Picture Yourself in Love

“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself,” fashion icon Coco Chanel famously observed. But you’ve probably heard similar advice from your career counselor, your personal shopper, and even your therapist. Embracing your uniqueness is the key to success and satisfaction in many realms.

Perhaps nowhere is this counsel more apt than in the world of online dating, where finding happiness is so dependent on acknowledging and communicating your true self. That’s why the best online dating applications ask you a multitude of questions when you sign up: to match you with someone who is simpatico with the real you. Somebody who shares, or at least can tolerate, your views on everything from pizza to politics.

But the algorithms dating apps use to suggest potential dates can only go so far in finding you a mate. The rest is up to you. Ultimately, it’s your dating profile that’s going to inspire someone to reach out to you or respond to your outreach. Your profile is where you can express your unique qualities, passions, and perspective and, yes, separate yourself from the crowd. Online dating is something of a competitive sport. To win, you need to play with heart.

Words are one way to make your dating profile compelling. If you’re quick with a phrase, you may have an advantage in the online dating world. But as a species, our attention spans are growing shorter. Some research now suggests that the average goldfish has a longer attention span the average human! That’s why a great image, which takes less time to mentally process than a carefully-worded sentence, can be more effective at grabbing the attention you want on dating apps and other social media.

Which brings us to the question, what makes a great image? A classically trained artist would point to composition (the arrangement of shapes, lines, textures and other elements within an image) as one important factor. Are the elements unified rather than scattered? Is the image symmetrical (which creates a sense of calm in the viewer) or unbalanced (which creates tension and lends energy to a composition)? And of course, the power of color to attract the eye, symbolize meaning, or create a mood is something we’ve all experienced. It comes down to this. A great image is one that communicates what you’re trying to say. With your dating profile pictures, you’re trying to say, “This is me!” So choose yours carefully to be sure you’re putting the right message out there and your best foot forward.

Online dating experts have all kinds of recommendations to guide you when it comes to choosing your profile pics. The simplest, common-sensical advice? Just smile! Look directly at the camera and don’t wear sunglasses. People want to see your eyes—that’s one way we build trust with others. Use photos that say something about your life interests, whether that’s your passion for running or your golden retriever. And keep the focus on yourself by avoiding group photos on your profile.

While sorting through profile after profile to find the perfect date can take hours and sometimes even be a drag, remember that dating is supposed to be fun. Images that surprise, whether through content or style, can be especially eye-catching and smile-raising. Making someone smile is a great first step towards getting to know each other. If you find humor energizing and inspiring in a partner, go ahead a post a funny photo of yourself and see who responds! But above all, find a way to put the honest and true you out there. That’s who deserves all the love.

A City That Invites Us to Stop, Breathe, and Appreciate Nature’s Gifts, Guernsey

Just a 45-minute flight from England and a 30-minute flight from France is Guernsey, the second largest of the Channel Islands. Just 25 square miles in area, this pocket-sized British Crown dependency is big on sunshine, serenity, and history.

Separated from the French coast of Normandy 8000 years ago by rising sea levels, Guernsey’s fortunes have been periodically shaped by the crosswinds of trade, and the crossfire of war. For those who’ve called this island home, Guernsey has long been a safe harbor, a place of pride and inspiration. Continue reading “A City That Invites Us to Stop, Breathe, and Appreciate Nature’s Gifts, Guernsey”

Visit the Place Where Mother Nature and History Collide, Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, just off Morocco in North Africa. Formed by volcanic eruptions and shaped by hot desert winds, they are comprised of 7 main islands. When powerful seismic forces lifted these islands out of the ocean millions of years ago, they sculpted landscapes of unimaginable beauty.

So spectacular are the Canary Islands that for centuries, it was believed that this archipelago formed the peaks of the legendary lost city of Atlantis.

Today, the Canary Islands are a magnet for sun seekers, beachcombers, and adventurers from all over the world. Continue reading “Visit the Place Where Mother Nature and History Collide, Canary Islands”

Welcome to the the Bush Capital of Australia, Canberra

Purpose built as Australia’s capital city, Canberra is a 3-hour drive from both the snowy mountains and the beautiful beaches of New South Wales. It is a city which honors Australia’s past and shapes its future.

With an expansive bush beauty, a relaxed attitude and colorful events, Canberra is far more than political capital. Designed for a young nation that was just finding its feet, this city is home to many of the country’s most important stories; stories that have come to define what it means to be Australian. Continue reading “Welcome to the the Bush Capital of Australia, Canberra”

Bung Into the Pulse of 21st Century Asia, Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, on the southern tip of Vietnam, is one of South East Asia’s emerging boom cities. Still affectionately known by many as Saigon, this is Vietnam’s largest city and its economic engine room.

Ho Chi Minh City has an irrepressible soul and entrepreneurial energy that hums day and night. Despite almost a century of colonialism and brutal conflict, today this city is renowned for its warm hospitality, which even extends to former foes. A youthful enthusiasm flows through this city, just like the stream of scooters, motorbikes, and cars that flow endlessly through its chaotic streets.

In Ho Chi Minh City, it feels as though the future has arrived… and yet the past is never far away. Wide boulevards built during the French colonial era are lined with cutting edge skyscrapers, while jasmine scented temples gently rub shoulders with chic rooftop bars.

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Relish in the Glittering Testament of Russia’s Royal History, St Petersburg

St Petersburg lies around 400 miles to the Northwest of Moscow. Nestled on the Neva River, it spreads out from its banks and across a series of islands that lie within the river delta.

With a wealth of extravagant palaces, breathtaking cathedrals, and magnificent gardens, St Petersburg is truly Russia’s Imperial city. Its grandiose architecture and picturesque canals were born from the glittering ambition of Peter the Great early in the 18th century and progressively gilded by generations of Russian royalty.

Over the centuries, this dynasty sought to create a city to rival the greatest cities of Europe, and as you step onto the cobblestone streets here, you’ll discover they succeeded.

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A City That Shines Like a Beacon to the World, Warsaw

The Polish capital of Warsaw lies in the central-eastern part of Poland. It stands on the Vistula River on the site of a 14th-century stronghold and trading center.

Warsaw has for centuries been a center of refinement and knowledge. Its strategic position has also made it one of the most invaded countries in Europe. This is a city that resonates with a powerful spirit of reinvention, a spirit that has been forged from a history that has pushed it to the brink of destruction time and time again.

Today’s Warsaw has been largely shaped by two of history’s most defining events, World War Two, and the closing of the Iron Curtain. But Warsaw is a survivor, and from the ashes of war and the shackles of Communism, the city has risen again.

Tributes to this heroic history are dotted throughout the city, but there is a youthful rebirth here too. With a burgeoning fashion scene, stylish shopping malls and edgy art installations, Warsaw have opened its arms to the world. Continue reading “A City That Shines Like a Beacon to the World, Warsaw”

Pass Over With Its Swedish Magic, Sophistication, and Simplicity in Stockholm

Just a two-hour flight from London is Sweden’s sparkling capital, Stockholm. This Scandinavian treasure is made up of 14 islands on an archipelago where the Baltic Sea meets Lake Mälaren.

Stockholmers tenderly call their city “Beauty on Water.” And despite being spread across the Stockholm Archipelago, it is still one of the easiest cities in Europe to navigate. Connected by a network of 57 bridges, Stockholm is a joy to explore on foot, Though any local will tell you, the best way to get around is on two wheels.

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Adore Your Life in Pink, in France’s Pink City, Toulouse

Halfway between the sun-lit shores of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, and just a stone’s throw from the snow-capped Pyrenees, is the Southern French city of Toulouse.

While most major French cities are proudly hewn from stone, Toulouse is built from bricks, These humble bricks, once considered a sign of poverty, are now a source of pride. Throughout the day their colors change, from red to orange, to pink, earning Toulouse the name “La Ville Rose”, the pink city.

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