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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: beauty, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 53
1. Tom Selleck Owes Me an Apology

Tom Selleck owes me an apology. Anyone my age knows the unobtainable standard he set for a teenage boy just coming into maturity. Why, do you ask, am I seeking contrition from him?

Good looks? No.

Suave disposition? No.

All the ladies? No…well maybe.

I’m talking about the hair…his stinking perfect hair.

Tom_Selleck_Kahala_Hilton

When all of the girls had a picture of the Magnum PI in mind, how could any of us real boys measure up? Curly coiffure, bushy mustache, chest hair, leg hair… There it is! Leg hair. Recently, smooth has become stylish and I would have been perfect for this new generation. But that isn’t my generation. When I was in high school and college, the girls wanted hair and lots of it. Hair I didn’t have.  Well, that’s not absolutely true. Science should study my leg hair because it is translucent like that of a polar bear. It’s there, just not to the naked eye. It only shows up if I have a deep tan, which is near impossible for someone of Swedish/Germanic descent. Undaunted, I went to the pool, laid out, and held my legs just right so that passing females might possibly get the proper angle to spot a few strands.

As a freshman in college, I went so far as to purchase a tanning package. I donned little glasses and laid on top of the plastic surface to bake. And bake I did. Remember the shorts Magnum used to wear? Not long like they are today, 80′s shorts came way up on the thigh. Hoping my tan would expose leg hair from the top of my leg to my toes, I even pulled them up higher. Oh yeah, I got burned in very sensitive areas. It hurt for weeks and didn’t help my hair stand out whatsoever.

We all have physical characteristics we would rather minimize or hide completely. Just the other day, I was talking with a friend who told me her 10 year-old daughter E had been called fat by another girl. My heart sank. Her sweet little girl is now self-conscious about something as irrelevant as my smooth legs. She is active and isn’t overweight in the least, but also isn’t waif-thin like so many women our society seems to put on a pedestal. Such a tragedy.

I want so much for her and other little girls to see what truly matters about themselves instead of what is fleeting.

Your beauty should not consist of outward things … Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes.

1 Peter 3:3-4

That’s what is important. I hope my daughters know that. I pray little E learns that too. We have to tell them they are beautiful and keep on telling them until they understand. That’s how God sees them.

So Tom, whenever you are ready, it has taken 25 years, but I am finally over your provocation and prepared to accept your apology. It’s been a long time coming.

Photo credit to Alan Light

8 Comments on Tom Selleck Owes Me an Apology, last added: 3/15/2014
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2. Something beautiful ... orchids, Auckland and attics!


What's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?

Aileen Davis of Appleby’s Bookshop in Morpeth couldn't choose between two sights which she felt were the most beautiful she'd seen: the orchids in Singapore (the walkways across the roads, she says, are ‘festooned’ with them)  and the aerial view of New Zealand as you approach Auckland Airport.

‘I was on holiday in NZ three years ago and as the plane came into land, I looked out of the window and on this clear day glimpsed the entire coastline, including the volcano at the other end of the island. I haven’t seen anything more beautiful.’

Singaporean Orchids 
But before you decide to jump on a plane to the Far East, Stephanie Ellison would argue that you should to take a trip to the North East and visit Seven Stories Bookshop in Newcastle:

‘In the attic on level 7 of our shop is an art installation by illustrator/author Oliver Jeffers. It’s very beautiful. I’m sure that everyone in the shop would agree that it’s the most beautiful thing they’ve seen. There are books hanging from the ceiling, and books at all different levels - it’s a sight to behold.’

To help promote our new title The King Who Wanted More, We're finding out what is the most beautiful thing people have ever seen. It could be a landscape, a painting, a building, or maybe something altogether different...it’s completely up to you. Please email enquiries@hogsbackbooks.com if you'd like to take part.

0 Comments on Something beautiful ... orchids, Auckland and attics! as of 12/5/2012 5:03:00 AM
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3. Something beautiful ... Jane Gardam

What's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?

Jane Gardam, OBE author of children's and adult fiction and twice winner of the Whitbread Award, discussed her most beautiful sight with my mother-in-law over afternoon tea.

Jane grew up in Cumberland and the North Riding of Yorkshire, and she recalled one winter, when on a visit to Swale Falls in Richmond, she witnessed the waterfall turn to ice. It was a rare thing, caused by a sudden temperature change, which freezes the water mid flow. Although it was only a fleeting occurrence, the memory of it stayed with Jane and was later captured in her short story ‘Icicle Ride’, featured in her children’s collection The Hollow Land. The book, which now sadly appears to be out of print, arrived in today’s post and the passage below describes Jane’s experience: ‘And there round the corner to the left where the beck fell sheer, stood high as the sky a chandelier of icicles. Hundreds upon hundreds of them down the shale steps of a waterfall. There were long ones and short ones and middling ones and fat ones like an arm and thin ones like a thread. They hung down from up as high as you could see and down to your very wellingtons. And not only water had turned to spears of glass but every living thing about – the grasses, the rushes, the spider webs, the tall great fearless thistles. You could pull the tubes of ice off the long wands of the loose-strife. You could lift them off like hollow needles. You could look right down them like crystal test tubes. You could watch them twist like fairy ear-rings. And as the sun reached them they all turned at once to every colour ever known – rose and orange and blue and green and lilac – and Harry and Bell watched them until the sun slipped down a little and left them icicles again.’

Jane has twice won the Whitbread Award for The Hollow Land (1981) and, for her adult novel, The Queen of the Tambourines (1991). In addition, God on the Rocks was runner up for the Booker Prize and her story for young readers, Bridget and William, was ‘Commended’ for the Carnegie Medal.

To help promote our new title The King Who Wanted More, We're finding out what is the most beautiful thing people have ever seen. It could be a landscape, a painting, a building, or maybe something altogether different...it’s completely up to you. Please email enquiries@hogsbackbooks.com if you'd like to take part.

0 Comments on Something beautiful ... Jane Gardam as of 11/10/2012 6:40:00 AM
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4. Something beautiful ... Patrick Gale, Sue, Kate and Nic

What's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?

Today we heard from British novelist Patrick Gale, author of 16 novels, including Rough Music – reputedly the most widely held book in libraries. We also spoke to Sue, bookseller at Hunting Raven Bookshop in Frome and to Kate and Nic from Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath.

Patrick took time to think about the most beautiful thing he has seen whilst sitting on a train crawling through rural Ireland, and like one of the suitors in The King Who Wanted More, he has chosen a rose (although not a red one): ‘…the most beautiful thing I've ever seen is something I'm lucky enough to see for much of the year whenever I step outside my study in the garden. It's a fantastically lovely rose, Souvenir du Docteur Jamain, in that hard-to-photograph shade of deep purple that plant breeders often arrived at in their obsessive quest for black. It thrives on a largely sunless wall, has elegant, bug free foliage, smells like heaven and is a salutary reminder that nothing I write can begin to rival the beauties of nature!’


Patrick is also a talented musician. He attended the choir school for Winchester Cathedral and later sang for the London Philharmonic Choir. He also takes nice photographs - if the picture he gave us of his rose is anything to go by.

Sue, bookseller at Hunting Raven Bookshop in Frome, Somerset, said the most beautiful thing she had seen was a tiger. She is a regular visitor to Longleat Safari Park, which is ‘just down the road’, but on one occasion she experienced a very special moment:

‘It was late in the afternoon, just before the park closed, and there were no other cars about. Ours was the last car in.

‘The park had got two new tigers and as we travelled around we saw them playing. Suddenly they ran across the road in front of us and as they did one of them stopped and turned around to look at us. It was a very powerful.’

Whilst Sue didn't capture the moment with a photograph, here is William Blake's original of The Tyger, printed c. 1795, image courtesy of Wikipedia.



While assistant manager Kate from 
Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath gave the matter some thought (she was leaning towards an item of clothing), owner Nic didn't need to think twice about his most beautiful sight:
‘An Alaskan sunset – viewed from Anchorage. ‘Anchorage is a small city, but if you are high up, say in a hotel, you can see for hundreds of miles. In the foreground is the bay, and beyond that the mountains and beyond that the complete wilderness that is Alaska stretching out forever.’
To help promote our new title The King Who Wanted More, I’m finding out what is the most beautiful thing people have ever seen. It could be a landscape, a painting, a building, or maybe something altogether different...it’s completely up to you. Please email rob.berry@hogsbackbooks.com if you'd like to take part.



0 Comments on Something beautiful ... Patrick Gale, Sue, Kate and Nic as of 11/9/2012 12:56:00 PM
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5. Spring Has Sprung!


We nonfiction writers tend to live more in the real world than in the world of the imagination. I know I feel very grounded in place, wherever I am, and I’m experiencing what goes on around me—the sun, or not; the breeze, or the heavy dense air; the soft forest path under my feet or the hard concrete sidewalk. Roz Schanzer expressed this feeling very well in her recent blog about her Costa Rican photo safari. At times, like during a drab, hard winter, our way of being so intimately in touch can be perhaps more difficult than for those who can escape into their heads with flights of fancy.

But when spring finally does break, as it did just a week ago at my home in Montana, the natural perception and appreciation of the real becomes an energizing joy. With a bedroom window open, my house soaks up the amazing smell of spring—of growth, life, fruit trees in bloom, whatever goes into that heady concoction that proclaims, “Spring is here!”

I haven’t discussed this idea with my fiction-writing friends, and maybe I’m wrong; maybe they find a gray, cold winter just as oppressive as I do. It depresses my creative juices, and nonfiction writing is a creative art, as we nonfiction writers struggle to recreate the real world through words invented by humans. We struggle especially hard to describe sensations like smell and taste, for which our language has few useful words. And when I see the amazing variety of color and size and shape in natural beings like these flowers in the garden of my friend, I’m overwhelmed by the idea that I might even try to express their beauty and variety in mere words. Then I remember that doing is not only my job, it’s my passion and my great challenge.

1 Comments on Spring Has Sprung!, last added: 5/20/2011
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6. Blue horse, red heart, green flower

Okay. Well. Our last four days included a vicious bout of possible food poisoning (me), a tummy bug (one of the kids), and an ER visit (another one of the kids). Cut to the good part: everyone seems to be back to good health now. I’ll just add those experiences to the seemingly never-ending list of chapters in That Book I Really Should Write One of These Days about My Family’s Medical Dramas.

Today, I think I’ll just focus on today. Because today was home, and home is good. Home is especially nice when you’ve spent a couple of days away from home at, say, a hospital or two.

Today was our morning walk, and morning smoothie (Scott’s been adding strawberry kefir to mine which makes it sooo yummy), and piano lessons, and reading The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse to Rilla and then spending the longest time talking about Eric Carle’s art—the textures he squiggles into the paint, the shapes that make his collages, the way the horse looks blue at first and then you look closer and see the  purple and green and turquoise and navy. After that book, Rilla needed to paint; it was primal, cellular. I don’t remember why we leapt suddenly to sponge-prints, but I realized she’d never tried them before, and I rummaged under the sink hoping to find a new sponge. Such luck: three of them. Never mind they were the really good kind with a scrubby side. If I don’t jump on a project immediately it probably won’t get done. I cut one of the sponges into a heart and she spent a happy hour making Valentines.

A very good morning.

In the afternoon there was a very earnest little boy digging through every pocket for a “green flower” he’d picked for me—a bit of clover. And a bee in the living room, the shooing-out of which somehow led, mouse-cookie fashion, to my washing the windows and scrubbing the sills while Rose told me stories and helped with the screens.

Jane is catching up on Downton Abbey so she can finish out the season with us.

The most taxing thing I’ve had to do all day is think about what book to read next.

A very good afternoon.

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7. Research Roundup: New Ypulse Report On Technology, Tweens’ And Teens’ Beauty Habits, College Savings Stats

Today we bring you another installment of the latest youth research available for sale or download. Remember if your company has comprehensive research for sale that focuses on youth between the ages of 8 and 24, email us to be included in the... Read the rest of this post

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8. Cover Love: BEAUTY by Susan Wilson

Beauty by Susan Wilson

Every reader is familiar with the popular tale of Beauty and the Beast. But what if the fairy tale came true? Beauty tells the story of a modern woman who learns to love the deeper man, beyond all appearances; it is a totally credible, contemporary retelling of the classic tale.

0 Comments on Cover Love: BEAUTY by Susan Wilson as of 4/20/2012 11:13:00 AM
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9. Waving the White Flag

Age like a fine wine

Age like a fine wine (Photo credit: derekGavey)

Strike at the heart of the beast! Show no mercy!

Why do people feel compelled to do battle with all things related to aging? Hair gets colored, as if having gray hair is shameful. Young, nubile women begin getting Botox before the age of 30; begin using anti-wrinkle creams in their 20’s.

Have we come to despise these signs of having lived past our teen years?

My hair gleams with gray sprinkled throughout from years lived and loved.  Hard work went into the making of those signature hairs. Why should shame be associated with them?

Small lines have taken up residence around my mouth. Are they caused by laughing too much? If so, my favorite past-time will continue to occupy me. Laugh lines are far better in my estimation than facial stress fractures.

The reasoning behind this abhorrence of aging escapes me. My entire experience here on Planet Earth was lived at the same moment—the one in which I am aware. Age has rarely meant anything to me.

At age twelve, people treated me as 19-20. When nineteen came along, people assumed I was in my mid-20’s. By the time my 30’s arrived, most of my friends were in their early 20’s. Even now, I have few real friends my own age. I know plenty of people in their 50’s and 60’s, but those whom I call true friends are of all ages, from the very young to those in their late seventies and older.

It’s always been my contention that age is only a marker for statistical purpose. The body may have tell-tale signs of wear and tear. But the me operating this body has no age, except the one I inside my head.

The question which needs to be posed to a person is: If you’re so unhappy to reach your current age that you need to reconstruct your body to hide your experience, is reconstruction likely to erase your unhappiness?

Does one’s happiness depend on the physical representation of the person inside? After all, our bodies are only the vessels, which carry us around on this planet. Is our preoccupation with conforming to culture’s definition of beauty the only path to self-satisfaction and acceptance? Must we all be life-sized, unrealistic Barbie’s and Ken’s in order to be accepted as vital, beautiful, and worthwhile? If so, aren’t we all waving a white flag; surrendering our individuality and uniqueness in favor of a cultural i

0 Comments on Waving the White Flag as of 5/23/2012 11:17:00 AM
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10. Waving the White Flag

Age like a fine wine

Age like a fine wine (Photo credit: derekGavey)

Strike at the heart of the beast! Show no mercy!

Why do people feel compelled to do battle with all things related to aging? Hair gets colored, as if having gray hair is shameful. Young, nubile women begin getting Botox before the age of 30; begin using anti-wrinkle creams in their 20’s.

Have we come to despise these signs of having lived past our teen years?

My hair gleams with gray sprinkled throughout from years lived and loved.  Hard work went into the making of those signature hairs. Why should shame be associated with them?

Small lines have taken up residence around my mouth. Are they caused by laughing too much? If so, my favorite past-time will continue to occupy me. Laugh lines are far better in my estimation than facial stress fractures.

The reasoning behind this abhorrence of aging escapes me. My entire experience here on Planet Earth was lived at the same moment—the one in which I am aware. Age has rarely meant anything to me.

At age twelve, people treated me as 19-20. When nineteen came along, people assumed I was in my mid-20’s. By the time my 30’s arrived, most of my friends were in their early 20’s. Even now, I have few real friends my own age. I know plenty of people in their 50’s and 60’s, but those whom I call true friends are of all ages, from the very young to those in their late seventies and older.

It’s always been my contention that age is only a marker for statistical purpose. The body may have tell-tale signs of wear and tear. But the me operating this body has no age, except the one I inside my head.

The question which needs to be posed to a person is: If you’re so unhappy to reach your current age that you need to reconstruct your body to hide your experience, is reconstruction likely to erase your unhappiness?

Does one’s happiness depend on the physical representation of the person inside? After all, our bodies are only the vessels, which carry us around on this planet. Is our preoccupation with conforming to culture’s definition of beauty the only path to self-satisfaction and acceptance? Must we all be life-sized, unrealistic Barbie’s and Ken’s in order to be accepted as vital, beautiful, and worthwhile? If so, aren’t we all waving a white flag; surrendering our individuality and uniqueness in favor of a cultural i

10 Comments on Waving the White Flag, last added: 5/23/2012
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11. Precious In God's Sight

"Under his watchful eye, a tiny sprout grows to a lovely, fragrant flower, the drab cocoon brings forth the beautiful butterfly, and the Babe in the manger becomes the Prince of Peace! These miracles bring wonderment and awe to our hearts, warming our souls like rays of sun on a spring morning, reminding us of an eternal truth--that all things are precious in his sight."  (from 

4 Comments on Precious In God's Sight, last added: 7/7/2012
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12. September Eureka Moments

Even if you don’t work in a school media center, I’m guessing your life still tends to run on an academic schedule when you work with teens. So welcome to the new school year! Here’s what I think might be interesting, useful, or intriguing to you and your patrons this month.

  • If your teens are interested in what’s new in the going green movement, have them look more globally to see what’s going on. In coastal Ecuador, young people from farming families are heading up efforts to save, cultivate, and redistribute heirloom seeds to revitalize the environment and help farmers prosper. Part of an organization called FOCCAHL, 20-year-old Cesar Guale Vasquez travels throughout nearby areas collecting seeds from farmers and also hosts swapping events so that farmers can trade seeds with each other in order to have more vibrant and diverse crops. Now take that for inspiration and add to it your own library’s resources on climate change, farming, and nutrition and plan an interesting program that combines science with activism and see what your advisory board wants to do with it. Many libraries now are creating their own seed libraries, and whether they’re for wildflowers or corn, they can be a great way to bring communities together, get young people to work with older people, and freshen up your local environment while doing your small part to keep the world cleaner and greener.
    Matthews, J. (2012). Ecuador’s seed savior. World Ark, May 2012: 10-15.
  • At the beginning of the school year, many teens are interested in refining or experimenting with their personal style. There is generally no shortage of mainstream fashion and beauty advice in the magazines and books you have in your collection already, but there might be a population you’re missing, and they’re getting bigger and more vocal. While the natural hair trend has been growing for years, the recent O Magazine cover presenting Oprah Winfrey with her hair relaxer-free has sparked a lot of talk. The social news web is blowing up with discussions of hegemony (the prevalence of hair relaxers in the African American community has been linked to unrealistic standards of white beauty), harassment (nearly everyone with natural curls, regardless of race, has experienced strangers touching their hair without asking first), and self image (who decides what’s beautiful, and is it more important to do what you think is pretty on you or to make a political statement with your hair?). Take a look at the reports of the Oprah cover at Sociological Images and Jezebel (it’s worth taking a look at the comments, too, but they’re probably NSFW and can get heated), and then consider hosting a discussion club or making a display of books on beauty. If you’re not sure where to start, I suggest Naturally Curly, one of the premiere websites (with social components, news, and shopping) for natural hair of all textures.
  • STEM, STEM, STEM. Everybody wants students to engage with science, technology, engineering and math. Federal money is pumped into it. Grants support it. But do teens and tweens care for it? In a study of middle school students, researchers analyzed both boys’ and girls’ wishful identification with scientists on television shows to see what factors influenced positive feelings (possibly indicating an interest in pursuing a science career or hobby). They found that boys were more likely to identify with male scientists and girls with female scientists, which is unsurprising. What was more interesting is that the genre of the television show affected the positive feelings. Scientist characters on dramas were more likely to elicit wishful identification than those on cartoons or educational programs. What can you do with this information? Plenty. For your next film screening, try a drama or documentary that presents scientists in a good light, like Cool It, And the Band Played On, or Einstein and Eddington. If you want to take a crack at those who think that being good at science or math makes you a loser, connect STEM with the things teens already love, like working out, YouTube, and the Web by taking a look at the 35 fittest people in tech, videos by Vi Hart, who turns mathematical concepts and history into snarky audiovisual narratives, or how-tos at Lifehacker.
    Steinke, J., et al. (2011). Gender Differences in Adolescents’ Wishful Identification With Scientist Characters on Television. Science Communication, 34(2): 163-199.
  • Whether you’re in library school or you’ve been working for years, you might find Hack Library School’s new starter kit series interesting, especially their post on services to children. Anyone want to volunteer to write the starter kit for youth services? On a related note, Teen Librarian Toolbox has a post on what to do about all that stuff they don’t teach you in library school (I’m taking notes).
  • If you’ve been trying to find a way to collaborate with nearby schools, see if you can get an advisory group to have a meeting with local teachers (it might be a good idea to make sure that the teachers are not teachers of the teens in your group so as to encourage openness and honesty) and start a dialogue. The topic? Standardized tests. Students may feel like teachers are against them, while teachers probably feel as if it’s administrators who are forcing them to be uncreative. So how do you get all sides to understand each other when schools are still tied to federal standards? For background information, try the journal Rethinking Schools‘ spring 2012 issue, which featured a special section on standardized tests. After a good discussion, maybe everyone can take fun “standardized tests” on personality types, books, or any other fun topics. Then see if students, teachers, and you can work together and form some sort of coalition that bridges the gaps between inside- and outside-of-school education, engagement, and issues. Start a collaborative blog. Take turns hosting book clubs at different places that feel like home to the different stakeholders in your group. What might be an interesting year-long project is to get everyone in the group to develop their ultimate standardized test to replace the ones they’re taking or proctoring in school. What skills do teachers and students think are most important to have before leaving the K-12 system? What topics do people in the real world need to know? Is it better to test knowledge orally? With essays? With student-led, student-designed creative projects? With their perspectives and your skills with information seeking, along with your vast collections, you should be able to create a really interesting partnership. And if you need more inspiration, check out these roundups of education blogs by both students and teachers, both here and here.

What are your plans for this upcoming academic year? As always, your questions, comments and suggestions are welcomed and encouraged!

bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark

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13. nice


nice literate girl?

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14. The Beauty of Life in Black & White

2 Comments on The Beauty of Life in Black & White, last added: 1/3/2009
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15. Love Experience...














Mr Tomato fall in love with a celery branch, before his antioxidant ends...before it will be too late...he have to squeeze himself...good luck Mr. Tomate

ingredients: natural tomato, ink and digital color.


http://beatriztrello.blogspot.com

1 Comments on Love Experience..., last added: 5/5/2009
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16. The Shadow Catcher and the Word "Beautiful"

I am there, in the round chair in the thin room, the day coming in through the slender screen, and I am reading—finishing the final pages of Marianne Wiggins' odd and remarkable The Shadow Catcher (a WG Sebald-like melage, a tour of the early lives of the photographer Edward Curtis and the woman he married, an inverted commentary on the making of a novel, a discourse on sound). Outside it is still, save for the bounce-echo of the ball that my son sends up and down the driveway.

I don't know how much time has passed. I think, perhaps, too much. That I went away inside a book and that I need, somehow to return to the day. To my responsibilities.

So I call to my son, through the screen, "Hey there."

Which must, to him (the distortion of distance, the ruffle of tree limbs between where I sit and where he stands), sound like a question, for he calls back, "Yes, Beautiful?"

And I sink. And I have nothing to say. He has disarmed me, the way that he does. Using a word so rare and heartbreaking.

12 Comments on The Shadow Catcher and the Word "Beautiful", last added: 6/10/2009
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17. Fiction or Not: The Juarez Novel

My friend Nancy stopped by yesterday—unexpected, unannounced. The glads in the vase were past their prime, I was overdue for a date with Windex, a spider had been busy whitewalling the post rails outside, and the geraniums were sadly ill-attended (I'm not going to talk about the dust). The house looked neglected, and frankly, this past week, it has been. I have been in another world. I have been writing. The boys have eaten. The bills have been paid. The clients are happy. But the house? Not so much.

Nancy had come to return an ARC of The Heart is Not a Size, the Juarez novel due out next March. I'd wanted Nancy to have the story early, for her husband and daughter were among the many with whom I'd traveled to Juarez a few years ago. They had been there, and Nancy had not, and it seemed to me that the book was a way to impart to her some of what we had seen and felt in that faraway place. We talked about many things yesterday, Nancy and I, but at the end we talked about what was real and what was not in this novel elixir called Heart. The dust storm was real, I promised. So were the men who sat on neighboring roofs, watching us from above. So was the morning honk of an old woman's old goose. So was the half skull of a horse in the street.

And so, as well, was the little girl, pictured here.

Some brands of beauty we simply cannot make up.

3 Comments on Fiction or Not: The Juarez Novel, last added: 7/27/2009
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18. Circle One

Today I went to the dentist for the first time in eleven years. I know, terrible, right? What can I say: during those eleven years I had five babies, wrote seven novels, moved three times (twice to new states), and had no dental insurance. Besides, dentist appointments would have made a serious dent in my blogging time.

Hee.

Truth be told, we’ve had dental insurance for the past three years, and I still put off going. Classic avoidance syndrome…I knew it was going to be bad, so I put off dealing with it, knowing all the while that the longer I put it off, the worse it would be.

Well, today was the day of reckoning. I’ve had some tooth pain…for quite a while…

I got off easy; don’t ask me how. I lost a filling at some point (that’s where the pain was) and have another filling that needs replacing, and apparently I’ve been brushing too hard for so many years that I’ve actually caused some gum erosion, but other than that…I’m okay. Whew. No new cavities, no serious problems. The relief is, as you might imagine, tremendous.

Sitting there in the chair awaiting the beginning of the exam, I learned something about myself. I knew intellectually that I ought to be feeling a sense of dread. But I realized that what I actually felt was…burning curiosity. I was eager—really eager; I keep trying out other words here but eager is the one that expresses how I felt—to find out what the verdict was. It was suspenseful, a mystery about to be revealed. I was more interested to turn the page in the story and find out what happened next than I was afraid of the dire outcome I was pretty sure was waiting for me.

Not that I’m disappointed the story turned out to be sort of boring. In the dentist’s chair, boring is good.

Another thing: am I the only one who finds some of the questions on medical forms nearly impossible to answer? This is the same problem I had with true/false and multiple choice tests in school. The selection of possible answers always seems too narrow, the questions ineptly phrased.

Are you happy with your smile? Yes No (circle one)

How can I possibly answer that with a simple yes or no? Do I wish there were something different about my smile? Sure I do. I’d love an Osmond-bright smile. As a kid I had braces to push my canines next to my two front teeth, closing a space where I’m missing teeth—a genetic anomaly I share with my mother, my oldest daughter, and Betsy Ray. (At least, I have always supposed that that accounted for the charming gap between Betsy’s two front teeth so ofted mentioned in the Betsy-Tacy books.) The braces closed my gap, but canines tends to be yellower than other teeth and this is certainly true in my case. Short of having them capped, there’s nothing I can do about it. (So says the dentist.)

But: Are you happy with your smile?

Am I self-conscious; do I hide my smile or suppress it? Nah. I pretty much forget about my teeth when I put away the toothbrush. Occasionally I wonder if other people notice, and then I think, Of course they do, but noticing isn’t minding. Besides, don’t we all tend to be hyperaware of our own physical flaws, and hyperaware of others’ physical strong points? I notice your pearly white teeth; you notice my naturally wavy hair. (What? The Internet says I have fabulous hair, so it must be true.)

(Of course, the Internet doesn’t see me on all the days my hair decides of its own accord to pay homage to Roseanne Roseannadanna.)

rosannadanna_l

Look at those sparkling white teeth!

“You didn’t answer this question,” the dentist pointed out, looking over my form. “Are you happy with your smile?”

“It isn’t a yes or no question,” I said. “I wish my teeth were whiter. But, you know, am I happy with my smile? My children are happy when I smile at them, and that makes me happy…my husband loves my smile…so…” I trailed off, because I was really thinking seriously about this. In photographs I am always smiling really big, too big; sometimes I look like a gremlin. Or this gal.

cindy_lauper_grWith teeth like that, who wouldn’t smile big?

“Sure, sure,” the dentist persisted. “Your children like your smile. I get that. But you—are you happy with it?”

Oh, doc. I know what you wanted me to say. You want to make me over; you want two thousand dollars to put crowns on perfectly healthy teeth. You want me to admit my insecurities, my desire to be Beautiful, because you can help fix me. I get that. It’s your job. And then when my teeth are blinding as snow in the sunshine, I can start counting up the lines around my eyes. (From all that smiling, of course.)

Are you happy with your smile?

Eh, it’ll do.

gremlin

Is it just me, or does it look like there’s a tiny human head peeking out from my hair where my ear should be? I’m thinking my teeth are the least of my worries.

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19. I Feel Pretty

Last night, I got dressed up and went out downtown, and on a harbor cruise, with some friends who I haven't seen in a few weeks. I felt good about myself as I was getting dressed to go, and I realized that I was feeling something that isn't a permanent condition. I felt pretty. I had gotten a pedicure and manicure on Friday, I was wearing a beautiful dress, sexy shoes and my hair and make-up were just right. I felt confident, sexy and excited to go out.

This may seem strange to many of you, that I'm actually writing an entire post about this, but I feel the need to draw attention to the fact that it hasn't always been this way. There was a time in my life when I felt anything but beautiful, hiding my body and not even wanting to look in the mirror because my self-esteem was pretty much non-existent.

There are many things that happened in my lifetime that kept me from feeling the way I do now and I won't get into that here, but for many young women, feeling beautiful is not something we experience. I saw a video from Dove earlier this week and a photo from Glamour which caused a lot of stir which got me thinking about body image and what I have personally overcome to get to the point where I am now.

Some may think I'm being arrogant or selfish or perhaps I'm vanity-driven now because I can confidently say that I feel good about myself and how I look. But the truth of the matter is, it's not about looks. It's about that feeling that I have inside me. The confidence, the way that I'm able to look others in the eye and can speak proudly and with great ease, speak my opinion and share my thoughts and ideas without worrying what others may think of me.

Sure, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we may not all be attracted to the same piece of art or have the same definition of what is attractive, but we all recognize beautiful people when we see them, those that we want to be around, that are fun to spend time with and that are compassionate and genuine and honest, both with their words and the actions that they take.

I feel pretty today and I don't feel silly saying it because I know where I've been, I see that young girl who I used to be and I recognize that despite my imperfections, I wouldn't change a thing.

Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty is trying to make a difference in the lives of young girls by creating workshops on self-esteem. You can learn more over at their website.

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20. New to Me: Beauty

Fairy tale retellings often feel like a dime a dozen.  Whether they’re modernized or grounded in the past, gender flipped or boundaries blurred, the heart of the fairy tale must remain.  Otherwise, the retelling feels cold and disconnected, lacking all the magic of the original story.  But sometimes, a retelling gives the fairy tale a new complexity and shading.

Beauty
Robin McKinley
Published 1978

The youngest daughter of a shipping merchant, Beauty is happiest with books and horses.  Neither of those care how you look, and Beauty knows she’s plain, especially compared to her beautiful older sisters.  But when their father has a catastrophic business failure, the whole family must leave the city and move to a small village.  Everyone works hard to survive, in the little house by the dark enchanted forest.  No one should go into this forest, but during a snowstorm, while taking a shortcut, their father gets lost in the woods.  In the middle of the forest, he finds a magnificent castle.  He is served by invisible servants who provide clothing, food, a warm bed.  But at the end of his visit, he decides to pick a single rose for Beauty.  And that one action will change Beauty’s life.  For in exchange for the rose, the Beast that lives in the castle demands that either her father, or one of his daughters, come to live with him.  And Beauty cannot let her father do this.  Staying with the Beast, Beauty is exposed to a life of luxury, of learning.  And although she comes to have a friendship with the Beast, she wishes that he wouldn’t ask her the same question after dinner every night:  “Will you marry me, Beauty?”  She can only say no to him, and she can tell how much it hurts him.  It’s only after disaster and heartbreak that Beauty is able to give him a different answer.

McKinley’s first novel takes the time to lay the backstory of Beauty and her family.  While it is only forty pages before the traditional beginning of the story–the father’s encounter with the Beast–those forty pages does much to establish not just Beauty, but her whole family.  We see that Beauty’s sisters are not stereotyped as beautiful but shallow and mean; in fact, they’re both kind, generous women, very willing to help shoulder the household tasks that the three girls have to perform.  We learn that Beauty’s father is kind and devoted to his family, although perhaps a bit too fond of business risks.  Even characters that are briefly seen are sketched vividly.

An intriguing aspect of McKinley’s retelling is that Beauty’s nickname is an ironic one.  Beauty describes herself as plain, with light brown hair and brown eyes.  Compared to Grace and Hope, her beautiful sisters, Beauty knows that she will have to make the most of her other talents.  And while her nickname stings at times, at least it’s better than her given name of Honour.  While her sisters reassure her that she’s just a late bloomer, Beauty doesn’t believe them.  Once she lives with the Beast, she dismisses his compliments as well.  It’s not until the end of the novel, when Beauty can see herself in a mirror for the first time in years, that she realizes that they were right: she is beautiful.  Because she never considered herself as pretty, Beauty instead focused on her brains because it allowed her an escape from the superficial world of the city.  Once the family moved to the village, she worked so hard that she was too tired for reading, yet this was also another skill that she developed.  Beauty, by the time she goes to stay with the Beast, is an intelligent, sensitive young woman, unafraid of hard work.  It’s just as much these qualities as her appearance that makes the Beast fall in love with her.  And it proves that Beauty’s nickname reflects more than her physical aspects, but her character.

Touches of the fantastic highlight the world of the Beast.  There are magic roses that are in perfect bloom for a month, and rose seeds that can grow and bloom a week after being planted.  There are invisible servants that serve every wish of the Beast or anyone in the castle.  And there is a very large library, that contains many books: some of them not yet published.  For someone like Beauty, a bookworm denied, the library holds great appeal, and not just for the books for the future.  As she is able to read and study, she has the chance to develop her mind even more.  It’s the library that allows Beauty and the Beast to start building their friendship.

A retelling that will strike familiar chords with teens, thanks to the use of similar ideas in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, McKinley’s additions to the original story are welcome ones.  By removing the unrealistic sweetness of the fairy tale’s heroine, Beauty features a strong, well-rounded young woman, one who is able to see past the exterior of the Beast and fall in love with his soul.

bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark

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21. On Sleep and Beauty

early-bird-banner.JPG

By Kirsty McHugh, OUP UK

We’ve all heard people talk of needing their ‘beauty sleep’, but is there really such a thing? Professor Jim Horne is the Director of the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University, UK, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Sleep Research. His book, Sleepfaring: A journey through the science of sleep, reveals what happens in our brains and in our bodies when we sleep. In the short excerpt below he reveals whether we really can get that beauty sleep we all talk about.


What about beauty sleep and those wrinkles that are supposed to vanish with sleep overnight? Indeed, they may disappear, because sleep (rather than just lying down) causes the face and forehead to perspire more than usual, with more water being retained within the skin to puff it up and flatten those wrinkles. Alas, morning arising and greater exposure to the air dry the skin out and the wrinkles pop back. Many so-called anti-wrinkle creams applied at night simply allow the skin to retain more of this water and help keep it puffed up for longer in the morning, but do not actually remove or prevent wrinkles. By the way, the skin just below the eyes is particularly thin and more vulnerable to being puffed up like this during sleep, causing some people to wake up with noticeable bags under their eyes, which soon flatten out next morning. The problem is that all this stretching and contraction of the skin will eventually produce all too many wrinkles under the eyes.

SleepfaringWhen we sleep, and even when we are awake, it is usually the face that is most exposed to the air, and because of this we can lose a surprisingly large amount of heat from our faces. That is why, when we become hot and need to cool down, the cheeks and forehead easily become red, because the skin here contains a rich supply of tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that expand with warm blood—hence the flushing. Heat from the blood in the cheeks radiates through the thin layer of skin above and is lost to the outside. Even more heat can be lost through perspiration or, rather, from the evaporation of the perspired water (called ‘latent heat loss’), especially from the cheeks and forehead. The body continually produces heat during sleep, as it does in wakefulness, and to stop overheating it has to lose excess heat, which it can do fairly effectively from the exposed face, because the rest of the body is usually too well insulated by clothes or bedding.

Blood moves heat around the body (just like hot water in central heating and car cooling systems) and dumps it through its cheek radiators. Losing heat just before sleep is important because the body likes to cool down a little (by about 0.3°C) then, as this helps the process of falling asleep. It is the reason why our cheeks are often flushed at bedtime. To be more precise, it is the brain that likes to be cooler at this time, and facial flushing is particularly good at doing this through a rather amazing process—the cooled blood from the flushed cheeks drains into a special vein, which can just be seen as that blue patch close to the skin surface in the inside corners of each eye. From there

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22. Beauty Imagined: Boom Time for Natural Cosmetics

early-bird-banner.JPG

By Kirsty McHugh, OUP UK

Geoffrey Jones is the Isidor Straus Professor of Business History at Harvard Business School. He researches the history of global business and has written extensively on the evolution of international entrepreneurship and multinational corporations, specializing in consumer products including beauty and fashion, as well as services such as banking and trading. His most recent book is Beauty Imagined: A History of the Global Beauty Industry. In the original post below, Professor Jones writes about the boom in natural cosmetics.


Next month, on March 24-26, the leaders of the natural cosmetics industry will assemble at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit in New York City to discuss the boom time for natural beauty. Or, at least, what many are betting will be a boom. The event is organized by Organic Monitor, which recently issued a report outlining how large companies have been paying huge sums to buy iconic brands in this market segment. It has been quite a gold rush so far. In 2006 global industry leader L’Oréal paid over $1 billion for Britain’s Body Shop. Soon afterwards the bleach manufacturer Clorox – implausibly – paid $925 for Burt’s Bees, a Maine-based company which had begun making candles from the beeswax created as a by-product of their honey business twenty years previously, and grown to make $170 million of sales of organic beauty products. In 2008 Estée Lauder, an early mover in this domain which had bought Aveda in 1997 and grown the brand globally, took a stake in the trendy Indian business Forest Essentials, an ayurvedic cosmetics company which makes its products by hand in a village in the Himalayas. And this year kicked off with Shiseido, Japan’s leading beauty company, paying the enormous sum of $1.7 billion for Bare Escentuals, the San Francisco–based company which has built the minerals-based cosmetic market.

The natural cosmetics boom has been a long time coming. Entrepreneurs began to experiment making cosmetics from plants rather than chemicals as far back as the 1950s. In 1954 Jacques Courtin-Clarins, a young medical student who had observed that when patients were treated for circulatory problems with massage their skin looked better, started a small business making botanical body oils. At the end of the decade Yves Rocher launched a company which made plant-based cosmetics distributed through mail order in the rural village of La Gacilly in Brittany. The big problem for all these ventures was to find customers, who stubbornly preferred products which employed modern science to Beauty Imaginedmake them look younger and sexier. Natural cosmetics remained for decades an activity for the unusual entr

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23. October: Post of Awesome by Laini, Beauty



Didn't want anyone to miss this. The quote is PERFECTION! Here's Laini:

Delete
Blogger Laini Taylor said...

Yes, I think that when we're younger we're more prey to the very most basic ideas of beauty, the kind of "catalog model bland pretty", the cheerleader look. But I know that my own notion of beauty has evolved into an appreciation of uniqueness -- strange eyes, interesting coloring, severe features, etc. And then there's the whole other issue of how perceived beauty is affected by character, like the great Roald Dahl quote from The Twits:

"If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it.

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely."


I really think that's true! And I think we learn to appreciate that, and to look at people in a different way, as we get older.

Thoughts?

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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24. Math Is Beautiful Just Like Poetry



By Carrie Graham Donaldo


Subject: MATHEMATICS

Loveof Mathematics and the Love of God!   This is TOO cool!  
Just the math part is good enough, the end is even better.  
I bet you won’t be able to read it without sharing it! 
 

Beauty of Mathematics!!!!!!!
 

1 x 
8 + 1= 9
12 x 
8 + 2= 98
123 x 
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25. The Oxford Comment: Episode 6 – BEAUTY!


In this, the 10th Oxford Comment, Lauren and Michelle investigate what makes a classic beauty icon, learn about appearance-based discrimination, talk body politics, and discover the threads that tie fashion to beauty.

Want more of The Oxford Comment? Subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes!

You can also look back at past episodes on the archive page.

Featured in this episode:

Historian, archaeologist, and classical scholar, Duane W. Roller is emeritus professor  at Ohio State University and the author of eight books, the most recent of which is Cleopatra: A Biography. Read his OUPblog posts here.

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Deborah L. Rhode is the Ernest W. McFarland Professor of Law and Director of the Center on the Legal Profession at Stanford University. She is the author or editor of over twenty books, including The Beauty Bias: The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law.

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Margitte Leah Kristjansson is a PhD student in communication at UCSD whose work is situated within the emerging field of fat studies. She is interested in all things fat, and blogs about her interests at margitteleah.com and riotsnotdiets.tumblr.com. Margitte recently completed a documentary on fat female bodies and visibility available for viewing here.

Jessica Jarchow is a body acceptance activist in San Diego, CA. When she’s not blogging at 0 Comments on The Oxford Comment: Episode 6 – BEAUTY! as of 1/1/1900

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