I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and... I believe in miracles.

Audrey Hepburn

Mary Anne, a beautiful, vibrant 63 year old woman, was dying of breast cancer. I had the honor of being her nurse and by her side in the intensive care unit, where we'd spend hours talking about life, love, death and lipstick. Yes, lipstick.

Mary Anne loved putting color on her lips. When I’d walk into her room to start my shift, I’d often find her with her beautiful engraved mirror, lining her lips and putting on her lipstick du jour. One day, I overheard her son ask, “Mom, why are you putting on lipstick?”

“Son, I may be dying, but that doesn’t mean I have to look like hell while doing it. When I check out of this world and into my next, I want to look my best.”

Two days later, Mary Anne died.

When everyone had left her room, I went over to her bedside table. There it was. Chanel’s “Beige du Chanel.” That was her go-to color when the priest would come to visit. It only seemed appropriate for this occassion.

I took off the cap with the double C logo and put some fresh lipstick on Mary Anne’s pale lips, and I secretly thanked her for one of her life lessons: there’s power in a lipstick.

What’s so powerful about lipstick? Well, the way I see it (thanks to Mary Anne), everything is energy. For example, if you want to have a bad day, try this. Wake up, don’t shower, sit around in a sweatsuit that should have been laid to rest a decade ago, don’t put on makeup, eat a Sara Lee grande blueberry muffin and a Diet Coke, don’t exercise and, please, whatever you do, don’t put on lipstick.

In fact, a few weeks ago, my daughter woke up and went to school without any attention, whatsoever, to her appearance, which is quite unusual for her. “Are you OK,” I asked.

“Yep, I just don’t really care today,” she said.

When I picked her up, her day had only gotten worse. “It was the worst day ever,” she said.

“Well, dear, do you think it had anything to do with how you started your day with your “don’t care” attitude,” I asked.

“Probably,” she said.

The next day, she stepped out looking her very best. Before she got out of the car, she asked me for some lipstick. I handed her some Bobbie Brown and sent her out into the world knowing that her day would be much better.  It was.

Now, let me be clear. I’m not advocating self-obsession. And, lipstick may not be your thing.  What I am suggesting is that it’s up to you to create your life. No one is going to knock on your door and make you feel better. It must come from within by deciding that you are worth it and then making the decision to put your best self out into the world.

If you want to set yourself up for a successful day, get up, spend some time with yourself, sit and dine on something delicious, journal and set your intention for the day, shower, find an outfit that looks great on your body the way it is right now, and put on some lipstick.

A good lipstick (or any act to increase your confidence) says to the Universe:

I care.
I embrace being a woman.
I have style.
I pay attention to details.
I welcome beauty and miracles into my life.

I use lipstick to help me create the feeling I’m after.

For example:

Tom Ford Scarlet Rouge: what I pull out of my purse when I want to feel like a femme fatale.
M.A.C. Angel: perfect for those days when I desire to feel like, well…an angel.
NARS Catfight: this is my go-to every day lipstick.

My friend, Jenny, joked about how I used lipstick to help me finish the Chicago Marathon:  “When everyone else was pulling out energy goo from their fanny packs, Tonya was pulling out her lipstick.”

It’s true, and I swear, it helped me get through mile 18.

Putting on lipstick takes 10 seconds. Not a lot of time for the benefits it brings. There’s no excuse for not taking some time to look and feel your best. If Mary Anne, who was dying, can do it, so can you. It’s powerful. It will change the way you act in your world, and as a result, your world will become very different.

Now, I’m curious. What is your favorite way thing to do or put on to feel more confident? And, if you have a favorite lipstick, do share ;).

With Kisses,


3 Days of Extraordinary

Extraordinary Women Do Extraordinary Things ...