Thoughts By Natalie » beauty honest talk about beauty, style, wellness and life Thu, 26 Jun 2014 12:00:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Embrace Mon, 19 May 2014 12:00:09 +0000 “Our bodies will go through many changes in our life. Our bodies change through aging, pregnancy, illness, weight loss, weight gain the list goes on. One thing we must learn to do is love our bodies before, during and after…. Be loyal to your body, love your body, it’s the only one you’ve got.” —Taryn Brumfitt I recently discovered a movement and documentary that are right up my alley. The woman quoted above is a fighter for healthy body image, especially among women, and she’s created all kinds of hype for her new documentary with this unconventional before and after shot, which she shared on the Body Image Movement Facebook page: After all kinds of feedback—some good, some bad (haters gonna hate)—she decided to start the Body Image Movement, and soon afterward she was approached by a filmmaker to tell her story in a film that they’re calling EMBRACE. According to Kickstarter, this “funny, touching, heart wrenching, inspirational and life changing full-length documentary film” will include Taryn’s story—how she went from a body hater to a body lover. She will share her journey from being devastated by feeling ugly while sobbing on the bathroom floor to proudly posing nude for ...]]> 8 Lupita Nyong’o on Real Beauty Thu, 06 Mar 2014 13:00:39 +0000 I didn’t think I could love Lupita any more than I already did—that is, until I heard her acceptance speech after she won the Essence Magazine Black Women In Hollywood Breakthrough Performance Award. She shares about her own struggles with self-image as a child (she literally prayed each night for lighter skin), her intense craving for beauty, and her eventual discovery of what beauty fundamentally is. Ultimately, I couldn’t agree with Lupita more—I completely share her heart in this and am beyond thankful that she’s using her voice to spread such a powerful and essential message to women around the world. Today, I hope you’ll take 5 minutes and watch this video, letting yourself be reminded of where beauty really comes from. As Lupita says, “You can’t rely on how you look to sustain you.” Amen, girl! Did you watch the video? What did you think? What does real beauty look like to you? P.S. The character of beauty, choosing beauty over vanity and learning to accept (and love!) my body.]]> 6 Love Your Selfie Mon, 24 Feb 2014 17:10:55 +0000 This morning the Today Show kicked off a new series called “Love Your Selfie,” which will examine the current obsession with body image and what we can do to feel more positive about ourselves. I just am so thrilled to be seeing this more and more in mainstream media. Times are changing! The segment today was especially wonderful, as the Today Show team got candid about what each of them are insecure about, and then talked about how they’ve come to embrace their so-called flaws. It was powerful to hear their honesty. I especially loved hearing from the women, several who shared about how childbirth has changed their figure, but how they obviously wouldn’t trade their children for their pre-baby body. The segment finished up with a panel-like chat—with the entire team completely free of makeup on air—and discussing more matters related to our culture’s obsession with appearance. Be sure to take some time today to watch it, then let me know what you think! For me (among other things) I’m forever insecure about how young I look. Some would say that’s a great quality that I’ll be thankful for in 20 years, but for now, it’s tough being mistaken ...]]> 15 Letting Go of Ideal Tue, 18 Feb 2014 22:18:24 +0000 Have you seen the recent BuzzFeed video, “Photoshopping Real Women Into Cover Models,” yet? I’m a sucker for anything that’s part of redefining our culture’s definition of beauty, so of course I wanted to post it here and share it with you. In summary: three women had the opportunity to participate in a magazine cover photo shoot. They had their hair and makeup done, their clothes were chosen by stylists, their photos were directed by an amazing photographer, and, yes, their photos were photoshopped. When the women were shown the outcome of the photos, surprisingly, they were all disappointed, as their photos were almost unrecognizable. Without their freckles, curves, natural skin tone, and “imperfections,” they felt like they had been robbed of their identity. I’d never really thought of it that way, but I think that’s pretty profound. What we look like is part of our identity. Sure, our body shape changes a bit over time with all that life brings us—college, adulthood, marathons, pregnancies, etc—but we generally have the same look about us. I love the way this video highlights the reality that this ideal image we all have of ourselves in our head just doesn’t exist—and it never ...]]> 4 What Makes Your Heart Beat? Fri, 14 Feb 2014 16:56:02 +0000 This morning, in honor of Valentine’s Day, my friends at Darling Magazine posted a beautiful, inspiring video that pretty much sums up everything worth loving in this world. If you can spare 90 seconds, give it a watch, then help spread the word around the internet. They’re hoping to get 1 million views, and I think we can help them do it! I put this video in the beauty category intentionally, because I believe that love is a core part of what makes each of us truly beautiful. So on this Valentine’s Day, let’s be kind to one another, spread some love around, and enjoy a few sweet treats totally guilt-free, shall we? And of course, share this amazing video. Only one question remains—what makes YOUR heart beat? P.S. Inspired by the beautiful words in this film? Swing by Darling Magazine to see the script.]]> 3 #AerieREAL Mon, 10 Feb 2014 23:12:48 +0000 Although I’m not usually one to talk about undergarments, I just can’t ignore the significance of the new campaign Aerie is running to promote their lingerie. No more retouching. No more supermodels. All real looking gals who are so radiant and beautiful in their own skin! My favorite part of the campaign is that it’s not one of those “real women have curves” things. Because the reality is, not all women do have curves. Some of us have blessed bottoms or and hourglass shape, others have tiny chests and straight figures. Every single body is different, and this campaign definitely celebrates that reality—not just in their ad photos, but also in a helpful way on their site by letting you filter and actually see women wearing your cup size. How cool is that? What do you think of this campaign? Let’s discuss!]]> 14 Shrinking Women Tue, 10 Dec 2013 13:00:02 +0000 Have you seen the spoken word poem, “Shrinking Women” by Lily Myers? I just discovered it yesterday and am so glad I did. The video shows her performing her slam poem about body image and disordered eating, and was awarded Best Love Poem at the 2013 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. It’s honest, direct, beautiful and true, and I hope you’ll take a moment to watch it (or at the very least, read it below). SHRINKING WOMEN by Lily Myers Across from me at the kitchen table, my mother smiles over red wine that she drinks out of a measuring glass. She says she doesn’t deprive herself, but I’ve learned to find nuance in every movement of her fork. In every crinkle in her brow as she offers me the uneaten pieces on her plate. I’ve realized she only eats dinner when I suggest it. I wonder what she does when I’m not there to do so. Maybe this is why my house feels bigger each time I return; it’s proportional. As she shrinks the space around her seems increasingly vast. She wanes while my father waxes. His stomach has grown round with wine, late nights, oysters, poetry. A new ...]]> 8 I Love My Body As It Is Tue, 12 Nov 2013 13:00:23 +0000 Have you heard of Robyn Lawley? She seems to be in the news constantly lately, and while I find her Facebook page too scandalous to share publicly here, I’m super thankful for the conversations she’s been starting regarding body image, modeling and fashion. Above is a quick 5-minute video clip from her appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show that I hope you’ll take a moment to watch and be encouraged by. If you’re at work or don’t have the time or space to watch the video, let me share my absolute favorite part with you. At 0:39 after briefly mentioning the terrible names she’s been called as a model (“pig” and “hefty” to name a couple), she says, “It’s fine. I’m really confident and I love my body as it is.” Later she notes that she’s started saying that regularly, and it’s amazing how much of an impact it has on the way she views herself. I absolutely love that attitude. Don’t you? While it may not be easy for us to say it and mean it, I think there really is value in choosing to say it out loud regularly (even just to ourselves in the mirror), because the ...]]> 12 90 Years Beautiful Wed, 30 Oct 2013 15:40:34 +0000 Today is a very important day in history. You may remember that last week I attended my grandmother’s birthday party in New England—but today is the real deal! Today my grandmother—fondly called Memere—turns 90 years beautiful. I say “beautiful” rather than “old” because that seems to be the trajectory she continues to travel on. She’s aging, yes, but more importantly she’s growing more and more into her true self, and more and more beautiful with every day. Anyone who has ever met Memere knows this to be true about her. She’s like our personal Mother Teresa, ever-selfless, -loving, -kind, -compassionate and -prayerful. That, and she’s quite talkative and very funny. She has an amazing ability to make you feel like the most important person in the world when she speaks with you. The local paper did a story about Memere’s party, interviewing her nine (yes, nine!) children and sharing a bit about the life she lived, and this part was my absolute favorite: The tears that sprung to her eyes as she perused the photographs chosen by her children to adorn a greeting table at her 90th birthday party were surely ones of tender remembrance of all the divine fun ...]]> 1 Loving Your Body Now: Overcoming Conditional Confidence Thu, 10 Oct 2013 12:00:22 +0000 I’ll love my body when I lose weight. When my skin clears up. When my thighs are slimmer. When my stomach is flat. We’ve all been there. We’ve all had a conditional love for our bodies. Whether it was in middle school when we dreamed of having more curves, or 10 years later when we cursed every curve on our body. We want what we can’t have, and we refuse to love our bodies until they’re in whatever perfect state our twisted minds want them to be in. It’s a messy situation. Is it wrong to want to look different? What does it mean to really love our bodies anyway? Is it possible to love a body that isn’t the way we want it to be? These are the questions I want us the dive into together. First things first, what about wanting to look different? Truly, it’s a natural desire to want what we don’t have. The grass can always be greener, and we will always want something different. Whether we wish we were curvier or skinnier, taller or shorter, we each have a certain size and shape that we’ve been given and we can’t change that. However, I ...]]> 4