Sunday, April 10, 2016

Signing Off

I think it's pretty clear that I have lost my passion for writing this blog. Don't misunderstand me.  I am still passionate about wanting to encourage women to choose to age naturally, without artificial and cosmetic enhancements but writing the blog has gone down on my priority list.

So, I'm going to let it go.  One good thing about aging is accepting that there is a season for everything. And, I feel that my season for writing this blog has passed.

It's been good for me to write down and clarify some of my long held beliefs, if only for my own benefit, to be able to articulate them in a better manner.

Along the way I hope my thoughts have, in some way, helped someone.

I'll keep the blog up for a while but eventually it will come down.

If I would leave you with anything, it is this:


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Revolutionary

There are two reasons it's been so long between posts.

One, getting my yoga teaching certification took up much more of my energy than I anticipated.  Hence, I just had to let some things go for a while.  However, since my graduation in June, I'm feeling much more inspired to write.

Which leads to the second reason.  This blog is much more difficult to write than my personal blog.  The other blog is more of a quilting journal interwoven with snippets from my daily life.  Import a few pictures, crank out a few captions and voila!, a new post.

This blog actually has point of view.  And for me, that's much more difficult to put on a page.

Consequently, posts on this blog come when something inspires me.  If I look at my past history, that seems to be about once a month.  

So, while every how-to piece on blogging says that frequent, regular posts is the only way to garner a following, I'm just going to have to apologize to all those would be followers out there who need more frequent postings. 

Sorry, but this is just the way I roll.  

And it just so happens that I've lately been inspired by a trend I have noticed in my life.  

Recently, more than one friend has sent me links to articles like this one.  They seem to think it is some sort of victory for me that younger women are now dying their hair gray.  But no, this is not a victory for me.  In fact, it is a complete misunderstanding of my point of view.  

I'm not out there banging a drum for every woman, young or old, to have gray hair. I don't think it's any better for a young woman to dye her natural hair to gray than for an older woman to dye her natural hair to cover her gray.  

Both actions reflect the same insecurity and lack of self-acceptance.  Both speak to the deeper issue that somehow women have come to believe that in order to "express their true self" they must reach for something artificial.  

I recently saw an article entitled "How To Be Original".  Ironically enough, one of the first things on the list was to dye your hair. 

Really?! How is that idea not an oxymoron? In what universe can one express their "true self" or be "Original" by camouflaging what they truly look like?

My belief is that women should embrace their own natural beauty. To do so is the mark of a truly original woman, the only path to real self-expression.

In fact, I go so far as to say that the more artificial things we do to alter our appearance, the less true  or original we become.  

No ones natural hair color is "exactly" the same as another's.  Admittedly, it may be very similar, but real hair has it's own unique highlights and a unique pattern to those highlights.  

Not so when you get your hair color from a bottle.  When you put "Blonde Potion #9" on your hair, it is now the same color as the 6 million other people who use that same potion.  

Not only that, you've just colored over all of your natural highlights so your hair now looks flat. Sorry gals, but all that glowing shine you see in the ads is Photoshop magic.  Colored hair is dull and actually absorbs light rather than reflects it.  This fact requires your hairdresser to paint on fake highlights.  Which is why 6 million people all have the same brassy, symmetrical stripes in their hair.  

Remember the ad line, "Does she or doesn't she?  Only her hair dresser knows for sure."  Wow, not any more.  Since hair dressers are all taught the same techniques treated hair is unmistakable.  

By artificially changing yourself, you've instantly gone from being one of a kind to following the herd.  While your intention for coloring your hair may be to better express your individuality, you've actually just taken a huge step into cultural conformity.  

I recently read a great article regarding how tattoos and body art, once the great sign of rebellion, are now a sign of "craven conformity".  I highly recommend that you click the link and read it.  This guy is brilliant.

Anyway, while he is speaking of tattoos, much of what he says is directly applicable to my thoughts on artificial hair color.  
...the mistake ... is to believe that tattoos are evidence of deviancy. They aren’t. They’re now symbols of conformism. Indeed, it is those who withstand the social pressure to get a tattoo, those who see all the endless photos of celebs sporting body art and who still refuse to join in, who are the true deviants today. If a deviant is one who “departs from usual or accepted standards”, then it is the non-tattooed, the unbranded, who are exercising deviancy in the 21st century. In an era when, in Britain, more than a third of 16- to 44-year-olds have tats, when PM's wives sport them, when there has been, in the words of one newspaper, “a massive boom in body art led by celebrities, footballers and other high-profile figures”, it requires Herculean levels of self-possession to refuse to be tattooed. Once, a tattoo marked someone out as a rebel, as an individual who had voluntarily cast himself out of the mainstream; today, when you can’t walk down a high street without seeing scores of branded people, being tattooed is the mainstream. And to not be tattooed, to have what is known as “virgin skin”, is to thumb your nose at the mainstream, to demonstrate your ability to read celebrity magazines and listen to “high-profile figures” bang on about the glories of body art without feeling the need to copy them. To reject body art is to rebel.
Which leads me to another incident that inspired this post. 

Last week, I was asked to sub a yoga class at the last minute.  This was not a class I had taught before so several of the students were unfamiliar with me.  As I was setting up, a young lady walked into class and loudly exclaimed how much she loved my hair color.  Then she said, "Who highlights your hair?"  

I have to admit that this is a question I get asked a lot, so while pointing up I gave my standard response, "God."

Everyone laughed and made jokes about how hard it must be to get an appointment but then she said, "It's really cool that you're comfortable in your own skin".  No one ever said that to me back when I colored my hair yet I hear it frequently now.  

So, here's my radical advise for "How To Be Original".  Don't change a thing.  Keep your "virgin" hair color. Don't wear colored contacts. Learn to love your natural lashes. Don't graffiti your skin. Throw away the Oompa-Loompa colored self tanner.  Embrace your breast size.  Run far and fast from anyone suggesting nips, tucks,  implants or injections.  

It will require courage.  Yes, it will require "Herculean amounts of self-possession" and even a little defiance.  But those traits are the hallmark of a truly original person.  

I can't say it any better than George Orwell, "In  time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Showing up and getting real

One of the assignments we were given during my last yoga certification weekend was to figure out what we wanted to bring to the mat as a teacher.  We called it our "stand" and we had to edit it down to a single statement elevator pitch.  This wasn't an easy task for me.  I was kind of all over the map with it.

Eventually, and with a lot of help, I narrowed it down to, "I stand for aging authentically."  After we had that done, we then had to figure out where we were not living up to our stand.  Once we figured it out, we had come up with one action item that would help us correct that disconnect.

This blog entry is my action item.

This is my favorite picture of myself.  In fact, it's the photo I put on my CPT advertising flyer. This photo was taken on the last day I trained with my personal trainer, when I was at my leanest.  That was four years ago.

When this photo was taken, I could make box-jumps onto a 24" platform.  I could do step-ups and  walking lunges with a 30 pound weight in each hand.  I could fully balance while standing on a 12 pound med ball. Pretty awesome, I know.

And now to the purpose of this entry.  The part where I'm not being true to my stand.

I've gained 5 pounds since that photo was taken and I'm not happy about that.  Don't get me wrong, it doesn't keep me up at night, but when I'm working out, this is the ideal self that drives me to work hard.  So hard in fact, that I have on occasion injured myself.  As is the case right now.

8 weeks ago, with the photo in the back of my mind, I put together a very difficult training session for myself.   It was a program of heavier weights, challenging core work and plyometrics.

The day after a tough work out is always filled with soreness, but this time I knew I had done some damage.  I had unusually sharp back pain, concentrated in my lower back.

A trip to the chiropractor confirmed that I had inflamed all the ligaments attached to my sacrum.  Not a good diagnoses, for sure.  If there's one thing I've learned in my various trainings, it is the sacrum is not something you want to mess with.

I've been in therapy since then.  It's looking good.  I'm almost pain free but I can still feel it and I will have to be very careful for the foreseeable future.

So how does all this tie into my stand on aging authentically?

If I'm going to stand for aging authentically, I have to accept that in all probability I will never be the woman in the photo again. With each passing year, that ideal will drift further and further away.

People say that age is just a number.  And while that is a nice thought, it's most definitely a lie we tell ourselves.

I've never heard it stated better than by my friend, Jan.

Several years ago, while listening to her beautiful, statuesque daughter complain about the various parts of her body she was unhappy with, Jan suddenly couldn't listen to anymore.  She blurted out, "You're being ungrateful! It doesn't get any better than right now!  Ten years from now, you will wish you had the body you are complaining about right now!  And, twenty years from now, you will look back and wish you had the body you had ten years before!"

Such profound wisdom.

The reality is that no matter how hard I work, no matter how carefully I take care of myself, aging is a real process which will make an irreparable mark on me.  Just as today, I wish I had the body I had four years ago, four years from now I will look back with fondness on the body I have today.

Even as I keep working out and lifting, my 63 year old self will not be able to do the things that my 53 year old self can today.  At 73, even more so.

If I really stand for aging authentically, I have to be okay with that.  More than that, I have to embrace it.

If I truly believe, as I say I do, that God created human life, then I have to believe that the entire life cycle is a gift from him.   The scriptures are clear, everything God creates for his children is somehow for their benefit.  (2 Nephi 26: 24)

Maybe in the aging process I am to learn that I have an innate value that has nothing to do with how I look or feel.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says: "He hath made everything beautiful in it's time."  Therefore, to God I am beautiful at every stage of my existence.  As a gardener, I understand this.

My garden is not beautiful only in spring.  In the winter, when the bloom fades, I see what lies underneath; the substance and architecture.

Having said all of that, I can now come to my mat ready to truly stand for what I say I stand for.

So, from this moment forward I make a promise to myself and everyone I will teach.  I will no longer wound myself chasing an ideal.  While I will always do my best to keep my body in the best shape possible, I will accept that my "best shape" is an ideal that will shift as I age.

As my bloom fades, I promise to be an example of substance and depth and to truly trust in the fact that I am beautiful "in my time."

Just for the record though, I can still balance while standing on a med ball.  :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Taking a leap

Right after the first of the year I heard about an intensive, 6 month training course to become a yoga instructor.  I love yoga and have seriously practiced it for the last three years.  And although teaching is not something I had ever considered,  for some reason the idea really resonated with me.  I'm not usually an impulsive person but suddenly I found myself signed up and preparing for my first weekend seminar.

Can I tell you how much of a stretch this is for me??  Going to that first class, I was scared on so many levels.  Not nervous, scared.  The ONLY thing that made me go was the small, non-refundable fortune I paid for my tuition.

But, truthfully one of the deeper aspects of yoga is facing your fears so I guess it's appropriate that I had to face many of them before I even started.

What was I scared of?  I had too many fears to name.  But as I examined them all I realized that at their core, they had one common thread, "Am I too old?"

I made up excuses that ran the gamut from, "My body might not be able to handle the work." to "My brain won't be able to retain everything I'll be required to know."  And the granddaddy of all reasons why people of a certain age fear to start something new, "I'll never be able to compete with the younger people."

So I walked into the first day already feeling stupid and expecting to fail, with an inner voice screaming at me that I was a fool.  Worse, I was an old fool.

Then something wonderful happened.  Before we even introduced ourselves, the instructor showed this video.



Arthur's Incredible Transformation! from Dallas Page on Vimeo.

Maybe some of you have seen it before, but I hadn't.  It gave me chills.  This video not only validated my desire to teach yoga, but it helped me realize that I could do it.

Watching Arthur struggle, fall and still get back up every time gave me hope. And, it made me remember a passage from a book I read many years ago:

"Give yourself permission to be a beginner.  By being willing to be a bad artist, you have a chance to actually be an artist, and perhaps, over time, a very good one...When I make this point in teaching, I am met by instant, defensive hostility: 'But do you know how old I will be by the time I learn to really play the piano/act/paint/write a decent play?'  Yes...the same age you will be if you don't.  So get started."
                                                                                    Julia Cameron, The Artists Way
And, while that quote may be about developing artist creativity, I think there is much that can be applied to my current situation. I mean teaching anything is pretty much a creative endeavor. Also, yoga is kind of like dancing, so it requires a fair amount of artistry.

I've also realized something else.  Even though my fear appeared to be centered around my age, when I dig even deeper it's really fear of failure.  And, that strikes people of all ages.

Another helpful quote from the book says:
"The artist must begin by crawling.  Baby steps will follow and there will be falls...Progress, not perfection, is what we should be asking of ourselves."

So how did I do that first weekend of classes?

Well, I did okay.  By the end of the first day, we were actually teaching in small groups and yes, I sucked pretty badly.  I went home and had a good cry over how bad I was.  But, when I remembered Arthur and Julia, I gained the courage to go back the next day and the next.  By the end of the weekend I felt like I hadn't made a huge mistake after all.

Giving myself permission to be bad at teaching yoga for a little while has given me the freedom to actually start teaching.  

So, tomorrow night I start teaching a 10 week Basic Yoga Session.  And today I agreed to substitute a class on Friday teaching chair yoga for seniors.

Am I nervous?  Heck, yeah.  Will I suck?  Probably, but not as bad as I did that first weekend.  I've been practicing every day.  And, the more I do it, the better I'll get.  I'll keep you posted.

So what do I want you to come away with from this post?

If there's something you are stopping yourself from doing because you feel too old, or too stupid or too (insert adjective here), realize that these are lies you're telling yourself because you're afraid to fail.

So, give yourself permission to fail.  At least for a while.  Once you do, your paralysis will disappear and you'll be able to start your journey.  So, what are you going to do now?

Friday, January 16, 2015

My Day

The events of yesterday have practically written this post for me.  Not believing in coincidence, I have to wonder if there wasn't some divine hand guiding me to certain places and certain people in order for them to teach me or have me teach them.

The first incident happened to me at a mall in Salt Lake City.  I came to the city because my friend, Jodi, was having her annual Favorite Things Party.  I came down early because I wanted to get some shopping in before the party. So, my first stop was the Fashion Place Mall.

After coming out of the first shop, I stopped briefly to look in my bag when I heard a velvety, foreign voice behind me, "Uh, miss?"  Since I do not look even remotely like a "Miss", this should have been my first clue that something was up, but I was taken by surprise so I quickly turned around to find my self face to face with a young, darkly handsome man dressed completely in black.

He introduces himself as Elio and asks me if he can give me a sample of a product he's selling.  That's when I notice he's standing in front of an expensive cosmetic boutique named Orogold.

Once I realize what's happening I almost roll my eyes and give myself the V8 slap to the forehead.  Not wanting to waste Elio's precious time, I tell him bluntly I am not interested buying his cosmetics.  Elio, however, is not to be deterred and becomes ever more aggressive.  After telling him several more times that I 'm not interested because I am, in point of fact, cutting back on the amount of cosmetics I use and I don't want to waste his time, he continues to push.

At this point I think, "okay, fine.  I've given him fair warning.  This is going in the blog." I sit down in the chair at which point Elio begins to weave his seduction.

He applies a serum under my left eye.  With his dreamy Italian accent, he tells me of the miraculous, amazing properties of gold and how this serum with it's flecks of gold is going to erase all my fine lines.  It will in fact make me look as beautiful as the celebrities.  When I asked how it's going to accomplish this feat, he gives me a spiel about gold nano-particles releasing excess oxygen which somehow contributes to dark circles and bags under the eyes.  Huh??  At this point, I'm pretty sure I've just been fed a load crap but I just kept nodding and he just keeps talking about everything except how much this little miracle is going to cost me.

I finally ask straight out, "How much?"  He gives a scolding look as if I have just committed a huge social faux pas, then tells me that one bottle will last me 2 years because after the initial 14 day period in which I should apply it daily, I will only have to use it 3 times a week.

More insistently I say, "How much?" He then tells me about the free gifts he's going to throw in.

I give him a look and he finally admits that the price for the eye serum is $249.00.

I tell him flat out, "I can't afford that."  Again the scolding look, only this time laced with a little pity.  He tells me he'll do me a favor and cut the price to $149.00.  "Um, I can't afford that either."

I have to admit, at this point his high pressure sales pitch is taking a toll.  I'm uncomfortable, anxious and actually beginning to feel a little sorry for poor Elio.  Too make him feel better, I tell him I'll think about it and ask him for his card.

He's no dummy either.  He knows he's not getting a sale and his manner turns pretty condescending.  He takes his sweet time about getting the card.  We get to the sales desk and he makes his final play. He gives me a sexy little pout and tells me that since he really likes me he's going to give me the serum, two other creams each of which retail for $249.00 and a free $230.00 facial all for the rock bottom price of $99.00 even.

Now, I'm really feeling the pressure.  I feel like Joseph being seduced by Potiphar's wife and I pull the same move.  I turn and literally run from the store, all the while thinking, "get thee behind me, Satan!"

I'm pretty sure Elio thinks I'm crazy.

Just for the record, here is a photo of the eye Elio worked on.


Here is the other one.  Um, I sure don't see $249.00 worth of difference.

To be fair, there was a slight reduction in puffiness, but I'm pretty sure it's because the serum he used had been highly chilled.  A fact Elio side skirted when I brought it up.
It's been proved that applying cold spoons, chilled cucumbers or tea bags reduces eye puffiness.  Apparently so does applying hemorrhoid cream.  Who knew??

So, what did I learn?

First, I learned that I'm stronger now.  Try though he might, Elio did not make me feel bad about my appearance.  I left that store feeling just as confident as when I went in. When it was over, I called Matt and we had a good laugh about the whole incident. The farther down this pro-age path I'm going, the better I feel about being in my 50's and what the future holds for me as I continue to age.  I hope I'm actually getting less susceptible to the aging insecurities that are so prevalent in our society.  And, I hope that by coming with me on this journey, you will be too

Second, although I was pretty sure that stuff Elio was spouting about the benefits of nano-gold in cosmetics was just a bunch of snake oil, a bit of research has confirmed my suspicion.  Click here and here if you want to check it out.

Third, I'll just save myself a few hundred bucks and start chilling my Preparation H.

Right on the heels of the Elio incident (as it will forever been known in my head), I was in another shop when a woman came right up to me and complimented me on my hair.  She was the third person to do so that day.

She told me she was debating whether to go natural herself and we ended up having a nice conversation about it.  One in which I whole heartedly recommended she embrace her natural hair.

When I told her I had an entire blog dedicated to silver hair and aging naturally, she said she wished so much that a friend of hers could somehow meet me.  Her friend is a 30ish woman who has "prematurely" grayed and keeps her hair covered with a ball cap, even in her own home, because she is so ashamed.

I wondered aloud what defines "prematurely".  Is their an unwritten rule that to have gray hair before a certain age is premature?  If so who made it and why do they have that right?

I gave her the address to my blog and told her to please have her friend read it.

I wish her friend could have met me, too.  If I could meet her this is what I say.

"My beautiful, beautiful young friend.  Please know, gray hair is nothing to be ashamed of. Of all the things in the world to be ashamed of such as being mean, vindictive, shallow, cruel or dishonest, being gray doesn't even make it on the list.

Don't let the world define you and don't take the judgments of our shallow society personally.  Grey is only a color.  It doesn't have mean that you are old and past your prime. You and you alone will decide that. Take off that ball cap and own your gray hair!  It is part of who you really are and it makes you unique.  Celebrate it and it will become your signature."

I don't know if she will ever read this but I pray in my heart she does.  Women like her are my sole purpose is writing this blog.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wake up to less make-up

Source Unknown.  If you know, please contact me and I will give proper credit.  

So let's talk about make-up.  Because, no matter if you color your hair or go natural, our make-up is something we women should reevaluate, especially as we age.   

Let me start by saying that I understand the choice of how much or even whether or not to wear  makeup is a very personal choice. I would never condemn any woman for her choice to wear makeup.  However, I will go on record to say that I think women are in denial about why they wear it and who they are wearing it for.  

If you think you wear it because it makes you more attractive to the opposite sex, read this and this

If you believe, as I think most older women do, that make up keeps you looking younger. Well, think again.  If we aren't careful, makeup can actually make us look older.  Check out this, this and this

Some women will tell you they wear makeup because it makes them feel pretty or glamorous or confident, or different or even to express their inner self.  My response to that is why do we need to wear a mask in order to do or feel all those things?  

I will freely admit that I began wearing makeup as a teenager out of insecurity because I had zits.  No, I didn't have acne and the reason for that is because at the first sign of a pimple, my mom (who had acne as a girl and was totally paranoid about her girls getting it) rushed me to the dermatologist who put me on every diet and treatment under the sun.  Those treatments included everything from weekly B12 shots in my hip, to daily tetracycline pills to being forbidden to eat fried food and chocolate for 10 years.  Oh yeah, and my Dad who was obsessed with "blackheads" used to put my face under a bright light EVERY night and squeeze anything that even resembled a clogged pore.  Now mind you, my sister did not have to go through any of this it was just lucky, lucky me.  It was like a medieval torture. I hated it!

But despite all that, I did still get a few pimples and with all the negativity surrounding me, I felt that they made me ugly.  So I started wearing makeup to cover my blemishes.  I started with spot concealer over the blemishes.  But the effect of makeup is kind of like the phenomena of  how upon painting your house you suddenly see all the other "imperfections" and then start replacing carpet, furniture, etc.  Soon I had progressed to full foundation with mascara.  Eventually, I went the whole nine yards with concealer, blush, eyeshadow, lip liner, etc.  The more I wore makeup, the more feature flaws I saw that I felt needed covering.  Makeup can be just as addicting as cosmetic surgery.  

Here's the thing, I don't think I am any different than any other woman.  I think if we are honest with ourselves we will admit that we started and continue to wear makeup because on some level we feel insecure with our looks.  

Then there is also the whole group mentality thing.  This is especially pertinent for teens and pre-teens who generally start wearing makeup to fit in with all the other girls who have started wearing makeup, who wear it to fit in with the all the women around them who wear make-up, who wear it because all the women around them wear it and so on and so on and so on.  

So, my thought is this. Perhaps, if more women would own their natural beauty, we could swing the group mentality pendulum the other way.  Hence this post.  

For me, as I get older I'm definitely leaning toward the less is better camp, not just cosmetically but psychologically as well.  Here's a life-altering secret I've learned lately.  The less makeup you wear, the less you feel you need to wear it.  This is huge!! Wearing less makeup can actually make you feel more confident, not less.  

I frequently go without makeup and guess what, not one single person has run screaming from the room upon encountering the makeup-less me.  Other than the one experience I posted about earlier, my experiences going without makeup have been quite positive. 

And now, even when I do wear makeup, I am going for a decidedly more natural/nude look.  I've started using Boom! cosmetics by Cindy Joseph.  She sells three basic products that give a nice glow but are sheer enough to be considered gateway products to help a woman get comfortable enough with her own face to eventually go completely makeup free.

To that end,  I spend much more time caring for my skin than covering it up.  

Here are my 5 top tips:
1.  First and foremost, STAY HYDRATED AND EAT WELL!  
  • We have lost the connection between what we eat and how we look.  The number one way to have healthier looking skin is to eat a healthier diet.  When I began eating clean I saw a definite change in the condition of my hair and skin.  Check this out for a few good foods to start with.  

2.  EXERCISE!

3.  Use a rough wash cloth or a buff puff for cleansing.  
  • Who needs to pay thousands of dollars for Microderm abrasion when a good daily exfoliating will keep your skin just as glowing.   

4.  Get and use a good moisturizer. (And, I don't think those expensive one's do any better of a job.)
  • I use Aveeno Positively Radiant and I love it.  I even mix it in with my foundation to get a more sheer, dewy look.  
5.  Get your 8 hours.  
  • There are studies showing that lack of sleep can contribute to everything from obesity to increase cancer risk.  But for the purposes of this post read this article on the link between lack of sleep and rapidly aging skin.  
So, I hope you'll join me in embracing your natural look.  You don't have to be made-up to be beautiful, confident and express your true self.  Show the world the real you and you will be revolutionary.  

Let me rephrase something I recently read on one of my favorite blogs

You are more than a decoration. You are more than eye or arm candy.  You are here to be an instrument in God's hands, not an ornament to decorate the world.   


Monday, November 17, 2014

Your true colors

Last weeks post was a bit on the serious side, so I've decided to lighten things up with this post.

A few weeks ago I did something fun that I want to share with you.

One thing you may not realize about letting your hair go natural is that colors that used to look good on you might not anymore.  A change in hair color, especially if you are transitioning from dark dyed hair, will effect your skin tone.  Color and tone that used to enhance your complexion might now make you look sallow and tired.

I have understood that on an intellectual level for some time now, but have never really done anything about it.  When I read how the author of Going Gray went to an image/color consultation after she let her hair go natural, I decided I wanted to give it a try.

Unfortunately, living in my small town severely limited my options.  So, I did what I usually do in such cases and turned to the internet.

A few options popped up but I was immediately drawn to a website called Faith Meets Fashion.  This site is home to Shari Braendel, whose mission it is to encourage women to find their inner beauty while educating them on how to enhance their outer beauty, all from a faith-based perspective.  

That faith-based perspective really appealed to me.  Fashion can be a huge challenge for those of us who want to look stylish without giving in to immodest, revealing clothes.

Shari has several courses and webinars available which I am looking into for future reference, but for now I started with her color analysis service.

The process was simple.  I only had to answer a few questions as to my hair color, eye color, etc.  Once that was finished, my analysis popped up for free.  If I had wanted to, I could have stopped there.

However, for a small fee I could order the corresponding color swatches and more importantly, I could have an accuracy check with Shari to make sure my analysis was correct.  With the average cost for an image consultation running about $150.00 per hour, $24.95 is a bargain.


Not long after, my swatches arrived in the mail along with a helpful explanation of the best way to use the colors on my body.  I am a Cool, which means anything I wear should have a blue undertone.  Browns and golds are not my friends and muted colors will wash me out.  Silver is my best accessory.  

Armed with my new tool, the first thing I did was head into my closet to see how my current wardrobe stacked up.  I was surprised to find I had a substantial amount of clothing that needed to go.  I have to admit that part was a little painful.  Some of my favorite pieces were in the wrong color palette and I didn't want to part with them.  It 's kind of amazing how emotionally attached we can get to our clothing.  Having made the commitment to the process, however, I just swallowed and put the offending pieces in the charity box.  

Next came the fun part.  My swatches and I went shopping.  
I admit I'm not the greatest selfie taker, but hopefully you'll get the idea.  

Here is the first outfit I put together. It's pretty simple but I just wanted to test out how the colors looked on me.  
I loved the colors in the blouse. They perfectly matched the swatches in my kit and really did compliment my skin tone.  

The pants were sooooo cute but I wasn't too sure about slapping polka dots on my J-Lo booty.  What do you think??

I decided to try something a little more toned down.  I like them from the front, but you know with pants...

it's all about that base.  Hmmm, still not sure.

One more try in black.  Not bad, but the color doesn't really do much for the blouse.  

I guess I'm just a jeans kinda gal.  I went home with this sweater and the blouse.  The jeans and the scarf were already mine.  

I'm still thinking about the navy polka dot pants.  They are kind of calling to me.  

All in all it was a great day.  I felt confident and happy with my purchases and best of all, they still looked great when I got them home.  It has happened to me too many times that I have thought something looked great in the store only to get it home and hate it.  

My swatches are a great tool. I keep them in my purse so I'll have them whenever I go shopping.  It's like carrying around my own personal image consultant.  

Do yourself a favor.  Be sure to check out Shari's site.  She has some great information and tools available.  

I put links to her blog and color analysis on my side bar under Blog Love.  

P.S. The opinions in this post are completely my own.  Shari did not solicit me in any way. I have received no financial rewards or services of any kind for this review.