The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest V: Save the Date!

“For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.” — Sam Levenson, The Beauty of a Woman

Five years ago, I hosted the first Beauty of a Woman BlogFest, as a thanks for the support I received after sharing a post about my experience with an eating disorder. The fest quickly took on a life of its own, drawing hundreds of bloggers and thousands of readers together with a common goal: to celebrate and explore real beauty, however we define it. I’m so grateful for everyone who’s participated! Your posts have made us laugh, ache, cry, think and grow.

I’m pleased to announce the upcoming Beauty of a Woman BlogFest V! *tosses confetti*

Normally, the fest takes place the last week of February, to coincide with National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. This year, since my new book, Embraceable, is about to release in paperback (kickstarting some fun release happenings!), I’ve decided to push it back a bit. I want to make sure I can devote full attention to all of these happenings.

#BOAW16 will take place the first week of May, leading up to Mother’s Day—which seems similarly appropriate timing-wise, don’t you think? Participants can tie their posts into the holiday or not, and we’ll again have two categories: Original and Girl Boner.

Registration will open in April, so stay tuned for updates! If you have a prize valued at $50 or more you’d like to donate, please contact me.

To peruse previous years’ fests, click these links:

Waterolor beautiful girl. Vector illustration of woman beauty salon

I hope to see you at the Embraceable release party/giveaway and the fest! Sending loads of love in the meantime. ♥

— August

Announcing: The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest II!

Words, stories and music… I struggle to think of entities more powerful. When I was enduring the darkest time of my life, the eating disorder I shared in my last post, this poem struck me like a dart between the eyes, pinning me to a wall of “What if?” What if its words hold true—not just rationally or solely for other people, but in my heart, soul and beliefs? What if we’re all beautiful and the truest, deepest beauty has little to do with shape or size? What if the “something more” so many of us long for exists inside of us, waiting to be unlocked and cherished? What if I wasn’t afraid of being large, but living large? And in doing so, missing out on the most remarkable beauty of all?

The Beauty of a Woman

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.
People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; Never throw out anybody.
Remember, If you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.
The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!”

Authored by Sam Levenson, quoted often by Audrey Hepburn

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Eating disorders, like many addictions and fixations, have little to do with aesthetics. Whether we’ve had such an illness or not, most of us are not strangers to insecurity or harmful attempted ways to cope. We try to diet away our lack of self-esteem, drink to douse our pain or party, sex, eat or shop our way to fulfillment. Sadly, these efforts only mask and stunt the authentic beauty we’re capable of while the underlying issues grow deeper.

The answer? There are no simple ones. But life has taught me that sharing our thoughts, beliefs and stories, expressing ourselves creatively and joining forces with like-minded others has the power to uplift, open eyes, bring healing and even turn lives around.

Last year, over 40 writers shared touching, honest, poignant and laugh-out-loud funny posts in the first annual Beauty of a Woman BlogFest. Thousands collectively enjoyed the submissions, turning that day and numerous following into a beauty-celebrating extravaganza. Thanks to everyone who made last year’s event successful, I’m THRILLED to announce the Beauty of a Woman BlogFest II.

What: A blog-fest designed to celebrate beauty, however you define it. BOAW 2013

Who: YOU! The fest is open to women and men.

When: Friday, February 22nd

Where: Right here!

How: Sign up on the blog-fest page. On fest-day, stories will appear in order of appearance, so the sooner you sign up, the better. You’ll post your installment on your blog on Thursday, February 21st, along with this year’s badge. On the 22nd, submission links will appear here. Participants will then read, comment on, “like” and share everyone’s posts throughout social media.

Why: To have fun, be inspired and entertained, inspire or entertain others, gain exposure and blog readers and, potentially, win a Kindle Fire or equivalent Amazon gift card. (All participants and commenters will be entered into the prize drawing. The more blogs you visit, the greater your chance at winning becomes.)

To signup and for blog post prompts, head over to this link: Beauty of a Woman BlogFest 2013. To check out last year’s fest, visit the BOAW BlogFest 2012. If you’d prefer to participate as a reader only, please do.

Did you participate in the BOAW blog-fest last year? What was your experience like? Any questions about this one? What words have struck you at a particularly important time? If you have questions about the fest, please post them in the comments below or email me. (The BOAW tab is intended for signups only.) I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!