Archive | November, 2010

A Comfort Queen

11 Nov

I have a very generous husband when it comes to ME.

He has never denied me anything with regards to indulging myself  in ME needs, ME treats or ME comforts (within reason goes without saying !).

Tomorrow I am off to Vietnam with a few girlfriends and he will look after the kids over the weekend. How lucky am I ?!

While I’m off I leave you with a little insight into ME and what I try to live by.

This I decided just now while I was packing and  discovered one of my old notebooks – (at least 10 years old) . I hardly ever throw away my notebooks – they are almost like the diaries / journals I never got to write. Mainly because I usually buy books and stationery by their looks as much as their purpose!  An ugly book needs to be award winning for me to buy it !

(Told you I have a thing for form & function combined !!)

But this book in particular I have kept (it has a special place in my closet) because on top of being cute and whimsical, it personally appealled to my outlook on life. Right when I picked it up, I knew – this is SO ME !!!! And today it rings true for me as much as it did then.

It is late in the day and natural sunlight is nowhere to be seen…so bare with the photos as I shot them in my bedroom while packing, grabbing the first “comfy” thing I could lay my hands on…so I will quote them below too:

 

LIVE BY WHAT YOU TREASURE:

harmony
comfort
spirit
grace
wisdom
simplicity

Opening the front cover there is a sort of ” declaration” of a COMFORT QUEEN:

Do I even need to TELL you that I TOTALLY declared myself a Comfort Queen way back when??!

And I am not ashamed to say that I have lived by that credo ever since.

Did you get that ?……

A Comfort Queen:

Rules her own life.

She treats herself with the same kindness

and respect as she does the people she loves.

She has a healthy sense of humor about herself.

Rest, self-nurturing and harmony

are her imperial rights.

She keeps her eye on the unfolding path of her life

and lives by what she treasures.

Or at least she tries.

And then the page header that further sparked so many ideas over the years as I filled the pages…

 

It’s hard to read but it says:

What one thing could I do today to become the person I most want to be?

I wonder what your answer would be to that ? Anyone?

And finally on the  back page:

Each one of us has an inner feminine voice – your Comfort Queen – a voice that will soothe and befriend, strengthen and support, helping you to treat yourself with the same kindness and respect as you do the people you love”

Created by the best-selling author: Jennifer Louden. And today after all these years, I went to her blog and website to see who the lady is to whom I owe so much in finding a piece of my own self many years ago when I bought her notebook ! You can visit her blog and website for many more wonderful insights and inspiration at The Comfort Queen. Thank you Jennifer !

I AM LOOKING FOR ALL THE COMFORT QUEENS OUT THERE whom these treasures and life philosophy ring true for ??? Are you with me ? Let me know !

If you have a different philosophy or comfort I would love to hear that too.

It is important for us women in the world to keep on discovering ourselves and share it with others so we can constantly better ourselves.

For those who love to share, do so and I will check on your comments upon my return from Vietnam.

In the meantime I wish you a happy, comfy weekend with your loved ones

Ilze


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Tips and Ideas for planning a theme party

9 Nov

Moms – ALERT !!!! Here is one of many posts about a themed party. I have recently posted about a BARBIE birthday but this post is a bit more of a tutorial in general on themed parties of any kind!

So if you are not a mom or your kids are old enough not to resort to duckie parties…you can still get some tips on general party planning for a party with a THEME !!

We all know planning a party takes a great amount of detail…but sometimes the end result does not actually display how much effort has really gone into that party !

For an event to eventually display and highlight every bit of detail, you need to think carefully through every step of the event and do those things that will in the end create the effect you were hoping for.

For a party we have the following elements to think of:

– Choosing a theme

– Invitations

– Venue decorations

– Food decorations

– The actual food

– The cake, in case of a birthday or anniversary

– Party favours or goody bags at birthday parties (yes – who started that idea??!)

It all sounds very basic and obvious untill you look at the end result of your party and realize that somehow you lost the WOW factor !! All that money you spent and all that trouble you went for, not being noticed.

Me and my sister have done a few parties together and we do have the same genes…..therefor I can proudly use her most recent birthday party for her beautiful little girl who just turned 1, as a great example of a themed birthday party that got pulled off with great success. And no doubt in anyone’s mind what theme she was trying to portray !

Theme:

In selecting a theme, the safest way to go is to pick a theme that the birthday boy or girl is familiar with and love…that way you know already they will be comfortable with it and with little ones..they will easily identify and be in their happy element when they recognize elements or toys at the party that they adore.

It was not a big guessing game to figure out what this little one loves…her favourite toy – hence the duckie theme !

Invitations:

When you plan a theme…start already when you send out the invitations. This already gives the guests  a good feeling for the spirit of the day. Why send out blue balloons if in fact your idea is to go with yellow duckies, spiced up with red ?

On the day of the party, guests will realize that you have properly planned the party long before they have arrived for the big day and this will make them notice the further details on the day so much more. You created some expectation in their minds and you are delivering to meet that idea that they visualized.

Pay attention to the small details as you prepare your invites. It does get noticed !

These invites have all been made at home, by hand and home-printer, so you do not need to spend a fortune on having invites specially made and printed by a professional.

There are so many scrapbook stores around these days to make life an absolute pleasure when it comes to making crafty paper products.

There are lovely electronic versions for invites, which I will post another day…but it must be said that old-fashioned invites via regular mail can still not be beaten !

If you do not wish to give your theme away beforehand or you have not finally decided by the time you send the invites…. you can simply make the invitations in a colour scheme you plan to have for the party or something that will set the general tone and ambience you wish to create. For eg – dont send “earthy” if you wish to have a happy, sunny kids party !! Make it black for elegant, make it polka dot for girlie..anything in the line of your general mood for the event. Just stay away from a pretty invite that is way off track with your intentions.

For a theme to make a great impact you need to select a colour associated with this theme that will be used right through. And then – REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT this colour over and over in everything you put forward. Colour is what binds the whole thing together beautifully where themed elements not always do. Do not buy elements that all support a theme, but then they are in such different colour ranges that it is difficult to pull it together in the end. That way a lot of money is wasted on a ton of small things that all dissappear in the background and the effect is lost.

Choice of Food and Decorating the Food:

Next is to plan the menu. The choice of food has to fit into your theme as much as possible and yes…now we are pushing it…but here is where the little trick comes in……let it fit in with the color scheme of your theme !

The actual food forms part of your food decoration.

For the little 1-year olds, soft sandwiches and cheerios were 2 great picks and they were served exactly in line with the theme and colour scheme.

Note that the serving sizes are just perfect for the little tummies they are meant to fill !

Do not think for one moment that rainbow coloured cheerios would have given the same effect – it would have distracted from the yellow and red chosen for this party. The food blends in with the overall colours.

Little duckies toothpicks – a great touch to an otherwise boring little utensil ! Where the food can not speak for itself…let the decorations do the talking !

It can become very “forced” if every single item varies just between red and yellow. So here a little green is brought in…to brighten up the overall look without distracting from it. The overwhelming colour of this chips bowl is still red ! But you will later notice how the green is cleverly integrated in the juice containers.

Little ones love lollies and how perfect to have home-made chocolate that can easily melt and provide that little sweet treat every 1 year old deserves at a birthday !!

So much better than the sticky version they tend to put everywhere.

Little cheese blocks and cherry tomatoes served dual purpose between kids and grown-up food and is therefor a great hit where parents are concerned about healthy treats for their little ones.

Still on food and we all know that at a 1-year old birthday, for every baby there is at least one, if not two parents there. Pay attention to their food as much as the little ones…here Kit Kat bars and custard cakes are all still very much in line with the red and yellow that has by now been impossible to NOT notice !!!

For the drinks…why let a good thing end with the food?

Carry the colours of the food (and the party) all the way through to the drinks.

Look how beautiful these juices compliment the snacks and overall look of the food table. And how cleverly the juice labels works together with the green of the flower arrangements as well as the chips bags I showed you earlier.

The cake:

Well, no party is complete without the cake and here is one

……homemade, with love…and yes, you guessed it – a DUCK !

Quack Quack !!

Cupcakes were added for easy eat and extra portions….

Red Velvet was perfect to go with the red and yellow – but I think it had more to do with mom’s favourite type cupcake !!

……but are these cupcake holders not just to die for !!?!

They are available at Blue Ribbons.

Decorating the Room:

For room decorations, you don’t need to go overboard – especially if it is at a venue which is not your own. Make something already at home, easy to put up and easy to remove !

This laundry line is a great display to celebrate the first year of a newborn’s life up to this BIG day.

All parents love showing off their little ones and here it is no exception.

Just in preparing this laundry lane, it will take you as parent on a trip down memory lane and it will just make the birthday all the more real and a big highlight. It passes so quickly – so do take the time to enjoy every step of the way in preparation for the big day.

And it surely beats the happy birthday banner we so easily resort to!

No offense – they do wonders when you are short on time – but here our aim is to WOW and nobody has ever WOW’ed a printed shop banner… not that I know of .

Goody bags/ Party favours:

Moving on there is always a point where the party fades and people start going home and yes – then there is always anticipation of the “goody bag”. I have no idea who invented that and although it adds a fun element to a party, it sometimes get out of hand and guests leave with a bigger gift than they gave to the birthday person. Yes – it has happened to us on more than one occassion.

So, my advice to you is to keep the goody bag a nice presentable gift, but keep it small enough so that no guest would feel their gift was insignificant in comparison.

Make it pretty right till the end – here the popcorn looks like bubblebath and the little tubs are a useful toy for the little ones to carry home !

The little duckies are inexpensive and the bath toys goes right with the theme. Do not fall flat here and give them little cars or dolls. Keep that theme going strong all the way to your goody bags!

There is no doubt in my mind that every guest appreciated the thought and effort that had gone into creating a theme and a colour scheme for this birthday.

If you do not have time to make all these things by hand, you can surely buy them anywhere.

Just be creative and smart in putting the different things together.

Do not bend in front of the temptation to bring in “misfits” into your room or table or menu. You will regret and the Detail-Dragon will haunt you !

Think of the big picture and remember that the big picture is made up by all the small parts and the little details that needs to work together to create a WOW party that will linger in your guest’s mind long after they have left.

So, to recap – 7 STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL THEME PARTY:

1. Choose a theme that lies near and dear to the heart of the person whose party it is

2. Make the invites in line with the theme or a general colour scheme that supports the ambience you wish to create

3. Food can be decorated, within theme, but is even more appealing to the eye if the food itself can serve as decorative elements in terms of colour and theme.

4. Keep venue decorations simple but special and noticeable.

5. Buy or bake a cake and decorate in line with colour and theme. Add cupcakes for extra.

6. Provide goody bags that are cute but not excessively stocked, and keep it inexpensive in comparison to gifts people bring.

7. Stick to your guns in making every single item you place in the room or on the table within your specified theme or colour scheme or you risk losing the WOW factor !!

I think this was a job so well done. It ticked all the right boxes in my list of planning, preparing and executing for a themed birthday party. Hats off to my sister for hosting this theme party.

Let me know if you agree.

And tell me if you have some more ideas on this topic !

One last tip – dress in line with your theme and colour scheme. A pastel pink dress will not go down the same way for the party girl than a bright red one !!  Are you willing to try that next time you plan a party ?

Ring Ring…..and Radiation

7 Nov

Today I’m on about phones !

Yes – one of those VERY functional must-have items in the house but very often not fun to look at or use..

Does BORING come to mind when you think of your own phone?

And since this blog is so much about combining function with beauty, I have something to share with you …well we’ll see later if we can really call it “beauty”…but my point is:

I have found that using the phone as a little decor item is a minor detail that goes a long way to enhance the ambience in your house to show that you are paying attention to the little things!

To underscore my point I will show you a few of the phones that recently, and not so recently, made their way into our home!

The phone in the lounge is the more sophisticated, expensive and stylish phone. I love talking on this phone. It is like putting on a designer jean..it just fits better, gives you pleasure and you don’t know why. We got it 12 years ago, it has never outdated and it enhances the look of the room… it is a little expensive to tuck away in a back corner, bedroom or office unless you have the luxury of spending that much on a phone that nobody will see or enjoy. So, I showcase mine.

It is a Bang & Olufsen and it is yellow – for the simple reason – it makes a statement and it does not actually need to blend in with any given decor, but it also does not stand out a sore eye if you decide to change the colours of the room. It simply then becomes an object on its own.

I think the phone is just more pleasing to the eye than what a regular phone would be. It helps me create a more polished look on the coffee table, rather than having just the plain phone.

 

versus

Spot the difference? I certainly do. Do you agree with me on the difference of functional phone vs decorative piece?

I admit that a B&O is an expensive item and you do it when the opportunity comes… but there are many inexpensive ways to achieve decorative results with your phone.

This phone hangs on the kitchen wall.

It takes all the leftover coins that lies around in the house – just a gimmick , you don’t really need to pay to make a call like some people thought! – but it is fun to use …The kids actually take interest in answering and on top of that it adds character to the kitchen. The kitchen is in black and white and I used the phone as one of the few red items I place in the kitchen to brighten up the black and white.

Then there is the really, really horrible phone that the kids picked ?! Yes – I agreed to buy it, since it stands on their homework desk and they think it is really cool and jump to get to it first…the eyes light up when it rings. It was really cheap but it works and since it fits in with the black and white colour scheme of the room, I got my arm twisted and gave in. Why not ? I did after all start this “let’s have fun with phones” journey.

No, it is not still part of the Halloween decorations.

Yes, I agree –  it is horrible. But it was cheap and it actually works.

Warning – too many of these “wacky” phones can indeed be a decorative disaster in your house, so do be careful where you place them ?!

But here is the REAL phone kicker that I want to get to today…

Earlier this week my husband came home with the latest of our gimmicky phone collection and hence sparked the idea for this post!

An iclooly phonestand!

It is a phonestand for a mobile phone (cellular phone as known elsewhere).  Does it really “add” to the decor…well, it fits in (if it does not meet that basic requirement, it will NEVER make it into my house !!) …but not necessarily enhance the room decor…and it might even be a little of a hassle….

So why then have it?  There are many reasons to use it..according to the box….

but here is the great benefit !!! In case you missed it in the last line…

It cuts down radiation by 96 % …

Now come on – we all pretend as if we don’t quite believe that story about the radiation.

Why? It might just mean we have to cut down on using our cellphones..and oh my…what a life changing moment that would be??!!! But secretly we all, or well definitely me, do think about that when I read a report on what possible effects constant use of our cellphones might cause. Like this one – Warning

There are many times that I use my i-phone in the house, even though there is a normal phone around….just easier, just habit….

So, I fell for it ! It now stands on my desk and has proofed to be quite convenient during the past few days that I have used it ! I can speak on the phone while looking up contacts or send text messages, it is charging while being on there …. great !

Proudly presenting my i-phone on its’ iclooly stand…

So, if you’re interested in this phone, check their site – iclooly

That’s my story on phones.

I ask you again – have you converted to downright functional when it comes to phones??

So, a little challenge from me… when you need to have fun next time – don’t go buy new shoes or a bag…go buy a phone. One that you can keep for years and years..or even just for a small while to make you smile.

It will give you pleasure – it will not break like a vase, it could be a talking point, it could make your room pretty (or horrifying…like our skull phone)…all I beg of you…

MAKE SURE THAT:

– it fits in with your colour scheme or it makes a statement on its own

– it fits in with the general ambience and use of the room ( do not put the “payphone” with your designer couch or the skull phone in the kitchen!)

– it does not become tacky and start to clash with the furniture to create a sore eye…

– it is something that you can keep for years and years if it is expensive like a Bang & Olufsen or that it is really cheap if you want to throw it in the bin when the kick is over like the skull

HAVE FUN !!!

But – the question of the day – what do you think of the radiation theory?? Is it true? Does it scare you? Does it make you use your phone less? Are you happy to see there are possible ways in which you can cut down the risks??…or perhaps an easier question…are you going to consider buying a phone next time that enhances your decor in the house? Come on –  join the conversation.

Till I ring again..

Ilze

Blog not happening

4 Nov

My computer crashed…yes, that sucks

My camera is missing – must be in the house…?!

My other camera appears to be defective…..

So…. I am having a few blogging roadblocks.

Can’t just sit here and pretend all is well, so I have a few things to do and a few things to find….

I hope this will all be sorted by this afternoon.

Wish me luck as I go sort out those little glitches….. !

Back soon

Ilze

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