Tips to Plan the Perfect Bridal Shower from Lifestyle Expert Susie Coelho
Date: May 15th, 2009 3:53:15 pm - Subscribe
Mood: distraught


Spring is here and the excitement of the wedding season is upon us! Many of you may be planning wedding showers or weddings in the next few months and will be looking for fresh tips.

In my most recent book Style Your Dream Wedding, I help brides identify their own unique wedding style and offer a treasure trove of ideas. If you are planning a shower, it’s a unique idea to align the party theme with the bride’s wedding style. The style could be Classic, Garden, Fanciful or Exotic. Sticking to a style lets you plan without being overwhelmed with a vast amount of choices.

# Determine the bride’s style. For example, for a “Contemporary” bride, how about having the shower at a local art gallery? Or create your own art gallery! For décor you might select black and white photos of the bride, groom and close friends and arrange them all around the room.

# Save money by having an evening shower with light appetizers, champagne and dessert instead of a heavy buffet. One of my favorite recipes is to pair Weight Watchers Chocolate Brownies with berries and a dollop of whip cream, low fat of course!

# Choose your color palette based on your style. For contemporary it could be chocolate and pale blue or white and lime green.

# Incorporate the theme or colors from the occasion into your party favors, with vibrant or decorative boxes stuffed with tissue paper and filled with yummy Weight Watchers chocolates, or a snack cake for guests to enjoy later on.

Let us know if you’ve tried out these tips or have some Weight Watchers Supermarket food ideas of your own.
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3 Ways to Shake Up Your Routine! Tips from Weight Watchers Sensible Foods
Date: May 15th, 2009 3:51:40 pm - Subscribe
Mood: orgasmic


Are you on routine overload? If you are looking for ways to invigorate the rut you’re in, we have tips and tricks to bring a sense of freshness to each day.


Here’s a sneak peek at some suggestions:


* Freshen Up Your Routine – this could be as easy as wearing a new bold lipstick color. Change it up to keep boredom at bay. Maybe you finally splurge on flowers for the office or dining room.

* Think Young & Playful – you’re never too old to reminisce! Invite some old friends over for a night of takeout and charades.

* Take On New Challenges – live your life to the fullest and why not give back while doing it. Volunteer at a local charity and see how good it feels to share your positive energy.
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Week 2: Why We Need Wild And Pristine Seas
Date: May 13th, 2009 9:49:32 pm - Subscribe
Mood: sneaky


It’s no secret: Our oceans are in danger. For years, overfishing and pollution have eliminated marine life and degraded ocean ecosystems. We are on the verge of losing the last of the pristine seas that we inherited from our ancestors.

But the story of our ocean isn’t all doom and gloom. Ocean Now is an expedition of hope, that aims to find, survey, and protect some of the last healthy, undisturbed places in the ocean.

WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?

Humanity’s impact on ocean life is global.

Scientists estimate that 90 percent of the ocean's large predatory fish have been removed by fishing, near-shore waters suffer harmful algal and jellyfish blooms, industrial fleets are harming deep seamounts that harbor unique and irreplaceable biodiversity, and a fifth of Earth's coral reefs are dead due to human-induced changes in the seas.

In particular, coral reefs have been hit hard by a combination of human activities, including overfishing, coastal development, pollution, and global warming.

A healthy coral reef is like a colorful tropical forest with rich diversity in crystal-clear waters, populated by large animals such as sharks, groupers, and sea turtles. A degraded reef is brown and ugly, most of its corals are dead and covered by seaweed, sharks and other large predators are gone, and the water is clouded with sediment and algae. In such places, the richness that Jacques Cousteau and Sylvia Earle first showed us decades ago is all but gone.

WHY WE NEED WILD PLACES

The decline of ocean life is accelerating; residual healthy marine ecosystems are dwindling. Modern science began long after humans started exploiting and degrading the seas; hence, we do not have rigorous baselines for understanding what the ocean was like before, what we have lost, and what options exist for the future. These rich submarine pockets of healthy marine life preserve unique species, many of them likely never yet seen and described.

The ocean’s few remaining wild places are needed, not just to instruct us and to preserve scarce species, but also to inspire people to care about marine life, and to create public demand for conservation. Pristine places are time machines, a window to the past and a blueprint for a better future.

Healthy oceans are the main engine—storing and cycling heat, stabilizing and renewing our atmosphere, engendering life—that makes our planet a wonderful place to live. And pristine places are rare gems that need to be protected from human disturbance as soon as possible.

WHY THIS EXPEDITION?

This project reflects the spirit of scientific exploration that has characterized National Geographic for more than a century.

In this expedition to the southern Line Islands, the Ocean Now team will identify and survey five of the last undisturbed coral reef ecosystems on the planet. By studying the pristine coral reef communities surrounding islands of different size, we will determine the minimum critical area that a marine reserve must encompass in order to protect an entire, viable ecosystem and ensure its resilience. Scientific data, photographs, and video gathered during the expedition will be shared with Kiribati policy makers, to inform them about their natural heritage, and to document the need to preserve this unique archipelago for future generations.

Beyond the islands, we hope the project will also encourage people everywhere to regard the ocean—despite its awesome immensity—as a finite and a threatened resource, something we all affect, for better or worse, by the choices we make about what we eat and how we live.

More Ocean Facts From NG.com:

* The ocean covers 71 percent of the Earth's surface and contains 97 percent of its water. That is why the Earth is often referred to as the “blue planet.”
* An estimated 80 percent of all life on Earth is found under the ocean’s surface, and our ocean contains 99 percent of the living space on the planet. Less than ten percent of the ocean’s volume has been explored by humans.

Ocean Destruction:

* Ten percent of the world's reefs have been completely destroyed. In the Philippines, where coral reef damage is extensive, more than 70 percent of native reef ecosystems have been destroyed and only 5 percent can be said to be in good condition.
* Already, the populations of nearly 30 percent of edible fish and seafood species have declined by 90 percent—the threshold at which fisheries are termed “collapsed” and potentially beyond recovery.
* In a study published in the journal Science, an international team of ecologists and economists predicted that by 2048, “the world's oceans will be empty of fish.... The cause: the disappearance of species due to overfishing, pollution, habitat loss, and climate change.”
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Refreshing Healthy Child: Managing Growing Content & Purpose
Date: May 13th, 2009 9:46:50 pm - Subscribe
Mood: done


Viget had the opportunity to design a new online home for Healthy Child Healthy World two years ago when they were in the middle of a big rebranding endeavor. The outcome was a success and we launched a site that reinforced/helped spread the HealthyChild.org message of understanding environmental health risks for children. We were fortunate to continue our relationship with HealthyChild and have had the opportunity to support the site since launch. But two years is a long time, especially on the web. In that 24 month period, online trends are guaranteed to change, user expectations are bound to grow, and client goals/dreams will expand as they get a footing in the opportunities their newly redesigned site offers them.

In that time we've made tweaks and small modifications here and there as our client (and their online audience) grew. Recently we had the opportunity to step back and see where we could improve on the formula. We found that some areas of the site (the Blog & Shopping Recommendations to name two) had become a much larger entity then we had previously expected. A few seams were also showing, including the ability to add new elements to the page without visually clogging the layout.
Re-targeting the Demographic & Pushing the Concept

We started by examining what was working. The blog really took off after launch and has become a hub of activity on the site. Our original intent was to allow the blog to be a supplement to larger sections focused on research and issues. In reality that relationship was swapped and the blog was becoming the focal point. We decided to simplify the homepage and blur the distinction between the blog/lifestyle headlines and recent research articles, allowing more accessible content to push users to the deeper, research-oriented sections of the site. It felt like a much more natural flow of content, in that if you care about a specific topic you might care about the research behind it but not vice-versa.

We also re-evaluated HealthyChild's demographic. After researching what content was winning on the site we drew conclusions that a majority of our clients users (and our target demo) were younger, first-time mothers. This helped to support the shift from a strictly research heavy homepage in favor of more issues/story based content. At the same time we rested on the visual concept by asking "What would HealthyChild look like if it was a hip magazine for young mothers?" Not a completely original concept by any stretch but one that helped us and our client quickly imagine the goals of the redesign while setting prescience of departure from where we currently were visually. We pulled together a variety of magazines off the rack as inspiration both for visual perspective as well as headline hierarchy.

We then jumped right into the comp phase, roughing in the areas of the homepage that would be the foundation of our new concept, namely the blog content. We took our lead from the various magazines we researched and lead off with 4 main callouts (basically our magazine headlines) and created a zone that would be eye catching and allow us to create fresh graphic content that would be large enough to visually change the look of the site (our magazine cover image) on a regular basis (1). The last thing we want is for users to glaze over content that doesn't look like it's changed for a year. Next we carved out a zone for regularly added blog posts and articles that will be the main hub of activity on the site (2). Lastly Kara and I sat down and restructured the main navigation and general site structure to mirror the new focus of the site. We brought the editorial & lifestyle aspects of "Live Healthy" to the front and center and let "Issues" and "Research" fall into a supporting role across the site.

Pushing the Brand

We also had the opportunity to visually push and expand the HealthyChild brand. Since our content was switching gears to a more lifestyle approach it was key that we present the refreshed site in a manner that mimicked it's content. First I dissected the logo and pulled elements that I thought would work on their own. For example the HealthyChild logo is really expressive on it's own, so it was easy to grab the paint swipes out and use them to really punch up the vibe and movement on the page. Other elements were inspired by traditional print design and pieces from the magazines we pulled for inspiration. Next was layering elements and brushing on a soft gloss that would help reinforce our magazine concept, bringing out the lifestyle and energized feel we hoped visitors would take away from their visit to the site.

That's A Wrap

Structurally HealthyChild is very much the same as it was before. All the content that previously lived on the site was left intact and the majority of the overhaul was done on the front-end. This allowed us to move quickly, adopt things that were working in the previous design, work in the framework that we currently had setup for the site in EE, and keep our costs down to give the greatest value to our client. By taking a few steps back we were able to better target the new needs of our client and in turn the needs of their users.

Below is a before (right before the refresh) and after shots.


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