The Pleasure Makers
"Keep your arrangements simple," says Jun Piñon, of Piñon Design in San Francisco. "People tend to put so much stuff in, and their house ends up looking like a Mafia funeral parlor. Do sunflowers in a cluster. And everyone loves cymbidium orchids, which aren't that expensive and can last for three weeks. Or you can always do a monochromatic arrangement of different flowers, all together, in a bright color.
"Be creative with your containers. I've done arrangements in a soup tureen, a martini glass. Look in your cupboard. If you're buying flowers from your local supermarket, stick with roses. They're the most popular choice, so there's lots of turnover of stock. Just make sure the blossoms are a little bit hard in the center—that means they're still fresh."
Khadafy knows that cute shoes can make your day but can also die a slow death in your closet. He has a few ways to avoid buyer's remorse:
"The most important thing is to pay attention to foot size. A lot of women are steadfast, saying, 'I wear a 7,' but size varies according to the designer. European shoes are narrow, so you may have to go up a size. I've noticed that when a woman shops with her friends, they'll convince her to get a style she's never going to wear. Trust your own instincts, and don't cave in to that peer pressure.
"If you're looking for something new: The colors this season are navy and gray. Chocolate brown is big, too. And for fabrics—this season it's velvet.
Use shoe pads. We all have different problem areas, and few of us can afford custom shoes. These little cushions can make almost any pair you have feel more comfortable."
"Don't stick to titles by the same author or within the same genre. Don't judge a book by its cover—or the blurbs on the back—read the flap!
"The best lighting is not too dim or too bright. Avoid fluorescent lighting or direct sunshine. I wouldn't spend a lot of money on a fancy reading light. I use a gooseneck lamp next to my bed and a floor lamp in the living room.
"Make a designated time for reading every day: Find a comfortable space, away from distractions of people and noise and daily pressures. There's evidence that reading lowers your blood pressure, and that reduces stress."
"If there are 50 people waiting for a taxi in the airport, get a porter—he'll rush you right to the front.
"Always, always get a seat assignment when booking the flight, because if the airline has oversold, they'll bump the people without a seat assignment first.
"If you're in economy, try to get an exit row, which has more legroom. Do anything to avoid the last couple of rows of the plane, because they're near the bathrooms and can be unpleasant.
"If you want to book a trip with frequent flier miles, I recommend starting 11 months ahead of time."
"You want to use the big parts of the hand—the palm and the heel.
"You can use even your elbow. For instance, if you're standing behind someone sitting in a chair, put your elbow on the shoulder muscle, where there is always a lot of tension. Lean gently, very slowly, applying pressure for three or four breaths. Then move your elbow an inch or two away and put pressure in the next area.
"The key to a really good massage is long, slow, deep. Just think 'LSD.' And feedback is very important: Ask your partner, 'How is the pressure, on a scale from one to 10? How deep am I now?' You want a seven or an eight. Most important is: 'Does this feel good?' Ask again and again, and adjust your technique accordingly."