Inspiration

This Is What 24hrs Looks Like In The Life Of A Dildo Designer

How many people can say they play with sex toys during their morning meetings? 

January 25, 2017

14 Next-Level Halloween Makeup Looks That’ll Inspire The Hell Out Of You

These makeup looks are so good, it’s scary. 

October 12, 2016

13 Cool AF Halloween Costumes You Can Wear With Your BFF

Halloween is better when you share it with your bestie.

October 5, 2016

These Steamy Real-Life Sex Stories Will Make You Horny As Hell

*Names have been changed to protect the not-so innocent.

May 26, 2016

7 Australian Bloggers To Inspire Your Wardrobe

Do you need a little style re-fresh just before spring hits? We have tracked down just some of our favourite Australian fashion bloggers to give you some outfit inspiration for the summer season. Whether it’s for a formal event, casual outfits, or even how to wear some new trends – we’ve got you covered!

RELATED: Interview With Fashion Blogger Miles Wharton

Nadia Fairfax

Blog: Fairfax Journal

Sydney girl Nadia Fairfax provides us with some instant inspiration for the warmer months ahead. Don’t be afraid to rock tousled hair with something a little put together for the perfect combination of high-low.

6 Australian Bloggers To Inspire Your Wardrobe

Sara Donaldson

Blog: Harper and Harley

If you want to make the monochrome work look for you, Sara Donaldson’s blog will provide an endless amount of outfit inspiration. Her new health and fitness section is brimming with trendy options for the gym.

6 Australian Bloggers To Inspire Your Wardrobe

Kaitlyn Ham

Blog: Modern Legacy

Learn how to wear some of the seasons hottest trends from Modern Legacy blogger, Kaitlyn Ham. The epitome of relaxed sophistication, her blog is packed with outfit inspiration for the trans-seasonal months.

6 Australian Bloggers To Inspire Your Wardrobe

Brooke Testoni

Blog: Brooke Testoni

Brooke’s self-titled blog is an ode to easy dressing for the relaxed Sydney weather. Here, you will find lots of leather, denim staples and the odd stiletto (or two).

6 Australian Bloggers To Inspire Your Wardrobe

Carmen Hamilton

Blog: Chronicles of Her

Step into the shoes of Carmen Hamilton, a Sydney local who teaches us all to embrace new silhouettes and textures. Her Splendour in The Grass style has us all swooning for sunny days!

6 Australian Bloggers To Inspire Your Wardrobe

Antoinette Marie

Blog: Sydney Fashion Blogger

Who isn’t following Sydney Fashion Blogger nowadays? The account manager turned super-blogger posts everything from her daily life in Sydney, to the countless vacations around the Mediterranean. Swoon!

6 Australian Bloggers To Inspire Your Wardrobe

Yan Yan Chan

Blog: Parfasseux

When you think of effortless style, the outfits of Sydney girl, Yan Yan Chan, instantly come to mind. Her carefree style is always full of inspiration and never looks like a carbon copy, it’s truly individual. Who doesn’t want to see more of her closet?

6 Australian Bloggers To Inspire Your Wardrobe

Images via Repeat Offender, Keishikibi, Sydney Fashion Blogger, Harper and Harley, Fairfax Journal, Modern Legacy, Chronicles of Her, Brooke Testoni

August 4, 2015

5 Thrifty Bathroom Decorating Ideas

Who else finds it difficult to decorate their bathroom? It’s often the smallest room in the house, but that doesn’t mean it should be neglected in the style department. Below are a few ways to revamp your bathroom without spending all of your budget at once!

RELATED: DIY Floating Shelves Tutorial

Plants

Plants and flowers are an effective way to bring some life to any room, even if they’re just artificial! Prop a pot plant on the windowsill, near the bath, or on the side of the sink to bring a little charisma to the room.

Thrifty Bathroom Decorating Ideas

Floating shelves

If your bathroom doesn’t have much space for additional drawers, install a set of floating shelves to maximise on storage. These are so easy to install, we even have a tutorial on how to do it yourself!

Thrifty Bathroom Decorating Ideas

Jars

Keep all your essentials in order by storing them in translucent jars for easy access. This can be particularly helpful if you have a small bathroom with not much storage space.

Thrifty Bathroom Decorating Ideas

Paint

A fresh coat of paint can make a huge difference in any living space, especially if you’re on a budget. Whether it’s to spruce up the windowsill, sink, or even the toilet itself, it can make such a difference to your bathroom!

Thrifty Bathroom Decorating Ideas

Towels

Who else finds it comforting to shop for towels? Good – then it’s not just us! Hand towels are a great way to introduce some colour into your bathroom without committing to any drastic changes. Geometric prints are also a very popular choice if you want to bring some life to the bathroom.

Thrifty Bathroom Decorating Ideas

What are some of your ideas for sprucing up the bathroom?

Images via Deco-Holic, Desert Domicile, Liz Marie Blog, Remodelaholic, Rebecca Judd Loves

June 19, 2015

Top 10 Celebrity Hair Makeovers

Celebrities are no strangers to change, especially when it comes to their personal appearance. From Lindsay Lohan’s blonde hair to Olivia Palermo’s blunt bob, we count down just some of the best (and worst) celebrity makeovers of the last few years.

RELATED: 5 Celebrity Hairstyles That Work For Fine Hair

10. Lindsay Lohan

Remember when Lindsay Lohan coloured her signature red locks platinum blonde? While she certainly rocked this look in 2005, we’re just glad she’s gone back to orange these days!

Top 10 Celebrity Hair Makeovers Top 10 Celebrity Hair Makeovers

9. Anne Hathaway

Whilst we’re still on the blonde bandwagon, what about the time Anne Hathaway chopped her long brown locks in favourite of a short pixie do? We much prefer her classic brown locks.

Top 10 Celebrity Hair MakeoversTop 10 Celebrity Hair Makeovers

8. Ashley Olsen

One celebrity hair transformation we would love to see again is Ashley Olsen’s dark brown locks. Not only did it bring a different level to her look, but it looked amazing with every hairstyle!

Top 10 Celebrity Hair Makeovers ashley_olsen2

7. Kim Kardashian

As much as we loved the balayage on Kim, one look would couldn’t get on board with was the peroxide blonde. We did love the short, dark locks which were inspired by younger sister, Kylie Jenner.

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6. Kristen Stewart

One shorter look we did love was on actress Kristen Stewart. The shorter layers definitely gave her hair some volume, and made it look so effortless!

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5. Vanessa Hudgens

Remember Vanessa Hudgens long blonde locks circa Coachella 2012? Sorry Vanessa but we love your darker hair so much more. The red rinse she put in her hair also looked incredible.

Top 10 Celebrity Hair Makeovers vanessa_hudgens-apr_28_2009

4. Nicole Richie

While we love our pastels here at SHESAID, a hairstyle we couldn’t completely appreciate was one by Nicole Richie. Temporary hair rinses are fun, but we loved her blonde hair circa The Simple Life!

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3. Giuliana Rancic

Who else misses Giuliana’s long blonde hair? However, a stunning blunt cut is amazing on her skin tone, and suits her new-mum look!

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2. Margot Robbie

Who can forget the time Margot Robbie coloured her blonde locks into a delicious shade of chocolate? Now that is what we call a chameleon!

Top 10 Celebrity Hair MakeoversTop 10 Celebrity Hair Makeovers

1. Olivia Palermo

Olivia has come a long way from her debut in The Hills, blonde hair and all. But we love her blunt bob circa 2009, and it looks even better when it’s grown out.

76bf0864ceca8db96563b6268ecbf96dTop 10 Celebrity Hair Makeovers

What is your favourite celebrity hair makeover? Did we leave anyone out?

Images via People, Blogspot, Oz Beauty Expert, Now Magazine, Beauty Riot, All About You, Style News, ZNet

June 4, 2015

Get The Look: Mother’s Day Outfit Ideas and Gifts

With Mother’s Day this weekend, it’s time to treat the lady in your life to something special. If your mum is into her fashion, then we’ve got the best present for her!

RELATED: Get The Look – Mad About Faux Fur

Why not get her something special from our friends at THE ICONIC? And while you’re at it, you could pick something out for yourself to wear to brunch or dinner this Sunday.

Outfit 1: Brunch

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Outfit 2: Dinner

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Outfit 3: Casual gathering

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Gift 1: Boots

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Gift 2: Handbag

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Gift 3: Jewellery

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May 8, 2015

Jonathan Adler Interior Design Essentials

Many years after launching his career as an interior designer, Jonathan Adler opened his first self-titled boutique in Manhattan. His design aesthetic can best be described as fresh and funky meets classic lines and patterns – a true reflection of modern interior design trends.

Now, you can shop through his website from all around the world, and really capture his design aesthetic through the countless established as well as up-and-coming designers featured on this online boutique.

RELATED: Wallet-Friendly Interior Design Ideas

A few of our must-haves from his website are featured below. Enjoy free shipping on all Australian orders over $150. Let us know of your favourites in the comments below!

Black Gio Kilim Flat Weave Rug, $165

This is an essential piece to complete the look of any bedroom or living space. The geometric print goes with any interior design theme, and is made to last the distance in terms of wear and tear.

Jonathan Adler Interior Design Essentials

Mr. & Mrs. Muse Reversible Mug, $24

A classic mug with a twist for the couple who has it all – but still wants more! Comes with a glossy white glaze with a fabulous moustache and lips on each cup.

Jonathan Adler Interior Design Essentials

Harlequin Table Lamp, $475

The simple brass gold candlestick lamp is what makes this piece so eye-catching, and an absolute must have for any bedroom. Ideal for a smaller space, or even to accessorise your office or bedside table.

Jonathan Adler Interior Design Essentials

Gold Carnaby Stacking Dish, $32

A fun little design at an affordable price is the popular zebra dish by Jonathan Adler. Made from porcelain materials and is thick and sturdy to withstand the daily wear and tear. Use as a jewellery dish to store all of the essentials.

Jonathan Adler Interior Design Essentials

Santorini Salt and Pepper Shakers, $23.99

An affordable little trinket inspired by the majestic Aegean sea, which will surely spice up any evening get-together. Available in gold accents which are paired with funky bold colours.

Jonathan Adler Interior Design Essentials

Image via Material Girls Blog

January 27, 2015

Top 5 Celebrity Wedding Hairstyles

Curly, straight, in a bun, or to the side – these are some of the most popular hairstyles most brides choose for their wedding day.

Lucky for us, we have inspiration from a number of celebrities, which makes the decision of choose just one wedding hairstyle so much easier to make. Below are just some of our favourites here at SHESAID.

RELATED: Wedding Guest Outfit Ideas

Side bun

Actress Jenna Dewan-Tatum chose a sophisticated side-bun for her wedding in Malibu over the summer of 2009. Not only is this style easy for women who want to dance all night, but it’ll last without dropping!

Top 5 Celebrity Wedding Hairstyles

Bangs

Model Anja Rubik chose a 1960s inspired hairstyle for her wedding in St Tropez over the summer. Her shoulder-length blonde hair was parted down the middle, curled, and pinned back to create some volume at the crown.

Top 5 Celebrity Wedding Hairstyles

Flowers

Self-professed Man Repeller, Leandra Medine chose to accessorise her curls with a flower crown on her wedding day in the Big Apple. A bright lip and matching bouquet was a perfect way to complete her entire look.

Top 5 Celebrity Wedding Hairstyles

High bun

Nicole Richie slicked-back her blonde locks for her wedding day in favour of an easy bun. The main focus was her long-sleeved wedding dress and white peony bouquet.

Top 5 Celebrity Wedding Hairstyles

Slicked back

For her nuptials with Kanye West, Kim Kardashian choose an elegant hairstyle which switched the focus onto her perfect makeup. Hair was parted down the middle, then slicked back behind her ears with a slight curl down the bottom.

Top 5 Celebrity Wedding Hairstyles

Images via E, The Front Row View, Man Repeller, Jetting To The Wedding, CT Unwrapped

November 24, 2014

5 Television Characters To Inspire Your Wardrobe

While you may have already seen the first part of our wardrobe overhaul which focused on movie characters such as Carrie Bradshaw, this is solely dedicated to television stars and their super-famous style.

Whether you’re looking towards inspiration for evening-wear, or simply how to dress up a casual white t-shirt, below are some characters who have made their look iconic.

RELATED: Remembering Oscar de la Renta

Blair Waldorf (Gossip Girl)

Showcasing preppy-chic and almost everything in between, Blair Waldorf is the it girl when it comes to Upper West Side style. Her headbands made her famous, but the couple-dressing with love interest and fellow game-player, Chuck Bass made their look indestructible.

A few essential pieces include a pair of sturdy flat shoes, a neutral coloured trench coat, and the ability to colour-block all of your outfits (think of patterns like neutrals, they go with everything).

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Kimber Henry (Nip/Tuck)

The character of seductive and often naive Kimber Henry was that which suffered greatly throughout the duration of this popular plastic-surgery phenomenon. Known for her signature blonde curls and refined lady-like style, you could always count on Kimber to showcase the best of American designers between 2003-2010.

Body-con dresses, matching lingerie sets from Agent Provocateur, sky-high stiletto heels, and a fearless attitude proved to define her sense of style.

5 Television Characters To Inspire Your Wardrobe

Karen van der Beek (Californication)

Karen’s free spirit was represented through her choice of relaxed clothes and long blonde hair which represent California in a nutshell. Mixing structured pieces like a blazer with maxi-dresses and bell-bottom jeans quickly made Karen’s style the focus of the entire show (well, for us at least).

Dainty jewellery and loose curls are the best way catch Karen’s vibe without killing your credit card.

5 Television Characters To Inspire Your Wardrobe

Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City)

This might count as cheating since we’ve already mentioned Carrie before, but some serious inspiration comes straight from her infamous closet. Carrie taught women around the world that stilettos are always back in fashion, experimenting with clothes is never not an option, and sometimes it’s okay to trade food for an issue of Vogue.

Highlights include that signature tulle skirt in the opening credits, and always embracing your natural curls (if you have them, if not, fake it).

5 Television Characters To Inspire Your Wardrobe

Marissa Cooper (The OC)

And finally we’re wrapping it up with one of our favourites, Marissa Cooper. Her collection of caviar-leather Chanel bags is still causing us enough envy, but Marissa’s laid-back California style will never grow old.

If all else fails, a great party dress and a rebellious attitude is the best way to channel Mischa Barton’s famous character.

5 Television Characters To Inspire Your Wardrobe

Images via Mademoiselle Robot, FX, The CW, Marie Claire, Into The Gloss, Misadventures with Andi

November 13, 2014

How To Get Motivated – And Stay That Way

Perhaps you to find the motivation to do the laundry or write a novel. If you are struggling to get moving, follow through on those goals and commitments with the help of these tips.

RELATED: How to find time for your creative projects

1. Change out of your pyjamas

It’s not so much a change of clothes, as a change in your state of mind. Some people recommend not doing work in your bedroom because you associate this room with sleep. Others can’t get anything done without a shower and a clean working space. But staying in your pyjamas gives you one less reason to get moving, get out of the house, and get to work.

2. Get inspired

Even if you think it’s corny, collect inspirational quotes – and review them from time to time when you’re feeling a dull patch. Personally, I have go-to TED Talks and poems. Read a book or listen to music get your mind rolling and blood pumping. Seek out material and activities that you enjoy, and people whose company fuels your soul. In short, get excited about life and find reason in what you’re trying to achieve!

3. Just do it

Nike was right all along – just do it. Don’t make excuses. Whether you need to exercise, respond to an email, or compose an aria – you need to get to it! Don’t tell yourself the weather is bad or you had bad dreams last night. Sit yourself down (or get yourself up) and just throw yourself into it.

4. Disconnect

Oh dear, a day without the internet?! While once upon a time, television was seen as the enemy of productivity; today, it is social media. Sure, Game of Thrones might still be around to distract you, but we are all know how easily a casual browse through your Facebook feed can turn into a four-hour rabbit hole of Buzzfeed quizzes and Wikipedia. Also, you don’t need to perpetually be connected. Constantly being within an arms reach of your mobile is completely unnecessary and totally distracting. I don’t care if you haven’t finished this article yet, if you have something to do… bookmark it and walk away.

5. Reconnect

Don’t forget to lean on others for support. It may be as subtle as announcing your intention to achieve something to someone else – you are less likely to pull out of a commitment if you have someone watching over you. Perhaps you would rather go talk to a friend, seek their support and perhaps they will remind you of what you are capable of.

6. Relax

Sure, some things need to be done on a deadline, but use your spare time wisely. Give yourself a good sleep, meditate on your lunch break, and just take some time every day to gather your thoughts. Taking a step back from your task and getting some perspective can be a far more effective and intelligent way to work, and will often allow you to refocus on what actually needs to be achieved.

7. Make time

We can all get weighed down in menial, everyday tasks, like doing the housework, that distract us from something more important. Make time to execute your goals, even if it’s just a planning session, remembering that staying on track with your life is far more important than vacuuming your bedroom.

8. Be brave

There is nothing more rewarding than surprising yourself. For example, I’ve been taking steps in being more assertive – speaking up about things I would have previously died before saying. In some cases they have worked out and sometimes they haven’t. However, even when they haven’t resulted in what I imagined, I’ve felt proud of myself for achieving something I was previously too scared to do, for being honest and true to myself, and then being more excited that, instead of belittling myself for a “failure”, I patted myself on the back for making progress.

9. Take baby steps

If you’re in a serious slump or suffering depression, start small and remind yourself that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Remember that the something is always better than nothing and reward yourself for your achievements, no matter how small. Make a to-do list and pat yourself on the back as you check things off. The best way to remind yourself you can do it, is by doing something (anything!), and recognising that you have achieved. Which brings me to…

10. Practice self-love

Ever been told that you are your own worst enemy? Being self-critical is not the key to success. Contrarily, perfectionism is more likely to contribute to low confidence and feelings of doubt that inhibit your ability to achieve. Be gentle with yourself. Treat yourself like a close friend and forgive yourself for mistakes and work to understand your misgivings. If you have spent all of today in your pyjamas, recognise that this was merely a mistake and you won’t make the same one tomorrow. Be kind to yourself!

November 8, 2014

Interior Trends You Should Pass On

Have you ever found it difficult to compromise on just one item in your home? Interior trends come and go; just a few years we were all obsessing about feng shui, which more or less is about harmonising the home. How often do you hear about it now?

Although taste is subjective and comes down to your own personal style, there are a few interior trends which should never see the light of day (again).

RELATED: 5 Interior Design Blogs You Should Be Following

DON’T: Match everything

The couch, curtains, formal chairs, and rugs do not have to match! Unless you have a serious case of pattern-envy, there’s no reason to keep this look in your home. One of the best aspects of interior design is that you have the freedom to buy from a variety of different stores – so don’t stick to just one pattern or theme throughout.

If you want to switch this up without buying completely new furniture, you can always accessorise with cushions, paint the hardware, and re-upholster the couch and chairs.

Interior Trends You Should Pass On

DON’T: Carpet in the bathroom

Needless to say, that carpet does not belong in the bathroom. Rugs in front of the bath or sink and given a free-pass, but your entire floor should not be covered in carpet, it’s just not practical. Stick to tiles which are easy to clean, and look nice and tidy in the bathroom.

Interior Trends You Should Pass On

DON’T: Hoard the pool room

In this respect the pool room refers to any place of the house which is dedicated to preserving mostly un-used pieces of furniture. The odds are that this room was used to welcome guests who wanted a quick drink, snack, before they were on their way within the hour.

Now the room has become a shrine to almost everything and anything – which makes it difficult to match with the rest of the house.

Interior Trends You Should Pass On

DON’T: Layered rugs

Do you know of anyone who has their entire home fitted with quality floorboards, yet hides them under too many rugs and runners? Guilty. Not only is this trend outdated, but completely ruins the idea of having floorboards in the first place! Stick to a skinny runner for the hallways, but keep the rest of the house rug-free.

Interior Trends You Should Pass On

DON’T: Collect too many photo frames

While you might think that this trend is slightly over-the-top, too many frames can often clutter up an entire table.Stick to a gallery wall which will free up some space, but also showcase your photos in a really nice way.

Interior Trends You Should Pass On

What are some interior trends you hate to see?

Images via HG TV, Bijou Kaleidoscope, Honestly WTF, The Maisonette, I Like To Waste My Time, Medley By Oanasinga

October 21, 2014

5 Movie Characters To Inspire Your Wardrobe

Do you require a little assistance in the style department? Sometimes it’s difficult to formulate new and exciting outfits when the weather is too hot or even too cold – which doesn’t leave you feeling inspired at all.

Rather that jumping onto your favourite blog or even Instagram account to find that extra bit of inspiration, why not put on your favourite movie and take note! Below are SHESAID’s 5 favourite movie characters to get the inspiration flowing.

RELATED: Is Another Sex and The City Movie On The Way?

Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City, 2008)

Played by: Sarah Jessica Parker

We had to start off with Carrie Bradshaw, right? As her ever-evolving style featured stiletto heels (okay, a lot of stiletto heels), spaghetti-strap tops, and even an Hermes scarf wrapped around her head, Carrie is the ideal character if you want a perfect harmony of designer and high-street labels. Lets not forget that signature blonde, curly hair either..

5 Movie Characters To Inspire Your Wardrobe

Nikki (Alfie, 2004)

Played by: Sienna Miller

As the bohemian inspired love interest to Jude Law’s character, Nikki is the perfect mix of party girl with a refined edge. Faux fur coats, knee-high boots, and that signature centre part in her bangs made Nikki’s style come to life in the remake of an original 1966 film.

Inspired by Anita Pallenberg, Sienna Miller’s character wasn’t complete without black kohl-eyes and a killer personality to match.

5 Movie Characters To Inspire Your Wardrobe

Amelie Poulain, (Amelie, 2001)

Played by: Audrey Tautou

This Academy Award winning film isn’t only known for it’s splendid acting and whimsical storyline. While the style of the film isn’t exactly modern, it does pay homage to 1960’s Montmartre by way of set design and even costumes.

Audrey Tautou brought Amelie Poulain to life, and she is known for wearing an understated wardrobe of red and green shades which are practical throughout her journey in the film. Lets not forget Amelie’s dark-black hair and super-short fringe which framed her face almost perfectly.

5 Movie Characters To Inspire Your Wardrobe

Annie Hall (1977)

Played by: Diane Keaton

The ultimate way to dress like a boy started with Diane Keaton in Woody Allen’s blockbuster film, Annie Hall. Not only did this film give inspiration to women for years to come, but it showed that you can dress like a man but act like a woman. Celebrities such as Kate Moss and Alexa Chung still draw inspiration from Annie Hall which will forever remain quirky and timeless.

5 Movie Characters To Inspire Your Wardrobe

Andrea Sachs, (The Devil Wears Prada, 2006)

Played by: Anne Hathaway

Undeniably one of Anne Hathaway’s breakout roles came as a result of The Devil Wear’s Prada. Based on the bestselling novel by Laura Weisberger, the film follows Andrea’s revolutionary transformation into a Chanel-wearing, Fendi-carrying, lover of fashion.

Lets not forget that emerald green coat – Jackie Onassis anyone?

5 Movie Characters To Inspire Your Wardrobe

Images via Still Stile, Fan Pop, Jackie Gloves, Popsugar, Gallery Hip, NY Daily News

October 13, 2014

Wedding Guest Outfit Ideas

While we all receive invites alerting us of an upcoming wedding or two, for some the stress of ‘what do I wear’ kicks in months before the date’s even been set. Try and put together an outfit by adhering to the dress code, and you’ll be able to find something that is appropriate and comfortable to wear for the big day. We’ve outlined just a few outfits below to help inspire your own for that summer or winter wedding.

Summer wedding

It seems as though summer weddings are easier to dress for, since the weather is warm and won’t require a shawl, cardigan or even a jacket. Florals are always a great trend to wear in the spring/summer seasons, together with bright colours such as pink, orange and red.

If you’re heading to an outdoor wedding, try to think about your shoes beforehand. Garden weddings are quite popular, although that will be the first and last time you wear those brand new stiletto shoes in mint condition. Instead, opt for a block or stacked heel which won’t sink into the grass. Keep to dark colours such as black, burgundy and grey since they are less likely to stain from the great outdoors. Or you could always wear some flats if this is just too much to handle.

For the reception, feel free to bring along a shawl (since the air-conditioning could be blazing inside), since it’s best to be prepared for all types of weather.

Winter wedding

After watching my mother busily prepare for a wedding just last week, it dawned on me how difficult it was to dress up for a winter wedding. If you plan to wear a summery outfit, make sure to bring a coat. This will keep you relatively warm throughout the day and you can easily take it off once it’s time for the reception.

Hosiery

It’s probably best to stick with skin-colour hosiery if you do plan to wear it with your outfit. Not only will it blend in seamlessly into your look, but will also keep you warm throughout the day. Remember to finish off this look with closed boots (avoiding open toe sandals) and a silk scarf if you’re worried about the cold.

Can a guest wear white?

It’s often implied that a guest wearing white to a wedding is highly frowned upon, but should it be? A quick internet search will generate a variety of pages against wearing white to a wedding, if you aren’t the bride yourself. I do admit that I have worn a white dress to a wedding; once. I wasn’t shunned or bad-mouthed in any way (at least I don’t think so). But have I worn white as a guest to another wedding? No.

Many people will believe that a guest wearing white to the wedding is disrespectful to the bride. If you find yourself in this predicament, simply pick another dress! Everyone has different views and opinions, so it’s best to play it safe in this situation. Save the white dress or ensemble for another event instead.

Image via Bustle

By Felicia Sapountzis

July 4, 2014

Finding Inspiration For Innovative Business Ideas

Innovation is certainly at the forefront of priorities for nearly all businesses. Everyone is searching for that competitive advantage, the next big thing, so surely there are ways to assist us in finding it? Is there a roadmap? Can ingenuity, imagination, creativity and resourcefulness be taught? Or are there other means of coming up with innovative ideas in business?

Whether you are looking to solve a problem, needing to keep ahead of your competition or simply striving to think of innovative business ideas, this process is usually not mandated, policy driven or the result of schematic activity. The big mistake many people make is trying to systematise something that requires the opposite of a system. It requires creativity.

So where does one get great business ideas? The answer is there is no specific ‘place’, but it does require two essential ingredients. The first is having the right headspace, and the second is connecting otherwise unconnected areas, or exploring the unfamiliar.

Firstly let’s look at headspace. We often hear stories of people coming up with great ideas in the shower or on a plane, and there is nothing intrinsically creativity-generating in these spaces. Nor are artificially created workspaces with colored walls and beanbags going to generate the big ‘aha’ moments. If it was as easy as being in the shower, then every morning, everyone in the country would be coming up with new innovations; clearly this isn’t what happens. The point is to find the environment that works for you to get the headspace to allow creativity to occur.

Headspace to deliberate and reflect on certain ideas is essential. It is simply not possible to allow yourself to be creative while at your desk simultaneously on a conference call, texting on your mobile, while trying to read an email as  a colleague is asking you for a quick moment. You need to be in a clear frame of mind to allow ideas to manifest and grow into something tangible. Not a fleeting thought between calendar alerts.

Why is this the case? The truth is, is that nobody understands how this really works, but what we do know is that creativity is not about applied conscious effort, the way we could for example sit down and tackle a complex mathematical problem. On the contrary, a truly innovative ‘aha’ moment, no matter what anyone tells you, is a mystery. It pops into our head from somewhere unknown, a perfect collision of neurons that happen to reveal an insight. Once we have the conscious awareness, it seems so obvious, why didn’t I think of it earlier, but that real ingenuity needs the space to work its way to our conscious self.

The second ingredient is experiencing connecting the unconnected or unfamiliar. Two examples I like to mention is Ikea’s great innovation of a structured journey all customers must take through their stores. This actually wasn’t invented by Ikea, it existed, only in a totally unconnected way. The founder saw this process while holidaying in New York and visiting the Guggenheim Museum. The genius was in questioning why a retail store couldn’t or shouldn’t work in the same way as this museum.

Nobody would have thought to say: “Go the Guggenheim and your new business idea will come to mind!” – which is my point, you never know where an unfamiliar encounter will generate that ‘aha!’ moment.

The second example is the suitcase. Imagine going back 30 years and watching travellers in an airport. What would you notice about everyone’s carry-on bag and suitcase? You would immediately notice passengers awkwardly struggling to lift and move all their bags, none of which would have been on wheels. When was the wheel invented? Likely somewhat sooner than luggage! Fast-forward to today and every suitcase is on wheels. Neither the bag nor the wheel was a new invention; the only innovation was in successfully combining the two together.

So, in putting these concepts together, the best approach to innovation is getting out of your comfort zone, and being mindful of your surroundings. You never know when something seemingly unconnected could be the inspiration for the next big thing. If I was a retailer looking for inspiration on innovation or trend forecasting, the last thing I would do is attend a retailer’s conference or read an article about retailing. I might do a case study on Google for example, a hot bed of creativity. Or maybe spend time inside a logistics company to work out how to drive greater distribution efficiencies.

On the other hand, if I were at Google, in many ways disconnected from direct contact with customers, I might spend time at one of the most successful customer service organisations in hospitality, the Four Seasons.

We can be inspired from every industry, every company and in fact, every person we come into contact with. All we really need is to have is an open mind.

By Mat Jacobson, founder of Ducere

June 21, 2014

How to Leave Your Job and Start Your Own Business

Sharon Zeev Poole, director of Agent99 Public Relations, explains what not to fear when leaving a corporate role to start your own company.

About seven years ago, I was working for a mid-sized public relations firm in Sydney and was ready for a change.  In fact, I wanted my boss’ job…which wasn’t going to happen given that she owned the business!  Although I had brilliant clients who I had a fantastic relationship with, amazing colleagues who are still my friends today, and great work life balance, I knew I had more to give.

I had many years’ of experience under my belt in the PR industry and the choice was either to go to a large firm and manage a team as an Account Director, or start a business where I could really take all I had learned and shape a company according to my values.  Despite serious nerves, I opted for the latter and started Agent99 Public Relations. I haven’t looked back since.

What I did learn on this journey was that the fears were much greater before I embarked on my mission then when I actually took the plunge and opened the doors for business.  So, if you’re in a similar situation, you have a marvellous idea and want to take that leap, here are my top five tips on the fears you shouldn’t have:

1. I’m too scared to give up my secure job and that steady income

Regret the things you don’t do, not the things you do. That was one of the first things that my husband told me when I met him.  I think it would be such a shame to be left wondering in life “where would I be if I had done this”…

At the same time, if you’re the type of person who loses sleep at night if you can’t pay the bills (like me), and you want to enjoy the journey, save up enough cash or work towards seed funding. That way, you will feel secure enough to take the plunge for a set (and realistic) period of time.  Once you have that, go for it!

2. What if I fail?

Most successful multi millionaire entrepreneurs have failed a number of times before ‘making it big’.  You need to think as positively as possible and back yourself 100%.  That conviction will also get you through the toughest times, and believe me, there are plenty of them, so be prepared to feel uncomfortable.  But to me, that’s part of the journey.  If you see yourself as a resourceful and determined person, failure just won’t be an option.

3. If I fail, what will my friends and family think of me?

Just by taking the plunge, you are doing more than what 99% of the population will ever dream of doing.  Your friends and family will think you’re courageous for doing it in the first place.  It will also become apparent very quickly as to whom the most positive of your supporters are.  Get very close to them as they will see you through the challenges, and be there to celebrate the good times with you too.

4. What if I don’t know enough about business?

Learn.  There are tons of inexpensive short business courses that are run by the government.  To that end, there are also lots of grants to tap into.  Do some research and you’ll be amazed at what you find.  While you’re saving for your venture or writing proposals for funding, spend that time investing in your knowledge in the spaces that you feel a little unsure about.  Once you’ve started your business, keep educating yourself.  It’s the most worthwhile investment you’ll make.  Also, get a business coach.  The right one will push you to the next level and are worth their weight in gold.

5. What if I lose a whole heap of money?

That’s what your savings are for.  Set a timeline that you feel comfortable with, so you don’t go into serious debt if this is a real fear for you.  For me, it was to replace my salary within six months, or get out.  Everyone is different, so write a plan for your business and a personal one that aligns to that.  And stick to it.  The worst thing that can happen is that you burn through those savings and the business doesn’t go according to plan.  Pat yourself on the back for having tried, dust yourself off and look to the next thing as Donald Trump would!

Clearly, it’s much easier in hindsight but those principles are still very relevant to me now, even seven years down the line.

Whilst we have an incredible team and a gorgeous office in Surry Hills, and we get to work on some amazing corporate and consumer brands such as Evian, the Hunter Valley Region, and MTV, there are fears to face daily.

The challenging economy and changing landscape in our industry means there are always threats to guard against.  So, we need to check in and see if we’re on track in terms of our goals, and apply the same rules to overcome any fears.

Business is like a Luna Park ride. Some highs can lift you to the sky, and some lows can turn your belly inside out.  But no matter what the outcome, you’re always going to have a smile on your face when you’ve done it!

Are you thinking of starting your own business?

Having worked all over the world on high profile brands such as Warner Bros. Pictures and Starbucks Coffee for over 13 years, Sharon founded Agent99 Public Relations in January 2007.  An agency built on strong strategic and creative credentials, Agent99 is in constant pursuit of the unconventional, routinely implementing bold brand campaigns that capture national attention in unexpected ways. Committed to achieving unbeatable results, Sharon is always innovating to keep the agency one step ahead of the competition. Today, Agent99 represents an enviable list of lifestyle, consumer and business-to-business clients across the food and wine, travel, health, beauty, online and non-for-profit spaces.

September 27, 2013