February 21st, 2014
It’s that time of year again. Spring is around the corner, but there are still another four to six weeks of winter left – and the colds that come with it.
That means that you invariably will be faced with someone hacking, sneezing and wheezing in your personal space. But how do you politely tell someone, “Don’t stand so close to me?” Here are three simple tips:
1. Sitting next to someone on the plane who won’t cover their mouth as they cough.
Instead of trying to impart the basic rule of “cover your mouth when you cough,” it’s more productive to ask the flight attendant if you can move seats. To avoid offending your sick plane mate, you might want to say something like, “It sounds like you are really battling your cold. I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to ask to sit in another seat.”
2. You are standing in line at the grocery store and the guy ahead of you is having a sneezing fit.
In this situation, simply move away. That’s really the only thing you can do. If you advise this person to use a tissue or cover his mouth, you run the risk of offending him. In this day and age it’s like telling someone they are being rude on their cell phone. Sometimes it’s best to avoid saying anything to avoid confrontation.
3. You can’t reschedule a meeting, presentation or conference during the height of your cold.
Even I’ve been in a situation where my own sniffling has prompted someone to give me a tissue. If you’re lucky, you work in an environment where your boss says, “You sound awful, take the afternoon off.” However, if you’re like me and work for yourself, you may have to tough it out since your commitments can’t be rescheduled, regardless of the number of tissue boxes you’ve gone through that day.
If you find yourself doped up on cold medicine at a big meeting, presentation or conference, be forthcoming about it (as if they couldn’t already tell). If you’re sick and can’t reschedule a speaking engagement, don’t shake hands or get too close to anyone. If someone tries to shake your hand, say, “I would love to shake your hand, but I’m getting over a cold.” People will thank you for not passing your germs along to them.
February 14th, 2014
Cooper and Abigail want to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!
February 9th, 2014
Do you find it difficult to keep your wine glasses looking sparkling clean? If so, here are some tips I picked up from my friend, Virginia Philip. Virginia owns the Virginia Philip Wine Shop & Academy in West Palm Beach, Florida.
- Rinse your glasses immediately after using them.
- Wash with warm water and a small amount of dishwashing liquid.
- To remove lipstick marks, scrub gently with a dishcloth.
- Dry with a lint-free cotton or linen towel.
- To polish, steam the glasses over a pot of boiling water. Hold the glass by the stem and carefully rub with a micro fiber towel or flour sack cloth.
February 5th, 2014
The best rule to keep in mind when planning a party is the five Ps: prior planning prevents poor performance. If you’re planning a party for Valentine’s Day, here are 10 tips to help you entertain with ease.
1. Prepare ahead of time. Plan your menu to avoid any of your guests’ food allergies or dietary restrictions. Alternatively, serve a buffet with a wide variety of foods from which to choose. Choose to prepare familiar recipes. It’s not the ideal situation to try out a complicated dish for the first time.
2. Make a master grocery list. Include every item each recipe calls for, even staples like butter and salt. You don’t want to discover you only have one egg in the middle of preparing a meal.
3. Offer many types of beverages. Keep a few bottles of both red and white wine as well as nonalcoholic drinks like soda and bottled water.
4. Put out snacks as your guests arrive. Nuts, chips, dip, cheese and crackers are all-time favorites. Choose appetizers that are easy to eat in one bite. Large hors d’oeuvres can be messy and difficult to handle — especially while mingling with friends and family.
5. Do as much as you can the day before. Complete small tasks early so you can focus on entertaining on the day of your party. Clean and polish any serving pieces, fill the salt and pepper shakers and set the table.
6. Iron your linens. Provide linen cocktail napkins or holiday-themed paper cocktail napkins when serving beverages and appetizers. For dinner, linen napkins provide an elegant backdrop for your meal.
7. Set out candles. Easy and inexpensive, candles are a great way to set the mood and make your home feel warm and inviting. Place only unscented candles at the dinner table; fragrant items can overpower food aromas. Light the candles throughout your home 15 minutes before your guests arrive and light the candles at the dinner table just before everyone sits down.
8. Preset a party playlist. Music sets the tone of any party. Program your iPod, iPhone or CD player to play classic holiday music or your favorite tunes throughout the evening.
9. Prepare coffee and tea service. Set up your coffeemaker about an hour before your guests arrive. Put coffee cups, saucers, teaspoons and a variety of teas on a side table. Place cream, milk, sugar and sweetener in decorative containers.
10. Schedule time for yourself. Set aside time to shower, get dressed and look your best. Take a moment to relax before you greet your guests. Take advantage of each moment with your friends and family and enjoy your holiday party.
What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?
February 2nd, 2014
It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and you know what that means. It’s party time! But that’s no excuse to forget your manners if you’re planning to watch the big game with friends and family.
- Never come to a Super Bowl party empty handed.
- Speak to your host in advance to find out what you can bring.
- Smile and be a gracious guest. Don’t show up to the party early and don’t be the last to leave.
- Don’t eat in line. Serve yourself then take your plate to your seat.
- If you touch something on the buffet, take it.
- Don’t double-dip.
- Clean up after yourself. No one likes to tiptoe around a mess.
- Pace your alcohol consumption and don’t get sloppy drunk.
- Refrain from using offensive or fowl language.
- Remember to call or send your host a handwritten thank-you note.
- Offer to help the host clean up at the end of the evening.
- Try not to talk off topic. Be mindful of those who want to watch the game.
- Be polite and respectful to guests rooting for the opposing team. It’s only a game after all.
Many thanks to the following friends who took the time to share their tips:
Gina DeLapa, John Daly, Tim Lawhorn, Gloria Auth, Jennifer Richardson, Megan Glass, Susie Dishman Verdier, Maryanne Parker and Michelle Donatto.
January 28th, 2014
When my second book, Poised for Success, was published in 2011, I was honored to be featured in The Palm Beach Post. I received so many positive comments from the article that I have decided to share it with you today. I hope you enjoy it!
But, with that in mind, allow us to introduce Jacqueline Whitmore, founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach, whose lengthy list of clients includes the U.S. Department of Defense, Bloomingdale’s and Burger King.
Whitmore, often sought out by national publications as a source on the P’s and Q’s of tipping and Twitter, was not to the manners born. The gracious 47-year-old, who lives in Lake Worth, is more a self-taught Cinderella of civility.
Or cut and paste this link into your browser: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/business/profile-etiquette-expert-jacqueline-whitmore/nL2nL/
January 12th, 2014
Does your closet look like the one in the picture above? If so, it’s time for a major overhaul!
Organizing my closet is something I usually put off until the New Year. So few of us enjoy doing it, but with these time-tested tips from my friends at TomJames.com, the task will be much easier.
Examine the fit, condition, and fashion of everything in your wardrobe. Try on anything that you haven’t worn in the past six months or aren’t completely sure about the fit. Set aside anything that doesn’t work for whatever reason (doesn’t fit, wrong color for you, doesn’t fit with your personal style or lifestyle, etc.) Be particularly ruthless with accessories such as ties, belts and handbags.
Divide your wardrobe into four categories:
- Items that you will never wear again.
- Clothing that might be worn again if properly altered, repaired or coordinated.
- Year-round basics. Further divide these items as either dress or casual.
- Seasonal, special occasion, and collectible or vintage garments.
Dump or donate everything in the first category. Donate items that can still be useful to someone. Throw out everything else.
Alter or repair all items in the second category. You should also get some idea of how you will wear each item and what you need to add to your wardrobe to complete those looks.
Place all items in the third category in the front of your closet. These items will be your “go-to” clothing. Consider your dressing habits and lifestyle as you organize this portion. (Men: button-up shirts that you wear with a suit or sport coat should be separate from others that are more casual.)
Divide your seasonal clothing into fall/winter and spring/summer sections. Keep the current season’s items near the front and properly store the rest. Special occasion clothing such as tuxedos, cocktail dresses, etc., should be properly cataloged and stored.
Additional Tips for a Functional Closet:
- Place your clothes on identical hangers (my favorite is the ultra-slim, no-slip velvet suit hangers), all facing the same direction and properly spaced.
- Remove dry-cleaning plastic bags. (Use canvas suit bags that breathe for those items that only get occasional use.)
- Organize clothing (suits, sport coats, skirts and dress slacks) from dark to light: black; navy and other shades of blue; charcoal and other shades of gray; earth tones; all others (orange, red, purple, etc.)
- Organize shirts from dark to light; from solid to more boldly patterned.
- Knits should all be folded (never on hangers). Try not to put more than two or three in one stack, whether they are in drawers or on shelving.
- Organize shoes from formal to casual; by color, dark to light; and by style, lace-up or slip-on.
Whenever your feet aren’t in a pair of shoes, put a set of adjustable cedar shoes trees in them. Aromatic cedar draws will keep your shoes looking newer longer. They also draw out excess moisture and deodorizes with a forest-fresh scent. You can buy them for men’s and women’s shoes.
Use a steamer instead of an iron to remove wrinkles. Instead of crushing the fibers into submission with the hot pressure of an iron, steam removes wrinkles by relaxing the fibers. Regular use of a steamer, whether at home or when traveling, can dramatically reduce your dry-cleaning costs and keep your clothing looking great longer.
January 9th, 2014
Everyone who works remotely knows they are the envy of their commute-loathing friends and family. But remote work has its own unique set of challenges. Even the most successful telecommute workers face potential setbacks so it’s important to learn to adapt your habits and routine to prevent them.
Communicate. The biggest productivity challenge for those who telecommute is communication. In an office, it’s easy to walk down the hall and pop into someone’s office. Though your team members may live in many different time zones, ensure everyone’s work hours overlap. Schedule meetings at a regular interval — every day or every week — to update everyone on your progress. Make phone calls and use tools like IM and Skype to communicate frequently.
Find balance. Many remote workers have difficulty separating work from play — especially when they work out of their home. The best solution is to physically separate the two aspects of your life. Create a dedicated space, like a home office, where you work exclusively. Shut the door to avoid distractions. It also helps to follow a strict routine and set work hours. Don’t make it a habit to check e-mail at all hours of the day and don’t work late unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Avoid interruptions. Crying babies and barking dogs can easily get in the way for those who work from home. In fact, many mothers choose to work remotely in order to spend more time with their children. Schedule a few hours a day for silence and ensure all phone calls and meetings take place during those hours. You could hire a babysitter to play with your kids while you work or find a part-time daycare close to home.
How do you manage your remote work?
January 5th, 2014
January is National Hot Tea Month. I would rather drink a cozy cup of tea than a cup of coffee any day. It not only tastes great, but it also has many health benefits. Studies show that the antioxidant content in tea helps reduce the incidence of certain cancers and may help combat the risk of developing heart disease.
There’s no sign that the nation’s trendiest drink will fizzle anytime soon as tea’s been around for more than 5,000 years. Here are some tips on the art of enjoying afternoon tea:
- Cream is never used – only milk and sugar. It is important to note that the milk and sugar go into the cup after the tea, never before.
- It is important to execute little circular movements when stirring tea, without allowing the spoon to strike the side of the cup.
- When using lemon, be sure to introduce it after the sugar has settled.
- Perhaps the most flagrant and egregious mistake in tea etiquette occurs when the taker deliberately extends the fourth or “pinky” finger of his cup holding hand in an effort to exhibit sophistication.
- While partaking of afternoon tea, there are two ways to eat the sandwiches: either treat them as finger food, or enjoy them “Continental” style, using a knife and fork.
- Eat the savory, sour things first, saving the most “decadent,” such as the petit fours, for last.
- The most refined way to eat a scone is to break off little bits at a time, and apply the Devonshire cream and fruit preserve to each individual piece as it is to be eaten. And remember: preserves go first, then the cream.
Visit my Tea Time Treasures page on Pinterest! What’s your favorite kind of tea? Leave a comment below!
January 3rd, 2014
- Until you prove to yourself otherwise, always assume there is food stuck between your teeth (and never use your knife or client’s business card to remove it!)
- The first 30 days on a job are the most critical. Show up early and stay late for the first month. And unless you’re very, very sick, don’t call in sick on Mondays and Fridays.
- Pay more attention to what the boss thinks of you than what your co-workers think of you. (Your cubicle mates aren’t handing out raises and promotions.)
- The hardest reality of life: Not everyone will like you. The more successful you are, the fewer “real” friends you will have.
- Be nice to people “below” you. One of them might be your boss someday. In fact, be nice to everyone — waiters, cashiers, bank tellers, mail carriers and receptionists. Not just because it’s the right thing to do but because these people can make your life easier…if they want to.
- Always, always, always R.s.v.p.
- If your job involves opening mail and answering phones, do it well. And cheerfully. A college degree does not mean you are above any task you were hired to do.
- Never send a nasty, email. You’ll spend a lot less time wringing your hands over who might have received your misfired missive and how they will react.
- Energy and enthusiasm on the job will carry you farther than education and cocky self-assurance. Skills, especially at the entry level, can be taught; a great attitude cannot.
- Shower the receptionist with kindness. She sees all, knows all, and reports often about the people who walk through the front door.
Bonus tip: Think long and hard before burning a bridge.
Please add to this list. Share your comments below.