3 Ways Elegant Women Remain Collected

We all want to feel more in control when things go awry. I’ve never met anyone who enjoyed feeling nervous and helpless and I’ve also met some women who seem to defy all characteristics of normal human reactions when it hits the fan. It made me wonder what this quality was and if I could learn it too. After some study of their behavior, I realized that this quality was “elegance”.

Now, elegance is not snobbery and high tea with lace fans and finger sandwiches.

Elegance is a state of mind and therefore anyone can be elegant — strands of pearls and diamond rings are not compulsory. What elegant women share in common is their mind. They are focused, clear, and decisive in their thoughts which leaves very little room for them to feel “off”, worried or hysterical. After much study, I’ve reduced their behavior down to these three ways to that use to stay calm, cool and collected.

1. They know their priorities

If you ask most women what is important in their lives, you’ll be inundated with an avalanche of things which is no wonder most women feel like their running on steam much of time.

Elegant women are not super-human. They have the same amount of time and energy as anyone else, but they know where to focus it and not give it away to unimportant people and things.

To feel in control, you need to be able to constantly decide what is truly, deeply important to you and be at peace with your decisions. There is this phenomenon called “FOMO” today. That stands for the “fear of missing out” and that has no place in an elegant woman’s life. If you find yourself at the mercy of FOMO and afraid to cut off things and people, just remember that if everything is important to you, then nothing really is.

2. They abhor drama

In a world where vulgar, outrageous personalities are gossiped about, emulated and celebrated, elegant women take a step away from these people and prefer to acquaint themselves with those who uplift and inspire others to our highest ideals. Choose the high road all the time and soon you’ll find yourself among others who have done the same.

There’s also the drama that women create within themselves by giving away their feelings self-worth to other people. How many women do you know always think about what someone else is thinking about them and base their decisions on what someone else thinks? These women torture themselves which shows up as social anxiety by trying to know the unknowable — and frankly, the not worth knowing. Elegant women are truly confident in themselves, not confident in what others think of them. There’s a distinction there that makes all the difference.

Lastly, an elegant woman does not create negative thoughts in less than ideal situations. She understands that things will happen that are beyond her control and all she can do is remain level-headed and make the best decision with the knowledge she has. These last couple of weeks have not been the best: my husband got in a car accident (thankfully he’s fine even though the car is totaled!), my car has some sort of electrical issue that even the car shop can’t figure out so that car can’t be driven until they bring in an electrician, my husband’s job interview did not go as he wanted and they chose another candidate, and due to all of the car issues there are going to be some hefty, unexpected bills coming our way soon. With all of these events, it is very tempting to succumb to the stress and anxiety and begin to weave negative thoughts into my days, but an elegant women sees the facts for what they are.

Have these last two weeks been an anomaly? Yes.

Does that mean my life is falling apart and that nothing good will ever happen to me ever again? No.

Can I handle this with grace and not let it affect my overall happiness? Yes.

Life happens and there’s nothing that can stop that. Sometimes what seems like a bad thing can actually end up being good for you. It was time for a car upgrade anyway.

3. They are disciplined and intentional

Like I mentioned before, elegance is a state of mind and the mind is an incredible thing. It takes a lot of discipline to control your thoughts and actions, most people just let the first feeling that comes into their brain decide their actions. An elegant woman knows that life is just a series of decisions between what is right and what is easy.

On the same line, if something is important then you have to truly intend to do it. An elegant women does this by putting it down in a calendar. This can come in many different varieties and can be electronic or old-fashioned pen to paper (my preference). For example, if you decide that writing that novel is truly important to you (this is key) then you will write in your calendar the steps required to accomplish that:

  1. Write the novel
  2. Research the best publisher for you
  3. Find an illustrator

All that’s left to do is to tap into your discipline to believe in yourself and do those steps.

Of course, elegant women have their days when they feel stressed out, get angry, make some drama and commit themselves to something that they don’t truly feel is important to them. No one is perfect. But they don’t stay in that space for long, certainly not long enough to ever make a real impact on their lives, but if you are ever feeling that like, just remember these 3 methods and get back to being and living your fabulous elegant self.

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Book Review: Elegance

Today I want to share with you my review of a delightful little book, “Elegance” by Kathleen Tessaro. If any of you are familiar with Madame Dariaux’s concise encyclopedia by the same name and loved it — you will appreciate this book. It follows the transformation of Louise Canova from a drab, depressed and depressing person who is stuck in an unsatisfying marriage to an elegant woman of substance who is unapologetic in living her life.

I really like this story because I think its a journey that all elegant women share. Although Louise’s specific background may be different from ours, we all have times in our lives when we have to choose between what is right and what is easy, an opportunity to express out highest ideals or to stifle that expression out of fear of change.

Louise’s journey is structured with passages from Madame Dariaux’s iconic book that set the tone for her metamorphosis. I will admit, it is a rather banal story, but the question of what elegance actually meant to me was what made it interesting for me.

At a certain point in the book, Louise gets fed up with trying to become the “perfect” elegant lady and decides to live for the moment with the exclamation that “life’s too short!”. She tosses everything she learned about elegance in the bin (including her chic wardrobe) and trades that in for impulsive nights at the trendiest clubs, expensive purchases from this season’s hottest fashions, and the dazed and hungover mornings that follow suit. She starts to interact with the world around her differently and her experiences shift as a result — and not in a way that ultimately served her true objectives. But, she realizes all of this and she eventually finds her way back thanks to a friend and a hilarious yet poignant incident at The Ritz.

By the end of the book we learn that elegance is not about appearances or about belonging to a certain social circle. Elegance is a state of mind that is reflected on the outside of a person. It is the daily practice of refining and cultivating the experience of quality emotions in our lives. Fittingly, the book does not end on a note of resolution. We see that Louise is starting to settle into her new life and enjoying all that she has to appreciate, but with the new awareness that she needs to remain in touch with her values and practice expressing them on a daily basis. Perhaps by reading this book it will trigger you to start nurturing quality moments in your own life, or if you are satisfied with your life, to go deeper into those moments because after all, there is no “destination elegance” — we all must find it everyday.

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Minimalism Challenge: 2nd Update

Continuing in my office, I headed straight for the boxes of craft paper, office supplies, and notebooks.

I threw away any notebooks that I knew I would not use because they were used up, torn or otherwise in pretty bad shape. I kept the rest since I knew that either my husband or I would use them eventually out of necessity. In the same pile, I got rid of a whole host of plastic accordion file folders, paper folders and binders. I like buying different types of organizational tools if their style or patterns catch my eye, but you can only go through so many of those before they start to add up.

I also had a box of pens, pencils, pencil cases, paperclips, erasers, binder clips, stickers, and different types of post notes. It was hard for me to choose what to get rid of with the pens and pencils because there were quite a few that I had spent a tidy sum of money on because I only buy and use rollerball pens, but only the .5 millimeter size — so all the .7 millimeter sizes could go. I ended up giving them to my husband because he is not as particular as I am with pens. I now only have office supplies consolidated in a box and only those supplies that I know I love and will use.

I’m a planner junkie, but there’s only so many planners you can use at one time. Lately, I’ve been trying out using my iphone as my planner (it’s okay but I still prefer writing things down and will switch back at the start of the new year) so I had a spare arc system notebook with all of the inserts, a personal filofax with all of the inserts, two 2016 week on 2 pages planners and midori traveler’s notebook in both sizes. I tend to acquire a new planner whenever I get bored with life and want a lift in my routine. I threw away the two 2016 planners since they were half used and listed the filofax and the arc system on eBay since they were barely used and decided to keep the midori notebooks. I’d had them for a over 5 years and they had a lot of sentimental value to me although I don’t use them at the present.

A while back I got caught up in the whole planner decorating kick, but it has long since fizzled out. I just don’t have the time or desire to do it and my tastes run more simple than that. However, I had purchased a laminator, a paper cutter and a set of Martha Stewart decorative paper punchers that I used perhaps twice, so those went on eBay too.

With that, my office is done. I now have my makeup items in one corner, a box of all of the notebooks and office supplies that I decided to keep in storage, and my desk with just the right amount of supplies in it. It feels good to get rid of what I don’t use and to know that I love what I have so that I can make smarter purchases in the future.

Next up is the storage room. I can’t even remember what’s in there at this point, but I have a feeling I won’t have trouble remembering once I’m done!

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Minimalism Challenge: 1st Update

If you didn’t see my previous post, I’m doing a massive sweep of my home to get back to that happy, organized balance that I was inhabiting a few months ago.

This past weekend was the first of many areas that need examination and I focused on my office. This is where I do my makeup, much of my writing and study, and is really “my space” in the house.

I started with my makeup collection as a little warm up. I have a large makeup bag in which I keep all of my daily essentials that I need to get ready in the morning. Lately, that makeup bag has gotten filled with extra things that prevent me from getting ready as quickly as possible. Next to that I have some stackable containers in which I keep lipsticks, lip gloss, blushes, extra foundation, and eyeshadow. I also have a large grey faux fur box that houses larger eyeshadow palettes, moisturizer, false lashes, and makeup setting spray.

I went through all of my makeup and threw away a L’Oreal cushion foundation that I used twice but will not use again (the lightest shade is still too dark!), some lip glitter that I have no event to wear to, random lipsticks that just weren’t the right color for me, brushes that were old or not ever being used, dried up eyelash glue, and more. I streamlined my morning makeup bag into a smaller one that I had around and threw away the old, big one. It was $1 from daiso and the ivory white exterior and inside had smudges and stains all over from the makeup. Now, all of my daily makeup fits in a black bag that is less than half the size, which makes it so easy to find what I need quickly.

Using the thought process: Do I value this? Do I use this? Do I love this? I purged quite a bit from my collection. Now, I still have enough eyeshadow, lipstick and blush to probably last me a lifetime, but it’s been years since I purchased any that so I’m alright with that fact. Really, the only makeup I’ve purchased for the last couple of years is foundation, powder and mascara.

I’m feeling better already. My morning routine just got a little more efficient and I’m loving it. Next week, I’m still staying in my office, but tackling a bunch of things at once. I’ve got nail polish, notebooks, and office supplies to work through and I’m a paper and office supply junkie!

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Getting Clean: Be Honest About Your Motivations

Let’s be honest.

I’d wager that more often than you think, the interactions you have with people in your life have a secret agenda behind them. Without us really being conscious of them, we make decisions based on motivations that are impure.

So what’s the big deal?

Keeping secrets has actually been proven to be harmful to our brain. Neuroscientists believe that it is better for us to either confess our secrets or not participate in keeping them at all. The reason for this involves a lot of complicated medical terminology but basically, it stresses your brain out. It puts your brain in a limbo because a part of the brain that is in charge of our emotional responses is also wired to tell the truth. Whenever you become privy to something secret, this part of the brain starts telling all the other parts of the brain to tell it and get it out so that it can do more important things like learning. When you don’t tell the secret and keep it locked in because you don’t want to hurt someone you prevent this part of the brain from working regularly and it becomes stressed. This can lead to some pretty unpleasant effects such as a low immune system, high blood pressure, memory loss, increase in the stress hormone coritsol and gastrointestinal and metabolic issues.

With that said, let’s get clean by following the steps below:

Step One

Pick something coming up in your schedule that you’ve committed to doing. Maybe you don’t have anything planned for this weekend, but you have to go to work on Monday morning. That’s fine — any commitment will do.

Step Two

Keeping this commitment in your mind, think about why you are doing it. I want you to ignore that first reason that pops up in your head — “because I have to” — and really go deep with this. Maybe you go to work because you need the money, because you want the recognition from your boss, but its mostly because you want the approval of your family. Who knows? Only you do, so think hard and find the reason that feels the most true.

Step Three

Now that you have the real motivation, think about what you let others think about why you are doing what you are doing. Using the example for going to work, if the real motivation is the paycheck, you may make your boss think that you love working for him or the company or it’s such a great opportunity to learn and grow and blah blah blah. If there is a disconnect between the reason in step two and this step, then you’re keeping a secret.

Step Four

Now that you have found a hidden disconnect — a secret — in your life, it won’t do to just sweep it under the rug. You’ve only just begun to clean up your motivations so to keep on going you have to be truthful to yourself. You can tell your boss that you love your job, but remember that you’re here for the paycheck. You can tell your friend that “No, that dress doesn’t make you look fat, but perhaps this dress will accentuate your body better”, but understand the reasons why you tell her that — because you value her friendship and companionship more than your opinions on her wardrobe choices.

Once you continue following the steps above as often as you can in your life, you will more easily live your truth and begin to attract people and interactions that bring out your pure motivations instead of people and situations that make you perpetuate a web of deception. In fact, this is the reason why therapy, whether it’s journaling or speaking with a professional doctor, is so helpful. By staying attuned to the real motivations in your own interactions,  you can quickly identify the motivations of others and their hidden agendas and intelligently make decisions to avoid involving yourself in situations that may compromise your truth. You’ll start to feel freer and lighter as you unravel the web of manipulation that tangled your brain and you’ll be able to use that boost of energy to focus on living your life the way you truly love surrounded with people who truly love you.

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End of the Year Minimalism Challenge

I am a huge proponent of Minimalism.

Its a lifestyle that I have been incorporating into my life for about a year now. It has helped me to find clarity, savor quality, experience more meaningfully and of course save money. I love the feeling of having a clean and clutter-free home, mind, and sense of style. Despite my daily practice of Minimalism, I would not call myself a “Minimalist” — I definitely have things! But, I’m happy with the balance I’ve struck between keeping what I need and letting myself have what I want.

Lately, however, I have found stuff starting to build up in different places like my kitchen pantry, my closet, my bathroom cabinets and my car and therefore my life and my mind. To get me back to where I want to be I will be clearing out, giving away, throwing away, donating, and selling my excess things.

My goal is to complete my whole house by the end of the year. I don’t want a single thing left that I don’t need, value or love in my home. This way I will end this year and start 2017 on an invigorated and accomplished note and with some cash that I can use to start a project that I have in mind.

I’m so excited — and only a little scared — to see what these next few months will bring! My mind is already spinning with all of the stuff that I’ll have to post on eBay or otherwise give away and I’ll be posting as I plod along this process.

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Your Life is Your Masterpiece

There’s the simple fact of life that everyone will die one day. No matter what divergences exist that separate our lives from one another, everyone of us will end the same way. However, its no use being glum about it — we might as well have a nice time and make something of ourselves until it happens to us.

That’s what I wanted to write about today — about the middle part between birth and death and the attention to detail that make it mean something.

Some people think that there’s no point in doing anything at all or no meaning in what we do because it will all be for nothing in the end. Our flesh and bones will have turned to dust, our belongings will belong to us no more and our memories and experiences will have gone from us and the world.

I disagree with the last part.

Every life matters and will have mattered when it ends. We do take something with us when we leave this world. We take with us to the grave our deeds.

Your life is the only thing you have and the details that you tend to make up that life. We all need to be mindful of where we place our thoughts and importance on things both big and small because no man is an island. What each of us does with our lives has a rippling effect and has influence far beyond what we will ever know.

You need to know what is important to you and find ways to live that out everyday. If you don’t know, its inevitable that you will allow others to make that choice for you and you will not have lived the life you could have lived and made the impact that you could have made. There is nothing more tragic than a wasted life.

Find your direction, find your conviction. Your life is your masterpiece that will endure long after you.

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