How DO I Look?

I grew up in a small town, was a good student and swam competitively from the age of 6 on. I never focused on my body weight, body shape or foods that I ate. I was CONTENT with myself!

Then, I was discovered and swept up into the New York scene right when I graduated high school. All of my friends were at beer parties and eating pizza in their new college campuses and I was in New York City in an apartment wondering how many carrot sticks I could have for dinner. One night my roommate Kelly Emberg came home and caught me eating a whole head of iceberg lettuce. She laughed at me and I started to cry because that was all I was eating that day. “It’s only 50 calories”, I sobbed.

I had to learn quickly at 18 years old how to maintain my weight and still have enough energy to “look good”. It took years of trying new diets to figure this out. I even wrote an eBook on Amazon called DIETING LESSONS.

One day working with VOGUE and Irving Penn, a famous photographer, I decided that I was too fat and boycotted breakfast and actually stood up through lunch, waiting to go on set to shoot the clothes. I stood as I didn’t want to wrinkle the clothes and Mr Penn had called a quick lunch when I was already dressed in the outfit. It was easier to stay dressed than change in and out of the clothes. When it came time to go on set, Mr Penn took one look through his famous lens and declared that I had no life in my eyes. I was banned from the set and never worked with him again. So much for not eating, huh?

I thought being thinner would mean I was more desirable as a model and to be honest, I still struggle with that. I still worry that I am not good enough.

Many of us struggle with body image. I look back on growing up and realize that it was a good thing to be so ignorant about how I looked. A part of me envies that innocence in certain people. They just have no idea or don’t care how they look walking around. I was content living that way as I didn’t know any better. Now, I see myself through others eyes from years of being trained. I know how I look to others from each angle and how to present myself to the camera. I learned from feedback how to stand or sit and how to relax my face to look my best from each angle. Sometimes it is kicking a leg out casually or putting my hand on my hip. It may look natural but it is from years of other people telling me what looks good and what I should never do again.

So, is it right to just accept ourselves without trying to present our best selves to the world or should we work on it daily? How much is too much, worrying about how we look to others?

Winter Discipline

Well, it is still winter here in New York City. Even though it has been a mild one, I still find that I am stir crazy and waiting for spring. Little purple crocuses were just starting to bloom in Central Park and then we got hit with a ton of snow. It can be discouraging. For those of you who live in warm sunny weather year around, bear with me in this article.

 

I have had to find ways to keep my mind happy while being alone in the big city. Normally when it is nice outside, I can go for a long walk or head over to Central park to hang with a wonderful collection on human beings, but it is cold outside! I need a change of plans! Being self employed and having my own hours to get stuff done out of my apartment leaves a lot of wiggle time to juggle things around. I find that I am happiest when I stay on top of things and be disciplined with my time and tasks. I also have to watch what I eat while cooped up during these winter months. It would be way too easy to sit back and hibernate while shoveling in more food than I need. (Do you love that verb “shoveling”?)

 

I love going to my health club and find that I am spinning a lot. Not only does the fellowship of a class help me but I love the competition and also the knowledge of burning a ton of calories. Since I have to sign up a day early, I find that I look forward to working around my spin class and organize it around all my other activities. It is nice to look forward to a crazy spin class.

 

I also have a “spa” tip called hydrotherapy. After my work out and then the steam room, I head to the showers to get clean but also use that time to stimulate my lymphatic system. I am super hot coming out of the steam room and when I go into the shower, I put on the cold water for 30 seconds before turning it to the hot setting. During body washing, shampoo and conditioner I make sure that I turn the cold water on for 30 seconds three times in between the 3 minutes or so for the hotter water. This helps me pump and circulate my lymph system removing waste products and helps my immune system kick into action also. I feel vibrant when I come out of the showers! Our lymphatic system plays a vital role in removing waste products that we are exposed to daily. Don’t get me started in all of the toxins around us! The hydrotherapy also helps me have healthier hair, glowing skin, less stress and improved energy levels. BONUS.

 

When it is cold out, I also love to have a tea in the afternoon. I have found an interesting tea called Jiaogulan that claims to be the herb of immortality. I can’t make those claims and wonder who can but I DO find that I like the tea with both the taste and how it makes me feel. It doesn't have caffeine but I also don’t want to drink it late at night!

 

So, if you find you are struggling with winter blues, try stimulating yourself in one of the ways above, stay disciplined and let me know how you do! You are not alone!

 

Reflections of 2016

I have learned so much since moving to New York and I wanted to share some of it in celebration of 2016 coming to a close.

I find that I am happy and thriving in the heart of New York City even though I am such a nature girl and animal lover. I do like to get out of the city at least one weekend a month for my sanity. It seems to ground me and let me be able to enjoy NYC all the more. 

 

I look back on 2016 and am amazed at myself for the big LIFE steps I have taken. I wonder why I am not only okay with the big life changes but really happy and thriving. So I asked myself what I have learned in 2016 and why learning is so important to me.

 

I find that I need to grow and learn new things to stay happy. I find I do not want to be stagnant. I left my small town where I grew up just two days after turning 18 to move to NYC and start a new career. Two days after that, I hopped on a plane to Rome and Paris for the collections with Harpers Bazaar. Just days after that I had my first magazine cover for Harper’s Bazaar Italia. That was a busy month! The whole 18 years before that I had been existing in comfort; the same town with the same friends and stores and neighborhoods. How could I just take off and make such big life decisions at 18 and be fine with it? I actually do not know the answer to that but I not only survived, I thrived!

 

I look back at all the people I have had the privilege to meet since I moved back to NYC this past summer. In the last 3 months, I have met the most creative, interesting people who are genuinely kind and caring. I have met people with different beliefs than I have from numerous countries all over the world and find that they are easy and wonderful people to talk to. I also ma able to approach beggars in the street and have conversations with them and treat them like real people. I used to be scared of them!

 

I don’t seem to mind putting myself into new situations by attending events alone. Last night I walked into a ballroom at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for a Policeman's Charity Ball. I was unaccompanied but meeting the friend and his wife who was putting the event on. I met many new people and enjoyed myself and found that I was okay and I could still be happy alone. I wanted to be with people helping out the charity event instead of being home.

 

So, I have learned that I don’t need a man to make me happy. I love people. I love to grow and learn. I try to find the good in others. I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings my way. How about you?

BIG Life Changes

Many of you don't know this, but I have been in hiding. I have tried to keep my personal life quiet and stay hidden while going through a divorce and finding out who the real Kim is and what she really wants in life. For too many years, I have been a people pleaser, doing what everyone else wants me to do from poses on the set, how to dress and wear my hair/make up, to putting my family first and me last.

My first big life change after separation from my husband of 21 years occurred when I left my 5 bedroom home on 5 acres across the street from the ocean in Florida. The house was filled with 15 years of memories raising 3 beautiful sons. I drove away from it all with just my dog and a car full of my possessions, staying with friends and family for 3 months. I would use this time to ask and beg God to know if I was doing the right thing. All I knew was that I needed to get far away and find healing in the mountains. I finally arrived in Boulder, Colorado, December 2013.

I didn’t know a soul out in Boulder and I spent some pretty snowy nights huddled up in my little place; lonely but free. It has been 3 years now and I have found wonderful friends in Boulder, as well as my older friends around the country to help me find me. I found in them love and support to help me heal my heart. They accepted me for who I am and gently forced me to make decisions, any decision instead of saying, “I don’t care. Whatever you want to do is fine with me.”

I have always known that some day I would move back to New York City. There has been an unrelenting voice screaming inside of me to help other women; to encourage them by telling my story and struggles. I kept my inner ears opened for that right time to leave my healthy Boulder nest and venture back out into the world to help transform it and empower others. I feel that NOW is the time! I am healthy and strong and have more of a passion and desire than ever to express myself.

So, just the other day in one instant, I heard that inner voice say, “NOW”. I am ready. No one is going to stop me or mess with my mind and emotions. I am through people pleasing. I know what I want and even though I am stepping out in faith, with no place to reside in the city, I have put a date on my move of September 1st. I made a big life decision this week and I am ready to show my inner strength and be heard!

What is "Real Beauty"?

Have you ever noticed people who seem to carry a dark cloud over them? I have. They walk into a room and there is an immediate feeling of doom. I have also noticed that there are other people who seem to be happy no matter what the circumstance. These are the kinds of people I tend to gravitate to as I like to be around people who have a positive outlook.

Have you ever looked at the face of someone who are negative? It seems that the phrase “sour puss” was meant for them. They tend to have more worry lines on their face and wear a permanent scowl. Then there are people who carry that inner light in them of happiness and joy. The phrase “sunny smile” or “bright disposition” seems to fit them. Their skin seems to be glowing and healthy and even if there are wrinkles, they seem to be lines that speak of life and living well. They walk into a room and it seems to brighten with goodness and purpose.

Why am I talking about grumps and happy people in a beauty article???

I believe that our inner thoughts can affect our outer beauty. After all, beauty is not only about how you look in the physical. It is about how you make others feel. Experiencing beauty in others often involves perceiving them to be in balance and harmony with nature. When we view beauty or what we think is beautiful, we tend to feel a sense of well being. All is right with the world. Beauty is a characteristic of HOW something or someone makes you feel.

Ideal beauty is meant to be admired. We all have our ideas of what is beautiful; in art, nature and people. We have the phrase, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” but there seems to be a standard through the centuries for what exactly is beautiful. One trait that stands the test of time is symmetry. Lacking flaws or the absence of genetic or acquired defects; which as far as viewing people goes includes well proportioned bodies and young, smooth skin. Some of us are way past young, smooth skin but are still beautiful.

From what I have found to be true, beauty not only consists of the outer features but also that inner personality and intelligence, grace and morality. Elegance in any situation life throws at you is also important in determining a form of beauty. People, who are elegant, graceful and morally balanced on the inside, generate a sense of beauty on the outside.

Beauty also presents a standard for comparison and can generate feelings of jealousy and inferiority. We spend millions of dollars in this country alone, trying to be more beautiful. Some of us forget our own beautiful traits while only focusing on other peoples unattainable traits. This leads to misery in my mind. Each one of us has a desire to “fit in” and being beautiful is one way to be popular.

Think of this the next time you wish you looked differently. Does beauty on the outside mean beautiful on the inside? Does beauty on the inside mean beautiful on the outside? You were given certain traits that are beautiful. You decide what is really important and lasting. My life is spent seeking both inner and outer beauty. How about you?

Spice It Up!

Besides adding flavor to food, did you know that spices can be beneficial to your health? Many of you know that herbs have health benefits and people can study for years to learn about the benefits and ways to use herbs for health. I want to focus on spices because spices are less talked about but still filled with potent nutrients which can enhance your health.

Some of the spices I want to focus on that have benefits benefits are oregano, cinnamon, mint, turmeric, rosemary, clove, and parsley. They are very good sources of anti-oxidant nutrients, and contain different vitamins and minerals. They even contain fiber, protein and healthy fats! They have other "anti" factors also like antibacterial and anti fungal elements and they are all anti-inflammatory which means that they could help reduce joint and muscle swelling. Many people take over the counter medications for aches and pains. Adding certain spices to your diet may help you recover from aches quicker.

Oregano and parsley have vitamin K which is good for bone building. Ginger may help with muscle soreness if taken for two weeks and is anti inflammatory and may help with attention span if taken for 2 months. Nutmeg may help prevent cavities by reducing plaque and fighting bacteria in the mouth and is another anti inflammatory. (Try adding it coffee like I do) Cayenne pepper may help you to burn more calories and crave fatty foods a bit less. I sprinkle it on eggs in the morning. Cumin may help boost your memory and brain power and is high in iron which can help your immune system. Sage may help boost brain function and memory.

Cinnamon is also reported to help control blood sugar. 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can provide improved insulin resistance, which in turn decreases heart disease risk and also helps with weight control. If you are eating something sweet, add a half a teaspoon of cinnamon to it to moderate any blood sugar spikes. (Chromium is also helpful for blood sugar levels but it is a mineral.)

Some of my favorites have numerous health benefits and I try to add them daily… Turmeric can be used to help with arthritis and stomach problems and has anti cancer effects. If I don't add it to food, I take it in capsule form at night. Rosemary is great and I have the essential oil also. It can help improve circulation and boosts immune health. Since it is harder to cook or bake with it daily, I use the oil or chew it raw. Saffron extract is harder to find and use but there are more benefits with the saffron extract than the powered spice found in stores. It has been shown to help with depression  and reducing menstrual cramps. Ginger is also one of my favorites and it has been shown to reduce cancer risks and even help reverse it. Please consult a doctor before starting new herbs and spices as they may not be beneficial for you but great for someone else. Have a spicy day!

What is Anti-Aging?

Anti-aging is a term that covers a broad range of opinions and products. Anti-aging means to stop the aging process by stopping or slowing down oxidation or free radical damage, which can lead to premature aging. This term is a fairly new health category and seems to be a good sales term that is popping up everywhere. It is applied to so many treatments and products that the true meaning is getting lost and people are getting confused. Remember that the anti-aging goal is to minimize damage from free radicals that injure cells and damage DNA.

Here are some of the main treatments and product categories for anti-aging: supplements, lotions, serums, spa treatments, plastic surgery treatments and overall ways of living, to name a few. How can we keep up with all the different ways to stay young without wearing ourselves out? Sometimes we have to start slowly one step at a time.

Let’s examine what we put into our bodies: Supplements and food. Anti-aging supplements are also called antioxidants. Some of the best and most potent anti oxidant supplements in single form are: Resveratrol, CoQ10, Bee Pollen, Curcumin, Astaxanthin and Alpha Lipoic Acid, to name a few. These supplements can be taken individually or combined with other ingredients.

There are also foods that naturally help fight aging. All berries, dark chocolate, beans, and fish with omega 3’s, vegetables (and NO, ketchup is NOT a vegetable!), nuts, red wine, avocado, whole grains and garlic are all great anti oxidants.

There is also a new category emerging called “superfoods” which are nutrient dense foods. The list is varied depending on who you talk to but these are some that I like: goji berries, chia seeds and blue green algae.

So even though we covered one area of anti-aging here, we found quite a list of different ways to fight for our youth. If this is all new to you, it may be time to ask yourself if you should take anything for free radical damage control. If you want to start adding these foods daily to your diet, it certainly won’t hurt you and may even slow down the aging process. You can also look into supplementing your diet with some of the supplements listed above. There are many products to choose from and you may want to run the idea by your doctor like I have done. Fighting the clock can be easy or complicated depending on how much time and money you want to put into it. Sometimes it is as easy as slipping some chia seeds into your next beverage or cereal bowl.

Stay young my friend!

Beauty From The Inside

What is real beauty? 

Have you ever noticed people who seem to carry a dark cloud over them? They walk into a room and there is an immediate feeling of yuck? I have. I have also notice that there are others who seem to be happy no matter what the circumstance. They are the kind of people I tend to gravitate towards, as I like to be around people who find the positive in a situation.

Have you ever looked at the face of people who are negative? It seem that the phrase "sour puss" was meant for them? They tend to have more worry lines on their face and wear a permanent scowl. How about the people who carry that inner light in them of happiness and joy? The phrase "sunny smile" or "bright disposition" seems to fit them. They walk into a room and it seems to brighten with goodness and purpose.

Why am I talking about attitudes in a beauty article???

I believe that our inner thoughts can affect our outer beauty. After all, beauty is not only about how you look in the physical. It is about how you make others feel. Experiencing beauty in others often involves perceiving them to be in balance and harmony with nature. When we view beauty or what we think is beautiful, we tend to feel a sense of well being. All is right with the world. Beauty is a characteristic of HOW a personal makes you feel.

Ideal beauty is meant to be admired. We all have our ideas of what is beautiful; in art, nature and people. We have the phrase, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" but there seems to be a standard through the centuries for what exactly is beautiful. One trait that stands the test of time is symmetry. Lacking flaws or the absence of genetic or acquired defects; which as far as viewing people goes includes well proportioned bodies and young, smooth skin.

From what I have found to be true, beauty not only consists with the outer features but also that inner personality and intelligence, grace and morality. Elegance is also important in determining beauty to me. People, who are intelligent, elegant and graceful on the inside, generate a sense of beauty on the outside.

Beauty also presents a standard for comparison and can generate feelings of jealousy and inferiority. We spend millions of dollars in this country alone, trying to be more beautiful. Some of us forget our own beautiful traits while only focusing on others unattainable traits. This leads to misery in my mind. Each one of us has a desire to "fit in" and being beautiful is one way to be popular. Think of this. Does beauty on the outside mean beautiful on the inside? Does beauty on the inside mean beautiful on the outside? You decide. My life is spent seeking both inner and outer beauty. How about you?

Spring Cleaning our Bodies!

Depending on where you live, spring has arrived (or will come quickly) and it is time to look ahead. Since we all want to look our best, we need to take stock of our bodies. Many of us have been hiding under layers of clothes and eating more than normal in order to stay warm, and now is the time to come out from under those layers! How can we prepare for the upcoming season? We prepare our hearts, minds and bodies by cleaning out the negative and focusing on what is good and right and healthy.

Spring is a time to open windows for fresh air and clean out the house. We can clean out our bodies as well as detoxes that I cover in my ebook, Lean Clean, found on Amazon.com. I think spring cleaning our bodies is important. Think of how much better you will feel getting rid of toxins that accumulated during the winter months. Cleaning out our bodies helps us to feel better internally and therefore feel better about ourselves.

Spring is also a time for us to readjust the way we take care of ourselves. We need a new mindset that helps us make healthy choices. If we have gotten into a bad habit during the dark winter months, now is the time to expose it and come clean! No more hibernating with a bag of chips and sitting on the couch! Join a club or a group that makes you get out of the house and MOVE somehow. A new yoga and Pilates class would be good for us all, while others can be more vigorous and find a running or biking club and starting counting the miles. 

If you take a vacation in the spring, think about a healthy one. There are numerous spa vacations that help to restart and refresh ourselves. Spending the day with relaxing treatments or scrubs, and then having a chef prepare a healthy meal, may be just the thing for you right now. If you can't find the time for a healthy vacation, you can still find the time for new, fresh recipes to eat. We have to spend time preparing food. I find the fresh, unaltered food is not only easy but good for us. I try to eat mostly fresh fruits and vegetables with some beans and nuts added to stay at a healthy weight and feel good about myself. 

Other ways to refresh ourselves is to re-establish old friendships that we may have neglected during the dark winter months. Don't wait for the phone to ring, pick it up and reconnect with friends that you have been thinking about. It may even be good to meet them to exercise together! I will be spring cleaning with you!

Finally, find time to reconnect with God. Take time for a grateful hike or a stroll along a favorite pathway. It is good to practice being grateful for all you have been given. It is also a great way to refresh and get ready for a fantastic spring ahead!

What Makes Women Feel Beautiful

What makes women feel beautiful? Is it praises from others? No, I don't think so. You can make a woman have a new look, different than what she is used to (out of her comfort zone) and you can tell her she is beautiful all night and she won't believe you! So what makes a woman feel beautiful?

Some of us feel more beautiful by "doing" things to ourselves. We feel we need to modify what we have by tweaking, plucking and enhancing ourselves. Some women do this daily. Some need to take hours getting ready each day because they feel they have to change themselves in order to fit in. Others don't really care how they look. They take a quick glance in the mirror, maybe brush their teeth and comb their hair, and go out into society without another thought to their looks for the day!

What makes us all so different? When do we realize that we need to start changing and modifying and revamping ourselves? The teenage years seem to be when girls finally start to notice their looks. I have seen beautiful natural blondes decide to change their hair black. Why? What makes them think they need to change their color? Most women spend lots of money trying to get that same purchased color in their hair every 6 weeks! I know I do! Other women accept their gray and still look amazing.

So, is it feedback from others, pressure from society or magazines that influence us? Probably all of the above. I remember when I was a teenage and swam 5 1/2 hours a day; morning and then after school. I didn't spend a lot of time on my looks. I was lucky to get my thick hair dry in time for school. I didn't worry about my looks and didn't really care. I was still discovered and sent to New York at 18. What changed? I still looked the same even though I didn't have my hair and make up done.

Once in New York, I started to feel pressure to look good. I watched and listened to the best in the business and learned from their different opinions. I learned that even though one make up artist would make me up to the best of their ability, another would make changes the very same day for another shoot and have a different opinion of what looked best on me. It made me realize I could look good many different ways. I felt comfortable trying new things and exploring.

So, while reading this article, did you stop and think that change can be a good thing? You may want to venture out and try something new and different. It may be just a change in lipstick color or something drastic like cutting your hair. Change something about your look and see if you not only you get your friends and family to comment on your beauty, but also feel better about yourself!