Sometimes you just feel like the sludge at the bottom of your coffee cup. Even though the weather has turned, allergies refuse to let us go- and it’s hard to feel optimistic with politics looming in such uncertain economic times. It’s enough to make a person envious of the Beautiful People with their lives all put-together and seemingly carefree. But you don’t have to envy them! Wouldn’t you rather be on of those Beautiful People?

We’re all told that beauty is only skin deep. And that’s true. Sorta. The kind of beauty I’m talking about, is the beauty that you feel- and that’s soul deep. Call it confidence, call it personal satisfaction, call it whatever you want. I call it beauty.

It’s that feeling that makes everything you see and experience have a rosy glow. It’s what helps you know that even though times are tough- it’s going to work. Whatever “it” may be. It doesn’t even have to be anything really big. Some beautiful things are quite small. Like soft fuzzy socks. A sweet smile from a random stranger. Crocuses. But you have to notice. You have to actually notice and realize that it’s beautiful.

I received a set of cashmere socks for Christmas this year. I love socks in general, and there have been…. a lot of acrylics harvested for my fuzzy sock collection. But I’ve never had cashmere socks until now. Little things, but they make me happy, and make my feet feel beautiful. Now I know this may not be for everyone. Maybe you’re allergic to wool. Maybe you hate socks. Much as I love them, I’m not suggesting that socks are the secret to happiness and lasting feelings of beauty. Really I’m not. Here are my top five suggestions to make you feel beautiful.

Playing with Sepia - Eiffel Tower, Paris

1. Take the time to notice what makes you feel wonderful.

Make a list. Be crazy, be insightful, be totally candid. Then do it.

Now do not put things on the list that are exceptionally expensive. Would it make me feel happy and deliriously wonderful to go to Paris? You betcha. Am I going? No. But I thought about what part of the trip would make me feel wonderful. Fresh croissants at 5 am watching the sun rise over the Eiffel tower would be amazing- minus the 5am part. La Vie en Rose wafting from the patisserie around the corner… all the stunning architecture to feast my eyes on…

These are things that I can accomplish in small ways in my life, and will make me feel wonderful, so they’re on my list.

"Sky rose" - I give you this rose as a token of gratitude for all this time we spent together :)))

2. Do not begrudge yourself time.

The world will continue to spin on its route no matter what you do.

So you can stop and just listen for a while. Listen to the birds, or the ocean, or the absolute silence before children come home, watch the clouds bloom- whatever makes you stop and enjoy time. Personally, I was given a gorgeous recording of Bach’s Cello Suite, and it’s amazing how swept away one can be if that cello is played loud enough to feel in the bottom of your soles while the clouds roll majestically across the sky.

Coffee Break

3. Savor everything.

Now that we’ve stopped, pay attention.

Long before I had children, I loved to go out to dinner. There was usually a special occasion, or a trip, or theater tickets, but I ended up going out….alot. I loved it. The thrill and excitement of the party or the show, the sparkling lights, the intricate costumes, the exotic decorations in the foam on my coffees… But I remember only very few of the meals, or the details to the plays. The memories I do have are literally blurred. Details do stick out. A particular restaurant on a beach in New Zealand where the chef served the most amazing fish in a white cream sauce. The Musetta aria from La Boeheme performed live not 30 feet from me. There are others- but how much more would I remember if instead of rushing through experiences, I stopped and savored? My favorite current experience is sitting at the dinner table with my girls and my husband and talking about anything at all….

Seared Pork Medallions

4. Learn to cook your favorite meal.

Being satisfied goes a long way towards feeling beautiful, and luscious flavors are amazingly satisfying.

There is nothing more satisfying or fulfilling than partaking of your favorite meal, perfectly prepared, and knowing that you made it. Case in point- it was recently my birthday. I had the opportunity to go out for my birthday, but I elected to stay home and cook. So instead of having a restaurant do the heavy lifting, I invented an off the cuff recipe for seared pork medallions in a sherried demi glacé cream sauce with roasted rosemary potatoes and homemade Asiago garlic bread.

I’m not bragging here (although it was phenomenal, and I’ll give you the recipe if you want), I’m trying to illustrate a point. In the course of my life, I’ve learned to cook all sorts of things, and it’s (now) rare that anything I make is actually inedible. From personal experience, having the knowledge that I can make something like that, and have it turn out really well, gives you a confidence that is as deep as it is satisfying. I highly recommend it.
door nice

5. Admire beauty.

There are more beautiful things, places, and people in this life than there are breaths to count them.

This world is filled to the brim with amazing, beautiful, wonderful experiences and pleasures. More than you can even imagine- but you have to notice. Like this stunning picture of architecture from Grace and Ivy. When it landed in my inbox, I was so blown away I had to stop, and savor, and dream. One of the most mystifying things about beauty is that it’s contagious. If you see something beautiful and you pay attention to it, your life becomes more beautiful simply through the experience.

 This is the reason that a college education was regarded as the epitome of excellence for generations. The courses at colleges were designed to expose your mind to any number of higher cultural ideas, like beauty, in an attempt to make the student’s life a richer and more rewarding experience- and I don’t mean with a high-paying job. The idea is to make the student capable of finding and fully appreciating those wonderful parts of life.

The corner stone of my art is a drive to create beauty. I do so with all sorts of mediums, from fiber, to plants, to food and paint. But my true home media is metal. The strong, resilient medium that is shaped into new birth with fire, and shared for generations. But because that is such a drive of mine, I surround myself and my family with beauty to the best of my ability, and I believe our lives are that much richer because of it.I firmly believe anyone’s life can be richer, just by admiring the beauty around them, savoring the moment, and pursuing an appreciation of time and occasions that create wonderment.

So there you are. Five things you can do to feel beautiful,  thoroughly enjoy life, and become one of the Beautiful People. I hope you will join me.