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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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Photography Credits: 12

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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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Photography Credits: 12

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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.

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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?

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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

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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.

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Apoligies to Subscribers

…my apologies to those readers who subscribe to this blog and have noticed a few glitches.

I hope to correct these as soon as is possible.  Thank you for your understanding.

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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.”

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.
-Socrates

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!

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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
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

 


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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!