Thoughts

How to be a Cool Wedding Guest

DO

  1. Remember that the bride is the most beautiful, fantastic, breath-taking creature you will see at a wedding. Period. Be sure to get a good look at her as she enters and to tell her later just how beautiful, fantastic, breath-taking she is. It’s a truth universally acknowledged.
  2. Take a look at the groom’s face as his beautiful, fantastic, breath-taking bride approaches.
  3. Be in the moment and enjoy all the carefully prepared parts of the festivities. Sniff the flower arrangements, admire the church or the city hall, compliment friends or even women you don’t know on outfits you admire (but not in a creepy way) and smile around.
  4. Say yes when the married couple asks you to join in opening the dance floor.
  5. Be sure to convey heartfelt thanks to them for the lovely occasion that’s filling your heart and for taking such good care of their guests, whether in person or in a message. An enormous amount of work goes in to preparing a wedding, and a large part of it rests on the bride and groom’s shoulders.

DON’T

  1. Lose your cool if something is unclear or temporarily goes wrong.
  2. Forget to say hello or something nice to the best man and maid of honour.
  3. Diss or criticize. It’s not your place to do so, it’s uncalled for and it’s plain rude. It won’t be appreciated by anyone even if something is not up to your standards. I went to a wedding a few years ago and was surprised to hear a group of people at the next table heatedly axing the reception arrangements. Just no!
  4. Freak out if your pantyhose rips, there’s a huge bruise on the back of your leg and your dress is cocktail length, you lose your lipstick etc. Everyone will be looking at the bride!
  5. Underestimate the combination of comfortable in addition to pretty when picking your shoes.

A cool wedding guest (suitably sized) clutch or small handbag includes:

A packet of tissues

A packet of cleaning swipes

Band-Aids

Hairpins

Rubber bands

A pocket mirror

Lip-balm, tinted if you like

Gum

Enough cash for a cab to take you back home

A credit or ATM card

A fully charged phone

All set!

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My Travel

Ondříkovice – a Weekend in the Czech Countryside

“A wedding, I love weddings!” says Jack Sparrow, and the same goes for me, though probably for different reasons than the ones he concluded his statement with. Seven hours on a Eurocity Express from Hamburg to Prague, and then I was picked up by one of the wonderful maids of honour to continue to the wedding location, Statek

I had mostly been to Prague before and it was exciting to see the landscape change to the stuff of those Czech fairytale films I remembered from my childhood. Hilly, green, lush – the busy highway eventually gave way to narrower country roads boardered by fields, grass and occasional forest. I was indeed in a village and we had to ask for directions despite the GPS. But time moved differently here. And when I stepped out of the car and breathed in, it was as if great buckets of something else entirely were being poured straight in to my lungs, making them expand. A city girl I am, through and through, and this air was immediately and completely different. “You don’t go to places like this often, do you?” one of my co-passengers remarked shrewdly.

Located on the edge of what is known in the Czech Republic as the Bohemian Paradise, Statek is a lovingly restored farmhose which combines comfort with features that help retain its original charm, like the wooden furniture and staircase. Flowers spill from windowsills and corners, and it’s all so idyllic I can’t quite believe it. It’s also very warm and summer is simply everywhere. Wide fields surround the property and a spacious courtyard makes for breakfast outside in good weather.

The sounds from the cosily creaking staircase in the lobby mingle with the excited voices of guests running to and fro between rooms as they prepare for the wedding. I step outside on the wooden balcony spanning the second floor and run my hand carefully along the railing, watching stripes of sunlight settle on it. It feels like a happy house.

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Style?!

“Recycling” Your Clothes

As has probably been clear from this blog, I do my fair share of pop-culture related and celebrity media coverage reading. It provides smalltalk or even full-fledged conversation fodder and taps in to my non-malicious sarcasm streak. It’s also, at times, simply baffling. Especially in the area of this type of coverage focusing on women. And I have just about had it with one particular wording repeating itself in English-speaking media all over the world:

Kate Middleton recycling her clothes. Seriously! Here’s a small selection of headline examples:

From the giggling…

MailOnline: A royal blush! Kate recycles a shimmering pale pink £3,000 Jenny Packham gown as she and Prince William attend an opulent charity gala in Norfolk.

to the gossipy…

Independent.ie: That looks familiar! Kate Middleton recycles Roksanda ress for Wimbledon.

…to the possibly breathless with excitement (I mean, Snapchat)…

Celebuzz: Kate Middleton Makes her Snapchat Debut in a Recycled Dress.

…to the profound, mind-shattering questions:

EOnline: Is It Time for Kate Middleton to Stop Recycling Clothes?

Is it time to throw away clothes entirely and go outside in creations improvised from stuff lying around the house?

At least as a grown woman I finally know what I have been doing with clothes all my life that I have actually kept – I did not wear them, I recycled them. Regardless of what one thinks of the Duchess of Cambridge and the British monarchy, I say kudos to stepping out during public events in dresses the media is dilligent enough to recognize and zealously catalog. And to be honest, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t care. She shouldn’t. But must there be a term for this? Yes, society, celebrity and style coverage play by their own rules, but the word  “recycle” just irkes me.

Ah, who cares about the media anyway.

kate

 

 

 

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My Travel

Disneyland Paris as an Adult, Day 2

I discover that I’m hearing Disney film music buzzing in my ears even when none is playing nearby, or even screams from the more extreme rides in the park.

We make good use of our early access tickets and tick a few more stops at Park Disneyland before proceeding to Walt Disney Studios. We journey along with Pinocchio until he becomes a real boy, with the presence of BABIES reassuring me that this is not a secret breakneck speed type rollercoaster, and we make it out of Snow White’s forest alive – considering most of Disney’s animated features are aimed at children, they sure contain some scary stuff (which I said to avoid using another word). Another mark of the enduring power of these creations if you can still acknowledge that as an adult.

The Pixar short film festival plays throughout the day at the Discoveryland Theater also in Park Disneyland – a very recommendable stop. 4D glasses add to the excitement, as well as some convincing effects. For the Birds was my favourite, points out of ten for moral elements and humour, plus of course anyone who has ever been bullied or felt like they needed to defend their individuality will identify with the story. And something else – this cartoon reminds us that karma sees everything.

At Walt Disney Studios we sit down in another theater and lose ourselves in a multilingual montage of Disney’s animated classics (with particular emphasis on those with French origins or set in France). I am, quite simply and humbly, reminded of what makes Disney Disney. As my sibling points out, we haven’t seen Mufasa die on the big screen since 1994, and I’m just as banged up about it as ever. Scenes of Bambi crying for his mother do not help.

Riding some (almost) magic carpets on an Aladdin-themed carousel afterwards brings a pleasant surprise, I can look down and around me, see it all, “…shining, shimmering, splendid.”

Yes, I was just singing that at the top of my voice. If not here, then where else?

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Seen/Heard/Read

The Arena by Lindsey Stirling

The inspirational, home-hitting and ever relevant quote from Theodore Roosevelt about facing life and what courage really is opens Lindsey Stirling’s latest music video, The Arena. And Lindsey would know, through personal experience, and in thinking this I immediately go back in my mind to her autobiography The Only Pirate at the Party. Many will shout, only a few will do – an ongoing theme in her music.

Visually grittier than most of Lindsey’s previous music videos, The Arena shows a story set in a seemingly fantastic space, but immediately painfully realistic in the scenes it depicts. People are thrown in to the fray of life for whatever reason, and even without actual lions waiting to pounce, the frowning crowd watching emanates a threatening sense that this could get ugly, as Lindsey and her partner, played by Derek Hough, move towards the center of this arena.

Is it a dying circus? A gang? Steam punk meets tribal meets Western meets dystopia? As always in Lindsey’s videos, the myriad of genres, ideas, associations and styles blends together to create something unique and memorable. Stepping next to a partner (relatively new for Lindsey) who looks like one of the fastest ballroom dancers in the world, her petite form is more obvious, but her posture is both graceful and determinedly strong at the same time.

It’s like Roundtable Rival flipped over, a mirror version, but in a world grey and desolate. Something needs to be reclaimed here. Love? Self-respect? Bravery? Happiness?

The sharpness of Lindsey’s violin cuts through my hearing, matching the dizzying speed of the dance movements. Once again both take mybreath away.

Anyone can become a target and be forced in to the arena, and it seems the message in the video is that a battle, whether big or small, is never far away, but whether fighting or not, it’s about not stopping being yourself. And, importantly so, to look around and realize that you don’t always have to do it alone, as you might have thought.

Welcome to The Arena.

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