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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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Thank you for stopping by!
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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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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Thank you for stopping by!
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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Thank you for stopping by!
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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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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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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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.

– – –

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

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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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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}}

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Something to Celebrate

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This post marks the 100th post for this blog and clocking over 200,000 viewers at the commencement of this year.  Its quite thrilling to look back to 6 years and 29 days ago when Grace & Poise was born.  Established with humble beginnings I am awed at how far this blog has grown and blossomed into what it is today.

Recently, I’ve been pondering why we oftentimes what until an important occasion arises before we begin to celebrate?  Why are we inclined to wait until February the 14th to share our love with that special someone?  Why wait until the Christmas season to be festive, bring the family together and share gifts?  Why wait until your birth-date to celebrate another year? Does every momentous event in life need to wait until the date of completion or the time traditionally specified?

I believe that everyday is a celebration: the dawn of a new day or the love we share with a family member.  A celebration need not to be an expensive bash, it may be pouring a glass of bubbly on a Friday evening to celebrate the week’s end.  Or perhaps a stroll down the market on a weekend to celebrate the chance to enjoy life.

The following are some acts of celebration that you may do either consciously or subconsciously, that provide instant cheer and joy into everyday living:

Task complete!  Be it a large project that has taken months to complete or a small chore you’ve been putting of for too long completed in an hour, its time to celebrate.   There is no better feeling than that of accomplishment.

A smile from a stranger.  You know that tingly feeling you get by flashing a smile at a stranger and you get one back?

Inspiration is all around us.  With the latest gadgets and technology surrounding us daily we are continually surrounded by objects of inspiration.  Be it music that fills the air, a photo that reminds us that we are loved, an funny line that makes us smile…

Sharing a story.  We all can relive the excitement of experiencing something truly exquisite and the thrill of anticipation to tell others the story!

The arrival of Friday afternoon.  There is no better feeling than knockoff time, Friday 5pm with 48 hours of pure freedom ahead!

A future awaits.  Is there a more promising situation than having a future spread out before you, untouched and unmarked.  Its yours to create and shape!  What  a cause for celebration, indeed!

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Celebrate your goals and different achievements as it is those moments that will never come again.

What have you celebrated today?

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Words of Wisdom No. 17

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For the year 2013 there will be a variation to the usual words of wisdom posts.  This year there will be a theme for each post.  Quite similar to the 14th of February post last year, in which we focused on the subject of love.

The month of January has brought about many changes in my life.  One of these significant alterations has been the loss of quietness and the opportunity to bask in pure silence.  Dare I say, a luxury which country living affords.  I took for granted the special times of silence: driving to work early on a quiet, dusty road, now replaced by the hustle and bustle of the highways and congested traffic.  The hushed moments of an evening, as the birds and wildlife took their rest is now replaced by late night traffic, trams and noisy neighbours.

Since my move from country living to city life I now am more observant of the times when quietness replaces noise in contrast to silence replacing sound.

Why not this week, set aside a few minutes each day to mediate and relish the silence?

“I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.”
― Chaim Potok

“We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn. It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox.”
― Nicholas Sparks

In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I don’t want to be married just to be married. I can’t think of anything lonelier than spending the rest of my life with someone I can’t talk to, or worse, someone I can’t be silent with.”
― Mary Ann Shaffer

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“My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.”
― Edith Sitwell

“Silence is a source of Great Strength.”
― Lao Tzu

“Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.”
― Norton Juster,

“Quiet is peace. Tranquility. Quiet is turning down the volume knob on life. Silence is pushing the off button. Shutting it down. All of it. – Amir”
― Khaled Hosseini

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“You are most powerful when you are most silent. People never expect silence. They expect words, motion, defense, offense, back and forth. They expect to leap into the fray. They are ready, fists up, words hanging leaping from their mouths. Silence? No.”
― Alison McGhee

“In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.”
― Mother Teresa

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6 Shoe Classics Every Woman Should Own

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“For women, shoes are the most important. Good shoes take you good places.”
― Seo Min Hyun

It has been famously said: “Give a girl the right pair of shoes and she will conquer the world.”  The ideal pair of shoes, coupled with an stylish outfit can bring an ensemble together with perfection.  Not only does a pair of shoes complete an outfit but it provides the wearer to step out with a more confident image.  Here we look at the six classic shoes that every woman should have in her wardrobe.   These pieces are what I’d call the staples: the ever-stylish shoe that remains in your wardrobe whatever the current fashions may dictate.

The ballet flat.

Where would we be without the flat?  Perfect for a casual stroll down the market on the weekend, perfect for an elegant evening on the town.  Perfect for almost every event life throws at you! One of the great things I love about the flat is that it never goes out of style and comes in almost every colour, shape and design there is to suit your personal taste! Don’t let this key wardrobe item go amiss!

The nude heel.

Upon acquiring my first pair of nude heels for a wedding over a year ago, I now wonder what I ever did without them!  Ideal for the office, a formal affair such as a wedding or on a stylish date.  Ironically enough, after I made my purchase, I noted nude heels were all the rage due to being Kate Middleton’s fravourited items at the time.  I now know why!

The black pump.

Despite my fondness of nude pumps, I still commend a stylish pair of black heels.  There are a small number of colours in my wardrobe that don’t match with the nude colour (grey for example) and this is where I always go back to your trusty black heels.

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A tall winter boot.

In winter boots are a must!  Practical and stylish for a working girl’s wardrobe or casual enough for the weekend’s shopping mosey.  I suggest a black colour as it always looks stylish and can be kept in top condition with a regular polish.  Other colours and shades tend to slip in and out of trend easily.  For instance, one year it will be glazed look, next year it will be distressed, tan or chocolate brown.  So invest in a black pair and they’ll reward you by always looking classy and will style easily with most outfits.

The strappy summer sandal.

I admit, sometimes in summer the ballet flat needs a holiday.  This is where a trendy sandal can take its place.  Unlike heels, boots and flats I don’t spend an excessive amount on sandals since they most probably get the worst treatment. (think: beach, park, camping).  This is where you can splash out a choose something colourful and embellished.

The outdoor shoe(s): runners and flip-flops.

Only a few of use can tip-toe around in Christian Louboutin heels all week, which opens up an opportunity to add a few outdoor shoe classics to the wardrobe. An elegant, stylish woman is bound to have a regular exercise routine and this is where the runners come in to play.  Investing in a comfortable, durable pair of runners can become an extra motivation to keep up with your exercise regimen.

Yes, flip-flops may be an unexpected necessary to a lady’s closet.  The beach or spa is no place to be tippy-toeing around in your best.  Pull out the flip-flops!  As a disclaimer, I don’t believe flip-flops should be worn outside of the beach/spa surroundings, (such as the office!)  Keep a pair of nice summer sandals handy when outside of such areas.

Don’t forget to check out my shoe fravourites on Pinterest!

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New Year, New Goals, New Dreams

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How the year twenty-twelve has slipped by so quickly!  It almost seems like yesterday I penned the New Year post of 2012.  The beginning of a year always provides me with a beautiful time to reflect and ponder the last year, filled with its challenges and successes, delights and triumphs!  I can certainly testify his year past has certainly been more than amazing.

We are almost a week into the year of 2013 already!  If you haven’t done so already now is the perfect time to pull out your 2013 journal and jot down some of your dreams and ambitions for the New Year.  If you are lucky enough to still be enjoying the holiday season or gradually easing your way back into the normal week-day routine, take a little time out to dream and plan for the year ahead.  It would be rather familiar to my readers that the beginning of each new year brings a level of excitement and eagerness to me.   I admit, there is a certain thrill of anticipating the unknown adventure that lays ahead.

Here are a few thoughts to ponder on as new goals and dreams are outlined. . .

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It’s about loving it.  No longer should your ‘get fit’ goals be about exercising because you hate the way you lookWhy not change your perspective to ‘I care about my health so I’ll put an exercise plan in place’.  Make your goals enjoyable and fun!

Commitment creates change. Without a level of commitment and desire to accomplish the goals you have set, you’ll soon find yourself, mid-January slipping into 2012’s old rut.  Generate reasons that you need to commit.  Why not write a list of reasons why you have created this goal?  Progression takes places when we focus on the positives.

Expect to slip-up.  We’ve all been there and miss a couple of days at the gym, over-indulged on ice-cream too many times in one week but does slipping up make you a failure?  Setting your goals, then accomplishing them in perfect order without failure is to some, success.  However, successful people include failure into their success plan.  Each failure gives to time to adopt a growth-mindset.  Rome was never built in a day and your new diet isn’t going to work perfectly the first time its tested.  The main goal, is to get back on the horse when you’ve slipped up.  Learn from your failure.  Maybe make a few adjustments to the original goal to minimize similar slip-ups.

Celebrate success! When a goal has been reached – be it big or small give yourself a pat on the back or indulge in a little pampering.  Reinforcement helps you keep on track!  Chart your progress so you can measure your progress and be patient!

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2012: Its a Wrap!

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A special wish to all my readers for a happy and prosperous 2013.

Thank you, for your encouragement and comments throughout this past year.

2012 has bought me many wonderful memories and unforgettable moments as well as some fantastic times writing on this blog.

I write, from my holiday porch tucked away in the beautiful Alpine Valley of Victoria.   My view is a panorama of stunning Australian bushland.  Around me birds sing, frogs croak in the nearby pond and the sun sets for the very last time this year casting its shadowy veil across the fabulous landscape.

Could there be a more perfect time to ponder and reflect upon the past events and delights that this past year has brought?   And a fitting time to hope with optimism and confidence of what awaits in the New Year!

To wrap up this years selection of posts; I present the
Top 5 Posts of 2012

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Princess Mary Style Roundup: 2012

Presenting a round-up of the Crown Princess of Denmark’s most stylish and elegant ensembles of 2012.

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Queen Elizabeth II: the epitome of sophistication and style

In anticipation of Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee Celebrations in June this post celebrations one of Britain’s glamorous and sophisticated royals.

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How to Develop Poise

In response to my biggest Google search, ‘how to develop poise’ this post brings you answers to the compelling question.

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Words of Wisdom No. 12

In celebration of February the 5th, Valentines Day.  This special post focused on the special someone in our lives.

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My Top 5 (not-so-secret) Secrets to Weight Control

My personal tips and hints on how to keep that weight at a balanced level and create a happier, healthier you!

Wherever you are at home or abroad enjoying the holiday season, I wish you a truly wonderful year ahead!

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21 Life Lessons I’ve Learned in 21 Years

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The year 2012 has brought me many wonderful moments and memories including the celebration of my twenty-first birthday in April.  From a little girl I had always imagined what it would be like to turn twenty-one.  As the years swiftly flew by I watched many of my girlfriends celebrate their 21st birthday in their own style and I eagerly anticipated my own.

The days leading up to my twenty-first birthday bought about a time of reflection and consideration for me.  Not only to plan my future: my goals, dreams, ambitions and hopes of the years to come but also a wonderful time to reflect on the years already swiftly gone by.  This gave me a deeper understanding how the past twenty-one years have helped me grow as a woman and define the person I am today.

Over the past year I have complied a list of 21 lessons I’ve learned (shall I make that present tense ‘learning’?) in the past year which I would love to share with you; in hope that you may be able to gain some inspiration in your journey through life. . .

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1. Never stop trying.  You may fail more than once or twice but don’t give up.  Where there is life – there is hope.  Failure is only a sign that your growing not that you lack success.

2. Deeply treasure your family.  Out of all the people in the world there is a tight, small circle of people who never lose hope in you, who are there for you 24/7, who never stop praying for you.  They may have a few rough bumps but learn to appreciate them as priceless people.  You’ll be blessed times over.

3. Work hard.  This in an element that my Dad ingrained in me since I was a little girl.  I have vivid memories of him reminding me that “hard work never killed anyone, Clare.”  This year I have been so blessed to gain just a tiny glimmer of the rewards that hard work can bring by earning my first pay-rise from a very proud and satisfied manager!

4. Treasure good friends.  Not just ones that are there for you when its convenient them or when things are going smoothly.  True friends will stand by you in the thick and thin.  I’ve found myself a handful of simply wonderful friends and the blessing that I have received from them almost brings me to tears!  There is nothing more precious than the value of a true and faithful companion!

5. Capture memories and special moments.  When I traveled around Europe both in 2010 and this year I arrived home with literally thousands of pictures and min-videos.  There wasn’t a thing that I didn’t record in some way, shape or form!  It’s a fantastic way to re-live the past!

6. Have a firm faith.  There was a time in my life I wondered where God fitted and maybe you’ve wondered that too.  But it’s been in the past year that I’ve figured it’s actually the other way around.  I want to fit into God’s plan for my existence.  Whether you believe in God or not I think it’s pertinent to have a faith.

7. Good health is priceless! Take care of what you have now.  No amount of success or money can replace superior health.  I am without doubt you’ll appreciate it when hitting a few more milestones!

8. Learn from the past. Don’t regret the past or let is stop you from moving forward. Some of the best lessons I have learned have evolved from a mistake or decision I have made in the past.  I’m a true believer that the best is yet to come!

9. Remember that happiness is your responsibility!  Don’t let people, circumstances or your location withhold your happiness.  Take it into your own hands and create your very own, unique masterpiece!

10. Appreciate wisdom.  The most valuable individuals in my life are the ones that have been there before me.  They know the struggles and triumphs that we face.

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11. Fall in love with being a woman.  Embrace your femininity!  I have to confess there is nothing I dislike about being a woman!  Strive to be more elegant, sophisticated and stylish.  For me, personally I’ll never stop improving and growing in this area!

12. Embrace change.  Life will never stop changing.  Just when you think it’s perfect – it will change – so embrace it, expect it and learn to enjoy every moment.

13. Meditate.  Don’t let life get so busy that you don’t have time for reflection, thought and contemplation.  Sometimes its in the quiet, alone moments that you can gain some of life’s most luxurious moments.

14. Never let yourself stop growing, changing and developing.  It’s when you cease to do these things that life can become stagnant and boring.

15. Happiness does not come from monetary expense or luxury.  The most amazing and extraordinary moments you’ll have will come from the simplest forms of happiness.  Watching a sunset for example.

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16. Smile.  You make yourself much happier and will brighten the lives of those around you too!

17. Miracles surround you everyday.  Open your mind to them.  Life is a miracle in itself.  Your heart that never missed a beat, the fact that you woke up healthy, happy, and with a roof over your head is a miracle!

18. Get our of your comfort zone!  Never stop being adventurous!  Just when you think you are comfortable in your zone, its time to step out and stretch those boundaries!  Dare to be an adventurer!

19. When tough times hit you remember there is a purpose and a plan behind it all.  It’s hard when you’re in the middle of it all but don’t let go.  Never give up.

20. The early hours are the best.  Quietness, solitude there is something completely amazing about this time of day.  Don’t let it slip by.

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21. Anticipate the future… The challenges, triumphs, victories and failures!  Each will help you become a better, more mature person.  Plan ahead…but don’t be rigid.

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Graduation Etiquette

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Whether it’s for a high school diploma, bachelors, or master’s degree a graduation deserves celebration.  However, in the midst of all the joy and excitement its polite to follow a few guidelines as a attendee or graduate.

A few rules of engagement during the ceremony:

Mute your cell phones. Simple enough but commonly forgotten!

Don’t leave until the ceremony has concluded. Show a little courtesy to all graduates and make your departure after all graduates have received their diploma.

Hold your applause until each graduate’s name has been called.  Hard though it may be to hold your excitement; please wait until the announcer has finished.

Organise a babysitter.  It can be a boring ritual for even the adults so now is the perfect excuse to organise a babysitter and enjoy a few hours – child free!

Tickets.  No ticket?  No entry!

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Gifting

Parents and family members oftentimes take this celebration to splurge on a car or a computer.  For others gifts such as luggage, books or stock certificates are presents which will be appreciated for years ahead.   Flowers are also considered an acceptable gift, especially if the giver is unable to be present at the ceremony.  Individuals who recieved a graduation announcement only are not obliged to gift the graduate.

The graduate is expected to write a small thank-you note (two or three lines is perfect) in appreciation of the gift received.  This is best sent immediately following the graduation date.

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Invitations/Announcements

Be mindful of the distinction between a graduation announcement (includes the graduation/degree details) and a graduation invitation (invite to the ceremony).   Graduations tend to limit the amount of seats available to each graduation.  Usually seats are reserved for immediate family only.  One simple way to include other family members and friends of the graduate is to arrange a after-ceremony celebration.  Unlike the ceremony/after-party invitation, graduation announcements are usually sent out after the graduation event.

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Attire

It is recommended that graduates find out the colour of the ribbons/tassels they will be donning previous to the graduation day and coordinate their clothes accordingly.  Male graduates usually wear business attire without a suit jacket.  (Graduate gowns are 100% polyester and can be rather warm on a summers day)  Ladies look best in a knee-length dress/skirt that will coordinate and flow with the black gown.
Shoes should be carfelly considered as its one of the first (and most noticeable) of the graduate’s attire!  Black is a popular choice but why not be bold and choose red or similar?

(Photo Credit)

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Celebrate in Style this Christmas

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Cheery, Christmas carols, the scent of freshly-cut pine, a time to create memorable moments, streets and houses lit up with sparkling Christmas lights, a time to reflect of the past and contemplate the future.  The Christmas season brings about so many wonderful things including a time to relax, to celebrate in style and to make a difference in your corner of the world.

Relax.  For most of us, Christmas time brings a few days (or for us luckier ones a few weeks) to enjoy a break from the normal routine of work and the busy schedule.   Take this time to relax and enjoy the finer things in life that are not as accessible during the busier weeks of the year.  Finish that book you’ve been meaning to read.  Bundle up, and go for an impromptu walk in the city at night.  Wake up early on Christmas morning, make a cup of hot tea, and just sit in the quiet with your twinkling tree and reminisce.

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
Calvin Coolidge

Celebrate. Why not break away from your usual tradition and take off to a cosy, intimate holiday location with just your immediate family members?  Maybe invite a family member who you know will be spending Christmas alone.  Celebrate with candles.  Remember the small touches are ones that make the greatest difference.  Make a special memory with each member of your family.  Why not go black tie on New Year’s Eve to add a little festivity to the evening? Pull out that special china! When celebrating with family and friends vow to set aside differences, and have harmonious holidays (bite your tongue, if you must!)

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Make a difference.  During this time of year when we are surrounded by a bounty of delicious food, drink and joy; I’m reminded of those less fortunate than myself.  This year, why not offer to take an elderly neighbour who doesn’t drive out to do their holiday shopping.  Shovel your neighbours walkway.  Deliver Meals on Wheels on Christmas Day, to those that are alone and homebound. Be available to loved ones that are struggling through the holidays.  Lend yourself a little be it for a few hours this week!  You’ll be blessed in return!

My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”
Bob Hope

How will you celebrate in style this Christmas?

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Be Adventerous

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Life, as I know it, is an adventure in and of itself.  Without risking adventure and accepting new challenges life would not be the exciting journey that it is. One should never be limited by being too young, being too old, being single or in a relationship.  Or being restricted by the figures in your bank balance.  Don’t even to wait for a better time or or a more suitable location.

You don’t need endless time and perfect conditions. Do it now. Do it today. Do it for twenty minutes and watch your heart start beating.
-Barbara Sher

If your life is anything less than interesting and inspiring not only to yourself but to others – you’re doing something wrong.  I love the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt which, quite simply, summarizes the purpose of an adventurous lifestyle. “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

Throwing yourself out there. Have you dreamed of doing something for years?  Have you always wanted to complete a task or goal but never quite had enough courage to get out there and do it?  Break down the reasons as to what lies between you dreaming and actually doing.  The range of choices and adventurous is at your disposal.

You are only limited by your dreams and imagination.  What’s holding you back?  Your job?  Your friends?  Your location?  Perhaps its time to take a bold approach and talk to your boss about more flexible hours or an earlier start and finish.  Are you friends restricting you with their philosophy of what like should be about?  Are the habits which they possess influencing you for the better or worse?  If its the latter, now is the time to go solo and create new friends.  Despite popular cultural thinking, you don’t need a ton of friends to feel loved and appreciated.  One or two close companions can bring more joy and happiness that a handful of individuals who don’t know the real you.  Your location, be it Tokyo’s Shibuya or in the middle of Hanks, North Dakota there are always options for taking on an new adventure.  Don’t allow your location or situation to starve you from a fascinating  lifestyle!

Try something new.  Are you in a routine rut?  Despite the fact that routines are a very positive and beneficial exercise, being in a non-flexible routine can have the opposite effect and can actually be more damaging than helpful.  Try mixing up your daily routine by driving to work a different way.  Eat breakfast on the porch in summertime instead of by the breakfast bar.  Enjoy an evening walk instead of the traditional morning routine.  Today, I decided to add a little adventure into a normal weekday’s evening meal.  Instead of eating dinner at home around the table as usual, I wrapped up our mashed potato and sausages in foil, packed them in our picnic basket and drove done to the beach with my boyfriend for an impromptu weekend-style dinner in the middle of the week!  It was fun and relaxing at the same time and it added a little spice to the normality of a weekday.

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Need some more inspiration to get you started?

You know that little local town you’ve been meaning to explore? Explore it.

Learn a new language with your significant other and speak it at home

Buy an amazing new cookbook and try recipes from it for a week

Order something different than “the usual” at your favourite cafe

Explore a bit of the city you’re in on your next business trip

Join Toastmasters, and learn the art of public speaking

Smile and say ‘hello’ as you pass people on the street

Try that new ethnic restaurant around the corner

Learn to play a new musical instrument

Train to run/walk a marathon

Change your haircut

Dare to dream

What’s your favourite everyday way to be adventurous?

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Words of Wisdom No. 16

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Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
-Saint Francis of Assisi

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Don’t wait for something big to occur. Start where you are, with what you have, and that will always lead you into something greater.
-Mary Manin Morrissey

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Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose – not the one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember.
-Anne Sullivan

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You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.
― Henry David Thoreau

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Fear less, hope more;
Whine less, breathe more;
Talk less, say more;
Hate less, love more;
And all good things are yours.
-Swedish Proverb

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Life is a preparation for the future; and the best preparation for the future is to live as if there were none.
― Albert Einstein

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“I promise myself that I will enjoy every minute of the day that is given me to live.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh

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“We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends and living our lives.”
― Maya Angelou

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We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves, otherwise we harden.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Send a Little Love this Christmas

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Can you believe its only 15 days until Christmas?  For me, there is so much to look forward about the Christmas season.   Be it cosy evenings with family and friends, an over-abundance of delicious food, the much-loved tradition of gift-giving and last but definatly not least, relaxation in the truest sense of the word.

Christmas is all about the things that are closest to us, especially our friends and family.  During the break from work and the normal routine of life we can find solace and comfort in the company of our friends and family.  Christmas is about connection.  And one of the most delightful traditions our family has experienced since I was a child was sending and receiving Christmas notes and cards during the weeks leading up to Christmas Day.  I hold many fond memories of our family opening piles of cards from loved ones and finding places for them around the mantlepiece of our brick fireplace.

“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.”
― Charles M. Schulz

 

Sending Christmas cards to family and loved ones is a tradition that I have continued when creating my own home.  Despite the cultural incline towards more modern and convenient forms of communication there is nothing quite like carefully unsealing a well-traveled envelope to delight in writers correspondence.  Our modern forms of communication are possibly more of a incentive to follow the snail-mail of contact for just one time each year!

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Organisation
Remember… I love lists, right?  Yes, you’ve guessed it!  The easiest and most efficient way of sending all your lovely Christmas notes out in a timely fashion is to compose a list of who they are going to.

I create mine in Excel, sorted alphabetically by Christian name, and then first name.  The next column holds the address details.  Don’t forget to check who’s moved and update the address!  If you have friends and family that reside overseas I’d put them on the top of the list and then work your way down.  That way you can ensure an on-time arrival.

“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.”
― Bob Hope

Purchasing
Work out the total of cards you need to send and purchase the stamps in advance.  This makes the mailing process much smoother and efficient.  Don’t forget the postage for overseas items.  Purchase next years Christmas cards during the discounts after the Christmas season is over to get a better deal.  Preferably buy in packs of 10 or 20 to save on costs.  Not only will you save but you’ll also be prepared early for next year!

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So, go ahead!  Be ‘old fashioned’ for this special season –  put pen to paper and share the joy!

Love the blog? Don’t forget to follow on Twitter @graceandpoise , like us on Facebook or join on Pinterest! Thanks for visiting! xx

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20 Effortless Ways to Relax

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Listen to music

Take a bath

Relax by a body of water

Watch the stars

Light a candle (or two!)

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Write a letter

Take a deep breath in fresh air

Call a friend

Buy some flowers

Delight in a relaxing scent

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Savour a meal in silence

Take a bike ride through nature

Turn off electronics

Pet a (friendly) furry creature

Examine everyday objects with fresh eyes

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Drive somewhere new

Go to a Farmer’s Market

Engage in small, random act of kindness

Do some gentle stretches

Give thanks

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Why no try an idea today?

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Princess Mary Style Roundup: 2012

In respect of style, the Crown Princess of Denmark has had an incredible year so far!
It has been a busy year for the Princess, with official visits to South Korea, Brazil, the USA, China, Mozambique and a quick visit to London for The Olympic Games in July.  The month of February saw Mary become a Godmother to Sweden’s much-loved Princess Estelle and in the month of October Frederick and Mary attended the very sparkly wedding of Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg to Countess Stephanie.  2012 saw Mary also celebration a milestone of her own in turning the big 4-0, in February!  (more to come)

So, let’s step back in time and take a peek at Mary’s wardrobe for this past year…

What are your top picks?

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Words of Wisdom No.15

Joy is not the result of success. Joy is, in fact, a significant cause of success.

Get beyond the need to impress anyone, and you’ll begin to truly impress everyone.

There can never be too much kindness in the world. Create some more today, and find real joy in its warm glow.

Be generous with those around you, and you’ll find that life is more generous with you.

The difference between what you want, and what you have, is what you do.

Even the disappointments point out life’s potential goodness. Every disappointment comes from knowing life can indeed be better.

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Guest Post: Thoughts on Femininity

As regular readers would know, Grace and Poise is written primarily for women by a woman. It contains many articles on femininity and cultivating etiquette for young ladies and women, and is widely read by a diverse audience. As Clare states in the blog, its purpose is to inspire and assist those who wish to bring a little grace and poise into their everyday life.

But what about the men? What does Grace and Poise mean from a man’s perspective, and what is so attractive about a woman who carries herself with dignity and style?

Largely due to the feminist movement and the closely aligned sexual revolution in the 1970s and 1980s, a new message was preached to women by the media, by public figures, and by entertainment. The message glorified the modern, self-assured, independent, sexually confident woman, and derided the “old fashioned” values which once were held dear. Values such as virtue, modesty, gracefulness, and etiquette were seen as being instruments of a male dominated society to keep women repressed.

In this way, however, modern media has done women a great disservice. In fact, it has downright insulted them. By putting forward a notion that to be successful and accepted, women must adopt a crude style and lower herself to appeal to the basest instincts of man, this view has repressed women far more than ever.

And this view has done even more disservice to women who are attempting to find a worthwhile relationship. Countless Hollywood movies and TV shows and fashion magazines have preached the message that men have the attention span of a goldfish, and are likely to ignore you completely unless you grab their attention through a provocative approach; through dress, action, demeanor, or otherwise. A quick search of several “How to attract a man” guides for women all promote that step 1 is to “show some skin”. Once his interest is caught, the confident woman can then move in to get what she wants.

Yes, it is true that men are visual creatures. There is a lot of truth that we see before we think, and this approach will work on many men. However, if your goal is to attract a gentleman, rather than a player or a male (not a man), then this approach is the worst possible strategy.

One of the best definitions of a “Gentleman” is by Jeffery Dollar:

It all begins with integrity; knowing who one is, what one stands for, and what one is willing to fight for. To be a gentleman is to know the world around you and the people that make it up. It is a deep felt respect for the thoughts and ways of others. It is to embrace the beauty of humanity, to find the good in all those around you, and to commit yourself to bringing out the best in those you meet while bringing out the best in yourself! To act nobly in deed and word is to set a gentlemanly example!”

To act nobly in deed and word! Any aspect of a gentleman’s life is in this pursuit of nobility of character and purpose, and thus he will be attracted to one who shows such nobility in her life. Showing nobility means forsaking this common view of the attraction between the sexes. A woman of nobility will not be seen at parties or nightclubs dressed provocatively in order to attract a man. She will be content to let her own nobility and respect for herself attract a man who values such principles.

A true gentleman will be attracted to a woman, not by what she wears or doesn’t wear. He will not be attracted to a “party girl”, or the typical modern woman. He will be attracted to a girl which shows such class, such style, and such a character as to put herself above the crowd. He will respect her, and this respect will grow into admiration, and then into love.

And isn’t this the definition of feminism? A woman who is confident in her own abilities, in her own culture, and in her own principles? One who attracts a man, not by appealing to his basest nature, but to his highest? Such a woman shows true liberation. A liberation from conformity to the popular culture and popular views of women.

Would that many more of both men and woman aspire to show such a grace of character, and such a nobility of purpose!

Michael Shepherd
Blogger & Business Analyst

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Words of Wisdom No. 14

I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.
– Rosalia de Castro

Life is a journey, not a destination – we determine our destiny by the direction we take
– Anon

Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.
– Jack Kerouac

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.

One of the great things about travel is that you find out how many good, kind people there are.
– Edith Wharton

 One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.
– Henry Miller

To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice.
– Elizabeth Gilbert

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.
– Lin Yutang

Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.
– Unknown

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Up, up, up, and away!

In exactly 6 days, 16 hours, 17 minutes and 7 second I will be boarding a big jet plane and flying up, up, up and away!  Traveling almost halfway around the globe to the beautiful city of Copenhagen I will then join my best friend to prepare for her wedding. Whilst the happy couple are on their honeymoon will then to continue down southern Europe for a delightful holiday.

While I’ve been busy organising my itinerary and packing my luggage I’ve also been planning on sharing some of my exciting adventures with my dear readers too!

More details to come!
Clare
xx

 

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Try a Little Kindness…

This evening as I was checking my Facebook updates I came across a photo a friend has posted sharing ideas on how to bring kindness in one’s day-to-day life.  It really inspired me!  When was the last time I shared a kind, thoughtful word with someone?  When was the last time I did an unexpected act of kindness?  Thankfully, I quickly recalled some small little acts of thoughtfulness I had done throughout the day for my co-workers but it made me realise how little I actually do to brighten the lives of those around me.  Maybe you can relate?

I don’t believe it’s a self-absorbed, uncaring nature that gets in the way of sharing kindness it’s just we don’t make the time to share and care.  Life is too fast paced that we all too easily forget about the needs of those around us.

This week I’m planning on putting extra effort into lifting the burdens of someone else’s load and adding a ray of sunshine into someone’s life.  Care to join me?

Here’s a few ideas. . .

Forgive mistakes.  Help a stranger.  Give a compliment.  Offer a hug.  Share a word of encouragement.  Be tolerant.  Open a door.
Leave a thank you note.
Say “hello”
Smile.

In need of a few more ideas?  Why not be an angel for a day?

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Queen Elizabeth II: the epitome of sophistication and style

As The Queen wraps up her Jubilee Celebrations I thought this to be the perfect opportunity to look back over the years in a tribute to Her Majesty’s ever-glamorous style and regal sophistication.  From a young princess to becoming the Queen of England she has proven that good grace and a sense of elegance never go out of style.

“I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine. Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.”
– Queen Elizabeth

To what greater inspiration and counsel can we turn than to the imperishable truth to be found in this treasure house, the Bible?
– Queen Elizabeth II

“The lessons from the peace process are clear; whatever life throws at us, our individual responses will be all the stronger for working together and sharing the load.”
– Queen Elizabeth II
“Like all the best families, we have our share of eccentricities, of impetuous and wayward youngsters and of family disagreements.”
– Queen Elizabeth II

“When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future.”
– from the Queen’s Christmas message in 2008

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Words of Wisdom No. 13

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on Earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
– Thomas Jefferson

Fear can keep us up all night long, but faith makes one fine pillow.
– Unknown

Encourage someone today. Be an angel to somebody today. Be a blessing to those who deserve it and those who do not, because you may never know whose life you are turning around. Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
– Unknown

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
– Melody Beattie

The greatest possession you have is the 24 hours directly in front of you.
– Anonymous

 

Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.
– John F. Kennedy

Remember that when you leave this earth you can taken nothing of what you have received, but only what you have given.
– Saint Francis of Assisi

The older I get the less I listen to what people say and the more I look at what they do. – Andrew Carnegie

Hard times are like a washing machine, that Twists, Turns and Knocks us around, but, at the end, we come out Cleaner, Brighter and Better than before.
-Unknown

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Cherish Life’s Simple Pleasures

 

There’s a lot going on these days: social media, mobile devices, 24-hour news, email, gadgets, Facebook, Twitter and the list goes on!  We are constantly stimulated – not that that’s a bad thing!  But it’s in the midst of this excitement and animation that we can forget life’s most elementary joys and simple pleasures.

It is when we step back and take delight in the uncomplicated and effortless pleasures that our lives inevitably become richer.  I am always on the lookout for ways to create a simpler, richer and more influential life.  We live this life only once so why not cherish each moment and seek to create a lifetime of treasured memories?

Here’s a few simple ideas for cherishing life’s little pleasures…

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Keep a bound daily planner, even if you use an electronic calendar to manage your
day-to-day life.  By recording the special or even every-day moments you’ll have a lovely record of memorable moments from the past weeks and months.

{2. idea}
You don’t have to save candlelight for special occasions or when the power is on the blink!  Why not embrace its calming effect by lighting a few candles and enjoy the tranquility of the soft light?

{3. idea}
Without water very little would survive in this world.  Yet it is a convenience we take for granted every day.  When was the last time you…

  • took a long, hot bath
  • curled up in a cosy spot and listened to the sound of rain hitting the roof
  • stood at the edge of the ocean and gazed out to sea
  • stopped to breathe in the smell of rain

{4. idea}
A few days ago I took some time out of my usual routine to eat my breakfast and watch the sunrise…  From the usual breakfast-on-the-run this was a truly magical experience! When was the last time you watched a sunrise or sunset? 

What are some of the simple luxuries that you cherish?

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A note from Clare. . .

Hello to my lovely readers!

It has been some time since I posted so I thought it’s time I give you an update!

Firstly, a heartfelt thank you to those who have been commenting on past posts – it’s always so nice to see that even while I’m away you can still enjoy the archives! I’m also incredibly thrilled to have a steady number of “Likes” on our Facebook Page!
Thank you!

In keeping up with my New Year’s Resolutions I have decided to once again, take up part-time study.  As you may already know, I work full-time as a Legal Receptionist but in the evenings and weekends most of my time is taken up in studying!   Yes – what fun!  I have commenced a Degree in Communications which I hope will take my love of writing to a new level.

However, as you may have noticed in the past few months this means my love of blogging is somewhat stalled as much of the time I previously spent blogging is now spent with my head in a book or reading some literature journal.

I miss blogging very much and will purpose to keep the blog alive when time permits!

Much love,

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A New Standard of Beauty?

I recently read a news article featuring photography of Philip Toledano and his proposition of introducing a new kind of beauty.  Over the years our perception of “beautiful” has been warped into some altered figure of plumbed-lips, wrinkle-free face, copious amount of cleavage and stick skinny legs to boot.  With the incredible rise in women choosing plastic-surgery we now have a plethora of women having the opportunity to shape, form and create their own version of beautiful.

Should we re-define beauty into something that is designed by a surgeons hand?  Stretching, pulling and tucking which make a normally natural look become ageless and immovable.  Those who find their beauty by altering their appearance will find that after time even that appearance will fade and in most cases need to be re-touched and altered as time goes by.

Beauty, I believe is much deeper than the outer appearance of a woman.  It can’t be defined by the size of someone’s waist, the amount of cleavage one has or even how tall one is.  I have met women who are naturally ascetically beautiful, yet their personality was oftentimes catty and they were constantly jealous.  Their focus was always on their outer appearance rather than their inner beauty.  Then on the other hand I know some truly beautiful women.  No, they will never win the Miss America Beauty Pageant but what they lack in physical appearance they defiantly make up with a vibrant personality and a zest for a fulfilling life. Their beauty shines from their warm, loving personality and is reflected in their smiles and actions.

How do you define beauty?  Do you measure it by some Photoshopped look on the front of a glossy magazine or do you hold a higher standard of beauty?

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The Incredible Value of a True Friend

Recently I was gifted with two little books filled with inspirational quotations on friendship, love and life. My thoughts turned to ponder just how blessed I was to have such wonderful, caring friends in my life and also gave me inspiration to be a better friend to those that I care for.

I often see young women let jealousy, greed and immaturity creep in and steal their friendships. Even friendships they have treasured for a lifetime.  Without notice something small and seemingly insignificant tares their love and divides their friendship!

“There are many faces of love.
Love many things,
for therein lies the true strength,
and whosoever loves much
performs much, and can
accomplish much, and what is
done in love is done well.”

One of the most treasured values of a good friend is loyalty.  Loyalty is a rare commodity in today’s world, but it’s an absolute requirement in true and abiding friendships.  Recently I had the honor of being asked to be my best friend’s Maid of Honor at her wedding.  I was ecstatic and incredibly thrilled to say the least!  As we started creating the wedding plans I took a few moments to reflect on our friendship over the past few years.  It brought tears to my eyes as I remembered the times we have shared together facing some incredibly tough challenges and of course reveling in the fun, happy times.  It’s actually ironic how sometimes the hardest, toughest challenge can actually bring someone closer to you than if life was just smooth sailing?

 Don’t give up on someone just because their human.  Don’t give up on someone just because they make mistakes.  Believe it or not – you do the same things.  Maybe not in the same way but we all can offend, we all can let our tongue slip, give that unneeded look or let jealously take over from the real problem.

Be humble and confess.  Share you thoughts, problems, and feelings.  That is what friendship is really made of.  If someone has confessed to you – reach out and touch them.  Let them see your love and appreciate their vulnerability.  It takes an awful amount of strength and courage to apoligise.  Recognise this and respond in appropriately.

“Love is an act of endless forgiveness,
a tender look
which becomes a habit.”
-Peter Ustinov

These thoughts provoked me to strive to be a better friend even though miles, countries and even continents may separate you and a loved one that doesn’t mean your love needs to be separated too.

P.S. Don’t forget to check out our post on the
10 Commandments of Friendship!

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February in Review

On the eve of our third month into 2012 it’s refection time for me.  I’m so thankful for the moments that I have had to pause in the midst of the hustle and bush of life and stop, think and reflect.  The month of February has been wonderfully busy for me!  Work is abuzz with barristers and solicitors visiting for court, university commencing and having the opportunity to share some lovely weekends with friends and family away from home and many other memorable moments.  It has definitely been a great month.

In the world of blogging it was slightly quieter although we did have a very exciting and memorable day on the 22nd of February – International Be a Gentleman Day!  With a special guest post from Peter Ryan from Today’s Gentleman on the subject of Respect.

I also had opportunity to share my thoughts on attributes of the Modern Gentlemen as a guest post – don’t forget to check it out!

❤  My Top 5 (not-so-secret) Secrets to Weight Control

❤  Find us on Facebook!

❤  Words of Wisdom #12 (Valentine’s Day Special)

❤  Why it’s not all About Me

❤  Guest Post: RESPECT

  International Be a Gentlemen Day

As we step into a fresh, new, exciting new month look back at how far you have grown in the past two months?  What experiences have improved you as a person?  What character flaws need some attention?  Remember. . . even if you feel that the smallest thing you are doing is making a difference – you are actually doing a great thing!  Keep up the good work!

 

 

 

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International Be a Gentleman Day

 

Today marks the second international Be a Gentlemen Day.

Founded by Peter Ryan of Today’s Gentlemen, the Be a Gentleman Day was created to bring awareness to common courtesy and small acts of kindness so easily left behind in today’s fast-paced society.

“This is a day for all (men and women) to reacquaint themselves with going about their day constantly displaying “Gentlemanly” conduct.

In the busy, time-poor society of today, sometimes it is a little too easy to forget the importance of courtesy, respect, consideration and, dare I say it: Chivalry.

This is a day to hold the door open for the next person, give up your seat for someone who needs it more, help someone in need, let the lane changer in, let the person with two items go in front of you in the supermarket queue, hold the lift, share a taxi, look around you and make the world a better place one Gentlemanly action at a time.

BaG day is also a time to recognise and celebrate those who have consistently displayed these behaviours, and to show others the quality of social interactions possible when everyone is behaving this way.”

Join the International Be a Gentlemen Day on Facebook!

Don’t forget to check out Clare’s post on Today’s Gentlemen:
Attributes of the Modern Gentleman

Additional Reading:

Dad Starts be a Gentleman Day – SMH

Be a Gentleman Day – QuestNews

International Be a Gentleman Day – Being Manly

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Guest Post: Respect

(many thanks goes to Peter Ryan author of Today’s Gentlemen
for the following guest post)

In a society which doesn’t seem to talk too much about what I would call “common” courtesy, respect and good manners it is quite important to broaden the conversation and highlight the importance of these things.

I was so happy when I stumbled on this blog site as many of the sentiments which I had been talking about on my Today’s Gentleman site resonated with Clare’s articles here.  This also reignited a point for me which had come up in numerous conversations; how does a lady or a gentleman maintain their standards of behaviour when they are surrounded by people who don’t appreciate or respect it?

To be gentleman of respect and courtesy or a lady of grace and poise quite often we have to rise above the accepted standards that surround us.  It is a wicked descent into the excuse culture if we all acted according to the minimum standard we see in society.

As an example, I have heard many men say that they shouldn’t bother giving their bus seat up for someone who needs it more, or hold the door for the next person.  They hold this belief not because they don’t think it is the right thing to do, but because they think it is a thankless action, that is not appreciated and wouldn’t be reciprocated.  They also get particularly defensive when that other person is a woman, and comments like, “women wanted equal rights” abound.

On the other hand, some men who genuinely feel it is the right thing to do have given up such acts of chivalry due to past bad experiences with women rudely refusing their kind gestures.  I am not sure at what point a kind gesture could be construed as an insult which was trying to belittle a whole gender, but that has been a common theme to the feedback many men are receiving.

I like to believe that men, particularly those involved in Today’s Gentleman, want to show genuine courtesy to those around them, particularly ladies, but social attitudes sometimes erode this intent.  It is hard to be a gentleman when there are no ladies around to appreciate it, and I am sure the reverse is also true.

I firmly believe two things:

A gentleman can display acts of kindness, courtesy and respect to a lady without their being any ill intent or overtones of treating anyone as “less able”

A lady can accept kind gestures from gentlemen with grace and poise, celebrating their femininity without surrendering any of their power or independence

Although it is a little inelegant, I am reminded of the saying; “It is hard to soar like an eagle when you are surrounded by turkeys”.

I think it is our duty to society and we owe it to ourselves to rise above those attitudes and beliefs that negatively influence acceptable behaviour.  We all have the power to be a positive example in the communities in which we live and work by simply respecting ourselves and others.

Find more about Peter Ryan and the second international Be a Gentlemen Day and why not join in!

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Why it’s Not all About Me

We live in a world today surrounded by an egotistical, selfish way of thinking.  It’s me first.  My wants are most important.  What are my needs?  What suits me best? We open the latest glamour magazine on the rack and imprinted on it’s glossy pages are ways to make myself more beautiful, how to make sure my needs are met first.  Me.  Me. Me is the center focus.

What happened to the countless lives around us?  Letting others go first.  Being generous with your time.  Being kind to the elderly. Going the extra mile for someone.  Considering others needs, wants, desires and pleasures before your own.

We live in the age of the Power Woman – a trail-blazing, passionate, strong, determined, with a if-I-want-it-I-get-it attitude.  Although being purposeful and passionate are fine qualities to have in a Lady do we in our quest for success forget those whom we are surrounded by?

Why not be that strong, determined, powerful woman that is also considerate, kind, friendly and filled with compassion for those who she meets?   Don’t forget your lonely neighbour, the helpful shop assistant, the cheery gas-station manager or the paper boy.  Remember their day.  Give them a moment.  Share your joy and double it.

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Words of Wisdom No. 12

In celebration of the 14th February 2012.
Also known to many as Valentine’s Day


Rather than choosing sentimental quotes on love and romance we have carefully selected a handful of wise words of wisdom on the subject of love and romance that may uplift your thoughts to a more nobler standard of dedication to your partner be it present or future.

When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live life.
– Greg Anderson

It is probably not love that makes the world go around, but rather those mutually supportive alliances through which partners recognize their dependence on each other for the achievement of shared and private goals.
– Fred Allen

In a true partnership, the kind worth striving for, the kind worth insisting on, and even, frankly, worth divorcing over, both people try to give as much or even a little more than they get. “Deserves” is not the point. And “owes” is certainly not the point. The point is to make the other person as happy as we can, because their happiness adds to ours. The point is — in the right hands, everything that you give, you get.
– Amy Bloom

The giving of love is an education in itself.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

If a person loves only one other person and is indifferent to the rest of his fellow men, his love is not love but a symbiotic attachment, or an enlarged egotism.
-Erich Fromm

Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun, like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.
–Fred Rogers

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
– Buddha

When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.
-William Arthur Ward

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My Top 5 (not-so-secret) Secrets to Weight Control

Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.
– Hippocrates

For the majority of women our image is a constant reminder of who we are as a woman.   Both obesity and anorexia effect many women of all ages.  According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics obesity has become a world-wide concern upon reaching epidemic proportions.  From the common image projected in mainstream media outlets our minds are confused and bewildered as to what is a “healthy” weight?  Some famous individual is either stick thin or piling on the pounds in the celebrity culture.  Have we actually forgotten what a healthy weight looks like?

I personally believe that weight control is over-complicated with a million diet plans that boggle the mind instantly and  an over-abundance of exercise regimes all promising quick, fast, easy results.  No wonder people get daunted and discouraged at even the prospect of attempting weight control!  I don’t think attaining a healthy weight should cost you excess money or time.  Although, the amount of effort and dedication you commit to your goal will equally determine the results.  Today I’m sharing 5 hints which won’t cost you a cent and the only requirements are a desire to obtain and maintain a healthy body weight.

Out of Sight – Out of Mind
Practically speaking, this phase turned into reality can make such a difference.  Stop the temptation.  Remove it.  Don’t let it hide in your fridge waiting for that weak moment where you loose all self-control and give into impulse.  Remove it totally.  (i.e. bin it!) There is less chance of you not thinking about it if you can’t see it.

Replace the Bad with the Good
We can be so eager and quick to remove the unhealthy, bad substances from our diet but all too soon we find they are weaving their way back in… Why and how does this happen?  We have removed the bad but never given it a replacement.  If you’re having trouble kicking an unhealthy substance, remove it but be sure to replace it with a healthier alternative.

Write a Shopping List
I think I’ve mentioned my love of lists before, right?  Ah, well there is even more benefits than just minimizing food waste and time management!  Shopping lists also allows to you to re-focus when you’re purposely skipping the confectionery aisle and guide you to better, healthier eating habits.

Cut the Carbs
If there was one, just one suggestion I would give to anyone wishing to regain control of their weight it would be to delete carbohydrates (i.e. sweets, soft drinks, breads and pastas)Try it temporarily.  3 weeks maybe?  You’ll feel much lighter, healthier and skinnier!  In reality, it’s not like you’re never going to eat bread or pasta again, but you’ll be surprised at how much better you feel when these highly processed items are minimized.

If You’re Really Serious. . .
All the above points are nice.  They can easily be slipped into your lifestyle as it is.  But for real weight-loss that can guarantee (oh, did I just say that?) the weight to slip off. Here is my secret…you need to make your choices a lifestyle.  Not just a fade that suits when it feels convenient but a way of life.  Continually, consciously making healthy eating choices everyday.  Eating healthy and well can and will become incredibly enjoyable and the mental and physical benefits will astound you.

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New Year’s Resolutions. . . January in Review

Can you believe the first month of 2012 is almost over?  How time is flying!
As we step into a new month, I’ve decided to take a look back and review the goals I set at the end of 2011.  Have you followed through with your resolutions with as much enthusiasm and energy as you did when you put them to paper?

I’ll be honest and say that I’m glad there is another 11 months left to the year to keep improving and progressing with the commitments I set as I definitely need it!

If you’re feeling that you’ve not progress as much as you’d have wished in the last 30 days don’t feel discouraged. . .

Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.

Here’s a look back at January’s posts on Grace & Poise with the first month of the year being our highest rated with over 7,660 hits!

❤  Etiquette Refresher: How to eat Soup

  Words of Wisdom #9

  The Brilliance of List Making

  Bad Manners – the Biggest Problem Facing Society?

  Introducing the Elegance Round-up

❤  Elegance Round-up #1

  Words of Wisdom #10

❤   Happiness – it’s Your Responsibility

  Words of Wisdom #11

A very big, warm thank you to all our lovely readers who have joined us in the new year! 

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Words of Wisdom No. 11

Purpose: shed light, help keep perspective, inspire, energize, or just make one think.
Purpose: shed light, help keep perspective, inspire, energize, or just make one think.

Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.

Nothing is more important than the breakdown of the family. As it goes, so goes the nation.
WWNH

Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.
-Steve Jobs

“Freedom, morality, and the human dignity of the individual consists precisely in this; that he does good not because he is forced to do so, but because he freely conceives it, wants it, and loves it.”
-Mikhail Bakunin

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.
— James M. Barrie

Find someone who will change your life. . . Not just your relationship status.

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Happiness – it’s Your Responsibility

If we were to take a poll of what made people happy in today’s society, the answers would be many and varied.  For some, it depends on a sought-after dream being fulfilled, wealth and popularity or finding the perfect soulmate.  For others happiness is drawn from more simplistic forms such as a giggle from a child they love or the dawn of a bright, new day.

It’s true that so many women today tie their happiness to things that are temporary.  As they meander their way through life they find they are continually let down.  Why?  Well, to be completely honest. . . Friends change.  Dreams sometimes crumble.  A lifestyle can be fleeting.  A relationship may ebb and flow.  A once successful career may collapse.  Even a pair of Louboutin shoes will eventually wear out.

“Joy has nothing to do with material things, or with man’s outward circumstance…A man living in the lap of luxury can be wretched, and a man in the depths of poverty can overflow with joy.”
– William Barclay

But does this really mean that happiness too has to fade and vanish? Absolutely not!  There is no reason why your happiness can’t be elevated by uplifting relationships, achievements, and events for they are so often the greatest sources of joy.  But there must be a foundation stronger and more stable for your own contentment.

The Choice is Yours

“Happiness isn’t something that depends on our surroundings…It’s something we make inside ourselves.”
– Corrie Ten Boom

Ultimately, happiness is a choice.  You can choose to let things, people, emotions and feelings elate your joy or disturb it.  All the happiness that you can ever dream of belongs to you.  It’s in your hands.  You can choose to mold it, shape it, fashion it and multiply it.  Or on the other hand you can hide it, stow it, put it in a dark corner and blow it out.
Whatever your present situation you decide if the outcome is either positive or negative.

Cherish the Simple Pleasures

Life continually gives. Look around you – wherever you are and see how truly blessed you are!   At home?  You have a roof over your head that provides sufficient protection.  In a cafe?  You have a delicious selection of fresh food at your convenience.  At work?  You’re so lucky to have a regular paycheck coming through each week.

I know so many of us (including myself!) take the simple joys and pleasures in life for granted.  Things that come naturally everyday without invitation.

  • Waking up to a fresh, new day alive and breathing! No matter what happens in the hours ahead, you can come back to your breath for a sense of peace and presence
  • Freedom for faith, religion, beliefs and values of our own choice
  • Language to communicate, ideas, plans, dreams
  • Your future is completely open, ready to be seized and enjoyed
  • Wisdom to open opportunities for us to grow as a person and gain greater awareness and understanding of ourselves and world around us
  • A sense of safety that makes it possible to experience love, pleasure, and trust
  • Health.  Even if you don’t have perfect health right now be encouraged that our bodies are made to heal.  Learn to cherish your health, preserve it, and when you get sick feel blessed that you will get better.
  • You have a purpose!  When our true purpose is discovered we awake with renewed vigor and resolve

The list is endless. . . Really you don’t need much to realise just how blessed we really are from this statistic.

This week rests in your hands.  Yes, challenges will try to steal away your happiness and joy.  Take a hold of it and don’t let it go!  Share it and double the joy!

Have a beautiful week . . .

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Words of Wisdom No. 10

Purpose: shed light, help keep perspective, inspire, energize, or just make one think.

 

Don’t let a bad day make you feel like you’ve had a bad life.
-unknown

The Bible praises givers and scorns takers. Givers give, because they are grateful. Takers take, because their self-centeredness overwhelms any gratitude they might have. Since happiness flows from gratitude, takers-only breed their own unhappiness.
WWNH

Never be ashamed of how you were created.  Because you are born into one skin.  You can scar it, stretch it, burn it, mark it, tan it, and peel it.  But you are always in it so you might as well love it.
EFL

In life you will realise that there is a purpose for everyone you meet.  Some will test you, some will use you, and some will teach you.  But most important are the ones that bring the best in you.  Those are the ones worth keeping around.
EFL

The acquisition of knowledge doesn’t mean you’re growing.  Growing happens when what you know changes how you live.
-M&AHL

Most of the bad things you worry about will never happen.  Most of the bad things that do happen will have never have crossed your worried mind.
M&AHL

Whenever somebody discredits you, and tells you that you can’t do something, keep in mind that they are speaking from within the boundaries of their own limitations.
M&AHL

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. . .
-John 14:27

When you’re up, your friends know who you are.  When you’re down, you know who your friends are.
M&AHL

 
N.B. Many, many thanks to Mark and Angel at M&AHL.
Your wisdom and strength inspires me.