More Than Pretty Pictures

Never be afraid to own your beauty.

— Life is a Recipe

Who knew that a breakup could ruin your eyes.

Recently, I found myself trying to cheer up a friend. She was going through a breakup, and while she was over the initial hurt she was still feeling the lethargy of the loss. Every time I saw her she looked exhausted and worn down. She told me that she had been getting a lot of advice from family and friends and they were all encouraging her to “get back out there” and jump into a new relationship. But I could tell from her tone and her perspective that she wasn’t ready. So I suggested we go out for a real girls night. She needed the chance to get out of the house and dress up without any pressure or expectations of dating. She needed a friend to help her start to see herself and the world clearly again. She agreed to take on the adventure and we started crafting our plans.

As we got ready to enjoy our evening on the town, certain realizations became clear to me.  In our society, many people have this odd notion that women “dress up” for men. Many think that the reason we spend hours on skincare, exercise, and makeup is to look good for potential partners. While that reasoning may explain a part of our behavior, it doesn’t tell the whole story. We want to look nice for our partners, sure, but do you really think women spend so much time on their faces for guys who can’t tell the difference between highlighter and bronzer? We don’t just “do it for them.” We do it because it feeds us.

I have always been a visual person. When it comes to my food, I always like to make my plates bright and vibrant. I like to keep my workspace aesthetically pleasing. Inspiration photos are pinned all around my office. And honestly, when it comes to my beauty routine, I try to make myself aesthetically pleasing as well.  And I don’t do this in frivolity; I do, indeed, do it for my health.

This could be easily read as vanity but I think my beauty routine is equally important to my mental and physical well-being. There have been numerous articles on the benefits of a healthy diet, a regular exercise plan, and getting enough sleep. All of these things reduce stress, improve mental functions, and strengthen our immune systems. They’re also imperative to my appearance. Exercise keeps me fit. Sleep not only makes me look rested but lowers the body’s cortisol levels – a stress hormone that can lower your energy, make your body prone to storing fat, and generally wreak havoc on other parts on your health.


Beauty standards are constantly changing and not all of the standards are realistic, so it’s important to never base your practices on trends. What I found to be true was that my personal practice did more for me than I realized. My nightly skincare routine relaxes me and gives me quiet time to contemplate the day. Washing off my makeup is like cleansing any negativity I’m left with. Moisturizer soothes my skin. These practices ensure that I am making myself a priority. When you have children it’s easy to get so caught up in being a mother that you don’t take the time to focus on your own needs. These times give us the chance to reset.

The term self-care has been used a lot lately and for me and many women, this is what beauty routines are. On the night my friend and I went out, getting ready was almost more important than where we were going. We got manicures, did at-home facials, and spent time curating the perfect outfits. By the time we were ready to leave, my friend was already in a much better mood. We looked good and felt good.

Beauty isn’t vanity; it is an inextricable part of our lives.  Even famous psychologists like Abraham Maslow identified it as one of the higher human needs that everyone is driven to fulfill.  Whether we like enjoying the lively forms of expression within an art museum, or the majestic splendor of a summer sunset, we are all motivated to satisfy our hunger for experiencing beauty.  But as we go about our days, let us not forget to nurture and enjoy the beauty we’ve all been gifted.   

Never be afraid to own your beauty.  


Life Recipe:
More Than Pretty Pictures

  1. Learn to detach from others’ opinions. We’ve all been told to believe in what our culture thinks is beautiful and sometimes we think we don’t match those ideas. But opinions are just that; opinions. The truth is often not found in the messages of popular culture.
  2. See yourself clearly. Each one of us has something that makes us attractive. We need to own and embrace that thing.
  3. Enjoy beauty. We all have a need to experience and enjoy aesthetically pleasing things. Those experiences inspire us. Make time for those moments that stir you in fulfilling ways. It’s not selfish: science says it’s good for you.

Lunch Recipe:
Pizza Zucchini Boats

  • 4 large zucchini
  • 1 cup of pepperoni (mini or regular)
  • 3 cups of mozzarella (shredded)
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Chili flakes (optional)
  • Jalapenos (optional)
  • Basil (chopped)
  • Olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Cut zucchini in half, lengthwise.

  3. Scoop out insides and set aside.

  4. On a large baking sheet lay hollowed zucchini.

  5. Take a large pan, over medium heat, heat olive oil.

  6. Add in insides of zucchini and sauté until tender.

  7. Add marinara sauce and salt to taste. Mix well.

  8. Fill each zucchini with marinara mixture.

  9. Add cheese and top with pepperoni.

  10. Add jalapenos (optional).

  11. Bake for 15 minutes.

  12. Garnish with basil and chili flakes (optional).

  13. Serve and enjoy.

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