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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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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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!

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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.