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Bedazzling the Bride

So you’ve already selected your dream wedding gown and decided upon a headpiece and shoes. The only question left is how best to accessorize such an elegant ensemble? 

For the bride trying to decide what jewelry to wear with her particular gown, there are two important things to take into consideration: the neckline of your dress and amount of embellishment on the bodice.  According to wedding sources such as “The Knot” and “Real Simple,” here’s an easy guideline to the types of pieces that can work best with your neckline. 

The bateau neckline falls at or above the collarbone lending itself beautifully to a pair of medium length dangle earrings. 

If your gown is strapless it will look best with a necklace that forms a seamless circle and lies flat and perfectly still against your skin.  You can also choose long, glamorous earrings that “move”, especially if yours is a sexy, flowing gown.  

The off-the-shoulder neckline creates a lovely frame for your neck and collarbone.  Choosing pendants that rest right in the hollow of your throat will be especially beautiful.  Or, skip the necklace all together and opt for a pair of dramatic earrings.  Doing this shifts the focus to your face. 

If your gown is a V-Neck, consider a necklace with a drop pendant to create a flattering “Y” shape that will visually elongate your neck; Lariats and opera-length also work well.  An extra-long pendant helps “breakup” the amount of décolletage your dress reveals.  Or once again, simply sport a spectacular pair of earrings.  But remember, with this neckline an earring/necklace combo can be overload, so you may want to consider choosing one or the other. 

The scoop neckline works perfectly with a necklace that has evenly spaced details in a style that’s either bold or delicate (the bodice of your dress will dictate the way to go).  Scoops also work well with studs (which “spotlight” your face), or short or medium-length drop earrings.  And…if you’re so inclined, a bracelet works with any dress to add a regal shot of extra bling.  

In the end, each bride has to wear what makes her feel happy and beautiful. So remember, these are merely “guidelines” to assist you in your decision. It’s YOUR day, have fun with it!

Are You a Sucker for Succulents?

Succulents are a hot new trend in bridal bouquets this year. They are durable, come in a variety of colors, and add a touch of the unexpected to traditional bouquets.  Whether you go solely with succulents or you chose to mix them with other blooms; you and your florist can create a bouquet that reflects your own unique sense of style.

Also, since most succulents can be replanted merely by placing them into moist soil, you can actually have a garden that started as your wedding bouquet! How much fun is that?

A Wonderful Article by John C. Maxwell in a Recent Issue of “Success Magazine”

SUCCESS

THE GREATEST SKILL – COMMUNICATION:

 

Leaders must connect with the people they’re leading…

One summer, during a family trip, my grandkids decided they wanted to put on a parade for us grown-ups. Amused, we helped them gather balloons, hats and whistles while the children debated who’d lead this extravagant show.

It was decided that Little John, who was maybe 4 at the time, would determine the parade route. The kids invented signals: When Little John raised his hand, they would stop; when he lowered it, they’d move.

Well, the group hadn’t even completed its first lap around the swimming pool before Little John lost all interest in taking anyone anywhere. He just loved the power of stopping and starting, stopping and starting. I laughed watching my halting marchers, but then it struck me: Little John is just like a lot of leaders—not taking anyone anywhere. He just liked the power of telling the other kids what to do!

The other kids, like your followers and mine, expected to go somewhere, even if only around the pool, and it didn’t take long before they abandoned Little John’s lead altogether. I had once been just like my namesake, fulfilling my own needs, writing my own journey, and not paying a whole lot of attention to what anyone else needed or wanted.

I share the story because I want to talk about communicating with people. For true leaders, it’s not about one-sided lecturing or dominating an organization. It’s an ability learned over time and truly the greatest skill a leader can possess.

1. Value people and let them know it.

I, me, my… these words can too easily govern our thinking and our speaking. That was my biggest mistake as a young leader: I thought leading meant articulating my vision.

Did my followers buy into that vision? Did they have ideas that could make the goals and action steps stronger? I had no idea. I didn’t ask.

My friend Zig Ziglar straightened me out. He said, “If you will help people get what they want, they will help you get what you want.”

When you consult with someone, you show the person that you value him or her. You affirm that person’s intelligence, worthiness and contribution to your organization. The follower, then, becomes a leader in his or her own right.

Leadership is influence, and the ability to connect with other people is how we influence others.

2. Learn to listen.

Don’t fall in love with the sound of your own voice. All leaders are brimming with thoughts, but if you want truly innovative ideas, you need to combine your wisdom with the knowledge of your people.

A great idea is nothing more than three or four good ideas put together. And how do you get three or four good ideas? By listening.

Listening has other payoffs. It creates respect, strengthens relationships and builds loyalty. And you’ll get to know the members of your team. That’s important. Leaders lead each team member differently, depending on the person’s unique circumstances, personality and goals. Managers lead everyone the same way. You want to be a leader.

3. Believe and live what you communicate.

There will be times when you command the conversation, and rightly so. But when you talk, you need to be credible.

In my early days, I thought I had to be an expert on everything to be a credible leader. I was an “answer man” and unwilling to admit when I didn’t fully grasp a subject. As I matured, I realized this was a mistake. I actually had less credibility when I tried to fake it.

So I learned to lean on the expertise of others. Then I refined my idea of credibility even further by making sure to teach only what I fully believe. As I whittled my teaching to core principles, my passion and conviction intensified.

A sure way to lose followers fast is to say one thing and do another—you won’t believe how quickly they abandon you. All the slick talk in the world won’t disguise that disconnect.

4. Master communication skills.

“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere,” said legendary Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca.

You can read volumes on how to communicate, but I boil it down to mastering the three “C’s.”

Clarity: When I see leaders trying to impress people by using big words or complex sentences, I cringe. If you want to connect with people, you need to keep it simple. You also need to be specific. If you offer up overly broad terms and vaguely defined goals, no one will know what to do.

Continuity: Boy, I really botched this up when I was young. I thought I could just lay out my vision and move on. It took me years to understand that I needed to continually restate my organization’s mission. I learned that you sometimes need to repeat your message six times before people internalize it. And because of the importance of continuity, you need…

Creativity: You have to find new ways to state ongoing goals, lest your audience tune out. Try new metaphors; appeal to people’s different senses. Some people are auditory learners, some are visual, and others need hands-on experience to grasp a concept.

Let me leave you with this story:

Some time ago, I sat at a board meeting listening to an issue that had sparked a lot of debate. One member had an excellent point that was worth discussing, but he fumbled through his words, taking far too long to make his point and losing his colleagues’ attention.

Another board member was a clear and assertive communicator. His premise wasn’t as strong, but he connected with his fellow board members, who bought into his opinion.

If you can’t communicate clearly, it doesn’t matter what your vision, message or direction is. You’ve got to connect with me if you want me to follow on your journey.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Like what you’ve read and think you may want to subscribe to Success? You can do so by following the link below:

https://services.success.com/subscribe/subscriptions/12i3499/?subkey=9SUB

Whether “Cronuts” or “Kronuts,” You’re sure to Go-nuts over this Recipe…

The Famous "Kronut Kruller" from executive chef, Peter Vauthy

The Famous Kronut Kruller from executive chef, Peter Vauthy

You say you can’t get to New York, you don’t have the time to wait on a line that spans two blocks or you simply refuse to pay up to 40 bucks to the pastry scalpers who are reselling “Cronuts” on line? Well worry no more; we came across this recipe for executive chef, Peter Vauthy’s (Red, the Steakhouse) version of the sweet sensations. And, they’re touting Mr. Vauthy’s “Kronut Krullers” as being even better than the original! For those of you who would like to try your hand at creating the latest pastry phenomenon, we direct your attention to the recipe below. We wish you, happy baking… and even happier eating!

Kronut Krullers

(Yields three pastries and a bunch of donut “wholes” from its scraps)

Ingredients

1 c. water

¾ c. milk

2 eggs

½ tbsp. instant yeast

3 c. bread flour

½ c. granulated sugar

1 tbsp. salt

½ tsp. malt

1 oz. butter, softened

Instructions:

1. Gather all ingredients and equipment.

2. Measure ingredients.

3. Place water, milk, and 1 egg in a microwaveable container and warm to 64° using your microwave oven.

4. Combine the water, milk, 1 egg, and yeast in a stationary mixer fitted with a dough hook, and stir to dissolve the yeast.

5. Mix on slowest speed for 4 minutes.

6. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.

7. Place dough in a covered container and ferment for 2 hours at room temperature.

8. Shape dough into a rectangle and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan that has been lightly dusted with flour.

9. Cover with plastic and place in refrigerator overnight.

10. Between 2 sheets of parchment paper, create the “roll-in” butter by softening butter with a rolling pin, and rolling it out to a rectangle exactly half the length and the same width as the final dough and place it into refrigerator overnight as well.

The Next Day:

1. Remove “roll-in” butter from refrigerator and let set at room temperature until pliable. It is important that the butter and dough are the same consistency at this point.

2. Move dough from refrigerator to freezer. Chill for 30 minutes.

3. Place butter on half of the dough and fold the other half over, squaring the corners of the dough with each other.

4. Butter should be visible from three sides. Pound together with the palm of your hand to ensure that the dough sticks to the butter.

5. With your rolling pin, roll the dough to 6.5 inches long (this will be the width of your dough).

6. Rotate 90 degrees and roll out to ¾ inch thick, so the final dough before your trifold is ¾ inch thick.

7. Fold dough into thirds, taking care to keep corners straight and avoid stretching dough. This is your first of three folds.

8. Repeat step 7, creating your second fold.

9. Place dough in freezer for 30 minutes.

10. Repeat step 7, creating your third and final fold.

11. Place dough in refrigerator for 90 minutes, and then move dough to the freezer for an additional 30 minutes.

Shaping The Kronut:

1. Remove dough from the freezer and set up workstation.

2. Begin by rolling out the dough. If your dough doesn’t seem to be getting any bigger, let it rest for 10 minutes and then begin rolling out again.

3. Your final dough should be ¼ inch thick.

4. Once you have reached the desired thickness, cut your dough into four equal parts.

5. Create an egg wash using 1 egg and 1 tbsp. water.

6. Brush the top of three pieces of your cut, laminated dough and stack them. Top the stack with the piece of non-egg wash laminated dough.

7. Using your desired cutter, cut the shape you want.

8. Fry at 325° until dark golden brown, ensuring the dough is cooked inside.

If this is more work than you would want to take on, Kronut Krullers are available freshly baked at Red, the Steakhouse, 119 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida

Lessons Learned

Every once in a while you read a book that touches you so deeply that it challenges you to change the way you think about yourself and the life you are living.

Not only did I have the good fortune of working with Agapi Stassinopoulos on her New York book launch hosted by Fresh but along that journey we became friends.  During that time she shared with me her heartfelt stories that are full of insight and humor.

As a professional planner, creating picture perfect settings for my clients to entertain, educate and celebrate is always the call of the day.  Stress, endless details, exceeding expectations and making decisions that affect many is the world I live in.  If you live in such a world, I truly recommend that you read Agapi’s new book “Unbinding the Heart.”  Through her life lessons you will be lead to inner exploration and a deeper understanding of life and love.  Each chapter will enlighten you, making you stronger not only for your true self but for those around you.

Available at Amazon.com

Valentine’s Day Fun Facts:

Many folks believe the ‘X’ symbol became synonymous with the kiss during medieval times. People who couldn’t write their names signed in front of a witness with an ‘X.’ The ‘X’ was then kissed to show their sincerity.

Back in the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear this name pinned onto their sleeves for one week for all to see. Hence the expression, “wearing your heart on your sleeve!”

At about one billion sent annually, Valentine’s Day cards are the second largest amount of seasonal greeting cards sent in the United States; topped only by Christmas!

The oldest surviving love poem is written in a clay tablet from the times of the Sumerians, the inventors of writing, around 3500 B.C. Quite Un-romantically, it was named Istanbul #2461 by the archeologists who discovered it.

Wearing your wedding ring on the fourth finger of the left hand dates back to ancient Egypt, where it was believed that the “love vein” ran from this finger straight to the heart.

A Frenchman by the name of Charles, Duke of Orleans is credited with writing the first Valentine. He was captured by the English during the battle of Agincourt in 1415. On Valentine’s Day he sent his wife a rhyming love letter from the tower of London, where he was imprisoned… and the rest is history!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of our followers, however you choose to spend it. May it be filled with everything that you’re hoping for!