Archive for December, 2013

Everyone is hopping on the environment-friendly bandwagon these days. For this reason, many couples choose to have a “green wedding,” where everything in the event is eco-friendly. Here are some ways to pull off an eco-friendly wedding.

Tips to an eco-friendly wedding

Invitations

Let everyone know you are having a green wedding by sending out invitations printed on recycled paper. I’m not talking about printing your invitations on the back of used paper – you still want your invitations to look nice and elegant. There are a lot of beautiful paper materials made of recycled paper. Choose an invitation that uses these kinds of materials to make it eco-friendly.

The Dress

Every woman dreams of having the perfect wedding dress. But it is more nostalgic and memorable to reuse a wedding dress worn by the bride’s mother or a close relative. All it needs is a little alteration and some additional touches to make it look elegant.

The Rings

When choosing your rings, seek out green-friendly jewelers who use recycled gold for their products. Ask about the origins of the gems on the rings too. You wouldn’t want a blood diamond on your wedding ring, would you?

The Venue

If it is not the rainy season, an outdoor venue like a garden is the best place to have your eco-friendly wedding. You will not need air conditioning or much electricity for lighting either. The green surroundings also allows your guests to get into the environmental atmosphere.  If you worry about rain, choose a venue that supports a certain environmental charity. This way the money you spend will also go to a good cause.

The Flowers

Your choice of flowers is also crucial in the success of your eco-friendly wedding. Choose a local organic florist to do the centerpieces for your wedding. This way less gasoline is needed to transport your flowers. Also, most local farmers do not use chemicals for organic flowers, so they are environmentally friendly.

The Suppliers

Just like the flowers, it is more eco-friendly to get local suppliers for the rest of your needs for the wedding. Choose local caterers, musicians, planners and all the other services you will need. This way  less gasoline is used to get to your wedding. And of course less smoke emission, as they bring the essentials to the wedding.

The Menu

One way to make your menu eco-friendly is to serve dishes cooked only with organic ingredients. This way you get to support farmers who use organic methods of planting. You also get to serve your guests a healthier menu and inspire them to eat organic foods as well.

The Favors

There are a lot of favor ideas using recycled materials. You can go for a mini scrap art giveaway, painted bottles and so much more. This way you get to support the artists who make recycled art. You can also choose to skip giving the favors and instead let your guests know that you used your funds for that to donate to an environmental charity.

The Pictures

It is also more eco-friendly to use digital photography rather than the traditional film photography. Digital photography allows you to see all your pictures without printing. You can choose and print only the photos that you like best. Unlike film photography, digital pictures are not developed with so many chemicals making them safer for the environment.

The Honeymoon

Make your honeymoon memorable and “green” by going to places that support eco-tourism. Go to natural areas that help conserve the environment. You can also choose to travel using eco-friendly transportation. You get the romantic feel of nature and you also get to help fund eco-friendly institutions.

An eco-friendly wedding may just be a fad that couples choose to follow. But the idea of having a green wedding expresses care and concern for the world that surrounds their love for each other. It is a great idea to use a gathering of people to not just witness the union of two people in love, but to also make them aware that we should also love the world that we live in. Most of all, to let them be aware that there are always a greener options.

For more wedding tips please visit Best Bride 101.


December 27, 2013 10:00 am

Common Fashion Mistakes to Avoid

Looking good is a priority for many men and women, but with so much conflicting advice out there, it can sometimes be difficult to get it right. Here, we take a look at some of the most common fashion mistakes that you should try and avoid.

Choosing quantity over quality

The perfect wardrobe is one that includes just a few high quality pieces that can be mixed and matched for the ultimate in looking fabulous. Instead of rushing out each season and buying whole new outfits, invest in just a couple of well made pieces from fashion houses known for their attention to detail. In the longer term, you’ll save money and reduce the clutter in your home.

Putting trends ahead of style

Trends change all the time, but true style never goes out of fashion. Rather than following what’s on the catwalks, focus on cultivating your very own signature look. When you become known for always being true to your personal style, you’ll turn heads for all the right reasons. Whether it’s understated, gothic, or sporty, work out what’s best for you.

Failing to consider accessories

Clothes are important, but it’s often accessories that really complete an outfit. Choose pieces that can be matched with several outfits for different occasions, and invest in a good watch. Timepieces from the likes of Michel Herbelin are classic items that will put you ahead in the style stakes, and will remain a treasured part of your look for many years to come.

Fashion is a very individual matter, and what works for someone else might not necessarily work for you. If you steer clear of these common mistakes though, you’re in a great position for getting noticed as a fabulous and stylish fashionista.

Sarah is a digital marketer who has an interest in fashion and currently works closely with many brands including Michel Herbelin.


December 26, 2013 8:41 am

The Truth about Acne, Part I

As a makeup artist, you will be required to hide breakouts. But you will also be looked to as a skin expert. It is one thing to be able to hide them, but if you can give your clients the information they need to prevent them you can become more than a makeup artist. You can become an invaluable resource.

There comes a moment in almost every person’s life when they wake up to find that acne has taken up residence on their face. It is a dreaded condition that almost all people have experienced to some degree at some point in their lives. One of the greatest misconceptions about this self-esteem destroying disorder is that it only affects adolescents and teenagers. Unfortunately, the increasing number of twenty-somethings who suffer from breakouts, oily skin and other such skin conditions debunk that myth.

Acne has many causes but the most common are genetics, stress and personal care products. The predisposition and behavior of our skin happens on a molecular level and, truth be told, it is something we have little to no control over. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take preventative counter measures to ensure those breakouts never see the light of day.

The most common genetic disorder that causes acne is called retention hyperkeratosis. It is a terribly ugly phrase that simply means you are producing more skin cells than you can shed. When these excess cells combine with the sebum you naturally produce, a pore blocking cement is formed. This cement settles into the pores depriving the follicles of oxygen and creating the ultimate breeding ground for bacteria. As the bacteria thrive, they invite along a few of their best pals–swelling, redness and inflammation. When left untreated, this perfect storm is an express pass to a face covered with pimples. Exfoliation is the only true way to outsmart retention hyperkeratosis. It’s plain logic – if you regularly slough off the excess skin there will be nothing left to mix with the sebum and plug the pores.

A second major genetic factor is an overactive pilosebaceous unit. In simpler terms, this means that the oil glands within the follicles are producing sebum at an above average rate. Most people think that harsh cleaning or over exfoliating will solve this, but it actually does the complete opposite. Skin that has been stripped will want to protect itself and the only way it can do this is by producing excess oil. It’s a total catch-22, and over-cleansing is definitely not an option. The key to calming oil production comes down to the ingredients in your products. Key players to look for are zinc salt and willow bark. These two powerhouses will help to regulate sebum production giving you the glowy, non-oily skin you have longed for.

Stay tuned! I’ll be going over more causes of acne, and how to overcome them.

nathan johnsonWritten by Nathan Johnson

Nathan Johnson is a film, television, celebrity, and real women’s makeup artist with 18 years experience in the industry. Nathan believes in education and empowerment – his personal mission is to make America more beautiful one woman at a time. He brings product reviews, makeup tips, and personal experience to the QC blog.


December 23, 2013 10:00 am

Road Tripping in the UK – Driving Tips

The majority of tourists, foreign visitors and business people visiting the UK can find it a little confusing, even awkward to drive on the left-hand side of the road and follow some of the local road rules and driving customs. If you want to make your UK tourist trip or business visit safer and more enjoyable behind the wheel, here are some quintessential, easy to remember driving tips which should keep you and other drivers and pedestrians around you safe.

Driving Tips

Beware automatic car transmission fans:

First of all, consider your own driving skills – keep in mind that nearly ten out of ten cars in the UK are manuals (stick shifts) not automatics like in North America and Australia. So if you aren’t too good with the clutch, perhaps you should consider public transport as the better and safer alternative. The UK is well known for its super efficient, timely and comfortable public transport. If nevertheless, you decide to brave it out with the locals on the UK’s national roads, remember these pieces of advice, as they can make all the difference.

And now, the nitty-gritty:

– People drive on the left-hand side of the road in the UK. This means that when you go to cross the street you should turn to the right first and overcome your strong intuition to check for approaching cars on your right. If you see a car coming from the left, call it in – chances are it is another confused foreign driver.

– The second most important thing you need to remember as a foreigner driving in the UK is to always, and that means in every single instance, to drive on the left-hand side of the road. In the UK, left turn is the easier one, and right turn is the more complex manoeuvre – opposite to right-hand drive countries.

– Overtaking in the UK, or passing cars, as you may know it back home is done on the right side of slower vehicles, not like the US and the rest of the EU where one overtakes a slower vehicle on the left.

– If you will be driving a later model vehicle, check if you can adjust your headlights – right-hand drive cars and left-hand drive cars have different headlight alignment, so be considerate – don’t blind oncoming traffic.

– Remember to always watch out and give way to vehicles coming from your right. This shouldn’t be much of a problem as giving way to right standing vehicles is the basis of driving in most countries around the world.

– The UK happens to be one of the safest countries to drive in the EU so try and keep it that way – don’t speed as you have no excuse for doing so – speeds and limits are in miles per hour, just like in the US. Also, don’t drive under the influence, be a viligent driver and don’t get distracted while driving.

– Pedestrians in the UK like jaywalking, they are used to it, however you shouldn’t get used to it, either when walking or driving. Remember – letting a jaywalker pass in front of you can end up being a disaster as other vehicles may hit the person, even if you don’t. So take appropriate measures.

– UK and EU road rules don’t allow for beeping horns for no apparent reason – keep your horn signals for when avoiding immediate and inevitable danger.

– Be a polite and courteous driver, not because you are a newcomer, but because all people make mistakes, and not everyone has the same driving skills and experience. Tolerance goes both ways in this case, se keep it cool and don’t get agro – it’s not worth the wrinkles.

– Avoid driving in heavy traffic conditions during the first couple of days of your stay in the UK, get some practice in a quiet suburban area first if possible, and then hit the road.

Enjoy your road trip

Even if it goes without saying, try to make the most of your trip. Start your journey early in order to avoid the heavy traffic. Take some indispensable supplies like water and tasty treats, set your radio so that you can receive regular updates on the current road situation and thus easily avoid any jams or road accidents. And finally pick up the best road trip route the UK can offer you: whether you go for the Penrith to Haydon journey that would offer you some pretty fascinating views over old villages and remote bridges, or you choose a more relaxed trip over the Norfolk coast, make sure to take photos and enjoy your vacation to the fullest. And don’t forget to stay on the left side of the road!

David Drasnin is a freelance writer, who is constantly on the lookout for new challenges and adventures. Currently he is working for http://www.hornlaw.com and is researching in details the car accident subject, looking into the current trends, regulations and preventive measures. 


December 22, 2013 10:00 am

Alternatives to Throwing Rice at Weddings

Every bride and groom wants their wedding to be memorable! One of the best ways to ensure your special day stands out is to make your exit a unique one. So, instead of having guests throw generic old rice as you make your way out of the festivities, get a little creative! Here are some fun alternatives to get you thinking…

Weddings

Bird seed

Rice is rather harmful to our avian friends, and since whatever you throw up in the air will eventually end up hanging around on the ground, bird seed is an eco-friendly  alternative. Package it up in pretty little packets for your guests to grab on their way out of the ceremony.

Lavender

This is another eco-friendly alternative, and it smells divine! The lavender can also compliment a variety of color schemes and will look beautiful in your wedding photos.

Flower petals

When guests throw flower petals up into the air they’ll flutter slowly to the ground, and this makes for a lovely photo op! Whip up some little paper cones like the ones below to hand out to guests as they leave the ceremony venue.

Weddings

Sprinkles

This is a really fun and affordable option and will make for some very colorful wedding photos! Just be careful to watch the weather. If it is humid or raining and the sprinkles land on light-coloured clothing, there is a likely chance the colors will bleed into the material. This would be especially distressing for the bride!

Sequins

This is a great way to add some sparkle! They’ll shimmer as they fall through the air and will add a magical touch to your photos.

Weddings

Glow sticks

This is such a fun idea for evening weddings, as it photographs so well!

DO YOU HAVE ANY CREATIVE ALTERNATIVES TO SHARE? LEAVE US A COMMENT BELOW!


December 20, 2013 8:04 am

How To: Transform Your Home with Flooring

In home decor, the importance of flooring is sometimes minimized. However, it can have a huge impact on the overall appearance of a home. That’s why it’s important to choose the right kind of flooring to achieve the look you want for your home decor. Read below for information about several types of flooring and how it can impact the overall ambiance of your home.

Choose the right flooring for your home decor

Bold colored carpet

Choosing a bold colored carpet for your flooring gives you the ability to make an impact on your home’s look without changing the paint or furnishings. For example, pairing bold a red carpet with either beige or white walls and muted furnishings creates an attractive, contemporary look. Bold, colored carpet is also a great choice if you want to draw the eye away from old furnishings or a less than perfect paint job.

Natural carpet

Carpet made of natural materials in neutral colors make a great addition to a room full of color and patterns. For example, pairing a bold green couch and bright walls with a neutral carpet is a great way to prevent overdoing the look. Too many patterns, too many colors, and too many areas of focus can create chaos. However, focusing on the furnishings and the colors of the walls alone is possible when you choose a natural carpet.

Cost of carpet: The cost of carpet is comparable to other types of flooring. However, the price does depend on the type of carpet you get. Keep in mind that high-end carpet will look good longer. If you are planning on replacing the carpet within a year or so, you can choose a cheaper carpet. However, if you plan on keeping the same carpet for several years, it’s wise to invest some money up front in a good carpet.

Vinyl flooring

Vinyl flooring is a cheap option for floor covering that offers you a wide range of looks. Vinyl flooring can come in a variety of patterns that mimic natural materials like rock or stone. Vinyl flooring is a great option for rooms such as the kitchen or bathroom where carpet is not ideal. Its price is its biggest selling point. However, vinyl floor has come a long way since its inception and now looks exceptionally real and high quality, all while providing an easy cleaning floor space.

Wood floors

Real wood and synthetic wood floors have become increasingly popular in recent years. The desired look seems to be either extremely dark wood floors or extremely light. Wood floors can help you achieve either a contemporary look or perfect a country look. Thankfully, synthetic woods are very affordable, making wood floors accessible for virtually anyone.

 

Written by Laura Waite

Laura writes for Selby Carpets who provide flooring services across London and are experts in wooden flooring and fitting, carpet tiles and designer vinyl floor tiles, as well as providing commercial flooring services.


Writing fiction is all about asking yourself: What if?

“What if” is a great place to start if you’re stuck for ideas. Ask yourself questions that allow you to imagine life differently – your story or novel should be the answer to those questions. Now that I’ve told you this, you’ll start to notice the phrase “what if” on the backs of most novels, especially science fiction or speculative fiction.

Asking “what if” is a great exercise to practice when you’re people-watching, or riding public transit for long periods of time. For example: What if the passenger across from me suddenly jumped out the window? Or: What if I walked into work and everyone had disappeared? All of a sudden, you’ve got the start of a really interesting short story! (This is why it’s so important to keep a notepad handy at all times!)

For fun, I just walked over to my bookshelf and picked out a few classics to give you some examples of how the greats have asked “what if”? Try this yourself, and share what you find in a comment below!

1. 1984, George OrwellWhen writing fiction, ask yourself "What if"?

What if the government policed everything, including our thoughts?

2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon

What if an entire novel was written through the perspective of an autistic child?

3. Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut

What if an ordinary man began to think fiction was fact?

4. The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

What if a beautiful young man sold his soul for eternal youth?

5. Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

What if everything we knew to be true were twisted upside down?

My inspiration for this post comes from a fabulous reference book called What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers. I highly suggest you pick up a copy, or borrow it from your local library.


December 15, 2013 11:41 am

Wedding Music Tips for a Memorable Event

Many couples might take the music for granted, but it’s actually a crucial part of wedding planning. From the prelude of your ceremony down to the last dance, music sets the tone of the entire event and keeps your guests entertained. However, planning your wedding music can seem like a lot of work, especially if you’re clueless on where to start. Here are a few melodic ideas to make your big day rock:

Don't forget the music when planning your wedding

Make a list of your favorite songs

You and your partner must have songs you both love. Make a general song list – regardless of lyrics, tempo, or melody. If you love a song’s melody but hate the lyrics, the best route is to go instrumental. After writing all of the possible titles, make a shortlist. Crash out the songs you think are too loud, too sad, too vulgar, or simply don’t jive with your wedding’s theme.

Consider your guests

This may be your wedding, but your guests are also a huge part of your day, too. If most of your guests are young, go ahead with jumpy, modern songs. If your audience is from the older generation, make sure to steer clear of rock or very loud tunes. Instead, choose mellow and classic songs. Those types are timeless.

Book your musicians early

The best time to book your musicians is 6 months in advance, especially if you’re tying the knot during wedding season. By booking too late, you might risk losing the wedding band you’ve been planning to hire. Before making a reservation though, make sure both parties know the full details before signing the contract.

Communicate with your wedding musicians

This should start before signing the contract and continue even after the reservation. Discussing with your wedding musicians – whether a live band, DJ, string quartet, or a capella singer – will help them help you make your wedding the day of your dreams. Give them the list of your suggested songs and ask them if they can play them. If you think your list lacks a few tunes, you can ask your musicians for their repertoire.

Talk with your venue managers

Visit your venue and determine what type of music you can have. If you are getting married in a church, chances are they have rules as to what songs can be played. If you’re holding the ceremony somewhere else, ask for sound restrictions or allowed instruments.

Ask for help

If you’re having trouble in any aspect of wedding music planning, you can always ask family and friends who just tied the knot. Asking for ideas from wedding music experts is a good option too. But remember, you still have the final say.

Happy wedding music planning!

 

Written by Melissa Page
Melissa Page is a regular contributor for a music agency that features the best
wedding bands Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Ayrshire can offer. Some of its bands include the Seattle wedding band, a Scottish band that plays extensively around Scotland.


December 13, 2013 1:40 pm

A Christmas Story to Spread Holiday Cheer

Have you entered our Christmas writing contest yet? We here at Winghill decided to get in the Christmas spirit and write a Christmas story of our own! We hope it inspires you to do the same.

Julie and the Christmas Turkey

An original Christmas story from Winghill

“It’s a Christmas miracle!” Julie exclaimed.

Everyone in the supermarket stopped and stared. Mothers held their sticky-faced children just a little bit closer, and little old ladies turned down their hearing aids.

Julie pulled her hood over her head to cover her burning cheeks. She hadn’t meant to yell out, but she was just so excited! She had her hands on the very last Butterball turkey in a four-mile radius and she was gripping it tight, ready to make her way to the cashier like a linebacker if anyone so much as happened to breathe on her.

It was going to be her first Christmas hosting dinner, and she was determined to get it right. Her parents, brother, sister, and dog Socks were miraculously all staying in her one-bedroom apartment in the city. Underneath her spindly artificial tree lay a mountain of colorful presents, and she had even bought a tablecloth for the occasion. Now, as she sat on the bus with her turkey bouncing in her lap she knew – it was going to be a great Christmas.

“Mom! Get the fire extinguisher!”

“I don’t know where you keep your fire extinguisher! You really have no storage space in here, darling.”

Socks was barking at the smoke as it circled around his head.

“Wait a minute, I don’t even have a fire extinguisher!” Julie pried open the window and stuck her head into the frozen air. The smoke escaped into the night and as it left the kitchen, it revealed a charred turkey. Julie started to cry. How had everything gone so wrong so quickly? Socks began sniffing around at the ashy remains, and Julie reached down and gave him a drumstick. At least one of them would have a good meal.

“Sweetheart, come here.” Her dad held her and patted her head. “Do you want me to talk to your landlord about getting you a fire extinguisher?”

Julie looked up at him through her tears. “No, Dad. It’s okay.”

“Well you’re obviously not going to do it! While I’m at it I can ask him for your rent receipts for your income tax. You can claim those, you know.”

Julie sighed and flopped down on the lumpy couch where her brother and sister were whispering.

“Hey big sis,” her sister squeezed her hand and gave her a big smile. “Tim and I think we know exactly how to cheer you up. Why don’t you open up one of your presents early?”

“Why not?” Julie replied under rivers of streamed mascara. “Christmas is already ruined anyway.”

Julie began to tear at the paper. “We made it ourselves!” Her siblings sang in unison. Her parents gathered around the living room, and everyone watched as Julie pulled out a family photo album. On the first page was written the following inscription:

To our amazing sister on Christmas. You’re the best!

For the rest of the evening, this close little family flipped through the glossy pages, laughing at themselves, telling stories of Christmases long ago, and wondering about Christmases yet to come. When they got hungry, they made tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, and gave their crusts to Socks.

 


static clingStatic cling is my hair’s number one enemy. Every year around this time the heaters turn on full-blast and snuggly sweaters and blankets take over my life. Unfortunately it’s not as dreamy as it sounds. Because this chilly winter air has positively charged my finicky tresses, they spend most of their time in “flyaway mode.” And nothing ruins a great outfit day like hair that stands straight up in the air and clings to absolutely everything.

If static cling has ruined more than a few of your good hair days as well, then try a few of the tricks below to banish it for good.

  1. Grab yourself a dryer sheet! It’s been said many times that quickly running a fresh dryer sheet through your locks can reduce the static buildup. You most likely have a few (or a lot) of these lying around, so throw a couple in your purse for static emergencies.
  2. Use a heavy hair serum or oil. Simply warming up a dime size amount of hair oil in your palms and running it through the ends of your hair can do wonders for keeping your ‘do in check. Just be sure to do this after you’ve dried and styled your hair, or it won’t have the same effect. Body lotion will work as well if you’re in a pinch.
  3. Stop washing your hair. Well, not exactly. Just try waiting a day or two between washes, as this gives your natural oils a chance to tackle the static buildup on their own.
  4. Brush it out. I know it seems like taking a brush to your strands is the exact opposite of what you should be doing, but just give it a chance. Instead of your regular old brush, try running a natural boar bristle brush through your hair from root to tip. The boar bristles are great for picking up the natural oils from your scalp and distributing them throughout the lengths of your hair.
  5. Turn on the humidifier. Adding moisture back into the air in your home will greatly diminish the static buildup on and around you. Turn it on at night while you sleep, and you should see an immediate improvement.

 

Have you tried any of the above methods for removing static cling? Let us know if you have any other tips to share by leaving us a comment below!