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

The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest IV: Wrap-Up + Prize Winners! #BOAW2015

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” ― Audrey Hepburn, poem by Sam Levenson

Wow, what a week! You are all such rockstars. The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest IV reached thousands, no doubt inspiring as many. I was blown away by the uniqueness, poignancy and boldness of this year’s contributions.

I was also moved by participants’ support of one another. So before we get to the raffle prizes, I’m thrilled to announce a brand new prize category:

Fab Fester Awards!

The following participants not only contributed remarkably insightful posts, but supported other festers the most, through thoughtful comments, shares and overall interaction. They epitomize what makes the Beauty of a Woman BlogFest not only fun and inspiring, but successful in reaching so many.

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Kate, Kitt, Patricia and Karen, THANK YOU! Please accept this blog badge, to share on your sites as you wish. ♥ Thanks also to the multitalented Amber West for helping me make this superhero look beautifully human!

Highlights from Fab Festers’ posts:

“The idea, perpetuated by our society, that women should hide their sensuality, reject their sexuality, and diminish their emotions hit home far stronger that day than it ever has before. These women did none of that. They flirted, undulated, and flaunted their feminine asses off. They were bold, beautiful, and brassy. Their emotion captivated, their strength inspired, their vulnerability enthralled.” — Kate Wood

“It’s all about ownership. Of herself. Her body. Her wants and needs. Does it mean she has to be the aggressor? Only if she wants to be. But it does mean that she’s responsible to communicate. To explore her own body and discover what feels good.” Kitt Crescendo

“I worry about the world today, where the media focus is more frequently on stereotypes that deliver a skewed vision of “beauty” to fertile young minds. I want my granddaughter, and all girls, to grow up in a world that is safe. A world that gives the right messages. I want girls to grow up proud, confident, educated, and kind-hearted, with a strong social conscience.”Patricia Sands

“Perhaps beauty is the key to the door of equality that we cannot seem to unlock. Far too often beauty has been seen as a barrier rather than as an avenue to equanimity… The beauty of a woman is in her having the freedom to be who she is, free to evolve as the unique human she was born to be.”KM Huber

Raffle Prize Winners!

Huge thanks to our wonderful sponsors, and all of you who entered the raffle by supporting others, the fest and these companies! Here are the lucky winners:

1: Style by Rayne Virtual Styling Consult + a Bathing Suit From Sunsets Inc + Corpus Dei Perfume by Natalie Bolton WINNER: Michelle Williams

2: #BOAW2015 Original Artwork, created by A’driane Nieves and Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson + #YouSparkle affirmation sticky notes  (2 prizes) WINNER: Jess Witkins & Kate Wood

3: Organic Intimacy Prize Pack from Good Clean Love WINNER: Alica McKenna Johnson

4: Two 12×12 Highly-Textured Original Contemporary Arylic Paintings by artist, Stephen Vanek, donated by Jan Morrill WINNER: Brandi Dagwan

5. Rekindle Your Desire Workshop Pack from Dr. Megan Fleming WINNER: Kitt Crescendo

6: Professional Manuscript Evaluation, from Jenny Redbug WINNER: Jenny Hansen

7: Filmmaking Q&A + a Signed Women Kick Ass Postcard, from Melanie Wise, founder of the Artemis Film Festival WINNER: Susie Lindau

Mini-Features on Girl Boner Radio:

I selected Lana Fox and Shan Jeniah, for their brave and insightful Girl Boner posts. Thank you, ladies! ♥

NOTE FOR WINNERS: I’ll send the sponsor of your prize the name and email address associated with your raffle or fest entry. If you do not receive an email within the next few days, please contact me.

Lastly, I would love your feedback! If you have a minute or two, please complete this survey so that I can keep improving the fest you’ve all made so wonderful.

What was your fest experience like? Any highlights to share? I love hearing from you, and hope you’ll join us next year for the Beauty of a Woman BlogFest V! ♥

The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest III: Original Edition

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.” — Sam Levenson, “The Beauty of a Woman”

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Welcome to our third annual Beauty of a Woman BlogFest! I started this fest two years ago, after readers were beautifully responsive to a post I shared about moving past my eating disorder. Thanks to remarkable readers and writers like you all, it’s become a positive light in the blogosphere and a gift to may each year. You are all ROCKSTARS!

This week is also National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, making the theme and stories even more meaningful. As you read contributors’ words, I hope you’ll consider ways to further embrace your own inner and outer beauty. You deserve it! If the notion seems selfish or less important than other responsibilities in your life, remind yourself that the most powerful work we can do for others derives from self-nurturing. If there’s one thing our world could use more of, IMO, it’s positive role models. 🙂 Thanks, with all my heart, for joining us!

How to participate and potentially win fun prizes:

Click on the links below to read participants’ stories between Thursday, February 27th and Sunday, March 2nd. Prizes will be awarded by way of a drawing, one for each category, next week. (To read stories from the Girl Boner category which ran earlier this week, visit this link!)

To have your name added to the prize drawing:

  • Comment below this post, based on the prompts at the end = 1 entry
  • Tweet this post, tagging me @AugstMcLaughlin = 1 entry
  • Share this post on Facebook, tagging me or my author page = 1 entry
  • Participate as a blogger = 5 entries
  • Read and post a comment on all of the posts below, then let me know you did so (in a comment on this post or via Twitter) = 10 entries

PRIZES: Winners from the drawing for each fest category will receive Starbucks and Amazon gift cards, valuing $5 to $50. I’ll also select two BOAW Girl Boner posts to read on Girl Boner Radio.

Bloggers: If you signed up for this category and your post is missing below, I haven’t yet received your link (or somehow missed it!). Please send it to me via email or Twitter and I’ll add it promptly. Thanks!

Beauty-FULL Contributions:

1. Kathryn Chastain Treat: Beauty of a Woman BlogFest 2014

2. Patricia Sands: Beauty of a Woman 2014 ~ Hear Us Roar!

3. David W. Walker: The Beauty of a Woman

4. Kassandra Lamb: Beauty: A Matter of Mind Over Matter

5. Barbara McDowell: Beauty in Stages:  Reflections on My Younger Self

6. Jess Witkins:  Beauty of a Woman Blogfest: 1 Billion Rising

7. Susie Sylvester: Beautiful Woman, God’s Design

8. Kourtney Heinz: BOAW: The Beauty of a Body in Motion

9. Catherine Johnson: BOAW BlogFest: Kat Apel

10. Ashley: Positively Body Image

11. Audrey Kalman: Three Beauties and a Redefinition

12. Lynn Kelley: Beauty of a Woman 2014: My Morphing Body and Mind

13. Marcia Richards: BOAW BlogFest — Where Your Beauty Lies

14. Kate Wood: Beautiful Goddess

15. Elizabeth Mitchell: BOAW The Most Beautiful Woman I Ever Met 

16. Ingrid Schaffenburg: The True Beauty of a Woman

17. Kecia Adams: Beauty of a Woman Blog Fest III: In Praise of the Selfie

18. Scott Moon: Touched by Fire for BOAW 3

19. Jenny Hansen: What Are YOUR 21 Layers of Beauty? #BOAW3

20. Mike Sirota: Redux: When Art Creates Life

21. Marla Martenson: The Beauty of Following Your Bliss

22. Dana Myles: Beauty of a Woman Blog Fest, 2014 – This one’s for YOU!

23. Shan Jeniah: The Beauty of a Woman Blogfest III – finding Beauty in a Life of Lovely Chaos

24. Sheri Fink: Embracing the Beauty of Your Dreams (Despite Fear and Doubt)

25. Eden MaBee: BOAW — Us

26. Katy Brandes: The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest III

27. Eli Pacheco: The Beauty of a Woman: Giving Props to My 3 Favorite Female Olympians (and Ashley Wagner)

28. August McLaughlin: How to Gain Beauty by Embracing Your Body — An Interview with Dr. Jane Greer*

*My entry is an interview on Dr. Jane Greer’s radio show, Let’s Talk Sex!, via YouTube. Feel free to tune in for as little or long you like. 🙂

How do you define beauty? What makes you feel beautiful? Any thoughts to share on this year’s fest overall? Remember, you have 4 days to check out and comment on all of the posts for 10 extra chances to win a groovy prize! If you do so, let me know via a blog comment below or Twitter (@AugstMcLaughlin) by next Tuesday, March 4th. Thanks again for participating! 

The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest II!

“The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart.” —  Audrey Hepburn (poem by Sam Levenson)

BOAW 2013

My trusty thesaurus lists 35 synonyms for beauty: blessing, fairness, loveliness, allure… If you bundled them all together, the result wouldn’t come close to describing the beauty in this fest. I can’t thank you all enough for participating in the second annual BOAW BlogFest. ♥  Whether you’re here as a reader, a contributing writer or both, get ready to laugh, ponder, glean inspiration and possibly shed a few tears.

How to fest (and potentially win a Kindle):

Click on the links below to read bloggers’ posts. For a chance to win a Kindle Fire (or Amazon gift card equivalent), post a comment using the prompts below. For an additional chance, share this post on Twitter tagging me @AugstMcLaughlin and/or #BOAW. For 10 more chances, visit all of the links between now and 5pm PST Monday, February 25th. Post a comment and/or “like” each one, then come back here and let me know you’ve done so. I’ll keep tabs on entries and share the drawing-based winner next week. The best news? As corny as it may sound, we all win by simply participating. (Once you start read contributors’ stories, you’ll understand what I mean…)

Contributors: If you do not see your post, it’s because I wasn’t able to locate it or it wasn’t posted by the cut-off time. Don’t worry—I can still include it! Please post your link in a comment on the registration page and I’ll jump on it promptly.

Without further ado, I’m thrilled to present the The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest II!

  1. Amber West: A Beautiful Stream of Consciousness – Beauty of a Woman BlogFest
  2. Liz: The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest
  3. Bill Parker: On the Multitudinous Beauties of Women
  4. Coleen Patrick: Service Chic vs. Soul Deep: The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest
  5. Barbara McDowell: Beautiful Things Blossom From Coccoons
  6. Kourtney Heintz: Beauty of a Woman BlogFest: Lessons From Grandma H
  7. Kassandra Lamb (Misterio Press): You Are Beautiful and Strong, Sweet Child of Abuse
  8. Marcy Kennedy: What Would You Trade to Look Young Forever?
  9. Rebekah Loper: 2013 Beauty of a Woman Blogfest – Comfortable in My Own Skin
  10. Lissa Clouser: Beauty of a Woman BlogFest: Part 2—An Unlikely Role Model
  11. Jennette Marie Powell: Beauty of a Woman: Don’t judge us by our covers!
  12. Amaryllis Turman: Beauty BlogFest 2012 – What is REAL BEAUTY?
  13. Kathryn Chastain Treat: The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest II
  14. Donna Galanti: Beauty is the Place Where Love Resides
  15. Linda Adams: My Relationship With My Glasses
  16. Ellen M. Gregg: The Beauty of a Woman: Inside Out
  17. Audrey Kalman: I want to be like Carol Winfield even when I’m dead
  18. Catherine Johnson: Beauty of a Woman BlogFest and Giveaway!
  19. Tameri Etherton: Shakespeare Totally Knew the Beauty of a Woman
  20. Catherine Krummey: Beauty (tumbler)
  21. Jenny Hansen: Beauty of a Woman BlogFest: Do Breasts Define a Female?
  22. Lindsay: Chronically beautiful…
  23. Inion N. Mathair: Beauty of a Woman’s BlogFest
  24. Jennifer M. Zeiger: The Eye
  25. Michel King: BOAW Fest – Eye of the Beholder
  26. K.M. OSullivan: Beauty of a Woman BlogFest 2013: The Beauty Box
  27. Kate Wood: The Beauty in Me
  28. Sabrina Garie: Owning Your Own Beauty
  29. Kerry Ann: Beauty of a Woman: Beyond Skin Deep
  30. Kim Jorgensen Gane: The Beauty of Women Friends
  31. FactoryMaid: Lying in the Mirror
  32. Renee A. Schuls-Jacobson: The Beauty of a Grandmother
  33. Jess Witkins: What Makes a Woman REDHOT?
  34. Sue: Beauty of a Woman BlogFest: Skin Deep
  35. Misty Dietz: The Paradox and Beauty of a Woman
  36. J. Keller Ford: The Beauty of a Woman
  37. David N. Walker: Beauty of a Woman
  38. Erin/Lux: One sees clearly with the heart
  39. Reese Ryan: Phenomenal Woman – That’s Me
  40. Maggie Amanda: 30 Years of Learning About Beauty
  41. Lena Corazon: Beauty of a Woman Blogfest: The Power of Natural
  42. Subtextreadalwaysnew: Moments of Beauty
  43. Nicole Basaraba: Beauty of a Woman – Body Culture
  44. Ingrid Schaffenburg: The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest
  45. Clearly Kristal: Mirror, Mirror
  46. Kristine Erickson Parker: Woman, love thyself!
  47. Patricia Sands: She Walks in Beauty ~ Beauty of a Woman BlogFest
  48. Vivian Kirkfield: Martha Washington: America’s First First Lady
  49. Debra Eve: Beauty of a Woman: An Ode to Erma Bombeck
  50. Julie Glover: Don’t Hate the Skinny Girl: Beauty of a Woman BlogFest
  51. Kecia Adams: Beauty of a Woman BlogFest: Beautiful Moments

What has struck you most about this fest? How do you define beauty? Who do you feel most embodies it?

To join our discussion on Twitter, use the hashtag #BOAW.

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!