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

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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