weekend musings

Weekend Musings No. 5

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[images: that view | pup | him+her | bouquet ]

I feel like I could say this at the end of almost every week but this past week, in particular has just flown by so fast!  There is so much happening both in my personal life and at my work that is keeping me focused and busy!  Whilst there’s been a few tough moments, I’ve been throwing myself 100% into my work and the rewards are showing!  On Friday evening, I successfully hosted my very first drinks party which was less stressful than expected.  Having the company CEO come up and shake hands and thank me for putting it together made the night totally worth it!  That being said, I couldn’t have done it without the incredible support of two wonderful ladies that I get to work with on a daily basis.

As mentioned in my last Weekend Musings post, my work has moved into the city and I’ve completely surprised myself by really loving the buzz that city life brings.  I’m a die-hard country girl at heart, so working in the city everyday wasn’t my cup of tea (so I thought!) but so far its been fun and challenging.  I’m loving the amazing selection of cafe’s and restaurants that our city has to offer!  If you are a reader from Melbourne or you’ve visited Melbourne and know a great cafe or restaurant, I’d love it hear it in the comments below!

I hope you all have successful week ahead!  As usual, here’s a round-up of things I’ve been loving of late…

LIVING ABUNDANTLY |  I found myself nodding “YES!” to every line in this article by Hillary Barnett and couldn’t wait to share it with you: How to Live an Abundant Life.  Lately, I’ve been making a conscious effort to re-train my thoughts to see circumstances (however unfortunate or unplanned they may be) in a positive light and I’ve been putting into practice some of Hillary’s ways to practice awareness in my daily routine.

YOGA | No joke, I’ve been under a ton of stress of late so the first thing I turned to was yoga.  I’ve been a huge fan of Yoga with Adrianne for ages but this tutorial in particular has been so helpful in helping me practice mindfulness and slow my mind down at the end of a long day.

QUOTED | ‘Happiness is not a goal…it’s a by-product of a life well lived.’ – Eleanor Roosevelt

HIS STYLE | I’m totally digging this preppy, summer look right here (and here) with a bonus shop-able link below!. Now all I have to do is find a guy who I can dress like this, right?!

isn't she lovely

Isn’t She Lovely? No. 7 | feat. Mary in Vogue

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The Crown Princess of Denmark has once again, graced the cover of Vogue Australia.  It’s been twelve years since her first appearance on the cover of Vogue Australia in 2004.   Since that interview, the Crown Princess’ life has transformed from becoming the wife of the Crown Prince of Denmark to carving out a very successful career for herself and becoming a mother to four beautiful children.  In the interview, the Crown Princess shares her passion and commitment to her patronages and also to her family. See a full transcription of the interview here.

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weekend musings

Weekend Musings | No. 4

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[images: mum+baby | roses | heels | paris ]

What a crazy week it’s been!  In fact, when I arrived at work yesterday and realised it was the 1st of July, I almost fell of my chair!  I keep asking myself, where did June go?

The end of financial year is always a busy time at my workplace, coupled with several other changes happening including my workplace moving locations next week.  As an Executive Assistant, I’m one of the “Change Champions” which pretty much means getting everyone excited and organised about relocating office.  With the Big Move Day only a week away, so I’m really looking forward to getting settled into a new workplace.

Here’s a handful of things I’ve also been loving this past week!

QUOTED | “When a defining moment comes along, you can do one of two things. Define the moment, or let the moment define you.” – Unknown

SHOP | a few months ago, I mentioned I was on the hunt for a beautiful winter coat.  Well, I found the One.  It’s definitely not the style that I’d usually pick but after some encouragement from lovely ladies at Cue, (and trying it on multiple times!) I caved!  It was the last one they had in stock in a beautiful, rich caramel colour. I always choose black when buying my winter coats, but this time I went for a different colour, that’s still a neutral and I absolutely love it!  I’ve received so many compliments (even from stranger’s walking down the street!) when wearing it out.  No doubt, you’ll see it regularly appearing in upcoming blog posts!

READ | I’ve read Shannon’s blog, The Simply Luxurious Life for many years now.  She has a beautiful ability to write such beautiful, inspiring posts.  I recently read, Why Not…Embrace Mini Summer Resolutions and whilst its definitely not summer here in Melbourne, I can certainly embrace some winter resolutions.  Have a read, over here and be inspired!

HOME | whilst owning and decorating my own home is many years away, one can always dream and begin in small places (such as my one-bedroom apartment!).  I’m absolutely loving this look which I re-pinned on Tumblr (if you don’t follow me already, you should!).  I love neutral coloured walls, contrasted by the dark wooden floors and the mixed-matched photo wall behind the desk.

WANDERLUST | I must follow a lot of Canadian bloggers, because everywhere I’ve been seeing Happy Canada Day popping up on my feeds (including, Tim Hortons Snapchat filter) and it led to me searching for Canadian images on Pinterest and #ohmygoodness! I cannot believe how beautiful the country is!  Perhaps, I need to tack this destination onto my travel bucket list?

Hope y’all have an wonderful week ahead! xx

 

corporate style

Working Girl Cosy | Corporate Style

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| W E A R I N G |

checked shawl | knit top | cropped pants | heels

There’s some days that call for an outfit that’s comfortable and chic at the same time.  Of recent, this has been my go-to cosy office outfit for days when I don’t feel like wearing a suit but still need to look polished.  I absolutely love this gorgeous, checked shawl I picked up recently which has a beautiful blend of wool making it very warm and cosy which is perfect for these fall temperatures.

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weekend musings

Weekend Musings No. 3

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[images: decor | breakfast time | dress | couple ]

I hope your week so far has been successful and in the words of my Dad, you’re “kicking some goals”!  As far as I can tell, this week is flying by as I’m already making plans for the weekend which is always a great sign that it’s not too far away!  Here’s a roundup of just a few things I’ve been enjoying this weekend…

QUOTED | “There are pruning seasons in life and there are growing seasons. When I look back on my life, I can tell the greatest growth comes right after you get cut back.” – Donald Miller

DOMESTICATED | I’m always on the hunt for easy ways to keep my apartment neat and tidy.  I recently pinned this neat list to keep a home looking clean with daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal to-do’s that are fuss free and easy to get done.  I’ve already started using the daily list before I go to bed and it’s working well so far!

ROYALTY | If you’re a long-time reader of this blog you’ll know I’m a huge royal fan, especially when it comes to Princess Mary of Denmark.  I was most excited when Mary recently stepped out in this stunning black, brocade dress from H&M’s Conscious Collection. I think it’s so dreamy with the gorgeous pleats, brocade fabric and modern hemline – what’s not to love, right?  In another kingdom, not far from Denmark, the newest Prince of Sweden posed with his (very) proud parents, Prince Carl Philip and his wife Princess Sofia to celebrate Carl’s 37th birthday. So classy!

FRAGRANCE | Apparently, Marc Jacobs recently launched his first “mature” perfume, Decadence which has very recently arrived in Australian stores.  As I was making my way through Myers on the weekend, I was greeted by a wall of emerald green bottles in the shape of handbags complete with gold chain and black tassels and was immediately attracted to the luxurious packaging (the marketing worked on me!).  I’m fairly picky with my fragrances, usually sticking to my timeless Chanel No. 5, however I was intrigued and pleasantly surprised with the scent of Decadence.  I’m not great when it comes to describing scents but I’ve read that the top notes include Italian plum, saffron and iris. Bulgarian rose, Sambac jasmine and orris root form the heart of the perfume, while the base includes warm liquid amber, vetiver and papyrus wood.

TROUBLEMAKERS | Just this morning, one of my coworkers was describing to me how difficult it is to get ready for work in the morning with 3 children under 5 years of age.  Then, I watched this video of two panda cubs in China making absolute havoc when their pen is being cleaned – it’s definitely a must see!  Now, I’m not sure which may cause more havoc – toddlers or baby pandas?

HIS STYLE | I’m always on the hunt for stylish, work appropriate outfits for my man and I recently reposted this photo on Tumblr from The Northern Gent.  Navy is always a winner, in my opinion, especially when contrasted with tan – such a classic combo.  Shopable links below for those interested in creating a similar look!

Happy Monday,
corporate style

Suited Up | Corporate Style

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| W E A R I N G |

black blazer | pencil dress | grey suede heels | selma tote

There is one wardrobe essential every girl should own and that’s a great blazer.  A great blazer can take you from a casual to corporate in seconds.  I always ensure, even on more casual days in the office to have a great blazer either with me in the office or in my car in case of an urgent meeting where I need to put your best foot forward on short notice!  Surprisingly enough, I purchased this blazer several years ago from H&M for $25 and it has served me well.  I love how its not too formal so that I can still pair it with a pair of jeans but can easily be paired with a shift dress such as above to create a suited look.   To add some interest to an all-black look, I’ve worn one of my all-time favourite grey, suede heels from Zara which I’ve had for years and are so comfortable.  I’m a huge fan of Zara heels – I think they are great value for the quality and price (I think this pair was just $69!).  I’m also wearing my Michael Kor’s Selma in Medium Black.  I originally purchased the Selma tote to be paired with this style of outfit and as you can see it accessorizes beautifully with a formal, corporate look.  I’m currently in the process of writing a review on the MK Selma which may be of interest to anyone looking to purchase this style of tote.

For international readers interested in shopping my look, see below for similar style options with international friendly links.

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| S H O P  S I M I L A R |

international friendly links below

weekend musings

Weekend Musings No.2

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[images: vanity | mug | floral | home]

I can’t believe the week has just begun and it’s already crazy busy!  I recently received a promotion at work and moved into a exciting, new role.  So far, I’m absolutely loving it.  It’s a faster paced environment, which means it can be stressful at times but at the same time it is very rewarding.

Over the weekend, we experienced some very wintery weather here in Melbourne with storms and rainy weather.  This gave me a great opportunity to catch up on some lovely reading, so here’s a few highlights…

WATCH | this incredibly Go-Pro footage Italy from Above shot by 21 year-old, Lukas Kusstatscher recently showed up on my subscription feed on YouTube.  A M A Z I N G is an understatement.  Sometimes, we need a reminder of how majestic this world really is.  It certainly makes me want to jump on a plane and go to Italy ASAP!

CYCLE | I’m currently on the hunt for a bicycle.  I loved cycling and mountain biking when I was younger and I’ve been thinking about purchasing a bike and getting back into it.  My Dad is a massive cycling addict – cycling up to 60kms some mornings so he has been really helpful in choosing a bike that’s suited to my requirements.  So far this Osprey bike or this Reid one are on my favourites list but I’ll keep you posted on which one I decide on!

KEEPING WARM | with temperatures dropping, I’ve been on the lookout for a new winter coat for this season.  I need something that’s super warm, durable and will compliment my working wardrobe. I usually purchase a black coat but I’m thinking about mixing it up this year and going for either a grey or camel colour but I’m still on the hunt as I haven’t found the one.  Although, I’ve just noticed CUE just released a new selection of coats for this winter and Karen Millen also has some great alternatives as shown below.

QUOTE | “we must stop and find time to thank the people who make a difference in our lives” – John F. Kennedy

GRACEFUL EXIT | handing in your job resignation can be a tricky process.  It is so important to remain tactful throughout the entire process not only to your reporting manager but also to your colleagues. If there is one thing that spreads quickly throughout a workplace it’s usually rumours/drama/gossip.  So when I recently pinned this article How to Resign from Your Job Gracefully I wanted to share it with you.  Even if you are not planning to resign anytime soon, it’s some great advice to have on hand.

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[image: pup]

Have a wonderful week xx

corporate style

oh, hello autumn! | corporate style

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Despite the plethora of bloggers across the net these days, I feel there is a huge gap in real, authentic, affordable corporate style inspiration.  Almost every blogger out there is blogging about ‘what to wear to Coachella‘ or featuring a cute jumpsuit that, honestly I couldn’t wear in an corporate environment.  I’m excited to start this new column to feature affordable, classic corporate style that is wearable and stylish.

The majority of my corporate wardrobe contains a lot of black.  To be honest, it’s mostly black. Maybe it’s because I live in Melbourne, Australia, where black is the fashion staple. That and hipster beards for men.

Now that you’ve been warned, let’s get into the details.  This look pairs a simple black pair of ankle-length trousers from Banana Republic which have become an absolute wardrobe staple.  While we don’t have Banana Republic stores in Australia (yet!), I picked up several pairs (linked below) during my trip to Singapore earlier this year.  I paired these black pants with a blouse  and a statement jacket to complete the ensemble. The jacket I am wearing provides a bit of pizzazz to my day and adds a lovely touch of colour. The jacket is also versatile, and can be easily paired with a skirt, or even for a casual look with jeans and boots.  A pair of black pumps is an absolute wardrobe staple, and this pair get me through a day often spent on my feet, with little discomfort.

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Banana Republic black pants (similar, similar, similar) | Review Blouse (similar similar) | Wittner pumps (similar) | Cape (latest version here) | MK watch

 

weekend musings

Weekend Musings | No. 1

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[images: ballerina | lashes | ball | morning]

And just like that, Monday has arrived.   It certainly doesn’t take long for the weekend to wrap up and the routine of the week to kick in.   I’ve really wanted to add a new feature to the blog where I can share bits and bobs of things I’ve found over the past week that I’ve found interesting, fun or informative.  So here’s to a weekly feature Weekend Musings!

Here in Melbourne, we’ve been treated to a relatively warm autumn so far which unfortunately came to an abrupt end this weekend.  The temperature dropped and I found myself appreciating the extra blankets in the early morning!

EXCITED | For several years now, I’ve used Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner on a daily basis.  As a business owner and busy mum of three, Emily knows that good organisation starts with a list… and a planner!  I’ve really loved, the simplicity and design in the Daily Simplified Planners and was super excited when she recently release a set of new covers – I still can’t decide between the Fuchsia Dot or the Floral!

INSPIRATION | I recently read a blog post How to Stay Focused by a blogger, Hitha On the Go.  In this incredibly fast-paced society we live in it is so easy to loose focus and become distracted.

QUOTE | In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit. – Anne Frank

ESCAPE |  Undoubtedly, like many others, I have loved being able to enjoy Julia (of Gal Meets Glam) and Thomas’s travels throughout their European adventure.  Best of all, I love Venice.  I’ve had the opportunity to visit many countries throughout Europe bar Venice and after reading Julia’s latest posts, it’s definitely going on my list.

LAB OF THE WEEK | For those who don’t know me, wouldn’t know that I have an obsession with animals in general but in particular, Labradors.  I was very blessed to grow up with a beautiful golden Labrador and the love has only grown since then.  So it goes without saying that this weekly column will most certainly feature a lab.

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[image: labrador  ]

Have a great week,

xx

beauty

My Evening Skincare Routine | Winter Edition

No. 1 CLEANSE

It’s only in the past year that I’ve actually implemented a daily skincare routine and what a difference it’s made!  At first, I struggled with remembering to go through my regime every single night but now I can’t go to sleep without completing it!

I purchased a Clarisonic over two years ago now and at first, I didn’t see a real difference in using it.  The Clarisonic eventually stopped working and I didn’t bother purchasing another until the beginning of this year.  I’ve suffered from acne since my early teenage years, especially around my forehead and chin.  I’ve tried an assortment of products from all natural products (hello, baking soda + lemon juice) to even trying Proactive.  Neither worked, until recently, that is.  My skin is still by no means perfect, I still break out in the occasional (normally hormonal) acne spot and still suffer from acne scars.  However, I see my skin definitely improving when I carve out time each day to take care of its needs.

My skincare routine isn’t expensive or complex but its simplicity works very well for me.  It usually begins as soon as I finish work and walk through the door.  The next best thing to kicking off my heels is taking off my makeup.  Nothing beats the feeling than having a clean, fresh face!

Step 1.  Take it off
If I’m in a rush I’ll use a I alternate between two makeup removers either the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water or Simple Micellar Cleansing Water.  I find both work well and take off almost all the makeup from my face.  Secondly, I wash with cold water to remove the excess.

Step 2. Clarisonic Mia 2 + Purity Cleanser
As mentioned previously, I am absolutely loving the Carisonic and I’ve noticed a huge difference in both the glowy-ness and texture of my skin since using it daily.  My knowledge of cleansers isn’t huge but I picked up the Philosophy Purity Cleanser in duty-free section of the airport on my way home from Bali earlier this year.  So far, I’m loving it!

Step 3. Mask it with GlamGlow Super Mud
This is an optional step I take if I have any imperfections/acne appearing.  I’ve been using the GlamGlow Super Mud masks for several years now as spot treatments and found them to really reduce the visibility and redness of acne.

Step 4. Moisturise
On days when I use my Clarisonic in both the evening and morning, I notice my skin can get dry very quickly from the cleansing.  So on days when I feel my skin is especially dry, I use the Nivea Body Cream.  This type of cream is incredibly thick so you only need to use a small amount to moisturise your face and neck.  Alternatively, on days when I feel my skin doesn’t need a super moisturising cream, I massage a few drops of Argan Oil or pure Macadamia Oil into my skin – leaving it very gloomy and fresh.

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Step 5. Spot Treatment (optional)
On days I forgo using the Glam Glow mask, I’ll use the Resist Vitamin C Spot Treatment which I’ve (surprisingly) found to minimise the appearance of acne scars I have on my skin.

Step 6. Toner (optional)
Just before I go to bed, I’ll spray my face with the Swisse Deep Sea Hydrating Mist Toner.  This is absolutely a nonessential item but it smells absolutely amazing and makes my skin feel so fresh and clean!

thoughts

25 Life Lessons I’ve Learned in 25 Years

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Today is my 25th birthday!  I remember the day I turned 10 years old and vividly remember wondering what it would be like to turn 18 or even 21?  Back then, 21 seemed so old, and honestly, I didn’t even consider life beyond 21.  But here I am, entering my twenty-fifth year – I’m so grateful and blessed for the 25 years I’ve had so far.  The past 5 years in particular, have taught me so much and I’ve learned so much about myself – who I aspire to be and where I want to go.  I can’t wait to see where the next 25 will take me but while we’re looking forward here’s a look back at a few lessons life has taught me so far:

  1. Learning to forgive, is essential to finding personal happiness.  Don’t wait for a verbal apology before you forgive someone.  Forgive now, not because they deserve forgiveness but because you deserve peace.
  2. Simplify.  Everything.
  3. Always choose quality over quantity.
  4. Learn to enjoy being an introvert.  Relish those times spent alone or in the company of one or two.  Delight yourself in a less-dramatic, less-complicated lifestyle.
  5. Stop comparing your journey to someone else.  It’s just not worth it.
  6. Don’t ever, ever give up.
  7. Think of travel as a lifetime investment.
  8. New experiences and challenges force you to grow and in time help you become a better person.
  9. Becoming financially “wealthy” isn’t the end goal.  Becoming happy, healthy and  financially independent is.
  10. Don’t let failure hold you back.
  11. The majority of the time, the best moments you’ll remember were the simplest.
  12. Loyalty is rare.  When you find it, don’t let it go.
  13. Work hard.  Then come home and work even harder.
  14. Write down your goals and then demolish them.
  15. Invest in individuals who value you for being you.
  16. Don’t ever change under peer pressure or for what’s current or ‘cool’ and don’t live by other people’s expectations.  On the other hand, appreciate those around you for who they are and don’t expect them to live up to the standards you set for yourself.
  17. Meditate daily.
  18. Always put your phone away when you’re at dinner with guests or family – they deserve your full attention!
  19. You own the power to how you react to situations and events.
  20. Don’t ever stop growing, changing and improving your life.
  21. Don’t be shy to take advice or ask for help.
  22. At the end of the day you’re responsible for your own happiness.  Life will throw you the worst but its up to you, and you alone to make the best out of what you’re given.
  23. Most good things in life take time.  Be patient, work hard and always show up.
  24. Always put your best foot forward, even on days you just don’t feel up to it.
  25. Count your blessings.
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Simple Ways to Start the Day Right

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During the last few weeks I’ve learned to love mornings.  There is nothing better than starting the day with the birds, breathing in the fresh air and watching the sunrise over the treetops.  My appreciation of mornings first began a few months ago when I found myself not looking forward to the morning hours as much as I used to. Perhaps it was having such a busy schedule every day and finding myself rushing around almost before the day had started.

So I made a point of rediscovering the joy in mornings.   Taking time to appreciate the fresh, crisp air, the wonderful feeling of a new day breaking or a quiet solitary moment were small ways I began to enjoy mornings more.  My appreciation of my morning time is growing as I continue to implement small changes into my daily routine as listed below.

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Plan an delicious and nutritious breakfast.  Planning breakfast the night before is an essential.  I’ve been soaking oats the night before and upon waking, I pop them on the stove (or microwave) and within a few minutes I hve a steaming-hot breakfast!

Sleep in total darkness.  A good nights rest will aid you in feeling fresh and alive the next morning! Melatonin, the sleep hormone, is produced in the darkness.

Drink water before going to bed and immediately after waking. Ending your day with water is one of the best ways to help your body store nutrients and minerals.  Starting your day with water aids your body in rehydrating itself and you’ll feel much more refreshed.

Turn off the phone.  Honestly, we all know why!  If not, read up here.

Plan your day ahead the previous night.   Nothing really stresses me more than going to bed with a million ‘to-do’s’ running through my mind!  Plan your day before you hit the pillow.  If you are like me and think of the things at any crazy hour, keep a pen and paper by your bed.

Spending time in solitary.  One of my greatest joys of the morning is spending what I call ‘quiet time’.  Usually spent alone and in silence, I can gather my thoughts, meditate and plan the details of my day.

Wake up to music. Not only do I love the quiet times of the morning but I love to start the day with joy!  I usually start streaming some of my favourite tunes as I’m getting dressed and doing my hair for the day.

How do you like to start the day?

Enjoyed this post? Why not join me on Facebook, pin with me or send me a request on Instagram!
Thanks for stopping by!
xx

timeless style

Timeless Style No. 7 | feat. Grace

 

Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly at Engagement Announcement

To be completely honest with you, I can’t wait to share the latest column in our series, Timeless Style Whenever I see a photo of Princess Grace of Monaco I am so inspired to re-embrace the elegant lifestyle in a brand new way.   I’ve always said that there is nothing quite like old-fashioned manners and I have to add there is nothing quite like old-fashioned elegance. Perhaps it is the way in which ladies composed themselves back in old times that so inspires me!

I’m excited to feature the late Princess of Monarco in this column for the first time althought no doubt – not the last!

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Is there someone who inspires you to lead a more elegant lifestyle?
Click here to feature them on Grace & Poise!

“When at last I took the time to look into the heart of a flower, it opened up a whole new world; a world where every country walk would be an adventure, where every garden would become an enchanted one.”

– Princess Grace of Monaco

 

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The Art of Letting Go

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It is human nature to hold on to the past, to re-live special moments, saviour close relationships to hold on hurts and disappointments.  But does this ‘holding on’ to negative moments help us become a better person in the long run?  From my experience I have learned that it by holding on to negative judgements, unkind words that you’ve heard or how you have been wrongly treated has a damaging effect on your attitute and outlook on life and those around you.  Perhaps it is easier for human nature to hold onto the past with all its troubles, trials, bad choices and hurtful feelings.  But by holding on to the past we bring the past into the present.  If we keep re-living the past we cannot move forward.

“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”
―Ann Landers

Letting go: the past

One of the greatest steps you can take in letting go of the past is acknowledging that it now is gone.  What remains in the past should stay that way.  Once you learn to acknowledge your past for simply that, you learn to move on and face the future with a much clearer vision.

Perhaps it is a life-changing decision you made which you now regret or a hurtful word you said in haste.  The ball is in your court to let go of the hurt and move forward by taking the necessary steps to let go.  Forgiveness is an essential element.  Perhaps you need to go to that person who you’ve offended or hurt or who has hurt you.  Acceptance of that forgiveness of that person is non-essential.  Once you have done what you can to leave the past behind you, you are free.  It is not your responsibility to force that person to accept your act of apology.

Letting go: friendships

Throughout life we meet many individuals.  Some of which, there is an instant connection, others not so much.  Through the twists and turns that life hurls at us, people’s personalities change and their lifestyles and goals adapt.  This alteration creates an effect on the friendships we hold with one another.

For whatever reason, perhaps you are at a point of ‘letting go’ of friendships you may have valued in the past but the other party simply doesn’t have the same sentiment.  This may cause a fracture within the relationship but friendships are simply a state of trust and support between two people.  If that trust is broken and the support is no longer in existence there will usually come a parting.  There is a way of allowing that friendship to move into the past without holding hate or hurt against that person.  Firstly, you must realise that some friendships fade with time.  Learn to understand that upon closing a door, a window always opens.  Perhaps letting go of this friendship prepares the way for a new and more positive relationship to form and grow.

Letting go: hurts, disappointments and negative judgements

Whatever we have experienced in our childhood or adult life each of us has at one time or another been given ‘the upper hand’.

Through my experience, I have learned that sometimes the greatest disappointments and hurts that life so easily hurls at you can be transformed into some of life’s greatest learning curves.  Just think of the life that that you have been handed, with all its troubles, trials and uncertainties has made you into the person you are today.

There is one thing that I am a great believer in, and that is despite where you have come from, it is your choice and your choice only that creates your future.  Never let a disappointment, a hurt or an offense that is in the past continue to affect today’s decisions negatively.  Learn from your sorrows to create a brighter future for tomorrow.  One of the most rewarding moments in life is when you finally find the courage to let go of what you can’t change.

Whilst it is important to ‘forgive and forget’ it is equally important to learn from the circumstance.  If you find yourself in a similiar situation that you were in a year ago, or a few weeks ago you know one thing – you have not learned from your past.

Letting go: gossip + untruths

For some unknown reason, the voice in our head can have so much power over our thoughts. In the end it comes down to how much you value yourself to hold on to those things in the past which do more harm than good.  It is in that moment, when you make a conscious choice to ‘let go’ of those hard feelings.

I have seen in my own life, as I have grown older, you learn to care less about what people think or talk about you and care more about building your values and principles.  The people who care most about you will speak the truth in love to your face and not behind your back in malicious gossip.  Those who speak behind your back are behind you for a reason.

It may depend on your personality and experience in how you deal with gossip but from my experience it is best to detach yourself from those people.  If they are speaking ill of you to others in the good times, how can you depend on them in the hard times?

Live simply.  Love generously.  Speak truthfully.  Breathe deeply.  Do your best.
Leave everything else to the powers above you.

the elegant lifestyle

Elegance in Art

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Watercolour + real petals = absolutely perfection.

As soon as I had laid eyes on these gorgeous pieces by Limzy Zhi Wei – I was stunned! 

Limzy is an Malaysian artist, based in Singapore finds her inspiration  from what surrounds her in everyday life to create these beautiful designs.

Scroll below to see more of her beautiful creations!

Limzy is also known for her #instaartmovement

Want to see more of Limzy’s work?

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instagram/lovelimzy
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xx

words of wisdom

Words of Wisdom No. 24

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A beautiful day begins with a beautiful mindset.
When you wake up take a second to think about what a privilege it is to simply be alive and healthy.
The moment you start acting like life is a blessing, I assure you that it will start to feel like one.
Time spent living is time worth appreciating.

Be nice to everyone
always smile
and appreciate things
because it could all be gone tomorrow.
– E. Sheeran

As we arise each morning, lets determine to respond with love and kindness to whatever may come our way.
– Thomas Monsom

When life gets blurry – adjust your focus.

God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself,
because there is no such thing.
– C.S. Lewis

Never apoligize for having high standards.
People who really want to be in your life will rise up to meet them.

God
is the reason why,
even in pain, I smile;
in confusion, I understand;
in betrayal, I trust;
and in fear, I continue to fight.

She stood in the storm
and when the wind did not blow her way,
she adjusted her sails.
– Elizabeth Edwards

A best friend won’t agree with you to make you happy.
If anything, they’ll say what needs to be said,
no matter if you want to hear it or not.

Use what talent you possess:
the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.
H. Van Dyke
Elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside.
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isn't she lovely

Isn’t She Lovely | No. 6 feat. Kate

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Since her wedding to the future King of England, I personally considered the Duchess of Cambridge’s style to be rather plain and yes, perhaps a little boring at times.  That was, until I saw her don the gorgeous L.K. Bennett Lasa Poppy Print dress for engagements in Brisbane, Australia. The combination of a light blue clutch, navy heels and hair pulled back into a half up/down do, complemented the ensemble perfectly.

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What do you think of Kate’s royal style?

In my opinion, this is one of her best ensembles of the royal tour, however here are a few more favourites…

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See more from this column:

Isn’t She Lovely No. 5 | feat. Julianna Margulies

Isn’t She Lovely No. 4 | feat. Princess Mary

Isn’t She Lovely No. 3 | feat. Princess Letiza of Spain

 

 

 

 

the elegant lifestyle

Full Feminine Skirts

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There is something incredibly feminine and graceful about a full skirt.  When I brought my first recently, I (almost) drifted back to my girlhood years when I used to delightfully spin around and watch the pleats flair outwards.  I am so excited to see that full-skirts are right on trend at the moment and are popping up in stores all across town in a plethora of gorgeous summery shades and patterns.  Not only is this silhouette perfect for summer but a great trend to carry through winter with a knit top and a pair of heels.

Below is a collection of gorgeous styles and colours to get you inspired!

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xx

lessons in etiquette

Etiquette Refresher: Knives + Forks

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Good table manners are a necessity for everyone and there are some simple rules to remember when using cutlery.  In this post we review the simple do’s and don’t when using a knife and fork in Australia.

A knife should not be held like a pencil, rather it should be held with the end of the handle touching the centre of the palm of your hand.  Your thumb should extend down one side of the handle with the index finger pointing down the back but never touching the actual blade.  Your other three fingers should curl naturally around.

When a fork is used without a knife the tines (prongs) should always point upwards.  The fork should be held near the top of the handle, resting on the middle finger and supported by the outer fingers.  Left-handed people hold it in their left hand, while right-handed people should transfer it from the left side of their plate to their right hand.

Australian’s have adopted the British system of only using both the knife and fork together for the main course.  The knife, only required when cutting.  When used together, the knife cuts the food and is used to push the food onto the prongs of the fork, not onto the scooped side.

When resting cutlery between conversation, the knife and fork should be crossed on the plate with the fork over the knife and the prongs pointing down. When finished eating, place the knife and fork together with the prongs of the fork facing upwards and the blade of the knife facing the fork.

Related Posts:
Etiquette Refresher: How to eat soup
Dining Out Etiquette
My top 5 secrets to weight control

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xx

 

the elegant lifestyle

10 Ways to Love

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listen
without interrupting

speak
without accusing

give
without sparing

praywithout ceasing

answer
without arguing

share
without pretending

enjoy
without complaint

trust
without wavering

forgive
without punishing

promise
without forgetting

isn't she lovely

Isn’t She Lovely No. 5 | feat. Julianna

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When Julianna Margulies stepped out in this full-length, sienna colored coat I knew instantly she had gained a spot on the Isn’t She Lovely column.

Julianna kept the look sophisticated by pairing the statement coat with black heels and a black leather satchel and her hair pulled back in a sleek ponytail.

What’s your thoughts on Julianna’s look?

Love it or loathe it?

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Isn’t She Lovely? No. 1 | feat. Kendra Spears

Isn’t She Lovely? No. 2 | feat. Rebecca Hall

Isn’t She Lovely? No. 3 | feat. Princess Letiza of Spain

Isn’t She Lovely No. 4 | feat. Princess Mary of Denmark

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xx

isn't she lovely

Isn’t She Lovely No. 4 | feat. Mary

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Here at Grace and Poise its no secret, Princess Mary is our poster girl.  She eludes everything we represent: grace, elegance, femininity, responsible values and a caring heart.  So when she appeared on the cover of Women’s Weekly magazine this month we were thrilled with the results!

What’s your thoughts on Mary’s new portraits?

Love it or loathe it?

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lessons in etiquette

Q&A No. 1: Seating a Lady

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Anna recently asked:
Does a lady enter a dining chair from the right or left side of the chair?

A socially savvy gentleman knows that his date is always seated to his right.  The same applies to casual situations and especially formal where the lady enters the dining chair to the right side.  When all the women at the table are seated, the men sit down.

Need an etiquette question answered?

Complete the form below to have your question featured on upcoming Q&A posts!

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the elegant lifestyle

Oscar de Renta Spring 2014 Collection

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Sleek and sophisticated, Oscar de Renta’s Spring 2014 collection begins with checkered, black and white, ladylike separates.  But just like springtime, things blossom into crisp whites with intricate patterns.  Blushing shades of colour create a colourful ending with mint, pink and pretty springtime patterns.

This collection reminds us of a garden: letting go of the wintery blues and springing forth into a brand new season with bursts of sunshine and an abundance of colourful flowers and foliage.

What do you love about this collection?

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Loved this collection?  Why not see our previous collections?

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isn't she lovely

Isn’t She Lovely? No. 2 | feat. Rebecca

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Rebecca Hall epitomised understated chic when recently attending a event in Venice.  Her gown was by designer Prabal Gurung and she accessorized with a black and gold clutch and hair pulled back in a simple ‘do.

What do you think of Rebecca’s style?

Love it or loathe it?

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Isn’t She Lovely No. 1 feat. Kendra Spears

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xx

beauty

August Beauty Favourites

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This year has been all about exploration and experimentation in terms of what appears on this blog.  Perhaps it is a reflection of my of the new adventures, challenges and possibilities this year has brought for me personally!

This year we have featured several new topic posts on fashion collections, style icons featuring fashion tips and hints, an Instagram feed, a new Facebook page, daily reminders posted on Instagram and Facebook and a featurette of my personal style.   Today, a new column will appear on this blog: Monthly Favourites.  In this column, I’ll share my fravourite items of the last month that I’ve used and loved.

augustfavourites

Formula 10.0.5 Deep Down Cleansing Mud Mask

When I had used up the remnants of my last mud mask I began the search for a new one.  I wanted something that was very natural and low in chemicals/preservatives.  The Formula 10.0.5 caught my attention and I’ve been using it weekly.  So far, I’ve been very content with the affects.  One thing I didn’t notice when I purchased the product was it was scented with orange and bergamot.  Perhaps something to keep in mind if you’re not a citrus lover.

Natural Instinct Facial Scrub

I have used this product for many years and I can’t say enough great things about it!  It is completely natural and uses the finest products such as organic extracts of Lavender, Chamomile, Burdock, Horsetail, Rosehip and Red Grape along with Jojoba and pro-Vitamin B5, all delicately scented with pure essential oils, using Walnut Shell Powder to gently exfoliate the skin.  I find with many of scrubs I purchase from the local drug-store is that they can be very harsh on the skin and leave it really dry.  But what I love about this product is that is cleanses the skin and moisturizes it at the same time – leaving it feeling fresh and rejuvenated!  Not only does it feel beautiful but it smells divine!

The Body Shop Body Butter – Strawberry

I was given this body butter as a gift and at first I can’t say I loved the berry scent but after a few uses it became one of my favourites.  I usually use this after I have put on my facial cleansing mask (above) leaving the skin feeling soft and rejuvenated! Leaving it on for about 15 minutes, remove with a damp towel and your skin will feel (and smell) absolutely gorgeous!

ChiChi Musk Noir

I very rarely purchase perfumes for myself but earlier in the year I was testing some body sprays and come across this little beauty.  Its perfect for the occasions when you don’t want to use a strong parfume and just need something light and airy.   Not only does this smell amazing but the scent lasts literally – forever and it has tiny, tiny silvery wash in it – leaving your skin smelling stunning and sparkling!  With spring just around the corner – I’ll be putting this little fragrance to good use!

Total Effects Moisturiser Normal SPF 15

I’m always at a loss when it comes to choosing a good moisturizer so when I stumbled across this little guy in the sale section at my local drug store I was pleasantly surprised at the results!  Not too oily but still providing plenty of moisture this is a perfect moisturizer for everyday use.  The only downside is that the scent might remind you of your grandmother – but perhaps that’s a good thing, right?

What’s some of your beauty favourites this past month?

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xx

the elegant lifestyle

The Art of Marriage

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When I recently stumbled across a letter Paul Newman wrote to his bride on their wedding day, I was inspired.    With a marriage spanning 50-years, there is no doubt that Mr Newman knew the ingredients to a long, happy and successful marriage.  Not only does this letter contain wisdom for a romantic relationship but I found the values also applicable to the interactions we have our friends and family.

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.

A good marriage must be created.

In the Art of Marriage, the little things are the big things.

It is never being too old to hold hands.

It is remembering to say ‘I love you’ at least once a day.

It is never going to sleep angry.

It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon; it should continue through all the years.

It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.

It is standing together facing the world.

It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.

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It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.

It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.

It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo or the wife to have the wings of an angel.

It is not looking for perfection in each other. It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor.

It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.

It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.

It is finding rooms for things of the spirit.

It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.

It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and obligation is reciprocal.

It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.

Related Reads:

The Art of Poise

The Art of Inner Beauty

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xx

the elegant lifestyle

Why I’m Still Proud to Promote Grace & Poise

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As I scrolled through the evening news on my local news website, a particular headline caught my attention.  My interest usually falls short of the modern celebrity and their antics but this time I decided to flick across and see what all the comotion was about.

What I saw was nothing short of distasteful and repulsive.  If you’ve read the news today, no doubt you’ve already seen the images of Miley Cyrus’s performace at the MTV Awards.  If it made your jaw drop, take comfort in the fact that Rihanna, Will Smith (and his family), Nick Cannon and a handful of other celebrities were also among the shocked and stunned audience who rather vehemently exposed their thoughts via Twitter.  I don’t feel any need to discuss what  viewers witnessed but I am reminded that Miley herself is only one year younger than I am – just twenty years old!  Yet she is an example of a young woman who exemplifies everything opposite to what we promote here at Grace & Poise.

It is with this example in mind that, if I could, for a moment take you back to the year 2007: I was 16 years old.  It was in the early months of January 2007 that my curiosity for an elegant life began to blossom.  I remember quite vividly a conversation I had with my mother one summer’s afternoon, sharing with her my longing for mentor who I could look up to that held the qualities of a elegant and graceful woman.  Although such women were far-and-few between at that stage in my life I began to take a great interest in the style, elegance and poise of Mary, the Crown Princess of Denmark.

If you have been following Grace & Poise for a few years you’ll have noticed that Princess Mary is featured quite frequently on this blog during those early years.  Although, I’m yet to have the privilege of meeting her in person, I learned so much from her via newspaper interviews: her style, her elegance in difficult situations, her calm yet optimistic view on life.  These values taught me so much and were encouraged by my mother who was delighted to watch me grow into a woman who desired these qualities.

It was with great interest that I searched the internet for websites that encouraged women to cultivate such qualities.  My search proved unfruitful.  I found it difficult to find any real, practical inspiration on such topics.  I wondered… “surely I can’t be the only girl to desire such qualities in her life?”  Perhaps there were other young girls and women around the world who pursed such a lifestyle?  And that is when Grace & Poise was born… Out of young, humble roots came a little blog about a girl on a pursuit of a more poised, elegant and feminine life.

But this interest in an elegant life, was rather unique in the fact that few of my friends grasped my vision.  When I shared with a handful of them my dreams of one day possessing this ladylike elegance and femininity I was presented with harsh responses.  Some criticized me for the pictures I used, others mocked me for trying to be ladylike and yet others teased me with jealous remarks.

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Yet here we are: 6 years on and still going strong. Those that previously mocked, criticized and teased me have now confessed their admiration of the fruits this blog has produced.  Sometimes, I look back and see how far I’ve grown but other times I feel like I’ve only just begun.

The term ‘grace and poise‘ no longer resembles simply the way I walk or how I eat at the dinner table but it has extended into a lifestyle of graceful composure and elegant living.   Yet, I don’t think I’ll ever reach a destination where I feel like I can resemble ‘elegance’ or have fully attained ‘poise’ but I believe through the challenges that life gives – I’ll continue my journey…

It is because of this very personal experience that I turn to these pages and share with you.  That despite the sex-obsessed, raunchy world we live in, as Miley Cyrus so aptly displayed tonight –  I’m still proud to promote grace & poise.

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xx

words of wisdom

Words of Wisdom No. 24

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Happiness.  Everyone wants it, everyone seeks it.  But do all find true happiness?

What is happiness?  Is it the pursuit of dreams, hopes, ambitions and goals?  Or is it, as some may say ‘living in the moment’, never taking a day for granted and living life to the fullest.  For some its the love of a puppy, the joy of having a large, close-knit family, or according to some it is the reward of personal effort. The pursuit of happiness need not remain a mystery.  Ernest Hemming way once stated that “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”
Perhaps these lines with unveil what happiness truly is…

“Our happiness depends upon [the] cultivation of love, sympathy and true courtesy to one another.”
E. White

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
― Mother Teresa

“Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.”
― Charlotte Brontë

“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”
― Dale Carnegie

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
― Robert A. Heinlein

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
― Abraham Lincoln

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”
― Mother Teresa

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“Generally speaking, the most miserable people I know are those who are obsessed with themselves; the happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others…By and large, I have come to see that if we complain about life, it is because we are thinking only of ourselves.”
― Gordon B. Hinckley

Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

“I think happiness is what makes you pretty. Period. Happy people are beautiful. They become like a mirror and they reflect that happiness.”
― Drew Barrymore

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”
― Marcus Aurelius

“Be so happy so that when others look at you – they become happy too.”

“Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get”
― W.P. Kinsella

– – –

What does true happiness mean to you?

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xx

the elegant lifestyle

30 Simple Ways to Have More Romance In Your Life

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For some, its a gift that comes rather naturally but for others romance is a act by which we continually need to be conscious and thoughtful of.   Gifts, hugs, a note to say ‘I love you’ are small acts of kindness that are just the beginning of true romance.

In the course of life we sometimes forget those who are nearest and dearest to us. Perhaps the ‘honeymoon’ phase is over within a relationship and daily activities takeover an idealized life.  Its true, romance takes time, it takes risk and it takes a daring heart.  Encourage yourself to leap off the cliff and take on the challenge.  Being truly romantic involves opening yourself up and revealing your feelings to someone else.  Its a risk but if taken seriously, its a risk worth taking.

While romance is often associated with a partner, boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse, I believe that romance, the act of giving and sharing love should not be kept for when ‘in a relationship‘ only. What better practice than to shower your parents, sister, brother or friends with love and adoration is little ways?

Thoughts to remember when considering romance:

  • How is more important than why.
  • ‘Good chemistry’ has nothing to do with compatibility.
  • The process of romance must be respected. There’s not shortcuts! If some form of romance is not on your to-do list, you may want to reevaluate your priorities.
  • ‘Communication’ is 10 percent of an A+ relationship. Creating a loving, long-term relationship is the most difficult, time-consuming, and complicated challenge you will face in your entire life. Also the most rewarding!

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Add a little romance to your life:

1. Say ‘I love you’ at least once a day.

2. No need for fancy dinners to pull out the candles. Why not share takeout by candlelight?

3. Write a little note – pop it in the book he/she is reading.

4. Write a letter sharing how grateful you are to have him/her in your life. Send via snail mail for a simple surprise.

5. Finding yourself always forgetful of anniversaries or special dates such as Mother’s day? Place a standing order with your local florist and provide the dates for flowers to be sent out. Have the florist charge your card and bill you automatically. This technique is for the forever-forgetful and terminally organised!

6. Always stay in touch with the special, memorable, unique ways that the two of you have had fun together. What is your fondest memory with him/her? Why not, do it again!

7. Learn his/her ‘blind spots’ and encourage him/her in those areas.

8. Learn hi/her ‘soft spots’ and indulge in them.

9. Understand the difference between a gift and a present. A present is something that you’re giving the receiver because its something you want him/her to have. In contrast, a gift is something that you’re sure the receiver wants. What has he/she wanted for a really long time but held back from buying? Now is your opportunity!

10. Learn his/her all-time fravourite meal and learn how to create it!  Get help from friends, family or neighbours – whatever it takes!

11. Hold a ‘romance idea brainstorming session’.  Create a list of ideas and activities for the next month or so.

12. Do you take your partner/friend for granted?  It’s time to stop!  Take time to show that you appreciate their strengths and how their life has impacted yours in a positive way.

13. When was the last time the two of you simply went for a walk together?  Not only is this a great opportunity to spend some one-on-one time together but it also has added health benefits!

14. Compliment him/her in front of friends and family.

15. Open doors for her with an extra little flourish.

16. Surprise him/her by giving him/her a gift on your birthday!

17. Do you know your partner well?  Memorize their fravourite colour, flower, author, Bible passage, song, meal, ice-cream flavour, restaurant, artist, style of artwork, role model.

18. Why not… cook a meal together?

19. Sit down at the beginning of each month and discuss romantic plans that will fit into other scheduled appointments and commitments.

20. Remember: occasional romance is nice but its limited.  Romance that spans over time is what its really all about.  Why?  Simply because consistency of romantic efforts reflect your commitment to your partner.  It shows that he or she is top priority in your life.

21. Why not…shake up your routine.  Changing your routine often leads to new ideas and a fresh perspective.

22. Think different: Always late? Be on-time!

23. Complete that chore or favor that your partner has wanted you to do for a long time.

24. Wear your favourite perfume to bed – even if you sleep alone!  Or tuck dried lavender inside of pillow cases before using them for a fragrant surprise.

25. Understand that the disagreements are an integral part of the plot.  Respect the other individual’s wishes/desires/believes.  Never be too proud to not listen to the other side of the story.

26. Light candles when you arrive home, rather than turning on all the lights in the house.

27. Listen to relaxing music rather than turning on the television.

28. Keep fresh flowers by your nightstand.

29. Switch off the electronic equipment such as iPads/laptops/computers and enjoy a relaxing evening with a book.

30. Take a cooking class together.  Learn how to perfect your fravourite dish.

Related articles:

In Celebration of Valentine’s Day

Words of Wisdom No. 12 on the subject of love

Love Inspiration

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thoughts

On Being Tender & Open

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“Being tender and open is beautiful.

As a woman, I feel continually shhh’ed.

Too sensitive. Too mushy. Too wishy washy.

Don’t let someone steal your tenderness.

Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart.

Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things.

Whether it’s a song, a stranger, a mountain, a rain drop, a tea kettle, an article, a sentence, a footstep, feel it all – look around you.

All of this is for you.

Take it and have gratitude.

Give it and feel love.”

Zooey Deschanel

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the elegant lifestyle

Oscar de Renta Resort 2014 Collection

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Sometimes less is more, as evidenced in Oscar de Renta’s 2014 Resort collection.  The mood for this collection was particularly bright and cheery, with pops of colour and pretty floral patterns embellishing simple silhouettes.

This collection combined both traditional and modern patterns cut in crisp, tailored style suits with draped ’50’s style dresses. The fabrics were captivating in gorgeous shades of cobalt blue through to sweet tones of pink.  Floral dresses, peplum tops and other ladylike characteristics were strong features within the collection.

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To see more stylish inspirations take a peek at my Pinterest.
Related Articles:

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Belgium’s Queen of Hearts

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Today, Belgium gained a new King and Queen. Within weeks before his 20th anniversary on the throne, King Albert II signed a formal act of abdication before his son, Prince Philippe. The naturally, shy and introverted King Philippe was graced with a stunningly, elegant Queen by his side as he took the sacred vow: “I begin my reign with the desire to put myself at the service of all Belgians. I will work for it in perfect agreement with the government and in accordance with the constitution.”

It all began with a surprise announcement from the royal court of Belgium in 1999, announcing the engagement of Prince Philippe to Miss Mathilde Ghislaine. The public were very much unaware of the courtship and even asked the prince if the marriage was arranged?  It was with great joy that the Belgium people learned that the twenty-six year old speech therapist had been secretly courting the Crown Prince for over three years previous.

Whilst many of Europe’s future queens such as Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark or Crown Princess Letizia of Spain were born ‘commoner’s’, Queen Mathilde was born into an aristocratic family.  Before meeting the prince, she was graduated with the highest honors from the Institut Libre Marie Haps in Brussels.  She had her own speech therapy practice from 1995-1999 and was very successful in the field.

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Since her winter wedding in 1999 to the Crown Prince, Mathilde has won over the people of Belgium with her warmth and charisma. The King and Queen have welcomed four children into the royal family over the years, including Princess Elizabeth who follows her father to the throne.

Princess has worked extensively with UNICEF and UNAIDS, traveling to such countries as Niger, Mali, Tanzania, China, India, and Senegal.  In 2000, she created the “Princess Mathilde Fund,” which awards an annual prize of 10,000 Euros “in recognition of a specific initiative focused on strengthening the position of vulnerable people.” The project was initially funded with donations the couple received as wedding gifts.

As the new King faces challenging times in the coming months he will be blessed to have his strongest supporter standing by his side throughout it all: Queen Mathilde of Belgium.

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Royalty Related Articles:

Princess Mary: the world’s most stylish royal

Wedding Celebrations in Sweden

The Princess In Waiting: Kate Middleton

Queen Elizabeth: the epitome of sophistication and style

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xx

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OOTD: Winter Cocktail Party

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I’m super excited to release my first ‘Outfit of the Day’ column!

Last weekend I attended a gorgeous winter Cocktail Party.   The Hollywood-Glamour theme was beautifully tied into the evening’s events from diamond-encrusted table settings, Oscar-style speeches and the most delightful collection of ladies and gentlemen dressed in their finest!

The weather was very much in tune with the evening’s wintery feel and it started to pour as we were walking out the door so I exchanged my summery heels for a more practical (and comfortable!) closed-toe pair. I’m so glad I did as we did alot of walking!

I donned a simple ’60’s style cocktail length dress with a embellished bodice and box pleats in a gorgeous chiffon fabric paired with a faux-fur bolero.

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xx

 

 

 

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Gentleman vs. Player

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A man who flatters her vs. a gentleman who compliments her.

A man who spends money on her vs. a gentleman who invests in her.

A man who views her as property vs. a gentleman who views her properly.

A man who lusts after her vs. a gentleman who loves her.

A man who believes he is a gift to women vs. a gentleman who believes she’s a gift to him.

Related Articles:

Guest Post: Peter Ryan on Respect

Words of Wisdom No. 22 on the subject of Gentlemen

International Be a Gentlemen Day

Thoughts of Femininity from a Gentleman

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Words of Wisdom No. 23

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The Words of Wisdom for the month of July is on the topic of elegance.  When creating a elegance life, I like to think of the process as more of a continual progress rather than a goal I can physically set and accomplish in a day, month or year.  Each experience in life provides new and exciting opportunities to express and refine myself.  Perhaps these simple yet powerful truths on the subject of elegance may inspire you to continue the beautiful, refining process of elegant womanhood.

“Elegance is a glowing inner peace. Grace is an ability to give as well as to receive and be thankful. Mystery is a hidden laugh always ready to surface! Glamour only radiates if there is a sublime courage & bravery within: glamour is like the moon; it only shines because the sun is there.”
― C. JoyBell C.

“The elegance is as physical, as moral quality that has nothing common with the clothing. You can see a countrywoman more elegant than one so called elegant woman.”
― Karl Lagerfeld

“Isn’t elegance forgetting what one is wearing?”
― Yves Saint Laurent

“Elegance is refusal.”
― Coco Chanel

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
― Leonardo da Vinci
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“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
― E.F. Schumacher
“Elegance is refusal.”
― Coco Chanel
“Elegance…like all magnificent things, it’s very simple.”
― Natalie Babbitt
“You gave too much rein to your imagination. Imagination is a good servant, and a bad master. The simplest explanation is always the most likely.”
― Agatha Christie
“It’s not very easy to grow up into a woman. We are always taught, almost bombarded, with ideals of what we should be at every age in our lives: “This is what you should wear at age twenty”, “That is what you must act like at age twenty-five”, “This is what you should be doing when you are seventeen.” But amidst all the many voices that bark all these orders and set all of these ideals for girls today, there lacks the voice of assurance. There is no comfort and assurance. I want to be able to say, that there are four things admirable for a woman to be, at any age! Whether you are four or forty-four or nineteen! It’s always wonderful to be elegant, it’s always fashionable to have grace, it’s always glamorous to be brave, and it’s always important to own a delectable perfume! Yes, wearing a beautiful fragrance is in style at any age!”
― C. JoyBell C
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“I have a different idea of elegance. I don’t dress like a fop, it’s true, but my moral grooming is impeccable. I never appear in public with a soiled conscience, a tarnished honor, threadbare scruples, or an insult that I haven’t washed away. I’m always immaculately clean, adorned with independence and frankness. I may not cut a stylish figure, but I hold my soul erect. I wear my deeds as ribbons, my wit is sharper then the finest mustache, and when I walk among men I make truths ring like spurs.”
― Edmond Rostand, Cyrano De Bergerac

“The elegance is as physical, as moral quality that has nothing common with the clothing. You can see a countrywoman more elegant than one so called elegant woman.”
― Karl Lagerfeld

“Prettiness fades after a few years, but elegance only increases with age.”
― Anne Gracie
“Elegance is an attitude”
― Longines
“Elegance is not about being noticed, it’s about being remembered.”
― Habeeb Akande
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xx
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Hurrah! Sleeves are Back!

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After bowing to pressure from the public, British fashion brand M&S has promised customers that 90% of their dresses in their fall collection will feature both 1/2 and 3/4 length sleeves.  If you’re like me, you might be thinking its time for a fresh, few fashion look in the sleeves department.  Perhaps its finally time to finally toss the strapless/sleeveless look!

The chain’s new style director has made a new pledge to customers: “‘You told us you wanted dresses with sleeves, so for autumn 90per cent will have sleeves. I can personally promise that I mean real sleeves, full, three-quarters and half.” This promise came after customers criticized the brand of the dominance of unflattering sleeveless and cap-sleeve dresses.

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The new collection will feature bright pops of colour and longer hemlines with a greater use of wool, silk and cashmere fabrics.

I have a suspicion that M&S won’t be the only fashion label to bring sleeves back… Just take a peek at our latest fashion raves for a subtle hint.

Alice Temperley: Resort 2014 Collection

Carolina Herrera Collections

What do you think?  Is it time for sleeves to make a comeback?

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xx

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40 Little Instructions on Life

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Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated.

Watch a sunrise at least once a year.

Strive for excellence, not perfection.

Plant a tree on your birthday.

Return borrowed vehicles with the gas tank full.

Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them. Leave everything a little better than you found it.

Keep it simple.

Think big thoughts but relish simple pleasures.

Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know. Be forgiving on yourself and others.

Say “thank you” a lot.

Say “please” a lot.

Avoid negative people.

Wear polished shoes.

Remember other people’s birthdays.

Commit yourself to constant improvement.

Have a firm handshake.

Send lots of valentine’s cards and sign them.

Look people in the eye.

Be the first to say ‘hello’.

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Return all things you borrow.

Make new friends but cherish the old ones.

Keep secrets.

Plant flowers every spring.

Have a dog.

Always accept and outstretched hand.

Stop blaming others.

Take responsibility for every area of your life.

Be there when people need you.

Don’t expect life to be fair.

Compliment at least 3 people per day.

Never underestimate the power of love.

Don’t be afraid to say, “I made a mistake.”

Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.”

Compliment even small improvements.

Keep your promises no matter what.

Marry only for love.

Rekindle old friendships.

Count your blessings.

Call your Mother.

And your Dad too.

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Thanks for stopping by!
xx

(Photo Credits: here)

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Your Votes Revealed!

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A special thanks to all my lovely viewers and readers who have voted and sent in your thoughts about what you’d like to see featured more frequently on Grace & Poise and also for your suggestions on how to improve the content on this blog.  Within just seven days we had over 250 votes come in: many of which were your own personal ideas that you’ll see featured in the upcoming posts – keep eyes peeled!

Your Votes:

The Etiquette column featuring up-to-date advice on manners and common courtesy  received maximum votes.

The Motivational/Inspirational column was the runner-up.  Primarily our monthly, Words of Wisdom and the ‘Today’s Reminder‘ updates posted daily on Facebook and Instagram prove to be popular.  This feature will certainly continue.

How-to fashion/style column/OOTD came third and is a feature which interests me greatly.   Along with suggestions of commencing a new column featuring my personal style (OOTD) I look forward to creating a new addition to Grace and Poise.

Youtube.  Second-to-last votes went to creating a YouTube channel.  While this is something that I would love to do and I realise that many of you have voted that you’d like to see this feature I recognised that at this point in time it will have to be put on the back-burner.

Frequency in posting was what many of you voted for.  It is definatly something that I would like to improve on and I’ll promise to do my best a featuring posts more regulary.  However, due to work and study commitments I can’t make any great promises.

Other Requests:

Along with the suggested votes, many of you wrote your own suggestions and requests.  A special note of thanks to those who sent in their personal requests such as:

  • How-to improve manners
  • Personal posts – we’d like to get to know you better
  • On the topic of Gentlemen
  • The articles on femininity is a favourite
  • More unique posts
  • Finding the balance between being dignified vs. fun
  • How to be witty in a lady-like manner
  • Feature more celebrity/movie characters/book character examples
  • Advice on how to deal with flirts and annoying people
  • How physical should you be with male friends?
  • Classiness in different styles: like bohemian/trendy/ romantic
  • What does good humor look like?

Whilst this poll officially closes today, a new one opens which will remain open for the duration of the blog as a window for new readers to share their thoughts on what they would like to see featured on this blog and share their comments and make suggestions.  The poll will be displayed on the right column of this blog for future suggestions.

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Princess Mary: the World’s Most Stylish Royal

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In a recent survey conducted by Hello! magazine, Denmark’s Crown Princess was voted the world’s most stylish royal.  The stakes were high with competition being the popular Duchess of Cambridge who came second and Queen Rania of Jordan who came third.

So what makes Mary the most stylish dresser of all?

Princess Mary style reflects a genuine and passionate interest in the international fashion scene, in choosing pieces from local Danish designers to attending some of the leading designer’s fashion shows during the annual Copehagen fashion weeks often with her personal stylist, Anja Camilla Alajdi.

Mary is a master at transformation: from an average Danish woman riding her bicycle along Copenhagen’s cobblestone streets for an evening out to an international style icon.  In December, 2004 the Crown Princess spoke to Vogue where she said, “It is important that I look smart and elegant and appropratly dressed for every occasion.  I’m still developing my style to fit in with my new role.” During the 9 years since that interview, there is no doubt that the Princess has clearly defined what works for her in both style and wardrobe. But through each phase, one factor never changes: her inner glow that makes each ensemble look natural, relevant and completely individual.

What characteristics make Mary’s style stand out as an icon for so many women?

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Understated elegance.  Mary understands that great style emerges from dressing simply and avoiding unnecessary adornments.  Mary’s simple style often reflects a well-known look with the addition of a small personal detail to enhance it and make it her own.  Often paring a simple linen shift dress that is close to being out-of-date with a beautiful cashmere top lifts the look from plain to chic.  With help from her stylist, Mary has managed to strike a clear style by combining elements such as a coloured belt tied at the waist, pointy shoes and wide-brimmed hats.  These are all small elements which creates an icon: the ability to make people recognise a style through small, personal detail to enhance it and make it her own.

Expensive with the common.  Whilst Mary maintains her unpretentious charm her wardrobe has bestowed touches of the unattainable.  Mixing exclusive pieces with common accessories, Mary has created a clever and subtle mix of everyday fashion with regal eminence that makes her a style icon for women everywhere.

Inspiring design.   The poll showed that 68% of respondents found Princess Mary’s style ‘inspiring’ and much like the Dutchess of Cambridge there are several style blogs that are purely dedicated to tracking her her every sartorial move, providing information on what she wears and where to get it. (See links below)

Experimental style. There is no doubt Mary loves to mix and match fashion.  Over the years Mary has shown us how to combine a ladylike look with the latest fashion trends.  Not afraid to experiment with bold colours, prints and different styles, Mary has often displayed a sense of adventure when it comes to fashion.

Pairing is crucial.  A key element in Princess Mary’s put-together look is the key element that she keeps her assessories minimal and pair with each other.  This look, from her visit in Washington is a perfect example: handbag, heels and hat are all perfectly matching.  This provides the look to be ‘pulled-together’ from head to toe.  When wearing lighter colours, pair accessories in more earthy tones.  Wearing darker colours gives one the opportunity to experiment a little more.

Know your style. Knowing your style is knowing yourself – your character and your personality.  What are your natural colours and advantages?  Time and time again Mary has proved that she knows exactly who she is and is able to focus and enhance precisely what she wishes to enhance.

The final touches. As a natural innovator of royal fashion, Mary has remained faithful to wearing a hat when on royal duty.  Often assisted by her fravourite milliner, Susanne Juul, Mary has created a collection of stylish hats that resemble her modern yet elegant wardrobe.  One particular characteristic of Mary’s style, as previously mentioned, is her way of carrying through a complete look.  She always shows perfect attention to detail from head to toe and a hat adds the finishing touch.  Unfortunately, the general use of hats is a dying fashion but Mary understands that nothing gives more style and a touch of pizazz to an outfit than a beautiful headdress.

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Poll Results:

1. Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark – 68 per cent

2. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge – 67 per cent

3. Queen Rania of Jordan – 61 per cent

4. Letizia, Princess of Asturias – 59 per cent

5. Madeleine, Princess of Sweden – 56 per cent

6. Charlene, Princess of Monaco – 52 per cent

7. Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden – 47 per cent

8. Zara Philips – 45 per cent

9. Queen Maxima of the Netherlands – 38 per cent

10. Mette-Marit, Crown Princess of Norway – 33 per cent

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Follow Mary’s Fashion:

Style of Mary Blog

Royal Outfits of CPM Blog

Princess Mary Style Blog

Style Icon: Princess Mary

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Thank you for stopping by!
xx

(Photo Credits: here)

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Alice Temperley: Resort 2014 Collection

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Beautiful standout pieces with feminine accents complete the look for Alice Temperley’s Enchanted Cruise 2014 collection which has been dubbed her fravourite line to date.

Chic floral prints combined with vintage silhouettes create a fresh yet delicate look.  Beauty is in the details with lace accents and delicate appliquéd three-dimensional laser flowers, primarily buttercups and primrose which are strategically placed to avert the eye to the feminine silhouette.  Temperley has creatively reworked the Fifties couture proportions with modern fabrics in ultra-feminine palettes for a sophisticated look.

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It looks like we are not the only fan’s of Temperley’s creations:

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If you’ve enjoyed this collection perhaps you’d also enjoy:
Carolina Herrera Collection. . .

…and don’t forget our poll is still open!  If you are yet to vote – now is your chance!

POLL CLOSED

CLICK HERE FOR NEW POLL

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This Week on Instagram No. 3

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I hope all my readers are enjoying a lovely relaxing weekend.  Despite being in the throes of winter in Australia, we have had some beautiful sunny days with clear blue skies which has been delightful.

Your chance to vote is still open!  Voting closes next Thursday when results will be revealed! Don’t forget you can add an additional answer/comment below the voting box if there is something not on the list you’d like to see.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy new week.

xx

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Follow me on Instagram for next week’s coverage. . .

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Your Chance to Vote!

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Without you, my dear readers – the blog would be virtually non-existent.  What would be the usefulness of writing a blog if no one cared to read it? So, I’ve been thinking…

Content Overhaul

With the revamp of Grace & Poise commencing in September of this year I hope to be able not only to give the design of the blog an (much needed) overhaul but I’m also looking ahead to how I can improve the content of this blog.

So… I need your thoughts!  What would you like to see on Grace & Poise?  Is there a specific category you enjoy reading more than others?  How do you think the content can be improved?

Grace & Poise on YouTube?

Over time, I’ve had several readers contact me requesting I create a YouTube channel for more of a practical, face-to-face approach.  If you think that’s what you’d like to watch – vote below!

Etiquette

If you’d like to see more ‘how-to’ etiquette articles like this or this – let us know below!

Words of Wisdom

Do you love our monthly Words of Wisdom column?  We’d like to know your thoughts!

Fashion/Style

Keen to see more fashion/style related posts like this one or maybe this one?

Have your say below…

Merci!

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This Week on Instagram No. 2

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This week on Instagram. . .

We were lucky enough to have a long-weekend in Australia this week!  This proved a perfect opportunity to take a relaxing stroll along the beach and enjoy the simple pleasures of an extra day on the weekend!

This week’s flashback took us to the beautiful state of Tasmania, situated in South-East Australia and separated by the Bass Straight.  We holidayed there a few weeks ago and found it so relaxing and it was such a delight to take in all the amazing natural beauty Tasmania offers.  From the gorgeous harbors dotted with boats of every kind to the winding roads along the coastline where the bushland meets the sea – breathtaking!

Wishing all my readers an extra-lovely week ahead!

xx

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{daily reminder to take risks and be a little adventurous!}

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{a lovely stroll along the seaside on the weekend}

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{a perfect day!}

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{daily reminder that when times are tough you need to create your own happiness}

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{fondue time!}

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{fresh fruits ready to be dipped in melted chocolate mmmmm… hungry anyone?}

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{daily reminder: mind over matter}

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{met to furry little fellow (so cuddly!) on our vacation in Tasmania, Australia}

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{this kangaroos were even kind enough to strike a pose!}

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{daily reminder to lend a helping hand and brighten someone’s day}

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{sunset – Tasmania, Australia}

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{enjoying a cruise around Port Arthur’s historic site}

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{homemade garlic bread – delicious!}

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{happy thoughts are the best!}

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{it’s the weekend – finally!}

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Words of Wisdom No. 22

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This month’s Word’s of Wisdom comes from a gentleman’s philosophy on the characteristics of a lady.

Is there anything more inspiring than to be reminded perhaps not just by the women around us, but by the gentlemen in our presence that we are created beautiful and feminine?  Composing this post was a powerful reminder for me of my responsibility to be more feminine and graceful not only in my actions and words but in my thought processes.  As the old adage goes: ‘what a man thinketh – that shall he be.’

May you be inspired by the simple, gentle yet oh-so-powerful reminders that you are created feminine, lovely and intelligent.

– – –

God is the ultimate gentleman. He’s always opening doors for you and putting you first.

Embrace the struggle – don’t avoid it … that’s how you win.

LADIES’ TIP: Someone’s pretty doesn’t take away from your beauty – confident women always embrace other women.

Sometimes you gotta get your own flowers – don’t wait on someone to love you before you do.

God is in control … nothing is coincidence.

Reaching success on your “own” doesn’t make you self-made – God was present the whole time whether you acknowledge Him or not.

If you wouldn’t be friends out of the relationship, you have no business being in the relationship.

If being with him/her minimizes your potential, leave – it’s just that simple. Your relationship should propel you.

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Some women compromise with the idea that they can change a man down the line … May God be with you.

LADIES’ TIP: Not all compliments come with agendas – relax, he was being nice.

You have a 100% chance of success when you do it God’s way.

Let no one push you into a marriage – a lifetime decision requires prayer, not pressure.

Isn’t God good? Just sit back & think about how much He loves you … overwhelming.

Disciplined people submit their emotions to wisdom.

Your impact should be greater than your image.

Failure is far more respected than not trying.

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When a lady says she wants a good guy but dates the bad boy – it’s likely because she hasn’t met a balanced gentleman.

When you focus on all your blessings and the good people around you, there’s nothing to complain about. Nothing.

LADIES’ TIP: Distance yourselves from random bitter man-hating women or you will become one.

Cover your ears & open your eyes – people will always speak with their actions … Always.

Today I woke up thanking God for another opportunity to wake up and thank God. Today will be a good day … it always is.

– – –

Related articles written by gentlemen:

Guest Post: Respect by Peter Ryan, Today’s Gentleman

Guest Post: Thoughts on Femininity by Michael Shepherd

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Thank you for stopping by!
xx

(Photo Credits: here)

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Lace & Florals

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Throughout the duration of my blogging years I’ve realised how frequently the word ‘feminine’ is associated with an abundance of floral prints, lace and all things pink and romantic. Whilst I’ve always been enthusiastic about cultivating femininity I’ve actually never been the ruffle and lace type. Yes, I admit, I do love pink and a perhaps a little lace now and then.  However, when I look at my wardrobe I realise my preference is in clean lines, earthy tones mixed with jewel colours.  Perhaps one or two pink pieces appear here and there but the stereotypical ruffles and bows just doesn’t fit my style.

These days floral prints and lace are familiar pieces on the fashion runways.  So how is it possible to combine a feminine style without going overboard?  Here’s a few tips and tricks to keep the look understated yet sophisticated.

Keep it simple.  When choosing floral print or lace, keep accessories simple.  Lace speaks loudly, so go for earthy, nude colours for heels to draw the attention to the main piece.  Keep the hairstyle simple.

Look for quality.  Seek out sophisticated, quality pieces when choosing lace.  Always ensure the lace is lined well.  Thin lining is more likely to snag or potentially unravel at the seams.

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Keep it classic. For day wear it’s important to keep it classic, by opting for basic silhouettes like sheath dresses, or pencil skirts. Lace is an already intricate design, so keep it clean by accessorizing with block colours.

Office appropriate lace.  Lace is a perfect way to add a feminine touch to a traditional suit.  Pair a lace pencil skirt or sheath with a fitted jacket or cardigan.  The rule of thumb is to stick to neutral colours and conservative shapes around the office.

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Keep it similar. Its often that lace and floral prints will be printed on basic colours such as white, black or nude.  Use these colours to coordinate your accessories such as handbag and shoes.

Details. Details. Details. There are still some of us that avoid wearing lace.  If so, then go for lace accents.  Perhaps subtle lace accent such as lace sleeves or a lace hemline.  Otherwise why not try lace accessories such a lace clutch as a statement piece.

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Enjoyed this post?  Why not follow me on Twitter or join me on Facebook or pin with me?
Thank you for stopping by!
xx

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This Week on Instragram No. 1

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Highlights from our first week on Instagram. . .

This week included a selection of inspiration thoughts and words of wisdom to inspire (posted daily!)  We also provided live feed coverage of Sweden’s royal wedding, including Valentino’s sketch of the bridal gown and a few teary guests.

Let’s see what a new week brings?

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{daily reminder to live simply}

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{daily reminder from Abraham Lincoln on procrastination}

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{yes, we are now Pinterest!}

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{daily reminder of the gift of today}

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{daily reminder from Carolina Herrera on elegance}

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{fashionable guests make an entrance to the wedding}

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{the ceremony}

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{official portrait of the bride and groom}

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{Valentino’s sketch – isn’t it gorgeous?}

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{daily reminder to invest well}

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{daily reminder of how we are defined}

for more see instagram.com/graceandpoise

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xx

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Celebrations in Sweden

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Today marks the beginning of wedding celebrations in Sweden for King Carl Gustaf’s second daughter, Princess Madeline to British businessman, Chris O’Neil.  In 2010 Princess Madeline moved to New York City where she began working with the World Childhood Foundation, an organisation her mother co-founded.  It was in New York where the princess met Mr O’Neil and in January of the following year that the couple began dating.  The happy couple announced their engagement in October of last year.  Mr O’Neil has requested that he remain a private citizen and not share his wife’s royal titles and will continue to pursue a career in finance after the marriage.

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Let’s take a walk down memory lane at some of Sweden’s royal weddings in the past. . .

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Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden on her wedding day to Mr Daniel Westling, now Prince Daniel Duke of Västergötland
19 June 2010

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 HM King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Silvia Sommerlath
June 19, 1976
Pictures of royal wedding and guests to be posted on here and here.  Check for updates!
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xx
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Carolina Herrera Collections

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“I have a responsibility to the woman of today – to make her feel confident, modern and above all else beautiful.”
– Carolina Herrera

Carolina Herrera is known for her exeptional personal style and for dressing First Ladies such as Jacquiline Onassis and Michelle Obama.

 Featured in this blog is a handful of our fravourite designs from her Night and Resort Collections which feature beautiful, clean lines in elegant monochrome colors with touches of feminine mystique.  This look is achieved with luxurious and soigné fabrics such as silk faille, jacquard and taffetta.

Whats not to love?

Take a look. . .

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xx

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Updates & News

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Hi to my lovely readers

This post brings you some news and updates on what’s currently happening with Grace and Poise.

Firstly, I’m delighted to announce that we are now posting updates on…

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Yay! Don’t forget to follow us at instagram.com/graceandpoise

Other news also includes some exciting new changes to the formatting of the blog.  I’m currently working with some very talented artists who are bringing together a brand new website to be launched within the next few months.  This is an announcement not only to readers who subscribe but also to my lovely readers who receive my updates via your inbox.  But don’t worry, I’ll be giving you plenty of notice before the changeover takes place!

So, there you have it!  That is all the exciting news for now!

Until next time,

Clare

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xx

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Dining Out Etiquette

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Dining out should always be a pleasant experience, be it a intimate dinner for two or a party with friends and family.  When dining out, it is expected that you, as the guest behave in a manner which is in keeping with the sort of restaurant you are visiting.  Be it a casual brunch on a weekend to a formal dinner there are a handful of guidelines which can ensure your dining experience is an enjoyable one.

Make a reservation.

It is the host’s duty to call ahead of time to arrange a reservation.  This avoids unnecessary queuing as popular restaurants may be pre-booked for days in advance.   The time of booking is also an opportunity to check in advance and advise of any special dietary requirements of your guests.

Ensure you arrive in a timely manner at your reservation.  In the words of Ita Buttrose it is “unforgivable” to reserve a table and not turn up.  Always ensure you cancel a booking even if it is at the last minute.

Some restaurants may not take reservations.  In this case, be sure you arrive ahead of time to ensure you are at the top of the waiting list and may be seated before the arrival of your guests.

Arrival

Upon your arrival at the restaurant, wait for the maitre d’ to escort you to your table.  Some restarants may offer to take your coat or umbrella before being seated.  At a table with a banquette, women are traditionally seated on the banquette, the men on chairs opposite them.  Once seated, you’ll probably be offered pre-dinner drinks.  It is perfectly acceptable to politely decline until once you have perused the drinks menu further.

Ordering

Styles of menus various enormously, from  fancy handwritten menus that change daily to elaborate printed menus which feature a Table d’hôte or fixed price menu with limited choice.  In contrast, other restaurants may have a À la carte menu, which simply means that each dish has a stated price and the dishes can be ordered in any combination desired.

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The basic rule of ordering from a menu is to ask the waiter about any dish you do not understand.  Asking what a particular dish contains does not make you look stupid as there is no point in ordering what you do not recognize!  Any waiter will know what is on offer or at least be able to find out.

Complaints

What if something is wrong with the food you ordered?  The dish is not cooked, the food is cold or the salad tastes nasty!  Whatever your complaint be sure to quietly explain your issue to the waiter.  Any reputable restaurant will be obliging and willing to resolve the problem and replace the dish.

The Bill

When the meal draws to a close, attract the attention of a waiter and request the bill.  Don’t forget to discreetly check the bill for errors. Signal the waiter when the payment is ready for collection.

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xx

(Photo Credits: here)

 

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Words of Wisdom No. 21

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The inspiration behind this month’s Words of Wisdom comes from a little book I was gifted earlier this year ‘My Mother Used to Say. . .’.  Enclosed is a beautiful collection of material wisdom from parent’s of the famous and not-so-famous.

I’m sure each of us could recall times were we have valued and used advice that has been handed down from our parents or grandparents.  Perhaps its a line, a phrase or an old saying that is comes back to our memory at the times we need it most.  Below is a testament to the old adage that mum’s (or parents!) always know best.

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My father always used to say, ‘Life is full of small beginnings.’
– Andrea Corr

Ma mère a toujours dit, ’Regarde toujours devant, jamais – derrière.’
(Always look forward, never backwards.)
– Pierre Cardin

My mother always used to say, ‘Never be turned by the flattering tounge.’
– Bernard Farrell

My parents you sed to say, ‘You are judged in life by what you give, not by what you get.’
– David Jamilly

My mother used to say,
‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again.’
-Pauline Latham OBE

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My mother’s fravourite saying was, ‘The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.’
– Sir Gerry Robinson

My mother used to say, ‘Before ever passing comment on someone try to walk a mile in their shoes.’
– Esther McVey

My mother:
‘It was she who taught me to get up every day and keep going;
To look for the best in people even when they saw the worst in me;
To be grateful for every day and greet it with a smile;
To believe I could do or be anything I put my mind to if I was willing to make the requisite effort;
To believe that, in the end, love and kindness would prevail over cruelty and selfishness.’
– Bill Clinton

My mum used to say,
‘Education is your passport to life,
once you’ve got it no one can
take it away from you.’
– Baroness Floella Benjamin

My mother Bernadette always used to give me this good advice:’Love many, trust few, always paddle your own canoe.’
– Patricia Scanlan

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xx

(Photo Credits: here)

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Words of Wisdom No. 20

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There is something wonderful about experiencing new challenges and hitting the curve-balls life throws at you.  Like all trying experiences there is a time at the end when you can look back and learn from each experience.  Perhaps you have a better understanding of how you could have handled situations differently or perhaps you can look back and realise the decisions you made were for the very best.  It is during these emotionally-tough and oftentimes, mentally-challenging times that I have found you always learn who your true friends are.

Sometimes, its during these challenging times that you realize just how lucky you are to have such a good, strong supporting group around you or may even be a timely reminder that you need to spread your wings and enlarge your group of assoicates to include individuals who possess a more positive outlook on life.

Not only is this a timely reminder of the importance of who you surround yourself with but also of the friendship you share with others.  Admist our busy schedules do we set aside regular time to catch-up and relax with those who we love?  Do we offer support and strength when we see a friend struggling?  Never underestimate the power of a kind word, a warm embrace or a spontanious ‘I love you!’

 

There comes a point in your life when you realize who really matters, who never did, and who always will.
– Unknown

A friend is someone who can see the truth and pain in you even when you are fooling everyone else.
– Unknown

Friendship isn’t about whom you have known the longest… It’s about who came, and never left your side…
– Unknown

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True friendship is not about being inseperable.  Its about being separated and knowing nothing will change.
– Unknown

You can make it, but it’s easier if you don’t have to do it alone.
– Betty Ford
The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.
– Elizabeth Foley

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Photography Credits: 12

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Words of Wisdom No. 19

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There is a famous proverb that goes somewhere on the lines of “what a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  It could not be truer that your thoughts reflect who you are as a person.   Just look back 10 years ago to your secret dreams, hopes and desires.  More often than not those inner thoughts, shared or unshared have impacted your present life in some way, shape or form.

Below is a collection of my fravourite lines on how your thoughts today, will ultimately impact tomorrows actions.

A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.
– Mahatma Gandhi

Learn the art of patience. Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious over the outcome of a goal. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement and failure. Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to success.

– Brian Adams

Nurture your mind with great thoughts.

– Benjamin Disraeli

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Entertain thoughts that give life. And when a thought or resentment, or hurt, or fear comes your way, have another thought that is more powerful — a thought that is love.

– Mary Manin Morrissey

The game of life is the game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later, with astounding accuracy.

– Florence Shinn

We know not of the future, and cannot plan for it much. But we can hold our spirits and our bodies so pure and high, we may cherish such thoughts and ideals, and dream such dreams of lofty purpose, that we can determine and know what manner of men we will be whenever and wherever the hour stricks that calls to noble action…, No man becomes suddenly different from his habit and cherished thought.

– Joshua L. Chamberlain

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Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.

– Mahatma Gandhi

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts, therefore guard accordingly and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue, and reasonable nature.

– Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

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In Celebration of Valentine’s Day

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On the days leading up to the 14th of February, most couples are making arrangements for a dinner date, buying romantic gifts and exchanging ideas for what is commonly dubbed the ‘most romantic day of the year.’  There is something I just love about the 14th of February: the celebration of a gift which bonds us together in many ways.  As husband + wife, mother + child, brother + sister, friend to friend.

Much unlike the current media portrayal of Valentine’s day, exclusively for those ‘in a relationship’, I like to think of Valentine’s day as a celebration of love as a bond that connects us to those we love and cherish.   Single, coupled or married, Valentine’s day is simply a reminder that love continues, despite the bumps, twists and turns that life takes.  Here’s a few ideas to throw into your bucket list for 2013 or beyond!

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Tackle your dream list: Is there something you’ve always wanted to try – scuba-diving, attend a chocolate making workshop, go horse riding in the mountains or by the seaside, kayaking in the ocean or river…

A lavish dinner: why not put some extra effort into prepping the evening meal.  Surprisingly enough simple food is most luxurious.  Pull out the cheese and cracker platters, garnished with dried tomatoes, olives and fresh figs.  If the food is simple, don’t skip on the decorations: serve on your finest china, make a bouquet of red roses as your centerpiece, light candles – everywhere (there is no such thing as too many candles), use starched napkins and ta-da! you have a perfect dinner for two with minimum fuss.

A simple, outdoor meal: if simple is your thing, why not take a few extra minutes to pack a bottle of bubbly, a few fancy accouterments and spread out the picnic rug near a quiet lakeside.  If coupled – enjoy the heartwarming company of your love, if single why not take along a book and enjoy a quiet evening in solitude.

Single doesn’t equal alone: just because your single doesn’t necessarily mean your alone.  Why not round up your unattached girlfriends and treat yourselves to an exclusively-girls night at a fancy restaurant for dinner.  Revel in your ability to have an amazing time with or without male company!

It’s not all about me: Instead of fostering the traditional expectations of what Valentine’s day should bring, (especially if you’re in a relationship) why not be thankful for what the relationship does give you, a supporting partner, companion, security, someone you can trust and lean upon.  Romance does not necessarily equal happiness.  So, why not accept and treasure that person you are with for the wonderful qualities they elude, be romance one of them or not.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Grace & Poise.

For more Valentine’s day themed posts see Words of Wisdom No. 12 or our pins on {{allyouneedislove}}