Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pretty Girl Rock: The Importance of Inner Beauty and Confidence


I wish I could say that my inner confidence is not at all tied to my appearance. But that would be a damn lie. Truthfully, when I feel pretty; I feel more confident. As I get older, however, what makes me feel pretty has changed quite a bit. I'm more driven by my opinion of myself than the opinion of others. I realize that sometimes people just won't get it and I'm cool with that. Are you?

You know, it never ceases to amaze me how quickly people will give you their (negative) opinion of how you look, what you have on, if you've gained or lost weight, etc. Isn't it awesome to arrive somewhere feeling good and be told that you're looking heavier these days? Or that you have bags under your eyes? Or maybe that your hair is breaking off or falling out? I love those unsolicited comments, don't you?!

Seriously though, comments like those can put a damper on your whole day. You might feel self-conscious or uncomfortable in your skin as a result. I wish I could tell you some magical solution to make you immune to the opinions of others. But honestly, as women, we all know that there are days when we're just not feeling our inner and outer energies radiating harmoniously the way we would like. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to push the wrong button and we're thrown off for the whole day.

The truth is that even these seemingly yucky days, wrought with insecurity, can be turned into stepping stones if we use them to change how we think about self-confidence. What I mean is, challenge yourself to feel confident no matter what anyone says. Many of us only think we look good when other people tell us that we do. Remember that feeling beautiful and confident starts in your mind. Your ability to love yourself will exude radiance no matter what is going on with your external self. Develop your inner beauty and you will always feel good about yourself. And when you feel good about yourself, you will look good.

I'm sure you've seen women who are so confident and comfortable in their skin that they can pull off any outfit, any hairdo and look like perfection. All of us can have that kind of confidence. Own your individuality. Your authentic style should be tied to who you are and where you are in your life. Own your body, your skin, and your hair and love them when they cooperate and when they don't. Don't feed into negative comments and certainly don't deprecate yourself. As you become more sure of yourself, the force of your mojo will become strong within you and will shine outward! This attitude will become just as much a part of your style as the clothes you wear and how you rock them.

Here are some more posts on inner beauty and personal style:

Authenticity: Always in Style
5 Ways to Outwardly Showcase Your Inner Pretty
Face Time
Do You See What I See?
Prayer for Beauty
Now, how do you overcome your insecurities about your physical appearance?   Share your tips with us!
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

PLPT GEMS: Meet Ally

PLPT GEMS Presents
Ally Burguieres
Artist. Writer. Linguist.

When did you discover your passion as an artist? Did you create your first masterpiece as a child, or did it take some time to recognize your gift?

I was always creating as a kid — I remember my mom gushing to a relative over the phone about how I would make little sculptures out of the twisty ties at the grocery store. She always encouraged my creativity, and she signed me up for Saturday-morning art classes when I was seven years old. We'd go out for donuts before class and during class I learned perspective and techniques in acrylic. Those Saturdays are some of my favorite childhood memories.

What obstacles did you have to overcome in order to become a full time artist?

I spent a long time in school — earning two Master's and a Doctoral degree — before I pursued art full-time. Throughout all the studying, art was always a means of relaxation and meditation for me. I love what I studied (Journalism, Literature, and Linguistics) and still consider myself a writer and linguist. Being a full-time artist just means that at this point in my life, the majority of my time is spent on art and writing is my diversion, as opposed to the other way around. 

"Bamboo Pond" — a 5' x 4' Oil and Acrylic Paint on Canvas painting

When did you know it was time to open your own gallery? What are the first 5 steps you took to prepare yourself? 

I knew it was time to open my own gallery when I realized that I wanted the freedom to share my unique artistic style with others without compromising on presentation or experience. Working with other galleries is great, but you miss out on the ability to create your identity as an artist and present your work in a way that communicates your vision and style. The preparation was really about saving financially (1), finding an ideal location (2), talking with the community and directors of galleries in the area (3), building an inventory of strongest works (4), and putting 100% of time and effort into providing an exciting selection of work to customers and being an asset to the community. I'm lucky in that Royal Street in the New Orleans French Quarter is a dynamic community of artists and business owners who treat each other like family. It is wonderful and inspiring as an artist to be welcomed into such a positive, supportive, and prestigious group. 

Are there moments when you feel fearful or uninspired? How do you overcome these moments of negative thinking?

There are definitely moments of fear and uninspiration, but I try to accept them as part of a healthy awareness of risk. I've learned over time that the best things take time and dedication — sometimes success is a matter of patience and positive thinking. If you keep yourself ready for opportunities and present what you have to offer, good things will come along. Sometimes good things are even more rewarding when you've been waiting for them. 

"Lemurs in the Treme(rs)" — a 46'' x 28'' Oil and Acrylic Paint on Canvas painting
Your sisters help you run the gallery. How has the support of your family contributed to your passion?
The support of my family has been great. We are good at supporting each other, though with five sisters it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of who is interested in what at which time. My dad is a physician and hasn't always been enthusiastic about my passion for art; but I think he's accepted that with hard work and dedication his daughters can be successful in any field, even ones that have a reputation for being financially challenging. Deep down I know he is happy as long as we are happy and contributing to the world in a positive way. 

What advice would you offer to others who are searching for their purpose or are afraid to take the first step towards their dreams?

There is so much good in life, and one of the best things you can do for yourself and others is to focus on the good things and share that positivity. As far as searching for a purpose, I think a lot of life is giving yourself the opportunity to experiment and having enough patience to let yourself explore and discover without pressure. There's no time limit or expiration date on creativity. 

Name someone who has inspired you and why.

Inspiration has come from so many individuals — is difficult to pick just one. At the risk of sounding like a college admissions essay, I have to say my mother is a huge inspiration. She has an incredible work ethic and a wonderful dedication to others. 

"Moonrise over Bourbon" — a 24'' x 12'' Oil and Acrylic Paint on Canvas painting
How can our readers connect with you, or view your work?





And people are always welcome at GALLERY BURGUIERES, where they can usually meet me in person and see originals in real life!!

736 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA, 70116
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Practicing What You Preach

I've been studying a number of different religions, spiritual theories and metaphysical practices over the past couple of years. And I've had a number of "aha!" moments as a result. Excitedly I share these revelations with you, dear readers, and with friends and family and it's beautiful. And then I have to put them into practice.
And therein lies the rub.

It's easy to know something in a logical sense; less easy to practice it and flow with that feeling in your spirit that tells you what you are doing is right. Because with every leap of faith comes the fear. And with every nod yes from within, comes a “no” from without—usually from friends and family who genuinely care about you, but may not understand what you have to do.

I am currently faced with an opportunity to practice what I preach, and let go of one situation in order to make room for another. There are some situations, in which the sum total of your life experience will be fairly unaffected if you make a change--where it is easy to let go and move on. Yet, there are other experiences that are tied to the fabric of your lifestyle and livelihood; and thus more difficult from which to separate.

But it is the knowledge that I have to practice what I preach that helps me to continue to push forward towards taking these right actions, and making these right decisions that I know will ultimately be for my benefit. And I push because through personal experience, and reading your experiences, I know that the concept of “letting go” is more than just a concept--it works. To continue to act out of fear would just be silly because I have become so acquainted with the power of faith.

And I couldn’t keep encouraging you all to do something that I am too afraid to do myself. So I’m taking this moment to thank you, our readers (and GG too!), for holding me accountable. Your presence here, with me, in this space is more valuable than you know.

I recognize that I’m speaking in an abstract sense, but sometimes you just have to keep things to yourself until you have reconciled them in your own head and heart, you know? I know you understand.

But I’d love to know: who keeps you accountable to practicing what you preach?
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Friday, July 22, 2011

Love Notes - Friday 7/22/11

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sometimes You Just Have to Be Selfish


Every now and then, you're going to have to say no. You're going to need to take a step back and make sure that YOU are okay. When you're a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend and all around superwoman, people will come to expect things from you. It only becomes a problem when you begin to feel overwhelmed or unhappy.

When's the last time you flew on an airplane? At the beginning of every flight, the flight attendant reminds the able-bodied adults that in the case of an emergency, put your own oxygen mask on FIRST before you assist children and the elderly. Why? Because what good can you do to anyone else if you can't breathe? Are you following me?

Personally, it really bothers me when I disappoint people. I hate to miss out on the important milestones and events of my family and friends. I value my friends and family so much that I feel the best way to show them how much I love them is to be there, spend time, show up. And it hurts me when I can't do that. But guess what? I have to make sure that I'm okay first. Sometimes our loved ones will understand and sometimes they won't. I'm learning to live with that.

I realize that if I'm not careful, I can lose myself while I'm trying to save everyone else. I can't give and give and give and not give unto myself. And neither can you.

In order to be a balanced, productive person, you must be responsible for setting and maintaining your unique boundaries. I encourage you to release the idea that you are selfish or self-engrossed if you choose to do what's best for you. Always preserve your health and spirit the best way you know how and those who truly love you will understand.
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Friday, July 15, 2011

Love Notes - Friday 7/15/11

Happy Weekend, Lovies!
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Happy Black Girl Day - Are You Standing Knee Deep in a River and Dying of Thirst?


I can't even believe it's the middle of July, can you?  The days and weeks seem to go by so quickly.  In the midst of everything that's going on, it's easy to overlook the miracles that happen in our lives everyday.  We are only as happy as we choose to be.  Of course, everything that happens in our lives is not going to bring us happiness.  So, we must keep our faith and hope alive through hard times by focusing on all the good that still surrounds us.  The following excerpt from Simple Abundance reminded me this morning to not take anything for granted:
"The revelation that we have everything we need in life to make us happy but simply lack the conscious awareness to appreciate it can be as refeshing as lemonade on a hot afternoon.  Or it can be as startling as cold water being thrown in your face.  How many of us go through our days parched and empty, thirsting after happiness, when we're really standing knee-deep in the river of abundance?  Yet, make no mistake about it.  The Universe will get our attention one way or the other - with a sip or a splash.  Let's choose today to quench our thirst for "the good life" we think others lead by acknowleding the good that already exists in our own lives.  We can then offer the Universe the gift of our grateful hearts."
For more information on Happy Black Girl Day, visit The Beautiful Struggler.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

PLPT GEMS: Meet Bailey

PLPT GEMS Presents
Bailey aka Makeover Momma
Supermom. Journalist. Blogger Extraordinaire. 

Makeover Momma is a thriving site that helps women to be "fit, fashionable and fabulous after kids". Tell us about what inspired you to begin this site, and the steps you took to bring it to fruition.

I originally thought of the Makeover Momma concept when my first daughter was only 3 months old. I was tired, stressed and would literally dream of finding time during the day to shower. Even though I wrote the complete (as-yet-unpublished) MM manuscript first, I decided to build the website platform in the meantime. I'd been a journalist for over a decade, but had very little experience with online and web-based media or writing. Even though I was terrified, I just jumped in and went for it!

Tell us about your work flow. What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day involves me waking up way too early (thanks to my two girls under the age of 5), drinking a large pot of coffee, and homeschooling my eldest or taking my youngest to her deaf and hard-of-hearing based preschool program. I try to squeeze in an hour or two of work in the morning (though it's very rarely successful), and work at a fast-and-furious pace during the girl's naps. I teach dance a few evenings a week, and return home to work even more after the kids go to bed. Basically, there is no sitting, no eating, no sleeping and very little sanity. I squeeze in bits of work whenever I can!

You post several times per week, and even have an editorial calendar posted on your site for readers to keep track of what you'll be posting. You also have a wonderful family and writing endeavors outside of the blog. How do you keep the balance?

Your guess is as good as mine! Basically, I think that "balance" is something we always try to achieve as moms, but very rarely are able to do. I might have a "balanced" day once or twice a week, and if that's the case: it's been a success! As women, we juggle a million balls all the time, so I try to do what I can whenever I can and enjoy the little moments in between.

As women, we often have trouble asking for help and relinquishing control (superwoman syndrome). Who is your support network and how do they help you manage everything? Do you ever struggle to let go and ask for help?

You're so right! I am so lucky to have a fabulous mother ("Mi Mi"), who helps me with the girls for a couple of hours 1 day per week. This precious time is when I squeeze in my most serious, focused writing efforts. Aside from my mom (and occasionally my husband), it's definitely very hard to get help as a woman, unless I spend money on a babysitter (which is not happening!) Recently a friend and I took turns watching each others girls so that we could both focus on important tasks. This is the first time I really reached out for help, and I'm so glad I did! Otherwise, we would have both had a miserable week and achieved nothing by being "super women".

What are the biggest challenges you face as a professional woman, wife and mother?

The biggest challenge is trying to balance my efforts to make money and help support my family (which being a young couple, my husband and I have no other choice), without it being to the detriment of my girls. Being a mom really is my best and most important job on earth, and every time we turn a grocery store trip into an adventure or a bedtime story into a lesson... it makes me remember why I work so hard. I try and find small moments every single day to laugh with my kids, to connect with them and to learn something new together.

What advice would you offer to others who are searching for their purpose or are afraid to take the first step towards their dreams?

I had a strange advantage growing up being the baby of 5 children. My mother always taught me to reach for the sky, to never be afraid to ask questions, and never worry about looking stupid. In turn, I look stupid all the time, but learn so much in the process. As a progressively deaf adult, I've had tons of reasons to doubt myself, but I try to garner up some false naivety and go forward anyways. Basically, I try to see life the way my 5 and 2 year old do: exciting, open and full of possibilities. We never get anything if we're too scared to ask for it... we just need to speak up for ourselves!

Name someone who has inspired you and why.

This might not be a huge surprise, but my mom is the most endless inspiration in my life. Not once in our childhood did she make me feel less important than any other responsibility at that time. She found ways to enjoy her own life, her own interests, and her own quest for learning, but all without excluding us children from the process. Now we all love our individual pursuits, careers and passions too!

How can our readers connect with you?

The best part of this job is having women nationwide that I consider dear, dear friends. Every morning when I'm tired and grumpy, the only thing that pushes me forward is knowing I get to connect with my online friends. I love emailing with readers (, connecting on Twitter @makeovermomma or following one another on Facebook. If you want to chat, I am always here for you!

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Winner Announced!

Thanks to all of you who participated in this giveaway and shared your thoughts about what makes you feel at your best.  We loved reading your comments and getting more insight into what makes you all tick!

We used a random number generator and the winner is....


Thanks for reading and sharing on our blog, chica! 
Send us your mailing info to

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Gone Manifesting

If you have ever read Gabrielle Bernstein’s Add More –Ing to Your Life, or listened to any of her lectures; then you are familiar with 30-90 day focused meditation activities (If not, you can purchase the book here). In a nutshell (and without attempting to paraphrase poorly) the purpose of these exercises is to spend a dedicated amount of time focusing primarily on manifesting a particular thing in your life. Whether you seek clarity around a home, a job, family, your health or your love life—during this time your goal is to visualize the change you want to bring about in that particular area of your life. You can sit with your dream, workout with your dream, write about your dream, meditate on your dream—whatever sharpens your inner guide.

I am currently in a 30 day focused meditation. Here are some of the ways I am directing all of my energy into manifesting in this particular area of my life.

1. I begin thinking of my goal as soon as I awake in the morning, before my mind becomes cluttered with the minutia of the day.

2. As I get ready for work in the morning, I behave as though this thing has already occurred, and I am headed out to reap the fruit of it.

3. At random points throughout the day, I express gratitude for the change that has already occurred in my life (because I know the change agents of the Universe have already conspired to bring it about even though I have yet to see the results).

4. I workout with meditation: as I run, I think two very specific words to the sound of my footsteps, or when doing other forms of movement, I time the two words with my breathing in and out.

I am looking forward to seeing the physical results of the work I am doing.

Have you ever participated in a focused meditation exercise for 30 days or more? What are some of the ways you did the work of manifesting during this time period? What were some of the changes you began to see as a result?
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Friday, July 8, 2011

Love Notes - Friday 7/8/11

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Love Notes - Friday 7/1/11

Thank you to all of you who entered the giveaway! 
We'll announce the winner on Wednesday, July 6.

We hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend!!
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