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The Art of Poise

One of my biggest hits in my blog stats is the Google search how to have poise or how to develop poise. So in response to the ladies out there I would like to share an in-depth article that will directly answer you question.

Firstly, let’s take a moment to actually define poise as such. The New Oxford American Dictionary defines this beautiful characteristic as “graceful and elegant bearing in a person“; “composure and dignity of manner“; and the last definition is “balance“.

Poise is not something that one can demand of you. It must be your willingness and your choice. It’s an attribute that will flow from your heart – coming from your inward thoughts and transcending into your actions. I believe the most essential element to perfect composure is for one to have the control over her emotions. Take the most elegant, sophisticated woman endowed with grace and dignity but who’s emotions are not restrained? I’m afraid all the former attributes are wasted.

Every decision and every action a poised woman makes shouldn’t be hasty and based purely on emotions rather part of a plan and given thorough thought. If a negative decision has not been given enough consideration in the past and the effects are visible she will take this opportunity to learn and grow. Whatever life throws at her she reminds herself that there is a purpose behind every challenge and a equal measure of strength to overcome it.

This woman should also have a defined purpose in life. She doesn’t meander her way through life aimlessly. She’s focused. She’s on a mission; if not several. Does that mean life’s perfect? Most probably quite the opposite. But it doesn’t phase her. Opportunities and offers may be graciously rejected if they are not within the plan. Although highly focused, this lady doesn’t just have a Plan A. She holds the blueprints for Plan B, Plan C, Plan D right through to Plan Z. Life always won’t go as planned. She may adjust and reschedule accordingly. If she follows an avenue that leads to a dead end – is there time to fret and complain? No way – life’s way to short! Why not try the next street?

One’s outlook on life incredibly effects her poise. How do you view the future? With hope, joy and excitement or does it hold a fear over you? Do you take on challenges with calmness and thought or does it cause you to doubt yourself?

Although, confidence plays a large role in a graceful, poised woman it’s not the ultimate ingredient. Many people will tell you confidence is the first ingredient to a graceful, poised lady. It’s true. If you have confidence you can gracefully hold yourself with strangers and in new situations much more ease. But can you still be elegant with a touch of shyness? My answer is a definite yes. How so?

I’ll let you in on a secret…From personal experience – I’m naturally a shy, quiet individual. My innate desire is to withdraw from big crowds and unknown places. For years I really struggled with building my confidence but I one day realized that confidence wouldn’t just show up on my doorstep one day. Confidence has to be pursued and chased and that’s exactly what I did! I forced myself out of my hometown, traveled across Europe, meeting strangers, working with people who didn’t speak my language, creating new friendships. At 19 years of age I moved myself to a new state, started a brand new circle of friends, attended a new Church, got myself a new job and started studying in a new school. Did I do it all at once? No. Bit by bit, step by step. For example, at school I didn’t start a group discussion in class; I only talked to one new person at a time. I only attended one job interview at a time. Gradually the confidence arose. I was successful at the last attempt why wouldn’t I be at the next one? Remember that “success comes in cans, not cant’s”.

Posture is another essential. People who exercise regularly have much better posture than those who don’t. Here’s a nifty idea of how to strengthen your posture.

If you don’t have great posture, stand up right now. Now imagine that there is a balloon on a string extending from the crown of your head. Imagine that this balloon is pulling your head upwards towards the sky. You’ll automatically stand upright with your spine elongated. Doesn’t this little mind trick work great? If you keep doing this for a few weeks, the habit will stick and you’ll have corrected your posture. Try it! It actually works!

In conclusion, don’t be surprised if you’re noticed. Poise is a rare quality these days and there is nothing more striking than a woman who knows how to hold herself with dignity and ease. Remember the words of Simone de Beauvoir when she stated “One is not born a woman; rather one becomes a woman.”


Introducing the Elegance Round-up

Across the globe, literally in every corner there women who possess an impeccable sense of style and elude incredible elegance.

Today I’m introducing a lovely new column, the Elegance Round-up!

If you share a love for stylish, elegant bursts of couture inspiration keep your eyes peeled for this new column!

It should also be noted that the ideas presented would not be a reflection of the individual but simply a reflection of the elegance and style presented.


Bad Manners – the Biggest Problem Facing Society?

According to a recent survey, bad manners are the biggest problem facing modern society.  Good manners? Well, apparently they’re fast becoming a thing of the past!

Whether you care to agree or not I’m sure you’d no doubt concur with me that commonplace society is not raising the bar – it’s more likely being lowered.

Interestingly enough, ninety per cent of those questioned in the survey blamed the decline in standards on the example offered by parents.

1. Spitting on the street or out of cars.

2. People who try to board public transport before letting others get off.

3. Standing two-abreast on escalators, making it impossible for people in a hurry to move by.

4. Smokers who hold their cigarettes away from fellow companions but allow their smoke to drift towards others.

5. Uncovered sneezing, coughing and prolonged sniffing.

6. People noisily chewing gum.

7. Queue hoppers and line jumpers – wait your turn!

8. Shop assistants who keep talking among themselves or continue a personal phone call while you’re waiting to be served.

9. Prolonged PDA-ing in public.

10. Commuters who take up two seats – one for themselves and one for their bag.  Or young travelers not giving up seats to elders.

11. Motorists who do not return your wave after you’ve let them in a queue ahead of you.

Really, it doesn’t take much to show a little courtesy when you’re in public.  If you have been an offender of one of these (or more!) think of others and you’ll be amazing how far a little respect and courtesy goes!


The Brilliance of List Making

I love lists.  I have made a list for almost everything imaginable.  Lists for shopping, travel, work, gifts, moving, home organization and the common, every-day, wonderful “To-Do” list.

Yes, I admit maybe I’m slightly obsessive about lists but for me having that fantastic list all checked off and the job finished far outweighs a little ink on paper thrown in the trash.  It’s a prop that reduces wasted time, minimizes disorganization and creates less stress by knowing what needs to be accomplished, how and when.

David Wallechinsky, the co-author of The Book of Lists shares how list-making brings order to what may appear to be complete chaos. “People are attracted to lists because we live in an era of overstimulation, especially in terms of information…And lists help us in organizing what is otherwise overwhelming.”

But I must confess, the real attraction to making a list for me is that it helps aid my vice of procrastination.  Especially when it comes to study loads or the heralding of a busy week at work my first point of call is to my to-do list.  Even though making a list does not actually solve the problem of procrastination it’s a strong pointer and reminder of what needs to be accomplished and enables me to tackle the task one aspect at a time.

The Shopping List

Being a real Forgetful Miss, I have found myself pulling into my driveway way too many times having forgotten the milk or bread!  Ah! My way around it?  Make a list.

You’ll retain your focus on the essentials and not spend your cash on unneeded items.  I even know one organized lass who creates her list according to the aisles in the supermarket.  I can’t say I’m that organized but if the sticky-note doesn’t cut it for you then you can even print-out a template for a time-saver.

The Travel Checklist

Be it an overnight stay or a week long vacation for me this is the essential.  I know if I don’t jot down that last minute thought at 2am in the morning I’m bound to be a few hours down the road when I get that light bulb moment!

Here’s a fantastic travel checklist to get you started!

In the Workplace

My day rotates around an online checklist as my day also depends on other’s schedules and timetables.  During the busy time’s it’s easy to forget to order that lunch for the Solicitors or schedule a flight for the Director.  They’re things that you just can’t forget!  So this makes me best friend’s with Outlook Express Calendar which reminds me before the event to order, double-check, email, call or however the project needs my attention.

Making Your List Do-Able

Lastly, I’d like to share how to make you’re awesome “To-Do” list actually do-able.  I guess it’s like most things in life it will need your attention and diligence.  Yet here’s a few things to bear in mind so you can get that list checked of and in the trash in no time!

Firstly, break it down. There is not much point in taking a colossal project and plonking it on your list and telling yourself to get to it.  It just won’t work that easily!  Say, if you’re project is to clean the office, break it down into smaller tasks.  Clean out the drawer, shred the paperwork, break down the files, sort the mail, etc.  Check each one off as you go and you’ll be pleasantly surprised that in no time you’ve actually cleaned the whole office!

Inspirational writer SARK breaks down her tasks into five-minute increments, and calls them “micromovements.” She writes, “Micromovements are tiny, tiny little steps you can take toward completions in your life. I’m a recovering procrastinator and I have a short attention span, so I invented micromovements as a method of completing projects in time spans of 5 minutes or less. I always feel like I can handle almost anything for 5 minutes!”

Secondly, stop looking at the big picture.  Look at what’s right in front of you.  Your list should contain only the next logical action for all your working projects. That’s it – just one bite-sized step in each undertaking.

Thirdly, Remember your “To-Do” list is not a dumping ground for your long-term dreams and ambitions or “one-day’s” it’s focusing on the here and now.  Only put serious commitments on the list that you’ll complete today or this week.

Lastly, remember, the wise words of Sir Edmund Hillary… “You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things… You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals.


Words of Wisdom No. 9

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

A wise woman is ALWAYS LEARNING. She is open to change. She is ready to hear. She pursues knowledge.

Make up your mind that you’re not going to quit until you see the fruit of what God has placed within you.

Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.

What is true happiness? It’s not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.

God is more concerned about your heart than your performance. If your heart is right, your performance will eventually catch up.

What’s the definition of progress? When each obstacle is more difficult than the one before, you’re definitely making progress.

Accomplishment and fulfillment cannot be purchased off the shelf. They come as a result of what you’re willing to give.

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do.

(1) debipearl (2) JoyceMeyer (3) FamousWomen (4) WomenofHistory (5) JoyceMeyer
(6) ralphmarston (7) ralphmarston (8) persdevquotes


Etiquette Refresher: How to eat Soup

If soup is served and it comes in a wide, fairly flat dish, scoop it up by pushing your spoon away from you rather than towards you.  Never put the entire spoon in your mouth – instead, fill a soup spoon to about 75% full, bring it up to your mouth and sip from the side – with as little slurping as possible.

When your soup runs low it’s acceptable to tilt the dish away from you to capture the remnants.  Don’t dispair to leave a small amount in the dish as there is nothing more irritaing than one scraping away at the dish as if it’s the last meal you’ll be eating.

If consommé is served in a cup or a bowl with handles, use your spoon to consume what you can then put the spoon on the saucer, concave side upwards.  Pick up the cup or bowl by it’s handle/s and drink the rest.

Bread served with soup should not be dipped and eaten.  This serves the reason for having croutons (toasted bread cut in bite size pieces) which accompanies soups.

Where to leave your spoon? If the bowl is shallow it’s perfectly acceptable to leave the spoon in the dish facing away from you.  If not, place on the saucer provided.


Happy New Year!

With 2012 just moments away, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of my readers.

Without you this blog wouldn’t be what it is today.

Thank You!

Your continued support, your comments, your encouragement, your re-tweets and even your little direct messages fill my heart with happiness and inspire me to keep writing.

As we step into the year 2012, will promise to bring many more new additions and we wish you another year of good health, happiness, love and blessings.


Words of Wisdom No. 8

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

Say to yourself: “Worry is just a very bad mental habit and I can change any habit with God’s help.”

Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm and constant.

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.
-Helen Keller

“You have to decide in life if you want to influence people or impress them”
-Rick Warren

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.”
-Nido Qubein

All people respond to challenges creatively – some think up solutions, others think up excuses.

If we aren’t moving forward with God, we are drifting backward.

Turn your wounds into wisdom.
– Oprah

You may have weaknesses, but God has strength.
You may have sin, but God has grace.
You may fail, but God remains faithful!


New Year’s Resolutions

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” – Edith Lovejoy Pierce

As the New Year approaches many of us look with great expectation, delight and hope.  The future is uncertain and mysterious.  Where will this new year take us?  How will it change us?

Each time a new year approaches a joy swells within me!  There is a part of me that loves the unknown, filled with excitement and adventure. Having the amazing opportunity of another year to improve, grow, develop, mature and strive for the best.
It also gives me opportunity to see how I have changed and developed over the past year.  Have I developed the skills and matured to the standard I had hoped?

Over the past month I’ve been considering all these things and in such times I have mentally checked what I’ve successfully accomplished and also what needs more improvement.

For a lot of us it’s easy to set goals and targets to accomplish in the coming year but how many of us actually arrive at the end of the year having our list all checked off? Well, not many, according to a study by author and psychologist Richard Wiseman. His research found that 52 percent of resolution-makers were confident that they’d achieve their goals, yet only 12 percent succeeded.

So the question prevails how do we successfully accomplish the goals that we set?

Be Specific

This year, rather than making a broad goal such as “I’d like to exercise more” or “I’m going to eat healthier this year” let’s try making it more specific. How will I exercise more? Make a plan of when and how you’re going to exercise more.  What ways can I make sure I can continually eat healthier? Plan a menu perhaps or think in smaller portions.  Small changes make the biggest difference.

Don’t Give In

If you’re anything like me you’ll arrive at the end of January and feeling like it’s time to press the refresh button and start all over again!  But you must remember that doing your best is as far as it goes.  How about reviewing what you’ve successfully achieved at the end of January and measure yourself at the end of each month?  Maybe that would make progress much easier and more fulfilling.

Do It Now

Does the word “procrastination” have any correlation with goals and success for you?  Well, for me – yes it sometimes correlates very well!  Rather than telling yourself you’ll do it tomorrow or you’ll start next week; why not start today.  Today is just as good as tomorrow or any other day!  And just think – by next week you’ll already be forming that awesome habit!

A Sneek Peek of my 2012 New Year’s Resolutions

For years I’ve been a great sucker for New Year’s Resolutions.  Even when I was much younger I’d write my goals down in a diary (in the neatest hand-writing possible 😉 and keep myself tuned throughout the year to my progress.  Well now, even as an adult not much has changed.  I even still have some of the same goals as back then!   The only thing I guess that has changed – is that my list seems to grow every year and the goals are much more defined and bigger.

Do it in the Morning!
Nothing is more beautiful than the fresh, dewy morning hours!  Perfect, new and untouched they are yours to fill and create.  This year I’m determined to wake up earlier and set aside time to meditate.

Exercise 2+ x Weekly
Really, I’m the person with NIL excuses.  I have an awesome gym membership which is open between 5:30am to 9am.  No more words needed.

Forgive and Forget
This has been weighing on me heavily for the last few months.   Sometimes people are in your life to refine and polish the bumps and unlovely parts.  I have realised that I need to learn to love and forgive even before an apology is granted as it may never come. I need to realise that everyone is doing their best in life.  Give them the benefit of the doubt.

Delete the Negative
This is actually something that has been in progress for the last year and I have been surprised at the fantastic benefits I’ve found both mentally and emotionally when I continually see the good in everything that happens to me in life. It’s my goal to keep pursing this and re-defining it.

Be Grateful and Thankful
Ah, yes.  Everyone – absolutely everyone has so much to be thankful for.  One of my favorite things to do in the quieter moments is to reflect on how I’ve been blessed and how my life has through the twists and turns turned out so wonderfully. (Even though it’s far from perfect!)  I’m committing to taking time out to remember how good God has been to me on a regular basis.

Now . . .
I could easily ramble on for much long detailing my numerous other goals but let’s list a few awesome ones for your inspiration. . .

  • Serve Others
  • Use Google Reader to keep track of websites
  • Put yourself in other people’s shoes
  • Take 100% responsibility for everything that happens to you
  • Live minimistically
  • Be curious. Learn something new.
  • Learn to apoligise
  • Realize that you’re never quite as right as you think you are
  • Let go of things you can’t change. Concentrate on things you can
  • Smile often, even to complete strangers
  • Be honest and take things face-value
  • Take time out to rest and rejuvenate every week
  • Be kind to everyone
  • Become more organized
  • Identify the problem
  • Be polite and be fair
  • Be gentle on myself and those around me

What Makes a Woman a Lady: Embrace your Femininity

“The only real elegance is in the mind; if you’ve got that, the rest really comes from it.”-Diana Vreeland

Welcome to our second series for What Makes a Woman a Lady.

I’ve especially chosen this topic for the very reason that femininity, as a characteristic, forms a very integral part of the woman.  If we were to strip away the exterior of a woman – her clothes, makeup, lifestyle and even her background we would still find that there is one characteristic you cannot take away – her femininity.  It’s in her soul, her make up and simply ingrained in her very being.  When we step back and look at the woman – that is every woman, irrespective of her race, culture, background – she is created so unique and divinely beautiful.  Why not embrace this gift with a sense of pride and thankfulness?

When we Ponder for a moment the word “feminine“.  What description comes to your mind?  Every woman has a uniquely different and individual perspective on what includes “femininity”.  For some it might be heels, summer dresses, and long tresses and for others it might be found in a practical pair of boots and a cowboy hat with long blonde pigtails.  This is what makes femininity so fascinating to me as a woman.  You can’t “brand” it.  It’s unique and very much individual based. Interestingly enough, I do believe that even though there is not a specific set of rules of what defines “femininity” as a whole yet there are certain characteristics that help create the feminine woman.

Femininity in and of itself is made up of many elements.  As I was researching the topic more deeply, I came to the realization that this characteristic virtually encompasses everything that this blog is about.  It’s a part of a woman’s style, personality, appearance, how she carries herself.  It stems from her outward look on life in general and her values and morals.  Can a lady really be graceful and elegant without being feminine?

So today we are just going to cover a few essentials of how to increase your femininity in your day-to-day life.  Keep your eyes peel for more posts on this topic!

The Importance of Pretty Time

My friend and mentor at WWNH has highlighted again and again the importance of “Pretty Time”.  I believe this to be one of the most fundamental elements in creating the image of a feminine woman.  We are all too used to seeing a the commonplace woman, for example shopping in the mall dressed like a slob – sweats, daggy hair with highlights outgrown, comfy ugg boots topped with thick lashings of eyeliner and mascara.  Attractive? Adorable? Hardly.
From my own experience – it takes just the amount of time to pull on  practical, attractive looking clothes as it is a hoodie and sweat pants.  Try toning down the eyeliner and brush the mane. See the difference – in both how people perceive you and how you feel within yourself.
Guy sums in up: “Women are born convinced of their prettiness, but they do need daily and routine tune ups. A pleasant day starts for every woman when she satisfies herself that she looks pretty. After much practice and continual adjustments to stay up with whatever improves her appearance, she learns to satisfy herself easily. It opens the door to a pleasant life.”

Learn to Create Your own Happiness

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”
–Albert Einstein

It’s true.  Long-term, deep, abiding happiness is the fruit of dedication and choice.  Have you ever witness a young couple in the throes of young love, unmindful of the world around them – absolutely complete in their own happiness?  But let us think of that older couple, when beauty and youth has faded – yet that quiet, abiding happiness and love is still visible and present in their lives?   Trust me, I’m no scholar but it’s clearly visable that even through the good and the bad – they have both made the choice to love in both the good and bad times.

Well, I believe happiness is just like that – it’s being real and know that life won’t be a walk in the garden.  An inspired writer once made a powerful reminder not to just look at the thorns and thistles in life but it’s about learning to see the roses among the thorns.  Take time every day and throughout the day, to thank God for all that you’ve been given, to thank others for what they give you, to be grateful.  I amazed at the difference it makes to my day when I wake up in the morning with a busy and sometimes stressful day ahead to take a moment to reflect on the amazing things that I’ve been given.  For example, an overly cosy bed, sunbeams streaming through my window, fresh water from my kitchen tap, a delicious breakfast that awaits me, a family to love, owning my own car, and a good job awaiting my presence… and wait!  That’s only just a snapshot!  There is so much to appreciate and love.  Yes, I understand you may not (and sometimes I don’t) have just a dreamy morning to wake up to – that’s not my point.  Even if you have kids screaming, a husband already gone to work, a worn-out old car, and recently jobless – try pick one great thing.  Then tomorrow pick two things and keep escalating.  You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes in your outlook on life in general.

An Impeccable Appearance

I can imagine a few chuckles coming from my readers.  Is it possible?  Me?  Yes!  Of course, it’s possible.  A good appearance starts with perfect posture.  As someone who is at a desk all day this is difficult and needs to be a constant reminder for me.   Feel graceful with your posture.  Relax but remain composed.

Take pride in being clean.  Too often I rush my personal cleanliness routine.  But recently I’ve taken 10 minutes each night to give myself time in my daily routine as it’s the basics of the end product in feeling and appearing attractive.

Shopping smart does not necessarily mean shopping overly expensive.  Quality does make a difference but does not exceed your budget.  Shop for what is in the rest of your wardrobe at home.  Clean out your wardrobe routinely so old and worn-out clothes (that really don’t get worn anymore) can make space and de-clutter.

Remember that a clean, healthy, well kept, and vibrant appearance will reap dividends internally, personally, professionally, and socially. Everyone, whether they say it or not, will notice.  For illustration, I work at a Law firm as the receptionist and I recently met up with another law firm’s receptionist.  My work colleague has never made mention of my appearance before but upon meeting this young lady he was quick raise his eyebrow our differing appearances as she slouched on the waiting room sofa appearing rather bored and unkempt.  Your posture, attitude, outlook and appearance will without a doubt make an difference – be it in your life or anothers!

Many, many thanks to Abigail O’Neil, Francesca Crippa and Nina for your thoughts.


What Makes a Woman – a Lady: Manners, Manners, Manners

(a follow up from our series on What Makes a Woman – a Lady)

Manners, no doubt come hand-in-hand with being a true Lady.  Can you imagine an incredibly elegant, successful, graceful woman without a few manners?  No, it’s almost an impossibility!  So it would be correct to conclude that manners definitively form a very integral part of the making of a lady and also the makeup of a well-balanced and prosperous society. It’s like the oil that creates a happy and successful society.

Oddly enough for this current generation “manners” – the little courtesies and expected acts which your parents taught you at the dinner table when you were 4 years old – are now fading into irrelevance and these past forms are being regarded as “old-fashioned” and too “dated” for Generation Z.

This is evident as we breakout into what constitutes “modern society”.  Where the commonplace individual naturally behaves more rudely, making interaction difficult and hence creating an unpleasant social environment that makes people sometimes just want to run and hide.  In today’s society, bad manners can be observed anytime, anywhere. This sort of discourtesy is ever present and examples are too numerous to count or even mention: the disrespectful treatment of elderly people; invitations that aren’t responded to in any way; the lack of commitment to any event, job, or person; confirming attendance with no intention of attending; the strange disappearance of “please” and “thank you” from most people’s vocabulary; line-jumping; serial texters and cell-phone addicts who talk on the phone, as well as read and send text messages instead of paying attention to physically present persons; the friend or colleague who never offers to pick up the bill at lunch, or even pay their own way; repulsive children (the spitting image of their parents) who think that the world rotates around them and behave obnoxiously because of it, etc, etc.

Yet ironically we tend to blame the younger generation for these rude behaviors, but the truth is that the situation is degrading all ages and levels of society. So much that now it is commonplace to see couples openly insulting each other in public and treating each other with absolutely no common courtesy (a sliding scale which leads directly to physical and verbal abuse).  Just as unfortunate, and equally common is disrespectful and dishonest treatment between colleagues in the business world, who fall back on tricks, half-truths and crude vocabulary to make ends meet. And then, to add insult to injury, these issues are left to be resolved by enormous and costly governmental programs, that can do nothing when facing this irreversible deterioration of personal relationships without the involvement and commitment of everyday people in their everyday lives.

So we conclude that we need to put a stop to this seemingly steep spiral of degradation and deplorable behavior.  We need to revolutionize this generation and bring forth some action.

You may sit back comfortably in your office chair and wish me luck but I’m here with a plan of action bubbling with inspiration from my own heart to uphold these values and integrate them back into society.  It is my belief that we aren’t going to convert the whole world into a revolution – with thousands agreeing to raise the standard and step up the plate.  Yet you and I, as humble and common-place as we may be, pacing through our day-to-day activities in life can actually be the change that we want to see today.

Listed below are some of the everyday acts which we can bring into our life.  However modest and humble these qualities may seem – try one and see how much it makes a difference in the lives of those around you and what a presence of joy in shines upon your life.  So lets start small. . .

  • Saying “please” and “thank you”.
  • Never intentionally embarrassing another
  • Never talking only about oneself
  • Not gossiping
  • Not prying
  • Not asking personal questions
  • Not staring
  • Not pointing at someone
  • Not talking loudly
  • Not asking intrusive personal questions
  • Chew with your mouth closed
  • Cross your legs if you are wearing a dress
  • Wipe your feet at the door and take your shoes off in a persons home
  • Offer food or drinks to guests
  • Open doors for people behind you
  • Please, don’t skip in line
  • Apologize to someone if you bump into them
  • Watch your language in front of children
  • Wait to eat until everyone at the table is seated and ready to eat
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Always wash your hands after using the restroom
  • Dress accordingly for events
  • No excessive PDA
  • Ladies first
  • Make eye contact when talking to a person
  • Say excuse me when you wish to speak to someone who is engaging in conversation
  • Ask to borrow people’s personal belongings
  • Introduce yourself to people when you meet them
  • Don’t put your elbows on the dinner table
  • Don’t burp at the dinner table
  • Don’t comment on people’s weight or age (unless it’s positive)
  • Respect your elders
  • Don’t hit other people
  • Don’t lie or steal
  • Say sorry when you do something that hurts someone else
  • Mind your own business
  • Be a good listener. Don’t interrupt.
  • Do not discuss sex, religion, or politics when you first meet someone. Be courteous when you do.
  •  Anticipate the needs of others.
  • Don’t have your radio or TV so loud it bothers others.
  • Use your turn signal.

In the above we have highlighted quite a few of the common every-day acts and gestures.  But since we focus on the making of a woman in this series we feel it apprpriate to highlight some of the deeds that are particularly noticed and appreciated when displayed by a lady.

  • When you mention your enemies speak about them with respect – not matter what they did – they are human and still deserve respect (Yes, I do mean you’re ex too!)
  • Dress appropriately for the occasion. Yes, this is a tricky one but do you’re best.  A lady never deliberately sticks out of the crowd.
  • Cut the whining and complaining.  Seriously, who like a girl that constantly whines and nothing is ever perfect for her?  Take what you’ve been given with grace and use it to the best of your ability – however meager it may be.
  • Honesty.  One of the greatest attributes bestowed upon mankind.  Use it with tact and pride.
  • Project yourself – real, human, feminine, (and slightly imperfect!) with spirit and vitality.  Don’t try and be a copycat.  You’re unique – embrace it.
  • Be charming.  Strive to be lovely, use small-talk and your smile.
  • Cut out the crudeness.  Enough said.
  • Know how to handle yourself and your emotions.  Know what makes you upset, angry, depressed, moody.  Learn how to curb the unloveliness.  Yes, this takes time and effort maybe a bit of actually trying and failing but remember that old saying, “practice makes perfect?”.
  • Be punctual.  If you’re late – apoligise beforehand.

…and finally remember…

Kindness and courtesy needn’t always be deliberate and planned. Spontaneous kindness is an attribute of a person who already is well-mannered and courteous and whose natural instinct for courtesy is demonstrated in everything he or she does.


The Family Circle in Society

“Nations expire, human goverments are constantly re-cast; political systems are built up by one generation to be pulled down and re-cast by another; false religions, accomompanied by the licentious vehemence of human passions, effect the greatest social changes; peace and war, infidelity and revolution, shape and re-shape human destiny: but amid the decay and the wreck, the confusion and the crimes, which constantly disfigure the face of the earth the asylum of Home has never been overthrown.  The family circle…survives amid the waters of universal change…”

– Happy Homes and How to Make Them pg 4.


What Makes a Woman – a Lady: An Introduction

Over the years I’ve discovered that there are some integral characteristics that are an integral part of making a woman become a lady.  Of course there are many, many attributes that we can reflect on but on the upcoming posts we will be highlighting five in particular.

Here’s the sneak peak:

1.  Manners, manners, manners

2. Embrace your femininity!



The Art of Inner Beauty

Gentleness provided out of patience.

Forgetfulness that follows forgiveness.

 Submissiveness as her spirit of cooperation.

Happiness that spreads infectiously.

Joyfulness that inspires greater hope.

Chasteness promised.

Generousness that smashes selfishness.

Delightfulness that makes them smile.

Unselfishness that spreads as example for all.

Neatness that inspires others.

Goodness that sets a shining example.

Faithfulness that inspires.

Have you ever met one of those women who just shine naturally.  Her smile, laugh, cheerful demeanor, love and care for others is known and felt by all who come in contact with her.

I’ve recently been able to meet one such of these incredible individuals at my workplace.  Everyday it was a real delight to work with her and she so inspired me. Oh, and by any stretch of the imagination, did this woman have a carefree, easy-going life?  She faithfully juggled a busy, full-time job, a handicapped school-aged child, a husband who directed and owned a successful business and was in the process of building their own home – yet every day she would waltz into work with a beaming smile and took her work’s commitments with just as much enthusiasm and devotion!

I learned so much from this quietly, powerful woman.  Day by day her glowing presence made me realize that there is a certain beauty that can been seen and positiveness revealed in each day – either good or bad.

Oh, and don’t be concerned if you feel like me and you’re way behind the eight-ball – maybe you’re having a hell of a day.  Well, firstly let me tell you,  if you’re reading this blog, then you’re one step ahead in actually desiring to change.  Secondly, I give an award to any woman out there who has a vision to grow and develop her capabilities and talents.  Start where you are today – whatever you’re doing.  Washing dishes?  Dealing with difficult clients?  Picking up the kids from school?

Capture this moment and shine! Perhaps even pick out a characteristic that you’d like to work on and start with that!  Why not give it a go!

Oh, and if you happen to have a bit of success in capturing this vision and shining – drop your thoughts in the comment box below!


Powerful Reminders for Tough Times

We’ve all been there – we all experience it.  When the light grows dim and you may feel alone, helpless or even just weary of trying without much success.

It’s important to remember at these times that the road never ends.  The light may just grow a little dimmer and we may stumble once or twice but soon enough with patience and effort daylight appears and we regain our composure and strength to keep pressing on.

In my experience, I always do my best to see the positives.  Yes, this sometimes is difficult – but it isn’t impossible.   I always remember my favourite Scripture verse in
Isaiah 41:10: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Humanity may fail you, friends may let you down (they’re human too!), the pressures of life may just get too intense, you may face challenges in your workplace – whatever it may be my word to you is to take heart.  Countless individuals have gone before you and faced much worse – there is no reason why you can’t come through shining.

Yes, I know it’s hard to feel strong and full of hope in the midst of these circumstances so  below I’d like to share with you a few words of hope and cheer that have given me a glimmer of assurance that this too shall pass!

Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.

No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.

Making one person smile can change the world.  Maybe not the whole world, but their world.  Start small.  Start now.

Don’t be afraid to move out of your comfort zone.  Some of your best life experiences and opportunities will transpire only after you dare to lose.

Giving up doesn’t always mean you’re weak, sometimes it means you are strong enough and smart enough to let go.

Stay positive when negativity surrounds you.  Smile when others frown.  It’s an easy way to make a difference.

The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists.  It rewards people who get things done.  And the only way to get things done is to be imperfect 99% of the time.

Mistakes teach you important lessons.  Every time you make one, you’re one step closer to your goal.  The only mistake that can truly hurt you is choosing to do nothing simply because you’re too scared to make a mistake.

No matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be.  Either you succeed or you learn something. Win-Win.

So… what’s your excuse?  No, you don’t have to be superwoman or even feel like her but square you shoulders and face your greatest challenge, today with full confidence and faith – knowing that whatever challenge lies ahead – an equal portion of strength has been provided!


Words of Wisdom No. 7

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

No matter what, you deserve to smile. Don’t let anyone ever take that away from you.

One good woman is enough, and it takes a Real Man to realize that.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. -Eleanor Roosevelt

I believe the most important single thing, beyond discipline & creativity is daring to dare.    -Maya Angelou

“Start embracing the life that is calling you – And use your life to serve …

A big difference exists between doing something wrong, which attacks your self-confidence and not doing something right, which attacks your conscience.

Hold her up, hold her hand, hold her doors.

Don’t comfort yourself with being aimlessly busy. Challenge yourself to get meaningful results from your time and effort.

Living with excellence means living with full attention and dedication to the whole of life that surrounds you.

Don’t wait for the right person to come into your life. Be the right person to come into someone else’s life.

It’s not a lack of time in your day, it’s a lack of Direction. Plan then Act! Make it a Great day!

Many thanks goes to: (1) rojahs (2) rojahs (3) FamousWomen (4) FamousWomen (5) Oprah (6) WWNH (7) bereolaesque  (8) ralphmarston (9) ralphmarston (10) Livintoinspire (11) KeithBrown 

…and don’t forget to follow us!


Words of Wisdom No. 6

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

Some people dream of success.  While others wake up and work hard at it.

Hope is wishing something would happen. Faith is believing it will happen. Courage is making it happen. Love makes it easy.

Words say a little. Effort says a lot. Doing says it all – Hopefully you kept the receipt to return the dream you’ve been sold.

“Elegant living is the development of grace, and good taste in all that we own and all that surrounds us.” — Honore de Balzac

“Spread the love of God through your life but only use words when necessary.” ~Mother Teresa

Never be a silly girl! A lady should always be learning, reading and strengthening her mind. Looks only take you so far…

Ladies – Don’t let a man change who you are, the only thing he should want to change is that last name of yours.

The 3 C’s of life…Choice, Chance, Change.. You must make the Choice to take the Chance if you want anything to Change.

Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have. So always be grateful with what you have!

1. Unknown 2. WiseWordsDaily 3. Bereolaesque 4. Robert_I_Brown 5. AngelaBisignano 6. TheNewAffluence 

7. SwagBelieberrs  8. graceandpoise 9. LivinToInspire

…and don’t forget to follow us!


Words of Wisdom No. 5

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

Change and growth take place when a person has risked himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life

-Herbert Otto

Pray not for lighter burdens, but for stronger backs.

-Theodore Roosevelt

Be honest in your opinion. Be gracious in your manner. Be humble in your tone. Be thankful for what you’re given. – Krista Seaman

Be passionate about what you put out into the world. People want your best.

Even the smallest acts have great power when they are sincere.

The influence of each action continues long after the action has been completed. The power of each thought resonates far into the future.

You choose the seeds of thought you put into your mind. Choose thoughts of love, possibility, generosity, abundance, strength and gratitude.

There is a world of magnificence hidden in simplicity. Pick the five most important things in your life now and focus on those things.

Many thanks goes to: (1) graceandpoise (2) rojahs (3) simplystirling (4) robertbrown (5) ralphmarston (6) ralphmarston (7) ralphmarston (8) graceandpoise

ah, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter!


Words of Wisdom No. 4

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

The bottom line is, it’s not about you and it’s not about me; it’s about loving others.

We don’t need self-confidence; we need God-confidence!

Fake friends are easy to find & easy to loose but real friends are the hardest to find & hardest to loose

Always have a unique character like salt. It’s presence may not be felt, But it’s absence makes food tasteless.

Don’t judge me, you only see what I choose to show.

Embrace fear for it develops courage and character.

You can’t control others’ acts but you can control your reaction to their acts, and that’s what counts most.

As long as you are kind, considerate, and respectful of others, you can’t go wrong.

Many Thanks to: (1) JoyceMeyer (2) JoyceMeyer (3) LivintoInspire (4) Rojahs (5) TH (6) KeithBrown  (7)EuniceLeong (8)PatriciaRossi 

…and don’t forget to follow us!



Be Inspired

Frederick & Mary with twins Vincent and Josephine

When these photos were release from the recent christening of the newest additions to the Danish Royal House, I couldn’t resist sharing them with you.   Even though the parents look slightly tired (who wouldn’t with 4 children under 5!) Mary’s soft elegance shines through like a ray of sunshine!  May you be inspired!


Do You?

Yes, we’re all guilty of getting caught up in the daily grind and forgetting about the little niceties in life.  There are some basic acts of behaviour that will make you as a Lady more lovely and more likable.

And the good news is – they’re not hard, time-consuming or expensive!

So what’s your excuse?  Try one today!



Words of Wisdom No. 3

Learn to look inside yourself to regain self confidence during times of doubt. It’s an incredibly powerful & elegant tool.

Civility costs nothing and buys everything.—Lady Mary Worley Montagu

Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference. -Jane Goodall

When women outshine men in everyday appearance—neat, classy, pretty, prideful, and virtuous—they capture continuous manly attention. Just think! How many guys with higher standards pass you by because you don’t look good enough to catch their eye?

Perhaps it’s my age, but the world’s single greatest beauty is that of smiling females anytime, anyplace, and for whatever reasons.

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

-Audrey Hepburn

I could not, at any age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on. Life was meant to be lived. -Eleanor Roosevelt

The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything but they make the most of everything.

Many thanks goes to: (1) TheElegantExpat (2) Deborah King (3)FamousWomen (4) WWNH (5)WWNH (6)FamousWomen (7) FamousWomen (8) FamousWomen

…and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter!


Words of Wisdom No. 2

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

There is a reason why God puts certain people into your life. Even if they are only in your life for a moment, He has a plan! Have faith!

“…to be told you’re special is an incredible thing”

“Don’t aim to always be happy, embrace fully whatever the present moment contains. Acceptance and awareness are the beginning of transformation.”

Visualize the most amazing life imaginable to you. Hold the vision ten seconds and then place it in God’s hands. Now consider it done.

Wherever you are and whatever you’re going through, it’s the perfect opportunity to be your better self. THAT is your miracle.

Peace on the outside comes from knowing God on the inside.

Letting go doesn’t mean giving up, but rather accepting that there are things that cannot be.

If you really want to open up your life & motivate yourself to succeed, become an optimistic thinker.

Many thanks goes to: (1) LivintoInspire (2) gracepoise (3) Mastin Kipp (4) Marianne Williamson (5) Marianne Williamson  (6) gracepoise (7) gracepoise (8) InspirationalBookClub

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter!


Words of Wisdom No. 1

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

Today, dear readers, I’m delighted to introduce to you  a new column on
Grace & Poise
: Words of Wisdom.  This column will combine various thoughts and reflections on the subjects we bring to light on this blog. The majority of these small gems will be re-quoted from Twitter.  So let’s get kick started with some of my favorites…

Without wood, fire goes out; without a gossip, conflict dies down. ~Proverbs 26:20

Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing. -Mother Teresa

The expression a woman wears on her face is far more important than the clothes she wears on her back -Dale Carnegie

Come to me, all you who are weary & burdened, & I will give you rest. -Matt 11:28

It’s unfortunate. The woman unhappy with herself expects her man to make her happy. But she has little room for him otherwise in her guilt-shrunken heart. She takes instead of giving, and he leaves instead of staying.

Texting isn’t courting

Incredible and powerful change occurs when courageous women are mobilized.

Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life MEANINGFUL

Ah, and don’t forget to add us if you’re on Twitter!  If you have any fravourite tweets you’d like to share – tweet us or send them in via email!

Many thanks goes to (1) Daily_Proverbs, (2) FamousWomen, (3) Famous Women (4) JC_House (5)WWNH (6) B (7) Angela Bisignano (8) LivintoInspire


The True Lady

Picture 27


“Ladyhood is an emanation from the heart subtilized by culture; giving as two requisites for the highest breeding, transmitted qualities and the culture of good training…”

Calvert continues “Of the higher type of ladyhood may always be said what Steele said of Lady Elizabeth Hastings, ‘that unaffected freedom and conscious innocence gave her the attendance of the graces in all her actions.’

At it’s highest, ladyhood implies a spirituality made manifest in poetic grace.  From the lady there exhales a subtle magnetism.  Unconsciously she encircles herself with an atmosphere of unruffled strength, which, to those who come into it, gives confidence and repose.  Within her influence the diffident grow self-possessed, the imprudent are checked, the inconsiderate are admonished; even the rude are constrained to be mannerly, and the refined are perfected; all spelled, unawares, by the flexible dignity, the commanding gentleness, the thorough womanliness of her look, speech and demeanor.  A sway is this, purely spiritual.  Every sway, ever legitimate, every enduring sway is spiritual; a arenancy of light over obscurity, of right over brutality.  The only real gains ever made are spiritual gains – a further subjection of the gross to the incorporeal of body to soul, of the animal to the human.  The finest and most characteristic acts of a lady involve a spiritual ascension, a growing out of herself.

In her being and bearing, patience, generosity, and benignity are the graces that give shape to the virtues of truthfulness.


Wisdom for the Single Girl


You can jump ahead in the capture line if you make yourself neater and, more modest and mysterious, more feminine and self-sufficient, and more interested in boys as a person instead of boyfriend.

(wise relationship advice from one of the mentors in my life – and believe it or not I’ve found it to be true! )


Do it, Anyway


These series of quotations, written by Dr. Kent Keith have long inspired me to strive to be a caring, forgiving, and loving woman – everything that a lady must possess.  Mother Teresa hung a version of this on the wall of Shishu Bhavan, the children’s home in Calcutta.

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;

forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;

be kind anyway.

If you are successful you will win some false friends and true enemies;

succeed anyway.

If you are honest people may cheat you;

be honest anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;

build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;

be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;

do good anyway.

and finally…

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;

Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the end, it is between you and God;

it was never between you and them anyway.



Starting 2010 with Style

A New Chapter Begins...

“The first thing to do in life is to do with purpose what one purposes to do.”

As a New Year falls upon us, it provides us with a perfect opportunity to review our past year?  What goals have we accomplished?  What areas in our personal life do we need to work on?  How could we improve on family relationships and boost our friendships?  Does our wardrobe needs some refreshing or reorganizing?

Reorganize Your Life!
Ah yes, how simple does that seem!  Don’t be discouraged however, take a moment or two to write down a simple itinery of your day.  For example, your waking time in the morning and retiring at night, meal times, set aside times for regular exercise and quality family time.  I’ve personally found that if I’m struggling to have enough hours in my day, getting up an hour or so earlier in the morning makes such a difference! If your not naturally a ‘morning person’ give yourself some time to wake up, have a glass of water, and spend a few minuets mapping out your day.  Oftentimes, we find it hard to get up in the morning because we’re going to bed so late!  It’s is said that one hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after, so it’s important to get to be at a reasonable time.

Are you trying to shed those few pounds that have crept up on you through the year? Remember diets don’t generally work, lifestyle changes are what you need.  Why not rally your friends together to power-walk once or twice a week.  Exercise can sometimes become boring if you do it alone, so company is always appreciated and it’s a healthy and free!

Refresh your wardrobe!
Go through your wardrobe, toss out the items that have lost their shape or elastic. Double check your socks and pantyhose for holes or ladders.  Do you have some clothes that are past there used-by-date?  Go over your shoes, even your outdoorsy ones – get them into some sudsy water on a sunny day and give them a good scrub.
It’s around this time that many shops are getting rid of last years fashion.  Go though your wardrobe and see if you need to update any items.  Jot down what you need on a list and take it with you when you go shopping.  That way you won’t overspend and you’ll get what you really need.

Reconnect with loved ones!
Over the year, it’s too easy to get way-laid with work and personal commitments.  Have you a friend who has been left by the wayside?  Now is the perfect occasion to re-connect with those loved ones.  Why not jot down a little note on some pretty paper and send it through the ‘old-fashioned’ snail mail?  What a surprise they will get!

If you’re on Facebook, go through your ‘friends list’ and write a note to someone who may need encouraging or a old classmate you haven’t kept in touch with.

Do you have an old girlfriend who is going through a hard time?  Why not organize a day out in the city, sightseeing a free art-gallery or take a picnic lunch to the botanical gardens?  It’s inexpensive and you’ll both enjoy the time together!

Give, Give, Give
There is a quotation that says “The capacity to care is the thing that gives life its deepest meaning and significance. ” by that I’ve made my life motto.  We all know that when we give to others, we receive the greatest blessing!  The most unhappy people are those that only think of themselves.

This year why not make a purpose to to lend either your hands or time to make the lives of others a little more bright.   Volunteer you’re services to you’re local community at fundraising events.  It’s a great way to get involved in your community and get to meet individuals from different walks of life.  It’s a proven fact that volunteers live longer!

Learn to Forgive
Let’s face it: we all make mistakes.  And to live a stress-free, happy life we must learn to forgive.  Forgiving is an essential quality to have in life.  I’m sure we have all witnessed at one stage of our life when someone doesn’t forgive. It does not produce happiness or health but it eats you away and makes you a miserable person.  I’ve also found leaning to forgive someone even when they don’t come to you and ask for your forgiveness is an equally essential character trait to have.  It’s important to learn how to forgive and not hold a grudge against the person who has wrong you, will make your life much happier! An old proverb says “The best deed of a great man is to forgive and forget.”


10 Tips to Good Grooming for the Working Lady


No matter what your profession or occupation may be – a busy mother at home caring for little ones, or high-ranking metropolitan lawyer – each of you experience insufficient time in the morning.  Especially when it comes to taking care of oneself in the little acts like making sure your shoes are well shined or a thread needs cutting on your skirt.
So I encourage you whatever your profession is, to take a few moments in the morning to become an attractive and neat lady, by following these steps below.

1. A well-tended, pretty hairdo that is neat and sensible for the job.

2. Clear eyes, nicely shaped brows.

3. Clean teeth, ‘sweet mouth’.

4. Don’t forget the deodorant!  No odor offense please!

5. Keep a good manicure, well-shaped, clean nails.

6. Outfit to be spic and span, free of lint,  neatly pressed, practical and coordinated.

8. Look behind!  Take a double check of the back of your outfit before heading out the door.  Making sure seam is straight and slip is not drooping.

9. Polish and clean shoes, making sure no scuff marks be seen!

10.  In your lunch break, take a moment or two to freshen up: run a brush through your hair, a few sprits of perfume, and make sure skirt is sitting straight neat.


Happy New Year!

As we turn the page and enter a new chapter for Grace & Poise, in 2009, our readers can expect a few new additions!  We hope to bring a few new features to the blog, and also broaden the focus of Grace & Poise.  Over the past two years our main focus has been on the guidelines of etiquette and deportment, discussing what they are and the details thereof. So the new features we hope to include are personal Style File of the author, (details coming), I also expect to be hosting a Formal Dinner in 2009 which I am looking forward to documenting with details and photographs.

I wish to thank all my readers for their lovely comments, emails and encouragement to keep this blog going.  Without you this blog would not be possible! Blogging is not my full-time occupation (how I wish it was!) however, the tiny amounts of time I do have to spend researching and writing articles is certainly well worth it!  – Thank you!

To each one of my readers, I extend a warm “Happy New Year” to you all.  I hope this year brings much happiness and joy to your life.

Best Wishes,
Clare Duncan


Style File: Michelle Obama


Michelle Obama, First Lady of America

Biography: As a African-American woman born in the 1960’s Michelle Obama has faced many setbacks and difficulties in her life but has pressed forward with resolute courage and unfaltering determination. Raised in a simple one-bedroom apartment on the top floor of a brick bungalow, she understands what many colored American’s face on a day-to-day basis. Michelle and her brother grew up witnessing events that ingrained in her the determination to fight for the black people of America. – One such incident tells of a carpenter, who happens to be her grandfather who was denied union membership due to his race, was shut out of the city’s top construction jobs. Rather than sinking into despair and hopelessness of what may become of the future, Michelle encouraged by her family, pressed on with even more determination and courage to fight for the recognition that colored men and women deserved. And she has done, just that with phenomenal success!

The Look: Michelle channels the 1950’s and 1960’s streamlined and simple look. Appearing on many best-dressed lists she draws frequent comparisons to Jacqueline Kennedy – famous for her elegant 1960’s suit and pillbox hat. Often opting for light summer dresses, with floral prints on informal occasions; or on more formal occasions she often favors a classy knee-length dress or a simple pencil skirt and jacket. Reggie Wells who performfs power-puff duties for Michelle and her husband claims that “she will be the next Jacqueline (Kennedy) Onassis. She has perfect skin. She’s gorgeous, clever and elegant” And isn’t that just want America wants their next First Lady to be?

Obama 2008USA-POLITICS/DEBATEthe family32172126

“…I’m extremely happy with her, and part of it has to do with the fact that she is at once completely familiar to me, so that I can be myself and she knows me very well and I trust her completely, but at the same time she is also a complete mystery to me in some ways. And there are times when we are lying in bed and I look over and sort of have a start. Because I realize here is this other person who is separate and different and has different memories and backgrounds and thoughts and feelings. It’s that tension between familiarity and mystery that makes for something strong, because, even as you build a life of trust and comfort and mutual support, you retain some sense of surprise or wonder about the other person.”

President Barack Obama


Telephone Etiquette

Doesn’t it add a sparkle to your day, when the telephone sounds, and you’re greeted with a cheery “Good Morning!”, or “Good Afternoon!”?  Have you ever telephoned a business house to find the most courteous and helpful assistant, who after satisfying your request sends you on your merry way with a “It’s has been a pleasure serving you, thank you for calling!”  This is indeed a rare ocurence these days.

However I’m sure I’m not the only one who has telephoned someone only to be taken back by a booming voice coming over the receiver with a demanding ” ‘ello” or “Who is it?” – to leave the caller politely enjoining “Could I please ask who I am speaking to?”  In this article I would like to share with you some helpful points that will make using the telephone a more pleasant experience for both the caller and receiver.

Answering the Telephone
Answer promptly (before the third ring if possible).
Before picking up the receiver, discontinue any other conversation or activity such as eating, chewing gum, typing, etc. that can be heard by the calling party.
Speak clearly and distinctly in a pleasant tone of voice.
When you answer the telephone, make sure your message is cheerful.  A few examples of pleasant greetings are “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon” for a more formal tone, or to keep it friendly and relaxed use a sunny “Hello” followed by your name. (eg. “Hello, Clare speaking!)

Making Calls
When you call someone and they answer the phone, do not say “Who am I speaking with?” without first identifying yourself: “This is _______. To whom am I speaking?”
When you reach a wrong number, don’t argue with the person who answered the call or keep them on the line. Say: “I’m sorry, I must have the wrong number.  Please excuse the interruption.”  And then promptly hang up.
If you told a person you would call at a certain time, call them as you promised.  If you need to delay the conversation, call to postpone it, but do not make the other person wait around for your call.
If you don’t leave a number or a message for someone to call you back, don’t become frustrated if they are not available when you call again.
When dealing with people, the comment “naa, not a problem” comes from an arrogant, egotistic puppet, a more acceptable phrase could be “Yes, I can do that for you”, would be more appropriate.

How to End Conversations Gracefully
There are several ways that you can end a phone call without making up a story or sounding rude:

  • End on an “up” note.
  • Tell the person how much you’ve enjoyed speaking with him/her.
  • Promise to finish your discussion at another time.
  • As long as you are honest and polite with the other person, you shouldn’t have any problems getting off the phone.

Leaving a Voicemail Message for Another Person

Remember to speak clearly and slowly.
Be sure to leave your name and extension number. It’s best to say it at the beginning and end of your message.
Keep messages short and to the point.
Remember that you want to leave the person you are calling with a good impression of you, so be cheerful and polite.
Leave the date and time you called in the message.
Don’t forget to let the person know the best time to call you back.
Cover one topic in one message; specify what you want the recipient to do.


Attitude is Everything


The longer I live

The more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

Attitude, to me, is more important than the past,

Than education,

Than money,

Than circumstances,

Than failures,

Than success,

Than what other people think or say or do.

It is more important than appearance,

Giftedness or skill.

It will make or break an organization,

A school, a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day

Regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.

We cannot change our past.

We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.

We cannot change the inevitable.

The only thing we can do

Is play the string we have.

And that is our attitude.

I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me

And 90 percent how I react to it.

And so it is with you.

– Anon –



Ten Commandments of Friendship


We all want friendships that will last for eternity, don’t we? Follow these pointers and you’ll be blessed times over…

1. Speak to people — there is nothing as nice as a cheerful word of greeting.

2. Smile at people – it takes seventy-two muscles to frown and only fourteen to smile!

3. Call anyone by their name – the sweetest music to anyone’s ear is the sound of their own name.

4. Be friendly and helpful – if you would have friends, be friendly.

5. Be cordial – speak and act as if everything you do is a real pleasure.

6. Be genuinely interested in people – you can like everyone if you try.

7. Be generous with praise – cautious with criticism.

8. Be considerate of the feelings of others – it will be appreciated.

9. Be thoughtful of the options of others.

10. Be alert to give service – what counts most in life is what we do for others!

Taken from The Speaker’s Quote Book – Roy B. Zuck


The Art of Conversation


The art of conversation takes pracitce, and it’s not as hard as one may think. Despite the fact, that it does take an considerable amount of time and patience, but it’s certainly an assest to know how to start a conversation and to carry it through with style. Some people are blessed with a silver tongue, they can even converse to virtual strangers with ease, but for others it’s a little different. Here we will list some helpful hints on how to become a great coversationalist.

Be well versed on current events.
Make it your mission to be a generalist. Read local and national newspapers and magazines. Be up-to-date on current events in your country and around the world.

People loved to be asked questions. Ask people for their opinions, ask what they think of various topics. Add what your opinion is; but steer clear of controversial topics. When you ask questions, be genuinely interested in what your asking. Ask about their family, or what is their interests? You’ll be sure to get a response! On the other hand, it’s rude and unmannerly to hound someone with a bucketful of questions.

This is a very important part of conversation. A good conversationalist is interested in what the other has to say, and can listen well. Pay attention to what is being said. Conversation happens in turns, each person taking a turn to
talk, and then a turn to listen or respond. Many can easily forget this sequence. Too often one person will rule a conversation, whilst the other has to barge in, to say something. It’s wise to take a small break after you have said your bit, so the other can reply, and vise versa.

Going to an event
Before you go to an event, think of who may attend. Then think of a few questions you can ask to start a converstation. When you arrive at your hosts home, take a look around and inside their home, see what may be their interests. If your hosts, for example are interested in art, you most likely will see many paintings or artistic features displayed around the home.

Know when the conversation is over
Even the best conversations eventually run out of steam. Shake hands with the other person, and be sure to tell them that you’ve greatly enjoyed talking with them. Ending a conversation on a positive note, will leave a good impression, and likely bring them back later!


Happy New Year!


I would like to wish all my readers a happy and safe 2008! I would like to thank the many of you who have commented on this blog, and shared your thoughts and ideas.

This year will bring many more interesting articles, that I hope will be of interest and help to you. Although due to our work load, this year, the articles will be a little more spasmodic than usual.



Recommended Reading for Little Ladies


Emilie Barnes is one of my favorite authors, so I thought I would share with you a wonderful book that she has written, entitled, “A Little Book of Manners, Courtesy and Kindness for Young Ladies”.   This simple – yet gorgeous book is perfect for ‘Little Ladies’, ages from 4-7 years old. With illustrations by talented artist Michal Sparks, Emile Marie makes basic manners fun and enjoyable.

Manners can be Fun!
Wouldn’t it be great to know how to set the table just right…and what to say to somebody you’ve just met… and the right words to use when you answer the phone?

Emilie Marie is learning all of these things and you can learn with her!

Practicing how to make every one feel welcome will make you happy, too.
You’ll have a wonderful time making pretty invitations for a special tea party or planning the best sleepover ever for your friends.
And you can make placemats together to help remember what you learn!

Manners are more than simple rules to remember – they’re a way of showing love!

Just a sample of the chapters covered are:
• “Please, Thank You, and Aunt Evelyn” – Why I’m glad I’m learning manners
• “Happy to Meet You!” – Meeting and greeting manners
• “Emilie Marie Speaking” – Telephone manners
• “Let’s Go Over to My House!” – playtime and visiting manners
and much more…


To buy this book go here or to view Emilie Barnes’ website go here!

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Australian Etiquette


Australian etiquette is always something that intrigues me. Australians people, commonly dubbed “Aussies”, have an casual air about them, which is epitomized by the common saying “She’ll be right mate”. Life tends to be informal and relaxed, particularly in the rural areas of Australia. The country folk are particularly friendly and even in this age of hustle and bustle generally have the time for an informal chat, which always seems to includes some comment about the prevailing weather conditions in their area

• Men in business attire, usually wear a conservative dark business suit and tie.
• Women may wear a dress, or skirt and blouse, for business.
• Informal clothing is appropriate when not attending business functions.
• Country gents characteristically never go too far without their favorite hat, which often have a personality of their own.
• Country women enjoy their weekly outings to town and relish the opportunity to get dressed up for the occasion.

• Being punctual is critical.
• Maintain good eye contact during meetings and conversations.
• When conversing with them be sure not to invade their space by moving too close to them.
• A single, male passenger using a taxi should sit in the front seat.
• Gift giving or tipping is not a common practice in business.
• You may bring a small gift of, wine or flowers if invited to someone’s home. chocolate
• Should you approach a line/queue, go to the end/back and wait your turn.
• Do not litter.
• Afternoon tea is about 4:00pm
• Tea is between 6:00 – 8:00pm and is an evening meal
• Supper is a late night light meal or snack


• English is the spoken language
• Shake hands when meeting and when leaving.
• Although uncommon, some women may greet each other with a kiss on the cheek.
• Exchanging business cards is common among professional workers.
• Australians are friendly and open, but directness and brevity are valued.
• Opinions are respected, and opinionated discussions are entertaining.
• Be an active listener, and ask if you do not understand something in the conversation.
• Do not hype yourself, your company or your information.
• Sightseeing and sports are good conversational topics

The key to becoming an ‘Aussie’ is to stay relaxed, keep realtions informal and don’t be afraid to mix business with pleasure.  As Australia is a Commonwealth country many of its citizens will hold titles similar to those in the UK, but be aware of how the person you are meeting prefers to be addressed. Untitled persons should be addressed as Mr, Mrs, or Ms on first greeting.
Australians will soon adopt first name terms when talking to visitors. As a rule they abhor stiffness, so this friendly informality will also stretch into the small talk that will precede the meeting proper. It is common for Australian men to call each other ‘mate’.

Work Etiquette

Avoid long-winded job titles, they are simply not considered important, so avoid pinning one of these tags on yourself in the course of polite conversation. Your host will wonder what on earth you are trying to prove. Australians have a mindset that does not take well to perceived authority or anyone with pretensions of superiority. Australia’s is a very even business environment where people are also quite frank and direct in their comments and criticisms, which may be meant earnestly but should be taken in good humour.

The Australian default condition is casual so aggressive sales pitch, or meandering negotiations can be met quite negatively. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Be modest, direct and to the point.  As in the UK, time is seen as valuable and irreplaceable commodity in Australia so book appointments well ahead and stick to them, arriving punctually and dressed smartly.
Most Australians sincerely believe that the have been born into the best country in the world, and during business and social meetings you may be reminded of this. Listen politely, nod encouragingly and try not to bring up the 2005 Ashes defeat too often. Australians, in general, don’t encourage comparisons of their culture with that of the US.  Australians may not like authority but they stick to the letter of the law when it comes to business. Company policy is followed at all times. Decision making tend to be made more collaboratively, and therefore cannot be rushed.

Aussies are increasingly a mufti-cultural community, however up until relatively recently Irish, English, Italians, Greeks and Germans made the major contributions to the building of Australia.. Mostly these ethnic groups have assimilated well into the greater Australian community and yet have still been able to retain their distinctive character. Only after several generations do they loose their uniqueness as they impart a little of what they brought with them to the building of the Australian culture. We can look forward to the added flavor of the more recent Asian migrants as they also impart a little of what they brought with them to the culture of Australia.


Photo Credits: Danish Royal Watchers