Posts Tagged ‘Constance Dunn’

To Seize the Moment — or Not

I have been working on a new book. The writing gods have not been as generous this time around as when I wrote “Practical Glamour.” So when the words start a-flowing, I type and type and don’t stop until the spout is turned off. I seize the moment.


constance dunn best self help tips blog


In other words, inspiration comes and goes; it ebbs and flows. So when she or he comes around, it’s important to grab it and run with it – whatever the form! If you hear it knocking, and you know it to be good, stride over to the door and open it with a “Hello!”

Listen to “it” and follow — and see what happens. Maybe you’ll make that phone call you’ve been thinking about making forever.

Seizing the moment comes with the task of discernment. In other words, don’t let an opportunity pass you by, but it’s wise to think before acting.

For instance, if you have doubt as to the goodness (or not) of that knock, call or that instinct, it is advisable to pause before you leap. Pause and become the super-sharp, conscious judge of that instinct.

We all have the inherent judgement of that which is in our rational self-interest – and what is not. There are things that cloud it, whether these things come from our personal psychology, or grasping onto emotions that don’t serve us.

The cliche about searching for the answer within yourself is well-worn but accurate. Perhaps you have to dig a bit harder than most, through your own layers. But it is there, and you will find it.

When you do, it is vital to determine that the answer is a pure one, not clouded by edicts of others. Their desires may or may not be consistent with you having a good and decent life.



Quick Confidence Faker: Pretend + Become

  constance dunn tips

Want to land with your fine booty still in the saddle? Play pretend.


Horses are sensitive creatures. They are also big and tend to speed off in unexpected and unplanned directions when scared. Therefore, when your 100-plus-pound self is riding on its one-ton frame, it’s imperative to stay calm and controlled and confident. One day I was riding, and feeling squirrelly too, while headed off on a serpentine jumping course.

I did not feel things would end well in my current state. I tried a bunch of pleas with Kate the riding instructor to avoid completing the course. She responded with a “Yeah, you’re not getting off that horse until you finish that course.” She was also holding a riding crop.

I looked up at the empty stands that circled the riding ring. I pretended it was show day. I pretended the stands were filled with supporters and friends, all cheering me on and smiling their familiar smiles. I pretended I was on a winning streak and nothing could go wrong.

I smiled, straightened up on the horse and focused.

Since horses feel everything, my four-hooved buddy took notice and started gliding in a more amenable, attentive way. After all, we had a ribbon to win! We buzzed through the course and by its end, I had actually begun to enjoy myself.

It built a new history of jumping for me. One of exhilaration, not fear. I built on this baseline of confidence in subsequent sessions.

What does this have to do with you?

● Use a bit of pretend the next time you are out and about, and feeling squirmy or dorky or seriously not up to the task at hand.

● Pretend you are calm and confident and completely in control. Feel it and believe it.

● Breathe it in and smile. Lift your shoulders. Your friends are all around you. They love you! They think you’re great! They are cheering you on!

Try this. It works. (At the very worst, it will keep your anxiety from deepening.) At best, well, you’ll fly around the ring with ease and a big ole’ smile on your face.

The other option, of course, is to be hurled into a muddy paddock.


[Related note, kind of: I loved riding the horse that’s in the above picture. He was championship-level and smooth as vermouth in the ring. What I call a point-and-click horse.]




A Few New Tricks With Helen Gurley Brown


helen gurley brown-the cosmo girls guide to the new etiquette

The message of eking out your own happy life in this world was woven into everything Helen Gurley Brown did, it seemed.

As a teenager I collected old books–the campier the better–and at a thrift shop or yard sale I came across a copy of Sex and the Single Girl. I was drawn to the very 1960’s cover and snapped it up. I was slumped in a chair reading it one day and my father happened to see the title on the fuchsia cover. He frowned and said, “That’s a filthy book. You shouldn’t be reading it.”

I laughed, because the book didn’t seem filthy at all, more like a fun peek into the life of a saucy single gal in the 1960’s. I don’t think I read the whole thing, and I scarcely remembered, let along was corrupted by, any sex talk–and I loved Helen Gurley Brown’s style.

She was companionable, conspiratorial in a just between us girls way and real-life practical. I recall the book discussing the importance of being financially responsible and getting to work on time. Something about making sure your fanny was in your desk at 9 am, even if your hair was a mess and you had only guzzled down air for breakfast on your way to the office.

Around the same time I came across The Cosmo Guide’s Girl to the New Etiquette, a hardcover book of Cosmo articles that had been published in the early-1970’s. As editor of the magazine during this time, I’m assuming Helen Gurley Brown had something to do with its great compendium of articles, on everything from clothes to budgeting to gift-giving to being a good houseguest.

Her distinctive voice is all over it…encouraging and optimistic, with lots of clever, budget-neutral tricks for the reader. There is a piece on gifts that a modest-budget girl can get for a big-budget friend (a jar of homemade preserves, a certificate to house-watch or babysit, etc) and even how to transform flying into something fun and sassy (book first class, fly at night, look pretty and don’t be afraid to sit next to a handsome stranger).

I re-read the book as a lonely post-college girl living alone in the city for the first time, and on more than one occasion was buoyed by its cheerleading, its message to go out, dig those self-manicured hands deep into your life and enjoy it, damn it.

Every in memoriam of Helen Gurley Brown I’ve seen in the last couple of days seems to focus on her book Sex and the Single Girl and its go-ahead-and-do-it message to single gals of the 1960’s. In a different time Helen Gurley Brown would have a significant effect on me, but her influence had zero, zilch to do with sex and everything to do with cultivating and celebrating the female spirit…joie de vivre…independence…taking care of your life and your self. In all, she promoted what is the positive soul of individual glamour.

RIP and Many Thanks, Mouseburger.


Get the 80/20 Rule Out of Your Closet

The topic: Getting the 80/20 Rule out of Your Closet. Most of us wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. I share tips with WPLX’s Roxanne Stein on how to shop smarter, more strategically, for your wardrobe. The result: A leaner closet containing only those items that make you look and feel lovely–and no more money or time wasted lugging home bags of stuff you’ll never wear.

Easy Reader: Your Presentation As A Package Deal

Bondo Wyszpolski & I discuss the underused but potent power of presentation in LA’s Easy Reader, along with

  • clever ways to enhance your presentation
  • the idea of cultivating your “inner flame”
  • the importance of training your eye to spot plum-quality garments
  • and more.

“We have only one chance to make a good impression. Failing that, it can be a steep climb back, and by then the opportunity for a second try may have passed…” Read the full article here.

Practical Glamour in Japanese

Or rather, in the Japanese weekly paper LALALA, where affiliate JPy Magazine’s “Beauty Paparazzi” asked me some cute questions about favorite accessories (sunglasses, bag, book), places in Los Angeles (Pho Show & Taka Hair Salon) and important people (Ayn Rand, Bette Davis and Mozart).

Closet Organization: Practical Glamour on 24|7

style_24_7 Laura Yoder at Style 24|7 features some swell closet organization tips excerpted from my book Practical Glamour. Since I consider a gal’s (or guy’s) closet to be their cockpit of personal glamour and style, included in it are the following strategies:

  • Determine (and actively use) your Personal Style Brand.
  • Perform a ruthless closet overhaul every few months “with the eye of a hawk and an attitude of a bitchy personal shopper.”
  • The order of your clothes must mirror your everyday dressing decisions.
  • Make sure all of your wardrobe items are visible.
  • Don’t overlook basic closet maintenance.

Your Closet As Your Glamour Cockpit

Along with these are the enduring principles of closeting, those values to keep tucked in your mind as you create, arrange and maintain your cockpit–that hub for expressing your most authentic and attractive self.

  • Getting rid of lesser items is necessary to make room for greater, more glamorous ones.
  • Crappy clothes only create crappy ensembles. Beautiful clothes, on the other hand, create beautiful ones.
  • Lousy, ill-fitting and unflattering clothes have no right to be loitering about in your closet.

Read the the entire excerpt here at Style 24|7 . Link: