What We Do To Feel Beautiful

What We Do To Feel Beautiful

What lengths would you go to in order to feel pretty?

What does it take to feel beautiful? What does it take for you to dance around your room and sing the immortal song from "West Side Story", "I Feel Pretty"? Now, be honest! Don't stand there and piously quote, "beauty is only skin deep" or "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". Come on now, out with it. You do something to feel pretty. There is some little routine that you indulge in, at least once in a while, that makes you feel beautiful in your own eyes.

Let's think about some of these practices for just a moment. What seems of no consequence to us may seem very strange to someone else. For example, one day my husband came into our room while I was plucking my eyebrows. He watched for a moment with a puzzled look on his face.

"Why do you do that?" he asked.

"Because I don't like how they look when they're bushy."

"It seems like that would hurt."

"It doesn't," I replied.

Well, it does, but I wasn't about to tell him that. Just a little. Compared to birthing twins, it's nothing. It helps to keep it all in perspective. I wondered what he would think about waxing? Now there's a practice that I don't even pretend to understand. When I think of it, all I can feel is hot duct tape being ripped off my skin. Ouch. I wonder, if like Band-Aids, they have an "ouch-less" brand of waxing.

My husband teases me a little about some of my routines, such as putting on makeup. He sweetly assures me, romantically, not to worry that my barn door doesn't need painting. A real smooth-talker, he is. He doesn't understand that sometimes I like to put on the makeup because it makes me feel pretty. Some days I need it so I can fool others into thinking that I'm alert and enthusiastic. All in all, I think a little eyebrow plucking and some makeup is within the realm of "normal" for our culture.

Granted, some people may take it to an extreme. What others do to be beautiful in the eyes of others may very well make some people raise eyebrows. For example, most people have heard about women of yore wearing corsets. That is child's play compared to the abolished practice of foot binding that Chinese women endured for centuries. It was believed that a 3 to 5 inch foot was a symbol of wealth. The neck rings of certain African tribes make us cringe. How about those trendy lip plates? The bottom teeth of the woman are knocked out to make room for a clay plate inserted in the bottom lip. And I mean plate, as in the size of what you eat off of at dinner. The bigger the better.

Hardware isn't the only novelty item when it comes to beauty. Japanese women smear chicken manure (that's a polite way of saying chicken poop) over their faces. Oh, don't worry, it's in the form of a cream, so that makes it okay. It is supposed to smooth out those pesky wrinkles that appear after decades of living. We Americans have a similar novelty. For a mere $200 per treatment, you can have facial gurus smear nightingale manure (that's also bird poop, people) on your face. I wonder if there is a discount if you ask for pigeon poop -- oh, excuse me, excrements -- instead. Oh, and don't worry, it's "sanitized" poop, so that makes it okay. Brings to mind the Proverb, "A fool and her money are soon parted".

So, now that you are all lathered up with wrinkle erasing bird poop, let's top it off with some lovely and expensive perfume made from whale vomit. Sounds alluring and enticing, doesn't it? Call me unsophisticated, but whale vomit and perfume don't seem to go together. How does one advertise that anyway? I can see the commercial now. A couple at a five-star restaurant, enjoying fine dining. The man leans in close to the woman, dressed to the nines and says:

"My darling, what is that wonderful scent you are wearing?"

"It's whale vomit, my love."

Talk about killing the mood.

Never mind the beauty practices we consider strange in other countries. Look closer to home, and you'll find African and Japanese ladies scratching their heads, wondering why those American ladies use bull semen to cure wrinkles; or how can they stand ripping hair from their bodies with primitive wax methods. It does bring up the question of whether or not we in America are qualified to judge others on beauty, when we think that using our lunch hour to inject paralytic agents into our faces is a sane use of time and money.

Though beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, it shouldn't make you raise your eyebrows or vomit! Then again, maybe you could market that as a facial cream.

Cover Image Credit: Isabell Winter

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20 Small Tattoos With Big Meanings

Tattoos with meaning you can't deny.

It's tough to find perfect tattoos with meaning. You probably want something permanent on your body to mean something deeply, but how do you choose a tattoo that will still be significant in 5, 10, 15, or 50 years? Over time, tattoos have lost much of their stigma and many people consider them a form of art, but it's still possible to get a tattoo you regret. So here are 20 tattoos where you can't go wrong. Here are 20 small tattoos with big meanings. (But don't blame me if you still have to deal with questions that everyone with a tattoo is tired of hearing!).

SEE RELATED: "Please Stop Asking What My Tattoos Mean"

1. A semi-colon indicates a pause in a sentence but does not end. Sometimes it seems like you may have stopped, but you choose to continue on.

2. "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."

3. Top symbol: unclosed delta symbol which represents open to change. Bottom symbol: strategy.

4. "There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."

5. Viking symbol meaning "create your own reality."

6.Greek symbol of Inguz: where there's a will, there's a way.

7. Psalm 18:33 "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights."

8. 'Ohm' tattoo that represents 4 different states of consciousness and a world of illusion: waking (jagrat), dreaming (swapna), deep sleep (sushupti), transcendental state (turiya) and world of illusion (maya)

9. Alchemy: symbolizes copper, means love, balance, feminine beauty and artistic creativity.

10. The Greek word “Meraki” means to do something with soul, passion, love and creativity or to put yourself in to whatever you do.

11. Malin (Skövde, Sweden) – you have to face setbacks to be able to go forward.

12. Symbol meaning "thief" from the Hobbit. It was the rune Gandalf etched into Bilbo's door so the dwarves could find his house.

13. “Lux in tenebris” means “light in darkness.”

14. Anchor Tattoo: symbolizing strength & stability, something (or someone) who holds you in place, and provides you the strength to hold on no matter how rough things get.

15."Ad Maiora” is translated literally as “Towards greater things.” It is a formula of greeting used to wish more success in life, career or love.

16. A glyphs means “explore.” It was meant as a reminder for me to never stop exploring.

17. "Aut inveniam viam aut faciam," meaning roughly, "Either I shall find a way, or I will make one."

18. Lotus Flower. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower’s first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

19. The zen (or ensō) circle to me represents enlightenment, the universe & the strength we all have inside of us.

20. Two meanings. The moon affirms life. It looks as if it is constantly changing. Can reminds us of the inconsistency of life. It is also symbolizes the continuous circular nature of time and even karma.

SEE ALSO: Sorry That You're Offended, But I Won't Apologize For My Tattoos

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4 Curly Hair Tips That Will Up Your Hair Game

Curly hair is not a trend, it's a lifestyle

As a girl with curly hair, I understand the pain of it, but oh does it reap the benefits. Even with annoying aspects of curly hair (such as having weird pieces of trash floating around in your hair to not being able to untangle it when dry), it’s pretty nice being able to take a quick shower, scrunch my hair with a bit of mouse and walk out the door with effortless hair. From the past few years of having curly hair (yes, I used to have straight hair and no it was not a perm…) I’ve learned a few tips on how to tame it and make my hair look as healthy as possible!

There are so many different types of curly hair! For my hair, I would describe it to be around a 2B to a 3A type of curly hair. So although my tips might work for other curly hair types, it will work best for 2Bs-3As!

1. Detangle your hair in the shower

Probably one of the most important rules with curly hair: never comb your hair when dry (due to leading to extreme frizziness) and never comb it wet after the shower. Your best bet is to detangle with your fingers or a wide-toothed comb when you have conditioner in your hair. Not only will this make your life SO much easier, but it also isn’t damaging your hair!

2. Use a cotton t-shirt to dry your hair

Using a towel is a big no-no. Not only will it dry out your hair (since you want your curls to be extra moisturized!) but also lead to damage which no one wants. Wrapping your hair up in a “pineapple” (wrapping your hair loosely in a cotton t-shirt) is also nice for getting a bit more definition into your curls and keeping them “safe” during the night to wake up with less frizz in the morning

3. Use a water + condition mixture to rejuvenate your curls

A hair mask will also do the same trick (but honestly this is like a once every blue moon type of thing) but if you’re in a pinch for time, a simple water and conditioner mixture will do the trick! Simply take a spray bottle, fill it with a small about of conditioner (I usually go for a tablespoon in a 4-6 oz. bottle) and fill the rest with water. The key with curly hair is to keep it as moisturized as possible so wetting it every day with this mixture will do the trick.

Also, use this so that you don’t have to wash your hair every day! Curly hair is extremely dry and thick so don’t feel guilty about not washing your hair every day (but please wash your body, like please…). I usually go about two days without washing my hair, but you can even go more depending on the thickness/curly hair type of your hair (some even go up to a week!).

4. Don’t be shy with the curling product

I personally use mouse or a cream (depending on which I have on hand) and honestly go to town with it for my hair. Don’t worry about the eventual “crunchiness” feel of your hair later, it can easily go away if you scrunch your dry hair or use a hair oil (I do both).

Even if you don’t have curly hair, I seriously recommend anyone to use a hair oil, it makes a world of a difference! It leaves your hair smooth, nice smelling and shiny.

Cover Image Credit: Shaylee Navarro

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