This past weekend I had the supreme privilege of attending the Startup Princess Image + Media Academy retreat, thanks to APX Alarm for sponsoring my ticket.  It was a truly magical experience.  We escaped the world to attend this retreat at a GORGEOUS cabin up in Sundance, UT.  I thought the easiest way to write this post would be to highlight the top 10 things – in no particular order – I took home from attending “SUPA ’09” (Startup Princess Academy ’09).

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No. 10 – Being beautiful is a choice, not some mystical gift only given to a few choice people.  This was a common theme throughout the retreat and included the fact that all women are beautiful and have divine beauty within them.  It’s merely a choice to let that beauty out to shine.  When we hide our beauty (behind frumpiness, in my case), we do a disservice to, not only ourselves, but everyone around us.  We are meant to let our beauty shine to bless humanity with our divine femininity.

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No. 9 – Image in business is undeniably connected to our spirituality. This fact is true in every facet of life, not just business, but since this was a business conference, we primarily focused on that aspect.  I really loved this thought.  The speakers, especially former Mrs. Utah, Cherie Burton, shed some healthy light on this subject, inferring that spirituality is primarily comprised of connection with our divinity and our Creator.  Cherie gave some great ideas on how connecting through meditation grounds us in truth, which, in turn, leads us to represent what we truly believe.  What we believe reveals itself in our choices, including fashion and leadership styles.

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No. 8 – Only when we are truly genuine with our image are we able to reach humanity with our creativity and businesses. I loved this concept.  If I’m pretending to be something I’m not, my message/business loses value.  Seems obvious and I don’t necessarily have a problem with this concept, but it was a great reminder that the best asset I can bring to business is being myself.

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No. 7 – Collars draw attention to our faces and thus are powerful to use when networking in business. I had never thought of shirt collars this way.  Sarah Ward, of Cable Car Couture, spoke on fashion tips for rocking the world of business and networking.  Among her many other fabulous suggestions, this one really stuck with me.  We do business with our eyes and should do our best to dress so that those we interact with are drawn to our face and eyes.  She also opened my eyes to how many different kinds of collars there are to use for this: suit collars, turtle neck shirts, button-up collared shirts, etc.  (Sidenote: I was geeky-excited to meet Sarah and she did not disappoint.  Sarah is completely genuine and lovely to be with.  Hoping to hang out more with her “chic-ness” soon.)

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No. 6 – Makeup is meant to frame our natural beauty. I’ll admit: I’m 26 and still am quite clueless about makeup.  Tara Starling, celebrity makeup artist and founder of Starling Beauty Academy, spoke all about makeup, especially focusing on how to best present ourselves in business and in photos.  Tara truly has a gift to see beauty in everyone around her.  Then, give Tara makeup, brushes and some chocolate and you’ll see her transform anyone’s face into the beauty she saw within it.  I’ve felt like learning more about makeup was somewhat vain and a waste, but my mind has been completely changed.  I loved Tara’s analogy that even though the Mona Lisa is beautiful by itself, when it’s framed is when we really recognize and celebrate the beauty.  Makeup doesn’t replace natural beauty, it enhances what’s already there.  (All you makeup-efficient chicks are laughing at me for just realizing that now… oy veh.  Better late than never, though, right?)

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And… I just had the most brilliant idea to continue my post tomorrow with the rest of my top 10 things I took home from the Startup Princess Image + Media Academy retreat!  Woot!  You’re just going to have to let the suspense kill you!  Tomorrow I’ll have part 2.  Would love to hear your thoughts on today’s 5 take-home tips!