Dress 10 Pounds Thinner

Do you want to look shorter and fatter? Of course not! That is, unless you are six feet tall and skinny–but most of us are not. The question then, is how does one manage to look taller and thinner?

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but so is size and height. Seriously. You are in control. Your clothes and accessories tell another person where to look at you. The lines, pattern, and cut of your outfits direct the eyes of those who see you.

I will teach you, beginning with this first post in a 10-part series, how to dress in a way that causes viewers to perceive that you are taller and thinner than you really are.

  1. Fit. This may seem obvious, but your clothes need to fit you. They don’t need to be one size too small, even if the tag displays the “right” number. Numbers mean nothing. I wear a range of about four different sizes because the fit is not the same across brands–or even in the same brand.

We don’t want bulges and wrinkles to show, and they will if a top or dress is too tight. The right fit is one that skims the body.

Conversely, do you know anyone who wears a lot of bulky sweaters or flouncy fabric in an effort to cover up bulges? The end result is a bulkier, fluffier look. The extra fabric looks like extra you.

Take some time this week to do an assessment of your wardrobe for fall/winter. If you discover some items that don’t fit properly, find another home for them. Your closet will thank you. And you can be confident you’ll look your best in what remains.

Photo: Pixabay


In Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

“Honey, will you make me some juice while I pull out my hair?” I said as I rolled over in bed to face my husband.

“Sure, babe,” he said.

After a bit, I heard the whir and grinding of the juice machine and knew it was time. Dredging up energy, I crawled out of bed and staggered to the kitchen. I grabbed the big trash can from the closet and dragged it into the bathroom. Sitting on the toilet lid, I began pulling wads of hair from my head–beautiful, long, curly hair.

Chemotherapy for breast cancer had loosened the folicles so much, I was afraid a stiff wind might blow my hair right off of my head.

Bo found me there, with tears on my face. “Let’s get you back to bed. You’ll feel better after you drink this,” he said.

I did feel stronger after drinking the juice, but not better. No tears would bring my hair back that day. I did own a wig that was stylish and cute. But it wasn’t my hair.

One year later, I stopped wearing that wig. I needed to go to the bank.  Just before I opened the door to enter, a big gust of wind blew my wig off! It rolled across the ground like a big tumbleweed. I chased it down when it hung up on a bush and snatched it just before it blew all the way across the parking lot. That’s when I knew it was time.

Now, I love windy days. I can feel my hair moving in the breeze and am confident it will not blow off.

Today I chose to tell this story in honor of those who are suffering through chemotherapy.

If you know someone who is a cancer patient right now, what can you do to help her?

  • Go visit her. Talk to her about normal, everyday things. Her life is abnormal, and she needs to get in touch with normal, if only for an hour.
  • Find out what her “comfort foods” are and bring her some. Find out what her family likes to eat and bring a meal.
  • Volunteer to transport her to treatment.
  • Don’t question decisions she makes about her treatment. Rest assured, she has carefully considered them.
  • If she feels like it, take her shopping for shoes. Her clothing size may change as a result of treatment and surgery, but her shoe size won’t.
  • Send her a funny card.
  • Pray for her, and tell her you are. Maybe make (or buy) a bracelet to remind her of your prayers.
  • Give her a daily flip-calendar with encouraging words and Bible verses on it.
  • Send her uplifting text and/or social media messages.

Theses are just a few suggestions. I’m sure you can come up with others. The main thing is to be sensitive to her needs and desires. And the best way to find those out is to talk to her.

Many times, we don’t know what to say to some one facing difficult circumstances, so we avoid them. It happened to me. While I understood the dynamic, it still hurt that those who I thought were my friends couldn’t find one hour to come sit with me.

I’m fine now, six years later. My body has healed, and my friendships survived too.

Thanks to new research, chemo and radiation treatments have improved. But they still make for a terrible experience.

Many organizations are raising money for research into more effective, less invasive treatments. This is crucial. My cancer was Triple Negative Breast Cancer. No one knows what causes this kind yet, and hormone therapy does not work to treat it.

So I ask you to choose a way you will honor cancer patients, and give so we can better understand and treat this terrible disease.

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Photo: Pixabay




Freshen Up

“Why don’t you go with turquoise?” The sales clerk stood with one hand on her hip while the other propped up her chin.

I sighed. “I don’t know, but maybe gray might look better.”

After several minutes of indecision, I chose purple and turquoise for my throw pillows. I’ve never regretted it, even after living with them for years. The reason I was able to make a sound choice? I have loved those two colors together since childhood.

The new season is calling to me this year to update colors in a different room. What’s “in” for interior design right now, and how much does that influence me? There might be some interesting new color pairings trending that would inspire me. I might discover a furniture style that speaks to me. But the most important element will be what I like.

Lucky for all of us right now, the design world seems to agree that our personality is what should dictate our choices. Here are some questions you can ask yourself that might help if you’re considering an update.

  1. What colors to you tend to gravite to when you window-shop or see things on-line?
  2. Is there a design show on TV that highlights a particular look you love?
  3. Which Pinterest interior design boards draw your eye?
  4. Do you have a fond memory that revolves around any certain colors? (The reason I’ve loved turquoise and purple is a wedding I attended as a young teen.)
  5. Do you prefer brighter/bolder colors, or neutrals?

My current room under consideration is the living room. I don’t really like brown, but for some reason, I allowed a lot of brown into that room.

I chose brown curtains when I had a green sofa. Then I bought a leather sofa because I’d always dreamed of owning one–and it’s brown. We decided to pull up the carpet in our living and dining rooms and lay wood flooring. Of course, the wood is brown. It didn’t happen all at once. But I failed to realized the brown migration until it was all in place.

This summer I decided to lighten up the decor with pops of turquoise on a few sofa pillows and a new center arrangement on the coffee table. It helps, but now I’m on a mission. I might not even keep the coffee table. After all, it’s brown.

Is there a room in your house or apartment that makes you feel down or depressed when you enter it? What can you do to make it express your personality?

  1.  Start with a few accessories or a rug. It can be surprising what a little additional color and style will do for a space.
  2. Try a different window treatment.
  3. If you can, paint the room a new color. Or paint just one wall.
  4. If the space is small, add mirrors. A grouping of small, framed mirrors instead of a large piece of artwork can open up an otherwise cramped room. Try to place the mirror(s) opposite a window for added light.
  5. Add lighting. A new lamp in a previously dark corner can make all the difference.

Stick with one predominant color and one or two accent colors for cohesion. My choice of turquoise pairs well with the existing brown. Plenty of cream lightens the heavier tones as well.

You don’t have to do it all at once. Choose one budget-friendly change and then wait until you can afford it to make another. Part of the fun of decorating is searching for just the right piece. So don’t rush the process–savor it instead.

As I sip my coffee with lots of cream on the cooler evenings of autumn, I’ll be dreaming of what my “new” living room will look like when the re-do is finished. I’ll keep my leather sofa and wood floors, but everything else is negotiable.

Which room will you choose to update? What is the first thing you’ll do?


Discovering Beauty in a Learning Curve

I feel like I’ve gone back to school. Learning to set up a self-hosted website has been a challenge. I decided to do it myself based on the fact that I had set up two free sites before.

I thought, “How hard can this be?”

The answer has proved to be, “Harder than you expected.”

I will say the technical support I’ve received from my hosting network has been wonderful. But there are just some things I’ve had to figure out on my own. With most of the issues solved now, I can look back and see the value, even beauty, in my experience.

  • I conquered a new skill. Because of that, my confidence-o-meter has shot to the top.
  • My prayer life took on a whole new dimension. Every little detail got smothered in prayer. I began each day by taking my website before the Lord and asking for His help. I listed whatever I struggle I faced for that day. I’m still doing that.  (I know, you pray over everything too. I’m talking tiny details here, folks–tiny!)
  • I gained new stories to tell. Just wait, you’ll read some of them. You may not know it, because I’ll set it in a different context, but I plan to tell them.
  • Coaching others who need my new skills looks like fun. This, my friends, is a miracle.

What new skill have you recently learned?

My New Website is Live

After a long, tortuous ordeal (because there is not a tech-savvy bone in my body) my new website has launched. I am sure there will be things I still need to learn how to do, but at least the framework is up.

Whew! Thank you for waiting and hanging in there with me. Right now, if you want to get my new posts in your email, you’ll need to go to the site to become an email follower. Since I started from scratch, nothing transferred over from my old site. I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but I don’t want you to miss any of the fun, and inspirational. things to come.

Come chase beautiful with me!