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

Jan 17, 2012

Tip of the Week - Highway Etiquette

When a motorist leaves a foot of snow on top of their vehicle and they travel at approximately 100 km/h, aforementioned snow will propel off the vehicle at approximately 100 km/h (pardon my physics) most likely hitting the rather unfortunate motorist - in this case me - behind them. Please remove snow from your vehicle before you hit the road. Thanks.

Dec 23, 2011

Tip of the Week - The Scented Holiday Room

Pick up some colored vintage glasses from a thrift store, drop some essential oil onto an unlit tea light - for a Christmasy scent use pine, cinnamon, cedarwood and/or mandarin - light it, drop it into a glass and enjoy.

Nov 23, 2011

Tip of the Week - The Late Dinner Guest

Fifteen minutes is the established length of time that a host need delay their dinner for a late guest. To wait longer would be showing rudeness to the rest for the sake of one. When the latecomer finally arrives they must go directly to the host and apologize for being late. The host should not tear a strip off the late guest but should say something polite such as, 'I'm sorry to hear the traffic was so bad. I was sure you wouldn't have wanted us to wait much longer for dinner.' The latecomer is served whichever course is being eaten at the time they arrives. If it's dessert, they are served a plate of the main course if there is any left.

Oct 17, 2011

How to Make a Good First Impression

You have a very narrow window of opportunity to make a first impression. Make it count.

  1. Good manners are an investment in yourself.
  2. When you meet someone, stand (if seated), make eye contact, shake his or her hand, smile and say hello.
  3. The hand shake should end after two or three pumps from the elbow but the smile and eye contact remain until the introduction is complete.
  4. At a function, wear your name tag on the right because the majority of people are right handed. When they reach to shake your hand their eyes will automatically glance at the name tag.
  5. Most communication is seen and not heard. Know your personal habits and nonverbal communication gestures and learn to control them.
  6. A formal event dictates that a dress jacket and tie are required.
  7. Standing when you meet someone is a way of communicating that you respect them, recognize their status and are interested in the introduction. If you are seated, rise and come out from behind to greet them.
  8. Look people in the eye when you speak to them. It is considered very bad manners to break eye contact during a conversation. That being said, don't stare at them, shift your view to the person's eyebrows after a few seconds. Hold eye contact long enough so you remember their eye color.
  9. In a social situation/opportunity to schmooze you're far better off making a few solid memorable contacts than trying to collect as many business cards as you can. Sincerity is the key to good schmoozing.
  10. You have a maximum of 60 seconds to make a first impression. Make it count.

Aug 6, 2011

Tip of the Week - The Home

Put a few drops of essential oil on the cardboard ring inside the toilet paper roll before placing it in the holder. Use oils such as lavender, cinnamon, lemon, oregano, sage or thyme.

May 5, 2011

From the Archives - How to Transform a Boring Room - Wallpaper with Newspaper

Originally published April 2, 2009

Ace Hotel - Portland
using player piano paper
image Stacy Reynaud

The Ace has drawn attention to boring walls by using a material not usually associated with wallcoverings. The look is achieved using common papers such as comics, sheet music, maps, blueprints, magazines cuttings, newspaper, paper doilies, or heavy foil—the more creative, the better.

How to wallpaper with newspapers and other stuff.

* glossy polymer medium
* sponge brush
* scissors
* your selection of magazines, newspapers, or other ephemera
* (optional) glossy water-based polyurethane (clear or tinted)
* paintbrush

The polyurethane can be omitted. However, it gives a protective glossy coating. **If you decide to use polyurethane, make sure it's water-based, or it will smear and ruin the print. Also, the picture from the other side will show through.

The polymer medium can be used as an undercoat and as a final coat.

magazine pages
1. Cut the strips of paper you want to use and turn them face down on a work surface.
2. Apply polymer medium with a sponge brush to the surface. Do only a small section because it dries quickly.
3. Place the strips of paper on the wet surface and press down.
4. Coat it lightly with the medium; if foam forms on the paper will not dry clear.
5. Continue to cover the surface this way; overlap the edges and corners as you continue to make the collage.


6. Rinse the sponge brush thoroughly so you can reuse it at another time.
7. Once both sides have a coating of the polymer medium applied to them, they are sealed, and regular water-based polyurethane varnish can be applied on top. The polymer medium is used as a gluing agent as well as a sealer for the paper.
8. (optional) With a paintbrush, coat all surfaces with glossy water-based polyurethane. This gives the paper a hard protective finish. It takes 24 hours to dry and must be painted on evenly in one direction.


9. If you decided to omit the polyurethane finish, the surface will require several polymer medium coats to give it a final finish. This dries within fifteen to twenty minutes. The finish will not be as smooth as the polyurethane and will turn white if anything wet touches it for a prolonged period of time. Other than that, the finish is extremely durable.

Here is a dresser I did use the same technique:

Tilley making sure the table is sturdy.

We grabbed this trashed side table, raided the free newspapers, picked up some sponge brushes at the dollar store and invested in some polymer medium at our favourite art store. Total cost $14.50.

stacy reynaud laviolette

Apr 19, 2011

Tip of the Week - Say No to Stink Beard - How to Clean a Beard

sebum, butter, milk, cigarettes, debris -> GROSS

Dilute the following essential oils in 20 ml almond/avocado oil plus 10 ml jojoba oil:
Rosemary 10 drops
Lavender 5 drops
Cypress 5 drops
Lemon 10 drops
Massage into beard, neck and face before shower. Wash off with hot water. Dry and wipe off any excess.

Mar 21, 2011

Tip of the Week - Choosing a Quality Dress Shirt

Please look for:
  • 14 stitches per inch on the shirt placket indicates a quality garment. Fewer than 11 per inch signals less quality.
  • buttons will be attached with firm cross stitches and no loose threads.
  • tapering the sleeve into a cuff is a tailoring short cut. A better made shirt retains the blousiness of the sleeve by joining it to the cuff with careful pleats and gathers.
  • collars should fit snuggly and accommodate neck ware.
  • collars should be evenly stitched around the edges. A well made collar will have a line of stitching around the edge, as well as interfacing to give it shape.
  • check for single needle stitching - it's a more costly and time consuming method of machine sewing. There is less likelihood that puckering will occur.
  • a vertical seam down the yoke of the back of the shirt is a sure sign of quality.

Mar 14, 2011

Tip of the Week - Menswear

Your tie should fall no longer than your belt buckle.

Mar 6, 2011

Pour some sugar on me

equal parts raw blue agave and brown sugar
five drops clove oil, two drops patchouli oil
massage over body in small circles
rinse with warm water
optional - finish with coconut oil rub down

aka Brown Sugar Scrub

Feb 27, 2011

Cheetah vs Leopard

The cheetah has solid black spots and cries black tears because he's likely to become endangered unless his circumstances improve.
The leopard has more complex spots of brown and black that resemble rosettes.
Ava Gardner is wearing leopard.

Feb 19, 2011

What to do when a work colleague passes

One of my team members from work passed away last week. I was notified by his daughter. This was a new experience for me as I've only indirectly worked with one other person that died. This situation was different because I was his 'manager' and it was my responsibility to inform his colleagues.

  1. emotion is natural and expected. If you feel like you need to cry do so. If you want to try and hold back the tears look up or drink some water - it tends to help.
  2. in notifying colleagues say what you truly feel and relay any information the family has requested you pass on. This could be dates of the memorial service, names of charities you may make a donation to in lieu of flowers and in our situation, a final word to his colleagues.
  3. if you are the deceased's 'direct report' then you must contact the HR department. They will do all the paperwork for life insurance and notify the other departments. If they do not distribute a notice of memoriam within the work place it is the department's, who the individual worked in, responsibility.
  4. express your condolensces to the family. Say what you feel but don't dwell on the details or manner of death. Ask if there is anything you can do at any time to be of service. Nothing more needs to be said.
  5. when in lieu of flowers appears on the death notice the family has put it there upon the deceased's request or because they honestly feel the contribution will help them feel comfort knowing some good will come. A cheque is sent to the charity with a note saying, "This donation is sent in loving memory of Mr. X McABC, of 10 Park Place, Mount Vernon." If family members who should receive an acknowledgement did not live with the deceased, mention the name and address to which the acknowledgement should be sent; "Please send the acknowledgement to..." Your address should also appear on the note. The charity then sends an acknowledgement, which lets the donor know the contribution has been received and can also be used as a tax deduction. The charity also sends a notice of contribution to the family of the deceased.
  6. gifts of cash should never be sent directly to the family in place of flowers or a charitable contribution. However, a group, club, neighbours or work colleagues may take up a collection for a bereaved person who is in financial difficulty.
  7. if the hour and location of the funeral service is made public it is considered unkind not to go to the public funeral of a person with whom you have been closely associated with in business.

Feb 3, 2011

Tip of the Week - Looking Your Best While Traveling

1. Neatness
2. Appropriateness

You may only be travelling with two or three outfits, but if you choose wrinkle-resistant materials, unpack your clothes when you arrive, keep them clean (carry a spot remover), and press them, you will always appear well dressed—no matter how much the cost of your outfit.

Which fabric travels best?

Feb 1, 2011

16 Things Never to Do While Dining Out

Do Not:
  1. use the same cutlery for each course. If the waiter lays your dirty utensils back on the table cloth after clearing the first course hand them back and request clean ones.
  2. break off a piece of bread without offering your guests any. When a loaf of bread is placed on the table break off two or three pieces and offer them with the rest of the loaf in the breadbasket or on the plate to the people beside you.
  3. only serve yourself coffee or tea if the pot is placed on the table without first having been poured by the waiter. The person nearest the pot offers to pour, filling her or his cup last.
  4. put those unfortunate paper wrappers and plastic containers that are now littering our dining tables into empty cups or glasses. These unfortunate sugar packets and jam containers should be placed on the edge of the saucer or butter plate.
  5. pour wine from the ice bucket without first wiping off any water from the outside of the bottle. If the waiter does not return after initially opening the bottle and pouring the first glass you may refill glasses, after wiping the bottle, beginning with your guests.
  6. use a comb at a restaurant table - or in any public place. Never rearrange or put your hands to your hair in any place that food is served.
  7. blow your nose at the table.
  8. lick your fingers. Ask for a finger bowl if your food is really that messy.
  9. reach over and spear your dining partner's food. Hand your unused fork to him/her and they will then pick up a bit and hand it back to you.
  10. offer a taste of your food to your dining partner with your dirty utensil. Instead, slice a small piece with their utensils, or with yours if it's before you've used them yourself, and put a small portion on their plate.
  11. introduce every Tom, Dick and Harry in your group to people you know and happen to see at the same restaurant. Simply nod and say 'Hello' as they pass.
  12. table hop. Pulling up a seat at another table is not in good taste.
  13. call your waiter "Sir".
  14. make a scene if there is an error on your bill.
  15. offer to 'pay half' after the bill arrives. This should be brought up before you get to the restaurant.
  16. make out. Even if it is a dark corner table - no matter how tempting it may be.

Jan 28, 2011

17 Things to Avoid at Work

  1. Absence - pull your own weight. Your team will resent you if you don't.
  2. Borrowing - Neither a borrower nor a lender be.
  3. Drinking - the unwritten 'rule' is one drink at lunch if your guest is having one. If you're a light weight like me don't even bother.
  4. Gossip - don't talk about others, you're beyond that.
  5. Gum Chewing - every time I see Johnny Depp at an event he's chewing gum and it looks terrible.
  6. Messiness - make it a habit early in your career to clean up your desk before you leave - this includes putting pens and paper clips away.
  7. Obscene Language - avoid using expletive adjectives - this may require extreme concentration.
  8. Over Zealous Office Decor - keep it simple. One or two photos of family/friends/pets, and framed professional designations. The attention should be on you not your nick nacks.
  9. Personal Comments - don't comment on someone's appearance if they look ill or thinner or heavier.
  10. Personal Problems - keep it to yourself. You won't hear the CEO complaining about his or her spouse or finances.
  11. Romance - keep it out of the office. Messy, messy stuff.
  12. Shouting - get up and go over to their desk or call them - don't yell their name out.
  13. Smoking - just because you smoke doesn't mean you get extra 'smoke' breaks. No one likes the smell of second hand smoke when you walk in after your break either. Take the time to wash your hands.
  14. Soapboxing - the meeting wasn't held for you and you only. Share the floor.
  15. Temper - grow up. I'd hardly call it 'motivating others'. Who do you think you are - that kid that didn't like getting books for Christmas?
  16. Wasting Others' Time - learn to read body language. A glance at the clock, tidying up the desk, standing - these all mean time to say goodbye.
  17. Wearing Cologne or Perfume - I once worked with a woman who wore a scent that actually made me angry. I think it was called Angel.

Jan 15, 2011

Is it Counterfeit?

Brad came home with a counterfeit sweater yesterday. Not to be a braggart but I knew it was counterfeit the moment he took it out of the bag.

Two obvious reasons from ten feet away:
  1. Ralph Lauren would have never done such a terribly cut neckline
  2. It had the metallic sheen of acrylic
Up close:
  1. The "100% cashmere" was closer in texture to 100% scouring pad
  2. The label
  3. The headless horseman
  4. It melted when we did the burn test
He bought the sweater at a Gastown consignment shop and was royally choked when I pointed out why his new $75 sweater was counterfeit. He tried to take it back. He was told their 'fabric expert' decided it was probably a cashmere acrylic blend that had mistakenly been labeled 100% cashmere. Pardon my language but WTF? Strip that person's 'expert' title just for using those two words together. While I'm at it, strip that store of their business license for selling counterfeit products and arguing with customers for wanting to return them. Now he's stuck with a nontransferable credit note that expires in thirty days. Caveat emptor.


See my rant on cashmere misrepresentation here

Jan 11, 2011

Tip of the Week - Dinner Attire

mom and dad 76
mom & dad 1976
(my Grandma wrote on the back - Sonny & Edna in their best look)

Opt for midnight blue as it looks blacker under artificial light than black, which can have a greenish hue.

Dec 27, 2010

10 Tips for the Party Host


When your hosting skills are brought to the test, don't fail.
  1. Take your guest's coat. Do not 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, fiance, 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' before hand and cover each others 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 bath tub 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 over staying, 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.

Dec 16, 2010

Tip of the Week - Beauty

Rejuvenate your dry tired skin with olive oil. Seriously, I tried it (remember, I was wanting to try a new moisturizer). I must admit I was worried I'd break out, because that's what my skin does with everything, but no! My skin is now as soft as a baby's bottom. I was so impressed I went out and bought John Masters Organics Pomegranate Facial Nourishing Oil (not an affiliate). The scent reminds me of this works: deep calm. The only downfall, I don't want to just use it on my face and at $42 for 2 fl oz my personal care budget is going to have to increase - that's ok, I'm worth it.

The Wind