12 In Series/ Women Now

Self Care: How do I nourish myself to be radiant?

Radiance reminder on BrendaKinsel.com

Phil writes a question to help realize good health and I put it on my bulletin board


I was in conversation with my acupuncturist and health guru, Phil, while lying on the table getting a treatment when the word RADIANCE came up.

Phil practices Japanese acupuncture where the practitioner holds a gold or silver needle against the skin and stays in the room the whole time versus a Chinese acupuncture practitioner who inserts needles into the skin and leaves you alone in a room until it’s time to turn over. (Don’t know why I thought you should know the difference, but there you are!)

Phil and I usually have lots to jabber about when I go to see him: primarily sports, our Midwest roots, family stories, and health. Lots of laughing goes on.

One day we’d covered the usual suspects subjects when he brought up my health and used the word radiance.


Quoting the American Heritage Dictionary of The English Language, Third Edition, here’s how they describe radiance:


Radiance: The quality or state of being radiant.

Radiant: Filled with light; bright. Glowing; beaming.


He seemed to think I had radiance and that if I wanted a formula for good health, all I had to do was ask the question “How do I nourish myself to be radiant?”

“Wait, wait,” I said. “You have to write that down.”

He ripped off a slice of paper towel and wrote it out for me. I needed to think about this.


I feel nourished by fun conversation on BrendaKinsel.com

Feeling nourished in conversations with people I love like Erin’s boyfriend Mike


How would one nourish radiance?

It’s a compelling question. It makes me think of self care and health in a different way. Usually on those particular subjects my inner critic is reminding me of all the things I’m not doing or what I’m doing wrong: I’m not juice fasting; I eat white things like mashed potatoes and cream cheese; I don’t belong to a gym; I meditate on a once-in-a-while basis.

But with Phil’s question, practicing health by “nourishing my radiance” feels like an invitation and not a have-to.

It seems like a “right now” question with the answer being different every time I ask it.


How do I nourish myself to be radiant…now?

How do I nourish myself to be radiant…now?

How do I nourish myself to be radiant…now?

Image consulting feeds me

So I asked myself: What feeds me, what nourishes me?

Working with clients nourishes me. I’m lucky to have had a job for over 30 years that stimulates, excites, and brings joy in a win/win way with clients. It’s creatively challenging and keeps my brain busy looking out for the welfare of my clients. That definitely makes me glow.

I’ll share a recent fun story: One day my job was to create an outfit for my client to wear to a festive art event in San Francisco. My client gave me carte blanche to come up with an eye-catching outfit for the special night.

He had a bunch of bike reflectors (his idea) that I worked into the outfit. The plan was to turn the blinking ones on before making his grand entrance and keep those on all night. Weeks earlier I’d helped him pick out a pair of red framed glasses. (I thought he could use that drama.) What a perfect frame to add to the red accessories. He was excited.

His wife wrote me an email after the event. She said, “G. was the hit of the night. Strangers wanted to take pictures of him. He was glowing!”


Creating playful outfits is one of the things I get to do as an image consultant on BrendaKinsel.com

Creating an outfit for my client’s art event made me glow as much as he was glowing!

Exploration nourishes me

In September Russ and I spent a few days in San Francisco. We stayed at Erin’s flat while Erin and Mike were on the East Coast. We visited a different  museum every single day and explored neighborhoods in a leisurely way. We wandered up to Coit Tower and met a couple from Connecticut. We hung out and talked for about an hour. It was just plain f-u-n!

The days felt light and buoyant. I think my “radiance” liked that a lot!



Exploring out of the way places is nourishing on BrendaKinsel.com

Climbing a back way to Coit Tower in San Francisco in September


Feeling nourished by art exhibits on BrendaKinsel.com

Running into a fellow art lover, Judy, at the Ed Ruscha exhibit at the de Young Museum in SF

Art makes me beam inside and out

I love learning about art and so does Russ. After we spent those days together in SF viewing musuems every day, Russ and I made a pact to do this much more often: travel to a city and explore art and neighborhoods.

My next opportunity came a couple of weeks ago (unfortunately without Russ at my side) when I went to Chicago for some professional enrichment with image consultants. While I was there I had time to go to the Art Institute, walk all through Millennium Park, and wander around Michigan Avenue.



Exploring city art in Chicago on BrendaKinsel.com

A sculpture made from rubber tires in Millennium Park in Chicago, artist is Chakaia Booker


What fun to enjoy my last night in Chicago by having a nice dinner outside (the weather was incredible) at RL, Ralph Lauren’s restaurant, and then swinging over to the Peninsula Hotel where I explored the beauty of the hotel along with the art that was on walls everywhere. I found this beautiful piece of fashion-inspired art on the wall next to the hotel bar. It made me want to go home and do more fashion related art projects!


Enjoying art in hotels in Chicago on BrendaKinsel.com

The “Hustle Coat, 2014” is by Nick Cave (American b-1590)

I keep myself glowing with rest and walks in nature

I don’t glow unless I have eight hours of sleep and if it’s 8 1/2, all the better.

I like to make nature walks a part of everyday life but it slips off my routine from time to time. When I realize I’m feeling stagnant, blue, grumpy, crabby, or out of sorts, I know the remedy: get outside.


Having play dates with friends and family makes me feel light

For me, one key to nourishment is to be around young people. I want to know what they’re thinking, what they’re listening to, the restaurants they’re visiting, what they’re reading.

Nourishment comes from deep connections, from friends with history who can catch up wherever we left off.


When daughters share their favorites with their mother, nourishment happens on BrendaKinsel.com

Erin brings me to her favorite bakery in San Francisco. Yum!



I love how my friends enjoy the company of my girls on BrendaKinsel.com

My daughter Caitlin and my friend Debra


Enjoying our Swedish friends at Thanksgiving on BrendaKinsel.com

Looking forward to Thanksgiving and being together with Maggan and Anders, the Swedes, as we lovingly call them, from Stockholm


I’m learning as I go about this radiance thing. I guess the key is to establish what makes you feel well nourished and do more of those things.

Tell me, what nourishes your radiance?


Use a mantra to nourish yourself on BrendaKinsel.com

Could this be your mantra too?

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  • Reply
    Suzanne Dekyvere
    November 1, 2016 at 6:22 am

    Ohhhh I love this!!! I have a similar mantra “what will make my heart sing ” ….. the answers are different according to what my heart needs that day xxx

    • Reply
      November 1, 2016 at 10:24 am

      Lovely. And do you use it for all things? Or outfits? Or health? Would love to hear more. I can see using this one for sure!

  • Reply
    Katherine Cramer
    November 1, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Brenda, you and I are in sync with your recipe to realign. Being in Nature is one of my first ingredients for coping with bereavement or other possible life disarrangers. Positively engaging with a stranger is another powerful Wellness tool. Self attention practices don’t solely belong to therapeutic-minded folks. Therapy advocates often think we are that choral voice–yet it simply is not one or even a limited few schools of Exploration. All Fields join in.
    Being a bit stuck in a seemingly less creative, reduced compassion or narrow-focus mode for periods of time surely doesn’t serve us as well as we imagine. We traditionally honor ‘The Muse’. When in-the-zone, we may complete tasks and meet deadlines beautifully…yet I wonder if that is how it must be. Are those two ways-of-being simply a point along the swing of life’s pendulum? Straddling both landscapes: Open (SF, museums, conversation) vs. Focused: (on point with clients) of being Present–seems the more integrated path. What nourishes us? Apparently–All of it.

    • Reply
      November 2, 2016 at 8:32 am

      First off, I love your first sentence. That in itself could be a mantra. “What is my recipe to realign?” Okay, next sentence, I love your words “other possible life disarrangers”. Yup, we all face those in a well-lived life! I LOVE engaging with strangers as well. Just the other day someone brought that up to me as a routine she has. Gosh, I just really love the points you make. I will ponder the “Open” and “Focused” landscapes. I can totally see for myself that if I’m in either zone too long, the other one is needed for its refreshment and rejuvenation. Thanks, Katherine for your thoughtful comment!

      • Reply
        Katherine Cramer
        November 2, 2016 at 12:14 pm

        Dear Brenda,
        You start conversations off so beautifully. I really appreciate your deep observations and how you delight in Life and Self-Expression. You have filled a missing piece for me and my love of fashion that I used to share with my mother and grandmother. Thank you ‘Sister’ in fashion.

        Now on to Season change, Holiday loveliness, snuggly knits, booties, colors and all the ideas I haven’t considered or will expand–due to your wonderful eyes and work creation that you so graciously share with us.

        • Reply
          November 2, 2016 at 4:51 pm

          OH, lovely! Yes, I will definitely be sharing abut many of those things. Can’t wait!! So happy to be your sister in fashion.

    • Reply
      Kathryn Hemstead
      November 6, 2016 at 10:03 am

      Katherine, your eloquence in writing takes my breath away. I feel as though you have been quietly watching me from afar and know just what to say to me so I will listen. I am just embarking on realigning, and learning how to nurture ME. I am looking for my radiance. I am reading Brenda’s books and I find she, too has such a beautiful way of writing, saying things that are so to the point and they inspire me to listen, to learn, to touch, to smell, to question, to love me. It is such a joy at 62 to find such like minded souls.

      • Reply
        November 8, 2016 at 2:22 pm

        Kathryn and Katherine: I love this dialog so very very much! And Kathryn, I wish you the best possible journey as you take time to listen, learn, touch, smell, question, and love yourself. Amen to that! All best wishes.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2016 at 7:24 am

    What makes my heart sing? Majestic outdoor splendors of a God given nature, animals in the wild, travel, travel, travel, art, music, spending time with family and fashion sisters in this wonderful life.

    Thank you, Brenda, for all you do for us; you bring out our creative fun with fashion, something to be explored and enjoyed forever.
    A faithful fan,

    • Reply
      November 8, 2016 at 2:27 pm

      Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous, Pat. Life is truly grand, isn’t it? I so appreciate your shares, grace, and wisdom. Thank you!
      Faithfully yours,

  • Reply
    Imogen Lamport
    November 9, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    Such an important question – and I know that many of our clients feel that what we do with them nourishes them – I had a comment recently from one of my clients who was going through a trying period of her life (sick mother in hospital) and she said that she realised just how much getting dressed in a creative and conscious way each day is part of her self-care routine when a nurse complimented her on her outfit.

    For me – I too love art and baths and chocolate and champagne and walking in nature. These all make me radiant!

    • Reply
      November 10, 2016 at 11:15 am

      That’s so true about our clients! I see that all the time as well. I think it’s not something they expected to happen by hiring an image consultant but it’s one of our greatest gifts to give! I so experienced what your client experienced. Getting dressed every day and looking nice for the weeks my mother was in the hospital helped sustain me. I did it for me, for the nurses (as an aid in bringing attention to my mom), and for my mom who would have always appreciated that.

      Wish I could have been to the Viktor and Rolf exhibit with you!

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