Looking After Your Largest Organ

Your skin is a living, breathing organ. It is the largest organ of the human body. It is complex in its structure and function.

Did you know that our skin comprises approximately 15% of our body weight; contains one half to two third of the blood in the body and one half of the primary immune cells?

Our bones, muscles and our internal organs are not exposed to the environment like our skin is which is why it is so important that we look after this very large organ of our body.

Each inch of skin contains –

  • Millions of cells
  • 15 feet of blood vessels
  • 12 feet of nerves
  • 650 sweat glands
  • 100 oil glands
  • 65 hairs
  • 1300 nerve endings

There are two main layers the dermis and the epidermis. The epidermis is the thinner outermost layer. The dermis is the lower layer of the skin and is about 25 times thicker than the epidermis. It provides the supporting framework of the skin and also contains numerous hair follicles nerves, glands and blood vessels.

The depth of the epidermis varies in different areas of the body – for instance the depth of the epidermis on the soles of the feet and in the palms of the hand is thicker than the eyelid where it is extremely thin.

Primary functions of the skin are protection, sensation, heat regulations, excretion (through the sweat glands) to perspire and detoxify and secretion (through sebum or oil) and absorption – the skin selectively absorbs topical products and creams.

Our skin needs to be looked after to keep it in optimum condition. Plenty of water, the right sort of nuitrition (food), fresh air and exercise all contribute to healthy skin. Age, and also lifestyle factors affect our skin. As we get older our skin thins and it loses its elasticity and strength. Collagen gives skin its strength and elastin its elasticity.

We also need to use the right skin care. Always use the best. The best may not always be the cheapest and it may not always be the most expensive. Knowledge and scientific research should be behind all good skincare products. The range you use should always be free of harmful ingredients and should exceed industry standards for purity. Clinical testing should always be carried out on the range of products you choose.

Our skin cells do their work twice as fast at night while we are sleeping. This is why it is so important to cleanse, tone and moisturise both morning and night. We need to remove the dead skin cells that have built up overnight while our night cream has done its work – keeping the skin hydrated as well as assisting with this skin renewal process.

It is so important to remove makeup before retiring at night. One night of sleeping with your makeup on ages your skin by 7 days !!!

Some people have great skin. To keep it great they need to have a maintenance routine. Some people have problem skin which can always be treated.

There are basically four skin types – Oily dry normal and combination. Your skin type is genetically determined To work out skin types beauty therapists and skin specialists normally look, ask and go by touch. Oily skin types will have a shine even straight after cleansing, it will feel soft and supple to the touch. Oily skin is charactarized by excess sebum/oil production. The follicle or pore size is larger and contains more oil. If the pore size is larger over most of the face this would indicate an oily skin.

Oily skin requires more cleansing and exfoliating than most skin types. It is prone to blemishes because the pores get clogged with oil and dead skin cell buildup.

Dry skin will usually be fine in texture. The follicles are usually small. The natural oil secretions in follicles help protect us from environmental damage and ageing. Dry skin needs extra care because it lacks this normal protection

Normal skin has a good oil or water balance. It can fluctuate and sometimes will be a little more dry or oily. The follicles are a normal size and the skin is usually free from blemishes. Maintaince and preventative care is the goal for this type of skin.

90% of skin ageing is environmental, lifestyle and how we look after our ourselves. Only 10% is hereditary.

Sun exposure, smoking and stress are three of the biggest factors that contribute to premature ageing of the skin.

Its as easy as maintaining good skin with simple daily care.

  • Focus on one problem at a time
  • Always be bothered
  • Never skip your routine
  • The results are worth the effort

Contact Moana Robinson Dip.B.Th. to find out more about quality Swiss skin care products specialising in hydration and anti-ageing on 0419 120087 or beautyglow@hyperfluid.com.au, www.beautyglow.com.au

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Photographing a Wedding

Why using a friend may not be a good idea.

I recently read a couple of articles describing two keen amateur’s experience of photographing a wedding. Both of the authors had some photographic experience and believed that they would be well prepared to photograph a wedding, both admitted that they were wrong.

The first article titled Three Reasons You’re Not Ready to Photograph a Wedding is written as an advice to anyone considering photographing a wedding. The second article, Pros of Hiring a Pro, is written by a travel writer (who often has his photos published with his articles) about his experience tagging along with Professional Wedding Photographer.

If you are considering having a keen amateur photograph your wedding, whether they are family, friend or just someone you know, think about what you are asking of them and whether they are ready to do it before you go ahead.

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Finding your ideal dress within your budget

Some of us have always had an image in our minds of what we wanted to wear on our wedding days, others  haven’t really thought about it. So where do you start. The process can be a little daunting – especially if you start at a large showroom, on a Saturday with an entourage in tow.

Here are a few tips for finding that perfect dress within your budget.

  1. Do preliminary research
    1. Browse magazines and website searching for ideas of dresses that suit your wedding style or theme
    2. Short list your target stores and make appointments if necessary
    3. Keep an open mind about styles until you start trying things on as you may be surprised at what really suits your body
  2. Ask for sales staff help
    1. Bridal sales staff can be a great source of help. If they really  know their products they should be able to suggest styles that will suit your body shape
    2. During you first few initial outings at stores, let the sales staff know you have just started looking and are interested in what they think will look good on you. Keep an open mind when trying things on as you may be surprised
    3. Make sure you discuss the style, feel or theme for your day as you don’t want to be trying on a traditional gown with cathedral length train if you are having a simple garden ceremony.
  3. Doing the leg work
    1. It can be an overwhelming experience trying on wedding gowns especially when it comes to putting veils on (and especially if you are not sure if you want one), so try and go looking and trying on gowns during the week. Saturdays’ are generally crazy which can make it even more overwhelming.
    2. Doing the ground work buy yourself to work out a few styles you like may be a good idea that way you can bring a friend or your mother back once you have a short list.
  4. Getting Opinions
    1. Take a friend with you who will give you an honest opinion about what suits you, but who also understands your personal style.
    2. Don’t ask for too many opinions as it can be very confusing. You will know when you have found your dress without the need for anyone else’s opinion.  I love it when you see the look in a brides face when she just loves her gown.
  5. Your gown within budget
    1. Keep your budget in mind when selecting bridal stores to try on gowns at. There are a variety of stores around that cater for different budgets.
    2. Make sure you ask about lay-by periods and if there is any discount for full upfront payment
    3. Ask questions about alteration costs and if possible get a written quote at the time of ordering

By Rebecca Richardson, owner and designer at Penny Lane Bridal boutique located in Morningside, Brisbane. Penny Lane Bridal is an online and retail boutique that offers a range of wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses and accessories at affordable prices. We stock traditional, contemporary and beach/garden style gowns ranging in price from $399 to $1799.  The large majority of our products are available online at pennylanebridal.com.au so you can do that research before visiting us in store.

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Choosing Your Wedding Cake

The wedding cake has been an integral part of wedding celebrations for generations. When you start your search for your wedding cake, you will be presented with an overwhelming range of choice. While a wedding cake was traditionally a fruit cake, your choices now are almost unlimited and the decoration can range from cakes with simple elegance to those with elaborate decoration and design.

To decide on the type of cake you want, you need to make certain decisions –

  • Would you like a formal/traditional or funky/fun cake?
  • How many guests will there be?
  • Is it to be served for dessert or with coffee?  If dessert is not included in the wedding package, then mud cake served with ice cream or cream and a fruit coulis makes a spectacular dessert.
  • What type of cake you would like, perhaps a different flavour for each tier?  Don’t be worried if you have special requirements, these can be catered for too!
  • How much WOW factor do you want? Three or four tiers look spectacular, but of course are dearer.  You may like to choose a two tier and consider hiring a china or silver base, your venue may be able to supply these.
  • Choose your theme – if your dress is ivory choose ivory fondant instead of white and perhaps match to your cake?  Or how about matching the ribbon colour to the bridesmaids’ dresses.  Your theme could also be incorporated with a topper – perhaps there is something special to you and your groom?
  • Cup cakes are very popular but they are dearer because they take more time.  Some cake makers charge a hire fee for the cup cake stand, others have cost redeemable on return.
  • Check if the decorations, ribbons etc are included in the price.  The cheapest cake would be a two tier round with fresh or simple flowers on the top with ribbons.  The more elaborate the cake the higher the cost.
  • Cakes covered with chocolate shards or chocolate ganache need to be refrigerated, however if the ganache is covered with white fondant it doesn’t need refrigeration.

Get more advice about Wedding Cakes from Erin at Cakes n Flowers.

Wedding Cupcakes on a stand

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Reception Venue Questions

Having thought through your Reception Choices, you can start looking for the right venue for your wedding reception. I recently read a forum topic that had a collection of questions to ask your reception venue and thought that they made up a useful list of points to consider when you are talking to a venue. Some of these will be obvious but some you may not have thought of.

Booking questions

  • What is the minimum and maximum number of guests for the venue?
  • Is there an extra charge if the minimum number is not meet?
  • When do we need to provide final numbers?
  • What happens if more guests come after we provide final numbers?
  • What is your payment policy?
  • What is your cancellation policy?
  • Is there a surcharge for credit card payments?
  • What is the recommended finish time?
  • Is there a must finish time?
  • Is there an overtime charge?
  • What does the room rental include?
  • Can you tailor a package to suit our needs?
  • Is there a discount for items included in a package that we don’t require?
  • Is there a clean-up fee?
  • Is a damage deposit required and is it refundable?
  • Can more than one reception be on at the same time and will it effect our reception?
  • Are there any events going on the same time that could make parking difficult?
  • Will the function coordinator I meet with be handling my reception and will they be available for the entire function?
  • Are you able to pencil in our date now, how long will you hold a pencilled in date and will you contact us if someone is interested in our date?

Set-up questions

  • Do you have a set table arrangement or can we arrange the tables to meet our requirements?
  • What size and shape of tables are available?
  • Can we arrange someone from outside to provide decorations?
  • Do you set up the place-cards/centrepieces or do we arrange someone to do it?
  • Is there a certain time that decorations have to be removed by?
  • Where does the DJ/Band set up?
  • Is there any restriction on the size or type of equipment used?
  • Are there restrictions on the style and volume of music played?
  • What time can they enter the premises to set up their equipment?
  • Is a microphone provided for speeches?
  • Is the microphone attached to a lecture stand or is it cordless?
  • Is the gift table and cake table in a secure position?
  • Is there a dance floor and what size is it?
  • If we want to make the dance floor larger, is there a charge?
  • Is there a room set aside for the bridal party while guests are milling around?
  • If a room is provided, how large is the room and is it lockable?
  • Will our guests be directed to their seats or do they read a seating chart?
  • If a family member contacts the wedding co-ordinator to make some last minutes changes, will you make the changes, or do these changes need to be requested by the bride and groom? (There are two reasons for this question, the first is to stop meddling relatives from making changes that you don’t want, the second is it allows you to know if you can delegate tasks to other people.)

    Food and Beverage questions

    • Is the cost of food and drinks subject to price increases after we book?
    • If so, how often do prices increase and what is the likely increase?
    • Are we able to taste the menu?
    • Are canapes included during pre-dinner drinks or are they extra?
    • How flexible is the menu?
    • Can you cater for special dietary requirements and how?
    • Are the drinks table service or bar service?
    • Are children’s meals available?
    • Are meals provided for the photographer, videographer, or musicians at a discounted rate?
    • How long after the bridal party arrives does the food get served?
    • Can we have a certain type of drink package available to the bridal party and different type of drink package available to the other guests?
    • Do you provide complimentary tea and coffee after desert is served?
    • Is there a cake cutting fee?
    • We are looking at cupcakes. Does the cake cutting fee apply to cupcakes?
    • What happens to the leftover cake?
    • Is a knife provided to cut the cake or are we required to provide the knife?

    Other points to consider when looking at venues:

    • Is there access for the people with disabilities or elderly relatives?
    • Is there an area for guests  between the ceremony and reception?
    • Where would predinner drinks be served?
    • Does the venue and surrounds look attractive?
    • Does the venue have places to take photos?
    • How often are the gardens mowed and watered?
    • Will they be tended the day of or before my wedding?
    • Are the outdoor areas brightly lit?
    • Are there enough toilets and what do they look like?
    • Is there anything that could be dangerous for children? (eg. ponds)
    • Is there adequate parking near the venue?

    Some of these questions may not be relevant for you and they will vary depending on your guest list. The important point is to find out the answers and have all of the relevant points in writing, especially pricing and changes to standard booking forms. This gives you a solid footing if anything is not happening as you imagined.

    If you have a question you think that we have missed, please post it as a comment, you may help another bride.

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    Top Five Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Hairdresser

    Having your hair look perfect for your wedding day is high on most Bride’s priorities, but how do you choose the right hairdresser for your wedding day. Louise from Lou Lou Hair Design has these 5 tips:-

    1. Look at recommendations from friends and family and look at their web site
    2. Ask what experience have they had in this field of work? – You want a hairdresser that specializes in wedding hair, not in colouring etc. You can usually tell by the experience of weddings by their portfolio. Make sure your hairdresser’s main field is hairdressing and not originally make-up with only a couple of years experience in hair!
    3. Ask to see their portfolio and look at their style of work. If you do not see anything similar to what you want, ask if the hairdresser has anything she may have done in the past to show you.
    4. Ask how many weddings will they do on the day of your wedding? You don’t want a hairdresser  rushing from your wedding to the next!
    5. Look for a quick response, this means you won’t have to worry about chasing them!

    Get more information and advice from Lou Lou Hair Design at the Planning Your Perfect Wedding Event at River Park Place 10.00 am 6th March 2011. Book your place here.

    bride having hair styled

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    Getting the most from Wedding Expos

    On the weekend, I was an exhibitor at a Wedding Expo, it was an enjoyable experience because I like talking to couples about their wedding plans.  I also found it an interesting opportunity to observe people looking at the exhibits and interacting with the exhibitors. From these observations, I am sure that some people got a great deal more benefit from the expo than others. So…..what did they do to get the benefits?

    Firstly, they took their time. They looked at the exhibits, talked to the exhibitors and asked questions. By doing this they could judge the value of a product rather than just the price, they got an insight into what it would be like to deal with the supplier and may have collected useful tips about the product. That is so much more than you can find by picking up a brochure.

    Secondly, they looked at ALL of the exhibits. At any expo I always get people who walk straight past our exhibit and if approached will quickly reply “I’ve already booked my photographer”. Others will stop and look even though they have already booked, and they will often pick up ideas about a location, flowers, cakes, venues or other parts of the wedding from the photos in the display. So, view the displays as a source of inspiration as well as a prospective supplier.

    Thirdly, they make notes. Especially at a large expo, you will see lots of exhibitors, you will collect lots of brochures and you will probably receive lots of follow up information and contacts. Take a notebook, record your ideas and thoughts, even take a photo of some things, this will make it a lot easier to sort through the information and remember which supplier was the one you liked.

    The last tip that I gained from my observations is don’t take anyone who doesn’t want to be there (if you can avoid it). Having someone with you to use as a second pair of eyes and a sounding post is great, but dragging children, friends or relatives around the expo if they don’t want to be there will not help you at all.

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