Category Archives for "Movies & TV"

Aug 26

Which Red Is Right For You?

By Joanne Blake | Dress & Image , Movies & TV

Tips to Choose Best Color for Your Skin Tone

Emmys – How to Pick Your Fabulous Shade of Red

Reds were the hot colour on the Emmys this year with coral (a shade of red) leading the pack.

Coral is an on trend colour that has been popular these past few seasons. Nowhere was it more evident than the Emmy’s where many stars embraced it and wore it well. But coral is not for everyone. Here are some tips and advice to make it work.

Not your best friend?

Depending on your complexion it may not be your best friend. Coral is part of the red family and everyone can wear a shade of red depending on your skin tone.

Peaches and cream complexions

Coral is a ‘warm’ red and works best for those that have a peaches and cream complexion and golden shades in their hair. Homeland star Claire Danes and Heidi Klum star of Project Runway looked spectacular in it.

The rest of us

The orangey coral colour, brightens, frames and adds a glow to their peaches and cream complexions. Unfortunately it doesn’t do the same for the rest of us, myself included. With my olive complexion and dark hair (thanks to my Italian heritage), a better red choice for me would be what Julia Louis Dreyfus wore to the Emmys in 2012.

Julia Louis Dreyfus looked stunning in a deep burgundy colour, a shade that happens to be popular for fall 2014. She and I have a lot in common, in our complexion that is, not so much our personality, although I love her sense of humor.


We share the same ‘cool undertone’ complexion as many Asians and women of colour. If we wear colours like coral that are warm (yellow undertone) it can makes us appear sallow or sickly. (Good, only if you want to get a sick day off work.)

Cool reds, those that have a blue undertone such as raspberry, wine, and burgundy flatter us as they tend to counterbalance the yellow cast in our complexion. 

While there are exceptions, most people (men included) of southern European, Asian, African and South American countries can wear cool reds well. The corals tend to suit northern Europeans and Nordic people best.

But I love coral

If you have a cool complexion and still love coral, here's a tip. You can cheat a little like Julia Louis Dreyfus did this year (on right) by choosing a shade that leans more towards pink than orange.

Why not look your best?

Dress for success isn't just choosing appropriate styles and fit, it's also about colour.
Can you wear any shade of color you want? Yes.
Should you? No.
To dress for success and look your best you need to choose your right shade of each colour so that you look as vibrant and fabulous as you are!

Posted by Joanne Blake – Canadian Corporate Image Consultant, Coach and proud Italian

PS – You are often subconsciously drawn to the shades that work best for your skin tone, but if you'd like some help or advice, consider some executive coaching.

Jul 22

No. 1 Summer Read – The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series

By Joanne Blake | Books , Etiquette & Manners , Movies & TV

Good Books – Feel Good Summer Reading

Want a good conversation starter?

Ask someone what they’re reading.

Joanne and Terry both give a big 4 thumbs up

Here’s what I’m reading.  A kinder, gentler, good manners detective series. That’s how you could describe the Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency books. Terry and I both love these books.

No guns, no car chases

Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon

More like a collection of short stories that take you into the special world of Botswana and Mma Precious Ramotswe, a “traditionally built” female detective. No guns, no car chases, just engaging cases built around human foibles, personal problems and mysteries of the heart.

Cheerful stories

These cheerful and addictive books explore the human spirit and the frailty of our egos and human hearts. They are the masterful concoctions of Alexander McCall Smith, a Zimbabwean-born Scottish writer and Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh. Click here for more info and list of books in the series.

Now a TV series

BBC with HBO has converted the books along with a few new plot lines and characters into a feel-good television series that Joanne and I recently saw on DVD. Sometimes you are disappointed when you see a book you love turned into a movie but in this case the series is remarkably true to the feel and spirit of the books. Click here to see short video of the making of the HBO series.

Nice people finish…

Chill out this summer with one of these delightful books. Let Precious Ramotswea and her “traditional values” show you that rude bad people get their comeuppance and nice people rarely finish last. (Now there are 14 of books. The latest is The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon.)

PS – The mystery how to pronounce Mma Ramotswe – solved

Trouble conversing about the book because you’re not sure how to pronounce  the main character’s name? Mma, what to do with the double M? According to Lisette Lecat, a native of South Africa who narrates some of the series audio books:  Lecat pronounces both — mm-mmah — as if the word had a false start and needed to begin again. The second part isn’t too difficult. It’s Ram-OAT-sway, with a slight roll on the R. (Pronounciation guide courtesy of SANDY BAUERS, Knight Ridder/Tribune news.)

Posted by Joanne Blake – Canadian Business Etiquette Expert and well-mannered book lover
Apr 11

Kindness and Volunteering Work Miracles

By Terry Pithers | Etiquette & Manners , Movies & TV , Networking

If You’ve Ever Wondered How Can You Make a Difference?

The Nicholas Winton Story

An attitude adjustment

Joanne and I are fairly upbeat but like most people we have our ups and downs, especially after a long Edmonton winter. Every now and then something comes along that reminds us how lucky we are and how each of us can and do make a difference in people's lives.

Sometimes this is in the form of a e-mail or note from someone who has read our blog, taken a course or met us at a university mentoring session. They let us know how some small little things have touched them or helped them in their career or life.

A hidden gem

Sometimes we stumble on a reminder. As movie fans we scour Netflix for films that are 4 star or better and found a gem – Nicky's Children. This moving documentary really brought home how little and big things we do for others can make an unbelievable difference to people's lives and the planet.

Skiing or volunteering?

It tells the inspiring story of Nicholas Winton, a 29-year-old London stockbroker who instead of going on his ski vacation, journeys to Prague and volunteers to help refugees fleeing Hitler's annexation of Czechoslovakia.

Save the Children?

That chance trip starts him on a single-minded journey to try to do something that people told him was impossible. He focuses on attempting to get Jewish children out of the hands of the Nazis and appeals to various countries to allow him to do so. Only Sweden and England open their doors, as long as Nicky can find guarantors and foster families to take care of each and every one of the children.

Continues on with his life

When war is finally declared he has been able to save the lives of more than 600 children. After this good deed, he joins the RAF, fights in the war and then continues on with his life – never telling anyone about his good deed.

They had no idea

Until shortly before this film was made, the children, now adults with families, children and grandchildren of their own (more than 6000), had no idea who he was or what he had done for them.

"Save one life, save the world."

His wife, finding a box containing the children's photos, his notes and files, brings the story to the attention of the BBC and Nicholas Winton receives a suprise tearful reunion with some of his "children" and a knighthood. But the story of this good deed doesn't end there.

The legacy continues

Among those saved are the British film director, Karel Reisz (The French Lieutenant's Woman, Isadora, and Sweet Dreams) and Canadian journalist and news correspondent for CBC, Joe Schlesinger. Many of those he saved have paid it forward and made a difference in the world. (Watch the short interview and story with now 104 year old Nicky Winton above)

The ripples of a good deed don’t stop there

His story has inspired young people around the world to take up his example and volunteer to do big and small things to make a difference.

You never know

Watch this film. You’ll cry, you’ll be inspired, and you’ll never forget that one person can make a difference. As we often say in our seminars, the little kindnesses that we do ripple out in all directions. Let us know what you think and share your experiences. (see the Nicky's Children trailer above and more remarkable clips of this amazing pay-it-forward story)

Posted by Terry Pithers –  Canadian soft skills trainer and believer in the power of kindness
Mar 20

Ethics, House of Cards and Golf

By Terry Pithers | Dress & Image , Etiquette & Manners , Movies & TV

House of Cards Shows Us What NOT to Do in Business and Golf

House of Cards Addicts

Joanne and I are addicted to the House of Cards series. Ethics or lack of ethics is the main driver of this highly acclaimed Netflix political thriller. There is a sort of guilty pleasure watching senator and powerbroker, Frank Underwood (played devilishly well by Kevin Spacey), uses any dirty trick in the book to further his political ambitions.

Warning – House of Cards is highly addictive & shows you how to not act in business


How would Frank Underwood play golf?

After watching Frank’s two–faced Machiavellian dealings in the halls of Washington, I’ve often wondered how Frank would play golf. Maybe Underwood’s devious character traits would have been revealed if the voters and other politicians had a chance to play a round of golf with him.

Golf – The great reveal

Mark McCormack, a great sports agent and writer wrote in his book What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School, "I can tell more about how someone is likely to react in a business situation from one round of golf than I can from a hundred hours of meetings."

What would Frank reveal about himself?

Golf is a great business/networking tool that can enhance your business and career if your style and substance are positive. The game gives us a rare opportunity to observe and make valid judgments about someone's character based on their demeanor on the greens. It can also reveal less than ideal traits.

When the going gets tough…

Frank Underwood is tough and he certainly uses colorful language (warning – Netflix has a lot more censorship leeway than standard TV). I’m sure he wouldn't be able to avoid using bad language on the fairway.

I was once golfing with someone who turned out to be like Frank. He was having a dismal round which he punctuated with #*@#% language. After missing his forth putt on a green, in a rage he attempted to drive his ball out into the water hazard with his putter.

Instead he excavated a huge divot into the green. More expletives. When he calmed down, he apologized. But the damage was already done, to his reputation and the green.

The hole truth and…

What about fudging a score? I’m pretty sure Frank Underwood would practice some creative score accounting. Doesn't it amaze you when people do this? Most golf partners know when a gimme isn't a gimme, when strokes are shaved and rules are bent to suit. This sort of pursuit lowers a lot more than just someone’s score.

People who live in glass houses…

The scary thing is if Frank Underwood saw someone do these things, he would turn to the camera (a neat House of Cards device) and tell us how low class it is and that he despises the culprit. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw golf balls.

Your brand is showing

Remember golf is not just “the best way to spoil a good walk”, it can also be the best way to spoil a good reputation. Mind your P’s and Q’s on the course and everywhere, your brand is showing. A great professional presence and brand comes across when you act ethically consistently, especially on the fairway.

Posted by Terry Pithers –  Canadian business etiquette expert and nice guy who likes to watch Frank Underwood be bad
(Disclosure: We are Amazon affiliates so some amazon links will generate a small affiliate fee to us at no extra cost to you. We only recommend things we like or love.)
Feb 05

Part Two – Our Top Ten Documentaries for 2013

By Terry Pithers | Movies & TV

Here are the remaining 5 of our top 10 choices of those we’ve seen this year.

Second of a two-part blog (see part one)

Style for Success - Terry and Joanne's top movie film picks


Here are 5 more documentary films we would highly recommend watching. (Many of them are available on Netflix and they’re fairly recent, although not necessarily made in 2013). We have included links to the trailers.

All have 4 thumbs way up.

6 –  Chasing Ice

Environmental photographer James Balog uses time-lapse cameras to capture a record of the world’s changing glaciers. Fascinating and alarming as we watch these ice mountains disappearing at a breathtaking rate. Also a portrait of an individual making an effort to not only record this loss but doing what he can to stop it.

7 –  They Call It Myanmar

A beautiful heartrending portrait of a country and its people. Shot secretly in the second-most isolated country on the planet, Burma, this documentary lifts the curtain to expose everyday life in a country that has been held in the grip of a brutal military regime for 50 years. If you enjoyed the film The Lady (and we did) based on the life of Burmese activist Aung San Suu Kyi, this is a compelling update and companion piece.

8 – Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel

This loving portrait of the legendary arbiter of fashion, art and culture illustrates Vreeland’s remarkable life. Born in Paris in 1903, she was to become New York’s “Empress of Fashion” and a celebrated Vogue editor. A film about another true individual with a vision. It a beautiful companion piece to Bill Cunningham New York mentioned in our first 5 choices.

9 – Five Broken Cameras

When the oppressed become oppressors. This Oscar-nominated documentary centers on a Palestinian farmer trying to make a living amid Israeli expansion into the occupied territories. His olive farm is divided by a security wall and his land squeezed by huge apartment buildings of the “settlers”. We see his family’s and neighbours’ struggle and journey from victims to rebels thru the lenses of his 5 video cameras that are broken one-by-one by the occupiers.

10 – Shelter Me

A heartwarming film that aims to boost the adoption of shelter pets.  This uplifting documentary focuses on the success stories, including shelter dogs trained in a women’s prison as service animals for the disabled and others who are helping returning war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Keep your hankies handy.

What do you think?

We’d love to hear about movies you enjoyed or that inspired and moved you. (Because we’d like to add them to our movie bucket list.)

Check out the first half of this post: Our first 5 of Our Top Ten Documentaries of 2013.

Posted by Terry Pithers – Canadian business etiquette expert and movie fan
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