Archive Page 2

23
Nov
11

Fur or No Fur?

It’s long been one of the furriest fashion centers in the world – but not anymore. The West Hollywood City Council is banning the sale of clothing made of animal fur; it’s believed to be the first such ban in the U.S.  CBS Los Angeles reports that the vote on Monday was the final step in prohibiting the sale of clothing made from the skins or pelts of animals with hair, fur, or wool, within city limits.

NBC LA reports the council, in a 3-1 vote, adopted the law that goes into effect in Sept. 2013.

Shannon Keith, animal rights attorney and co-organizer of Fur Free West Hollywood, told a local radio station that it’s the right move.

“Animals suffer immensely for the use of fur,” she said. “Animals are skinned alive, they’re beaten, they’re stomped on, they’re gassed…it’s a horrible thing all in the name of vanity.”

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), praised West Hollywood, calling it “just the latest compassionate action for the city.”

Councilman John D’Amico first introduced the ban in May, and afterwards the Fur Information Council of America released a study showing that out of 209 clothing stores in the city, 91 of them carried clothing or accessories made with animal fur.

The board of the “Avenues: Art, Fashion and Design District” claims the ban will limit the city’s reputation for creative expression in high fashion. The West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce opposed the ban as well.  (CBS Los Angeles)

What do YOU think?

15
Nov
11

Daniel Pink: Why Bosses Need to Show their Soft Side

Have been wanting to share this “food for thought” with you for some time … try this at home!

From The Telegraph on-line

By Daniel H. Pink (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/daniel-h-pink/)

8:00AM BST 17 Jul 2011

If you ever want to understand your boss, corner him (or her) at the next office party and see if he’ll play a little game. Tell him (or her) you need only 30 seconds. Then ask your boss to extend his (or her) right forefinger.

Give your boss the ‘E’ on the forehead test.

“Go ahead,” you might need to assure him, “this won’t hurt” Then ask him to take that extended finger and draw a capital E on his forehead.

Does he draw the letter so that it faces him – that is, backward to a person looking at him? Or does he draw the letter so that the viewer can read it? Neither way is right or wrong. But the direction of that letter might tell you something about the disposition of that leader.

This seemingly innocent parlour trick is actually a method social scientists have used for more than a decade to measure perspective-taking – the ability to step outside one’s own experience and see the world from someone else’s viewpoint.

People who write the E so that it’s backward to themselves but legible to their partner have taken the other’s perspective. Those who draw the E so that it’s readable to themselves but backward to others haven’t bothered to consider the other person’s point of view.

In an intriguing set of experiments a few years ago, a group of American social scientists led by Adam Galinsky at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management used the E test and some other techniques to investigate the connection between power and empathy. They found that while most people seem naturally inclined to take the other’s perspective, providing people a dose of power correlated with their being less likely to draw the E in the perspective-taking way. In other words, a surplus of power seemed to be connected, and perhaps even led, to a deficit of empathy.

As the researchers wrote: “Across these studies, power was associated with a reduced tendency to comprehend how others see, think, and feel.”

This finding might reveal what’s gone wrong with leadership at every level. On the altar of action orientation and tough-mindedness, we’ve sacrificed the fundamentally human quality of empathy.

To be sure, empathy shouldn’t be the only quality of leaders. If an executive is too worried that a decision might hurt Caroline’s feelings or make Rajiv sad, he’ll never get anything done. Thinking strategically and acting vigorously are essential.

But action orientation without sufficient empathy has at least two flaws. First, people resist going along with proposed actions, which can impede progress. It’s a sturdy principle of organisational life that people quit bosses, not companies. Second, if people do go along, they do so reluctantly, leading to an atmosphere of compliance rather than engagement.

The key is to strike a delicate balance between action-orientation and perspective-taking. It’s not a matter of deciding between hitting your numbers or drawing the E. It’s a matter of hitting your numbers by drawing the E.

What’s more, unlike many technical skills, empathy is extremely difficult to shift to low-cost providers and nearly impossible to reduce to lines of code in a computer program – which makes it a scarce, and therefore more valuable, commodity.

That’s why empathy is racing into many other business functions. For instance, medical schools, especially in the US, are using questionnaires to measure empathy levels of young physicians because scores on this empathy index correlate with patient outcomes in ways that traditional metrics do not.

Designers are donning thick glasses to distort their vision, sticking cotton in their ears to reduce their hearing, and slipping on garden gloves to limit their dexterity – all in an effort to design better products and services for the elderly by empathising with what it’s really like to be old.

And when so many consumer transactions can be executed online, learning how to see the world from the perspective of customers and prospects has become integral to customer service and sales.

Yet somehow in the higher reaches of business, even in our supposedly more enlightened era, empathy, when it’s discussed at all, is often dismissed as frivolous or, worse, “soft.”

A few months ago, I was talking to the dean of an American business school. He told me that when alumni return to campus to guest lecture, the current students invariably ask them a version of this question: As you think back on what you learned in B-school, what do you wish you had paid more attention to or had studied more?

And invariably the answer is the same.

“I’m glad I studied finance and accounting and the quantitative subjects,” the graduates say. “But I wish I had taken all that soft stuff more seriously.”

After they left the orderly farm of a case study for the roaring jungle of a real business, it turned out that what seemed superficially soft – organisational behaviour, psychology, people smarts, communication and, yes, empathy – were crucial. Spreadsheets are easy. Spreadsheets never get bored, call in sick, or lose their motivation.

But influencing people requires more than simply putting the correct number in the proper cell and applying the right formula. And since most corporate managers have reasonably sound technical skills, as well as access to the same information and tools, mastery of these nominally soft aptitudes is creating a fault line that’s separating who moves up and who stays put.

So if you’re a boss, especially a new one, sprinkle a few seasonings on your newly acquired bowl of power. Talk less, listen more. Treat everybody with respect. And if one of your employees asks you to draw a vowel on your forehead, you know what to do.”

!Daniel H Pink writes about the world of work. His most recent book is Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2011

04
Nov
11

Rain Boots Do’s and Dont’s

Unless you live somewhere sunny and warm, November equates rain! Here are some tips on how to wear those stylish rain boots….

  • Avoid wearing your rain boots on a non-rainy day.
  • If you plan to meet friends for lunch and hit the shops, gumboots are not the thing to be wearing (unless, of course, you trudged through a forest amidst a torrential downpour).
  • If you’re headed for a walk along the beach with a latte in hand, please, wear the rain boots!
  • Rubber boots are meant to keep your feet dry while appearing fashionably put together.
  • Don’t choose  the ‘boots with bare legs’ look – it never looks right.
  • Don’t wear your rubber boots at the office! Please!
  • Jeans or thick leggings (paired with a long, roomy top!) are the best combination to wear with your rubber boots.
  • Make the distinction between function and fashion. While we often let fashion win over function, the rain boot requires that you be fashionably functional.
  • Choose a red or colourfully printed pair, have fun and stay dry!
28
Oct
11

From Forbes: Dear Youth In The Office

10 Iconic Leaders Offer Hard-Knock Lessons 

We’ve been spending quite a bit of time with young people lately as they transition from the world of academics to the world of work and beyond. This seemed like some timely advice to share courtesy of Forbes.

Be True To Your Vision

“Listen to other people whose opinions you respect, but in the end, it has to come from you,” said Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour. “You can’t really worry too much by looking to the left or to the right about what the competition might be doing or what other people in your field might be doing. It has to be a true vision.”

Stay Interested

“Learn who you really are to become a whole person,” said Oscar-winning actress Jane Fonda. “It takes a lot of courage because all of the culture is telling us we’re supposed to be this way or that way. Try to be authentic; try to discover it. And stay interested. That’s much more important than being interesting.”

Get Clarity

“I see every challenge as an opportunity….My experience is a network, yours is whatever is calling you right now,” said media mogul Oprah Winfrey on Facebook, soon after appointing herself CEO of her cable network. “Get clarity. Don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed. Don’t be defeated by mistakes. Learn from them. We have a new motto… ‘The next right decision’…What is it?”

Be Bold

“When you’re young, you just don’t know what you don’t know,” said KeyCorp’s Beth Mooney, the first female CEO of top-20 U.S. bank, on demanding her first banker job. “I never thought twice about the fact that if I could get in the door, they would let me in. I’m a person who sees the world in terms of possibilities and opportunities. I dive right in; get it done. Always be part of the solution.”

If New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson could give her younger self advice it would be: “You can take it. You can take on a lot of responsibility. Twenty-five years ago I had two very small children under the age of three, and that seemed overwhelming at times. I didn’t know whether I was up to it. [But] my kids turned out to be the most delightful people [although] I found it daunting.”

Stay Open To Possibilities

“Follow your beliefs. Be open to learn. Never give up,” said Michelle Bachelet, the executive director of UN Women and former president of Chile. “I’ve always been passionate, and I’ve always been involved in all kinds of initiatives. But [as a young girl] I never thought about being a president.”

Keep Believing

“Know this: Everything you dream of, that you care enough to not give up on, the deepest passions in you, the things you really want, will come true,” said Co-Anchor of NBC’s Today Ann Curry. “The things that I once thought were impossible, I now know were probable. In fact, for me, they’ve come true. There are so many things when you’re young, you think, ‘Could this ever happen?’ But if you don’t give up, if you love it enough, and if you work really hard, you will have it. It will happen. I know.”

Harness Your Unique Perspective

Saudi Arabian Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel, the 28-year-old businesswoman, philanthropist and wife of billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud, said on the youth advantage: “The people in a room with me may have more expertise, but nobody knows what I went through more than me. Nobody knows my community, my circle of friends and my generation more than me. Because I’m young and connected, I can connect with younger people and understand.”

Ask Questions, Then Listen

“The smartest thing you can ever do is to constantly ask questions, especially when you’re trying something new,” said Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television group. “Find the people inside your team–who work for you, alongside you, and above you. Ask questions that matter. Listen. And constantly, constantly engage your team in communication. One of the things that I’ve seen kill careers is isolation.”

Overcome Internal Fears

“What is important is to first understand if you are able to overcome your internal limitations, you will be able to conquer any kind of goals you want to,” said Laura Chinchilla, the current and first female President of Costa Rica.

22
Oct
11

Make-up Makes Women Appear More Competent


Wearing makeup has a significant impact on how people perceive women, making women seem more attractive, competent, likable and trustworthy, according to new research published early this month.

According to ABC News, Researchers at Procter & Gamble, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston University and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute showed study participants photos of women either wearing no make-up or wearing one of three different cosmetic looks – natural, professional or glamorous.

In the first study, subjects were first shown images of women, who were of different ages and ethnicities, for 250 milliseconds. In a second study, a different set of study subjects looked at the same photos for an unlimited amount of time so they could carefully inspect each face.

Study participants then rated the women in terms of competence, likability, attractiveness and trustworthiness.

“We found that when faces were shown very quickly, all ratings went up with cosmetics in all different looks,” said Nancy Etcoff, lead author and associate researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital. “The women were judged as more competent, likable, attractive and trustworthy.”

But when subjects had the chance to examine photos for a longer period of time, the same perceptions didn’t carry over.

“When they got to the more dramatic makeup looks, people saw them as equally likable and much more attractive and competent, but less trustworthy,” Etcoff said. “Dramatic makeup was no longer an advantage compared to when people saw the photos very quickly.”

Etcoff said the study findings should serve as a message to women that cosmetics could have an impact on how people perceive them in ways beyond physical attractiveness.

“In situations where a perceiver is under a high cognitive load or under time pressure, he or she is more likely to rely on such automatic judgments for decision-making,” the authors wrote. “Facial images appear on ballots, job applications, web sites and dating sites.”

According to ABC News Radio, a Proctor & Gamble chemist and co-author on the study, Dr. Sarah Vickery, said the research could have an impact on the cosmetic industry.”We’re really seeing for the first time how that impacts how others perceive us so that could lead to new color palates, new finishes or it could impact how we organize our color collections for women,” she said.

This study shows that cosmetics enhance how others perceive your beauty, but there are other ways to feel beautiful,” said Ann Kearney-Cooke, director of the Cincinnati Psychotherapy Institute. “Your warmth, confidence and energy attract others to you. There’s nothing more attractive than a confident woman with a voice of her own, with her own style that comfortable in her own skin.”

(Excerpts from ABC News Article by Kim Carollo)

15
Oct
11

Hallowe’en Trick or Treating Etiquette

Hallowe’en is creeping into communities around the world as a fun and festive family oriented celebration. Its origins are thought to be with Roman or Celtic end of summer and harvest festivals. One Hallowe’en custom popular in North America is trick or treating. Children dress in ghoulish or witty costumes and visit door-to-door in their neighbourhoods chanting “Trick or Treat!”, receiving candy “treats” in return. Guidelines have evolved over the years as some unpleasant experiences have been endured. Here are some Trick or Treating guidelines to share with the goblins or treat-givers in your neighbourhood in order to make Hallowe’en a happy event for all.

  • Trick or Treating gets underway when darkness falls – as early as 5 pm or so. Be sure to have your porch light on and any obstacles (including big dogs!) removed from the pathways.
  • If you are unavailable or have chosen not to participate, then turn your lights off and close the curtains. Trick or Treaters should respect your situation and leave your home off their route. This means not performing any destructive tricks to the property!
  • Treats may be distributed by the homeowner or children may be offered to “Help Yourself”. When “helping oneself” take only one treat unless specifically offered more. Don’t be greedy!
  • The doorbell should be rung once followed by a knock a few moments later if there is no response. Don’t be impatient or rude. It is Hallowe’en so visitors are expected! Give the homeowners time to get to the door.
  • Choose costumes carefully with safety and respect in mind. Visibility on a dark and often rainy night is vitally important as is ability for the costume-wearer to be mobile. Do consider the appropriateness (or in-appropriateness) of overtly sexy or violent costumes on youngsters.
  • Trick or treating is for youngsters. If you are taller than most of the people answering the doors, then your Hallowe’en festivities should move to parties and away from trick or treating.
  • Always say your thank yous and be friendly when asked about your costume.
  • Be respectful of people’s property (and pumpkins) Keep to the sidewalk and avoid tramping on the grass and plants. Open and close gates carefully.
Sadly, it seems every year there are reports of delinquency and vandalism. Please remember that Trick or Treating is for families and children and their safety and comfort should come first.
Happy Hallowe’en!
06
Oct
11

World’s Best…Hand-Made Shoes!

John Lobb, London

He is the king of shoemakers and the shoemaker for kings: John Lobb. In 1866 he opened his store in London in St. James Street. He has become the most famous shoemaker with the most famous clients – and the highest prices.

His pumps go for 2363 Euro, while his polo shoes start at 5200 Euro. What you pay for is what you get, though, and what you get is the Rolls-Royce of shoes. The farmer turned shoemaker (thanks to an accident which left him unfit for farm work), who, after distinguishing himself in 1863 as “Royal Warrant”, began working for the English Monarch shortly thereafter. His most famous early client, Prince Edward (later Edward VII), sported Lobb leather riding boots. Today, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh continue the relationship between the English Majesty and Lobb footwear.

Aubercy, Paris

These are shoes that one must have if one is at all interested in the fine art of shoemaking. Aubercy, the shoemaker for the French nobility, provides luxury for the foot that no one can beat – an investment that will last your life long.

Since 1935, Aubercy has been located in the rue 34 and has been combining Italian creativity and English quality. These shoes are extremely fashionable yet extremely precise, a rarity in la mode. Initially, Aubercy shoes were only for males until the 70’s when female models were introduced. Countless models made of countless types of leather are available in more than 50 colors. Class and style are at the bed of each shoe made exclusively of leather. In 1995, the head of the company, Xavier Aubercy, insured the long-time survival of Aubercy by placing an enhanced importance on craftsmanship. An astonishing 390 individual steps go into the production of a single pair of Aubercy shoes which more or less explains the exorbitance of their price: somewhere between 1000 and 2000 Euro.

 Axel Himer, Baden-Baden

Axel Himer is often regarded as the best shoe manufacturer in Germany: customers who completely put their trust (and feet) in Himer are Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franz Beckenbauer and racing driver Giancarlo Fisichella. A pair of handcrafted shoes from Himer start from around €2000 but as they are perfectly handcrafted in buffalo, calf or lamb leather to accurate measurements of customer’s feet and have an average life of around 20 years, it’s certainly money well spent.

Markus Scheer, Vienna

Those who travel long journeys should know a good shoemaker. Markus Scheer, currently in its sixth generation, belongs to the best.

In 1816, Johann Scheer began the Scheer dynasty in Vienna. From the start, the Scheer name enjoyed success in the shoe business. The Austrian Monarchy, including Chancellor Franz Joseph and the Archduke of Vienna, all had their shoes made by none other than Scheer. Soon Scheer won himself the title of “Royal Shoemaker” and quickly thereafter he was making shoes for the heads of state in Germany and Greece. Today, the highest of personalities from all realms wear the Scheer name, making these shoes truly timeless. The most radical model in their current line is a pair of loafers made exclusively from zebra fur, quite a jump for an Austrian company. The price for a pair of Scheer shoes is high, normally around 2500 Euro. It’s not uncommon, however, for a pair to last 25 to 30 years, making this quite a sound investment.

E. Vogel, New York

Traditionally, hand-made shoes are at home in Europe, above all Austria and England. E. Vogel strides against this current, however, and truly understands the art of the hand-made shoe.

The Vogel name is in its fourth generation thanks in most part to intense dedication, and of course “the best materials and the most brilliant workers”, as the bosses Dean Vogel and his cousin Jack Lynch have been heard to say. With a going rate of between 700 and 900 Euro, it is even quite affordable to profit from Vogel’s dedication to shoemaking which is now in its 128th year of successful operation. Most attractive are their leather-riding boots which are worn by the American national riding team. Many other teams around the world, not just the Americans, sport the comfort of Vogel, as well.

Berluti, Paris

Since 1895, the Italian-based family-owned male shoemaker has produced unparalleled comfort, elegance, and depth of color in his shoes.

It is the leather that gives Berluti shoes their quality, which are made of Venetian leather with its extraordinarily deep, yet light characteristic. On account of this fine leather, Berluti shoes give off a color and shine that makes them truly unique, making the female shoemaker’s statement believable: “Every shoe is a work of art.” Everyone who wears Baluti shoes becomes a part of the shoe, grows with the shoe. Since the 20’s Berluti has impressed the world with its product, even the Duke of Windsor found them “Nice and Naughty”. Following the duke in prominence are James de Rothschild, Yul Brynner, Robert de Niro and Gerard Depardieu, who all decided for Berluti shoes. The production alone is a testament to the quality of the shoe, as each shoe goes through 250 rigorous steps before seeing its first step on the street. Such passion has its price: a pair of Berluti’s start between 2,500 and 3,000 Euro.

Foster & Son, London

A good shoe needs time: 5 to 6 months to be exact. In the end, the leather has to come into its form. Only then can one be sure of the shoe’s final shape and size.

This is the motto of Foster & Son, one of the world’s most famous shoemakers, dating back to 1840 in London. The beginnings of the Foster household were infamous, seeing the destruction of an entire factory and the tragic death of Charles’ wife, which all resulted from a surprise air raid during WWI. The widowed shoemaker continued his business in St. James producing confectionary shoes and other leather products in addition to standard-soled shoes. In 1999, Foster merged with Henry Maxwell, which proved a total success. Today, customers come from all over the world (80 countries) for the elegance, comfort, and quality of Foster shoes, ranging from billionaires to shoe connoisseurs. In the end, 100 hours go into the production of a Foster pair of shoes. This has its price: 2000 Euro to be exact.