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 . . .

The Art of Poise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Introducing the Elegance Round-up

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

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

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

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

New Year’s Resolutions

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


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

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

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

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

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

Be Specific

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

Don’t Give In

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

Do It Now

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

A Sneek Peek of my 2012 New Year’s Resolutions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Makes a Woman – a Lady: 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.