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!

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.

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.”

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.