you always wanted to do, but doubted your ability to achieve it, and take the first steps – “It’s in all of us”.

Down to a Science: What Men Want

Long silky hair, generous curves, and a cranial cavity filled with tumbleweeds and glitter. Is that really what men want?

According to  Millionare Matchmaker Patti Stanger, it is. Now ladies, before we sharpen our nails and get ready to hurtle Virginia Woolf literature at the screen, Patti also adds (to paraphrase): “Don’t hate the player. Hate the game.”

She’s “just the messenger”. Patti asserts that, while she made a name for herself telling women to shed a few pounds, dye their hair, and to ixnay on the book learnin’, she’s only following biology.

If you have seen her show, you know that Patty has pretty strong opinions of what men want and find attractive and she’s never been one to mince words about it.  When it comes what women and men are looking for physically she claims it’s not her, its biology. She says “you can check with Harvard Medical school”.

“I’m not hard on women about their appearances for me. I’m hard on them for a man. When you know what the male species is looking for — ‘I’m not into a redhead,’ ‘I don’t want a fat chick,’ — I have to tell them that X won’t date you unless you’re this. I’m just the messenger,” she says.

So I checked with Harvard Medical School and… Alright, you win this time Patti, but I’m not happy about it! I think reducing love and attraction to science and then following it devoutly, like Patti, is more than ridiculous. Some of the most desirable women (to men) in history have had terrible love lives, meanwhile the often short haired Victoria Beckham and the tall and humbly proportioned Kate Middleton are still going strong with their prince charmings.

Interestingly enough, Patti also adds,  “If you put a straight-haired girl in a roomful of curly-haired girls, 90 percent of [men] will pick the straight-haired girl. There is something luxurious about Chinese silky straight hair. They just go for it.”

What do you think? Do men naturally prefer women with long straight hair? I tend to agree with that assessment, though when I polled a few of my male friends about it, they did say that they found curly women to be more approachable.  However, trying to to get them to fess up about their preferences was like trying to get a confession of infidelity out of a politician. It wasn’t going to happen. Not that I needed their confirmation; I’ve seen their girlfriends. There is definitely some truth behind men and long straight hair.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=741D60sxoEo&feature=youtu.be

True or not, take this with a grain of salt. Every once in awhile it’s fun to fish with bait; to throw on a pair of sexy heels and a yes, give you hair the sleek-over. Why do you think Zelo developed it’s at-home keratin treatment to eliminate frizz and straighten your locks?

But these things should never be a prerequisite for love.

You are absolutely beautiful, and I’m not just saying that. You’ve got it. Own it. Because if you don’t, then no amount of makeup and sexy hair will make up for it.

Peace. Love. Zelo.

Hilarious clip. Maybe there’s some truth to it after all!

Source: LEFKOWITZ, MELANIE, New York Post: http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/tv/mouth_of_the_border_nydxgjhNh1t9ewjPCPPmeN