One Word

Pantone selects a single color each year to be the Color of the Year. This year the designated color is Ultraviolet. The influence of this company is so far-reaching that you’ll see this color show up in clothing fashion, make-up and beauty, and interior design.

I read on Pantone’s website that the pastel version, lilac, will come close to the level of popularity blush pink has enjoyed for the last several years.

How does Pantone determine which color to choose for any given year? They employ social psychology. Lee Eiseman, the Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute,  assesses the mood of the culture, trends she sees as she travels the world, and prospects for change on the horizon. Then she puts this information together with color psychology. Certain colors are supposed to evoke certain emotions and ideas.

The result of her study, and maybe not a little magic fairy dust, is pronouncement of the Color of the Year.

People have been doing something similar with words for many years. They choose a word they believe will characterize the coming year and make it their theme. If you aren’t familiar with this trend, look up “one word” on Google or Pinterest. The list of books and resources is long.

Many factors are included in determining this word. Maybe is it is a word that keeps cropping up in the final months leading up to the new year. Maybe it characterizes a recurring theme in Scripture that a person reads over the course of weeks. Christians will often pray for the Lord to reveal their word.

Last year I chose my first word of the year. It was intentional. I could have chosen obedience because that is what I wanted the result to be. I promised God to follow through on everything He put before me to do.

Wow, what a year 2017 was! Many new opportunities arose, and some of those sent me way outside my comfort zone. One area of intentionality resulted in this new website. Creating it stretched me beyond my imagination.

So here we are in January of another new year. My new word for 2018 is overshadowed. I want my life to be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. Every idea I pursue needs to be conceived by the Holy Spirit, not dreamed up in my head.

Keeping this word in front of me will help me stay focused on the right things.

Maybe you need to stop worrying so much this year. Your word might be rest. Maybe you sense many opportunities ahead that the Lord can bless. Your word might convey this idea.

Do you already have a One Word for 2018? What are your thoughts on choosing a single word for a year? I’d love you hear what you think. You can click on the title of this post to see a comment box.

And don’t forget to watch for Ultraviolet.

Photo: Pixabay

Dress 10 Pounds Thinner Part 10

Do you want to look thinner without losing weight? Even without changing your wardrobe? You can!

How can this happen? One very simple trick will help you appear thinner.

Improve your posture.

By that I mean stand tall with your shoulders back and tummy tucked in. I promise this can take pounds off your appearance.

I said it was simple, and while it is, there are some things you can do to help it work. Most of us don’t even think about the way we stand or sit. We slouch without being aware we do.

So try this: walk up in front of a full length mirror. Relax and stand sideways. Do your shoulders roll forward? Does your chin jut forward? Does your tummy pooch out? If so, a few tricks can help correct your posture problems.

  • Remember not to sink into your bones. This simply means to use your muscles to support your bones. Here’s an exercise to help you feel what I’m talking about. While standing or sitting, try to touch the ceiling with the top of your head. Reach up using only your neck, chest and shoulders. Now let your head back down.  Did you feel the difference in your muscles?

By training your muscles to stand and sit tall, you’ll avoid sinking into your bones. Some good daily practices to help accomplish this are ballet, Pilates, and yoga. All of these disciplines utilize stretching and strength training. The ultimate result is good posture.

  • Go back to the full length mirror. If your shoulders roll forward, roll them back and down.  They should come into correct alignment. Get into the habit of rolling your shoulders back and down throughout the day. Over time, your muscles will remember what to do on their own.
  • When you roll your shoulders back and down, also pretend your head has a string coming out the top and it is being pulled up toward the ceiling. This will keep your head in proper alignment.

You might feel a little stiff when you first try these moves. But after you gain the correct posture, try to relax while maintaining good alignment. You don’t want to look like a board that’s walking around in your clothes!

No matter how tall you are, using your muscles to stand up with good alignment will make you look more confident and slimmer.

You are beautiful because God made you. His beauty radiates from your eyes. Now walk like you know you’re beautiful. Others will notice and might ask about the change they see in you. This will be the perfect opportunity to tell what Christ has done in your life.

You go, girl!

Illustration: Pixabay


Dress 10 Pounds Thinner Part 9

Does it surprise you to learn that shoes can help you look thinner? We all know they can make you look taller by wearing high heels, but there is more to it than that.

Many of today’s popular shoes don’t stop at the top of the foot. Some come up to the ankle with lacing or straps. Some boots even go over the top of the knee.

  • An important consideration when choosing the right shoe for an outfit is the length of the skirt, dress, or pants to be worn with it. If the hemline falls to the knee, a higher rise of the shoe or boot on the foot works.

But if the hemline falls mid-calf, it is best to keep the top of the shoe as close to the toes as possible. Or wear a boot that rises above the hemline. This gives the appearance of more leg.

However, ankle pants can be worn with a shoe that laces or straps up to the ankle.  The effect is that of showing off the shoe without seeming to have cut off the leg.

  • Another consideration is color. To make your legs seem longer, choose a nude color shoe. Dark colors stop the eye.

A case to illustrate both of these considerations is a woman who wore a dark dress to an event. The dress length was mid-calf. The dress was beautiful and fit her slightly overweight figure well. The problem was the length of the dress and her shoes. The hemline of the dress stopped at the widest part of her leg. As we’ve previously discussed, this was not the best option for her. The shoes she chose matched the color of the dress and laced up to just above her ankle. Her fair skin against the dark colors of the dress and shoes made her legs look stubby. This was not the effect she wanted.

She could have still worn the dress if she had chosen a nude pump for the shoe. Or, she could have worn the shoes if the dress was either shorter, at knee length, or longer, at ankle length.

The next time you get dressed, pay attention to your shoes. You want your legs to look long and sleek. Do your shoes help create this effect?

Photo: Pixabay

Dress 10 Pounds Thinner Part 8

Accessories are not only fun, they can help us with our strategic dressing, too.

Once again, we are working to direct the eye. This means we need to think about each type of accessory, its shape, color, and where we wear it.

  • Earrings are worn in what we call the “impact zone.” This is near the face, where most people look first when they see us. Did you know that the right earring can take pounds off of your face? There was a time when I questioned this statement, so I stood in front of a mirror and tried on different styles. I saw the truth of it staring back at me.

Large, round earrings can look a bit like dinner plates hanging on the side of your face. As you can imagine, the effect is a wide, round face.

Longer, drop earrings give a more lean look. They create a straight vertical line on either side of your face. We discussed the importance of vertical lines in Part 3. The principle works for accessories as well as clothes.

Large, round hoop earrings hang so that what is seen in front is a vertical line. These can be flattering on any face.

  • Necklaces also lie in the impact zone. To draw the eye up toward your eyes, wear a necklace that rests near your collarbone. You can wear a statement necklace if the color contrast of the materials is subtle. High contrast colors will work the same as high contract colors in patterns and present an eye-stopping jolt.

Long chains create a vertical line for the eye to travel. Thin chains, rather than bulky, large beads work like thin vertical stripes. Wearing a Y-necklace also is flattering.

  • Scarves can be an important accessory. Just keep in mind the color and pattern lessons we’ve covered in previous posts. They work for scarf fabric, too.

Also, pay attention to the way a scarf is styled. An infinity scarf will accent the upper part of your body and make it appear more bulky. A small scarf tied like a choker necklace will accent the width of your neck. A long, bulky scarf will make all of your body seem bulkier. A more sheer, or thin fabric scarf tied so long strands hang straight down will be the most flattering style.

  • Bracelets are worn on one of the thinnest parts of the body. Accent this area with stacks of bracelets.
  • Rings also show off slender fingers. If your fingers are shorter, go with an elongated style. Just be sure to keep the length of the ring solidly between two knuckles. Otherwise it can overwhelm your finger and make your hand appear smaller and your fingers a bit stubby.

  • A Broach can be a nice way to add interest around your face. Place one on the lapel of a solid color jacket for instant glamour. You can even wear a broach on a long chain as a necklace. Just thread the chain under the pin bar. This only works if the broach does not have a right-side-up and and upside-down. Or use a broach to secure a small scarf to the shoulder of a dress. Again, this provides interest in the impact zone.

Experiment with your accessories. They can provide glam and shape to an otherwise boring outfit.

All Photos: Pixabay


Dress 10 Pounds Thinner Part 7

Stripes get a post all their own. This is one area of strategic dressing we all think we understand. But do we? My observations suggest we don’t.

Just as pattern is affected by bold color contrast vs subtle color contrast, so are stripes.

  • Skinny Stripes can be either positive or negative, depending on the level of color contrast and the direction they run on the piece of clothing. The ideal for minimizing is to utilize low contrast, thin vertical stripes.
  • Wide Stripes will accent whatever wardrobe piece on which they appear. They will also accent whatever direction in which they travel. Even subtle, vertical wide stripes make one seem wider.
  • Zig-zag Stripes might seem a fun way to fool the eye. They do fool the eye–right into thinking the fabric is large. The more often the eye must stop or change direction, the more wide the appearance. Horizontal zig-zag stripes are the worst offenders.

  • Diagonal Stripes can be your friend, even in a high contrast color combination. This is especially true if the diagonal stops at the center of your body, with a matching diagonal on the opposite side. This creates a center vertical line, with the eye traveling downward.

Now you may see stripes in a whole new light. Hopefully, you’ll have some fun searching for just the right stripes to add pizzazz to your wardrobe.

Photo: Pixabay