Showing posts with label tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tips. Show all posts

Nov 24, 2014

Suggestions For The Business Wardrobe

I was recently contacted by a gentleman who is changing careers. He's confident in his decision but not his current wardrobe. He asked for some suggestions on where to start. These tips are gender-neutral!

Let's start here:

  1. Know what you like and what you don't like. What suits you and your style of living. This particular individual didn't want a baggy suit. He liked the mod suits from the 60s but not the super skinny trousers. He told me he liked Diplo's suits, Booth's suits from Bones and Terrence Stamp's suits (see my post on his classic look here).
  2. Know your clothing's priorities and each day's sartorial demands. Meetings, luncheons, golf (an unfortunate part of business, my apologies to golfers), and the cursed casual Friday. You want to be sharp and dressed appropriately for each. What are the corner offices wearing? Take cues from them and notch it up by one.
  3. Versatility. Maintain a flexible wardrobe. In my retail days, we were taught the foundation of the fashion equation, 2+2+2+5 (Men = two trousers, two ties, two jackets, five shirts. Women = two skirts, two trousers, two jackets, five tops).
  4. You want to be known for your unique ideas - that being said, limit it to one unique idea per outfit.

Originally published December 20, 2010.

Apr 19, 2014

How to Tell if A Pineapple is Ripe

stacy reynaud
Pineapples don't ripen after they're picked. If your pineapple isn't ripe turn it upside down so the sugar flows to the top to help sweeten it.

If a pineapple is ripe its leaves will pull out easily.

Like the post? Share the love.

Dec 31, 2013

25 Cocktail Party Must Haves

Friends are coming for cocktails tonight.

25 things to have on hand:
  1. hand size snacks such as -  popcorn, cheese, pickles, crackers, wasabi peas, Cheezies, or other nibbles - nuts with a vintage nutcracker are always a hit, make sure you have a bowl for the shells
  2. ice, ice and more ice
  3. cocktail napkins and regular napkins
  4. coasters
  5. vintage serving bowls
  6. tea lights, candles, lighter
  7. ice bucket or two
  8. soda, tonic, juice (cranberry, orange, tomato), pop, cold flat or carbonated water
  9. cocktail straws, cocktail picks
  10. garnish -  lemon, lime and good cocktail cherries (check what your drink recipes call for)
  11. extra toilet paper
  12. whiskey, bourbon, rye, rum, vodka, gin, dry and sweet vermouth, cognac, two bottles of both white and red wine, beer, bubbly
  13. clean cloth to quickly wipe up spills
  14. plenty of clean hand towels in the washroom
  15. bottle opener and corkscrew
  16. a game - personally I can't stand games but some people love them at parties
  17. burgundy glasses, beer glasses, martini glasses, rock glasses, champagne flutes
  18. list of cocktail recipes - check the drink section of my blog, or Art in the Age and MasonShaker have some of my current favourites
  19. clean house slippers if you insist your guests take their shoes off
  20. organized front closet with empty hangers (no wire hangers)
  21. bitters, simple syrup (easy to make - boil two parts sugar, one part water or 1:1 shaken until sugar dissolves)
  22. an empty garbage under the sink
  23. cocktail shaker
  24. phone number for a cab or designated driver service - the host should pay or prearrange
  25. appropriate music
originally published September 24th 2008

    image from the collection of Stacy Reynaud

    Dec 17, 2013

    10 Tips for the Party Host

    When your hosting skills are brought to the test, don't fail.
    1. Take your guest's coat. Don't put them on the bed.* Hang them up. Small, unrealistic closet? Rent a sales man's rack or invest in one (I have two).
    2. Your guest's shoes are part of their outfit - allow them to keep them on. I bring fancy house slippers with me just in case the dreaded pile of shoes is at the door.
    3. Offer your guest a drink after you've taken their coat and before they're more than five steps in the door. Tip: have non-alcoholic drinks (soda, tonic and juice), red wine, white wine, bubbles, beer, vodka, rum, rye, scotch, tequila, gin, sweet and dry vermouth and cognac. Don't forget fresh ice, cocktail napkins, lemons, limes, olives and cocktail straws.
    4. Never introduce your guest's boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancee, spouse or whatever, as such. They have an identity of their own.
    5. You are responsible for your guest's safety. Read my post, How to Deal with Drunk Guests.
    6. Keep the lights and the music low.
    7. If you're a couple, work tag team. Lay out each of your defined 'duties' beforehand and cover each other's backs with refilling drinks, conversation starters, toilet paper and hand towel checks, lit candles, cleared plates and stocked ice.
    8. Never let them see you sweat. As far as your guest is concerned you're already the monarch of the mingler - they don't need to see the dirty dishes. Get some of those big plastic crates with tops and hide your dirty dishes in there until the guests leave. Throw a table cloth over it and they'll never know. I used to hide stuff in the bathtub of my ensuite.
    9. Accept that you'll have a guest that snoops in the medicine cabinet of your bathroom. You know what to do with that stuff.
    10. To prevent guests from overstaying, lay out a start and end time in your invite. If there are still stragglers start unloading those crates with the dirty dishes in them.
    * Back in the old days laying coats on the bed was considered faux pas due to bed bug infestations.

    image from the collection of Stacy Reynaud

    Originally published December 27, 2010

    Nov 10, 2013

    The Most Unique Inexpensive Gift Yet

     stacy reynaud
    Don't throw it away! Gift giving time is coming and what better way to show your love than a perfectly unique, inexpensive, and earth friendly accoutrement to stick bills (or photos) to the fridge with. Recycled jewelry magnets.

    What you need:
    • A piece of broken jewelry - I used this gorgeous vintage Bird of Paradise brooch that had the pin missing off the back.
    • Sticky magnets - available at craft stores. As you can see, my magnets were too big. They come in different sizes so make sure you get the appropriate ones.
    What you do:
    • Stick the magnet onto the back of the piece. You could also super glue it.
    For an industrial feel, head down to the local metal scrap yard (in Vancouver there's one right by the Port) and scrounge some cheesy trophy toppers, brass bits or just plain old metal scraps.

    Nov 8, 2013

    9 Ways to Deal With Your Drunk Guests

    Originally published February 14, 2010

    It's your party and your guests are your responsibility. Be attentive and don't get drunk yourself.

    9 things you can do to try and curtail the guest that over drinks:

    1. You should mix your guests' drinks.
    2. If a guest proceeds to the bar to make his/her own drink go with them and ask them to grab the ice, mix or whatever while you pour the drink.
    3. Avoid having more than one bottle of liquor visible.
    4. Make it obvious you use a jigger to pour drinks and hand it to your guest before he/she pours their own.
    5. When it is obvious a guest has had too much to drink don't offer him/her any more. 50% of the time they'll get mad. There will always be someone there to assist you in dealing with them. They usually get embarrassed then sit down and be quiet.
    6. If your guest has drank so much that he/she is going to pass out have two or three other guests assist you in taking them to a bed to sleep it off overnight. If they have a spouse or guest with them offer them accommodation as well or offer them a safe ride home.
    7. Always have coffee, tea, soft drinks, water or juice available.
    8. You are responsible and liable for your guests. You are responsible for seeing that a drunk guest is taken home. Ask a good friend, take him/her yourself if they live nearby, or call a cab, give directions and pay for it. I've been to some parties where it's mandatory for you to drop your keys in a bowl before you're allowed to enter.
    9. Simply put, don't invite people over who are unable to control their liquor.
    At our last party I had Operation Red Nose on speed dial and had our guests enter the number in their phone prior to tying one on. The service was great and our friends that used it were thoroughly impressed. It's free over the holidays as well and they're currently looking for volunteers.

    Oct 17, 2013

    How to Hang a Chandelier

    Chandeliers should hang 60" to 66" above the floor.

    Oct 2, 2013

    Tip of the Week - Tea, Tannins and Toothpaste

    I bought this gorgeous tea pot a couple weekends ago that was stained to the rafters with about 60 years worth of tannins. 'How can I clean this?', I thought to myself. Then I went to the dentist.

    My dentist, upon further inquiry into the status of my sensitive teeth, revealed to me that the teeth whitening products I was using are mainly marketing propaganda, (which I already knew but ignored).  They do clean surface stains but not the down, deep and dirty stuff. To make your teeth white you need it done by a dentist. Well, when I got home, I took an old toothbrush, (which I keep around the house for cleaning grout), put some whitening toothpaste on it and cleaned 60s years worth of tannins off a ceramic tea pot. Just like that, the stains were gone.

    So, rest assured, if you find teeth whitening products are making your teeth sensitive, know that you won't need to throw them away! You can use them to clean stains - such as coffee, tea, or red wine -  off your beautiful ceramic tableware. Now I think I'll try soaking my silver plated ice bucket in my whitening mouth wash.

    How to clean a stained teapot.

    Sep 16, 2013

    Tip of the Week - How to Naturally Scent a Room

    stacy reynaud
    Harvest your lavender before it goes brown and woody. 
    Hang it upside down to dry for about a week.
    Remove dried bits by running your hand in the opposite direction of the growth (top to bottom).
    Place the lavender a jar and save for sprinkling on your carpets before you vacuum.
    Keep the opened jar in your laundry closet to keep it smelling good.

    You can also burn lavender in your fire but put it in the middle of the sandwich of wood you're burning so it doesn't spark out of the fireplace.

    stacy reynaud

    Aug 16, 2013

    2008 Flashback Post - Our Living Room Five Years Ago

    Originally published September 14, 2008. Thanks for sticking around my blog for that long - know that I appreciate it. You give me something to write about.


    When working with 620 square feet it can be challenging to find furniture that doesn't over power your space.

    Windows, area rugs, drapes and a colour wheel (for direction) can help you define the space.
    In this space I chose a 5 x 8 flokati rug to bring the room together. Your furniture should sit at just the edge of the rug and should be placed at a comfortable conversation distance from each other and close enough to the coffee table to rest your drink on. In this room the coffee table is a Nakashima inspired vintage old growth burl.

    The color scheme was chosen to compliment the view of Stanley Park out the window. It was important to have some bright accents as this home faces northwest and nine months of the year are gray and raining. I chose shades of purple, red, green and gold to liven up the champagne velvet tufted couch and chairs.

    Dark chocolate vintage crushed velvet drapes frame the view and pull out the wood grains in the original mid century oak flooring.


    Looking at this before image - I'm quite proud to say I still have pretty much everything - minus the credenza and TV. The sofas, curtains and flokati rug were destroyed when our West End apartment building was infested by bed bugs a year after this photo. The ficus tree is actually celebrating its 20th birthday this year! It was given to me as a house warming present when I went off to university.

    Aug 7, 2013

    How to Harvest Basil

    This one's going to flower soon.  Harvest before it flowers.
    via stacy reynaud

    Our basil is out of control. To think I never wanted to plant any because I thought I'd end up eating it all in one shot. To get the most out of your basil harvest, here's what to do.

    It's best to harvest before the herb flowers as this is when it contains those delicious fragrant oils. Who doesn't love the smell of fresh basil?

    1. Start from the bottom of the plant and count up four sets of leaves. When you reach four, snip off the top two. If your plant already has more than four, then pinch off 33% of it. Snip or pinch right above the little leaves that are growing opposite each other. This tells the little guys to keep growing.

    2. Once each new branch develops four sets of alternating leaves, pinch them off.  Keep up with this routine until the plant is about a foot tall. By then you'll have a nice bushy plant keen to supply you with enough basil gimlet goodness all summer.

    3. To keep your basil through winter, dry it either in a food dehydrator (we have the Nesco Gardenmaster) or air-hang dry it (not in direct sunlight) and put it in an airtight mason jar.

    Now, onto our Lemon Verbena plant!

    For more in-depth info, check out the post on Vegetarian Times.

    Jun 4, 2013

    Tip of the Week - Iced Coffee

    stacy reynaud

    Put your left over morning's coffee in an ice cube tray in the freezer. The next time you have an iced coffee it won't get watered down with regular ice cubes.

    Mar 12, 2013

    Tip of the Week - Longevity

    To prevent tulips from drooping too quickly pierce them with a pin right under the flower.

    Feb 8, 2013

    The Dreaded Name Tag | A Tip

    Wear your name badge on your right hand side so that when people shake your hand their eye is directed to your name, not an empty space.

    Jan 21, 2013

    Tip of the Week - At the Table

    Clyde Common, Portland
    • Napkins should be unfolded after everyone has been seated. 
    • Place your napkin neatly over your thighs, never tucked into your collar. 
    • At lunch, unfold only half the napkin; at dinner, unfold the whole thing. 
    • If you need to leave the table, do not place your napkin on the back of the chair; alternatively, place the napkin on the seat of your chair: servers will know you're returning and will not clear your plate. 
    • At the end of the meal, place your napkin, lightly folded, to the left of your plate.

    Dec 5, 2012

    Before you start your party do this

    Light new unscented candles a few hours before, blow them out and add a drop of essential oil. When you light them for your party they'll emit your special scent. Some Chistmasy oils are mandarin, clove, cinnamon, pine and cedar.

    btw - Le Labo is doing oils now.

    Nov 19, 2012

    10 Tips for a Roaring Good Time

    Summer was all about the deck at our new place and winter is going to be about the fireplace. Lately, folks have been recommending I throw a few sprigs of lavender or a couple pine cones into the fire to add a little extra to the winter warmth. I'm a Smokey the Bear type and feel that these little extras cause a few too many sparks for my liking. Alternatively, I'm going to try adding a few drops of essential oils of pine, cypress, sandalwood or cedarwood onto the logs before the fire. I'll keep you posted.

    So, before you burn the house down, here are a few tips for ensuring a safe fireside chat:
    1. Service your fireplace and chimney in the spring and summer months.
    2. Artificial logs are an easy alternative to wood burning. Most undergo laboratory testing for low emissions.
    3. Before you light your fire, make sure the flue is open otherwise the smoke won't escape, hence, leaving your room, and you, smelling like a campfire.
    4. Have a screen that completely covers the fireplace to prevent sparks from hitting the floor beyond the hearth.
    5. Burn clean, dry, seasoned (aged 6-12 months) firewood only.
    6. Use a mix of hard wood and soft wood where possible, depending on what’s available in your area.
    7. Avoid wet or green wood. The moisture in these can cause creosote build up in your system. Creosote is a highly flammable material.
    8. Never burn garbage, plastics, particle board, driftwood, painted or treated wood.
    9. Burn small and hot fires. This style of burning uses more fuel but doing so causes less smoke, pollution and soot deposits in your system. More reason for seasonal cleaning and inspection.
    10. Never leave a fire burning when you go to bed. Separate burning logs and place them in the fireplace corners to keep the fire from burning longer.

    Jun 15, 2012

    Tip of the Week - In the Shower

    My latest fix? Rubbing coconut oil all over myself in the shower. Seriously. Plop a big spoonful in a bowl, get in the hot shower, start at your feet and massage the oil into your skin all the way up to your face (you can even massage it in your hair if you want). The heat from the shower melts the oil as you're massaging. Don't use soap to wash it off - use it as soap! When you get out of the shower, your skin will be super soft and all that dead dry skin will wipe off. Guys - you can do this too. I told my Dad about the oil (he had super dry skin) and he swears by it.

    *caution the tub will get slippery so be careful.

    May 19, 2012

    Tip of the Week - Coffee

    Add your coffee grounds to your rose bush, they love it.

    Apr 19, 2012

    From the Archives: 8 Tips for a Living Room Layout

    Originally published October 18, 2008

    1. The classic - useful in front of a picture or large window
    2. For a long narrow space
    3. The right angle creates its own domain in a small space
    4. Practical for a larger living space
    5. Smaller cocktail tables give a lighter look
    6. Works well in large open plans or a fairly small room
    7. An optional arrangement for smaller spaces
    8. An arrangement for a room too small for a full sized sofa

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