Archive | December 2015

How to Make Friends

The more social a woman is, dear reader, the more successful she is.

 

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This is because, dear reader, we need the support of others in order to achieve whatever it is we wish for and hope for – it truly is impossible to accomplish anything worthwhile solely on one’s own.

In business, being social is called “networking”; in other areas of life it is simply a matter of being able to make meaningful connections easily, and finding enjoyment in  doing so.

Networking has a connotation and reputation as being something that is forced, but in truth the process of making connections with others should really be fun and enjoyable, not a stressful or pressured event.

Women who are “networkers” or who seem to know everyone and be known by everyone tend to be able to organize and orchestrate their plans and hopes easily – they know exactly who they must contact and which people they need to get together to get something done.

 

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But the women who are skilled connectors, dear reader, likely do not set out with any certain agenda.  They simply enjoy getting to know new people, and get energy from bringing different people within their own networks together.

There has been much buzz about the benefits of being introverted (i.e. making fewer but deeper connections, etc.), but it is the extroverted and outgoing women, dear reader, that know about exciting opportunities before they happen, get invited to interesting events and parties, and become exposed to more unique and current ideas and interesting people.
The woman who shrinks away from socializing out of a habitual shyness most certainly misses out on these opportunities.

It is well documented that a large majority of job offers, business deals, social arrangements, and the like are accomplished via a personal connection through one’s network; the more opportunity a woman would like, the more she should put effort into building one.

 

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Successful socializing first and foremost requires that a woman forgets about herself for the moment.  People who are self-conscious and overly concerned about how others will perceive them will not get the most out of a networking experiences simply because they are focused on the wrong person.  The point of socializing is to hear others and to listen to what they have to say with genuine interest.

A good networker, and friendship-builder, dear reader, is a woman who is a good listener.

Many women think that perhaps they are not interesting enough, not accomplished enough, successful enough, or dazzlingly beautiful enough to be the life of the party.  But this is not the case – they simply must be interested enough.

That is it.

People are quite simple dear reader – they are most interested in themselves, their ideas, and their own projects and feel instantly connected to any woman who will listen to their words with genuine interest.

 

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For this to happen, you must be engaged in the conversation.  This means asking questions at appropriate times, maintaining eye contact and focus (i.e. not displaying a darting gaze that makes it look like you are searching for an escape from the interaction) and best of all, smiling (not overdoing it of course).

This all comes very naturally, dear reader, when you are focused on whatever it is the person or people to whom you are talking are interested in discussing (most likely themselves, but occasionally it will be an idea or other interest).

A woman who is good at making connections, dear reader, first believes that others have something interesting to contribute, and she is willing to patiently discover that, before switching the subject over to herself and what she hopes and dreams for.

 

Something about Nothing:

 

If you don’t consider yourself naturally outgoing, but would like to become so, the only way to accomplish that is to go out and practice – happy socializing!  (:

Coping with Betrayal

Betrayal, dear reader, is often one of the most difficult and time-consuming setbacks for a woman to overcome.

 

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It can truly hit her like the proverbial “brick wall” and stop her dead in her tracks.

Betrayal is one of the most painful human experiences. Discovering that someone we trusted has deeply hurt us pulls the reality rug from under us. A damaging aspect of betrayal is that our sense of reality is undermined. What felt like solid trust suddenly crumbles. Our innocence is shattered. We’re left wondering: What happened? How could this happen? Who is this person?

Perhaps what is so uniquely harmful about betrayal is that it leaves us questioning our own selves and our judgement about who to trust and who not to.

A typical reaction is often to suffer from a severe pull-back in trust more generally.  It becomes more difficult to be open after betrayal, and what’s worse, dear reader, is that we no longer trust our own selves.

 

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“When someone breaks your trust don’t feel stupid for trusting them. You didn’t do anything wrong they’re just an untrustworthy person.”

Betrayal is not only about the one who shattered our trust, it is about trusting ourselves not to put ourselves into compromising situations with untrusting people where we may be hurt.

Often-times, after a betrayal, whether that be an extra-marital affair or something else, a woman will beat herself up for her own foolishness.  In many cases, dear reader, the woman who instead simply blames the other party and gets angry, will heal much faster and be able to move on with resilience.

This is because the first thing that needs to be accomplished in order to move on from betrayal is a trust in one’s self and one’s own judgement.

“A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on it’s own wings.”

 

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You must, dear reader, first trust in your own wings.  The branch is like all the external factors and people that may betray you, but your wings are your own judgement of who and who not to trust, how much of yourself you are willing to invest in someone else, and your unique personality make-up and resilience – your ability to recover and come back stronger if betrayed.

First and foremost, dear reader, you must get it into your head that you are not completely at fault for whatever betrayal you have suffered.  Sure, you may have been more naive than you are now, but it is still not worth analyzing or beating yourself up over.  It does not mean that you were foolish, naive, or too trusting.  It means that you simply misread a situation or didn’t appreciate all of the details involved.  But, dear reader, no one does, in any situation!

And betrayal may feel like a personal failure, but it is not.  Absolutely everyone, from the most advanced spies to con artists, are at some point betrayed.

 

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The natural reaction to become dark and cynical, and to have a severe contraction in one’s ability to trust following betrayal, dear reader, is almost always an over-reaction.

After betrayal, we tend to believe people are worse than they really are, even the one (or ones) who have betrayed us.  Perhaps they are the most calculating people to ever walk the face of the planet, but the more likely truth is that the betrayal isn’t as bad as you have imagined.

“In most cases, people, even the most vicious, are much more naive and simple-minded than we assume them to be. And this is true of ourselves too.”

This isn’t to say to simply let someone off the hook or to trust indiscriminately, however.

 

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But in order to move on and to live the healthy, happy, and productive life you deserve, dear reader you will need to learn to trust and be open.  If you are unable to do this, betrayal will continue to have a lasting and detrimental impact, holding you back from all that you know you can be.

It also helps, dear reader, to give yourself time.  You can’t expect to immediately bounce back following an unexpected breach in trust.  It will take time, and it helps to be patient with oneself, understanding that you may not feel like your usual self overnight, but that it’s okay.

“Everyone suffers at least one bad betrayal in their lifetime. It’s what unites us. The trick is not to let it destroy your trust in others when that happens. Don’t let them take that from you.”

Believing in Yourself

Too many women, dear reader, seem to believe in everyone but themselves.

 

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They are dissatisfied with their lives, yet don’t seem to realize that their own view of themselves is likely the cause; these women are not living up to their full potential.  They may tell themselves they aren’t good enough, aren’t smart enough, aren’t experienced enough, aren’t pretty enough, or just plain are not enough for whatever it is they hope for and dream about.

Unfortunately, dear reader, the only truth is whatever you believe to be true about yourself.

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right” – Henry Ford

So what is a woman to do then, to get herself out of such a catch-22, a negative feedback loop where her own lack of self-belief fuels failure and dismal results which in turn feed her low self-esteem?

 

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Perhaps one of the most effective ways to break out of that cycle is to meet people (or if that isn’t possible, learn as much second-hand) about successful people who are doing whatever it is you hope to do and through that to understand that these women (or men) are no better than you.  Once you see that it doesn’t take some larger than life or perfect woman to achieve what you want, that these people who have accomplished what you hope to have just as many flaws, if not more, than you do, it becomes a lot easier to believe in yourself.  After all, someone else, someone equally or less talented than yourself has done it.

Most of us wish for success and new accomplishments, dear reader, because it does have that effect – it tends to magnify a person, perhaps beyond what is actually “true.”  But it doesn’t matter.  Because once a woman believes in herself and her ability to go after what it is she wants, she is certain to get it.

 

Jessica Stam wears Dior Haute Couture in 'Golden Years' by Corinne Day for Vogue UK, October 2007.

 

Why?  Dear reader, people cannot resist certainty.  They do not like to feel any sort of doubt or uncertainty (it is psychologically uncomfortable), so they are instantly attracted to people who display the opposite – extreme confidence, self-belief, and a certainty that they will prevail no matter what.

“Believe it can be done. When you believe something can be done, really believe, your mind will find the ways to do it. Believing a solution paves the way to solution.”

So whatever it is, dear reader, that you are telling yourself you’re not good enough for or can’t do, simply take a step in the right direction towards that goal (:

And even if you’re first attempt (or first several, hundred, or even thousand) attempts don’t work, don’t let go of the belief that you can achieve your goals, because dear reader, the truth is that those seemingly different and more accomplished people are there making it happen are different only in that they had the courage to try, and the wherewithal to keep trying through setbacks, roadblocks, and even avalanches in their way.

 

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Taking Risks

It has been said, dear reader, that the world never made a queen of a girl who hides in houses and dreams without traveling.

 

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This is an interesting point to consider – firstly, it introduces the idea that a queen is made, not born, and that she is made by learning to take risks.

The girl who never takes a risk, the one who “hides in houses” or who sits activities out because she’s too afraid to participate, or to fail, will never be made a queen by the world.  The woman who declines, perhaps saying that all-to-familiar line ‘I’m good’, to join in on some fun and exciting activity that she really, deep down, wants to participate in is a woman who needs desperately to learn how to take risks.

“Boldness gives you presence and makes you seem larger than life.  The timid fade into the wallpaper, the bold draw attention.  Everyone admires the bold; no one honors the timid.”

 

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The great, successful, and powerful women of excellence throughout history, dear reader, did not get that way by playing it safe all the time.  One does not achieve greatness without courage, and that means going out and doing things that you are unsure of.

The Hollywood studio MGM had been good to Joan Crawford: it had discovered her, made her a star, crafted her image. By the early 1940s, though, Crawford had had enough. It was all too comfortable; MGM kept casting her in the same kinds of roles, none of them a challenge. So, in 1943, Crawford did the unthinkable and asked out of her contract. The consequences for Crawford could have been terrible; to challenge the studio system was considered highly unwise. Indeed, when she then signed up with Warner Brothers, predictably enough she was offered the same mediocre sorts of scripts. She turned them down. On the verge of being fired, she finally found the part she had been looking for: the title role in Mildred Pierce, which, however, she was not offered. Setting to work on the director, Michael Curtiz, she managed to change his mind and land the role. She gave the performance of her life, won her only Best Actress Oscar, and resurrected her career. In leaving MGM, Crawford was taking a big chance. If she failed to succeed at Warner Brothers, and quickly, her career would be over. But Crawford thrived on risk. When she was challenged, when she felt on edge, she burst with energy and was at her best. Like Crawford, you sometimes have to force yourself onto death ground–leaving stale relationships and comfortable situations behind, cutting your ties to the past. If you give yourself no way out, you will have to make your new endeavor work. Leaving the past for unknown terrain is like a death–and feeling this finality will snap you back to life.

Cleopatra, for instance, first made her mark as a young woman in contention for the Egyptian throne by making a grand entrance and rolling out of a carpet in Caesar’s palace, to ask for his help putting together an army.  She didn’t simply sit back and accept defeat.  She must have known that such a maneuver was risky; after all, she had never before met Caesar, and he was a political enemy of the Egyptians.

 

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But what made the difference, dear reader, was that she trusted herself enough to take the risk – she had self-belief.

First and foremost, a woman must believe in herself and her own talents and abilities if she is going to be able to take the risks that will help her to grow and become the queen she truly is.

This is what is often called “confidence” and why that quality is so widely applauded and sought after, both by men, and other high-value women seeking like-minded friends and confidants.

Moreover, a woman who has learned how to take risks to grow herself, is an infinitely more interesting and fascinating one, dear reader.  She has so much to offer, both in conversation and in company, and this again tends to attract people to her cause.

It is the women who take the most (calculated) risks, dear reader, that are the happiest.

 

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“The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” –  Mark Zuckerberg

Life is all about growth and change, and when you aren’t doing either, you are bound to be miserable.

Eventually, risk-taking becomes a habit, and an ingrained and natural part of one’s personality, but if it isn’t already so, dear reader, don’t fret.  It can become so (:

If you are risk-averse, it is advisable to start with small but measureable changes.  Go out and join that latin dance class that you could never see yourself doing.  Audition in a local theater group.  Ask for a promotion or raise.  Go back to school for that advanced degree (this can be done in spare time in the evenings if you don’t want to disrupt your life too much).  Volunteer with a local group.  Honestly, absolutely anything that you would not normally do (i.e. something outside of your “comfort zone”) will do.  What’s the worst that can happen, dear reader, you trip over your feet, don’t get called back, get denied the promotion, or don’t get into the program?  If you never try at all, you will have exactly the same outcome.  If you try, at least you will know that you didn’t fail for lack of effort or for not trying.

 

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“I’ve always believed fitness is an entry point to help you build that happier, healthier life.  When your health is strong, you’re capable of taking risks.  You’ll feel more confident to ask for the promotion.  You’ll have more energy to be a better mom.  You’ll feel more deserving of love.” – Jillian Michaels

From there, the dreams and ambitions you have that might seem far-fetched and out of the realm of possibility will become far more realistic (:

 

A Woman of Action

The feminine woman of excellence, dear reader, is a woman of action.

She not only dreams, and plans, but she does something about it.  She goes after what it is she wants, instead of simply waiting for it.

 

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She knows that life is not likely to hand her the things she wants, and this is why she takes matters into her own hands.

Almost everyone knows what it is to be a “man of action,” but there doesn’t seem to be the equivalent “woman of action.”

However, she does exist, dear reader, and all successful women are successful because they’ve taken some sort of action to make themselves that way.

Success doesn’t happen on it’s own.  It’s been said often enough, but it’s true, dear reader – you must work for success.  And working means more than just preparing, reading, and learning.  While these are all good, without actual action, they’re worthless.

 

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The woman who simply reads internet articles associated with dieting and exercise, but never takes any concrete steps to implementing a healthier lifestyle is not a woman of action, dear reader.

It does not matter how small the steps of action are, dear reader, as long as you do something.  

In the above scenario, a change as simple as incorporating a 30 minute jog into your schedule once a week is better than reading all the articles and magazines about healthy living there is.

Many women become paralyzed because they don’t see this.  They think in all-or-nothing terms.  They either must become health-nuts who go to the gym on a daily basis, or they do nothing at all.

 

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The problem with this, dear reader, and the reason why it’s bound to paralyze you, is that it sets you up for failure.

It’s too abrupt a change; goals and any lifestyle changes must be done incrementally.  Progress happens over time, not overnight, and having such high expectations immediately will without a doubt create feelings of discouragement and inadequacy that will make it hard to continue.

The reason why successful women are all women of action, dear reader, is because what you do and the action you take is the only thing that has any real power at all.

Think about it, dear reader.  We measure both ourselves and others in our society in terms of what they have done, not what they wish to do or what they say they will do, or even what they are planning to do.

Say you want to quit your job and start your own business, and you will receive maybe some occasional and passing attention.  But actually do it, and then you will be taken seriously and you have the opportunity to do something that you are truly proud of.

 

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Few women actually pursue their goals and ambitions in this fashion because they simply don’t think it’s that simple.  They make excuses for themselves because the task seems too daunting, or because it seems easier to simply talk about it, learn more about it second-hand, than to actually implement it.

But this is unfortunate, dear reader, because often the hardest part about anything is simply starting it.  Once that initial plunge has been taken, you are focused on the day-to-day things of how to make it work, rather than an infinite number of variables and possibilities that you can’t possibly plan our beforehand.  Most of us, dear reader, are a lot more capable than we think we are, and our goals and ambitions are a lot more manageable and achievable than we think they are, as long as we approach them a little bit at a time rather than all at once (:

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Compartmentalization

Compartmentalization, dear reader, is the ability to mentally and emotionally separate different aspects of your life, so that you may better focus and perform at whatever task is before you.

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A classic example is the ability to compartmentalize work and school separately from say, a personal relationship.  It’s the ability not to let issues in one area transfer into the other area and affect it.

For example, say a woman’s relationship or marriage has being going through a difficult time; practicing compartmentalization is what allows her to temporarily forget about those issues when she is at work – when she knows her full attention needs to be present or else her performance will suffer.

She isn’t dismissing her issues, dear reader, she is simply setting them aside so that she can deal with them at a time or place that is more conducive to solving them.  Compartmentalization can be a good thing, as long as it isn’t taken too far and used to facilitate denial.  For instance, calling her husband during work hours to try to resolve issues will almost certainly not get her the results she wants.  She’ll need to pull her attention away from her work, revisit all the negative emotions and difficulties facing her in her relationship, and then need to quickly shut all of this down again to focus back on her work.  Almost every person would be affected and upset by this, and carry some of that emotion over.

 

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Compartmentalization, however, allows ordinary people to do this.

It’s easier to keep emotions and issues constrained into boxes, if they are each dealt with separately, on a case-by-case basis, and one prepares herself beforehand emotionally and mentally to be what she needs to be in that situation.

In other words, the person she is required to be at work is usually quite different from the person a woman is required to be in her relationship.  Compartmentalization allows her to be both of these people.

 

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The tactic is a good one for other reasons as well.  It is good to have many different areas of your life, dear reader, that can bring you happiness.

It’s a crazy morning at home, and your spouse is furious at you. Harried, you slam the car door shut and race off to work where an important task awaits.  Your ability to tune out the situation at home and focus on the job at hand is facilitated by your emotional understanding. It’s a form of emotional intelligence, according to Jeremy Yip, a lecturer and research scholar at Wharton. Compartmentalizing enables a person to identify what is stressing them out and to allow other, unrelated factors in their life to stand on their own merits, Yip says.

A woman who only has a career, to the exclusion of a romantic or social life, or other outside interests runs a much greater risk of unhappiness.  If something goes wrong in her life, she has only one box, so to speak.  The same applies for the woman who has a romantic life, but not much else outside of that.

It is smart, dear reader, to spread the risk so to speak in many different and fulfilling areas.

 

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Designer Spotlight: Yves St. Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent (YSL), now Saint Laurent Paris, dear reader, is one of the greatest names and designers in fashion.

 

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Founded by a man named Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent in 1961, the luxury label is known for it’s high-quality pieces that range from the woman’s tuxedo to men’s and women’s ready-to-wear.

With a revenue of just over $1.2 billion, the French fashion house is a force to be reckoned with, as was the man (d. 2008), who was talented enough to become the head designer of Dior at the impressive age of 21.

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The pieces are smart, stylish, and eternally sophisticated, making them beautiful additions to any woman’s closet.

The quality is unparalleled and the design reaches just the right balance of classic restraint and modern freedom with an overall effect of empowering the feminine.

“Today everyone is talking about gender. Yves decided to pass the power from the men’s shoulders to the women’s,” he revealed. “We never interfered with each other, I never went to his studio. I decided to respect the creation before the business.” – Pierre Bergé, Yves St. Laurent Business Partner

 

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Saint Laurent hypnotized with his imaginative creations. An exacting sense of color, cut, exoticism and androgyny were his signatures, as was the infamously fragile constitution that led him to retreat from the fashion world altogether in his final years. Yet his influence remains strong—current designers such as Marc Jacobs, Miuccia Prada and Jean Paul Gaultier frequently reference Saint Laurent’s work in their own collections. Over the course of his 40-plus-year career, Saint Laurent regularly produced a legacy of instant classics (the trapeze dress, the safari jacket, the Mondrian shift and the eternally iconic le smoking) not to mention the concept of ready-to-wear, which he launched in 1966 with his Rive Gauche collection. Then there are those initials, three letters—YSL—that will forever be associated with the pinnacle of French chic.

“Fashions fade, style is eternal.” – Yves St. Laurent

“Over the years, I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who wears it.” – Yves St. Laurent

“We must never confuse elegance with snobbery.” – Yves St. Laurent

“Isn’t elegance forgetting what one is wearing?” – Yves St. Laurent

Gorgeous color combination from Yves Saint Laurent.:

 

 

Blazer Jacket

 

 

 

Yves Saint Laurent ~  Lip and Shadow  Colors:

 

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