Category Archives: Beauty Talk

Lessons from Hiding Your Crazy

April 4, 2017

We’ve all been there. Crazy. Insane. Mental. Someone has hurt us and we want revenge. We want them to feel the pain, the heartache, the distress they caused us. But what happens if we act on our natural human response to get even? What comes of it? What benefits do we truly gain? Maybe an eye for an eye isn’t the solution. Maybe living out a Lifetime movie isn’t the answer. As Miranda Lambert’s song “Mama’s Broken Heart” says, “hide your crazy and start acting like a lady.”

Society is full of bad advice- really bad advice. As someone who has lived through utter destruction because of others’ actions, I can testify that taking the high road isn’t easy but so worth it. Being the bigger person can truly help heal and teach us things we never knew about ourselves; it can help save us from further damage.

1. You keep your integrity. When we stoop to the level of the one who betrayed us, we can often hurt ourselves. We can lose the respect of others, cause people to question our morals and dignity. When you choose to keep your mouth shut and your actions calm, you win. You don’t give that person the satisfaction of getting the best of you. You can keep your reputation; you can hold fast onto your personal integrity.

2.You gain peace. Anxiety can often ensue when we seek out to destroy others. Being wrapped up in anger and uncontrolled emotions, you will find that it can and will consume you. When you choose to let it go (forgive), there’s a peace that takes its place. Peace allows us to keep our sanity, our normalcy and our health.

3. You earn respect. People watch your actions whether you know it or not. People will watch how you handle things especially adversity. When I chose to take the high road, many people confronted me and told me how much respect they had for me because I was doing something most people wouldn’t or couldn’t. This made me feel good. It helped me rise above and motivated me to continuing to do the right thing. Respect is everything and by choosing to handle a disastrous situation with dignity, people will see it. People will be inspired.

4. You grow. I’ve never been more proud of myself-I learned that I had self-discipline like I never thought I had. I grew as a person learning to control my actions, learning the journey of forgiveness, and learning that I was a strong woman who deserved more. I was able to mentor others and through giving advice that counters society’s, I was able to help other women make better decisions-not for the person who hurt them, but for themselves.

5. You become worthy of grace. We all make mistakes. Heck, we may have hurt others and caused pain and when we came to the point where we needed mercy and grace, did we receive it as we had hoped for? Have you ever needed forgiveness so desperately in order to heal and move forward? Who are we to deny the same? When we extend forgiveness, we can then be worthy of receiving forgiveness for our transgressions. When we selflessly show grace, we then become worthy of being given grace. You reap what you sow.

Maybe if more people chose to not act on all thoughts, practice self-control and forgive, the world would be a more peaceful place. Maybe instead of seeking revenge and destruction, we seek to love beyond what is deserved. We choose to better ourselves and positively influence others. So, the next time your blood pressure is rising and your inner psycho starts acting a fool, stop, breathe and chill.

Act like a lady. Keep it together. Remember what your momma told ya. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say it at all. And we all know momma knows best. Sweetheart, just hide your crazy.

Xoxo,

Brynlea Taylor

Brynlea lives in Texas and is a southern Bama girl at heart. At 32, she has had the opportunity to be blessed with two callings in her life transitioning from 8 years of teaching middle school and high school to a life in fashion and retail management. Brynlea believes that style is truly forever and can only be successful when personalized and true to who a woman is (or who she wants to be for
the day).  Class and modesty go a long way. Valuing family, faith, friends, fitness (and football), Brynlea sets out to sprinkle exclamations marks everywhere she goes!

Instagram: @stylishly_strong

Silencing the Noise

January 26, 2017

modernlace6th grade-  Oh, the beauty of body odor and Axe, discovering the opposite sex, and figuring out what true friendship is. I am thankful for my 30′s, being comfortable in my own skin, which took way too long, and above all not dealing with hormonal boys.

I actually can’t imagine being in 6th grade in the year 2017. Social media and text are simply a way of life for teenagers. A “like” on a photo means someone is interested in you and phone calls and talking face to face have been replaced with text (I’m guilty of texting more than calling). When I taught high schoolers, my students often discussed their social anxiety due to only being connected digitally. Thankfully, I grew up where text and social media were just on the cusp of popularity. Dating was still traditional, and phone calls were expected. Engagements were either announced through the newspaper or people found out when they saw the ring.

I like the authenticity of having moments like that. Privacy was valued – your dinner was not published on Instagram, and you didn’t create photo opportunities to make your life look… Well, perfect. Perfection is the new standard. And I’m exhausted just thinking about that.

What a noisy life this snowballs into- and all for what? To be “adored” by many? Why are we so comfortable with trading reality with the perception of reality? And why is there such a need to share every facet of our lives as if we didn’t post it, it never happened?

One of my friends sent me a screenshot of a girl who posted a picture of herself, and the caption read: “Finally, I got my name changed back. It only took three months, but finally it’s done.” Apparently, that meant she had gone through yet another divorce. I could’ve cared less. Actually, I don’t even know this girl, never have had a conversation. I know her business now. I know that that was husband #3. Because I’ve been through the mill myself, I had no judgment at all. Actually, I loved that she had absolutely no shame. But just like my friend judged and sent me the picture, I bet many people did as well. Most of the time we give the ammo for people to fire shots at us.

This had me thinking: How much noise, distraction, and judgment could we eliminate if we just logged out and valued privacy?

A student’s mom posted on Facebook recently, “Yes, I did withdraw my daughter from school. If you have a problem with it, then ask me and not her.” Half of her “friends” probably had not the slightest clue that her daughter withdrew, but now everyone did. What this creates is chaos, unneeded advice, opinions, discussion or even arguing. She was literally asking for people to create this for her.

My church was recently challenged to stay off all forms of social media for a week. I had already deleted my Instagram app because it’s a deep dark hole that I have a hard time seeing my way out of. I catch myself logging on out of boredom and then clicking from one picture and person to the next- filling my mind with a perception of their reality. While most of the things I came across were not negative at all, I realized that perfection on display is negative. Staged photo shoots and filtered images often left my mind foggy – not seeing clearly at all what the reality was. This creates noise in my mind.

I long for more simplicity. Heck, I’d go live on a farm somewhere in Iowa if the oppporutiny was given.

But for now I have to determine how I can clear my mind, what simplicity looks like for me. We all know a little too much about the lives of people we don’t even know. I’m not sure if this is healthy, at least for me it’s not.

Have you ever thought about logging out indefinitely?

Brittany Windle

I think I’m still on Twitter. You can find me there.

photo credit: 2b Photography, exclusively for Modern Lace.

The Inspire Us Project: Kim

June 20, 2016

In February of this year, we introduced you to The Inspire Us Project. We have enjoyed reading the stories of women – stories of strength that have led them to a life of believing in themselves and feeling comfortable in their own skin.

We will be sharing a few of these stories as a source of inspiration. Stay tuned for our very own to be shared in this project as well.

Kim::

Inspire Us

The story behind my smile…

I guess you could say that my life started out as that of most little girls. Days were filled with lots of love, pretty dresses and dance classes. Quite the spoiled little thing, it still tickles me to hear the story of how my maternal grandparents once stood outside “spanking” the rain because the thunder had made me cry.

My parents divorced when I was really young. They had been childhood sweethearts who grew up as neighbors. Now that I’m grown myself, I think they simply weren’t mature enough for true “adulting” at the time. My mom remarried shortly thereafter, and so did my dad. It was my stepfathers suggestion that we needed to move. Unable to fully cope with my grandmothers untimely death, my mom went along with it. So off we went, along with my little sister, to live in Colorado. I’ve always been the intuitive type. So without reason and at the tender age of four, I can honestly say that I had never liked my stepfather. Upon moving across the country, I soon learned why.

For the first time in my life, I was exposed to alcoholism and abuse. As a little kid I wanted nothing more than to escape, but I couldn’t. Since I couldn’t physically escape, I would lose myself in books. From Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, to The Chronicles of Narnia, I would get away to better places through reading. I guess that’s the one good thing from that time that I’ve never lost. We moved around a lot, but wherever we went the story never changed. It was a horribly ugly cycle that was stuck on repeat. Somewhere along the way we all moved back to Alabama. But that didn’t suit the manipulation of an abuser who thrived on isolation to carry out his domination. There were simply too many family and friends here, to not notice all of the battles and bruises on the mend.

There’s so much more to this story, it would take a book to truly tell. Fortunately, my sister and I were able to get away. It took a while longer, but my mom and now three more sisters would eventually follow. It takes a long time to truly be free from the chains of abuse, but I’m happy that the chains have finally been broken. Although there are still some residual difficulties at times, I choose happiness in spite of it all!

I choose to live in a way that shines the light of love in all that I am and all that I do. When you see my smile, know that it is broad and bright by choice. It is the freedom song of a sweet little girl who once didn’t have a voice.

For more stories, visit The Inspire Us Project website.

Why Self-Acceptance Is So Hard

March 30, 2016

singlematters.com I just celebrated another birthday. Not much has changed in a year, and yet everything has changed in a year.

I still struggle not to be completely awkward in unfamiliar social settings. Sometimes I say too much, and other times not enough. There are some life lessons I still have to learn over and over again. My brows are still uneven. My nose is still crooked. My body is flawed, and my mind often messy. Yet I have learned there is beauty in the mess. I have allowed myself to be taught the art of flawed acceptance.

To accept myself, my whole self, the flawed, the weak, the awkward, the crooked and the messy parts, God gave me permission to accept — to actually see — the beautiful, the strong, the brave and the supernatural parts of me as well.

For years I felt unworthy of a holy self-acceptance. I don’t mean “holy” in any type of religious reference. I mean that to be “holy” is to be whole by definition. I was light years ahead of others when it came to accepting the negative things about myself. Oftentimes I would find comfort in my flaws and mistakes, cradling those ghosts like a little girl rocking her doll. I thought I was being kind and honest to myself and to the world by willingly raising my hand and taking full ownership of the messed-up parts of me.

To be partly honest isn’t to be honest at all.

I had actually been lying to myself and lying to the world. To have been honest would have also been owning up to having blue eyes for days, a contagious smile, a heart for people, tears for the bound and a relentless tenacity to change the world.

After much work and conscious effort I found space for me within my own flawed heart. I have discovered that to choose me — all of me — allows me to choose all of someone else. In the process, I realized I couldn’t fully accept others until I fully accepted myself. I could not make the world a better place until I made me a better place. I have learned, and will continue to learn, the grace of holy self-acceptance.

I will keep finding room for me within my own beautifully messy soul.

I will keep requiring that I choose myself so I can choose others.

I will keep demanding that I be honest, yet gentle, with myself.

I will keep praying that I provide myself with kind attention where it is needed.

Finding room in my heart and holy self-acceptance are beautiful things.

They are energetic and powerful. They are healing. They do a work from the inside out. They are bold. They are brave. They give permission to change the world.

They were my gifts, and I pass them on to you.

Be brave enough. Be strong enough to make room in your heart for a holy, flawed acceptance. Your bravery might just spark a relentless tenacity to change the world, uneven brows, contagious smile and all.

Article by Cheslie Birks 

Follow Chelsie on Twitter and Instagram

Originally published on singlematters.com 

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5 Musts for the Busy Woman

March 23, 2016

2b Photography

Recently, I had a change of jobs. Although I would consider this move to be an advancement from where I was before, I caught myself homesick and stressed. A new job means a new schedule, new people and new responsibilities.

To make it through the transition and twelve hour days, I began to find something to look forward to every day. Thankfully, the time change peeked around the corner and has allowed for the sun to still be beautiful and bright when I exit the building on those long days. The first day the sun was still out at 6:30 p.m., I hurried into the house, changed into workout clothes, and bolted out the door for a long run. Looking forward to something as simple as the sunshine allowed me to look for the silver lining in each day.

I’m kinda known for relishing in a cup of hot tea, preferably “Sleepy Time” tea at night, taking long baths, and cuddling up in a cozy robe. (No, I am not in my 60′s.) If you didn’t consider me to be an old soul before, I’m sure my new philosophy on life solidifies it now.

But if you catch yourself running only on fumes and know that your busy schedule may not be slowing down, consider these five musts for keeping your sanity and lowering your stress:

1. Find something to look forward to every day, even if it’s just as simple as sitting on your porch or going for a walk in the afternoon.

2. Discover the things that bring you joy and fulfillment, and do them! Implement these small joys into your daily life. Exercise is essential for me. Even if I were to never burn a calorie or lose an inch, I would still workout. Exercise relieves stress and releases endorphins. (Endorphins reduce your perception of pain and produce a positive feeling! Thanks, WebMD.) Other things on the list may include going to the farmers’ market on Saturday’s or thrift shopping. Your list may look differently, but whatever it is, make time for those things that create moments of relaxation and happiness.

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3. Surround yourself with inspiring friends. My closest girl friends validate my feelings but are also honest with grace when needed. Their conversations are therapeutic, comical and often times enlightening. And hey, “a good friend is cheaper than therapy,” they say. Negativity breeds negativity, which can add to an already stressful life.

4. Take time to be with your family, and call your grandmother back.  My family centers me. They shower unconditional love and provide irreplaceable support. During my job change, my grandmother called several times and left voicemails. When I returned the call, all she wanted to say was “I love you.”

5. Put it in your schedule to rest. Rest is just as important as anything you do. If you are spent, then you are good for no one. A rested mind, body, and soul make for a better friend, mother, sister and coworker. Say “no” to things that you know will be draining, and make time to sit down and put your feet up daily.

What can you look forward to every day?

Article by Brittany Windle

Photo Credit: 2b Photography  Model: Becca Bell, one of my inspiring friends

Inspire Us Bham

February 9, 2016

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inspire us bham

The Inspire Us Bham project was started by Laura Jett Walker, a wedding photographer, and Kali Peirsall, a wedding videographer. “ A 2005 car wreck left Piersall with a prominent scar on her forehead. Wouldn’t it be neat, she said, if Walker captured her in a makeup-free portrait?”

This conversation inspired the fun duo to host an event and photo shoot of 20 to 30 women all makeup free, celebrating raw beauty and the stories behind these inspiring women.

Piersall and Walker say their goal is to celebrate women and their individuality. “‘We’re all about people being different,’ Piersall says. ‘There’s a lot of jobs the Lord’s given me and given Laura. But judging people isn’t one of them.’”

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Kerri, one of the many women involved in the project, tells her story of helping other women accept their uniqueness.

On Feb. 15, Walker will photograph these women and document each story. Applications are now closed, but you can join the event at The Nest in Avondale from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. We’ll be there!

Read Kerri’s story and many others here, and stay tuned for the release of the project!

(Sources: Al.com)

Q & A with Aubrey Sampson

October 28, 2015

overcomerToo many women have allowed shame to condemn and confine them for far too long. If you’re ready to break free, regardless of the shame experience that is holding you back, Aubrey Sampson–a pastor’s wife and an advocate for at risk women—invites you, like her, to be an overcomer. Sampson courageously shares her own history with shame, ranging from sexual assault to everyday imperfections and laughable mistakes. But it doesn’t end there.

Sampson identifies seven major lies of shame, such as, “I cannot experience freedom from shame,” “My past is unsalvageable,” and “Shame is experienced only in traumatic situations.”

Written with a strong biblical theology and a humorous authenticity, Overcomer equips readers with the spiritual understanding to overcome shame.

Through her personal experiences and true-life stories shared by women of all ages, Sampson deals directly with the shame that comes from the humbling moments in life, as well as from the tragic—sexual abuse, eating disorders, addiction, abandonment, and more. Then she empowers women to transform their life’s story into ministry, creating ripple effects of hope and healing that can change the world.

Written for any woman whose self-worth has been stolen, Overcomer gives you the courage to kick down the walls of shame and embrace freedom and a future in Christ.

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aubrey Sampson is passionate about empowering women of all ages to experience freedom from shame. An author, speaker, church planter, and member of the Redbud Writers Guild, Aubrey lives and ministers in the Chicagoland area with her husband, Kevin and three young sons.

Connect with Aubrey at www.aubreysampson.com and @aubsamp.

Q and A with the Author

 1. What is shame?

Shame encompasses such a wide range of emotions it can be difficult to define. Perhaps the simplest way to understand it is to think back on a moment when you experienced it. You may have felt embarrassment, discomfort, or self-consciousness (I was a middle schooler with pink and purple braces and bangs up to the clouds, so yeah, I know self-consciousness!). Shame can also express itself in much weightier emotions, such as when we feel humiliated, inadequate, injured, or abused. Another difficulty with shame is that so many of us live under the weight of it without realizing it because we’ve been conditioned by culture and life experience to accept that feeling as normal. Shame is simply always there; it’s that familiar yet profound feeling that we don’t measure up.

Add to all of that, the pressure in our Christian culture to operate above reproach all the time, we can feel ashamed when we make even the tiniest of mistakes. We may even believe that if we aren’t shaming ourselves, we’re in danger of becoming prideful. So we beat ourselves up as the “better,” more Christlike option. It’s a vicious cycle. At its core, an identity of shame is the belief that, in whole or in part, I am not enough.

Throughout Overcomer, I share my own history of “not-enoughness,” along with stories from others who’ve overcome shame in their lives— ranging from situations of abuse to struggles with body image and eating, to everyday laughable imperfections.

The ultimate message of Overcomer is this: in spite of the overwhelming nature of shame, there is good news. The promise of Scripture is that when we look to Jesus, our shame is transformed into sparkling, beaming joy (Psalm 34:5). There may be moments in life when we feel condemned, but when our identity is centered in Christ, we can discard the dark covering of shame and rise in radiance.

2. In your new book, Overcomer, you share the seven lies shame tells women. Can you go into one of those for us?

While shame tells us many lies, ranging from My past is unsalvageable to I’ll never be free from shame, I believe one of its most insidious lies is that because of shame in our pasts, we are unfit to be used by God in powerful ways. Regardless of the form your shame might take, sooner or later it will try to make you feel disqualified so that you question your ability to be a good anything—leader, employee, friend, date, spouse, parent, even child of God. But the truth for us today is the same truth that empowered Paul in 2 Corinthians. The grace of God is sufficient, not in spite of our weaknesses, brokenness, and shame but smack-dab in the middle of them. That’s where the power is, according to Paul: “[The Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ … That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses. … For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:9–10).

In other words, if we believe we’re insufficient  (and even if in some circumstances we are), it doesn’t even matter, because Jesus is more than sufficient and he qualifies us—for grace, for mercy, and for meaningful service in the kingdom of God.

3. The title of your book is, Overcomer, what does that word mean to you? What will your readers take away from it?

 About a year ago, a friend heard the book title and asked, “Who’s the overcomer? You? The reader?”  Her question struck me as funny at the time, because I initially thought, “Well, of course it’s the reader! Who else would it be?”

But then I realized something that changed the roadmap of the book. The only reason we can overcome our shame is because we have an Overcomer in Christ. He endured the ultimate shame so that we no longer have to. That’s what I want readers to leave with – the truth that even if they still battle shame at times (and we all do), they have, in Jesus, a Savior and a Shame Remover—a Sovereign Ruler who compels our shame to bow down before his authority. In other words, even if your past is dark, even if you’ve spent your entire life feeling like a replica of yourself, even if you think you don’t measure up, even if you’ve been hiding in shame for years, you can overcome shame because your Overcomer already has.

4. The phrase from your book, “shame flourishes in silence” is really powerful. Can you explain how this happens and what we can do to stop it?

The root of the word shame is actually derived from the phrase, “to cover.” Just as Adam and Eve were so ashamed of their sin they covered themselves with fig leaves, over and over again we instinctually follow their lead. Anytime we feel ashamed, on any level, the last thing we want to do is broadcast those feelings to the world around us. Shame loves to isolate and isolation loves to keep us from experiencing the benefits of community.

Far too often we believe the shame-lie that our imperfections equal our inadequacy, and that exposing our flaws will reveal spiritual immaturity or lack of faith. So we suffer silently, saying nothing about our inner pain. In the meantime, our shame roots grow deeper.

There is greater freedom and deeper joy to be had when we are willing to break the silence of shame and reveal our authentically-flawed selves to each other. It’s ironic, actually. As we disclose our weaknesses to others, that act actually strengthens us and our communities to continue overcoming shame. Acts of vulnerability produce contagious courage.

At the end of the day, vulnerability doesn’t have to be overly complicated, excessively dramatic, or heavily programmed. In fact, the most powerful moments I’ve experienced in community are the organic ones; when one person talks about a struggle and another says, “Oh, I struggle with that too, but I never came to you because I assumed you had it all together.”

Overcomer equips readers with the courage necessary to begin coming out of the darkness, kicking down the walls of shame, and embracing freedom and future in Christ.

Overcomer: Breaking Down the Walls of Shame and Rebuilding your Soul, www.aubreysampson.com

Is available for on AmazonBarnes and NobleChristian Books, and wherever books are sold.

© (Sections taken from Overcomer by Aubrey Sampson. Copyright © 2015. Used by permission of Zondervan.www.zondervan.com. All rights reserved.)

 

Callie Blount of Luv Cooks

October 20, 2015

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callie blount - 2b photography

I arrive at the quaint Homewood cottage right on time. Callie greets me at the door with an infectious smile. It was as if I was meeting a long time friend. She is in the perfect pair of black skinny jeans, burgundy booties, and a salmon hued blouse with a pineapple in sparkly sequins. I later discover that pineapples are Callie’s favorite, of course, a symbol of hospitality. She is even more mesmerizing in person.

Callie Blount is someone I’ve admired from afar for a couple of years, so I was eager to meet her in person. Callie runs a food blog called Luv Cooks – having the most mouth watering recipes, beautifully styled photography and entertaining videos. (She makes cooking look so easy!) By day, she is a freelance food and prop stylist. 

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With an industrial feel and splash of vintage, her kitchen area serves as the backdrop for most of her videos and shoots. She offers me grapes and tea, and we immediately sit down in the red apple dining room chairs to chat.

Sometimes you just get a certain feeling about people. Honestly, today is not about her skill in the kitchen; I want to see her outside of that. I’m intrigued by women who have an ease and comfort about them. And there is just something about her.

I don’t normally open conversation with the topic of beauty and overcoming obstacles (seems a little heavy as an opener), but something prompts me to, and I follow. I sit back, soaking in every word. I wasn’t expecting such a moving response. After all, this is the first time we had met. Her warmth and vulnerability are immediate. As I listen, I secretly hope to have those same qualities one day.

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I simply ask, “What is your definition of beauty?” Without hesitation, Callie speaks on this topic making me realize how layered and complex that word really is: “Beauty is close to my heart. I feel that beauty is the reason I‘m on the planet. I had this fascination of growing roses at a very early age. There was something about flowers that was so beautiful.” She continues telling of how her family passed on a rose bush from generation to generation with the women in her family. Sitting on the kitchen table is a porcelain white vase.  A pink rose peeks above a sea of petite red ones. It was then I notice the other fresh flowers on several surfaces of her home.

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callie blount- 2b photo

“Beauty is power,” she continues. “With beauty comes responsibility to lead people to good or astray. I want my life on this planet to be a beauty that leads people to Jesus. Style is how I do it. When you see an image, you see something that is attractive. This brings people joy and happiness. Beauty is impactful, powerful, and can change the world. As a woman, I wanted to run from beauty at times. I felt as if I was too much or not enough. There have been moments that I didn’t want to care. But I knew not to run away. It can be for the good.”

Intrigued by her sense of self and concept of beauty, I ask about the most challenging obstacle she’s had to overcome. Candidly, she speaks of the end of her marriage and the beauty God brought from divorce:

“Personally, I walked through a difficult divorce, but the Lord is a God of restoration. He took me from a place where I had been stripped. A part of it was reclaiming my beauty and who I am as a woman. God has an amazing purpose for my life. When you go through a broken relationship, the world gets small and you think, ‘This is all I have.’ But God says, ‘I have way more for you.’” Callie is now married to a creative like herself who is a musician and photographer. “God built something new in my spirit,” she warmly says.

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On a professional level, Callie recalls a recent interview experience: “Being in the video world, there are a lot of people who say you aren’t enough. Someone said one time, ‘I really like you, but you are too southern. You are not for us.’ I really wanted to work with them.”

With reflection in her voice, she says, “Through those experiences, it goes back to, ‘You are fearfully and wonderfully made. It’s how I (God) made you to be. I’ve got this.’ It’s a journey of joy.”

Callie’s faith in God is evident. Her vulnerability to share her story reminds me of the importance of every woman’s story, although possibly messy, it’s meant to be told.

“Let’s turn on some 90′s rap,” Callie playfully says before the shoot. Pulling out inflatable fries and an apple pie, she giggles, “I wonder what we can do with these?”

A few things I learned from Callie that day: vulnerability is breathtaking; the name Callie actually means beauty; and make no apologies for who you are.

Her authenticity: awe-inspiring.

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Get to know Callie:

Favorite dish to cook. I LOVE brownies. Nigella Lawson has an incredible brownie recipe. I also love chocolate and peanut butter combos, so I love to top a hot brownie with chocolate peanut butter ice cream.

When did you know you had a love for food and cooking? My love for food began at a young age; I remember sneaking sugar cookie dough into my mouth as we decorated Christmas cookies, trying to carry on 6-year-old conversation while pretending it wasn’t there! But, my desire to learn how to cook started in college. My family sat down every night for a home-cooked dinner, and I was left, for the first time, with no one to cook for me!

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Who taught you how to cook? When was Luv Cooks created? I grew up watching my mom in the kitchen, but both of my parents worked, so she really didn’t have much time to teach me! I started Luv Cooks first as more of a baking blog. When I began learning the basics of cooking, baking really intrigued me, so that’s where I started. And I loved the satisfaction that came from bringing someone a home-baked treat- their faces would light up! And that’s really where Luv Cooks started- that idea that food is one of the best ways to show people love. The recipes have morphed from there, incorporating gluten- free, dairy-free, vegan options as well, because everyone should feel loved and included, no matter their diet.

How do you balance it all? This is a complete matter of prayer! A friend of mine taught me one of the best life principles I know a few years ago, and I have tried to stick with that. Since I am a freelance stylist, I have Sunday evening or Monday morning “meetings with the Boss” (the Lord) and just pray over my week- photo shoots, appointments, coffee dates, etc. I have found that that makes all the difference, and the Lord will really show me where to spend my time, and also open up pockets of rest in my week.

What women have inspired you? I am truly inspired by all women! Each of us has something incredibly beautiful and precious inside that the world desperately needs. I love learning from women who are really operating from that place. Christine Caine and the Propel women movement has really caught my attention lately- I love their outlook on women and purpose.

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callie

Favorite piece of advice. “Life is either a grand adventure or nothing else.” Helen Keller. As women, as Creatives,we are called to take risks and leaps of faith with our lives. I don’t want to look back and wish I had taken on the challenge instead of sitting that one out.

Favorite piece of fall clothing: BOOTS! I love boots- tall, ankle booties, brown leather to purple suede. They dress up any outfit. Plus, there is no better feeling than a cool fall day, feeling cozy in a big chunky sweater, jeans, and boots (drinking a pumpkin spice latte of course). Perfection.

Article by Brittany Windle

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Many thanks to Becca Bell of 2b Photography for these images. There were way too many to choose, so check out the full shoot on the 2b Facebook page

The Ugly Side of Insecurity

October 1, 2015

insecuirty

After interviewing the beautiful Callie Blount of Luv Cooks recently, I thought I’d re-post this article. Our conversation consisted of beauty and allowing it to be redeemed through the sometimes painful healing process. (Okay, that sounded really deep.) Stay tuned for a new Style and Substance feature with Callie.

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I scanned her picture. Okay… It wasn’t just a scan. I examined it like an investigator picks a part a crime scene. Why did her big thighs and ankles make me feel better? (She really didn’t have either). If I could find a flaw, just one flaw, it would remedy my malady: insecurity.

Insecurity is like a festering sore. At times, I allow it to begin to heal. Then I pick at it again, opening the tender wound.

[Side note: I’m not insecure in every area of my life. And I’m not the stereotypical picture either: mousy, shy or quiet.]

Insecurity has exposed a very ugly side in me at times: Jealousy, anger, and competitiveness have all derived from this evil culprit. It had to have started long ago. It didn’t just magically appear in my 29 year old self. And honestly, I’m not sure if it matters when.

But it’s there, and I know I’m not the only female who experiences it. In fact, one of my best girl friends recently admitted to looking at all of her current boyfriend’s ex’s social media outlets. “At least, I don’t have bleach blonde hair and two kids,” she taunted.

We get vicious, and treat one another like wild animals in an untamed jungle. It’s like survival of the prettiest in our superficial, sickly minds. I wonder if Darwin would have agreed.

After a heartbreaking end to a relationship a couple of years ago, I dated this so called party guy. He claimed he had changed, and I did enjoy having something to do on my now cleared agenda. His clingy ex girlfriend found my cell number and anonymously texted me one day. She was sick with insecurity, and she was beautiful. Granted, her insecurity was fueled by a noncommittal guy who kept her at arm’s length.

I’ve been trying to understand this insecurity that lurks around and rears its ugly head at the most inopportune times. Why do I feel insecure at times, and at other times, I don’t? And it occurred to me that it is when I feel most threatened, when I fear danger or loss of security.

Beth Moore in her book entitled, So Long, Insecurity, confesses to having irrational thoughts and actions, which have been fueled by insecurity. She admits that she has feared that her husband might leave her for another woman. She also admits this is an irrational fear, probably stemming from a tumultuous upbringing. However, she poses a question to her readers: What if that one thing you fear actually comes true?

She plainly states something like this: You’d be hurt, cry a bit, maybe act out a lot, then move on. And it would be okay. You would be okay.

Most of the time we are fearing things that will never happen. We hold too tightly the one thing that gives us security: looks, intelligence, sense of humor, etc. When someone threatens this thing we most associate ourselves with, we fear. However, someone’s talent doesn’t void us of our own. We are no longer pretty because the girl next to us is pretty. I’ve wasted too much time worrying and fearing the what if’s.

I want that wound to heal. And I’ll tell myself: It will be okay. I will be okay.

Brittany Windle

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TED Talks: Inspiring Women

June 25, 2015

Stories of great courage and lessons learned are the themes of these TED Talks. These speakers will remind you that no matter your story, it can and should be used for a greater purpose.

Piper Kerman

You will want to watch this TEDx talk from Piper Kerman, the woman whose memoir inspired the show Orange is the New Black.

In the talk, Kerman tells the story of how, at age 34, she was sent to federal prison for delivering drug money a decade earlier. She shares the lessons she learned on the inside — lessons about prison survival, lessons about a broken justice system, and larger lessons about life.

Leslie Morgan Steiner

Leslie Morgan Steiner was in “crazy love” — that is, madly in love with a man who routinely abused her and threatened her life. Steiner tells the dark story of her relationship, correcting misconceptions many people hold about victims of domestic violence, and explaining how we can all help break the silence.

Meera Vijayann

This talk begins with a personal story of sexual violence that may be difficult to listen to. But that’s the point, says citizen journalist Meera Vijayann: Speaking out on tough, taboo topics is the spark for change. Vijayann uses digital media to speak honestly about her experience of gender violence in her home country of India — and calls on others to speak out too.

Sarah Kay

A performing poet since she was 14 years old, Sarah Kay is the founder of Project VOICE, an organization that uses spoken word poetry as a literacy and empowerment tool.

Brittany Windle

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