what makes you feel beautiful?

(cupcakes don't actually make me feel beautiful, this is so not a post about body image in terms of food.  i just think these are pretty; and they were made by a mom-to-be, with homemade candy toppers made by her own mom, who carried the flower sweets on a plane across the country.  that's beautiful.)

i just spent the afternoon with bride-to-be on our third day of dress searching.  she was already decided, although not thrilled, and we were on our way to the tailor (or seamstress, i do not know which), when we stopped off for a veil.  i pulled two dresses for her to try on, just because.  and got that shivery feeling when she stepped out in number two.  she had it too, in spades.  that whole silly yes-to-the-dress feeling.  it's real!  i think it comes from looking at another woman feeling absolutely gorgeous.  looking at any human being feeling beautiful, what a wonderful thing to share.

and now i'm on my way to ballet class at my local gym.  it's completely un-pretentious, a 180 from the classes i took in college, and i feel beautiful when i look in the mirror.  just the grace of the poses and the calm that the teacher implores us to keep on our faces.  it's not about fixating on weight, and i don't think for a second about my ill-fitting jeans.  and i look around the room and see the regulars and complete strangers that come and smile at each other and share that feeling, and everyone leaves walking like queens and kings and princesses.

what makes you feel beautiful?


  1. Being pregnant makes me feel super beautiful! I'm 27 weeks along and I love to wear clothes that show off The Belly. I'll ask my husband, "is this shirt tight enough? Do I look pregnant enough?" He does not even know how to answer that question!

  2. Sunshine and my Grandma. Every time I see her it usually starts off with "Reana Louise are you getting taller?! You should be a supermodel! Beautiful. Just beautiful". Thanks G-Ma! xx

  3. Lovely post. Pregnancy made me feel beautiful, too.

    Wearing something I made and I feel reflects my personality makes me feel beautiful. So does my husband- the way he looks at me every day.

  4. I don't know that pregnancy made me feel beautiful, but I was sure proud to show off that belly.

    When Hubby looks at me with desire, that makes me feel beautiful. and when Peanut gets excited when I enter the room, or am about to pick him, I feel beautiful.

  5. @ elise: i LOVE that! cupcake baking mom-to-be had tights and a totally form fitting jersey mini dress on. i loved it. i can just imagine hubs inner monologue: what is the correct answer to this question ?!

    @ reana louise: oh grandmas. i agree, the best. i bet she loves that chic maxi skirt you made this summer :)

    @ 3hrspast: thank you! and yes, both are wonderful-- and ain't it great when hubs loving look is directed at you whilst you're wearing something handmade? DOUBLE WHAMMY!

    @ rachael: y'alls pregnancy and peanut happiness is making me think twice :). watch out for that desire filled look... peanut could soon have a cashew playmate...

  6. Hiding from the rain in my PJs and slippers doesn't make me feel very beautiful, but your post put a smile on my face. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Being in NY with you guys! I think we all felt super gorgeous then. While I was waiting for you all (I got there early...) I sat in a mini-park and some guy came along while I was brushing my hair and told me I looked beautiful (and he didn't seem crazy/drunk/homeless either). So there you go, lol.

  8. It use to be wearing heels. Hmmm, but it has been awhile. I'm going to have to think about this one.

  9. This is going to sound weird, but taking pictures of my children makes me feel beautiful. To look at them through the lens of my camera while they are running/jumping/playing makes my heart swell and I think "Look what came from me and the husband I love so much".

    My husband taking pictures of me makes me feel beautiful. My friends tell me all the time too. And my friends are beautiful people, maybe not to everyone, but to me they are.

  10. Sunny days make me feel beautiful, and my mother makes me feel beautiful as well. Biking makes me feel beautiful, even though I look like a crazy person, but honestly, complementing other people, or seeing beauty in other things makes me feel the most beautiful! And you LOOK beautiful, Oona!

  11. You guys are all just glowing after your meet up. And now you've shared in your friend's wedding dress magic. Amazing. I think I feel most beautiful when I'm laughing and living in the moment, which reminds me that I've been spending too much time at work and dealing with responsibilities lately! Or, after a long run - though I think it's the running endorphins talking then!

  12. Sunny days that are not too hot (sunny spring and sunny autumn are the best!), some clothes that I made, wearing skirts (skirts that fit me, that is), generally being happy - which, actually, makes me feel happy and not think about being beautiful or not, see what I mean?
    I have this amazing experience of a man stopping me in the street to tell me that I looked like a beautiful woman and that, as he had seen me approach, smiling to myself, he had thought I was an actress. And I wasn't even wearing anything too special that day, just a long skirt, and I had thanked him for making room for me to pass (he was pushing a cart). So that's my little proof that what makes me beautiful is rather my attitude and behaviour. It's a very uplifting knowledge, really, and other people's ideas here prove it for me again. :-)

  13. Showering after having been in-line skating. Wearing a flowy dress. Sitting in the sun. Being kissed and smiled at by my boyfriend. :)

    Beautiful story!

  14. Wearing a colourful summer dress and flip flops; wearing my hair down; having a sun kissed face (not super tanned, just lightly sun kissed); and best of all, my husband smiling at me in a certain way. I should also note that I took a ballet class for the first time when I was thirty. Sadly, that was not a "beautiful" time for me. We're all different that way :)

  15. Bellydance makes me feel beautiful. That kind of control (and permission to control) over your body is the most amazing sensation ever.

    I felt beautiful while pregnant, but not sexy---which was pretty weird for me. I like feeling sexy.

    Also, putting on a me-made outfit that fits and flatters me, specifically, makes me feel like da bomb.

    'nuff? :D

  16. I get a similar feeling in my yoga class - I feel strong, graceful, beautiful.

    Also, wearing clothing that I made, stepping outside my comfort zone fashion-wise, wearing my purple wig, and compliments from strangers all make me feel beautiful.

    I received the most unexpected compliment a few weeks ago - a NYC construction worker yelled at me from a construction site - "Beautiful smile!" It made my day.

  17. riding my bicycle makes me feel beautiful - and strong, healthy, and, for some reason, intelligent (maybe because i got that balance thing under control? idk!). i like to think that other people feel the same way... i get a lot of grins & thumbs up from passing motorists & pedestrians. makes up for the occasional crummy one!

  18. Maybe I'm extra emotional today, but this post has me a bit teary-eyed. In a very, very good way. Showering and dressing in a nicely-fitted outfit post workout makes me feel beautiful. Carefree days with my dearest friends. When my dad looks at me and I know he still recognizes me.

    You're so lucky to have shared that moment with your friend and bride-to-be :)

  19. Oona, I loved this post... your writing style is so different here... and I happen to love ballet, and had the same feeling you described, when I took up an adult ballet class after a 15 year brake, nevermind the weight, or the ill fitting clothes, one feels beautiful and gracious (in terrible pain from tummy tucking , though ). Love your blog. Nelly.

  20. i think it's amazing that you do local gym ballet classes--that is something i would love to try. "when i look in the mirror, i feel beautiful"--that is beautiful.

  21. I've been thinking about this for a couple days, and in the end, I often feel the most beautiful when I don't give a damn how I look. Amazingly, photos bear this out. I often look the best in pictures where I am hanging out with my family wearing tattered jeans and happy glow from being where I want to be.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post.

  22. This is a lovely post, it made me think... a lot (and take ages to formulate a response). I was a bit alarmed at first as I couldn't think of anything that made me feel beautiful (this may have had something to do with the week I've spent curled up on the couch hiding under a blanket). I don't have a concrete answer to what makes me feel beautiful, it's still a pondering in process. But if I bend the strict dictionary definitions, maybe it's that feeling when a client tells me that I've helped them through a difficult period in their lives; or when spending time thinking about, compiling, creating and giving care packages to friends. Maybe it's crawling through a tiny playground tunnel after my 2yr old nephew. I think maybe, I feel most beautiful when doing things for other people that bring them joy or make them feel special or beautiful. I don't know yet. I'll have a few more glasses of white and get back to you one day ;)

  23. I think I feel most beautiful when I feel most myself. When an outfit comes together without any second guessing, when I'm running around with my best friend having fun, when I play dressup, when I take care of myself. Thanks for reminding me of that feeling. I do love it.

  24. My husband and children make me feel beautiful. They never fail to compliment me, especially on the days when I'm not really at all glammed up. There is nothing more genuine than a child telling you how pretty you are, even when you're wearing sweatpants.

    Seeing myself in the faces of my children makes me feel beautiful, too. At least once a day a total stranger will tell me that they are beautiful and that they all look like me. I cannot criticize anything about my appearance when I see it on them, so I must agree that it is not so bad on me.

  25. Laughing. I feel like I am shining a bright light through my soul and it is just reverberating when I laugh. I try to laugh loud and often :) Hugs, my lovely darling, to you for reminding us about our beauty.

  26. @ natasha jane: oh, then you must make pjs that make you smile!

    @ lisette: ditto that. and i love it when a new york man gives a compliment in a non seedy way. it means it's really true :)

    @ graca: HA! heels are the devil!!

    @ ladykatza; another beautiful plus for chilluns... i love that image of you looking through the lens at them.

    @ leah franqui: thank you biking lady! ever seen the friends episode where phoebe jogs in central park like a madwoman, smiling gleefully? i'm picturing you like that :)

    @ amy: i'm still all fuzzy over it. good reminders: living in the moment and getting those endorphins (read: be here now and get thine ass to the gym, oona).

    @ hana: i love this story! it's so wonderful when a stranger goes out of their way.

    @ alessa: i'm imagining all these taking place on one sunny afternoon. sounds like a birthday.

    @ andrea: hey, you should hang with alessa!! and i get it about ballet. it's easy to feel un-beautiful as well in there. that's when it's time to take up something else :)

    @ tanit-isis: i seriously want to take a bellydancing class with you.

    @ clio: i LOVE your purple wig!!!

    @ lladybird: how fun to get props from motorists! i think i'd smile so hard i'd ride straight into traffic,

    @ threadsquare: your comment made ME fuzzy. quite beautiful.

    @ nelly: thank you! i get all introspective sometimes. it's so nice to hear another yes for ballet. i get all excited when my tum hurts the day after, i figure that means i'm doing it right :)

    @ devra; we have tons in the city, just pick one girl!!

    @ sigrid: you are welcome, and thanks for the thoughtful answer :)

    @ amanda: i'd love to hear more after that white. but you've got tons of beauty going on already.

    @ seeks: thanks for reminding me. that's one of my favorites too.

    @ nettie: as a no-experience-whatsoever gal, i have to say it's so cool to imagine this. what an amazing way to recognize your own beauty.

    @ meg g: girl, it is TRUE. i saw it in person!!!!

  27. P.S. My sister has taken up kathak two years ago, and she looks absolutely stunning when dancing it. So... there's a whole world of opportunities. Or something like that. :D


i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied, if not always written!