Sweetness

 

Of all the lovely qualities you can posses, sweetness is the most universally moving one. A sweet smile draws others closer to you and a sweet nature will help you be a blessing and a treasure to the world. The secret of sweetness is that inner sweetness and outer sweetness draw upon each other.

It is fairly easy to say something kind once in a while, and most of us succeed in this. More difficult is holding your tongue when you feel the urge to say something unkind. This requires a lot of discipline, as we all get cross once in a while. To keep yourself from saying hurtful things when annoyed and regretting it later, much discipline is needed. You can practice this by keeping a calm mind in everyday life. Whatever fault you still notice in others, make a habit of correcting it in yourself, if needed. We need to work on ourselves first, it is not our task to improve others unless they ask for guidance. If your date has bad table manners, take the opportunity to polish your own.  If your mother wears clothing two sizes too small, check if your own wardrobe could be more flattering. If a girl on the train is frowning, relax your own forehead. Who is the most important person to help transform and on whom will your work be most succesful? You, and you.

Once you have achieved this, you can improve further by making it a habit to look at the positive behaviours of a person. This will help you appreciate him more. What is even better is that it will give you a soft, sweet expression that make up cannot create. The look of sweetness says more than a thousand kind words. Bless the world with it whenever you can.

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Serenity

 

To cultivate inner beauty, we need a calm mind and a soft heart.

Avoid unneeded and excessive emotional disturbance. Reading few a calmly worded articles about unpleasant things that take place in the world help keep one informed. But ask yourself if you need start each day with a newspaper with loud, angering headlines that exaggerate injustices and controversies to rile a reader up? Do you need to watch half an hour of mayhem as you come home from work? Comparing products on the internet and viewing a few advertisements can help you when you need to make a purchase, but do you really benefit from listening to loud, repetitive commercials? Do you need to view sales messages that play on your insecurities? Is there any reason to commit five evenings a week to watching soap operas and viewing a lot of adultery, backstabbing and intrigue with hardly any though provoking content to balance it? A more mindful use of the traditional media; as in choosing a few programmes and periodicals and consuming them in a disciplined way, goes a very long way in keeping a calm mind.

A lot of younger women have transitioned towards the more self directed on-line media. On the positive side; this gives more freedom to avoid commercials with noise and refrain from being ruled by the programming schedule. On the negative side; this opens you up to exposing yourself to obnoxious messages 24/7. Another possible source of mental garbage are negative people on social media. Constant complaints about their own lives and attempts to control your behaviour towards negativity are signs they need to be blocked and unfriended. You cannot save people who persist in misery, and even if you could, why not save yourself first and show the world an inspiring example? Them when others seek your guidance, you have far greater chances of making an impact. What goes for online ‘friends’ naturally also goes for offline ones.

A final source of disruption are our responses to negative feelings that arise in our hearts. It is perfectly normal to feel darker emotions, such as sadness, frustration, anger and envy. We cannot help their appearance, but we can help out reaction to them. When we are sad, we can swallow our tears in bitter thoughts and hard drink, or we can be vulnerable, admit our pain to ourselves and cry. When frustrated or angry, we can succumb to ugly curses, rudeness and screaming or we can take a walk, think about what needs are not being met and find a way to get them met. When we feel envious, we can lower our self to gossip, competing or even only to resentment or we can recognise our desire to have what another has. A beautiful, self loving and sensible response awakens us to our inner needs, wishes and desires.

Choose clarity over clutter.

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Unleash your inner rebel

Spice

Sugar spice and all things nice can get cloysome if they don’t have a twist of wickedness lurking beneath the surface. That may be a surprise coming from me, as most of my articles focus on how to be a good, sensible girl and a lady. However, there is a big difference between being a good, ladylike woman, and being a repressed, too nice girl. Knowing the rules adds to your charm, being too fearful to break them detracts from it.

Here are a few ways to unleash this power:

Don’t play nice when you really don’t want to, don’t set your own desires aside. because it would only breed resentment. Anger can be sexy, but resentment never is. Resentments plays at a sense of obligation, and whatever one should or ought is never seductive. Far more alluring is to let out dissatisfaction quickly and charmingly. Be the girl who looks cute when she is cross or passionately furious.

Do something dangerous or be a danger to someone. Danger raises the hormone levels and thus physically excites people.  We admire people who take risks, because without them, things would simply stay as they are. Risk takers sometimes lose, but when they win, they will big and revolutionize the world. Still water may look safe, but it becomes putrid when it remains still for too long. Rock the boat.

Do something frivolous and feckless. It also puts people at ease to know that you are not always perfect and sensible. They feel inferior and uneasy in front of those who are too mature, too sensible. Do not assume too many rules, but rather do as you please when something is not explicitly forbidden. Ask forgiveness rather than permission

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Wardrobe for a mature autumn

I received a reader’s request for style tips for mature women:

 I have begun to almost live in jeans/slacks and want to be more feminine. Many of your suggestions seem to be for younger people. I am 62, very slim, warm autumn and want to build a feminine, but age appropriate retirement wardrobe. I tend to be rather plain in my appearance and some of the ideas in FW concerning clothing seem a bit silly at my age.

For a woman who is retired, there are a few advantages younger women do not have; She need not adhere to business dress codes, she need not care for small children on a regular basis and she can wear her jewelry as lavish as she pleases. I picked a smart casual style in autumn colours. My suggestion is to keep a few pairs of slack and basic tops that happen to be autumn colours, and combine them with clothing like the above.

A slim woman often has a small bust, which is flattered by a neckline that has something going on. The brown blouse and the burgundy sweater have a bow at the neckline. These are bows for grown-ups, not girlish bows, they look very womanly. The thick brown sweater adds bulk and warmth, but the braided neckline is very feminine. The short-sleeved top and the orange dress have draping that adds shape. If the waist is very slender, it is good to emphasize this with skinny belts. You’d need more belts than pictured, but not too many. I’d add a velvet belt in green or burgundy and a bright leather belt. Plainer tops can be dressed up with brooches, necklaces and bracelets. A silk flower brooch is very fascinating without being wishy-washy. Choose gold or bronze jewelry and semi precious stones like amber, jade and tiger eye. When tops have a V neck, wear silk camisoles under them. This makes the outfit more modest, more feminine and more interesting at the same time.

For skirts, I mostly chose flared and full skirts that add shape and movement. Silk satin skirts are very pretty and sumptuous and a large floral pattern or some delicate embroidery make them even more feminine. They are great to wear to dinner and can be combined with plain tops. A few sturdier skirts are also nice to wear instead of pants. When you do wear trousers, try not to wear too plain a top, lest you may look severe. Colourful boots or shoes also make your look more womanly, even when the heels are low. Try to go for leather shoes and bags and let most of your clothes be of natural material and good quality. After 50, you have the right to treat yourself.

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How to comfort a man

There always comes a time in a man’s life when he experiences loss or hurt. Hurt comes in many forms; he may be physically hurt or he may lose a person who is dear to him, a promotion he was fighting for or the ability to do something he enjoyed. By comforting a man when he feels loss or hurt, you can help heal his wounds and create more closeness between you. Listen to him to open the path of communication. You can look him in the eye while listening, which is more intimate, or both look in the same direction. Allow his pain and do not stifle it or shut it up. The point of grief and sadness is to tell us we lost something that was meaningful to us, something we valued. Telling a man to cheer up prematurely is to tell him he cannot deeply value or attach meaning to things and people. If a man has to cry, let him cry. Crying lets the body discharge stress chemicals that would otherwise build up. The idea is to heal his hurts, not to prevent or deny them.

What you can do is dress the wound and fluff up his pillow. Make him feel more comfortable. You can touch his arms and back gently or if he is your husband or child you can hug him and press him to your chest. What also helps is to make some tea, a drink or some comfort food. Do be careful not to overuse the latter, as it may cause him to rely on sugar, starch and alcohol. It is better to focus on listening and giving attention. At the same time, do not be too, too strict, find a balance. You can also let him spend time alone, while you spend some time by yourself, attending to your own needs so you have the strength to be there for him. If it is an emotional loss, take him for a walk in the fresh air. Walking is a meditative experience, and many people can more easily deal with their thoughts and feelings when walking.

Once the blood or pain has flowed out, it is time to return to strength, and you can enable this. The best way to do so is by not only building his strength when it is broken, but by always building him up. Let him know that he is strong and make him realise his character strengths in everyday life so that he can reach them easily whenever he needs all his strength. Of course, you can still remind him of the strength of his character . You can also make some healthy food for both of you to replenish his energies. Pain and loss are a normal part of life, how we respond to it is our choice. We can let is wear us down as persons, we can let it weaken our bonds by being callous to the hurt one  or we can let is show us what is meaningful, what we value and lighten our bonds by sharing the loss. Choose wisely.

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Dressing for your figure: Rectangle

Rectangles have a balanced figure, just like hourglasses and apples, their shoulders and hips have the same proportion. But where apples and hourglasses have roundness, rectangles have straight, square lines. Most rectangles are slim, but one can also find tall, solid statuesque girls with this figure. The Gamine look is made for your figure, and it always has a youthful elegance.

 

 

This dress requires no cleavage, but the cutouts make it as exciting as a low-cut LBD on a busty girl. It has a naturally straight shape and the sleeves add to the gamine spirit of it. Nevertheless, it is clearly a grown up dress. Somehow I see this worn with short, straight hair in a 1960’s cut, or an Audrey Hepburn updo. The neckline is too high for necklaces and too interesting for a brooch, so the accessories must be earrings. Sleeves too long for a bracelet ask for a ring. (Notice how erasing the unsuitable options leaves you with the fitting ones.) I’d go for either silver, white or red for a classic look, and hot pink or royal blue for something more edgy.

 

Where the first dress completely embraced the squareness of the rectangle figure, this one sneaks a few curves in. The illusion is subtle, refined. A thin girl padding her bra heavily and wearing a big puffy skirt can look insecure, but this is a very graceful way to add shape. Note that the sleeves and neckline are similar to those in the first dress. The pleats magnify the curve of a small bust, yet the straight lines harmonise with the straightness of the rectangle. The skirt is flared, and soft, but not rounded. It forms the classical A-line that looks natural on straight hips. The shortness of the skirt pronounces subtle curves by shortening them.  This should be worn with some fun tights for a bohemian look, perhaps in a more vivid green, and brown/burgundy boots or mary janes. It could also be glammed up with gold accessories.

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Dressing for your figure: Apple

Apples are round, cute  and juicy. They have average sized shoulders, breasts and hips, with a larger waist and a round tummy.  Apples resemble baby dolls and look their best in clothing that enhances their cuddlesome look. Their hands, wrists and lower legs tend to be more delicate and should be emphasized with rings, bracelets and the prettiest shoes.

Here’s a dress that would be stunning on an average size apple. Girls who are balanced at the shoulder, hip and bust but also have a round tummy and love handles can be made to look  almost like a subtler version of the hourglass. (Very slim women with a round tum tend to be rectangles and triangles.) All the folds make it hard to tell that the belly is bigger and create more shape in the bust and hip.  A corrective brief to the underbust can mold the middle a bit to help with this illusion. It shows off the legs and wrists that tend to be the more delicate parts of the apple body.  To further highlight the hands and wrists, do your nails nicely or get a manicure and wear an eye-catching bracelet. Some long earrings draw attention to your face and lengthen the upper half. With this colour, amethyst would be very nice. The shoes could be a peeptoe in some berry shade, oxblood pumps or some dark brown boots in autumn.

For the big apple, the focus should be less about creating a shapelier figure, and more about showing off the huggable baby doll appearance you naturally have. Empire lines work great for you and this bow neck adds a bit of girlishness.  I’d choose blue or green shoes and a bracelet for this outfit, and no belt, unless you are more pear than apple. I’d also choose bright pink for nail varnish and lipstick.

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Dressing for your figure: Triangle

The triangle is often seen as an ideal figure; no cellulite, no saddlebags, no big bum or thighs, and a full bust or athletic shoulders. Yet, as a triangle girl you may feel a bit boyish at times. To look your best, you can create curves by adding volume to the hips or by shaping the waist with wide belt and femininely tailored jackets. Both V necks and halternecks are becoming on you, as they break up the upper body. You’d want to avoid boat necks, turtlenecks and anything that makes your upper body look larger or more severe. A lucky thing is that you will be able to get away with more ruffles and ribbons than your curvier sisters.

This dress would look terrific on a girl with athletic shoulders and a medium-sized bust. It shows off your sporty body, nips in the waist, creates curves and softens your angular lines. Because of the neckline, it does require a long neck. With the beading, you can keep jewelry simple; diamond studs or drop earrings suffice. If I was a triangle going to a party, I’d wear this with the most amazing strappy silver sandals to show off those slender legs. To dress it down a little for a dinner, it would look good with a black jacket or cardigan. This further slims the upper body and allows you to wear it with simple black pumps.

Here’s a dress that looks good on those girls who are built like a boy with boobs. The V-neck lengthens your neck ad breaks up the bust, yet shows a hint of your feminine cleavage. The ruffles and the floaty fabric soften your look and the bow adds some sugary sweet girlishness. It would be nice to repeat the dusky pink of the bow in shoes, earrings or a hair accessory. Shoes and purses in navy, white, brown or bone would also work wonders with this.

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Counterstrategy

 

We often speak about strategies we can use when the other party is naïve. But what if we are dealing with a sophisticated quarry who aims to use strategy on us? And one day someone will use strategy on us. We cannot be so arrogant to assume we’re the only player in the world of paeans.  Nor can we blame another for what we do to him ourselves. Well, we could, but doing so is rarely successful. How then do we deal with this elegantly and effectively?

Firstly, congratulate yourself that someone has found you interesting enough to spend a large amount of energy on. Then,  observe and analyse the strategic behavior.  Is it pleasant or not? What do we feel like doing in response to it? Would that behavior enhance or damage our strategic position? Keep in mind that the quarry will often repeat behavior that results in a pleasant response. Finally, you consider the possible outcomes given your response. Let’s look into a an example:

A man invites you under the pretext of business or friendship or some other thing not related to romance or seduction. It seems like he has ulterior motives, but of course you are unsure.  You find his invitations to be enjoyable for their own sake, so unless they result in anything negative, you are happy with them.  Let’s say the pretense is business. If it is good business for you, and you would also find the man attractive on a romantic level, all possible results are positive and you can follow trough quite safely. If the man is a disaster in business and a cad in his personal life, you would be best off declining as there is no positive outcome once you get entangled. Worse, you may feel obligated to something unstrategic because of a history of pleasant interactions. However, if you are a bit of a cad yourself, you may be able to enjoy the interaction and decline further involvement without guilt.  You may even feel  free to use his as bait for bigger fish. Another option is that the interaction is dull, but the possible result is interesting. This would usually describe a situation where we want to keep it strictly business, and perhaps fear the quarry wishes to bore us on a romantic level. (If you’d consider romance with a man you find dull in dating…well, to each her own but you know what you are.) You have to decide for yourself how much you are willing to tolerate for the opportunities you hope for, and be willing to walk away once that limit is crossed.

As you see, being the target of strategic action can have many different kinds of options, and though we cannot protect ourselves completely without also lessening the amount of positive experiences we have, we can enter the battlefield with both eyes open. We weigh the risks and the rewards and take power by either accepting both or rejecting them as suits our objectives and nature best.

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Dressing for your figure: Pear

Pears have a delicate pair of shoulders, small to medium breasts and wide hips. Some pears have very sturdy legs, others have long, tapered legs and again others have a bubble butt and shapely legs. All pears look good showing off their tiny waists. The narrowness of the shoulders is attractive and worth showing, but only if balance is kept by adding volume at the shoulder.

This dress is a good example of one that balances the round hips by making the shoulders more interesting. The pleats at the bust work wonders at distracting from a not so developed chest and the skirt  looks great on shapely or tapered legs and okay on sturdy legs too. This should be work without necklaces or brooches, but instead with earrings and a pretty purse.

On heavier pears with very solid legs, long strapless dresses look extremely good. The heavy pear often has shoulders and breasts that are delicate and feminine and yet also juicy enough to put on full show. The show of flesh in the top half, makes the coverage of the legs a requirement for elegance and modesty rather than an attempt to hide anything. It also leaves plenty of room for a necklace. The shoes can be flat slippers, but should be very pretty slippers, perhaps in silver.

Short pears can elongate their legs with high heels in the same shade as their hose and chubby pears can use tights that smooth out any bumps or cellulite. It matters little how big the hip curve is, as long as it is very sleek.

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