tufts universitytufts magazine issue homepage
contact us back issues related links
features Think Tankplanet tufts newswire the big day Departments The Issue Letters Creations Doers’ Profiles Afterimage Take It From Me

take it from me

Decorating with Flair

It's your home, not a hotel room

Buy from the heart. Surround yourself with things you love and your home will reflect that joy. Don’t worry about items matching perfectly. Combinations such as a dining table and chairs of different styles and wood finishes can result in a more authentic look. Remember that decorating is a way of showing your taste, style, and perspective, through individual pieces you have acquired over time.

Take big chances on small rooms. Try some fun wallpaper or a bright paint color in a powder room, hallway, or small bedroom, where there’s little risk of overdoing it. Forget the common misconception that small spaces cannot handle bold color. Be bold in these spaces and you'll create tiny gems throughout your home.

Reimagine old pieces. Reupholstering or repainting old furniture can give it a whole new life. We love the twist of using a contemporary fabric pattern on an antique chair seat. Reinventing antique and vintage pieces is also a good way to be eco-friendly. And it can be easy on your budget, thanks to the terrific deals that are often available.

Shop online. Sites such as Gilt Home, 1st Dibs, Vintage and Modern, and Ebay are great places to find furniture and accessories.

Surf blogs. The huge and ever-growing design blog community is a rich forum for decorating ideas. Some of our own bookmarks include StyleBeat, Coco & Kelley, CasaSugar, and SoHaute.

Writing Your Wedding Ceremony

Begin by welcoming your guests. You may also want to remember those who can’t be present. Conclude with some thoughts on love and the meaning of marriage.

Keep vows to a page or two. The state’s critical required ingredient is evidence of a promise. Focus on why you chose each other and what you will do and be for each other.

Choose readings that resonate with you. Be solemn with a passage from Corinthians. Or be light with a Dr. Seuss rhyme. One or two selections, delivered by friends and/or family before and/or after the vows, should suffice.

Choose symbolic acts judiciously. Customs from religious, cultural, or ethnic traditions can be a welcome part of a ceremony. Some couples light unity candles or exchange roses, while others engage in broom jumping or coin presentation rituals. Limit such acts to two at most.

Don’t forget the conclusion. The officiant’s pronouncement “By the power conferred upon me by the state of ___” is a legal requirement. Afterward, share a kiss and step into your new roles as a married couple.

Tips for Your Day in Court

A guide to playing it straight

Be honest about your background. A good investigator can turn up more dirt on you than you know yourself. And tell the truth about your net worth, especially if yours is a domestic case.

Be prepared. Know your case inside out.

Wear your best. For both men and women, the top choice is a good business suit.

Don’t ignore the jury. Never talk to a juror. Even a “good morning” is not good; keep the pleasantries to a nod of the head and then move on. But when you are testifying, look jurors straight in the eye. If you can’t maintain eye contact, they will wonder what you are hiding.

Don’t show off. Use little words. Assume the jury knows nothing and you are educating them. If you lose them in lingo, you will probably lose the case.

Don’t yak it up. Tell the jury only the facts. Never guess, speculate, joke, argue, exaggerate, or elaborate. “Yes” or “No” or “I don’t know” are all good answers. Many attorneys count on witnesses’ testimony to give them ideas for more questions.

Don’t be helpful. You are not obligated to figure out the meaning of an attorney’s question. Just say, “I don’t understand the question.” Also, don’t try to handle more than one question at a time. If you are asked a question with multiple parts, make the attorney break it up into multiple questions.

Get Client Relations Off to a Good Start

Make the customer a partner. Customers need to do their homework. The more they know about what they are trying to achieve, the better it is for everyone.

Communicate clearly about the job. Details about a project need to be ironed out with you and then recorded. In my own experience as a contractor in the construction industry, I have found it helpful to ask if customers are happy with their plans. Is everything included? Do they have doubts or fears about anything? Have they considered how the project will affect their lives?

Communicate clearly about costs. Money is an important matter and should be discussed openly from the beginning.

Go the extra mile to establish trust. It is crucial to keep up regular communication. On my own contracting jobs, I have made a point of telling customers that I will work hard for them, and that I want them to be very happy with the project. I’ve told them that there will be messes, but that I take pains to clean up frequently. Sometimes I’ve asked for a one-minute “ceremony” prior to beginning any work, during which both the customer and I state our wishes and intentions.

  © 2011 Tufts University Tufts Publications, 80 George St., Medford, MA 02155