Archive for August, 2013

August 30, 2013 10:59 am

Job Interview Style – Take 1

Interview Style

Maybe you’re a recently graduated student hunting for that first ‘real’ job or a middle-aged business woman looking to switch careers. No matter what stage of life you’re at or what industry you work in there are some basic interview style standards to adhere to. We know it’s been said over and over again, but we’re going to say it one more time. Employers usually know whether they’ll hire someone within the first 30 seconds of the interview. This means that quite often, major hiring decisions are based largely on superficial factors instead of the actual qualifications of the individual being interviewed. That being the case, it’s importance to put your most stylish foot forward during the interview process.

Over the next few months we’ll be giving styling tips for specific interview scenarios. This week we’ll be styling a young graphic designer for her first job interview since graduating college. She’s been called in to interview for a small graphic design company who contracts their workers out to various big name companies. The office is small, with a casual, coffee shop feel to it. The dress code is laid back and casual. What should our nervous design graduate wear? We’ve come up with three stylish and appropriate interview looks for her.

Interview Style

 Top: Dorothy Perkins / Jeans: Sass and Bide / Jane Norman / Purse: Burberry London / Lipstick: Topshop

Look #1: Are you shocked by the patterned skinny jean? Don’t be! Incorporating pattern into a monochromatic outfit like this allows you to inject a little personality while still looking polished and professional.

Interview Style

Top / Jacket / Paneled Pencil Skirt / Heels / Shoulder Bag / Necklace

Look #2: This ensemble is a little more formal, but brings a fun punch of color through the fitted skirt. Pair a bright skirt with a looser, neutral blouse to balance out the look, and throw on a cropped jacket to keep the look professional. Because the skirt draws the most attention, we suggest finishing it all off by slipping in a pair of simple low heels.

Interview Style

Dress / Purse / Heels / Bangles

Look #3: The whole point of a n interview is to get noticed (in a good way), and no one will forget our design graduate in this emerald green dress! Keep it sophisticated with matte black heels, simple jewelry and a practical messenger bag.

In this scenario the company is known for its casual environment, so it’s perfectly fine for our young graduate to tailor down her outfit a bit without risking looking unprofessional. It’s a good idea to keep things structured, but also to get a little creative with pattern, texture and color!

WHICH INTERVIEW OUTFIT DO YOU PREFER? TWEET @QCSTYLEACADEMY TO LET US KNOW, OR LEAVE US A COMMENT BELOW!


August 28, 2013 10:03 am

Pros and Cons of Summer Weddings

Pros and Cons of Summer Weddings

We’re all familiar with summer weddings. The invitations seem to come pouring in around late spring, and our summer weekends quickly fill up with ceremonies and receptions. But is a summer wedding really for you? Take a read through the pros and cons list below to find out.

Pros

The summer months are a little more predictable in terms of weather. As long as the forecast doesn’t call for rain, it’s a safe bet that guests will still be comfortable during outdoor festivities.

Traveling is also much easier in the summer months. Winter snow, bad road conditions and overbooked flights are replaced by sunny skies and easy to navigate travel routes. This makes it much easier for your guests to reach you!

Fall, winter and spring tend to be busy months for most people, with things calming down throughout the summer. The chances of all your friends and family being able to attend your wedding are much better in June, July and August.

It’s much easier to get creative with venues and décor in the warmer months. You’re no longer restricted to dull wedding halls and the restrictions that come along with them. Hosting a backyard, beach or park wedding allows you to use nature as a colorful and whimsical backdrop.

Floral arrangements are traditionally a big part of weddings – and their budgets – and the selection is always best in the summer. Instead of settling for tinted roses you can get creative with beautiful colors and shapes. Tiger lilies, succulents, peonies…the possibilities are endless!

Cons

Weddings are common during the summer months, and vendors tend to book up quickly. You may find yourself fighting tooth and nail for your preferred location. And, even if you do score your dream venue, you may pay a high price for it. Vendors typically raise their fees in June, July and August as the demand is much higher.

You may be competing for guests. If members of your family or close circle of friends are also getting married around the same time as you, your guests might be facing a double invitation on your wedding date. To avoid this, ensure you send your invitations out as soon as you are able. You might also consider hosting your wedding on a Friday evening or the Sunday of a long weekend.

If you’ve opted to have a summer wedding in order to host the event outdoors, you may need to make room in your budget for tents. Summer is beautiful, but it’s also hot hot hot. Keep in mind that your guests will be doing a lot of waiting around outside, and you’ll want to make sure you  provide them with a little relief from the unrelenting sun.

What is your favorite thing about summer weddings? Let us know in a comment below!


When you think of the word “competition”, what do you think? Perhaps you think of words including “difficult”, “challenge”, or “better”. How do you feel when you hear the word? Maybe you feel slightly anxious, unnerved, or perhaps you feel energized and ready to win. Competition in the world of business exists for more reasons than simply to allow you fewer leads and to split your potential income with others. In fact, there are many reasons why competition is a good thing in Event planner holding balloonsbusiness. Seriously! Read on to see our top reasons and how you, too, can change your view on competition and become better because of it.

1. Competition = Ability to Charge More

I know what you’re thinking, “How is that even possible?” With so many companies slashing prices to so-called “compete”, you’d think that more competition would mean you’d have to offer more discounts or charge less. In fact, however, more competition often means your industry is growing and become more in-demand, therefore allowing you to inch up your prices along with your competitors. Sure, you’ll probably want to offer a great deal every once in a while, but overall more competition will help you justify your rates and allow you to be “better” than someone. It’s a lot more difficult to justify your services and rates to a client when you’re the only one offering them.

2. Competition = Networking Opportunities

Your competitors can’t take every project that comes their way, and they’ll most likely look at their network and suggest an alternative to a prospective client when they simply can’t take them on. This could mean you! Get out to networking events and reach out to your competition. A healthy industry and possible connections is a good thing in anyone’s eyes. As they say, keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer – or at least your direct competitors.

3. Competition = Collaboration

Some events are simply too large for a single business to take on. Opportunities may arise that will allow you to collaborate with others in your field, and possibly even merge your businesses down the road – giving you a large slice of the market and the ability to take on more and larger projects. Never look at your business competition as a negative, because it really isn’t. In fact, having competition can be a huge positive – just look at all the major corporations that have merged or been acquired by other companies. Your big pay day could come sooner than you expect.

4. Competition = Motivation

When you’re in a highly competitive market place, you’ll need to remain focused and driven. Competition can be very motivating! You’ll want to stay ahead of your competitors and offer the latest and greatest, so check out what your competition is doing often and, once again, get out to networking events. You’ll be surprised what you can learn about a company’s current projects over a refreshment!

Now, we’d like to hear from you. What’s your main concern with having competition? Let us know so we can provide some suggestions for how to overcome them in a comment below!


Wedding hangers have been trending for a few years now, especially since the popularity of DIY wedding decor. We’re talking about the hangers that say things in the wire, like “bride”, “groom”, or “bridesmaid”. They look great in the “getting ready” photos, and can be made for everyone in the bridal party, from the bride and groom to the mother of the bride. If you’re a wedding planner, they also make great gifts for your client; another way for you to add your personal touch. You can get them custom ordered, but they’re actually quite simple to DIY, and very inexpensive. If you want to learn about even more special wedding touches, take a look at QC Event School’s Wedding Planning course.

 

What You’ll Need:

14 gauge galvanized wire
Wire cutters
Needle nose pliers
Wooden hangers
Drill (choose a drill bit the size of your wire)
Strong glue
Pencil and paper

Step 1

Cut your wire to size. On average, you’ll need at least 10 to 12 inches of wire per letter. For example, if you’re making the word “Bride”, you’ll need about 60 inches of wire. More is always better!

Step 2

Determine how you want your letters to look using a pencil and paper. Look online for some inspiration, especially on etsy or Pinterest.

Step 3

Use your template as a guide to begin forming your letters. You can use your hands and the pliers as needed. Here’s a tip: Cover the needle nose pliers in masking tape to prevent them from scratching the wire. It can take a bit of practise to get it right, but as you go you’ll find a method that works for you. If you make a mistake or get a kink in the wire, toss it and start over – it’s not worth the effort.

Step 4

Drill two holes on the inside of the hanger, about half an inch in. Don’t go all the way through. Trim your wire to fit, if necessary.

Step 5

Put some glue in the holes and on your wire, then stick the wire in and give it plenty of time to dry. Voila!

 

Have you tried out this DIY? Let us know how you did in a comment below!

 

 


August 22, 2013 4:50 pm

Tips to Banish Dark Circles for Good

The eyes are the focal point of the face…which makes it so much more noticeable when they’re feeling a little tired. If you asked most women what they would change about their faces, they would probably say that they would eliminate their dark circles forever – I know I would! There are ways, both with and without makeup – to tackle this common eye issue. Read on for our tips to banish dark circles.

Reduce dark circles with a combination of natural treatments and concealer

Make some lifestyle changes

Everyone has dark circles. Before you go crazy covering them up with expensive concealer, try to get rid of them by reviewing your lifestyle – that means, first and foremost, getting your recommended amount of sleep each night. As well, certain allergens or sinus problems can cause your circles to appear darker; if you have trouble with allergies, either remove the problem or treat it as best as you can. A balanced diet can go a long way – cut the salt, get the right vitamins (especially K and B12), and drink plenty of water. Finally, find a way to relax and de-stress so that you can improve all of the above.

Try a natural solution

Cold does wonders for dark, puffy skin. Some people swear by applying cold, caffeinated tea bags to the eyes every morning to wake them up, and reduce swelling and discoloration. Ice cubes or a frozen spoon work as well. With any cold compress, leave it on for 10-15 minutes. Cucumbers are also a great natural solution to energize tired eyes, as well as a potato puree.

Creams and makeup

Most dark circles are caused by things that simply can’t be changed, like genetics or having very thin skin under the eyes. These can be reduced and tightened with cream, but the rest has to be left to concealer. When you’re shopping for a good under-eye cream, look for one with both vitamin K and retinol. And stick with this regimen – products with these two ingredients are proven to improve dark circles and puffiness over time.

Choose a concealer that matches your skin tone, and keep it in place with a setting powder. When you’re applying concealer, be as gentle as possible. It’s a sensitive area, and any further damage can just make things worse. Remember that less is more! Too much under-eye concealer will just look cakey, and draw unwanted attention. Only use this product as needed.

How do you get rid of the dreaded dark circles?

 

 


There’s nothing worse than leaving your air conditioned office on a hot summer evening and sweating through your work-appropriate slacks and cardigans. Summer skirts and dresses are a great option to stay cool on your commute, keep your style, and still look completely office appropriate. There are just a few rules to keep in mind, and we’re bringing them to you below. Keep in mind that these rules can be bent depending on your work environment – you know best what’s considered suitable for your workplace.

 

It's not hard to stay cool and office appropriate in the summer1. Watch your hemline

Shorts can be worn at work (in the right material – no ripped denim!), but try to keep the hemlines on all your summer work garments near or below the knee.

2. Get colorful

This is the one time of year that you can bust out colorful clothing and get away with it. If the structure of summer office wear is getting you down, nothing will brighten your day more than some bright colors, like the dress seen here, and bold patterns.

3. Drop the flip flops

Seriously. They might be great for the beach, but they are not appropriate for many other places – especially the office. The same goes for any other worn-out sandals that take you just about anywhere during your summer weekends. You’ll find you can get a lot of use out of a couple of good pairs of summer heels or breathable flats. They’re well worth the investment.

4. Keep it covered

 Summer tops and dresses tend to be a bit more sheer, and a bit more loose, than their fall and winter counterparts. With that comes the risk of having exposed bra straps – a major faux pas in the workplace. It doesn’t mean you have to cover your shoulders completely, just look for more structured tops that keep everything in place.

For fashion advice on just about everything – from maternity wear to bridal style – take a look at QC Style Academy’s online course in Fashion Styling.


The Library of Alexandria is the world's oldest library and one of the most beautiful libraries in the world

We love libraries, although we must admit we don’t visit them often enough. The best part about libraries is that they’re public – making knowledge and books free and accessible to everyone. If they’re housed in an incredible building well, that’s just the icing on the cake! Take a look at some of the most beautiful libraries in the world, as well as our recommendation for what book to read if you go.

Central Public Library, Vancouver, Canada

What makes it special: Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, the plain rectangle building is surrounded by a free-standing, elliptical wall containing cafes and shops. This structure gives the building an old Roman feel.

What to read here: John Vaillant’s nonfiction novel The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed.

 

The Royal Danish Library, Copenhagen, Denmark

What makes it special: It’s right on the water so you can take your book outside to watch the ripples on the surface (although inside might even be more beautiful). It also holds Denmark’s first book, printed in 1482.

What to read here: Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales, especially The Little Mermaid.

 

Stuttgart City Library, Stuttgart, Germany

What makes it special: A simple, modern design makes it feel more like an art gallery than a library, which really makes the books pop.

What to read here: Those Crazy Germans! A Lighthearted Guide to Germany by Steven Somers.

Angelica Library, Rome, Italy

What makes it special: It’s survived the ups and downs of Roman history and is still living to tell the tale. Not only is the building old, but so are its contents – about half of the library’s collection is classified as a national monument.

What to read here: I, Claudius, by Robert Graves.

Library of Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt

What makes it special: For one, it’s the oldest library in the world – we’re talking way back around 300 BC. It’s also stunningly beautiful (see the picture above), and is now housed in an incredibly modern building that has to be seen to be believed.

What to read here: Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra.

Royal Portuguese Reading Room, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

What makes it special: It looks like a cathedral, complete with Gothic-renaissance stained glass, iron skylight, and chandelier. It’s breathtaking.

What to read here: The Alchemist, by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho.

Why do you love your own local library? Let us know in a comment below!

 

 


We don’t always buy our furniture in sets. Over the years, we tend to collect a hodgepodge of different pieces that we’re not really sure what to do with. Thankfully, when it’s done well, mismatched furniture can bring a lot of personality and interest to a space. Read more for our top tips on how to make mismatched furniture look great in three rooms of the home. For even more decorating ideas, check out QC Design School’s Interior Decorating course.

Don't let mismatched furniture get you down

Living Room

The accessory options for the living room make it the easiest to work with mismatched furniture. You want to create visual balance in the space, so use accessories and textiles to pull everything together. For example, if your couch is green and your chair is blue, toss a blue throw pillow on the couch, or vice versa. Repeat the same accent colors in your artwork or curtains to create a unified look. Patterns also work well to tie all the colors in.

Dining Room

If you’re using all different dining room chairs, there is one rule to keep in mind – height. If the chairs are all different heights, it will start to look messy very quickly. To don’t need to collect six different chairs to create a mismatched look. Just have two or three that stand apart, either using paint color, cushions, or style. If your dining set is wood, make sure the stains on the table and the chairs complement one another.

Bedroom

You can take a few more liberties when decorating with mismatched furniture in the bedroom because for the most part, you’re the only one who gets to see it. However, if your bed frame, dresser, and night stand are all different shades of wood (like light and dark), it might be too much of a miss to look pleasing. Paint the furniture all the same color, or different colors to create your own unique color scheme. Again, use accessories like pillows and hardware to tie it all together.


Make your outdoor parties special with some backyard games

Whether you’re hosting a child’s birthday party, family reunion, or neighborhood barbeque, any outdoor party is better with games. We’ve even seen them trending at outdoor weddings recently! They give guests something to do while they’re waiting for the hamburgers to cook, and they can make for some good memories and great photos. Take a look at a few creative game ideas for your next backyard party.

Lawn Jenga

The classic coffee table game can easily be made for the outdoors by making the pieces bigger. This DIY might take some skill with a table saw, but it requires virtually no materials other than wood. Guests could probably spend hours on a giant Jenga tournament…after all, the stakes have never been higher!

Homemade dunk bucket

A dunk bucket would be the perfect activity for some laughs on a hot day. With this game, one guest sits under a bucket of water, that’s triggered by a bulls-eye. Friends and family take aim with the goal of spilling the bucket on his head! Setup is a little more involved than the other games on this list (check out a tutorial here), but the results would be well worth it.

Water gun shoot-out

Bottles, ping pong balls, and water guns are all you need to create this Wild West-inspired outdoor game. Guests have to squirt their water guns from a few feet away from their target, trying to knock a ping pong ball off the top of a bottle. It’s an activity that both children and adults can enjoy, and the host could arrange for prizes to be given to the winners of certain categories. Cowboy hats optional, but would be an added bit of fun.

Ring toss

Everyone loves a good old-fashioned ring toss, and the party planner will love it even more because it’s so easy to DIY. You can make it fit with practically any theme, but it works great at a rustic chic party.

What’s your favorite backyard game? Let us know in a comment below!

 


August 18, 2013 3:36 pm

The World’s Most Impressive Castles

You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate an old, historic castle on your travels. These awe-inspiring buildings tell us something of the people who came before, and the fact that they’ve survived so much over the years is incredible. Take a look at our top picks for the world’s most impressive, most beautiful castles. To learn more about the world’s most popular tourist tourist destinations, check out QC Travel School’s online courses. Let us know in a comment if you’ve visited any of these man-made wonders!

Neuschwanstein Castle, Schwangau, Germany

This castle in Germany was the inspiration for Disney's Sleeping Beauty

This is the fairytale castle. We’re not exaggerating– it was the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. This style is what we all think of when we think about old castles, although it only dates back to 1869 and is an example of Romanesque Revival architecture. It’s arguably the most popular tourist castle in the world, drawing over 6000 visitors per day in the high season.

Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet

Tibet's Potala Palace

Situated 400 feet up the Red Hill, Potala is the highest ancient palace in the world. This 17th century palace is still in use today for Buddhist prayer, and is the official residence of the Dalai Lama. The castle’s thirteen stories contain 200,000 statues. Its gold roofs are a landmark even from the sky.

Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France

SONY DSC

This medieval structure sits on a rocky island off France’s northern coast, accessible only by a small causeway that disappears when the tide rushes in. Originally built as a monastery in the 8th century, it has had a history of use as a fortification due to its strategic location. It’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and an extremely popular tourist destination.

Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal

Portugal's Pena Palace

Located just outside of Lisbon, Pena Palace is the oldest example of European Romanticism. This colorful marble and alabaster castle is situated on a hill, and can be seen on a clear day from much of the region. A visit to Pena is not complete without touring its massive gardens, home to exotic species of trees and plants, and mazelike paths encircling the palace.

Prague Castle, Czech Republic

Prague Castle

What we love most about Prague Castle is that, unlike the other castles on this list, this one is right in the heart of the city. It’s the largest ancient castle in the world, and dates back to the 9th century. Its composition of palaces, cathedrals, and basilicas represent nearly every architectural style of the last millennium. Today, visitors can take in a classical concert along with the inspiring culture and history of the place.