Manner Monday®: Preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner conversation

With the Holidays fast approaching, many people will be sitting down to ‘break bread’ with sometimes a great number of extended family members.  Oftentimes, this includes ‘unfamiliar’ family members.  Not too many of us actually enjoy that awkward moment of ‘what am I going to say’ or being stuck in an uncomfortable moment when the conversation isn’t flowing as freely as we would like for it to.  By spending some time now with your immediate family, during your FFT dinner, you can work on ‘comfortable conversation’ starters, so hopefully you won’t be stuck in an ‘uncomfortable conversation’.

If you’re hosting this year, here are some helpful tips to make sure things go as smooth as possible when it comes to creating ‘comfortable conversation’ opportunities:

Assigned Seating:  It helps to take the guess work out of where everyone will sit and you’re also able to corral “Uncle Tom” between you and your sister… who will be able to help you keep him in check.

Table Setting Tips:  If you’re tasked with setting the table, check out this previous post with details to make it fun and easy!

Place Cards:  You can use something as simple as a piece of card stock, or you can do something fun such as a pinecone with the persons name tied to it with construction paper or ribbon.  You can also do something a bit more special such as a mini picture frame with your guest’s name, or photo, in it that they can take home with them as cherished memento.  If you have a little one, have them get in on the place card task; they love being included and can add an artistic touch that everyone will appreciate.

Conversation starters:  Another benefit of place cards, you can place a question on each place card that helps to get the conversation going.  Planting questions is a fabulous way to get the family talking and to share stories from ‘days gone by’ and create wonderful family memories you will treasure for a lifetime.

Here are some sample questions:

  • Ask an ‘older’ relative (grandparent, aunt, uncle or friend) what they remember about:
    • the invention of ‘cell phones’ and what did it look like?
    • What were their telephone ‘rules’ in the house before cell phones?
    • Before text and email, how did they send correspondence to friends and family. Did they have a ‘pen pal’?
    • Landline phones that were attached to the wall via a cord Party lines.
  •  Tell us about your favorite childhood Thanksgiving memory.
  • What was life like before Cell Phones and DVRs?
  • What are you most thankful for this year?
  • What is your most memorable school picture?
  • What special childhood memory do you have of a family member who is no longer with us?
  • What luxuries do you take for granted and why are you thankful for them?
  • Which teacher were you most grateful for?
  • What is your favorite memory from grade school?
  • How did you meet?  Tell us about your first date.  (This is a great one for the Grandparents.)
  • What family recipe reminds you of something special?
  • Tell about a time when you were reminded “it’s better to give than receive”.
  • Thinking of the pilgrims and their adventure, what do you think it would be like to leave everyone and everything behind and move to a new country…without a job secured?
  • What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken in your life?
  • What do you appreciate most about the person on your right?

As people are answering their questions, think of saying things such as “tell us more” instead of cutting them short to share your version or answer.

Turn the TV off and leave your cell phone at the front door (or in the car).  Take this time to focus on good old-fashioned ‘face-time’!!!

And if you missed last weeks post, here are more tips on Planning the Perfectly Imperfect Party.

What are your tricks to keeping the conversation comfortable at your Thanksgiving table?  Please leave a comment below to share your tips and stories.

Happy Thanksgiving!  …and may the conversation be comfortable!

Thanksgiving Table

 

In other news….

Passport (9-12th Grade) Program
Our High School events begin soon – don’t miss out!

  • Passport (9-12th Grade) Program registration online via:  https://www.expeditionsinetiquette.com/youth/programs/high-school

 

Business Etiquette Training and other Workshops
Would you like to schedule a workshop or presentation?

I have a variety of workshops that can be customized to fit your needs and would love to work with your organization, please call or email for more information, 405-721-1467 or CareySue@CareySueVega.com

Here are just a few of the workshop topics:

  • Etiquette and the Generations – understanding ‘those guys’
  • Creating a Great Customer Service Experience
  • Business Etiquette and Professionalism – Navigating Lunch and Networking Events
  • First and Lasting Impressions
  • Professional Dress

 

As always, thanks for reading!

– Carey Sue

 

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Etiquette, Family, Family Dinner, Manner Monday, Manners

Surviving the Holidays

Channel 4 asked me to come in to help with their segment on ‘Surviving the Holidays’ and to answer viewer questions.

Here is a sneak peak into the questions posed by viewers via the Channel 4 Facebook page for this segment:

  • What is the most surprising etiquette rule people don’t seem to understand at Thanksgiving?
  • My Aunt insists on bringing her ‘special’ cranberries to the dinner each year spiked with heavy amounts of ginger.  No one likes it but her, but is it rude to have my own recipe on the table?
  • My Uncle uses each Thanksgiving dinner to start a political rant.  Should we call him a day ahead and say politics are off the table?  And who can I pay to make this call?
  • My sister was divorced this year but I love her ex-husband and he’s all alone this Thanksgiving.  She is out of town so is it disloyal for me to invite him over?
  • We rotate Thanksgiving in my family.  I love fine china, but my brother serves dinner on paper plates! Can I suggest we want dinner on real plates if I offer to do the dishes?
  • What is the best way to cute my mother-in-law off when it comes to how many glasses of wine she drinks?

Here is the link to the full story:

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Etiquette, Family, Family Dinner, Manners, Media

Manner Monday®: Tips for Planning the Perfectly Imperfect Party

Are you hosting for the Holidays?  During this time of year, I always get questions from nervous hosts and hostesses asking for tips to make the process a bit less painful.  Well, not sure about the pain factor, but I can share some tips with you to make it hopefully flow a bit smoother.

First of all – take a deep breath!  And follow the Nike slogan ‘just do it’! Don’t stress about things such as ‘my house isn’t perfect’, ‘I don’t have the right dishes or silverware’.  By focusing on ‘hospitality’ vs. ‘formality’, you can be rest assured knowing that no matter what happens, your guests will feel comfortable and will have a great time.

Ok, so you’ve decided to take the plunge, let’s get the party started…

Invitations, how are you going to notify your guests?  Keep in mind that the invitation will help to set the tone of the party.  An old-fashioned ‘print’ invitation, sent via snail mail, can set the stage for something a bit more ‘formal’.  An E-vite leans toward something more ‘casual’.

Guest list, who are you planning to invite?  Take some time with this one.  Think through your guest list and try to bring together an interesting mix of people who you think would have a good time together and why they would get along.  Think outside of your normal circle of friends and reach out to someone new who you’ve recently met and would like to get to know better.

Plan ahead.  Make a to-do list and break it down into manageable pieces over a few days.  By being organized, strategic and focused, you can easily cut down on the added stress of forgetting something such a key ingredient at the store.

During the Party.  Be focused on the moment – turn off TVs, put on some background music, put away smart phones, and get ready to focus on your friends.  Plan to be ready at least 15 minutes before your guests are scheduled to arrive. Not only does this give you a moment to catch your breath, but it also allows a small window of flexibility in case something goes wrong during the preparations.

Clean Up.  Consider spending a little extra money to hire a helper for the evening.  Someone who can tend to things in the kitchen and keep plates cleared and can help to keep you from feeling overwhelmed.  If hiring a helper is not in your budget, not a worry!  Just save the cleanup until after your guests have left.

And remember, your guests are coming for the enjoyment of your company, friendship and hospitality.  Set the stage and atmosphere for a lovely evening of relaxing with friends and enjoying good old-fashioned ‘face time’.  And your friends will thank you.

Thanksgiving

 

In other news….

Passport (9-12th Grade) Program
Our High School events begin soon – don’t miss out!

  • Passport (9-12th Grade) Program registration online via:  https://www.expeditionsinetiquette.com/youth/programs/high-school

 

Business Etiquette Training and other Workshops
Would you like to schedule a workshop or presentation?

I have a variety of workshops that can be customized to fit your needs and would love to work with your organization, please call or email for more information, 405-721-1467 or CareySue@CareySueVega.com

Here are just a few of the workshop topics:

  • Etiquette and the Generations – understanding ‘those guys’
  • Creating a Great Customer Service Experience
  • Business Etiquette and Professionalism – Navigating Lunch and Networking Events
  • First and Lasting Impressions
  • Professional Dress

 

As always, thanks for reading!

– Carey Sue

 

 

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Etiquette, Family, Family Dinner, Manner Monday, Manners

Manner Monday®: Soup

Every time I speak at a lunch or dinner workshop – we talk about eating soup in the presence of others.  Yes, at home, some of us may pick it up like a coffee mug and slurp… but hopefully not in public!

And each year when Columbus Day rolls around, the legendary poem many of us learned as children in history class pops into my head…

In fourteen hundred ninety-two

     Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

He had three ships and left from Spain;

     He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain…

Ok, ok, I’ll stop there… sorry to get that stuck in your head.

Thinking about the poem is very handy when you are trying to navigate soup somewhat gracefully in the presence of others…

    As a ship sails out to sea, I sail my spoon away from me.

By “sailing your spoon away”, any precarious drips will drip away from you, instead of on your shirt or tie.   And if your soup is SO delicious you’re trying to figure out how to get the last few scoops (without picking it up like a coffee cup)… keep the same poem in mind and tilt your bowl away from you.  Again, if you fumble your soup bowl while tilting, the soup will sail away from you and not end up in your lap.

 

Soup sailing.pdf

 

 

 

Passport (9-12th Grade) Program
Our High School events begin soon – don’t miss out!

  • The Interview Intensive begins in October, click here for more information:  https://www.expeditionsinetiquette.com/interview-intensive-10-12th-grades
  • Passport (9-12th Grade) Program registration online via:  https://www.expeditionsinetiquette.com/passport-high-school-registration

 

Business Etiquette Lunch Workshops 
Lunch workshops are a great way to grab a fantastic meal, meet new people in an fun and nonthreatening environment AND learn something at the same time!

Join us for a workshop:

  • Tuesday, October 21, Quail Creek
  • Tuesday, November 18, Gaillardia (Social Etiquette – preparing for the Holidays)

Register via:  https://www.expeditionsinetiquette.com/business-and-social-etiquette-lunch-workshops

 

Have you seen the Music Video?  Our Student Ambassadors came up with the idea, wrote the lyrics, arranged for the soundtrack recording, I helped arrange the videographer… they did the rest all themselves!  Pretty creative bunch of kids!!!

Don’t forget to watch through to the end for the bloopers!

Click on the picture below to access the video.

 

Business Etiquette Training and other Workshops
Would you like to schedule a workshop or presentation?

I have a variety of workshops that can be customized to fit your needs and would love to work with your organization, please call or email for more information, 405-721-1467 or CareySue@CareySueVega.com

Here are just a few of the workshop topics:

  • Etiquette and the Generations – understanding ‘those guys’
  • Creating a Great Customer Service Experience
  • Business Etiquette and Professionalism – Navigating Lunch and Networking Events
  • First and Lasting Impressions
  • Professional Dress

 

As always, thanks for reading!

– Carey Sue

 

No comments | leave a comment
Business Etiquette, Etiquette, Family, Family Dinner, Manner Monday, Manners

Manner Monday®: Family Dinner

Family Dinner…if you’re like most families today, you’re running in different directions, and just happy to get everyone fed, somehow – someway!  I know that’s the case for us, and there’s only three people in our family.  This past week, ‘family dinner’ at home didn’t happen for us – we had an event or activity every night of the week. Our family dinner consisted of Chick-fil-A at the school carnival while our son was trying to ditch us as fast as possible to find his friends.  And we understand that – the school carnival is a big deal for an 8-year-old.  But family dinner is a big deal to us, as parents.  So obviously, some weeks are better than others at making it happen.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) has instituted a national movement called “Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children.  Launched as a grassroots effort in 2001, it has now grown to a nationwide initiative that is celebrated on the fourth Monday in September.

Here is some great information from their website:

As children age, it is important to build trust with them and keep the lines of communication open so that if at any point they begin to feel increased pressure to experiment with smoking, drinking and using drugs they can feel comfortable talking to you about it. 
 Everyday activities like having family dinner together, helping your children with their homework or attending their after school activities have a lasting effect on your kids.

Each of these moments offers an opportunity to connect, share and really listen to what’s on their mind. Research shows that children with hands-on parents are far less likely to smoke, drink or use other drugs. Remember, parental engagement matters!

 If you can’t sit down for family dinner today, that’s ok.  Take a look at your calendar for the next week and schedule a ‘date’ (or two or three) with your family for good old-fashioned ‘family-face-time’ (FFT).  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  Keep it simple and as stress free and as much FUN as possible.  FUN is when great things happen.

Determine if FFT will take place at home around the table or choose a restaurant where it can be accomplished (no TVs distracting with the game overhead).  The goal is for whomever is participating to sit at the table for a meal with no distractions.  Yes, mom and dad this will be just as hard for you J – no cell phones and no TV.  Think quality FFT.  Believe it or not, teenagers really do want uninterrupted quality time with their parents – even if they don’t act like it.  By planning ahead and exerting a little bit of effort in small stages, we can start now to prepare for mealtime outings with family, friends, and even colleagues… without cringing at the thought of the idea.

And if you want a fun, creative way to set the stage and ‘invite’ your family to dinner… take the lead from the mom of one of our high school students:

family dinner invitation

 

 

Special Announcements:

Have you seen the Music Video?  Our Student Ambassadors came up with the idea, wrote the lyrics, arranged for the soundtrack recording, I helped arrange the videographer… they did the rest all themselves!  Pretty creative bunch of kids!!!

Don’t forget to watch through to the end for the bloopers!

Click on the picture below to access the video.

 

Passport (9-12th Grade) Program
Our Passport Party is fast-approaching and will take place, Thursday, October 2.  It’s a great way to meet new friends and learn about the program.  Here is the link to more information:  https://www.expeditionsinetiquette.com/passport-party

  • The Interview Intensive begins in October, click here for more information:  https://www.expeditionsinetiquette.com/interview-intensive-10-12th-grades
  • Passport (9-12th Grade) Program registration online via:  https://www.expeditionsinetiquette.com/passport-high-school-registration

Don’t miss out – Business Etiquette Lunch Workshops 
Lunch workshops are a great way to grab a fantastic meal, meet new people in an fun and nonthreatening environment AND learn something at the same time!

Join us for a workshop:

  • Tuesday, October 21, Quail Creek
  • Tuesday, November 18, Gaillardia (Social Etiquette – preparing for the Holidays)

Register via:  https://www.expeditionsinetiquette.com/business-and-social-etiquette-lunch-workshops

 

Business Etiquette Training and other Workshops
Would you like to schedule a workshop or presentation?

I have a variety of workshops that can be customized to fit your needs and would love to work with your organization, please call or email for more information, 405-721-1467 or CareySue@CareySueVega.com

Here are just a few of the workshop topics:

  • Etiquette and the Generations – understanding ‘those guys’
  • Creating a Great Customer Service Experience
  • Business Etiquette and Professionalism – Navigating Lunch and Networking Events
  • First and Lasting Impressions
  • Professional Dress

 

As always, thanks for reading!

– Carey Sue

 

 

 

 

No comments | leave a comment
Etiquette, Family, Family Dinner, Manners

Manner Monday®: Sporks, Saltcellars, and Knife Rests, oh my!

As our students are out and about living life, they often stumble across old-fashioned table accessories that make them scratch their heads and ask, what in the world?  Sporks, Salt Cellars, and Knife Rests are all items we’ve received texts, or pictures posted via social media, with the questions of what and why?

So here’s the scoop…

Sporks
A few years ago, one of our students texted me, with a bit of good humor, asking about the plastic ‘spork’ in his KFC to-go order and if it should it be placed on the left or the right when setting the table… much to his surprise, I had a little history to share with him – which turned into a pretty fun text exchange.  I wish I had thought to get a screen shot of our dialogue, it was pretty funny.  Needless to say, he was shocked to learn that KFC didn’t invent the “spork”.  The spork (a spoon and fork hybrid) dates back to the late 1800’s.  The predecessor to our contemporary plastic spork is the ‘terrapin fork’ (yes, you read that correctly) or the ‘ice cream spoon’.  So to answer his question, I tossed it back to him to ask for which course he plans to use the ‘spork’.  That would help me with my suggestion for the placement of it.  If it’s for ‘terrapin’ during the meal, then it would go to the left with the other ‘forks’, if it’s for ice cream, it would be placed to the top of the place setting where the dessert utensils are found.  Or in his case, KFC, it really doesn’t matter where it’s placed, because he’s probably eating in his lap, out of a paper bag.

With his newfound knowledge, he said he’s holding out to win a chocolate bar sometime in the near future – or, if he ever appears on Jeopardy, he’s hopes to say “Sporks for $500 Alex”.

Here are some pictures of different types of ‘sporks’ for your enjoyment.

silver-spork.jpg   sporks.jpg

Saltcellars
A Saltcellar is a lidded or open vessel with a miniature spoon, which is placed on the dining table and used to dispense salt – in lieu of a modern saltshaker.  Use of saltcellars date back as early as Classical Greek and Roman times and continued through the first half of the 20th century.  They started falling out of favor with the introduction of free flowing salt in 1911, and have for the most part become obsolete with the convenience of saltshakers.

At the height of their glory, during the Middle Ages, elaborate master saltcellars evolved.  These works of art were placed at the head table and the large vessel was a sign of status and prosperity and was always prominently displayed.  In addition to the master salt (the big Kahuna), smaller, simpler saltcellars were distributed for diners to share.

The social status of guests could easily be identified by their positions relative to the master’s large salt cellar: high-ranking guests sat above the salt while those of lesser importance sat below the salt.

Here’s a picture of one of the most famous saltcellars made for Francis I of France, 1540-1543:

FrancisIsaltcellar

A modern version from Tiffany:

Tiffany-Co.-Salt-Cellars

Knife Rests
Technically, once you’ve used a utensil and it’s ‘dirty’, you’re not supposed to place it back on the table.  The reasoning was so that diners would not soil the tablecloth with a grimy utensil, hence the job of the knife rest.   Modern knife rests came about in the late 17th or early 18th century, but they originally can be tied to the times of Henry VIII.

Another fun fact about the dinner, or table, knife is the distinguishing feature of a blunt or rounded end. The origin of this, and thus of the table knife itself, dates back to the 1600’s; supposedly to cure dinner guests of the unsavory habit of picking their teeth with their knife-points.  In 1669, King Louis XIV of France banned pointed knives in the street and at his table, insisting on blunt tips, in order to reduce violence.  This history is helpful when setting the table; it’s a fun way to remember that you always place the blade of the knife towards your plate – and not towards your neighbor, think of it as helping to ‘keep the peace’.

photo

 

Special Announcements:

Don’t forget to register now and save $50 with the ‘Summer Special’ rate, which is open through July 31.
Registration is in full swing for our 5-8th grade programs that begin this Fall and classes are fulling up quickly.
And yes, a deposit can still be made to secure their spot!
For more information, visit the registration page on the website:  https://www.expeditionsinetiquette.com/registration

etc…
The highest compliment you can give us is a referral to your friends and coworkers. Please share our registration and contact information with any families you think might be interested in participating in our program.

Each year we build on the previous year as we add to the curriculum.  We have many students who continue with us each season, from our Level 5 (5th grade) program through our Passport (High School) Program.  Our goal with the continuous exposure, and gentle reminders, of the courtesies we teach over consecutive years – is to assist you in raising well-mannered young adults.

  • Continued Exposure:  Just as continued exposure to athletics and school homework reaps rewards; continued exposure to the social skills taught in our program will provide lifelong lessons that will benefit your child throughout the classroom and into the boardroom.
  • Benefits and Rewards:  One of the biggest rewards of our students returning year after year, is the virtual ‘light bulb’ that seems to turn on and stay on; the students are really starting to get it and they are very proud of themselves.  Their confidence is building.  We’ve highlighted some of our graduating seniors on my blog at www.CareySueVega.com/?s=senior+spotlight

5-8th Grade Levels:  We encourage you to register early to take advantage of the ‘Summer Special’ discount.  Regular tuition for the 2014-2015 season will be $425.

  • All Families, ‘Summer Special’ $375 by July 31
  • 5-8th Grade registration online via:  https://www.expeditionsinetiquette.com/registration

9-12th Grade Levels:  Registration is open and will continue with the Early Bird discount into the fall.  Register early to avoid the waiting list.

  • 9-12th Grade registration online via:  https://www.expeditionsinetiquette.com/passport-high-school-registration

 

Business Etiquette Training and other Workshops
Would you like to schedule a workshop or presentation?

I’m busy booking projects and working on presentations for clients and am already scheduling well into the Fall!  Thank you so much for your continued support for this part of my business!

I have a variety of workshops that can be customized to fit your needs and would love to work with your organization, please call or email for more information, 405-721-1467 or CareySue@CareySueVega.com

Here are just a few of the workshop topics:

  • Etiquette and the Generations – understanding ‘those guys’
  • Creating a Great Customer Service Experience
  • Business Etiquette and Professionalism – Navigating Lunch and Networking Events
  • First and Lasting Impressions
  • Professional Dress

 

As always, thanks for reading!
– Carey Sue

No comments | leave a comment
Business Etiquette, Etiquette, Family, Family Dinner, Manner Monday, Manners

Manner Monday®: Formal Food Service – from the ‘Left’ or ‘Right’?

Don’t you love typos?  Especially after you proofread, reread, and reread once more before pulling the proverbial trigger.  THEN, after you’ve sent your message, or email newsletter, do you see the typo, ‘bigger than Dallas’!!!  Yep, that happened to me last week.  It wasn’t until after I sent the Manner Monday newsletter about Bread and Butter, that I saw the typo.  So here is the mistake: ‘When they clear your plate from the Left…’.  It should have read, ‘clear your plate from the Right’.

An easy way to remember which way food will be coming and going is ‘L = L’, Leave it from the Left.  And ‘R = R’, Remove it from the Right.  But it’s still not as clear-cut as Left and Right.  American style service has followed this general rule of thumb for quite some time and stems from the days of butler service.  The Butler would showcase a large tray of food choices to the guest.  The platter would be presented to the Left of the guest and the guest would either remove the items of choice, or the butler would place the selected item on the guest’s plate.

Times change and so does the level of formality with food service.  Some camps believe that when the food is already plated and prepared, there is no need for the formal platter presentation – the food is ready to go and should both be served and removed from the right.

‘Leave it from the Right’ Camp
When service is a la Russe, where the food item is prepared in full by the Chef in the kitchen. The food then should delivered, in its entirety to the guest, from the Right.

The ‘Right’ camp believes the diner should only be approached from the Left for three purposes:

  1. To present a platter of food from which the waiter will serve, or the diner will choose.
  2. To place side dishes such as ‘bread and butter’, vegetables, etc.
  3. To clear side dishes that are placed on the left, such as ‘bread and butter’.

Leave it from the Left’ Camp
When multiple drinks are present, water, wine, cordials, coffee, etc., it can get a bit crowded on the right.  A strong argument for continuing to serve from the left and remove from the right is fewer opportunities for a mishap between the plate and stemware, which is placed on the right.

Needless to say both camps deem their way is best.  You, as a diner, know that both ways are universally acceptable and can follow suit based on how your waiter presents your food.  Either way – everyone agrees, ‘Remove it from the Right’.

Here’s a picture from Downton Abbey with a great example of how confusing it can be when deciding leave it from the ‘Left’ or ‘Right':

serving from left

 

Special Announcements:

Registration is in full swing for our 5-8th grade programs that begin this Fall and classes are fulling up quickly.
Don’t forget to register now and save $50 with the ‘Summer Special’ rate.
And yes, a deposit can still be made to secure their spot!
For more information, visit the registration page on the website:  https://www.expeditionsinetiquette.com/registration

etc…
The highest compliment you can give us is a referral to your friends and coworkers. Please share our registration and contact information with any families you think might be interested in participating in our program.

Each year we build on the previous year as we add to the curriculum.  We have many students who continue with us each season, from our Level 5 (5th grade) program through our Passport (High School) Program.  Our goal with the continuous exposure, and gentle reminders, of the courtesies we teach over consecutive years – is to assist you in raising well-mannered young adults.

  • Continued Exposure:  Just as continued exposure to athletics and school homework reaps rewards; continued exposure to the social skills taught in our program will provide lifelong lessons that will benefit your child throughout the classroom and into the boardroom.
  • Benefits and Rewards:  One of the biggest rewards of our students returning year after year, is the virtual ‘light bulb’ that seems to turn on and stay on; the students are really starting to get it and they are very proud of themselves.  Their confidence is building.  We’ve highlighted some of our graduating seniors on my blog at www.CareySueVega.com/?s=senior+spotlight

5-8th Grade Levels:  We encourage you to register early to take advantage of the ‘Summer Special’ discount.  Regular tuition for the 2014-2015 season will be $425.

  • All Families, ‘Summer Special’ $375 by July 31
  • 5-8th Grade registration online via:  https://www.expeditionsinetiquette.com/registration

9-12th Grade Levels:  Registration is open and will continue with the Early Bird discount into the fall.  Register early to avoid the waiting list.

  • 9-12th Grade registration online via:  https://www.expeditionsinetiquette.com/passport-high-school-registration

 

Business Etiquette Training and other Workshops
Would you like to schedule a workshop or presentation?

I’m busy booking projects and working on presentations for clients and am already scheduling well into the Fall!  Thank you so much for your continued support for this part of my business!

I have a variety of workshops that can be customized to fit your needs and would love to work with your organization, please call or email for more information, 405-721-1467 or CareySue@CareySueVega.com

Here are just a few of the workshop topics:

  • Etiquette and the Generations – understanding ‘those guys’
  • Creating a Great Customer Service Experience
  • Business Etiquette and Professionalism – Navigating Lunch and Networking Events
  • First and Lasting Impressions
  • Professional Dress

 

As always, thanks for reading!
– Carey Sue

 

No comments | leave a comment
Business Etiquette, Etiquette, Family, Family Dinner, Manner Monday, Manners

Manner Monday®: Bread and Butter

A friend recently asked me about bread and butter at formal events.  She mentioned how when at home, she loves to spread butter all over her roll letting the butter melt and get all gooey and soak in.  I was shaking my head in unison, salivating, wondering where the closest bakery was to pick up a loaf on the way home to devour that evening.  I think it’s safe to say, when we eat at home, we tend to be a bit more casual.  Sometimes we need to brush up on some of our more ‘formal’ manners before heading out to a big event.

Bread – For formal events, and at nicer restaurants, wait staff may serve the bread where it would be placed directly onto your bread plate.  Or it may be placed in a basket on the table to be passed family style.  Either way, if you have a bread plate, the plate should remain in its position throughout the meal until the wait staff removes it.  In case you’re drawing a blank on where your bread plate should be stationed, you can refer to the fun ‘b’ and ‘d’ trick, or the ‘BMW’ analogy.  As much as we love our bread, you don’t get to bring it down, front and center – it’s an accessory to the meal not the main course.

If you don’t have an individual bread plate at your place setting, you can rest your roll on the edge of your dinner plate.

Butter – The Butter may be preset on your personal bread and butter plate, on a communal plate to be passed for sharing, or individual foil packets may be placed in a container on the table.  If you’re faced with butter in foil packets, gently open your packet, gently scoop your serving of butter onto your plate, and gently fold your foil trash and place it in your virtual trashcan.

Your Virtual Trashcan – To find your virtual trashcan, picture a clock on your dinner plate.  Where the five falls on the clock, your trashcan will be on the table just under the right lip of your dinner plate.  This is helpful to the wait staff.  When they clear your plate from the right, they can easily empty your trash instead of having to reach all of the way in to the middle of the table.  Your trashcan can be used for sweetener packets and any other small pieces of ‘trash’.

Butter knife – If you have an individual butter knife, it stays at home resting on it’s own plate in between workouts.  Its sole purpose is to get the butter onto the bread – one bite at a time.  No working overtime on any other item.  If you do not have a butter knife, your dinner knife will work a double shift and step pinch hit for the job.  Either way, just don’t lick it spotless – you can gently wipe it on your piece of bread to clean it if need be.

One Bite at a time – When you’re ready for a bite of bread, take your fingers and tear a small piece away from your roll and butter that one individual portion.  We don’t get to cut our roll in half and slather butter all over it when we’re at a formal event and high-end restaurant, save that for home with close family.

Dipping and Sopping – If you have olive oil, gravy, or soup, you can ‘gently’ dip or sop with your individual bite size piece of bread.  Refrain from using the piece of bread as a shovel to clean your plate, and be extra careful to keep anything from dripping onto your shirt.

Now pass the bread basket please – all this talk about bread, I’m starving!

Bread Roll Plate

 

Special Announcements:

Registration is in full swing for our 5-8th grade programs that begin this Fall and classes are fulling up quickly.
Don’t forget to register now and save $50 with the ‘Summer Special’ rate.
And yes, a deposit can still be made to secure their spot!
For more information, visit the registration page on the website:  https://www.expeditionsinetiquette.com/registration

etc…
The highest compliment you can give us is a referral to your friends and coworkers. Please share our registration and contact information with any families you think might be interested in participating in our program.

Each year we build on the previous year as we add to the curriculum.  We have many students who continue with us each season, from our Level 5 (5th grade) program through our Passport (High School) Program.  Our goal with the continuous exposure, and gentle reminders, of the courtesies we teach over consecutive years – is to assist you in raising well-mannered young adults.

  • Continued Exposure:  Just as continued exposure to athletics and school homework reaps rewards; continued exposure to the social skills taught in our program will provide lifelong lessons that will benefit your child throughout the classroom and into the boardroom.
  • Benefits and Rewards:  One of the biggest rewards of our students returning year after year, is the virtual ‘light bulb’ that seems to turn on and stay on; the students are really starting to get it and they are very proud of themselves.  Their confidence is building.  We’ve highlighted some of our graduating seniors on my blog at www.CareySueVega.com/?s=senior+spotlight

5-8th Grade Levels:  We encourage you to register early to take advantage of the ‘Summer Special’ discount.  Regular tuition for the 2014-2015 season will be $425.

  • All Families, ‘Summer Special’ $375 by July 31
  • 5-8th Grade registration online via:  https://www.expeditionsinetiquette.com/registration

9-12th Grade Levels:  Registration is open and will continue with the Early Bird discount into the fall.  Register early to avoid the waiting list.

  • 9-12th Grade registration online via:  https://www.expeditionsinetiquette.com/passport-high-school-registration

 

Business Etiquette Training and other Workshops
Would you like to schedule a workshop or presentation?

I’m busy booking projects and working on presentations for clients and am already scheduling well into the Fall!  Thank you so much for your continued support for this part of my business!

I have a variety of workshops that can be customized to fit your needs and would love to work with your organization, please call or email for more information, 405-721-1467 or CareySue@CareySueVega.com

Here are just a few of the workshop topics:

  • Etiquette and the Generations – understanding ‘those guys’
  • Creating a Great Customer Service Experience
  • Business Etiquette and Professionalism – Navigating Lunch and Networking Events
  • First and Lasting Impressions
  • Professional Dress

 

As always, thanks for reading!
– Carey Sue

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Business Etiquette, Etiquette, Family, Family Dinner, Manner Monday, Manners

Manner Monday®: Napkin Rings

Do you recall, a time not so long ago, when families ate dinner around the dinner table?  I know, I know, it’s hard to imagine in this fast-paced, fast-food focused world we currently live in.  And when families sat down to dinner, quite often they used the ‘real’ stuff – china and cloth napkins??? I say this in jest – but also realizing that many kids today aren’t sitting down to dinner with their family.  Dinner is eaten on the fly from one activity to the next, and it’s usually picked up at the nearest drive through.  Hey, I get it!  I’m there with you!  We’re busy.  And then when we do actually get our family gathered for dinner – don’t get me started about technology at the table!!!

I digress… when we do actually get our family gathered for dinner, we’re not thinking about setting the stage – we’re just happy everyone is in the same place at the same time!  And the thought of getting out the china and cloth napkins – really?  One more thing to clean – no thank you!

When in reality, using the good stuff makes everyone at the table feel special.  My good friend, Suzanne, and I joke that food somehow just tastes better when eaten off ‘real’ plates.  More than likely you have some china in your house that’s not being used?  Get it out and dust it off.  You can look at it as a way to save money, and the environment, by not buying paper (disposable) plates!!!  And not to mention it’s a great opportunity for your kids to help clean up after the meal.  Great conversations happen when you’re in the kitchen together.

So, you’re still following me…  Thanks, I’m getting there! Now let’s take it one step further and dig out some cloth napkins.  We’re on a roll; think of how many paper towels you may save.

And here’s the good news – you don’t have to wash your napkins after every use.  Cue the moans and groans of; ‘gross’, ‘disgusting’, ‘I don’t want my brothers disgusting napkin’.  Believe it or not, that’s how Napkin Rings evolved!  They were originally used to identify the napkins of each family member between weekly washdays!  Did I hear a ‘hallelujah’ from some of you?  You don’t have to wash them after every use (unless they worked overtime during a shift).

The European bourgeoisie invented the napkin ring concept and they first started appearing in France in the early 1800’s.  The trend took off like wildfire and spread to many more countries including the western world.  In the 19th century, most napkin rings were made of silver, but some were also made of bone, wood, embroidery, porcelain, and glass. As the middle class grew to show wealth in household accessories, engraved napkin rings became popular gifts for weddings and christenings.  Once the paper napkin was invented, use of cloth napkins and the napkin rings declined significantly.  Today, napkin rings are viewed more as jewelry for the table setting, an added special detail, or the finishing touch.

I’ve enjoyed collecting unique napkin rings, some of which have been handed down through the family.   I even found an antique one on eBay engraved with my sons name on it! Score!  On a rainy day, you could have craft time and let the kids make their own creations.  It provides another opportunity to give them ownership in the process and to enjoy their time together around the table.

Do you set the stage for family dinner and use the real stuff?  If so, what’s you take on using cloth napkins more than once?  I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.

Here are some pictures of our dinner table and napkin rings:

I found Billy’s napkin ring on eBay.  It was already personalized!!!

This placemat has been a great tool in teaching him how to set the table!!!
You can order customized placemats for your kiddos at our Etsy shop:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/CareySueVega

Special Announcements:

Cupcakes and Coffee
Will you help spread the word? … this week we have scheduled two ‘Cupcakes and Coffee’ informational meetings.  Please share with your friends that these meetings are not mandatory for new parents, but serve as an opportunity for parents to gather information about the program in addition to the information included on our website.  If they have any questions, they are more than welcome to call or email.  I would love to visit with them.

And we would love to have you join us as well is you’re available!

  • Tuesday, April 15, 6:30-7:30pm, at The Nigh University Center (Campus of UCO), 2nd Street and Garland Godfrey, Edmond
  • Thursday, April 17, 6:30-7:30pm, at the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association (COHBA) Event Center, 420 East Britton Road, Oklahoma City

Early Bird Registration for 5-8th Grade Programs
The highest compliment you can give us is a referral to your friends and coworkers. Please share our registration and contact information with any families you think might be interested in participating in our program.

Each year we build on the previous year as we add to the curriculum.  We have many students who continue with us each season, from our Level 5 (5th grade) program through our Passport (High School) Program.  Our goal with the continuous exposure, and gentle reminders, of the courtesies we teach over consecutive years – is to assist you in raising well-mannered young adults.

  • Continued Exposure:  Just as continued exposure to athletics and school homework reaps rewards; continued exposure to the social skills taught in our program will provide lifelong lessons that will benefit your child throughout the classroom and into the boardroom.
  • Benefits and Rewards:  One of the biggest rewards of our students returning year after year, is the virtual ‘light bulb’ that seems to turn on and stay on; the students are really starting to get it and they are very proud of themselves.  Their confidence is building.  We’ve highlighted some of our graduating seniors on my blog atwww.CareySueVega.com/?s=senior+spotlight

5-8th Grade Levels:  We encourage you to register early to take advantage of the ‘early bird’ discount.  Regular tuition for the 2014-2015 season will be $425.

9-12th Grade Levels:  Registration is open and will continue with the Early Bird discount into the fall.  Register early to avoid the waiting list.

As always, thanks for reading!
– Carey Sue

 

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Etiquette, Family, Family Dinner, Manner Monday, Manners

Manner Monday®: Napkin Etiquette

I was always taught to put my napkin neatly on the table when I excuse myself, either to go to the restroom, or when I was finished eating but still chatting at the table.  Recently a friend mentioned that putting your napkin on the table is actually rude?  I do know that in better restaurants the waiter will pick it up and drape it over the chair until the diner returns.  So just what is the correct napkin etiquette?   Thank you! – Kathleen

First off, many people may not know the intricacies of Silverware Sign Language TM.  Not to mention that different Etiquette Experts have different opinions on the topic (Emily Post and Letitia Baldridge, are two of the most famous who don’t agree), so I wouldn’t say placing your napkin on the table is rude.  And unless it was a REALLY good friend who pointed this out – they’d actually be the one to fall under the ‘rude’ category for bringing it up and making you feel uncomfortable.  Manners and Etiquette is more about making people feel at ease than focusing on the rules.

So now to answer your question, here’s my take on the topic:  When leaving the table during the meal, place your napkin on your chair (on the seat, over the arm, or over the back), this signals ‘I’ll be back’.  My theory is that your neighbors don’t want to look at a dirty napkin while they’re still enjoying their meal.   And yes, in finer restaurants, many waiters will pick up the napkin (no matter where you’ve left it), gently fold it and reposition it to their preferential waiting place.  Once you are completely finished with your meal, placing your napkin on the table signals, ‘I’m finished’.  A general rule is to gently fold your napkin keeping the soiled spots out of sight, instead of just wading it up into and tossing it in a jumbled pile. If your plate has been removed, you can place the napkin in the center where the plate was.  If your plate is still in position, gently place your napkin to the ‘left’ of your plate.  An easy way to remember going to the left, if you have a coffee cup it would be on the right – so there would be ‘no room in the inn’ for your napkin.

A few other napkin tips:

  • Place your napkin in your lap as soon as you are seated.  The custom of waiting for the hostess is reserved for formal affairs.
  • If you’re wearing dark colored pants or skirt, it is perfectly acceptable to ask if the restaurant has a dark napkin. Often a white napkin will leave lint marks on your clothing.  Some of the finer restaurants will be proactive in making this happen before you have a chance to ask.
  • Your napkin should be placed on your lap, not tucked into your shirt collar or tied around your neck (unless you’re a toddler and mom forgot the bib).
  • If you have a large dinner sized napkin, leave it folded in half, with the fold at your waist.  Much less material to deal with and it makes it so much easier to manage.
  • Ladies with lipstick, be consistent when picking up your napkin and dab with the same spot, this helps to keep lipstick stains corralled in the same area and keeps your napkin from looking like something found at the scene of a crime.
  • If your napkin falls on the floor, leave it.  Not only is the floor extremely filthy, but if you bend down to retrieve it, your head gets precariously near your neighbors lap – and all I’m going to say is ‘awkward’.  The waiter will happily bring you a new napkin.
  • If you accidentally make a big spill on the table – hopefully the waiter is near by to help save the day.  But if not, you can easily put a ‘bandaid’ on the spill by moving your plate, glassware, etc., and then placing your napkin over the mess.  Reset your place setting, apologize, and then move on.  Don’t keep bringing up the accident.  Trust me – it happens to everyone at some point and time… move on and try to forget about it.

In the grand scheme of things… just make sure to use a napkin!  And along those lines, Emily Post said it best, “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.”

napkin-toddler

Special Announcements:

Cupcakes and Coffee
Will you help spread the word? … in April, we have scheduled two ‘Cupcakes and Coffee’ informational meetings.  Please share with your friends that these meetings are not mandatory for new parents, but serve as an opportunity for parents to gather information about the program in addition to the information included on our website.  If they have any questions, they are more than welcome to call or email.  I would love to visit with them.

And we would love to have you join us as well is you’re available!

  • Tuesday, April 15, 6:30-7:30pm, at The Nigh University Center (Campus of UCO), 2nd Street and Garland Godfrey, Edmond
  • Thursday, April 17, 6:30-7:30pm, at the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association (COHBA) Event Center, 420 East Britton Road, Oklahoma City

Early Bird Registration for 5-8th Grade Programs
The highest compliment you can give us is a referral to your friends and coworkers. Please share our registration and contact information with any families you think might be interested in participating in our program.

Each year we build on the previous year as we add to the curriculum.  We have many students who continue with us each season, from our Level 5 (5th grade) program through our Passport (High School) Program.  Our goal with the continuous exposure, and gentle reminders, of the courtesies we teach over consecutive years – is to assist you in raising well-mannered young adults.

  • Continued Exposure:  Just as continued exposure to athletics and school homework reaps rewards; continued exposure to the social skills taught in our program will provide lifelong lessons that will benefit your child throughout the classroom and into the boardroom.
  • Benefits and Rewards:  One of the biggest rewards of our students returning year after year, is the virtual ‘light bulb’ that seems to turn on and stay on; the students are really starting to get it and they are very proud of themselves.  Their confidence is building.  We’ve highlighted some of our graduating seniors on my blog atwww.CareySueVega.com/?s=senior+spotlight

5-8th Grade Levels:  We encourage you to register early to take advantage of the ‘early bird’ discount.  Regular tuition for the 2014-2015 season will be $425.

9-12th Grade Levels:  Registration is open and will continue with the Early Bird discount into the fall.  Register early to avoid the waiting list.

As always, thanks for reading!
– Carey Sue

 

 

No comments | leave a comment
Business Etiquette, Etiquette, Family, Family Dinner, Manners