Hug Kiss and Make Up: The Sweetheart Rhythm!

Hug Kiss and Make Up: The Sweetheart Rhythm!

A hug is all you need sometimes.
Hugs are the best remedy to any quarrel; the warm and loving embrace envelops you. The feelings of love and grace come swooping back to cure any negative energy. Collect the sentiments of those happy feelings and celebrate Hug Your Sweetheart Day this week, on August 23. No better reason to give a hug that says how much you love a person.
Showing passion for another person can be contagious; the happiness you preach can be carried on to the people around you. Let your positive energy waft around you; fill your heart up with love and devotion!
Sometimes the day-to-day grind can make a person lose sight on what’s important. Misunderstandings happen, don’t let them ruin a beautiful relationship. Celebrate Kiss And Makeup Day on August 25. Learn to let minor things go, the days are too short to be upset. Send a card, let the steam roll on over.
While we are at it, the whole entire month of August is Romance Awareness Month. Let the light shine down on your romance, your love is one of the most important things. Nurture the nest, care for the people you love. Keep that fire burning close and tight.
Hug it out, Kiss and Makeup, let your romance shine, all these words reflect on caring this week. The key to happiness is letting everyone know you love him or her. Send any kind of card to make sure they hear the words you want to say. Celebrate the love!

What’s Your Collar ID?

What’s Your Collar ID?

Styles Abound, but Finding Collars to Fit the Occasion, Flatter the Face Is Knotty

This abbreviated spread collar, which Charles Tyrwhitt calls a ‘small business casual collar’ falls in between dressy and casual. Charles Tyrwhitt

untitledWhat’s happened to men’s collars?

There are now not just spread collars but medium spreads and extreme spreads, and not just button-down collars but abbreviated button-down collars and short, rounded button-down collars.

There is the return of the snap-tab collar, which Hamilton, a 130-year-old high-end shirt maker in Houston, is aggressively promoting for spring.

Thomas Pink is among the brands launching “dressy” button-down shirts meant to be worn with suits and ties, traditionally a no-no.

The least familiar, and therefore most shocking to the eye, are the extremely short collars some designers have shown on runways over the past two years.

Harry Styles, a One Direction heartthrob, sports the club collar sans tie. Associated Press

These new collar shapes and styles are in part due to the menswear industry’s revival of looks that have long been out of fashion. For example, the club collar, with its abbreviated, rounded shape, is back.

The overall slimming down of the menswear silhouette calls for smaller collars. Designers and retailers also have been pushing clothes that fall somewhere in between work wear and casual wear, and adding more collar options along the way.

Jamie Dimon, of JPMorgan Chase, in a forward point collar. Getty Images

Brooks Brothers, which currently carries 10 collar styles, sells an English spread collar and a Londoner collar. (The spread, or collar width, on the English spread collar is 5 inches, while the Londoner is 6). There are tennis collars and golf collars, also known as club collars.

The upside: Men have more ways to communicate personal style through their shirts than color and pattern. The downside: Men who want to choose the appropriate collar for everyday or special-occasion events may need a scorecard.

Shirt makers and retailers recently began placing more emphasis on medium-spread collars, which work buttoned up with a tie but, conveniently, also can be worn with the top button undone and the collar falling neatly under the lapel of a sport coat without winging out.


Mike Sudal and Joseph Shoulak/The Wall Street Journal

Banana Republic began re-engineering its shirt collars three years ago in pursuit of such a collar. The retailer conducted a series of wear tests where men wore the shirts with ties and different knots and then tried the same shirts with the top button undone.

Simon Kneen, creative director of Banana Republic, says the retailer also used a lighter fusable, or adhesive, in the collars to make them less rigid, trying to achieve collar “magic,” Mr. Kneen says. “The magic is when the first button opens and the collar doesn’t fly around your ears, which is never a good look.”

Banana Republic calls the collar that resulted its “signature” collar—it is the collar shoppers will find on most of its non-button-down dress shirts.

Brooks Brothers, Hamilton, Thomas Pink and Turnbull & Asser say spread collars are their most popular, with medium or moderate spreads the top sellers, especially among men in their 20s to early 40s.

The sales reflect a man who wants to buy a shirt that can work with and without a tie. Traditional forward-point-collar shirts, are generally always worn with suits and ties, as the collars can look oddly long and pointy when the top button is undone.

David Elrod, a Dallas trial lawyer, says he prefers to wear forward-point collars with suits and ties rather than spread collars. “I try to dress more conservative in the courtroom,” Mr. Elrod says. He wears spread collars while traveling with a sport coat and no tie.

But the 61-year-old says he would never wear a spread collar with a tie: “A lot of younger guys do that but most guys my age wear the more conservative point collar with ties.”

Some traditional rules surrounding collars seem to be going out the window. Wearing a button-down collar shirt with a suit and tie has sometimes been frowned upon by purists. Yet men’s fashion designers and fashion magazines have been showing button-down shirts worn with suits and ties in recent years.

Brooks Brothers launched a dressy button-down shirt in its higher-priced Luxury offering for spring. The retailer introduced button-downs in 1896 and they remain the clothier’s second best-selling shirts, after Ainsley spread collars, according to Richard Cristodero, merchandise manager for men’s furnishings.

Brooks Brothers decided to introduce a dressier button-down collar with a higher thread count and made with Italian-woven fabric in its Luxury shirt because sales staff had been getting requests from customers for such a shirt, he says. It is “something we were missing.”

Men who choose a button-down shirt to wear with a suit and tie should consider a dressy fabric.

“Button downs are really American sport shirts, worn with a jacket and tie for an Ivy-League look or out of context with an Italian suit a la Gianni Agnelli,” the late Fiat mogul known for his style, says Tom Julian, a New York-based men’s style consultant.

Button-down collars usually work best when worn with a pair of slacks, or under a crew neck sweater. “A crew neck is a more casual American sportswear look and therefore, the American sportswear collar complements it best,” says Mr. Julian, the author of two men’s style guides. Button-down collars also work with a sport coat and no tie.

Another collar that goes well with a sport coat sans tie is the semi- or medium-spread collar as both “stand up on their own without a tie,” and don’t flare out.

Beyond point collars, Mr. Julian has a rule of thumb on which shirts call for ties: “The wider the spread on a shirt, the more it needs a tie.” So shirts such as Thomas Pink’s new extreme cutaway collar shirt, called Beaufort, or Brooks Brothers’ Londoner should be worn with a tie. Also, the wider the spread, the larger the tie knot.

Shoppers should also consider a man’s physical size. “A wide collar can broaden a narrow neck and face by drawing the eye outward,” says Mr. Julian. “Conversely, a narrow-point collar can draw the eyes in and down when a man has a wide face and neck.”

Tab and club collars, meanwhile, “are more novelty at this point, but fun for the more adventurous,” he says. Pop star Harry Styles of boy band One Direction has been spotted wearing rounded club collars. Just don’t try them with a V-neck sweater or crew neck, Mr. Julian advises. The collar is too short for either one, so the balance will be all wrong.

“A man wearing a slim suit or blazer with a narrow lapel to the office should opt for a narrow-point collar that is about 1 inch shorter than average to keep the lean proportions,” Mr. Julian says.

That kind of collar might be too lean for a classic notch lapel sport coat, he says. A button-down would be more appropriate in that case. The proportions of a spread collar would work best with a double-breasted sport coat or one with wide peak lapels, he says.

Fans of a tweed sport coat with corduroy pants for the office should opt for the sporty feel of a button-down collar. For a dinner or drinks night, a spread collar pairs well with a sport coat or V-neck sweater and looks modern.

‘Downton Abbey’ characters Matthew Crawley, left, and Lord Grantham wear stiff, detachable collars affixed by their valets. Nick Briggs/ITV for Masterpiece

The Era of Collar Sold Separately

There was a time when the most popular collar for a man was a detachable one.

Detachable collars, like the ones on TV’s “Downton Abbey,” were typically attached to the shirt using studs via a little button hole in the back of the shirt’s band. Detachable collars also were often made of a stiffer material than the shirt so that the collar would “stand up,” says menswear historian Alan Flusser. This was especially important with formal wear’s “wing” collars.

Detachable collars also signaled social class. “You needed a butler or valet to help you put them on,” Mr. Flusser says.

The idea for detachable collars was born out of the drudgery of 19th Century laundering practices.

In 1820, a housewife in Troy, N.Y., whose blacksmith husband insisted on a clean shirt each night to attend evening events, decided to cut off the collars and attach them to the body of the shirt with strings, according to Mr. Flusser, who recounts the story in his book “Dressing the Man.” This way, a wife could clean just the collar, rather than laundering the entire shirt.

The collars caught on with other housewives and eventually commercial producers began making and selling detachable collars. “There were companies that just made collars,” Mr. Flusser says. Men could have many different collars for one shirt, he says.

Detachable collars started to fall out of favor between World War I and World War II with the introduction of washing machines as well as cloth rationing. Also, men’s style traditions such as wearing white tie, which usually called for wing collars, began to loosen and events requiring starched formal collars declined.

–Ray A. Smith


The Importance of Having Friends

The Importance of Having Friends

Once upon a time, a lonely hawk lived on a tree by the riverside. He was young and handsome but he had no friends.

 One day, he saw a beautiful she-hawk sitting on a tree and wanted to marry her but the she-hawk refused to marry him, as he had no friends.

“Will you marry me if I make three friends?” – he asked. She said that she definitely would.

The hawk then went looking for friends. While flying on the other bank of the river, he saw a huge tortoise. The hawk flew down to him and said, “Dear tortoise, will you be my friend and help me in my hour of need?” The tortoise agreed to become his friend and said, “Call me whenever you need me and I shall come to your side.”

The hawk also promised him his help at any time and then flew in search of the second friend. Soon, he came upon an osprey. The hawk went to it and asked her if she would be his friend and help him in time of his need. The osprey very gladly accepted his friendship and offered her help whenever he needed it.

The hawk was glad that he had made two friends.

He went on searching for a third friend. He flew over the jungle and saw a tiger. Fearless as he was, he went near the tiger and requested him to be his friend. The tiger readily accepted his friendship and said, “From now onwards, I am your friend. Nobody will harm you. If anyone tries to harm you, call me and I will be there to help you.”

The hawk was very happy. He thanked the tiger, flew back to the she-hawk and said, “I have made three friends, a tortoise, an osprey and a tiger. Will you marry me now?”

The she-hawk agreed to marry him. Soon, their marriage took place. The three friends attended the hawk’s marriage.

After some-months, she-hawk gave birth to two baby hawks. The parent hawks were very happy to have cute little babies. They lived happily in their nest.

One day, two hunters came and sat under that tree. They were tired and hungry. They had not been able to hunt any animal. They decided to catch some fish. But, they couldn’t catch even a single fish.

It was getting dark and the hunters decided to spend the night under that tree. To keep themselves warm, they lit a fire. The fire soared high. The hawk-babies on the tree could not bear the heat and the smoke coming out of the fire. They started crying. The Hunters heard their cries. One of them said, ”There are birds on this tree. Let us catch them. We shall roast them on the fire and eat them.” The other one agreed.

The hawks heard them and were really worried about the safety of their babies. The she-hawk suggested that they seek help from their friends. The hawk went to the osprey and told her his problem. The osprey said, “Go home and protect your babies. I shall tackle with the hunters.”

The osprey dived into the river and then flew over the fire. The water from her wet feathers fell on the fire. She repeatedly dived into the river and flew over the fire. The water from her feathers put off the fire.

The hunters decided to light the fire again; however, as soon as they lit the fire, again the osprey put it off.

In the meantime, the hawk went to get help from the tortoise. When the tortoise heard about the hawk’s problem, he said to him, “Do not worry dear friend, I will be there in no time and tackle the hunters in my own way. Go and protect your family.”

The hawk flew to the tree and the tortoise reached the tree. He went quite close to where the hunters were sitting and trying to light the fire again. The hunters saw the tortoise and one of them said, “Look there is a huge tortoise. Let’s forget about the hawks and catch this tortoise.”

The other hunter agreed and said, “Let’s tear our shirts and make a rope. We shall tie its one end to the tortoise and other to our waists. Then we will pull the tortoise with all our strength.” The other hunter liked the idea. Soon, they make a rope out of their shirts. They tied one end of the rope to the tortoise’s legs. Then, trying the other end to their waist, they could not pull the tortoise. The tortoise’s strength was much greater than the two hunters were together.

The tortoise pulled the two men into the water. Once, inside the water, it was very easy for the tortoise to drag them. With great efforts, they cut the rope that was tied to their waist and swam back to the bank. They were now feeling very cold. They had lost their shirts. They thought of making a fire again.

Seeing them collecting leaves and twigs, the hawk was worried again. He flew to the forest and called his third friend, the tiger. He found the tiger at the edge of the forest. When the tiger heard the hawk’s problem, he immediately rushed towards the riverbank.

The hunter had now lighted the fire and one of them was preparing to climb the tree to get the hawk babies. Just then, the tiger reached the tree. Seeing the tiger, the hunters ran from there and never came back again.

The hawk thanked all his three friends for their kind and timely help. He also realized that it is very important to have at least a few friends. The female-hawk was very wise in advising the hawk to make friends before marrying him.


Period Math

Period Math

The length of the monthly cycle varies. Usually, during the first 5 to 7 years after your first menstrual period, the cycles are more irregular and the interval between them is longer than for cycles later in life. Typically, during your twenties and thirties, the cycles become increasingly shorter and more regular. When a woman enters her forties, the cycles begin to lengthen again.

So, how do you know if you’re cycle is normal? An average cycle length is 28 days, but if your cycle lasts anywhere between ~24 to 35 days, it’s considered normal. A normal period flow lasts anywhere from 4 to 6 days, causes an average blood loss of 25-60 ml, and can be light, moderate, or heavy. Flow lasting longer than one week and blood loss of more than 80 ml are considered abnormal. Also, passing the occasional blood clot is normal.

By convention, the 28-day cycle is considered the ideal cycle. (Only 10-15% of cycles last exactly 28 days.) This doesn’t mean that if your cycle isn’t exactly 28 days there’s something wrong with you; 28 days is just an average. [Not to mention that it makes the math simple–in a 28-day cycle, ovulation happens at the halfway mark, on the 14th day.] Also, by convention, the first day of bleeding is considered the start of the cycle, and is denoted as Day 1; the period lasts for 5 days (in an ideal cycle), or from Day 1 to Day 5; and the cycle ends on Day 28. Of course, real life doesn’t always conform to conventions: if you’re cycle isn’t 28 days, how do you number the days of your cycle? Let’s use an example to illustrate.

Say your period starts on the tenth of the month, your bleeding lasts for 4 days, and your cycle length is 30 days.

The day the bleeding starts, the tenth of the month, is Day 1 of your cycle. The blood flow days are Day 1 through Day 4, or the tenth through the thirteenth of the month. Your cycle ends on Day 30, or the ninth of next month.

One more useful calculation: your ovulation day. (Ovulation = the release of the egg from the ovary.) In an ideal, 28-day cycle, ovulation happens on day 14. Obviously, if you’re cycle isn’t 28 days, that doesn’t help you. Fortunately, ovulation day is remarkably constant from woman to woman, and you can calculate your probable ovulation date based on the length of your monthly cycle. Here’s one helpful way to think of the monthly cycle: a cycle divided into two intervals. The first interval (preovulatory) lasts from the end of your period to ovulation. The second interval (postovulatory) lasts from ovulation to the start of your next period. The preovulatory interval can vary widely; it may last for four days, or nine days, depending on the length of your cycle. In contrast, the postovulatory interval tends to be fairly constant at 14 days, regardless of how many days your cycle lasts. Crystal clear, right? You can now calculate your ovulation day, even in your sleep if you have to. [Huh? – ed. Now you know how I feel when someone tries to explain tech-related stuff to me.] Let’s go through this step-by-step:

First, you need to track your cycle. Mark the day your period starts; this is Day 1 of your cycle. Then count the number of days until your next period; this is your cycle length. Do this for about three cycles in a row (more than three is fine, less, not so much). [The reason you need a minimum of three months is because cycle length might not always be the same each month. After three consecutive months you should be able to see a cycle length pattern.] Once your fourth period starts, count forward from Day 1 the number of days in your cycle length and mark that date. Then, from that day, count backwards fourteen days. This is your presumptive ovulation day. [You never count forwards, from the start of your period, because the preovulatory interval varies in length. You count backwards, because the postovulatory interval is fairly consistent at 14 days.]

For example, let’s say your cycle lasts 24 days and your best friend’s last 31 days. Both of you will most likely ovulate 14 days before the start of the next period. For you, this means ovulation is on Day 10 of your cycle (24 – 14 = 10), while for your friend, ovulation happens on Day 17 of her cycle (31 – 14 = 17).

Keeping track of your monthly cycle isn’t useful just for planning a pregnancy. It’s also beneficial if you plan to manage your period. In particular, it’s useful if you plan to use period control occasionally, like for a scheduled event. If you know you have an upcoming event (vacation, exams, business trip) and you don’t want to have a menstrual period around that date, the best time to suppress your real or fake period is about three months in advance. The advantage: it lowers the likelihood of nuisance side effects, like breakthrough bleeding/spotting.