Thoughts By Natalie » choose beauty linkup honest talk about beauty, style, wellness and life Wed, 02 Jul 2014 16:54:22 +0000 en-US hourly 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 Skinny Jeans Thu, 12 Sep 2013 10:46:00 +0000 My “skinny jeans” hang in the closet, begging for me to try them on. I know they are too small, and that especially after eating a rather large burrito for lunch, I definitely won’t be able to squeeze my full body into their tiny legs. I decide not to try them on, because I know the outcome will ruin my day. Nonetheless, they remain on their hanger, waiting for the day when they will fit me again. When I say “skinny jeans,” I’m not talking about the super-slim fitting style of denim that one wears with boots or cute flats. No, I’m talking about the jeans that fit me when I was skinny. Some might say I’m skinny now—or at the very least athletic—but I often don’t believe them. After years of fighting anorexia, I confess I often still have a distorted body image. I know that what I see in the mirror isn’t always what’s actually there—after all, there isn’t any human way I could gain 30 lbs overnight, right? Regardless of our pasts, the reality is that we don’t need to have walked through the psychological disorientation of an eating disorder to fall into the bad habit of ...]]> 2 The Beauty Balance Thu, 05 Sep 2013 12:00:00 +0000 One thing I love about my husband is how encouraging he is. He cheers me on and lets me know when he’s proud of me—and he tells me I’m beautiful all the time. And while I love being complimented and knowing that the person I love most finds me attractive, I also know that this 20-something figure of mine won’t be here forever. And that thought got my thinking—doesn’t real beauty need to be told it’s beautiful, too? Just as much, if not even more than physical beauty? These thoughts consumed me for a while (so much so I wrote about it for Darling’s Issue No. 3 in the spring in a piece called Body Language) until I decided to let Brian know how I felt—that in order for me to continue to redefine beauty in my own head, I needed him to affirm that I had beauty that was more than my appearance. Immediately he caught on, taking opportunities he previously used to tell me he liked my outfit to instead tell me he liked my brain (I love when he says this), or my kindness or the way I write. It was amazing how much more those words ...]]> 0 Laws Of Attraction Thu, 29 Aug 2013 14:51:00 +0000 I recently stumbled upon an article in T Magazine called Laws of Attraction. It’s about how a woman’s true beauty is uncovered with age, and how this is something that is done especially well by the French, who know how to honor what happens to women as they age. Though I’m only 26, I have always been especially interested in aging, especially why women tend to feel less beautiful as they grow wiser, and also why our culture seems to be uncomfortable with the female aging process. The piece was so fascinating I read it several times, and wanted to share some of my favorite parts with you in order to have a bit of a discussion on the topic (my emphasis added)… “Only with stupid men does a woman’s intelligence count against her. But maybe a hundred generations of stupid men have succeeded in convincing women that they’re only as good as the condition of their skin. There has probably never been a period so youth-obsessed as ours: we speak of unlined faces as we once spoke of noble minds, and a certain Fitzgeraldian gold lies in the shallow caverns of youth, from where our popular culture mines it ...]]> 2 The Beauty Hunt Thu, 22 Aug 2013 12:00:00 +0000 I sometimes feel like I’m wandering, though not necessarily lost—perhaps just searching. I feel pulled in one direction or another, never quite sure where my mind is going, but certain that I’m getting closer and closer to what I’m yearning for. You see, I’m on a life-long beauty hunt. I crave it, I yearn for it, I constantly try to define it and figure out what it means to live it out in its truest form. I suppose you could call me a beauty addict. In her book One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp absolutely puts poetic and truthful words to the aimless thoughts coursing through my mind… I want to see beauty. In the ugly, in the sink, in the suffering, in the daily, in all the days before I die, the moments before I sleep. Isn’t beauty what we yearn to burn with before we die? What else so ignites, hot flame? Beauty is all that is glory and God is Beauty embodied, glory manifested. This is what I crave: I hunger for Beauty. Is that why I must keep up the hunt? When I cease the beauty hunt, is that why I begin to starve, waste away? _________ ...]]> 0 True Beauties Thu, 15 Aug 2013 15:39:00 +0000 My obsession with real beauty has been around for as long as I can remember. I always knew that beauty had to be more than what was presented to us in the glossy magazines and billboards—that surely it wouldn’t be worth our time to pursue the kind of “beauty” that has to do with looking like what our culture has decided is “pretty.” When I started blogging, I knew I wanted to be someone who wrote about deeper issues. Though I’ve learned that it’s fun to mix in the light-hearted things—like style posts, hair tutorials, and healthy recipes—I decided to introduce a new series in 2011 that would help me highlight the unique kind of lasting beauty I saw in so many of my friends. The six-question interview series was called True Beauty, and I’m sad to say that yesterday marked one year since I’d done one of the interviews. During my run yesterday (as well as this morning while making my coffee) I kept praying for inspiration for today’s post. What needed to be written about? What about beauty needs to be said today? What do people need to hear right now? And moments after I sent this tweet, ...]]> 0 Beauty That Grows Thu, 08 Aug 2013 15:01:00 +0000 I am blessed to have so many beautiful women who have played a significant role in my life, especially those who are older and wiser than me. Though of course I’m thankful for the wisdom they’ve given me and delight in each of their unique personalities, what I’m really thankful for is the way they’ve each taught me (in their own way) that beauty grows with time. We live in a culture that says that young is beautiful, but the truth is usually the opposite. Yes, beauty of course exists in those who are young. But real, lasting beauty is something we accumulate with time—often as our physical “beauty” starts to wear away. With age comes wisdom, perspective and strong character—three things that help us better interact with the world around us. With age comes the ability to let certain things go—as well as the knowledge of when to make a fuss and stand for what’s right, when to come to the defense of those who cannot stand up for themselves. With age comes an understanding that it’s not all about what we look like, but rather who we are and how we treat others—how we serve our family and ...]]> 2 Facing Beauty Fears Thu, 01 Aug 2013 12:00:00 +0000 At the beginning of July, I got an email from Glitter Guide’s editorial director Caitlin asking me if I might be interested in tackling their next sponsored post for Old Navy. I was told I would get to keep the clothes I styled and hire a friend to snap the photos—two things that sounded great to me—but then I saw what my topic was: shorts and tees. You might recall one of my recent blog posts on the topic of shorts. In a nutshell, I’m not really a fan. Not because shorts are ugly, but because I rarely feel beautiful when I personally wear them. I felt conflicted—I knew doing the post would be a really great opportunity and challenge for me, but I also knew that I’d have to face my big fear of shorts head-on—and be photographed, as well. Totally scared and unsure, I decided to face my fear and commit. I’d be lying if I said the whole thing was a piece of cake from there. Truth be told, I tried on every pair of adorable shorts at Old Navy, but of course saw nothing but lies in the mirror. There were so many shorts to choose ...]]> 1 Digging Deeper Thu, 25 Jul 2013 12:00:00 +0000 I created the Choose Beauty Linkup as a way for us to start thinking deeper and communicating about what beauty really is. Though “beauty” has become synonymous with physical appearance, makeup, hair, anti-aging products and the like, beauty doesn’t really have to do with those things. Back in December 2011, I did an article for the Darling Magazine blog called Healthy Girl Talk: Redefining Beauty. It was a piece on body image and ways that we as women can help redefine beauty in the world around us through our words and actions. That post paved the way for a series called The Character of Beauty—a six-article series briefly covering character qualities that I felt were what made up the foundation of radiant, true beauty: kindness, joy, compassion, love, generosity and confidence. When I think of the beauty I want in my life, I still think of those very things. And when I think of choosing beauty, I think about going that extra mile and putting in that effort each and every day to reflect those qualities to those we encounter—whether at the office, at the grocery store or in our families. Because the reality is, it’s always going to be ...]]> 1 The Choose Beauty Linkup Thu, 18 Jul 2013 12:00:00 +0000 UPDATE: This series is current and ongoing—catch up on all of the posts here, and check back on Thursdays for new content from me, as well as links to blog posts from other women participating! Over the past month or so, I’ve been participating in something honest and beautiful that has not only allowed me to open up more to you all, but also given me to dig deeper and process some of my inner self- and body-image issues. The Love Yourself Linkup is something Anne Taylor of Anne The Adventurer thought up, and I’m so grateful that she did! And because I’ve loved the exercise so much, I’ve decided it’s time to start a linkup of my own in hopes that I can connect even more with you, and also give you an opportunity to join in and share about similar issues on your own personal platform. What is the Choose Beauty Linkup?  The Choose Beauty Linkup is a series that will focus on topics related to beauty—what real beauty is, what makes us feel beautiful, how we pursue lasting beauty in our lives, the roots behind our body image issues, etc. Through our posts, we’ll share thoughts, experiences, ...]]> 7