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Manner’s Makeovers for the Holidays!

{ Wednesday, November 6th, 2013 }

I read this from Emily Post this morning, and loved it enough to pass along to you all!


Emily Joubert – Home and Garden shop

{ Monday, November 4th, 2013 }

There is a wonderful shop in Woodside, CA called Emily Joubert. If you visit the link below, you will be able to read a little background on how it originated. I am so proud to say that the owner loved my placemats, and wanted to carry them in her store. If you find yourself in the Woodside area, please stop in and take a peek. She has beautiful things for the home and garden. You will not be disappointed.


Is Your Daughter (or son) a Bully?

{ Thursday, October 3rd, 2013 }

One of the most difficult things to believe or admit to as a parent is, could my child be a bully? And, perhaps not a blatant bully…But, maybe a kid who isn’t a champion for those who get bullied. This link will lead you to one of the best articles on this subject, that I have read in a long time. Do not turn a blind eye to this. Do not assume your child is not a bully, because they would NEVER do such a thing. Err on the side of caution. And, as the author states: “If you have a daughter, don’t just talk to her about being a good person, get all up in her business the way you do with grades, sports, nutrition and safety.” The author, Anastasia Basil, has some great suggestions. And, one of my favorite quotes in the article is this: “explain that middle school is a team sport, so is high school, and she is only as strong as the weakest player.” Meaning, these ages are not for the feint of heart. Kids are trying to fly under the radar so they aren’t bullied. They are fighting for their own lives. So, to stop and help another from being bullied takes a very strong individual. Ms. Basil speaks to her own growing up experiences with being bullied, relentlessly. And, as she so wisely states, “I can’t imagine how I would have survived if cyber-bullying existed. Once the day ended, I was home safe with doting parents who had no idea I was suffering.” Today’s kids are not as fortunate. They are poked, prodded and posted for the whole cyber-world to see.

This is critically important. Open your ears and eyes. It can literally be saving a young person’s life.


Old School Manners? Me thinks not…

{ Sunday, September 8th, 2013 }

I saw a wonderful post on Facebook today. It was titled, “Old School Manners.” When I read through the list, it seemed odd that they were referred to as such. They were just as basic as our ABC’s:  Practice good manners, respect your elders, and be kind. How sad that these would be considered old fashioned. I am not sure when the paradigm shift occurred. However, I am hopeful that most of us instill these “old school manners” with the children in our lives. Here are some of my favorite basics to remember, and should become second nature…It’s just a tip of the iceberg, but it is a great starting point:

Manners To Do List…Things to be mindful of this week and forever!

1.  Did you remember to listen to your parents?

2. Did you say “please” and “thank you?”

3.  Did you play nicely with your brother and sister?

4.  Did you clear your plate and drink when asked? Or, even if you were not asked?

5.  Did you take turns talking without interrupting?

6.  If you were introduced to an adult, did you speak politely, and not act silly?

7.  Did you look into their eyes and say, “it is nice to meet you?”

8.  Did you use your manners if you were at a friend’s house and follow their house rules?

9.  Did you say Good Morning, and Good Night?

10.  And lastly, did you compliment your parent(s) when they did something nice for you? Saying thank you, instead of telling them it was not what you wanted?

Eleanor Roosevelt and the Finger Bowl…

{ Sunday, September 1st, 2013 }

I recently read a great story which, after doing some research, seems to be more of an Urban Legend.  However, it made me pause and think about manners in a different light. The story explains how Eleanor Roosevelt was hosting a dinner party at the White House.  When a guest was offered the customary finger bowl filled with water and rose petals to clean her hands between courses, the guest mistook it for soup, picked up a spoon, and sipped from it. When Mrs. Roosevelt saw the error, she picked up her finger bowl and did the same. Eleanor Roosevelt’s priority was to make her guests feel comfortable. If the guest saw that she had erred terribly, she would have been humiliated. Which brings me to my new thought. Sometimes, it’s okay to not use the correct manners in certain situations. Manners mean much more than following a list of rules as to what fork to use, and what bread dish is yours. When you have a smaller gathering of friends, or are a guest at someone’s home for dinner, it is always best to read the situation. You want people to feel comfortable and at ease. If you are with a group and notice someone uses the wrong bread dish, just go with the flow. Do not call the person out, and embarrass them. Being gracious and humble are wonderful traits to strive toward.  Whether the First Lady really did do this is irrelevant. What matters is that she was always a gracious hostess who quite possibly broke etiquette rules to allow another person to feel good about themselves.

Fun Placemats! –

{ Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 }

Mrs. Goode Manners has new designs for placemats! These are great learning tools for children. Helping them set a correct place setting, but also a way of eliciting a great discussion on table manners in the process! I have included some great speaking points to go over while sitting for a family meal…We go over all of these, and more in class!

Table Manners to be mindful of…

~        Wash your hands

~        Place your napkin on your lap as soon as everyone has been seated at the table.

~        Never start eating until everyone has their food. If you are a guest at someone’s home, you do not start to eat until the Host or Hostess picks up his/her fork.

~        You may start to eat if your host or hostess says, ‘please go ahead and start. I will be right there.’

~        The small fork is for your salad or appetizer. The large fork is for dinner, or main course.  The salad fork and dinner fork go on the left side, and the knife and spoon on the right. Your knife should always face in.  If it’s when you are setting the table, or if you are cutting food, and rest your knife on your plate, your knife will always face in, or towards you.

~        Your bread plate goes on the left, and your drink on the right. (Remember making a “b” or “d” with your fingers if you forget)

~        If you want butter with your bread, take the amount you may want, and place it on your bread plate. Butter small bites as you go. Do not butter the whole roll at one time.

~        If someone asks you to pass the salt, you pass both the salt and pepper shakers as a set. Even if the person only wants the salt. If you are not sure which shaker has the salt or pepper in it, you may shake a small amount on your hand or the side of your plate to see.

~        Remember to wipe your mouth after every bite or every other. Though you may not think you have anything on your mouth, you very well might.

~        If you do not like something that you are being served, don’t say “ewwww, I don’t like that.” Just politely take the food, and eat what you can.

~        If you find a bug in your food and you are at a restaurant, mention it to your server in a very low voice, that way it won’t spoil the other’s appetite.

~        If you drop your napkin, or a utensil on the floor in a public place (restaurant, club), do not get on the floor to pick it up. Again, wait for your server to come by, and simply ask for another. Saying, “I am sorry, I dropped my fork may I have another?” Of course if you are at home or a friend’s home, by all means pick it up and get a new one.

~        We spoke of Table Linens…These consist of table cloths, cloth napkins, placemats, etc. They are there to look nice, but sometimes to protect the table underneath as well. You would never use the tablecloth to wipe your fingers, or wipe your mouth. 

~        If you are at home, or a friend’s home, and need to use the restroom, you do not have to announce that you need to go to the bathroom, or blow your nose, etc. Just simply say, excuse me a moment. And, place your napkin on your chair. If you are in a public restaurant, you will want to whisper to a parent where you are going, for safety issues.

~        Remember not to chew with your mouth full. Take manageable bites, so food isn’t falling out of your mouth. If you are eating something that requires your hands (pizza, hamburgers, ribs), do not lick your fingers.

~        Never talk with food in your mouth. Most importantly because you could choke. And, secondly, it’s gross. J No one wants to see the food in your mouth being chewed. Or you may talk and spit on mistake. Yuck.

~        Do not use your fingers to pick food pieces up. If there is a really great bite you want to eat, but you can’t get it on your fork, remember to use your knife as a way to gently push it on to your fork. You also may use a piece of your bread to use as a wall of sorts so it goes on to your fork.

~        Do not take a sip of your drink while you are still chewing…You don’t want to wash your food down with your drink. You want to swallow your food, wipe your mouth then take a sip of your drink.

~        Sit nicely and quietly until you are excused from the table. Have a nice conversation, no interrupting, or speaking loudly. And, only speaking of things that are appropriate for the table.

~        If you are home or at a friend’s house, always offer to clear the table. And, thank your hostess for dinner.

~        And, when you are excused, you place your napkin on the left side of your plate.


Being Sexy…

{ Friday, August 16th, 2013 }

Probably not the headline you would expect to read in a manners’ blog, huh? But, if any of you happened to see the video circulating about Ashton Kutcher’s speech from the Teen Choice Awards, you will understand. He names three things that are important in life to an audience of thousands, (mainly teens). Here are a couple of my favorite takeaways from his speech. He said there are three important things in life, and one of them is being sexy. And, the way he explained his definition of sexy, was brilliant. Sexy is being smart, thoughtful, and generous. What a great message to be sending to the teens who were either there in person, or watching from home. And, his last message that I loved was, “Don’t live your life build your life.” These are great messages to share with our kids, whether they are our own, or our nieces, nephews, students, or friends. In case you missed it, here is the link to his speech. Truly worth the time to listen, if you can withstand the shrieking girls in the background…;)


Placemats ready on Etsy!

{ Friday, August 16th, 2013 }

I am so excited, I really have had an influx of followers in the last few days! I have updated my Etsy store front, and am ready now for anyone who is interested in purchasing placemats! It’s been a crazy few days, but I am so excited to share stories, and articles on all things mannerly. Later next month you will be able to click on Etsy right from here, but for now, please visit:

Let me know what you think. I love getting suggestions, and new ideas.

I Was Lost, But, Now I Have Been Found!

{ Monday, August 12th, 2013 }

I have truly missed my blogging sessions here. I have still been teaching my social skills and table manners to children, but felt I needed to do more with my business. It was getting stale, and I needed to reach more people. My wonderful Web Designer, Kate, came up with some great designs for me to make into Manner Place Mats! This portion has taken way longer than I had expected. Looking for just the right design, color, material, and manufacturer to use in putting it together….I have to thank my dear friend, Gretchen. She helped direct me and steer my very creatively-challenged self.  And, to my friend Tania, who lit a fire under me to stop dragging my feet. And, thank you to my numerous friends, family and even my Book Club, who had to sit through hearing, “This one? How about this one? This fabric? This thickness?”etc, etc…you get the idea.

Now that I am going the direction I was hoping to, finally…I will be sending you great new articles, and Blogs, and participating in as much Q and A as possible.

It’s great to be back!!

Yoga vs. Cell Phone…What’s your opinion?

{ Sunday, July 22nd, 2012 }

I am sure most of you have heard the news of the Yoga instructor being fired…It sounds like the beginning of a joke. But, it’s far from funny. To recap for those that didn’t hear about it, a yoga instructor was fired by her agency, for telling a student in her class to please take her call outside of the studio. The catch, though, is that the class was being taught on-site at the Facebook campus. There is a company that Facebook uses to outsource various fitness classes, the yoga class being one of them. To be fair, the agency did tell the instructors to not give employees a bad time if they were texting, or using their phones in class. So, to play devil’s advocate, the instructor really should have not made an issue out of it. If another pupil in the class complained, at least then, the instructor could then say she was under strict rules from her agency to not call out anyone using their phones. And, if the students took issue with it, have them complain to the agency regarding needing a rule in place. I think where my frustration lies, is in the fact that the student complained to the agency and had the instructor fired. When I go to the gym, hair salon, or to have a pedicure, I always give mean glances to those yapping away on their phones. Of course there will always be emergencies…Waiting for a doctor to call,  a child, or your boss…The right thing to do, that I teach in my manner’s classes, is that the people you are with need to have your complete attention. They shouldn’t be texting, and then looking up at you, then back down to check messages, etc…If you do have an unavoidable important call, state that right when you get to your appointment. I will tell my hair stylist,” I will need to answer if my son calls, I need to know where I have to pick him up.”  If others are around I make sure to speak as low as possible so they are not disturbed. If the call is going to take a while longer than expected, you need to step outside. No one goes out for a relaxing workout, or pedicure so they can hear the person next to them carrying on a conversation. Now…let’s get back to the Yoga class at Facebook. I am certain that the employees there are stressed and busy. No question. But, to speak on your phone during a small class, where the employees go to unwind and workout with a yoga class, (known for its relaxation through breathing techniques, poses, and concentration) is selfish. She could have left the room easily. She could have stood in a far off corner of the room. But, the fact that she issued a complaint, and got the instructor fired, is unsettling to me. There is a mentality in Silicon Valley (I am sure elsewhere too), that is filled with arrogance, and self-importance. I have worked with many of this ilk, and it is not a surprise to me that they would take a call during class, disrupt the instructor and their fellow students. They also probably left the yoga studio without holding the door for the person behind them, or thanking the person who maybe held the door for them. The world revolves around them. And, that is where the problem resides.