Monday, November 29, 2010

Etiquette: Not a Trend

'Tis the season for holiday dinner parties, having the boss over for dinner and being on our best behavior (Santa's watching, right)?

Dinner settings may be more casual than they were in our grandparents' days, but that doesn't mean we should let manners and dining etiquette fall by the wayside. Not to mention it's an honest truth that your dining and dressing can give lasting impressions — good or bad.

Here are a few things that are top-of-mind this time of year:

On eating:
  • Put your napkin in your lap immediately upon sitting down or just after your drink arrives
  • If someone asks you to pass the salt, pass both the salt and the pepper (like a bride and groom, they go together)
  • Don't salt your food until after you taste it (otherwise how can you know it needs salt? Not to mention you could offend the chef or host)
  • If you absolutely have to spit something out (like an olive pit), remove it from your mouth the same way you put it in your mouth (fork, fingers, etc.) — it's more discrete that way.
  • If you're served ice water or iced tea with a lemon wedge on the glass rim, put the lemon in the glass or take it off the glass altogether. This is one of the things that doesn't have a good explanation... just go with it.
  • Cut only one piece of food at a time (e.g., steak, chicken)
On party etiquette:
  • RSVP. Hosts need to know headcounts for food, drinks, seating, etc. RSVP isn't synonymous with regrets; RSVP means to tell the host if you're coming or if you're not.
  • Even when a dinner party host tells you not to bring anything to their party, consider bringing a bottle of wine for their home. If they aren't drinkers, consider a dessert or maybe even an ornament.
  • Make proper introductions so your date doesn't feel left out of a conversation; when you can tell your date is having trouble remembering a name so he/she can introduce you, step in to save them from the awkwardness of forgetting a name and introduce yourself quickly
On dressing/attire:
  • You don't want to be the most casually dressed person in the room at a holiday party — but you don't want to be overdressed either... talk to your friends to get a feel for what they're wearing
  • Society is slowly becoming more open to jeans at dressy events, but ask yourself if you want to be the one pushing the "are jeans appropriate?" envelope
  • And please don't wear white or off-white or anything like it to the winter weddings you're attending (or any weddings for that matter); especially in the south, most brides are offended when they see a wedding attendee donning white — it competes with the bride. This is debated among etiquette-istas but I wouldn't want to risk offending a bride. Just read the comments on that post)

What etiquette/traditions do you follow? What do you think is outdated?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Embracing the Fall

I much prefer fall and winter clothes over summer.

I don't know... there's something about the options of layering, scarves, denim, boots and bundling up that I gravitate toward. Sundresses and shorts just aren't my thing.

  • Black tee from Old Navy ($10)
  • Polyester (?) bandana-style scarf from Kohl's (gift from my mom last Christmas)
  • Bright blue, lightweight scarf (gifted by my good friend Lauren)
  • Banana Republic cropped jeans I found at Last Chance (Decatur, Ga.)... love these jeans and wish I could find them in size long at a Banana Store. They're great jeans.
  • Arturo Chiang boots gifted by my in-laws last Christmas and blogged about here

Oh, and for readers in Atlanta/Decatur, here's an event next Sat you could check out between football games or before you head out for dinner:

Oakhurst Cooperative Preschool's 2010 Auction Jubilee is Saturday, November 13th from 3 to 6 p.m. at All Souls Fellowship in Decatur.

The silent auction will feature many exceptional items including original art from local artists, unique hand-crafted apparel and gifts, memberships, vacation home rentals, gift certificates and retail items from Decatur and Intown
Atlanta's favorite stores and restaurants and much more!

Oakhurst Cooperative Preschool's Auction Jubilee is a casual, family-friendly event with something to interest everyone. There will be food, fun and entertainment including children's activities and live music.

The proceeds from this auction will benefit the special projects for OCP, including its tuition assistance program. Admission to the Auction Jubilee is free. Pre-register to bid during the event at For questions or to make a donation to the silent auction, please call 404-370-0257 or email


ABOUT OCP: Oakhurst Cooperative Preschool (OCP) is a nonprofit, parent-teacher cooperative established in 2005. The school was founded with the goal of creating an ethnically, culturally and economically diverse community that is united through its commitment to parental involvement in education.
Its student body has close ties with many area neighborhoods, such as Candler Park, Lake Claire, Druid Hills, Inman Park, Kirkwood, Oakhurst and Winnona Park.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Currently Loving...

Gold jewelry...

Bolder, edgier and brighter than its silver counterpart, gold (or faux gold in this case) is being mixed into my wardrobe a lot these days. It's also a good contrast with how much grey/black/dark brown we start wearing once the cooler months roll around.

Where to find it? eBay (use search term "gold costume jewelry") and local thrift stores are good (and affordable) places to start.

Charm necklace from some thrift store in Goleta, California (near Santa Barbara) for $3. Crystal and faux gold pendant neclace from eBay for about $10.