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Happiness is...
March 17, 2010
When I was a little whippersnapper in the cornfields of Waldron, IN, I used to listen to frequent exclamations of, "You're weird!" This would be a response to the fact that I laugh at almost nothing. I amuse myself endlessly. Yesterday a friend's son taught me how to turn flips at the end of the pool when I am lap swimming. With all the excitement that generated for me, you would have thought I had won the lottery. Swimming, such a small thing, makes me really happy. I blissfully watch the bubbles meander up from the bottom of the pool at the Natatorium. There are so many tranquil shades of blue at the Nat, and I immediately relax when I plod in there at 5:30 am.

Big things make me happy too. I get to visit Marco Island this summer with my husband--yippy! A hot sandy beach, a crappy chick novel, and piles of sunscreen--ahhhhhhhh. Publishing my first book is going to make me REAL happy.

But ya know, happiness is best when it percolates contentedly inside you regardless of external circumstances. In Nicheren Buddhism, this is known as absolute happiness. This type of emotion derives from trusting yourself and the Universe, knowing that your obstacles are learning opportunities enabling you to keep growing as a human. Absolute happiness is also fostered by knowing that you have a choice in how happy you will be. Not always easy to remember or apply, but I can usually boost my mood by simply focusing on that. I also remind myself that this may be my last day on earth in this body--do I really want to be a cranky poohead over something that won't matter this time next year?

So, as I prepare to clack the computer shut on another blog, I am wondering what I can do to become more internally happy, not let certain things (like winter) bother me so badly. What about you? How can you get more happy from the inside out?


Image consulting....huh?
January 13, 2010
What exactly does an image consultant do? Well, I help my clients achieve success more quickly and easily in every area of their life by ensuring that their image is consistent with their identity and their goals. Identity is who we are on the inside, and our image is how that is conveyed physically through our clothing, body language, and grooming. When our image is out of whack, difficulties arise. For example, let's say you are a newly hired lawyer in a large firm and are eager to be promoted. At work, however, you wear high, strappy sandals, showing off your new pedicure with daisies painted on your toes. Your skirts are so short that co-workers start singing "I see London, I see France...." every time you walk into the room. Your cleavage makes Britney Spears look modest and dour. No matter how stellar your work and conduct, you will never be taken seriously if your appearance is more conducive to swinging on the pole at Brad's Gold Club rather than presenting facts in the courtroom. You can flush your chances of promotion right down the toilet.

Even less obvious faux pas such as clothing that doesn't fit well, choosing colors that make you appear to have a raging case of the bubonic plague, or not wearing a suit at the right times will stop progress in its tracks. Color is so vital to a powerful image because the right hues can make us look healthy and vibrant, rather than sickly and jaundiced (like I appear if I try to wear purple). We are naturally drawn to others who exude energy and vitality, and wearing our best colors can provide the illusion of this even if we are feeling poorly.

What is the process of image consulting? I always begin with a new client by sending a questionnaire prior to our first meeting so that I know their goals for our time together, their style issues, shopping habits, and so forth. Some of the services I offer are closet consultations in which the closet is pruned, new outfits are combined from the remaining pieces, and a list is made for restocking the closet. Of course, meeting clients at the mall and shopping with them is another option. I also do image parties in which I speak on whatever topic the participants would like, and I can also bring clothing for purchase from chic consignment store Out of the Closet. Jewelry is also available from Butterfly World, and hopefully soon from Sue Wagman. Sue carries outlandishly gorgeous pieces from Bali and Tahiti at super prices. In addition, I can present at businesses, or work one-on-one with an employee whose appearance is throwing a monkey wrench into the work environment.

Best of all, everything I do is dosed with liberal humor. I love to laugh and be silly while working, which removes the anxiety that can accompany this type of work. Closets can house many skeletons for women especially, and as a former counselor, I am equipped with the knowledge and skill to assist in the emotional unpacking that may need to happen in order for a client to progress in his or her closet and life. I never sashay into a client's closet, cackle like a witch, and immediately chastise them for still having overalls or large shoulder pads. The makeover TV shows can sometimes wind up treating people like idiots. My number one goal is always to empower my client and help them feel great about themselves, not demean them. They could probably get that kind of treatment for free from their mother or some other well-meaning, but clueless, relative.

I hope this clarifies what I do as an image consultant. If there is something else you would like to know, just ask! I am also open to any burning fashion or image questions that may be bouncing around in your head.


"Do not be angry with me if I tell you the truth."
December 18, 2009
This was the title of the holiday greeting I received from my fabulous chiropractor, Dr. Shawn Benzinger. Kinda reminded me of the refrain from that song: "Things that make ya go hmmm...." What could he say that had the potential to yank my chain?

"Ah ha," I said to myself as I began to peruse the letter. Dr. Benzinger had decided to remind us all of the evils of sugar, a subject that yes, indeed, will chap the behinds of some. As a former sugar addict who knows from experience how utterly vile excessive amounts of the gnarly white substance can make you feel, I felt compelled to share some of the highlights of his newsletter.

SO, DO TELL.....WHAT EXACTLY IS THE PROBLEM WITH SUGAR?

Rots the teeth right out of your head--guess who has had only one cavity since she quit inhaling sugar like it was an Olympic sport? Yep--me.

Studies have shown it increases the risk of cancer.

Increases lactic acid so you are more tired and sore; increases likelihood of developing diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and arthritis.

Keeps blood sugar levels unstable so you are more prone to cranky moods and tiredness.

In order to metabolize it, sugar depletes your body's store of B vitamins which are critical to good health.

For women, it increases premenstrual symptoms of mood swings and food cravings. It also contributes to an overgrowth of yeast in the body, which can cause lovely yeast infections, sinus problems, depression, and more.

WELL, ALL RIGHT, SUGAR SCROOGE, WHAT SHOULD WE DO ABOUT THIS?

As Dr. Benzinger notes, and I heartily agree, moderation is key. He isn't suggesting that you despondently sip your bowl of gruel while everyone else orgasmically dines upon creme brulee. Nay, nay......have one cookie, not 10. Savor one piece of pie, not 3. Eat your veggies and fruits. Find ways of preparing them so that you actually look forward to putting them into your yap. Eat your food slowly and notice how it feels in your mouth. Don't read while eating, don't text while eating...just eat. You will feel so much more satisfied. There is never any reason to deny yourself pleasurable foods. Just have them in moderation, with plenty of the healthy stuff too, and your body will thank you for it.


Self-care for the Chronically Busy
August 03, 2009
Taking care of ourselves usually winds up last on the list for business owners. I thought grad school was a time management challenge---ha ha ha! Then I started my own business. Wow. That made grad school seem like a leisurely stroll on a balmy May day. I have learned along the way, however, that if I don't take time for me, I can pucker up and kiss my productivity good bye. I get plain old exhausted and can't think my way out of a paper bag. My decision making stinks. I wind up doing everything over. Why not just take some time to chill with a crap filled People magazine and allow my brain to recalibrate? In the end, I am much more productive.

In case it has been so long since you have pondered quality self-care, may I suggest you recharge the batteries in the following 4 areas of your life:

1. your physical self--take care of your body. Get outside into the sun, breathe, actually stick your nose into a big bundle of blossoms and sniff those babies. Feed yourself what you need; take time to eat food with some nutrients in it that your body can use rather than fast food. Sleep. Then sleep some more. Most of us are so sleep deprived that it isn't even funny. Cuddle up with a trusted partner for what Sasha Baron Cohen's character Borat called "Sexy Time". Yes, folks, making time for sex helps you feel frisky and happy. Stretch. Smile. Get a massage.
2. your emotional self--Be aware of your emotions. Talk to a friend, write in a journal, go see your counselor, whatever it takes to notice what you are feeling. If we don't notice when we are sad or worried, then that is when we start to have physical complaints like headaches and insomnia. Your body will tell you what is going on in your head. Holding emotions tightly inside is like holding the lid down on a boiling pot of water--eventually that sucker is gonna blow! We are emotional beings, and it is ok to have them, process them, and move on. We stay stuck and feeling yucky when we don't face our emotions.

3. your spiritual self--note I did not say "your organized religion" self. Spirituality encompasses any activity that brings you closer to your idea of the Divine, the Universe, God, the Big Cheese, Bob or whatever you like to call the creative energy that put us all here for this wacky dance called life. Sitting under a tree, marveling at a sun rise, going to a religious service on Sunday, chanting with a group...decide for you what spirituality is and then make time for it. You will feel more grounded, peaceful, and more easily trust that life will always work out in your best interest.

4. your funny bone self--you need to laugh. I mean, laugh until your stomach hurts. Not having any fun, or nothing to laugh at, just flat out stinks. I took my neices shopping last night, and they had me laughing so hard on the highway that I thought I would have to pull the car over. What a hoot! I am lucky that I laugh at anything, and I do mean anything. It is such a blessing. What does it take for you to laugh? Try Youtube. There are all kinds of ridiculous things on there; check out Leonard Nimoy singing "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins". That is a mess. Go to a comedy club. Go drink beer at the Rathskellar with your silliest friend. This may seem like a waste of time, but it is a true investment in yourself. Try it--you'll like it.

Start scheduling YOU into your calendar, and see how that investment in time pays off. I guarantee it will.


OH LA LA! STYLE I LOVE!
June 19, 2009

OH LA LA! STYLE I LOVE! 

Lena caught my eye as soon as she sashayed in the door at the It’s Fashion Time Week show last Friday. I could swear she just popped off the page of one of my favorite fashion magazines, Lucky. 

What do I love about her style? First of all, her hair. So sassy! I adore the contrast in lines between her triangle earrings and her halter top. Both draw attention to her shapely shoulders. Great example of accentuating the positive. Her belt and bag are both metallic, but of different colors. I love that—all matching accessories can be quite dull. The short, flared skirt is very contemporary and works well with her body structure. Pairing it with a fitted top prevents her from looking like a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Lena’s posture is splendid; she easily could have been on the catwalk that night. When you stand up straight and hold your head high, you can wear a garbage bag and still have presence. Her coordinating shoes are a perfect finish for this stunningly simple, yet powerful, ensemble. Lena is the perfect example of a look that makes me say, “Oh LA LA! STYLE I LOVE!”


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Annie Sever-Dimitri | 317.440.8783 | annie@yourcoachforlife.biz | | Website by