Making Every Day Special

My granny had a talent for making every day special. Even though I was 12 when she and my aunt built a new home to move into, I associate most of my childhood memories with her in her old home, which she and my pappy moved into when they were married.

It was a simple white frame home with well-loved wood floors. There were also three points of exit, which probably caused gray hairs for my granny when she was watching me. The home didn’t have central heat or AC, so windows were regularly open, and the smell of honeysuckle permeated the air. She was an avid pie maker, so it was a regular occurance to see a cocount meringue pie in the kitchen.

My granny always told me that she cooked simple meals. But they never felt simple. Even a sandwich lunch in the heat of summer was special there. She pulled out all of the stops, and, as a mom, I wonder where she found her energy. For sandwiches there were always multiple varieties of meats and cheese in the Brookshire’s deli bags. Variety never stopped there, as there were options for every topping I could think of. She’s usually have a cantelope or other ripe summer fruit that she had cut up earlier, and tomatoes were both a topping and a side, sprinkled with a bit of salt. While her favorite chips were Lays potato chips, those were never the only ones she had. Even in the absence of one of her homemade pies (which never lasted long), Little Debbie treats were there following the meal. She still made it an experience.

I was thinking about these meals recently. I think too often we add unneccesary pressure on ourselves. While I do not (and will not) ever think it’s acceptable to just grow lazy and do the bare minimum, I also don’t think it’s prudent to add extra work just to add the extra work. She never felt pressured to make seven-course meals. She knew how to keep things appropriate.

My granny made sandwiches special. She enjoyed doing more than throwing a piece of meat and cheese on a slice of bread. That’s where I find much of my motivation. The meal never cost much, but, even as a 31 year old, I remember those meals vividly.

To me, this sums up etiquette so well. It doesn’t have to cost much. It just has a way of making the ordinary special. Don’t let fear hold you back from making each day special. You don’t need to work yourself silly. Invite friends over for sandwiches. I can guarantee those memories will last.

My daughter, my mom and I are the next generations of my granny’s legacy.

 

Business Etiquette Series, Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of our Business Etiquette series! I’m already so grateful for the feedback I received after Part 1. Each time I receive an email or comment, it reinforces the fact that there truly are so many of you interested in etiquette!

Today’s topic is over Interview Etiquette.

What you say and do during an interview has just as much impact, if not more, than your qualifications. Call if unfair if you like. I’m just here to help you get ahead. 😉

As an employee of a company, you are their living, breathing brand. Every company wants to make sure it’s represented well, so it makes sense they care how you present yourself. Do you carry yourself with confidence? Or are you overly confident and think you can do no wrong? Finding that balance is key.

When you have the opportunity to interview with a company, keep in mind that those few, precious minutes will be what the company is basing its decision on. Maximize those minutes by preparing and knowing what to do.

A few key points to keep in mind:

  • Have a general idea of what the company does overall. Feel comfortable asking specifics about the job you’re considering
  • Show up 5-10 minutes before an interview. You don’t want to rush in right on time or late, but you also don’t want to be a burden on the company by showing up half an hour ahead of time.
  • Don’t bring in any beverage or chewing gum with you. A small bottle of water is acceptable if it’s needed, but you should leave your latte in the car.
  • Dress professionally. Even if this job is one that requires scrubs or a uniform, wear professional dress. We’re going to cover this topic in the near future in depth, but, essentially, wear something you can move in (not too tight) but that is something you’d see in a bank or professional office. Make sure your clothes fit and are not sloppy.
  • Take the time to iron your clothes.
  • This is not the time for fun hair colors or crazy makeup. Always ask yourself, “Do I want them to notice my (insert anything in here…hair, clothes, etc.) or do I want them to notice me?” During an interview you always want them to notice you.
  • Give a firm handshake while looking the person in the eye.
  • Use a title, such as Mr. or Mrs., until told otherwise.
  • Bring a hardcopy of your updated resume to the interview.
  • Sit up straight with your legs/feet close together.
  • To the best of your ability, remove “um” and “like” from your vocabulary. Filler language can make you seem nervous and unprepared.
  • Thank them for their time and the opportunity to interview.

Is there anything you’d like to add to this list? I’d love to hear your suggestions! Also, don’t forget to check out the first post in this series here!

Business Etiquette Series, Part 1

I rarely do series posts here because I tend to get a little scatterbrained. However, I really want to emphasize business etiquette, particularly as it’s the time of year the school year is winding down and many college graduates are job hunting.

Etiquette is particularly important in the business world, which is a fairly conservative environment. I hope this series will be of benefit to you! As always, please let me know if you have specific questions you’d like answered, and I’ll make sure I respond.

Just like in any other area of etiquette, understanding what is expected of you will help put you ahead in the game. I hope this series helps you grow more confident in your job/job hunting!

To begin, let’s start with a few basic business do’s and don’t’s.

Do:

(1) Offer a firm handshake accompanied by eye contact when greeting someone
(2) Dress appropriately for your job (we’ll cover more of this later)
(3) Treat the person in person with you with priority over email or the telephone
(4) Show up 5-10 minutes early for an interview or meeting
(5) Keep your resume up-to-date

Don’t:

(1) Use casual nicknames, such as sweetie, in a professional environment
(2) Carbon copy (CC) someone onto an email response without the prior consent
(3) Use your phone during meetings or business luncheons
(4) Use the title of Doctor socially unless you are a medical doctor
(5) Chew gum while with customers or during an interview

 

Do you have anything you’d like to add to the list?

 

An Easy Summer Side – Caprese Salad

Gardening is not one of my talents. Try as I might, most of my plants just go ahead and give up way before it’s time so as to not prolong the inevitable. The only exception I seem to have (at least until it’s scorching hot) is with my herb garden.

This year we planted basil, thyme, mint, rosemary (well, it’s the lone survivor from past years) and multiple tomato plants. As you can tell, it’s a small garden, but it’s full of items we use regularly.

One of my favorite dishes to serve as a side or an easy appetizer is caprese salad. My kids love it, so we make it often while my basil plants are still kickin’.One of my favorite things about this dish is that it’s so easy to make a little or a lot.

The Recipe:

Simply cut up ripe tomatoes and layer with torn mozzarella (not the slices or shredded…go for the real deal). I like to chiffionade the fresh basil leave to make it easier to eat. Drizzle quality olive oil and basalmic vinegar like Ariston Traditional Modena Balsamic Premium Vinegar Aged 250ml Product of Italy Sweet Taste on top. Sometimes I’ll add a smidgen of salt directly on top of the tomato slice. Fresh mozzarella isn’t overly salty, so you’ll need to see your preference on this.

A variation of this could be to skewer on toothpicks a cherry tomato and mozzarella ball with a basil leaf in between. You’ll still drizzle with olive oil and basalmic vinegar or you could combine the two for a vinegarette dip.

Do you have a favorite summer recipe?

 

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