Wednesday, April 19, 2017


10 Things You Should Not Do After You Get Engaged

This is a crazy time for many newly engaged couples. With all the Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine’s engagements, it probably seems like half of your friends are involved in a wedding in one way or the another. Everybody is either engaged, a member of the wedding party, a parent of an engaged child or making travel arrangements to attend a destination wedding.

With all the crazy going down, brides and grooms sometimes get ahead of themselves and — feeling happy and like they can take on the world — do and say things that cause them stress and consternation down the road. Here are 10 things you should not do after you get engaged and before you get married:
1) Do not adopt a puppy. Do not buy a horse. Do not add anything to your schedule that will require extra maintenance and a babysitter for your wedding week. You won’t have time for it and it’s not fair to the animal. Seriously. Do it after you get back from your honeymoon.
2) Do not decide that it’s time to start house hunting or move unless it’s absolutely, positively necessary. The most stressful times of your life are getting married, moving, changing jobs, having children and getting divorced. Why would you want to double up on the stress when you’re already committed to wedding planning for next however many months? Adding a move to the mess will only make you crazier. Plus, it will smack your budget hard, no matter how well you plan ahead. Also try not to change jobs if you can help it. Why pile on more to worry about?
3) Don’t take an out-of-control vacation within six months of your wedding, unless it’s your bachelor or bachelorette weekend with friends. If you have the money for a fabulous trip, please save it. Put it away and hold onto it for unexpected expenses that may come up with your wedding. Blowing it all on a cruise three months before your big day and then whining because you have 20 more guests than you’d anticipated so you’re over budget is just ridiculous. Plan for the emergency if you have the resources.

4) Don’t spend all of your time surfing wedding websites and buying bridal magazines. After you’ve planned your décor,swear off of Pinterest for a whole 30 days...if thats possible. One way to really make your wedding planner insane and blow the hell out of your budget is to keep messing with the details of the wedding after the decisions have been made, bids obtained and deposits paid. The time to choose was before you signed the contracts and locked things down.
5) Don’t continue shopping for wedding gowns after you’ve already bought one. That’s a really, really stupid thing to do, unless your original intent was to end up with more than one dress (and yes thats a huge trend now).. But if you planned to buy and wear one wedding gown, once you’ve ordered it, stop second-guessing yourself. And stop looking at dresses. I’ve had clients who bought three different dresses (and absorbed the cost of all of them and wore only one) because they made themselves crazy continuing to shop.
6) Don’t share all your wedding details on social media or with all of your friends. There should be some surprises, and it’s tacky to talk about it in a forum where most of your “friends” on Facebook won’t be invited to participate in the festivities anyway. You may find the vast selection of favors fascinating, but you don’t have to post about it. In fact, you shouldn’t. Look forward to having amazing pictures that you can share after the wedding when no surprises will be ruined and those who aren’t invited won’t feel like it’s being shoved up their noses.
7) Don’t solicit the opinion of all of your bridesmaids regarding the bridesmaid dresses. That is the kiss of death and a guarantee that somebody is going to end up unhappy. Include the Maid of Honor and maybe one more bridesmaid (particularly if you have somebody who is going to be a difficult fit), but leave everybody else out of it until it’s a fait accompli. Seriously.
8) Don’t involve your bridal party in your wedding planning, unless it’s to help you make favors or do some other bridal party project. Leave them out of your meetings with vendors and conference calls with your planner. Your fiancé and your mom are the only ones who should participate (and only if you want to include your mother).
9) Don’t put off the stupid little homework assignments that your wedding planner gives you. Do not wait ‘til the last minute to write your wedding ceremony. Do not wait ‘til a month before the wedding to start thinking about your DJ playlist. The marriage license information form you were given at the first meeting could have been completed the first week of planning — the info on there won’t change before your wedding date. Although it seems like you have gobs of time for planning when you’re looking at the “to do” list six or more months out, it’s important to listen to your planner about what should be finished when, or you’ll find yourself with a big old pile of homework a few weeks before your wedding.
10) Don’t let the stress of wedding planning ruin the fun of being engaged. I know brides who never tasted anything at any of their showers or parties and only drank one night of their bachelorette weekend because they were so determined to lose the extra pounds before the wedding. Some of them have even been known to turn on the groom, asking him to diet too. He didn’t ask you to lose weight to get the second ring, why are you asking him to drop pounds to say “I do?” I mean, for real, does that sound like fun? I’m not saying you can’t slim down, but don’t get so stressed out about it that you take away the bubbly fun of all of it. Don’t turn dance lessons into a torture session — go out for cocktails first (it worked for me and my husband Bill). Don’t talk exclusively about the wedding when you’re spending time together — it will make you both a little nutty. Try to be your normal selves and bask in the glow of the shiny diamond. And remember to keep your nails pretty.
At the end of the day, you can make your wedding planning process as easy or difficult as you want to make it — really, it’s up to you. But if you avoid the items we mentioned above, you have a better chance at having fun during your engagement and making fantastic memories along the way.
Until next time, happy wedding planning from Style Guide

Friday, April 7, 2017

Birth Month Flowers

Flowers have been given as gifts since time immemorial. It is believed that birthday celebrations originated in the Roman Empire, and so the origins of birth month flowers can be said to date back to these times, as gifts and altar decorations would have included flowers.

Some traditional meanings and associations of some birth month flowers are as follows.

January: A flower associated with January is the Carnation. It is said to symbolize love, fascination and distinction. Carnation - also called Gillyflower - represents love, pride, beauty, purity, distinction, fascination, loyalty.

February: A flower for February is the Violet. The flower symbolizes faithfulness, humility and chastity. Gifting violets in the Victorian era conveyed the message, "I’ll always be true." The violet represents faithfulness, wisdom and hope.

March: A flower associated with March is the Daffodil also known as Jonquil or Narcissus. A gift of Daffodils conveys the meaning of friendship and happiness. The flower represents rebirth, respect, regard and unrequited love.

April: A flower associated with April is the Sweet Pea flower. It is said to symbolize pleasure or farewells. In the Victorian era, these flowers formed a part of the bouquet that was sent to someone to convey gratefulness. The Sweet Pea also represents modesty and simplicity.

May: The month of May is associated with the Lily of the Valley. This flower conveys sweetness and humility. In the Victorian era, it was gifted to convey the romantic message, "You have made my life complete." Lily of the Valley represents humility, chastity and sweetness.

June: Rose is a flower of the month of June. The underlying message these flowers is that of love and passion. Roses represent love and appreciation, and have other meanings depending on the color.

July: A flower associated with July is Larkspur. Larkspur - also called Delphinium - speaks to us of feelings of open hearts. The symbolism of ardent attachment is attributed to this flower.

August: The flower for August is the Gladiolus. This flower stands for sincerity. It symbolizes strength of character. levity and lightness.

September: A flower for September is the Aster. The flower symbolizes love, faith and wisdom. It speaks to us of patience, daintiness and remembrance.

October: Marigold - also called Calendula by some - is a flower associated with October. Marigold is considered to be an auspicious flower, and is used as part of some religious ceremonies. Marigold speaks to us of grace and healing.

November: Chrysanthemum is a flower for November. It stands for cheerfulness and love. Chrysanthemums represent happiness and laughter in the home, compassion, friendship and secret love.

December: Narcissus is a flower associated with December. It symbolizes respect, modesty and faithfulness. It represents the sweetness of whoever receives it, as well as self-esteem.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Engagement ring tips for men

Every girl dreams of the day her boyfriend gets down on one knee and presents her with a buying a beautiful engagement ring, but how can he be sure he’s got it right? Many brides-to-be have very fixed ideas on the style of engagement ring they’d like so her man needs to do his homework before he starts shopping.
engagement ring
Here are seven engagement ring tips for men on choosing a ring she’ll love. Ladies you can always print this off and leave it lying around as a subtle hint for your future fiance.
  1. Check her existing jewellery to see the colour and type of metal she usually wears. Most women have a strong preference for gold or silver, very few wear both equally. Make sure that the ring you choose matches her main preference. If she really does wear both colours you could consider a two tone ring.
  2. If possible try to get a ring in the right size. This is relatively easy if your girlfriend usually wears rings on her middle or ring finger. Perhaps you can sneakily borrow a ring and take it shopping with you. Otherwise you could make an imprint of it in some plasticine or make a paper ring of the same size. Rings can always be altered slightly, but you want it to fit as closely as possible.
  3. Take a look at the clothes she wears and get an idea of her style and fashion sense. Are her clothes ultra modern and constantly changing with the times? Maybe she wears classic pieces with just a few contemporary accessories? Perhaps she loves to team vintage items with modern basics? The ring you choose should reflect her style if it is going to look good with her wardrobe.
  4. Consider her size and shape when you choose the ring. Is she very slim or does she have a fuller figure? Are her fingers long or short? The jeweller should be able to advise you on the shape and cut that will look best on your girlfriend’s hand if you can describe it well. If possible you could even try to take a photograph of her hand with you.engagement ring
  5. Think about her lifestyle when you pick the setting of the ring. If she does a lot of manual work, has physical contact with people during her job, or takes part in a lot of sporting activities, a diamond with a high setting might not be practical. Choose a channel set diamond for active girlfriends.
  6. Put some thought into your girlfriend’s views on colour when you are deciding on the type of stone to use. If she dyes her hair a different shade every week, and has painted her home every colour of the rainbow, you might want to consider one of the coloured stones that are currently in vogue. Birthstones are usually a good choice, or coloured diamonds are very fashionable if a little pricey. A good tip for making sure the colour you choose doesn’t clash with her wardrobe is to think about the colour of her eyes. If your lady seems to prefer neutral muted colours, a classic white diamond is the best choice for you.
  7. The final and most important tip on choosing an engagement ring is finding out whether she actually wants you to. Perhaps she would much rather pick the ring herself, or maybe she dreams of the two of you designing a bespoke ring together. Wait for a proposal scene in a soppy movie to casually broach the subject and see what her reaction is.

If you’re not sure, you can always buy an inexpensive temporary ring to propose with and go shopping for the real thing together. If you are going to choose the ring yourself be on the lookout for clues. If she suspects a proposal she’ll be dropping hints all over the place.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

10 Must-Have Fashion Accessories for Men

Recently we asked people what the must-have fashion accessories are for men. The responses we received ranged from the basic to the bizzare. What we found most interesting was that most responses didn’t involve material goods, but instead mentioned behaviours that a man can only perfect, not purchase.

Accessory #1 – A Smart Watch

There’s a lot to be said about a man with a nice watch. It shows he appreciates the finer things in life and that he does not rely on his iPhone to tell the time. A quality watch should be high on every man’s list. It doesn’t need to be expensive, it needs to be classic and preferably not a Thailand special which you purchased after a visit to soapies.

Accessory #2 – A Smile

Even if you have pearly whites like Steve Buscemi there’s still much value in being able to smile. Nothing says you take yourself too seriously like the guy at the bar who’s too busy being cool rather than having a good time, who attracts e-taggers (B&Ts) and voids accessory #3. Smiles cost nothing and last a lifetime, so use them often.

Accessory #3 – A beautiful woman (or man) on one’s arm

We all know beauty comes in many forms, but there’s a lot to be said for a man with a beautiful or smart or funny woman on his arm. If you get all three, then put a god damn ring on it. A quality partner tells the world that you’re a discerning chap who doesn’t have The Clap, she’ll bring out the best in you too. Pick a bad one and they’ll think you drink the bath water.

Accessory #4 – A Real Classy Pen 
No, not a Biro, rather choose something that’s been handed down or recently purchased from the Mont Blanc store. A gentleman’s special pen (no not that one) should be only used in times of triumph like signing the papers after selling your business or perhaps after putting that final nail in the divorce coffin. Choose wisely because it will be noticed.

Accessory #5 – Good Manners

All to often forgotten in the game of being a Cad & Bounder. We’re not quite talking using your coat to cover puddles, but remember your P’s and Q’s, refrain from eating like a Neanderthal and when the time comes do NOT ask ‘if they are real’. Manners are always noticed and noted, giving a man an air of success and maturity.

Accessory #6 – An Inoffensive but Memorable Cologne 

We all have smells. Some good. Some bad. When it comes to cologne, I prefer to wear one that’s unique, sensual and memorable. It’s time to ditch the Lynx and invest in a scent that will assume the role of chief panty remover and all round deal maker. Take yourself down to David Jones and spend some time smelling the likes of Comme Des Garçons, Six Scents, Dior and YSL.

Accessory #7 – Knowledge / Book Smarts

They say knowledge is power and power makes the dishwasher and other cool things around the house work. Nothing will stop a man in life like a limited knowledge of what’s going on in the world around him. No need to be a scholar but at least know something other than the process of how Fosters is brewed and you’ll be well on your way. Pick up a book, go to an art gallery and take in some culture.

Accessory #8 – Nice Shoes  

A timeless and true mark of a man is his shoes. Nothing kills a date with a beautiful women quicker than a dirty pair of Cons and some Explorer Socks. Invest in leather, the Italian type that will outlast the many women you’re trying to impress. If you can afford it we recommend owning more than one pair and alternating so they don’t get worn out.

Accessory #9 – A Helping of Confidence

Nothing says you’re a man who people want to do business or get busy with like a man with his head held high, chest out and walking tall. Confidence has allowed some of history’s biggest failures get to the top and stay there for oh let’s say… 8 years (a fool me can’t get fooled again). Find something you’re good at, do it well and be proud that you do it so well. The feeling will extend to other areas of your life and soon you’ll be John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.

Accessory #10 – Your Friends

The last and most important of all accessories are your friends. They say you can never soar like an eagle if you’re surrounded by turkeys, and this rule I’ve stuck to all my life. That’s why I have a fantastic group of underachieving sociopaths as my closest acquaintances. Whether you like it not, you’ll always be judged by the company you keep. Choose wisely and don’t be afraid to let the occasional one go if you’re no longer aligned with total world domination. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Beautiful Gardens make your day special

Styling Your Garden Your Way 

What is your vision for your garden? Do you want a formal garden?  This garden style, originating from Europe was reserved for only exclusive properties, owned by the likes of royalty and noble families. However, in the modern world this style is widely used in domestic properties and the term ‘formal garden’  refers more to the plants you choose and the carefully planned symmetry of the design lay out. Hedges are central to this garden style, and they, along with the lawns of the property should be kept neatly clipped for maximum effect.

Image BHG

This garden style favours classic, green plants, perhaps with some white flowering plants added. This design style looks fantastic as it has an amazing visual impact in its uniformity and dense linear hedges, and symmetry.
This garden does require plants to grow into it. What does that mean? If you choose to buy mature plants to achieve an ‘instant’ garden, it is extremely costly, but furthermore, you will find that the overall look and shape of your hedges is inconsistent. When you slowly plant, and allow plants to grow into a space, when you trim, prune and shape, you are able to achieve a much more cohesive look.
The key in keeping it look its best is regular maintenance. If you are irregular in your maintenance, the garden will become overgrown and lose it’s ‘shape’. You will then be required to give it a hard trim, which can result in seeing thick pieces of branches within the hedge as it has been let go for to long.

Image: Backyard Gardening

Clever planting should draw your eye in and around the design,which requires careful consideration in order to create interest by using different textured foliage and varying heights of plants. Repetition is certainly key to this design style; by using one variety of plant along a whole border, the border looks strong and uniform. You can also choose to use water features such as a pond or fountain in a central position, to create a focal point.
Another option is a Cottage garden where you use dense plantings, informal design, traditional garden materials and a mixture of both ornamental and edible plants. They are more relaxed in their look and feel, and focus less on rules, and more on the love of gardening. As the garden blossoms throughout the seasons, you will be forever enjoying a new and different landscape. Originally, the cottage garden was a mixture of vegetables, herbs, fruit trees with flowers filling in all the gaps, but as time has gone on, the flowers have become more dominant.

Image: Serenity Secret Garden
Image: Houzz
Image: Mississauga

This garden style lacks the rigidity of the borders and hedges, and does not use repetition to create formality or uniformity. Instead, this garden is a mixture of anything and everything that takes your fancy and its appeal lies in the discoveries you may make in little pockets of garden today, that you perhaps did not notice there the day before. Choose different colours and textures to add interest to your garden space.
Today people tend to favour low maintenance gardens, doing away with large grassed areas, and choosing plants that required little or no care like succulents, agaves, etc with feature pavers or rocks. Australia has such a beautiful range of sub tropical, tropical and native plants available which grow throughout the country that can be utilised to create a unique cottage garden, which is less traditionally English in style (see below examples).
For us, our garden is just a blank canvas for now. Hubby felt it needed to be stripped back completely before he could start again, so stay tuned for some progress reports. And as far as style goes, I think we have decided to go for a relatively informal garden, with a decidedly tropical/sub tropical feel and a dedicated kitchen garden for herbs, some citrus trees and vegetables. As a horticulturist, my husband understandably wants to showcase some unique specimens, so a formal garden which requires the plants to be en masse just isn’t viable.

Image via Style Estate

Image: Roger’s Garden
Image: Rogers gardens