Why I’m Still Proud to Promote Grace & Poise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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xx

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Lace & Florals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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xx

In Celebration of Valentine’s Day

couple rowing boat - Credit as: Don Paulson, www.donpaulson.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Valentine’s Day from Grace & Poise.

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

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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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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