Bravery

I thought I’d share some thoughts about bravery today. As we are getting ready to watch the Olympics, I’m always reminded of the bravery of those who dedicate their all to perform at such a superior level. It’s almost mind-boggling to think about how many hours the athletes have spent preparing for (in some cases) just a few minutes of a performance.

It truly is a fascinating thought. But, every 4 years, these athletes will attempt once again to break their own personal best record, and hopefully beat all of the other participants in their own field. And in so doing, they bring honor, pride, and joy to their homeland.

While I will be watching along with everyone else, I have to admit that while I find these athletes most admirable, there are so many other people who are brave in their own way, of whom I admire even more.

I love the thought of all of those who perform quiet acts of bravery every day. The child who stands up for their friend. The mother who gives her all, so that her children will not go without. A husband who goes out every day looking for a job to take care of his family, even when the economy is slamming doors in his face. The teenager who says no to peer pressure. There are so many brave people in the world, but we don’t always honor them. To me, bravery is beautiful. It is never out of fashion. It is always something to aspire to.

So, for my Freebie Friday, I’ve created a printable by Alphonse Much. He was an incredible artist and illustrator, who pretty much created the Art Nouveau movement. I hope that you enjoy this printable. I love the quote by William Makepiece Thackeray.

As always, please do not reproduce this printable en masse or for commercial gain. However, you are more than welcome to send anyone to my blog to download their own copy.

Now … create your own beauty by being brave … in whatever small way that you need to.

Au Revoir,

Lorraine

One Happy La La

Well, mes amies …

I’m a happy girl, but a tired one. The Italian Festival went very well. For my very first jewelry event, I have to say that I’m so pleased with the results. I was almost as happy about the ambience of my booth that was commented on as I was in the amount of jewelry that I sold.

When creating, and then putting your work out there for someone else to look at, judge, and then comment on, it is almost like birthing a child and then having someone else judge them. You feel protective, vulnerable, and at the same time so proud of each item.

I hope that each of you has a way to create and experience that type of feeling. And in light of that, I wanted to share the following quote:

“My mission in life is merely not to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” -Maya Angelou

For me, thriving means creating. Thriving means having a passion for life and all it offers. Thriving means having compassion for others. Thriving means using humor to get through the good and the bad. But of course, (mais oui) one must always thrive with style! Maya Angelou must have been channeling some Oo La La when she wrote this.

So, mes amies, I must apologize for the lateness (once again) for my Freebie Friday, but I hope you’ll forgive me as I used my time to thrive at the Italian Festival.

My prayer is that you will thrive with style, just as Maya Angelou would have you thrive! But I also challenge you to find a creative outlet, whatever that may be. Having an outlet for creativity will light you up inside and your internal beauty will light up and spill over to your outer beauty!

Once again, please do not mass distribute this printable in any way and you may not use it for commercial gain. But, by all means, please feel free to send people to my blog to download their own copy. Or, if you’d like to feature it on your blog or website, all I ask is that you link to my blog.

This particular freebie is a little smaller than usual. I didn’t want to compromise the beauty of this particular piece. I think it would make a beautiful card to send to someone or to put on your desk. Please click on the picture and then right click to save.

Bonjour Mes Amies! Now go out and Thrive!!

Lorraine

**Many thanks to the Graphics Fairy for the beautiful French illustration. To check out her website, you’ll find her link to the left in my blog list.

Freebie Friday: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Today I just have to get something off of my chest (and no it is not chest hair, judging from my title).

I have had a bad few months when it came to my hair. Was I going to grow it out? Was I going to cut it again? Did my desire to cut it just mean I was sick of the in-between-phase? On and on the dilemma went.

I would guess that (at least in America) there are probably about 3 in 5 women who are doing this same thing every day. Especially when we are having a bad hair day!!

I have a little bit of perspective to share with you about hair. I hope my unique perspective clears some things up.

As I mentioned previously, I glow in the dark. Not literally, but if you count the amount of radiation and chemo I’ve had, I SHOULD glow in the dark! Well, as you know, one of the side effects of this is hair loss. And when I say hair loss, I mean EVERYWHERE!!

At first I thought I’d have fun with this. I ordered every kind of fun wig I could afford. Long, with sassy stripes of highlights. Short blonde bobs, long red curls, short black bobs, etc. What I didn’t think about or know, was that your scalp is so sensitive, that wearing wigs is actually kind of painful. So, around the house, I just went bald. Often in public, I’d wear a hat, or some beautiful scarves. I felt that I was handling it all emotionally very well.

What I didn’t realize, was how much my femininity was tied to my hair. Think about it. As women, we are constantly thinking about our hair, every day. Do I have time to wash it? Do I have time to curl it? Or straighten it? Is it a bad hair day and will I wear it up in a pony tail, or with a head band? If we have a special presentation at work, how will we fix our hair so that we look professional? If we are getting married … how will we wear our hair to best compliment our dress and looks? Every day we think long and hard about our hair.

Well, when you don’t have hair, and you’ve spent your entire life thinking about your hair every day, suddenly you feel extremely off kilter. Even though I knew that with the beautiful wigs I had bought, I could still look attractive. I still did not feel completely like a woman should feel.

Our hair is truly a part of our identity. And, so, instead of continuing to debate about what I was going to do with my hair (thus wearing a headband or a hair clip every day and not looking like the polished person I usually try to present), I decided that I had to do something. I decided to channel my inner self and put that on my head.

Here is the result:

I cannot begin to tell you how much better I feel about myself! No more headbands. No more feeling ugly all over, even if it is just my hair that’s not great. Our hair truly does have an influence on how we perceive ourselves, and, unfortunately, how others perceive us.

So, with that in mind, today’s Freebie Friday is a fabulous quote by Givenchy that I hope you’ll enjoy. Please feel free to click on the picture and then right click to save. You may print it out for personal use, but not mass produce, or use for commercial use in any manner. You, of course, may always send someone to my blog to download their own copy.

So, here is my challenge to you: Does your hair reflect who you are? Not the person you were 20 years ago. Not someone else whose haircut was appealing on them and so you copied it, but it still doesn’t “feel” right. Not the person that you are afraid you are inside. But, the true, beautiful you. If it doesn’t, then do something about it. I promise you, you’ll feel more beautiful and your inner self will be reflected even more on your outer self.

Bon Soir Mes Amies,

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

P.S. I can’t wait to find out who wins the give away!! I’m so excited, it feels like Christmas morning!!

Living la Vida Oo La La (or Taking the Bull by the Horns)

I can’t wait to tell you about my evening the other night. I was definitely going to post my freebie friday, but something came up, and so I have to get it sent out today. I think you’ll forgive me when you hear what happened.

For years, everyone has been telling me how beautiful my jewelry is, and when will I start selling it. I have seen it as a very fun hobby. But as I mentioned in my profile and about my store, I decided that I truly want to create this new life where designing and making jewelry and therefore helping women feel beautiful is my calling or career. But, there has been a little part of me that has still questioned … “Can I really do this?” Am I really going to make this happen?

Well, the answer is YES!! Last night my husband and I had a hot date, we went to see Woody Allen’s new movie, “To Rome with Love.” Funny, yes (especially the showering Italian – don’t worry, no spoilers here), but not as good as the Paris movie, in my opinion.

Anyway, afterwards we were craving Italian food. So, we went to Macri’s, which is an amazing Italian restaurant here. No greasy spaghetti here, there are TWO chefs in the kitchen and a whole assortment of gelato’s made on the premises, need I say more? So, our waiter starts telling us about the Italian festival that will be coming up on July 20th and 21st. He gives us a brochure, and I see the tiny, tiny, little word “vendors” at the bottom. Before I give it any thought, out of my mouth pops “Do you still need more vendors?” YES, he says. I’ll have the owner come over and talk to you.

Well, I, of course, had my Nook with me, so I was able to show him my Etsy store and a sampling of my jewelry. He loved them, gave a quote, I paid the bill, I got my invoice and receipt. And now I’m committed!! I will be a vendor at an event that generally attracts around 10,000 people!

WHAT HAVE I DONE? I can’t decide if I want to jump up and down with delight, or stop long enough to let the fear set in. But, the primary emotion I feel is … well, picture Sally Field at the Oscars, when she says “You like me, You like me, … you really like me!” That’s how I feel. And then the question begs to be asked … why does it take a complete stranger to validate that I am a creative artist? Why do I shrug off the compliments and praises from people who I admire and love, and just consider them as being “nice.” Someday, ask me about the word nice … and to my sister Michelle … that bit was for you!

So, in keeping with the brand new development and the excitement that I’m on the cusp of a new beginning, I’ve created the following Freebie. I truly hope you enjoy. And, I also pass along my best wishes that you are creating the life you want to live. Sometimes it just takes not thinking too much, and opening your mouth!

I love the picture in this Freebie. It is from a vintage hat advertisement from the 1920’s. Not Chanel, but I would like to think that Coco wouldn’t be offended. As always, feel free to click on the picture and download for personal use. I only ask that you do not mass produce or use for profit in any manner, without express permission from me. Of course, you may direct any and everyone to my site to download their own free copy.

Bonjour Mes amies … go create some elegance in your day!

Love, Lorraine (a VENDOR, aka a Jewelry Designer)

Perfectly Imperfect

Well, Mes Amies,

It’s time to face the fire and make a big confession:

I AM NOT PERFECT.

There, I’ve said it. Now, I can rest easy knowing that you know I am not perfect, nor will I ever be.

I just wish the small person inside my head would get the drift.

I had every intention of getting all of my jewelry listed in my Etsy store oh, say, last Friday. However, as much as you want to do some things, sometimes the reality is just not, well, realistic. And that’s another theme that runs through my life … setting unrealistic expectations of myself. I have to admit, I do this in every arena of my life. Unrealistic expectations of where my weight should be, what my fitness level should be, what my home should look like, what I should look like, what I should get done in a day … the list goes on and on.

So, What does this have to do with beauty? A lot I think. How can we ever see the beauty around us, inside us, and even our own external beauty if we are constantly having unrealistic expectations? It just isn’t possible.

Last month, my husband and I went to Las Vegas for a little R&R (rest and relaxation). I was pretty apprehensive about getting out of my swimsuit cover-up and getting into the pool. I felt like the largest person there. Especially when I saw all of these very scantily clad women sauntering around, as though they had all the confidence in the world, because their bodies were “perfect.” And when I say perfect, I can honestly say that most of the perfect ones were artificially created!

I shared my hesitation with my husband, and he stated, with his wisdom “don’t you think that every person here is probably self-conscious about their bodies? Even the women who look “perfect” are comparing themselves to someone else and finding something lacking.” That was an aha moment for me. Why should I allow others to determine if I bake in the Las Vegas sun, or enjoy a swim.

So, I gathered my courage up, took off my cover-up and went into the pool. And there, I saw a bunch of women who were much larger than me, and, to be quite honest, too large to be in bikinis, but they had the guts to do it, so I have to give them kudos for that.

In other words, my fears were real, but not reality.

So, with this in mind. I will be continuing my give-away until this Friday (July 6th, 2012) at 12:00 midnight, U.S. Eastern time. This will allow me plenty of time to continue to upload my jewelry, and plenty of time for you to decide which one you would like as your freebie. And, since I didn’t hand out my Freebie Friday printable, I’m sharing one with you today as an apology for my not being perfect.

The printable I’ve created will also be posted to the Monday Brag submission over at the Graphics Fairy (her link is over to the left in my blog list). I’ve used one of her free vintage backgrounds as a starting point for my printable. And, in light of this post, I found a wonderful quote by Salma Hayek, who I think is pretty much considered to be one of the most beautiful women in the world. I hope you enjoy her insight as much as I do.

So, here is my Printable. Feel free to click on it to get the full Size (8 1/2 X 11). You are welcome to use it for personal use, but not to make multiple copies for distribution or profit in any way. Of course, you may certainly direct anyone to my blog to download their own copy.

Once again, here are the parameters of the Giveaway:

1) Subscribe to my blog, so you can participate in the fun of discussing beauty, fashion, all things French, and also have the Freebie Friday Printables to decorate your life.
2) Go to my Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/LorrainesOoLaLa
new Etsy.Mini(6863457,’thumbnail’,2,3,0,’http://www.etsy.com’);
3) Heart your favorite item (no sets please, just a single item).
4) Come back and post a comment telling what you like about it and how you create beauty in your life. I’d also welcome any other comments you might have about sharing beauty as well. Also, tell me if you have “social networked” (is that a verb?) the item.
5) For each social networking method you also use, you receive one additional entry. For example, if you tweet, pin, like on facebook, or Stumble,Tumble, LOL, etc., you receive an entry for each social network. You just need to let me know how you have done so, in order for me to give you credit.

I will be using Random Picker to choose the winners:

First place will receive the jewelry piece of their choice.
Second place will receive a $10 gift certificate to my store.
Third place will receive free shipping from my store.

In order to guarantee fairness on my part, I will be using RandomPicker.com to import all of the entries so that we truly have a random drawing. Closing of the drawing will be Friday at midnight, U.S. eastern time. I will then announce the winners on Saturday morning.

Good luck to you all!! And, as a little taste of a piece of my jewelry, here is one of my favorite items:

Bon chance every one!!

Freebie Friday: Plus Some Cake as Well!

Well, it’s Freebie Friday again, and instead of a printable, I have a special gift for one of you. I’ll let the suspense build as I explain:

I believe I’ve mentioned before, at least in my profile, that I love all things french. I mean ALL things! I was fortunate enough to have a father who taught at an elite private school and so while we lived on a very modest teacher’s salary, I was fortunate to go to school there, tuition free. Needless to say, I had an amazing education and was able to start learning french when I was only 10. I was then able to start college french classes as a junior in high school. Any opportunity to read about someone french (I can’t tell you how many times I read the Scarlet Pimpernel, or William the Conqueror) I took.

So, what does this have to do with beauty? Why, Marie Antoinette, bien sur! She is one of the most beloved fashion icons, and the most hated royals in history. It is fascinating, however when you research her, because her most famous attributed line is: “Let them eat cake!” However, there is very little documentation suggesting that she actually stated this. There is more evidence to suggest that it was an aristocratic woman from several centuries before her.

However, we do know that she was an arbitor of fashion. She loved her children dearly. She respected her husband, but not necessarily his ability to lead. And, as an outsider, she was never really accepted by the french population as a whole. We also know, that while she lived with seemingly everything at her disposal, she lived such a sheltered life, that she truly didn’t know how people were living just outside the walls of her home. She actually sounds like some women that I know.

I wanted to share an amazing experience I had this past fall. At my women’s group at Church, we had a “Let Them Eat Cake” activity. What does that have to do with a charitable organization, you might ask? Well, we have a large population of graduate students and their wives/husbands in our congregation. Many of them do not have the means to buy new clothes, or at least haven’t for quite some time. On top of that, we have a very varied economic strata in our church as well. We have people with quite a bit of means, and then we have some with none. It came to our attention that several of the homeless shelters (particularly the battered women’s shelter) were in desparate need for clothing. I don’t know if you knew this (I hadn’t prior to this activity) but when women leave an abusive situation, and they finally feel safe enough to return home and get their things, more often than not, the abuser has disposed of all of their belongings and they end up having nothing at all.

So, we decided to follow Marie Antoinette’s wisdom and lack of wisdom. We decided we would have our cake, eat some, and then share with the women in our community. We all brought clothes that either didn’t fit anymore, we were tired of, or we just didn’t need anymore. We also brought cupcakes and had a contest. We had an absolute blast playing fashion consultant for each other. Swapping clothing, helping those who didn’t have a clue what looked good on them, and helping everyone feel beautiful and excited about their new fashion accessories and clothing, and yes, eating our cake. Then, we took all of the left over clothes to the shelters.

I was absolutely in awe as women of our church continued to bring in more and more clothes throughout the coming weeks. Because, we had explained that if they had nice dress clothing, it would not only clothe the women we wanted to help, but it could actually change their lives for the better. I mean, if someone is trying to get a job, and all they have are sweat pants, t-shirts, or jeans, who is an employer going to hire, even if they are competent? It will be the professional looking woman who may not even be as qualified.

So, long story short, I cannot begin to describe the look of gratitude and wonder as we brought bag after bag of clothing to the shelters. These women were in such awe that someone cared enough to not only bring them clothing, but also cared enough to try to help them change their lives for the better.

Is that true beauty or what?

Well, as I’ve mentioned before, I absolutely love to accessorize. I mean a woman isn’t really dressed until she does, n’est-ce pas? So, when I survived breast cancer and decided to fulfill my dream to help all women feel beautiful, special, and loved with the remaining years I have on this earth, I decided to utilize my talents to do so. I have loved designing and making jewelry for years. So, I have now opened my Etsy store to share my designs with other women. I have been truly blessed to be able to take the time and money (which my husband has so graciously supported) to prepare for this new adventure.

So, as a grand opening gesture, I want to share some “cake” with you. Because just as we should never forget to share what we have with others (10% of all my profits will be going to the Susan G. Komen Foundation) it is truly okay to have some cake for ourselves once in awhile.

So here is how my giveaway will work:

1) Subscribe to my blog, so you can participate in the fun of discussing beauty, fashion, all things French, and also have the Freebie Friday Printables to decorate your life.
2) Go to my Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/LorrainesOoLaLa
new Etsy.Mini(6863457,’thumbnail’,3,3,0,’http://www.etsy.com’);
3) Heart your favorite item (no sets please, just a single item).
4) Come back and post a comment telling what you like about it and why you want some cake in your life. I’d welcome any other comments you might have about sharing cake as well. Also, tell me if you have “social networked” (is that a verb?) the item.
5) For each social networking method you also use, you receive one additional entry. For example, if you tweet, pin, like on facebook, or Stumble,Tumble, LOL, etc., you receive an entry for each social network.

I will be using Random Picker to choose the winners:

First place will receive the jewelry piece of their choice.
Second place will receive a $10 gift certificate to my store.
Third place will receive free shipping from my store.

In order to guarantee fairness on my part, I will be using RandomPicker.com to import all of the entries so that we truly have a random drawing. Closing of the drawing will be Sunday night at midnight, U.S. eastern time. I will then announce the winners on Monday morning.

Good luck to you all!! And, as a little taste of a piece of my jewelry, here is one of my favorite items:

Bon chance everyone!! I can’t wait to see what you like. Also, please note that I have many, many items to continue to list, which I will be doing throughout the weekend. So, keep checking back to make sure that you choose the right one! While you only get one piece of cake, a woman is always allowed to change her mind!!

A Bientot,

Lorraine

Freebie Friday

As an aid to assist us in our search for beauty, I’ve decided to offer a free printable every Friday a la “Freebie Friday.” Just click on the pic above and then you can right click to save to your computer in its original size.

You are welcome to print it out to inspire you, use as a desktop wallpaper, or even in a craft project. I only ask that you do not mass produce or use for profit in any manner. You are, of course, welcome to direct anyone to my website to download their own copy. I have a plethora of inspirational quotes on beauty, fashion, etc. that I can’t wait to share with you.

How has your journey been going? I have had a wonderful time really paying attention to how others feel and react when I compliment them as well as how I feel when doing so. It is amazing how many women cannot own their own personal beauty. I noticed many who thanked me when I complimented them, but I could tell that they didn’t internalize that I truly found beauty in them. They thought I was being “nice,” or conversationally positive. It made me realize how often I feel uncomfortable when others compliment me. I probably show the same signs that I saw in the women that reacted in that way.

On the other hand, it was a joy to see some of my friends, acquaintances, and strangers who lit up even more. Their eyes sparkled, and seeing their joy, made me feel even like their sparkle was rubbing off on me.

How was your experience with complimenting others? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

In the meantime … I have an exciting surprise for you in the next couple of days. So, keep posted and be sure to follow me so that you can be the first to hear about it!!

Bon Jour Mes Amies … have a beautiful weekend and check back in for my big reveal!!