Monday, 30 March 2009

Words to Live By #32

Image thanks to allyaubry

"The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same."
Carlos Castaneda




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Saturday, 28 March 2009

The Saturday Salute 28.03.09

Image thanks to i.anton

Hey sweet things! I hope your Saturday has been luminescent and lovely. Here are the links:

I'll never forgive you if you don't read 'Land Your Dream Job: Ditch School and Get a Library Card'. Certainly one to think about.

Find out which foods are healthiest for you with this five minute test.

College Fashion shares 10 Easy Ways to Wear Colour.

Consider this: Can We Think Too Much?

That's that done, but wait, there's more...

I'm quite excited to share with you a little project I've been brewing up for spring, it starts this Wednesday and will run throughout April; what's it called? The Dream Style Series. Oh yes siree, it's time to tame those wardrobes, and pin down your perfect personal aesthetic. Looking forward to it? I sure am! Catch you on Wednesday for the full run down.







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Friday, 27 March 2009

Newness

Hope you like the new-look layout! I'll be tweaking away at it all day so if things start to look a little dodgy do not fret. Please chip in any opinions you have and I'll see you tomorrow for The Salute and some exciting news for April.



Thursday, 26 March 2009

J’adore... Vintage Luggage

The style, the glamour, the shabby chic storage potential! Yes, I currently have an unhealthy obsession with vintage suitcases. Although I haven’t yet allowed myself to purchase one because the budgeter in me is screaming ‘frivolous!’ I feel I will, at some point, have to succumb. The set of three above are available on ebay for a currently bargain price but, unfortunately, I don't have the space for them.

I let this little beaut slip through my fingers on etsy recently because the shipping from the US was killer. I hope it makes whoever did buy it as joyous as it would have made me.


You have to agree, they’re totally multipurpose, you could stuff them with just about anything. This next one, currently on ebay, would be perfect for a little dream I have of one day owning a vintage shop with several display suitcases spilling out vintage scarves in every imaginable colour.


Round suitcases also fulfill a particular fantasy; I think they're pretty much the epitome of style. Although they don't appear to be the most practical of items, they would make great little vanity cases / weekend bags. This one's on etsy right now, but I'm holding out for one in beige or powder pink...



These spanky new suitcases from SteamLine Luggage are also on my radar... But at £384 for the set, they will certainly have to remain a distant dream for the time being. Sigh.


Are you a vintage luggage nut? Stand up and be counted!







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Monday, 23 March 2009

Get Through College Debt-Free

Image thanks to Banalities

This is a guest post - enjoy!

There are many reasons to be excited about starting college, from leaving home for the first time, to being able to choose your course of study, but there are also concerns, and one of the biggest is how to get through college without debt.

Before You Leave for School

While there's no denying that your student loans are one of the best kinds of debt you can incur, it's also true that you should avail yourself of every possible scholarship and grant you can find. Here are a few ways you can do this, before you even leave high school:

Bond with your Guidance Counselor: Your high school guidance counselor is a direct source for everything from lists of smaller colleges and universities that are offering grants and scholarships in order to attract students, to scholarship competition information (and assistance with the applications) to helping you narrow down your field of study before you ever get to campus. He or she can also give you information on low-cost student loans that you and your parents can consider.

Consider a State School: Private universities come with prestige, it's true, but they also come with huge price tags and heavy competition. State schools generally offer an equally excellent education and a considerably lower price – and smaller state schools sometimes waive tuition for residents. If money is really tight, you can also do some of your core classes at a junior college.

Know What You Want: The best education is useless if you don't really want it, or have no clue what you want to study. Before you commit to college at all, think very carefully about your goals for the future. While a higher education is important, sometimes you'll serve yourself better by taking a year off – what the British refer to as a "gap year" – to work or travel before resuming your education.

After You're on Campus

Once you arrive at school, you'll be confronted by all sorts of people trying to sell you things, some of which you need, and some of which you don't. Schools, after all, are businesses, and want your money. Here are several ways to save money in such situations:

Credit Cards: Major credit card companies are on every college campus looking for young consumers, and offering free gifts in exchange for an application. It may be your first opportunity to get a credit card of your own, but unless you have excellent self control, it's better to decline the offers.

Books: Your campus bookstore is convenient, but is it cheaper? If your financial aid package doesn't include your books, consider buying them online – you'll almost certainly save money, even on used books. You can also check out another campus resource: the library.

Housing: If your parents live close to campus, and your college of choice allows freshmen to live off-campus, consider living at home while you go to school. If that's not an option, remember that off-campus housing is usually less expensive than dorm living, and rooms with roommates are cheaper than singles.

Parking: If your school is on an urban campus consider leaving your car at home – you won't have to pay for parking, and you'll save money on insurance, as well. Even if your campus isn't in an urban neighborhood, chances are you won't really need it at school. If you do, and your school requires that you pay for a parking permit, try to find parking close enough to campus that you can easily walk home, but far enough away that you don't need a pass.

Food: If you live in a dorm, you're probably required to buy a meal plan, but if you live off-campus, or are not required to – don't. You'll spend far less bringing snacks from home than you will in the food-court equivalents that have taken over so many college cafeterias.

Other Sources of Funds

If scrimping and saving still leaves you a little flat once your tuition, room and board have been covered, you should consider an on-campus job. Work-study is generally offered as part of a financial aid package, but there are other jobs on campus, including internships, research assistant positions, and becoming part of the resident advisor staff (which also tends to get you a discount on housing.) Keep your ears open, and get to know your fellow students and your professors, and it will be easier to find a job if you need one.

Getting the money for tuition is relatively easy if you have good grades, and are motivated. Getting through school without debt is more difficult, but these tips should help you manage a bit better.

For more information visit us at Premier Student Loans with some top tips for managing debt whilst at college or university.

Were these tips helpful? What are your opinions on managing college debt?







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Words to Live By #31


"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.
A.A. Milne







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Sunday, 22 March 2009

A Message for Mums


We
Love

You!

Image One Image Two

How did you you celebrate your mum today?







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Saturday, 21 March 2009

Lash Stiletto Winners

SO the winners of the two mascaras, out of the small few who entered (my UK readership is obviously far weenier than I anticipated!) are...

'Swifted' who favoured a versatile scarf as her perfect accessory, and...

'cupcakes_and_sparkles' who needs nothing more than a string of pearls and a smile!

Well done girlies, email your postal addresses to mycharade@hotmail.com and I will get the mascaras in the post to you first thing Monday.

Sweet dreams all,







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The Saturday Salute 21.03.09

Image thanks to Michael

This week I have muchly enjoyed:

The 5 Percent Trick: Finding Passion and Purpose in Life


Saying Hello, Lolla.

43 Things, which I'm going to have to get involved in soon.

The company of my cute friend Cai who blogs at Wild Woods

And The Glamorous Grad Student. Her posts are really awesome, I need to get her guest-posting over here!

What are you all up to this weekend? I have work and an essay that's due Monday, both of which are incredibly unappealing, so tantalize me with your plans...







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Friday, 20 March 2009

Maybelline Giveaway


What's the perfect accessory to any outfit? Black stilettos perhaps? What about stiletto-tall black lashes?


Attention ladies! I was kindly sent Maybelline's latest mascara to try out and I was not disappointed.


The mascara is perfect for night-wear as the luxuriously big bristly brush coats the lashes to perfection and sky rockets them upward. It was easy to build up on the lash and didn't get clumpy, spot on for 60's inspired spidery lashes. It's definitely going to become a staple in my make-up bag, and if you're lucky it could be in yours too...

I'm giving away two Lash Stiletto mascaras to two winning readers, all that is required of you is to leave a comment on this post describing your perfect accessory (it doesn't have to be mascara!) Then I'll pick two winners by the end of the day tomorrow.

Unfortunately though, due to postage costs, I can only offer this prize to my UK readers, sorry guys!






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Thursday, 19 March 2009

More on Likaholix...

Just to let you know, I sent out the invites, so check your junk mail because they may have arrived there. The site randomly let me send out 13 invites rather than 10 so I think nearly all of you got one! Apologies if you didn't but the site is likely to go public at some point if you hang-on in there.

An even better giveaway tomorrow so pop back!







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Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Making Your Dreams Come True: A Sure-Fire Strategy

Image thanks to i.anton
“The starting point of great success and achievement has always been the same. It is for you to dream big dreams. There is nothing more important, and nothing that works faster than for you to cast off your own limitations than for you to begin dreaming and fantasizing about the wonderful things that you can become, have, and do.”
Brian Tracy
We all have dreams; some are big, some are small, some are always at the forefront of our minds and some are completely buried in our subconscious. A lot of the time it is assumed that our dreams are just that, dreams: abstract, elusive ideas that will never come to fruition, but I’m championing another way – a way where our dreams come true, where our dreams stop being dreams and start being a little more like reality.

I’d like you to join in for this post, it won’t ask much of you, just that you grab a bit of paper and a pen or open a word document. The reason I’d like you to get involved is because I think that if you do, the ideas presented will become far more solidified in your mind, and therefore you’ll be far more likely to actively set about achieving your dreams.

Prioritise
Firstly, let’s get one point clear, all your dreams will not come true at once. Maybe they will with some fantastical stroke of luck, but we don’t like to rely on luck around here, we like to make our dreams happen, and if you’re working for all your dreams at once you’ll likely be spreading yourself too thin. That doesn’t mean forget all your dreams. It means prioritise.

Write down a list of ten dreams that you have, they can be anything from ‘staying healthy’ to ‘walking on the moon’ to ‘saving enough money for my wedding.’ They don’t yet have to be in order of priority (although they might well be because of course you’ll be excited to write down your Big Dreams first) and you only get ten.

Here’s my list:

Make my blog a success by hitting over 1000 subscribers by the end of the year
Get a first degree and go on to study for my masters
Travel the world
Get my writing published
Design and build my own home
Become a millionaire
Never have to get a ‘normal’ job after university
Get married and start a family
Actively improve my diet and exercise routine
Create a successful personal brand

Your dreams don’t have to be too specific at this point but, equally, be careful not to stray into anything too flimsy like ‘be happy’ because, as important as that is, it can’t really stand alone as a dream as we are trying to ascertain just what will make you happy. Be clear, make them solid statements, and be honest with yourself.

Now consider your dreams on a rough time scale:


We need to group our dreams so that we can happily complete them one at a time, in order of want or necessity. Out of your ten dreams I’d like you to mark at least one that you’d like to complete in the next year, three in the next five years, three in the next ten years and three in the next twenty years.

You might notice, as I have, that your dreams tie into one another. So, for example, getting my writing published might help me on my way to becoming a millionaire, which will in turn help me to achieve my dreams of travelling the world and building my own home. This will reflect the order in which they should appear on your time scale.

Now, my advice is to temporarily disregard all six that pass beyond the five year mark. Note them in your diary as long term goals, post them up on your notice board as ultimate reminders, and take steps towards them when the opportunity arises, but save the bulk of your energy for your shorter term dreams; when they are achieved your main focus can shift onto these other, long term dreams.

Take the Stairs
So, now we have four dreams to work on making realities. Want to know mine?

Make my blog a success by hitting over 1000 subscribers by the end of the year
Get my writing published
Get a first degree and go on to study for my masters
Actively improve my diet and exercise routine

But these dreams won’t just occur out of my passive desire for them, I need to take action. Just as you wouldn’t expect to win the lottery without buying a ticket, don’t expect your dreams to come true without any prior momentum.


Imagine a flight of stairs with your dream hovering at the top; each step will require some effort of you. Let’s take one of my dreams and track back from it to illustrate the steps I need to climb.

So, I want to get my writing published do I? Well la-dee-da, I might as well be wishing to be a deep-sea diver for all the action I’ve been taking towards this dream. Getting my writing published seems elusive, untouchable, impossible even, but it’s not. Let’s think of five prior steps I need to be taking:
1. Write! I need to make more time for writing so I can improve my craft and build a portfolio. No one’s going to want to publish something I’ve dashed off in ten seconds, and most potential publishers will want to see a solid body of work.

2. Read! I need to know about good writing, know what’s good about it and ascertain how to make my own writing as good.

3. Enter competitions. I need to build profile, learn to deal with rejection and/ or acclaim, and I need to familiarise myself with the art of hitting deadlines.

4. Network. I need to know about local publishers and writers, what they’re achieving and how. I need to actively contact and meet these people, learn from them and track their success in order to emulate it.

5. Get feedback by sending my writing to potential agents and publishers, and then work with this advice to crystallize my strengths and weed out my weaknesses.
If I dedicate myself to each of these steps, what’s the betting I might just achieve some results? And it makes little difference if you want to be a songstress, thespian, crime scene investigator or even a zoologist; you need to get educated, get labouring, network and get feedback if you want to get anywhere. I’ve pinpointed my staircase, now I just need to navigate my way up it.

Still Overwhelmed?
Four big dreams may still feel like a lot to be focusing on at once, particularly if you have found that yours don’t tie in together quite as neatly as mine. If that’s the case there is a further method for breaking them down. Think about how you will feel when you have achieved each dream individually, really think about it, and then beside each dream mark a score out of ten, with ten being ultimate glee and one being a cold sense of nothingness. Which ones score highest? Did any get a ten? Then I think it’s pretty obvious that that’s where your focus should sit! Work out the steps you need to take for that dream and focus on those first.

Shout!
Dreams are rarely yours and yours alone, there are often people close to you that will be affected, others who can be of help and most vitally those employers you need to get saying ‘Yes!’ When you’ve reached success you’re not going to keep quiet about it, are you? No, and nobody around you will either. Your name will be splashed around all over the place, so why not start some splashing now? Make waves even. The more people that are aware of your dream, the more chance you have of achieving it. Why? Because people name-drop, they network, they pass your information on, they offer up your services, they are a vital tool in you moving ahead with your dream. So, tell your family, tell your friends, tell your college lecturers, tell the readers of your blog, tell your local press, tell all your facebook contacts, tell the taxi driver – tell the world! Think of the people around you as your unofficial PR team.

Keep the Fire Burning
The key to the successful seeing-out of dreams is stamina. You need to keep that well of inspiration watered, and to do this you need to be aware of your successes. If I start rabidly aiming to be published as a writer, and I’m not by the end of the month, I could become disheartened, but not if I track what I’ve been doing. For Charade I keep a big, scribble-tastic notebook of ideas and prospects. In it, since the start of 2009 I have been tracking my monthly stats, number crunching, and setting myself teeny-weeny, ultra achievable goals to complete every few weeks, and by golly does it work a treat. When I wake up on a grey Sunday morning with no new ideas for a post, no new comments and a nose-dive of subscriber numbers, it would be so frickin’ easy to pack the whole thing in. That feeling is like a punch of defeat in the stomach after all the energy I’ve put in, but then I check out how I’m doing in my stats and see that I’ve doubled all my numbers in the last month and I’m spurred on ahead. You have to equip yourself with a similar safety net because:
“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go”
William Feather
Time is Your Friend
To achieve your dreams, know that you have all the time in the world, and time plus dedication equals a whole lot of success. Try not to feel stressed that things are getting on top of you, or that you have too many other commitments; that will simply sour your dreams and start to make you believe that they will never be achieved. Love working for your dreams, relish the taste of taking a risk to achieve them, give your whole self to your dreams and watch the magic happen.

If you took action to join in on this post you should now have four prioritised dreams and some ideas of the steps you need to achieve each one, if not, do it now! I could live to 156 and never stress enough, to enough people, the true power of physically writing down your objectives in order to realise them; you need to show yourself some evidence of your dreams or it is all too easy to ignore them entirely.

How will you make your dreams come true?

Monday, 16 March 2009

Words to Live By #30

Images thanks to i.anton

"...neither evil tongues,
Rash judgements, nor the sneers of selfish men,

Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all

The dreary intercourse of daily life,

Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb

Our chearful faith that all which we behold

Is full of blessings."
William Wordsworth in
Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey








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Saturday, 14 March 2009

The Saturday Salute 14.03.09

Image thanks to i.anton

Just a quickie...

Join in on Operation Nice

Experience Much Love

Get some cute 'clothes' for your laptop from Snupped

I Want White Jeans... But Does My Butt?


Have a super weekend!







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Thursday, 12 March 2009

The Story of Stuff


Please watch this video if you haven't already, it's pretty incredible.







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Wednesday, 11 March 2009

How to Use Colour Palettes to Spring Clean Your Style

Image thanks to geishaboy500

What’s the perfect way to appear fresher and more put-together this season? Picking and perfecting a palette! If you want to put a little spring in the step of your wardrobe and drag it outta grey ol'winter, then colour is the way forward.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean going out and buying heaps of new clothes, it’s actually a case of streamlining your wardrobe, going on a colour diet, and perhaps buying a few key, new items to help you out. But what colours will work for you?

Here are some examples of the impact you can achieve with different colour combinations:

If this spring you’re all about success and assertiveness, then base your new palette around red, perhaps factoring in cream and grey to set it off.

If you’re all about festival going and rocking out this season, then opt for an earthy neutral colour like green, set off with browns and camel colours.

Product Information

If you want to feel more productive and ace those looming finals, then a mix of blue and stripes might help keep you calm but alert.

If you’re feeling a dreamy, head in the clouds, artistic spring ahead, then aim for a palette of pastels and floral.
Product Information

Hopefully there should be a clear choice of colour for you as you’re likely to have several key items to work with already. Perhaps that favourite pink checked summer dress will be your starting point, or that vintage denim jacket. If you’re having difficulty choosing, picking out your very favourite items of clothing and working with those should help.

Once you’re happy with your colour palette, it’s time to say ‘bye, bye’ to the colours in your wardrobe that won’t work with it. Pack them up in a box or suitcase and hide them away in the attic or under your bed. Now, observe with glee the well-ordered state of your new-look wardrobe!

The glorious thing about this fashion fix is that it’s totally changeable. If you want to re-jig your colour palette after a few weeks then there’s nothing stopping you; just begin the process of colour cutbacks all over again.

If limiting yourself to just two or three colours sounds too much like hard work, then opt for one key colour that you can set everything else against. Easy options for this are, of course, grey, black or white, but try to avoid these colours unless you’re going to make a real statement of them (bold monochrome, for example) otherwise you won’t really be spring cleaning your style.

To illustrate, take this turquoise sweater:


Product Information

It could be mixed with almost any other colour combo if you’re daring enough to do the pairing, but you’ll still maintain the continuity of the key colour.

Product Information

So, how about it? Will you be cleaning up your colour choices for a spotless spring look?







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Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Confessions of a Shopaholic: Do Your Possessions Define You?

Image Source

I saw this film last week and was not sorely disappointed. Alright, so it’s cringingly cheesy, and cut’n’paste Hollywood, but it was fun. A girl driven into debt by her shopping habit, only to land herself a job at a savings magazine beneath the most adorable boss imaginable – you see the delicious dilemma? Though, aside from the plot details, what I wanted to talk about today was the message: do our possessions define us?

A lot of popular blogs, particularly fashion blogs, often aimed at students and those in their early 20’s (not likely to be the most well off) are desperately materialistic; and I’m not singling Charade out because I fall into the category too, what with all my cheeky Polyvore sets. But what is behind this? Why do we covet celebrity and Chanel? What is it about a fashion splurge that heightens our senses to the point of pure delight? Why does a wardrobe full of glitter bring us so much joy? And why are we breaking our backs to afford it? Of course, in Hollywood, Rebecca Bloomwood eventually recognises her addiction and we get a formulaic happy ending, but we know all too well that a happy ending doesn’t tend to land in our laps, and what of those of us who ruin their lives accumulating mountains of debt attempting to maintain such a lifestyle?

I think we’d all admit that material possessions are not the root of happiness, so why do we go so crazy over them? Even to the point where we do drive ourselves into debt, or work away at jobs we can’t stand, just to fund our habits. Are we substituting fulfilling relationships for a fulfilled closet, as Ms Bloomwood seems to have done in the movie? Is it a matter of self-assurance? Or are we simply showing off; trying to win a little respect and make a statement of ourselves in a Madonna-esq ‘material world’?


I ask you, fashion bloggers of the globe: does a covetable closet define someone? Does that scarf, or ‘it’ bag or pair of killer heels define you? If you were stripped of all your material possessions, who would you be? I'm interested to know your thoughts...







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Monday, 9 March 2009

Words to Live By #29

Image thanks to geishaboy500

"Good fortune is not so much a product of circumstances as it is a result of the manner in which we confront the varying events of life. Most of the things which we label as disaster can be made to serve a useful purpose. At the very least, we can salvage from disastrous circumstances some value which will add growth and meaning to our lives."
Lewis Presnall







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Saturday, 7 March 2009

The Saturday Salute 07.03.09

Hello dears, I hope you are enjoying your weekend thus far. I am definitely not as I am working solidly... But I've got some fun posts lined up for the coming week, so I'll look forward to your responses.

And now, without further ado, my links for the week:

These perspex buttons from Made by White are most definitely going to be adorning my next winter coat. I'm finding the cuteness quite overwhelming.

My blogging muse, Briana of College Fashion, shares a hot Spring 2009 Trend.

For a little interior decorating inspiration and whole lot of warm & fuzzy, you need to know about Oh Joy! and Poppy Talk.

If you haven't seen it yet, Leah of Coral Stars writes about Ways to Maintain Your Inspiration. Genius!

Need a new blog to become obsessed with? Probably not. I'll offer you Anywhere But Here nonetheless.

Until we meet again...







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