Manner Monday®: #Foodie Photos at the Table

First off, we all know that your focus should be on your friends and family.  But if you feel as though you HAVE to snap a picture, do so quickly and discreetly.  And do I even have to say this part (yes… I do); wait until you leave the restaurant, or event, if you plan to post your photo to your social media sites.

If you do want to snap a #foodie photo here are some tips to avoid ruining the rhythm of the meal and annoying your fellow diners:

  •  Your phone should already be on silent, but double check before snapping your pic.  You don’t want the ‘shutter’ sound disturbing nearby diners.
  • While you’re checking the mute function, turn off the flash.  You don’t want to disturb and distract others with the flash, plus it makes your food look horrible in the photo.
  • Don’t rearrange furniture, food placement or people.  Remember the key is to be quick and discreet.
  • Get a closeup of the food. If you can’t sense being able to touch and smell the dish through the photo, you’re not close enough.
  • Make sure to leave other diners in the restaurant out of your pic.
  • After you leave the event, give the photo a quick edit before posting it. Don’t forget to crop out any extraneous table clutter and correct the white balance before you share it.  And again, don’t even think about doing this at the table!
  • Finally make sure your picture is actually a good one before sharing it.  You don’t want the ‘best-meal-ever’ to end up looking like something you would serve Fido.

It’s great to take pictures to keep as a memento of a fabulous dinner or event, but don’t forget to actually enjoy the moment with the friends and family who are at your table.


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

Manner Monday®: What Would George Say?

Happy Presidents Day!

In honor of the Holiday, we’re revisiting George Washington’s 110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation which he penned at the ripe age of 16 (yes, 16) to highlight one of his ‘archaic’ rules to see how it’s still pretty relevant in today’s modern world.

Rule #90 “Being set at meat scratch not neither spit, cough, or blow your nose, except there’s a necessity for it.”

In other words:  Sometimes it happens and a bodily function accidentally slips up on you in the presence of others.  If you’re at the dinner table, do your best to cover your mouth with your napkin and not draw attention to it and politely say ‘excuse me’ to your neighbor who may have heard you; at some point I’m sure it has happened to them and they completely understand.

If you feel a sneeze coming on and are not able to make a quick enough getaway: sneeze into your shoulder, turning your head and body away from your neighbor.  Make sure to catch the sneeze in your shoulder so you don’t share it with the table behind you.

If the bodily function is something completely within your control, such as blowing your nose, excuse yourself to the restroom where you can take care of things privately.  You tablemates will be eternally grateful.

I wonder if George knew how hip his ‘rules’ would still be in 2014???



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

Table Setting Contest Video Winner

Congratulations to Madelyn Rowland!!!

(Click on her name to view the video.)


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Teens, Tweens, and Apps Parents Should Monitor

I was honored to help Bobbie Miller, News9, with a story on Teens, Tweens, and Apps Parents Should Monitor.

Click here to see the entire story: – Oklahoma City, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports |

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Family, Manners, Media

Passport Program: Monday night’s class is rescheduled (again)

Sorry guys :-(
Roads should start getting slick this evening when precipitation starts falling.
And you all know how I feel about teenagers driving in questionable conditions!


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Classes, Weather

Manner Monday®: I <3 U, aka: Love Letters

Love letters… When is the last time you’ve heard this term referenced?  In today’s terms, we’re all probably thinking along the lines of maybe a “love text” = I <3 U, or I luv u, or a “love email”.

I wonder what methods children and grandchildren will utilize in the coming years to assist in storytelling or reminiscing about couples and the current forms of “love letters” … will they scroll through smart phones looking for text messages, will they peruse Facebook pages looking for sweet nuggets of I <3 U and other terms of endearment?  Will they find a post-it note collection of hearts and smiley faces that have been placed on a bathroom mirror, in a briefcase, or in a lunchbox?

If you would like a little inspiration in putting pen-to-paper this Valentine’s Day to send your sweetheart a hand-written “love note”; take 6 minutes to watch this truly special love story:  Barbara and George Bush Love Notes Revealed.

love letter

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Family, Manner Monday

Passport Class: Thursday evening has been rescheduled

After much thought, we have decided to reschedule tonight’s (Thursday, Feb. 4) Passport class.

With this being the high school program, and many of our students driving themselves, we feel it’s best to err on the side of safety.  We realize some of you might be able to make it safely to UCO for the scheduled class, but we fear many of you may not; and we do not want to put anyone in danger.

Please check your email for information and details on the makeup date.


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Classes, Weather

Manner Monday: Formal dinner rules – ‘Time to turn’

I thought it would be fun to share something I noticed during a recent episode of Dowtown Abbey.  At dinner one evening, Mary was engaging in polite conversation with a gentleman suitor seated to her right.  Mid-conversation, she politely smiled and said ‘time to turn’, as she then turned to the gentleman to her left to engage in polite conversation.

Back in ‘the day’ there were conversation rules during formal dinner.  The ladies were to keep an eye on their hostess and when the hostess ‘turned’ her conversation to the person on her opposite side, you were to follow suit.  I have a fabulous book in my arsenal, ‘The Rituals of Dinner’, by Margaret Visser.  In it she shares more detail on the topic:

“At the merest turn of the hostess’s head, from the guest on her left to the guest on her right, every couple has to interrupt their conversation.  The women take the responsibility of turning in the direction the hostess has initiated; the gentlemen, turned from and turned to, merely submit.  It would of course be exceedingly rude, not only to the host but to everyone present, to become so engrossed in conversation that you failed to notice the command, or refused to change partners; chorus line precision is required, or else at lest two people would be left ‘staring alone at the their plates.’”

Do any of us need to know this information… probably not?  But is it a fun fact to know?  Yes (or at least I think so).

And hey, let me know if you have a chance to eat with a Queen, Dowager Countess, Earl, Lady, or some other dignitary and this information actually comes in handy!

Lady Mary

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Etiquette, Family, Family Dinner, Manner Monday, Manners

Manner Monday®: Hey, Mom?…

Have you ever found yourself immersed in your technology and you hear those sweet angelic words from your kiddo… ‘hey, mom?’ (or dad), and you respond uttering a sidetracked, ‘just a minute…’.  Yep, me too.

I’m reading more and more articles on how kids just need their parents to pay attention to them, instead of their devices.  You’ve heard me say time and time again, focus 100% of your attention on the person your with… but when we’re at home, unwinding, relaxing… we think the rules don’t apply.  (Yes, I’m talking to myself here.)  And, yes… I’ve even written blog posts on the subject before, ‘Watch me, Mom!’, ‘Family Dinner’, ‘Mobile Phone Etiquette: The Dinner Date’, ‘Cell Phones, Love/Hate Relationship’.

One of my personal goals this year is to be more ‘active’.

  • more ‘active’ in focusing on my family.
  • more ‘active’ when I’m working, focusing on the task at hand and not stumbling down the rabbit hole of social media.  Moderation is my friend. (Which will allow more time to be ‘active’ with the Hub and Cub.)
  • To be more ‘active’ about being ‘active’.  Walk, exercise, pilates, bike riding with the family… Whatever it takes, on a daily basis, I will do something ‘active’.
  • And to be more ‘active’ when I hear those sweet words, ‘hey, mom’.  I will be ‘active’ in my response and give him my full attention.

If you’re interested, I would love to share some great articles I’ve found on the subject:

Here’s to responding to ‘hey, mom’ with a fully engaged response.


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Etiquette, Family, Manner Monday, Manners

Manner Monday®: Happy MLK day!

Here are some words from previous MLK posts that I thought were worth repeating:

Martin Luther King (b1929), in 1964 became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The prize was awarded to him for his efforts and advancements to end racial segregation and discrimination, by way of civil disobedience and other nonviolent means. That’s pretty good headway for a 35 year old. We are all only left to wonder what he could have accomplished had he made it to his 40’s and beyond.

I’m thinking it’s pretty safe to say that one of the characteristics that led him to his power was one of respectfulness. By treating everyone with the same respect we wish to be treated, we can strive to be respectful and civil towards others in all of our actions. Sometimes we may fall short, but remembering one of his famous quotes, “The time is always right to do what is right,” may help us on our journey.

Taking a look at Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream speech”, the following line is pretty powerful (OK, I know the whole speech is powerful, but bear with me):

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

A person’s character is critical. No matter how successful one gets in life, his or her character is one of the few things they will not be able to “out-source” to someone else to “increase the bottom line” or “make it happen”.

Take a few minutes today to visit with a young person in your life about “character” and how important it is everyday to consistently make smart choices and good decisions. As we all know…the good, the bad and the ugly: those choices and decisions stick with you for a lifetime!


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Etiquette, Manner Monday, Manners