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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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My most confident day to date: my wedding day.
My most confident day to date: my wedding day.

Try a little confidence

A busy few weeks and a completely fried brain have me turning to my pre-OnMilwaukee days for some finger-to keyboard inspiration.

Coincidently, I simultaneously came across an inspiring reminder via a Tweet from the Kabbalah Center's Yehuda Berg: "We put so much energy into looking amazing, we forget to just go be amazing," along with the blurb below which I wrote on June 23, 2010 on my other blog, "Look Damn Good."

I am about to reveal the number one secret to looking and feeling damn good.

You can't buy it online, shop for it at exclusive retailers or find it at your nearest Wal-Mart.

It is something that a lucky few are just born with and others work to cultivate.

Sometimes you have to fake it until it becomes integrated into your being.

It's about playing up your strengths and embracing your flaws.

Know what makes you special, what makes you YOU.

So what is this magic key that is the entire point of this blog?

Confidence.

Get some.

Work at it.

Force yourself to hold your head high and be a force of nature.

Challenge: Shift your mindset 180 degrees (even if you are "bluffing") about a negative body image or emotional issue for three days. See and feel the difference.

Be confident – to look and feel damn good!

See, my point has never been to only care for your outside. The things I write about – nutrition, fitness, spirituality ... and yes, makeup and fashion – are all just components of FEELING your best.

And that translates into a person who exudes the ultimate beauty secret.

Eyes off my Spotify.
Eyes off my Spotify.

Get outta my damned Spotify

Spotify is spilling my most clandestine activities to the world.

How do all my "friends" know I was jamming to Journey, belting out "Guys and Dolls" and balladeering The Carpenters?

Thanks to a "This is what your friends are listening to" toolbar that is integrated with Facebook, Spotify not only lets you listen to an endless catalog of music for free (pay for premium and you can enjoy the service in offline mode), but also broadcasts your sonic taste to pretty much everyone via that horrible timeline. (Because Gandalf FORBID anyone should do anything without posting it on Facebook these days.)

Changing your settings to "private session" may preserve your privacy. But, be warned – this feature only lasts for six hours, so be sure to make the effort to pull the virtual curtain each time you log in.

There is a personal element to listening to music that makes displaying what I'm listening to seem stalkertastic.

I don't choose to publicly share my music with the world and contribute to noise pollution by rolling down all the windows in my car while pumpin' the bass. I don't open the windows of my home with the stereo cranked to 11. I don't carry a boom box on my shoulder as I walk down the street, so why would I want everyone online to know the overture to my daily life?

Essentially, those who care now know exactly where you are because of the "location" and "check in" features on social media and can probably figure out exactly what you are doing there in relation to the music you are listening to.

While I totally appreciate the technology for the convenience it provides, in that I am not lugging or strapping an entire CD player and music library to myself when I go for a jog, I resent that it is invading my privacy.

I adore that I can "lease" music for a nominal fee each month, but I also don't like that it is enabling the Facebook world to discern my every move in relation to my playlist.

Specific songs provide the soundtrack to moments in my life and day…

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Creamy, rich, indulgent and possibly even good for you - you can't go wrong with Guinness.
Creamy, rich, indulgent and possibly even good for you - you can't go wrong with Guinness.

My goodness, my Guinness

St. Patrick's Day reminds me that my darling of draughts is good 'ol Guinness.

Present me with a glass of the thick, dark brew and I know that I will not only enjoy that warm, fuzzy feeling after a few sips, but will feel full and satisfied as if I'd taken just enough trips to an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Beer snobs may snicker at my pedestrian taste, but I don't need my beer explained to me in order to take pleasure in it.

My Guinness is about the experience of sitting on a bar stool, snuggled up to a companion and being beckoned by the creamy head on a freshly tapped pint, artfully decorated with a shamrock or another design carefully carved into the soft, beigey-ness that is my favorite part.

I prefer it from a tap, but I'll take it from a can over the bottled version in dire straits.

One must be patient when ordering a Guinness, as its pour is an art form that cannot be rushed or executed with haste. Let it settle and all is coming.

Guinness proves its versatility as it evolves into even more of a party when served up with a side of Jameson or Tullamore Dew. Add some Bailey's to that shot, drop it into half a pint and you have a drinking experience lovingly known as a "Car Bomb." Or perhaps you like your Guinness a bit on the lighter side and do halvsies with Bass Pale Ale for a "Black and Tan." (I'm taking a cue from Nike and stating that certainly no offense is intended by using the "bar" names for either of these beverages.)

It's this knock-back adaptability that makes Guinness so captivating.

Plus, Guinness may in fact be "good for you," as famously blazoned in years gone by. A study by our very own University of Wisconsin in 2003 found "Guinness can reduce blood clots and the risk of heart attack. Guinness contains antioxidants like those found in red wine and dark chocolate, which are not found in other beers." (Why Guinness is Good For You – Chicago Tribune) And it contains 3 milligrams of iron, just a smidge less than one cup of spinach.

This du…

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The bronze glow brought on by a tanning bed is not worth compromising your health down the road.
The bronze glow brought on by a tanning bed is not worth compromising your health down the road.

Do as I say, not as I did

Being a parent triggers the most unlikely rage buttons.

My stepdaughter and I had a lovely "girl's night" last weekend. As we were jabbering away about school, friends and boys I noticed a pinker than usual glow to her skin and a delicate, slim porcelain line extending from the outer corner of her eye to her temple.

I blabbed, "Looks like you got some sun Leesh." (Totally thinking how absurd that scenario might be this time of year.)

"Yeah, I've been tanning."

My heart began to palpitate. My gorgeous stepdaughter, with a flawless, fair, doll-like complexion, was compromising her health and beauty by baking in a tanning bed.

Ah, yes ... her prom is around the corner ... hence the pursuit of a bronzed glow (with the bonus of that "goggle line") even though she knows we disapprove of her using tanning beds.

Did I do the same thing? Hell, yes. Frequenting tanning salons was a ritualistic habit for me that started my sophomore year.

Those who have indulged know that reclining in the glow of fluorescent violet and azure lights can be as addictive as smoking, drinking or any other pleasurable activity.

My routine became a 30-minute daily tradition in my early 20s. I'd cap off a workout with a post-sweat sauté that left me browner than Mr. Potato Head.

I'm not sure exactly when I finally wised up, but I know it coincided with the crows feet, brow furrow and laugh lines that started making themselves more pronounced around 30. As you age, people around you do too. Friends have "suspicious" growths removed and people get sick. You start realize that past actions do have ramifications. They may not be immediate. Some consequences need to marinate for a while and then suddenly attack to remind you of your historic insults in the most direct of ways.

But, just because I abused tanning beds in my more reckless years doesn't mean my stepdaughter should.

Let me make all of the mistakes for her.

If I could take back those hours spent roasting to a crispy brown, I would.…

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