When we were young, we saw magazine cover girls, Barbie dolls, and plastic surgery’d movie stars as our standard of beauty. These all have one thing in common- they aren’t completely real! Who can compete with that? imgres-1

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But here’s the deal, you can always tell when a person’s inner and outer beauty is authentic and genuine. I can still remember as a teenager, baking myself in tanning booths and laying in the sun thinking, “this is awesome… I’m gonna be prettier so fast!” Instant gratification was bliss and I didn’t even consider long-term effects. I know older women who have gotten Botox and plastic surgery and say, Don’t judge until you get to my age.” It’s hard aging and watching that supple, tight, plump skin become more elastic and wrinkled. I am less than 3 months away from my 30th birthday, and I must admit, starting to see the beginning of this downward movement in my body wears a little on my self-esteem. However, I try to remember some sage wisdom. I know that a smile and genuine inner beauty always has augmenting power for one’s outer beauty. A person’s inner beauty can remain a bit more stable throughout the lifespan and be perfected with age and maturation, but a person’s outer beauty changes more over time. Moreover, while that does give some comfort as I am starting to like my own inner self, heart, and soul a little more everyday, I still find myself at the stores spending money on beauty products, skin care, as well as dressing to fit in with the most current fashion trend. Even with our changing outer shell, we need to remember and stay encouraged that there are beautiful women who walk confidently and glow at every age. Take a walk with me and look at women of various decades and a here’s few tips on how to feel beautiful and confident at each stage of life.images-3

Teens:
Whew! What advice can I really give here? Just try to deal and get through it? Acne is normal. It’s okay. Every other teen is freaking out about the latest pimple they have and are likely not focused on yours. This is also the time that boys can basically eat what they want and unfortunately, ladies, our baby making organs are asking our bodies for more fat in order to be able to reproduce. I know this is difficult. What does this mean? It does not mean, go have a baby. You are emotionally and financially NOT READY. It does mean, it’s normal to start having some belly, hip, and leg fat. It means it’s normal to have our inner thighs touch. That’s okay. Listen to Megan Tranor’s “All about that bass” and fight the urge to compare yourself to the Taylor Swift’s of the world. Taylor Swifts are the exception. Females on average will have more fat than males during this stage of life, and this is very difficult, I know. It is a reason why more women suffer with body image and eating disorders than men. Please seek help from a therapist if you are having a hard time. You may feel that you have to work a little harder than the boys to be thin, have muscle, and in a general sense, this is true, I’m sorry. This is okay. Don’t sweat it. Your Teenage/Puberty years are when you are developing the muscles as well as the time when your hormones are going crazy, so working out can help regulate these. Also your teen years are an okay… no… a GREAT time in life to start working out and getting a routine or discipline of running, swimming, playing sports, cycling, yoga, dancing, joining an athletic group or competition, or going on daily walks with family or friends. Plus being a part of a group whose members share interests and values on a consistent basis, gives you a community, sense of purpose, increases confidence, enhances the chances of having a strong, lean, and fit body, and prevents depression. The habits you are starting now will help staying fit as an adult be an easier process. Speaking of habits, lastly, this is the perfect time to start getting into a really good routine of making sure you brush your teeth, put on a face lotion every morning and night, and wear sunscreen daily. I will admit that some of these are hard for me to do consistently because it was not a daily habit when I was younger. It may seem annoying now, but seeing my best friend now with perfect skin while mine is just starting the fine lines and eye wrinkling process, I wish someone would of told me then. She feels confident about her skin and is happy. You will thank me for this advice later, Promise! Listen, I know the teen years can be an emotional roller coaster, but you will make it! Pick one or two things that are good and healthy in your life, and go with that.images-5

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20s:
If you didn’t start your routine of skin care, deodorant, clean body, hair, and a clean mouth as a teenager, this is your time to shine! The age of dating has come, my friend- and I’m not talking about the “He’s the one!” “No, he’s the one!” “No! He’s the one!”-type dating of our teenage years. I’m talking about the “Okay, I’m learning who I want to be with and who I don’t, and maybe this person REALLY COULD BE the one!” and since we weren’t all born looking like Alex Morgan, (US Women’s Soccer Team star) images we need to put forth our best inner and outer beauty- for our selves and for others. What does this look like? Well, first you are still young and your body is as active as it ever will be. Join those social clubs, maybe something active or artistic. Want an added bonus? Extra blood flow from exercise helps bring nutrients, oxygen, and healing to your skin!
Also, try not to start your poor liver on a difficult trajectory by only spending time with friends drinking as much as humanly possible. One, you know it can be addictive, and two, it is dehydrating for your skin and brain. You don’t have to give up parties, just put a glass of water between each of those drinks, so it will slow you down. Next, Take care of your skin. All those age spots and wrinkles that you don’t have to worry about until your thirties or forties are seeded in dehydration, alcohol, and the occasional smoke. So drink water, Take your makeup off every night, wear a paraben-free moisturizer, and put on sunscreen every day.
Most importantly, wear your smile loud and proud and watch how much it attracts people to you. Then you can let that inner-self shine. Now if you don’t like your inner self at this point? Do some soul- work! Go to therapy, explore faith, get a life coach, or have friends that you can really talk the real-life stuff with. Your 20’s is the developmental period of life where you probably are starting to question everything your parents taught you regarding your political, moral, and religious beliefs. You are really starting to better know yourself apart from your the family of origin. It is good to question, doubt, and talk with other people about how you may be changing, as someone else can be a sounding board and help solidify your values and become more comfortable in your own skin.
Lastly, Don’t forget to take risks, have fun, laugh as much as possible, and still be young. Yes you are really becoming an adult, and there are responsibilities, but this is prime time for exploration, trying new things, traveling- the cheap backpacking way, developing friendships that will last, dating, volunteering, and playing. The more you know yourself through these experiences, the more comfortable you will be in your own skin. I hope this helps you discover a BEAUTIFUL, AUTHENTIC you.images

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30s:
As I am so close to hitting this point in my life, I had to go to research and other people’s life experience. But boy, am I (tentatively?!) excited to embark on this impending journey. The 30’s seem to be the stage of life where men and women are feeling more stable about who they are, their values, and their purpose in life. This is a time period of working in a career field of choice, looking for a life partner, spending time with deeply developed friendships, coupling with long-term commitment in mind, and possibly building families. Life can also be stressful during this time with so much going on, so try to get enough sleep. Unfortunately we get the added round-house kick to the face where stuff starts to sag, lines start to appear, and color spots can start to come around. On top of that, if pregnancy is a factor in your world, there’s the added fun of stretch-marks, hormonal acne, and hormonal discoloration. Remember all of that fun in the sun in our teens and twenties with no sun-screen? That comes back to bite us, which means, we need to get checked for skin cancer, and put on moisturizer both morning and night. While some sun damage is irreversible, wearing sunscreen is still essential and necessary. Drinking water instead of all of those sugary, diet, caffeinated drinks, is something that will brighten your skin, help you lose weight since you will feel more satiated, and give you more energy without all of those post sugar-high crashes. If you are feeling confident at this stage of life, wear it:images-2. If you are not, I highly recommend seeing what is going on? Ae you still stuck in comparison land? Do you need to develop some skills? Is a job, friends, or sour relationship holding you back, and would a change of pace be good for your soul? I really encourage talking to a therapist at this point in your life if you haven’t yet in order to get a fresh perspective.

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40s:
You made it! You are wiser, more sure, and more defined than ever. imgres-1 imgres
Your spots and lines however, are also getting a little more defined. Most women’s bodies have slowed down their production of collagen, which means that some of our structural support is starting to weaken. We would do well to keep working out and drink a lot of water (studies have shown how much water can help with glowing skin). Also, support bone growth by taking supplements and drinking milk if we are able since many women are becoming lactose intolerant more these days. Am I freaking you out yet? Please don’t get discouraged: images Thee are so many good things about this decade, and one great one is that you likely have at least one great and solidified part of your life whether it’s work, relationships, kids, or friends. Lastly, do a self-evaluation during this possible mid point of our lives. Are there any unhealthy patterns or addictions that you may be dealing with? If so, seek help, tell someone. It’s never too late! In the mean time, this might be a good time to mix it up. Try a new work out, a new recipe, a new wardrobe. If you are in a long-standing relationship, try a new type of date-night-out or maybe something new and fun in the bedroom. If you are single but in want, get out and learn something new about yourself and the person you would like to be with through dating, or if you are content being single that is okay too. I Just encourage you to try a new activity! As far as your skin care goes, why not splurge on yourself. You take care of other needs you have, and your skin is begging you. By now, you probably aren’t spending all that extra money on late night bar crawls, so take care of your skin by buying the good, natural stuff.

50’s and beyond:
So here you are. Everything I explained in the aforementioned decade I encourage times 10. Have fun. The only caution I give you is don’t overdo the all of anti-aging. images-2
Although I can’t honestly say I know what if feels like to be in my 50’s or older, I can say I imagine it is hard to feel like you are on the downward slope of your physical capabilities and in general, people you love may be leaving you on this Earth. May I suggest, however, a reframe for this negative worry? You worked so hard at this uphill battle of getting to know and like whom you are, so remember, you made it! It’s all down hill rom here! Be proud of who you are in life. Your lines tell a story: the times you have smiled or the times you worried. At this point, you know the good in life, and you also know the stuff you won’t put up with. Root your self in what is good: your strengths, your friends, and your faith. That hopefully makes for a little smoother ride.

Especially as we are ending 2014, and we’re about to embark on 2015, please know that you can be graceful, beautiful, fun, joyful, loving, kind, and awesome at every stage of life! Make some goals, Take care of yourself, and Live it up!
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