God Defines Beauty, Not Me

Before I fell in love with Jesus and took the time to learn the truth about who He made me to be, I was always desperately searching for ways to become beautiful. I thought beauty was something to gain outwardly. Every morning I would wake up, watch YouTube tutorials on how to beautify my face (since I had no idea how to do makeup without assistance) and put on an outfit I had spent hours planning out over the weekend.

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No Makeup, No Worries

I recently participated in my first photo shoot. I’m definitely not a model, but I was happy to help our very own Crowned Chics founder Nikki Charnstrom with a project she was working on for Angelic Magazine. It wasn’t just any photo shoot, though. It was a photo shoot without *gasp* makeup — and I didn’t think twice about saying yes. Don’t get me wrong; I’m definitely a girl who loves her lip-gloss, eyeliner and more. I’m even that girl who brings my makeup to work in the morning, so I can put it on before everyone gets there and not be late for work — but there was definitely something empowering about not having to wear anything!

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For the Girl Who Feels Self-Conscious Without Makeup

You probably woke up this morning to begin your day just like any other — start a pot of coffee, brush your teeth, tame your wild, out-of-control hair, and cover your imperfections with concealer. You would argue there’s nothing wrong with your routine and at surface level, there isn’t. However, I’m here to tell you it’s OK if you don’t want to follow your daily routine to a tee. On those mornings you wake up unexcited about the time it’s going to take to put on a full face of makeup, guess what — YOU DON’T HAVE TO. I give you permission to use that extra 30 minutes or an hour to instead find something spiritually and emotionally fulfilling.

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Being Vulnerable is Actually Beautiful

The most beautiful people aren’t those who always come across as confident, successful and put together. True beauty can be found in the moments when a long day finally gets the best of you and you allow yourself to have a full-on breakdown. True beauty is admitting you made a mistake and accepting the fallout. True beauty lies in the moments when you embrace your faults and accept the fact that you’ll never fully live up to other’s standards. Because letting yourself be vulnerable is just as hard as achieving the perfect winged eyeliner or molding your body to fit into a size two.

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Series Video Introduction: True Beauty

For the month of August, Crowned Chics is taking a step back to question society's idea of beauty and instead, replacing it with a refreshing message — embrace you and all of your flaws. Founder, Nikki Michelle Charnstrom sits before the camera makeup-free to introduce this new series to you in a real, heartfelt conversation.

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A Glimpse of Eternal Love in Earthly Ways

I pondered the thought, “What relationship in my life is worth sharing?” And to be honest I was more so stumped because every relationship I have ever had in my life is vital to the transformation I have gone through to get me to where I am today. Friendships have turned into sisterhood. Enemies have taught me how to love even the tough people. Family members have encouraged me through all the steps of this life. My boyfriend has shown me pure, tangible love. So where do I begin? How do I pinpoint a single relationship that has shaped me when they all have?

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A Love Story Many (Single) Years in the Making

As women, our desire for love is undeniable. Even at such a young age, before we’ve even lost all of our baby teeth, we fantasize about boys and marriage. It’s nothing to be ashamed of — it’s just how we’re wired. However, society has its own views on relationships and at times, we might feel pressured to measure up. Although, not every woman gives societal norms the power they ruthlessly demand. Christina Vincent, a 37-year-old from Springfield, Missouri, trusted in the Lord’s plan when it came to her love story — rather than taking cues from an impatient world.

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3 Tips for Successful Small Talk

Growing up, I thought being an extrovert was a good thing and being an introvert was a bad thing. I was always taught an extrovert was outgoing, friendly, and a lot of fun — and an introvert was quiet, shy, and timid. Anytime I had to take a personality quiz, I would try to pick the answers that would make me an extrovert. I thought that was what I was supposed to be — and if it says it on a piece of paper, then it must be true! It wasn’t until adulthood that I learned the deeper definitions of extrovert and introvert.

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True Love Actually Isn't a Fairytale

The kind of love we see plastered across the media and portrayed in the entertainment industry isn’t at all what a real relationship is like. It is because of these misconstrued ideas of love that often times we think anything less than means we’re settling — or simply with the wrong person. We base our “perfect match” on the love stories we see in the movies and think the relationship will come easy — like in a sunset on the beach, hand in hand, forever in love kind of way.

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Navigating a Relationship in the Digital World

Nowadays though, that’s not where the public displays stop. Once you agree to a life of absolute wedded bliss, you need to update your friends, family and just about everyone you know. God forbid you don’t change your relationship status to engaged on Facebook! Next, comes the planning. Good thing there are tons of wedding websites you can employ along with millions of vendors for makeup, music, attire and anything else you might need all online for your viewing pleasure.

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If You're Hurting, Please Read This...

Opening yourself up to another can be a frightening endeavor, especially if you’ve experienced hurt. Any relationship, no matter the dynamic, has the possibility of heartbreak. That’s simply the way of the world. Humanity is not perfectly kind — nor, will it ever be. So, you might be reading this and recalling some of the most painful moments of a relationship. Perhaps those negative feelings are beginning to rise up again — or, you’ve made peace with it and moved on. Wherever you find yourself right now, you know what it’s like to ache at the hand of another.

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A Perfect Father Who Always Knows Best

For as long as I can remember, I wanted a family. I grew up as an only child, and I was determined to give my kids plenty of siblings, a pristine home, and a golden retriever just like Comet from "Full House." I was so certain this dream fit who I was — and I held onto it into adulthood. Fast forward to my late 20s, and I'm ready to have my perfect little picture. Fairly quickly, God let me know my plans weren't His.

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4 Steps to Showing Others Grace

When someone you love betrays your trust or disregards your feelings, it hurts like no other. Relationships aren’t perfect, yet we hold them to this impossible standard of excellence. Why do we continue to set our expectations so high when it comes to our loved ones? We know there will come a time when they will let us down again, so how can we relieve the pressure?

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Series Introduction: Relationships

No matter how introverted you can be, you need relationships. At the very core of who we are, is this need for community, fellowship and belonging. As humans, we cannot fully exist without the connection another human brings to the soul. Yes, most of us are very capable on our own but after some time, we need to feel the love of another. Whether it’s a romantic interest you’ve sought after or simply a stranger you hit it off with at the supermarket, you and I need relationships.

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The Crown of Motherhood

As I sit by the pool and watch my children play frisbee, I am so thankful I wear the crown of motherhood. It has not been an easy crown, but it has been so worth it. I first put on this crown almost 16 years ago as my oldest son entered the world. His delivery almost killed him, but God’s grace is bigger than a doctor’s human error. People used to ask if he was a good baby and I never really knew how to answer.

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Embracing Life’s Unexpected Crowns

My husband Aaron and I were so excited and full of anticipation as the tech started the ultrasound. We were pregnant with our third child. We had two beautiful girls already and I found myself secretly hoping for a baby boy. I was consumed with knowing and had anticipated this day for quite some time — all 21 weeks of pregnancy!  We loved the natural approach to childbirth and pregnancy, fully believing I was born for this motherhood role. Our midwife always gave us an option of having an ultrasound, it wasn’t mandatory. I had to know who this little baby was going to be!

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Put on Your Crown of Personal Acceptance

In a world where beauty seems to be defined in materialistic, physical attributes, it can be difficult to find the truth in it all. While there is nothing wrong with dressing your lips in a pop of color and strapping on your favorite pair of heels, beauty goes much deeper. What if we leveraged our God-given beauty to carry ourselves through the day? We couldn’t help but walk a tad bit taller as we shamelessly fall in love with the skin we’re in — wearing our crown of acceptance.

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A Crown Without Value

I think through different seasons of life we allow ourselves to wear crowns that define who we are and not positive ones — not the crown the King of kings has put on our heads. He puts crowns of love, of grace and of righteousness, of being His daughter and being His bride on our head. Then we come in and let the enemy crown us. We let him stand there and tell us on the day we are going to be crowned in front of the kingdom that we are crowned in loneliness. We are crowned in ugliness. We are crowned in despair, in addiction, in fear.

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Removing the Crown of Self-Deception

We lie to ourselves. Over and over again throughout the day without even a pause to consider Is it true? We lie over and over until it becomes true for us, and while this could be a useful method to create something beautiful in our lives, we often unwittingly abuse our own power by affirming what we don’t want.

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You've Already Been Crowned in Purpose

Anyone else out there desperate to find the purpose/calling/meaning of your entire existence? This is pretty much at the top of my hobby list. Everyone in my family seems to know exactly why God put them here, and I’m over here taking interest inventories every few months to see if there’s some magic answer that suddenly pops up.

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