Vacation Books

Sorry for the hiatus! I just returned from a trip to South Carolina with our dear friends, where I made sure to mind my etiquette manners. 😉 We stayed at an interval our friend’s parents have at the beach, and on the last night we were there, we made her mom a meal (her dad was not there). I would COMPLETELY recommend this in place of a hostess gift when staying with someone, particularly since in this case, they live at the house only eight weeks a year, with other families living there the remaining 44 weeks. Additionally, we flew, and our friend’s mom drove there, so space was limited. A thank you note will still follow our visit.

While there, we took in some of the historical side of the town (my favorite part of any place), as well as some fun shopping. One place, The Christmas Mouse, supplied all of our 2015 Christmas ornaments. We were about to decide to return to the beach house, when my friend made the call to go ahead and go insidbookse the general store. I’m SO glad we did. I bought four books for my kids and three for myself. 🙂 Being that this blog is still very new, I’m trying new things to bring interest to this site. All three books are etiquette and South-related. My first I hope to use for a few different posts. It is “What Southern Women Know (That Every Woman Should)” by Ronda Rich. I’m incredibly excited about this one. My other books are “Sue Ellen’s Girl Ain’t Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy” and “Suck In Your Stomach And Put Some Color On” both by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson. These two are for the feisty etiquette lovers!

All of the kids books were South and beach books. The Southern Mother Goose has several Texas poems, which my daughter already loves! Do you have any etiquette books you love?

Getting Back To the Basics

Oh my goodness, I am SO excited to announce that I will be selling Cavallini & Co. cards soon! They are beautiful, vintage cards that will help us all get back to the basics of sending snail mail.vintage cards

Although most EE’s (etiquette experts) now agree that e-mail and e-vites are comparable to their slower counterparts, there is something about receiving a hand-written note that cannot be duplicate
d. The thought and time behind the act cannot be reproduced. Therefore, when this offer presented itself, I decided it was too good to pass up.

BUT! I need your help. Would you prefer more basic, blank cards? Do you like the holiday variety? I’d love to know your preference.

Now, a few fun facts about snail mail. The most formal way to send a letter is stamped and hand-delivered. The theory behind it is it shows the recipient you are willing to pay for the letter to be delivered, but it’s important enough to you to deliver in person. In my opinion, anything delivered electronically should be saved for informal get-togethers and close friends, NOT weddings or other formal events. However, save-the-dates are, overall, considered to be appropriate to be delivered electronically.

As a practice, I tend to send post cards and letters via snail mail for most holidays. Holidays are very important to me, and this is just one way to make them even more special. So, which is your preference for receiving mail – electronically or snail?

Excuse me while I go check the mail…

Hostess Gifts – To Give Or Not To Give

I’ve had a few messages asking about whether or not to give a hostess gift and, if so, what to give. The answer is my least favorite to hear: It depends. Ugh. I know. I’m too type-A for gray areas, but alas, that’s the answer. Allow me to explain! hostess gifts

For a dinner party, flowers are truly ideal. We’ve gotten to giving wine or chocolates, which is perfectly fine for friends, but there’s the dilemma of: do they drink? If so, is this a wine they will like? Do they feel obligated to serve it at this dinner? In my personal opinion, the last question is the biggest. They’ve prepared a meal to which you’ve been invited, and now the hostess feels obligated to serve the wine you brought, regardless of whether or not it “goes” with the meal. So, solution: gift wrap. Easy enough. If the wine (one you know they will like) is given wrapped, the hostess will not feel pressured into serving it that evening. While, theoretically, they shouldn’t feel pressured into serving it, in the back of their mind, they’ll wonder if you also know the proper etiquette. SO! Until Etiquette By Emily can reach everyone, assumptions will be made that not everyone understands social protocol.

If you are the guest of honor for said party, sending flowers ahead is preferred.

Some other options can be themed according to the party: cocktail napkins (cocktail party or housewarming party), gourmet foods, wrapped homemade goods (meant to be consumed at another time).

When should you bring a hostess gift? Preferably, if you are having dinner at someone’s home for the first time, it is quite appreciated. Additionally, if there’s a particular reason they are hosting, it is considered polite (Christmas party). If the dinner or cocktail party is small, but not all are close friends, it’s a good idea.

This is an area Emily Post really doesn’t go over much. I’ve called on other EE’s (etiquette experts). Please let me know your thoughts! Do you appreciate receiving a hostess gift?

Baby Shower, a Controversy

Alright, how about our first controversial post?  I hope everyone will keep things civil (I’m sure y’all will) in the comments. The purpose of this post is to explain more about the “why.” It is NOT to make anyone feel bad or angry.

Ok, now that that’s settled: baby showers. I’m going to explain the WHY behind having only one. Unlike other etiquette lovers, I will give alternatives.

This post will also be followed up with a wedding shower etiquette post. If you can’t tell, I’m hesitant about writing this, as I truly do not want to offend anyone. However, I’ve had a lot of messages asking me to write about this, so since you asked, I will deliver.

Many people simply have never heard you do not have more than one baby shower, per etiquette. Why? Mainly it’s because they mistakenly think the shower is for the baby, so each baby should be equally celebrated. However, the shower is for becoming a parent. But don’t lose hope! There are other opportunities to celebrate a child’s birth, an occasion most deserving of celebrating.

The shower itself, for starters, should always be given by friends, not family. The reason behind this is the same reason as why you only have one: it looks as though you’re simply asking for gifts. Also, the shower should never cost the guests to attend, so consider this when planning one at a restaurant. The hostess(es) should cover the tab. PLEASE keep in mind that regardless of number of babies, if you want to do so, it is ALWAYS appropriate to get a gift for the baby. To help us move away from this trend, I would LOVE to encourage
you to do so. This is definitely an appropriate way to celebrate the baby.

Speaking of gifts, many etiquette experts say to not register, as it’s also asking for gifts. As I’m just a lover of etiquette, not an expert, I disagree on this one. I think it can make selecting a gift easier. Of course, this does NOT mean you have to follow the registry when purchasing a gift, and people should not be offended when someone purchases a gift not from their registry list. Some people love picking out a gift withoutbaby shower the help of a list, and that is just fine. It’s truly the thought behind the gift that matters.

If you want an alternative to a shower, consider a “sprinkle.” This is also debated in etiquette, and I elected to not have one, as this is too similar to a shower for my comfort. Essentially, this would be a get-together for only family and very, very close friends. Think, 10 people. There is usually a theme, such as diapers and wipes. Or some other usable good that you likely do not have left from your first child.

If that doesn’t suit you, a “Sip and See” is also an acceptable alternative for a second child. This would take place after the child’s birth. Generally, tea, coffee and suitable food is served. Everyone has the opportunity to see the new baby and celebrate him or her being born. Most people bring a gift for the baby.

Additionally, groups of friends can also get together and bring several meals for the freezer or go in together for a larger item, no party needed.

Another reason I have decided to write this is I have witnessed and heard murmurings about people having second showers. No, etiquette cannot make someone not have a shower; however it can enlighten you on why people may elect to not attend a second shower, should you have one.

Regardless of it’s a shower or a gift dropped off at the house, any gift should be accepted graciously and considered just that: a gift. Also, anything you receive is worthy of a thank you note!

 

The sorority side of things.

Most of my favorite college memories (aside from meeting my husband) involved Kappa Delta, the sorority I joined. There were strict rules on how to act when in public, most I think everyone could benefit from. Some example of the rules we had are: no wet hair in public, no pajama pants in public, etc. The vast majormakeupity of these rules stemmed from respect – respect for yourself and for others. To this day, I try to have a little make up on when I leave the house. It’s truly not vanity. It’s a way of telling others they’re worth making an effort for.

The town I live in has a farmer’s market each Saturday morning. As it’s outside, it’s clearly a casual affair. However, I’ve made a more conscious effort at being pulled together while still casual. I wore slingback flats, a soft, black fitted t-shirt that said, “Momma” and a gray and white striped skirt. This skirt is cotton and in no way, shape or form a formal skirt. Still, it was amazing how much more compete I looked (and felt) in this outfit instead of a t-shirt and shorts. In fact, I could not tell you the number of compliments I received that day. Several women asked where the skirt was from and mentioned missing women dressing up, even on a Saturday.

Now, I work outside of the home and many Saturdays I would love nothing more than lying on the couch in my jammies. However, when I leave the house, a skirt, for me, takes the same amount of time as pajama pants, something I really wish people would only wear inside the house…

Here’s to expanding the definition of “etiquette.”