My Love For All Things Coconut

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With summer winding down, I thought I’d share one of my favorite flavors: coconut. I absolutely LOVE coconut pie (my granny’s was the best); I love pina coladas (virgin ones, too. I don’t even care); I love coconut milk pudding, and I love coconut cappuccinos. So much so that it’s become a running joke between a friend of mine and me. He and I met ironically at the coffee shop, and that first time, he ordered a coconut latte. It was the last of the coconut the shop had. Being the Southern gentleman that he is, he offered me his drink. Being the Southern lady that I am, I declined. However, every time I run into him at the coffee shop, he always makes sure to note that he left some coconut for me.

Now, as you can likely tell, I went to this shop often. Daily, in fact. It was my personal splurge on myself that I always tried to justify. It was, though, an expensive habit. So, for Christmas my husband bought me a Nespresso A+C40-US-TI-NE Inissia Espresso Maker with Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother, Titan (Discontinued Model). (Note: This one is the discontinued model, but I couldn’t quickly find the one he bought…this one is a bit cheaper, though, in price, and is of great quality! The pods work for this model, just like the new model!)

I use Torani Syrup, Coconut, 25.4 Ounce (Pack of 4)

Typically, I use one tablespoon of syrup, as I don’t like my coffe overly sweetened. It’s still perfectly sweet this way, and the milk is perfectly frothed! I always use skim milk for making cappuccinos, as the fat in whole milk can weigh down the foam, causing it to deflate. For cappuccinos, the foam is vital.

What is your favorite coffee drink? I’d love to hear! Thank you for reading!

Wednesday’s Child Is Full Of Woe

Does anyone remember the nursery rhyme that starts “Monday’s child is full of face?” Well, until just a couple of years ago (and I’m 31), my mom had always told me that I was born on a Tuesday. In this poem, Tuesday’s child was full of grace, which I loved. I long to have the grace of someone like Jackie Kennedy (my granny’s grace role model) or Duchess Catherine. I was always so proud of being a Tuesday’s child, especially since my brother decided to be born on Sunday, which, according to the poem, is the best day of all. Being a United Methodist, we are all about grace. So, it was a double whammy.

I’m here to tell you that 21 hours apparently does some funny things to your brain. My mom went into labor on Tuesday. I, however, did not make an appearance until Wednesday. Wednesday’s child is full of woe. Sigh. (At least I’m keeping with my day).

Here’s the version of the poem I remember from my nursey rhyme books:

Monday’s child is fair of face. Tuesday’s child is full of grace, Wednesday’s child is full of woe. Thursday’s child has far to go. Friday’s child is loving and giving. Saturday’s child works hard for a living. But the child who is born on the Sabbath day is bonnie and blithe and good and gay.

Like many things, though, the definition of woe has gotten a little changed over the years. Woe, in addition to sadness, referred to having empathy for others. My husband would say that part does fit me. Here’s what else I found interesting!

{There was considerable variation and debate about the exact attributes of each day and even over the days. Halliwell had ‘Christmas Day’ instead of the Sabbath.[1][not in citation given] Despite modern versions in which “Wednesday’s child is full of woe,” an early incarnation of this rhyme appeared in a multi-part fictional story in a chapter appearing in Harper’s Weekly on September 17, 1887, in which “Friday’s child is full of woe”, perhaps reflecting traditional superstitions associated with bad luck on Friday – as many Christians associated Friday with the Crucifixion. In addition to Wednesday’s and Friday’s children’s role reversal, the fates of Thursday’s and Saturday’s children were also exchanged and Sunday’s child is “happy and wise” instead of “blithe and good”.[4]   }

I’d also be pretty happy being “loving and giving” with the role reversal shown here. However, I will say, that, as a United Methodist, one of the holiest services, in strictly my opinion, is that of Ash Wednesday. This poem, which I randomly thought of, reminds me of that Wednesday and the preparation of our hearts. I think I’m okay being a Wednesday’s child after all.

Thank you for reading! I think nursery rhymes, which are so simple on the surface, are filled with tradition, and I’m excited to get to go over a few in the next couple of weeks! Which ones are your favorites?

Why I Dress My Best….And Expect The Same From My Kids

You may remember this post where I talked about wearing clothes that were still casual (think cotton) but were just a little nicer than shorts. I was surprised that others took notice. At work, I tend to wear dresses. To me, they’re actually more comfortable than pants are (I’m hippy), but they truly do take things up a notch.

The past several times that I’ve gone to WalMart, I’ve done so right after work. I’m there in my mid-high heels and my dress. Nothing super special. For about five times in a row now I’ve been complimented by strangers on looking nice. Usually by the end of the day, my makeup is a blur, and my hair isn’t the way I had it in the morning. They’re not necessarily inferring “pretty.” They were simply saying the appreciated that I wasn’t there with wet hair and shorts with “juicy” written across.

Our culture has become increasingly casual – to the point where someone in a simple cotton dress is noticed. Can I tell you my secret? I have about seven dresses. That’s all I wear to work. It keeps my closet cleaner. I prefer a minimalistic approach to living. I have two pair of earrings that I wear regularly. I also have a necklace that goes with about four of my dresses. I’m no Kate Middleton. I just do what works for me, but I truly do not think stepping up how we dress is any extra effort at all. As I explained in the first post where I talked about attire, putting on a skirt is really no extra effort than shorts. I’m not turning cartwheels, so I’m not worried about anything in that arena. My top is still a cotton top. It’s still very simple.

I do feel, though, right or wrong, we make an impression on others by how we look. I try to dress my best and for what’s appropriate, and I expect the same for my family. I want my kids to understand that taking a little time on our appearance isn’t vain. It is actually showing respect for ourselves and respect for others.

Thank you for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Why I Blog on More Than Etiquette

I’ve head some recent emails actually thanking me for blogging on topics other than etiquette. They said they had liked my blog but were hesitant to visit at first because they were afraid it wouldn’t apply to their life.

I get it. I truly do. I was hesitant to even start a blog, but I’m so thankful I did. I had “started” blogs on and off for years. I never had much follow through. Just ideas. I didn’t know how to make etiquette applicable to a large group of people. I still don’t feel like I’m there, but I try each day to remember that etiquette IS about more than forks and knives. It’s about kindness. It’s about respect for others. It’s also about respect for oneself, which is why I’m working on a mini series on dressing well. 🙂 We are allowed to respect ourselves.

Because, to me, tradition and etiquette go together, I love writing about traditions in my blog. Etiquette is so regional that traditions play a big part in why etiquette in one area may not be the etiquette for another.

I am very grateful to you, the readers, for being so willing to read on more than just etiquette. There are plenty of etiquette blogs out there that tell you what to do. Many, though, fail on the why. So if you weren’t raised with etiquette or with a certain protocol, you may feel overwhelmed or uncertain – neither of which feeling makes you feel comfortable actually using the etiquette the sites describe. This is the area I try to differ on. I want people to know why white after Labor Day is considered a fashion faux pas. I want people to understand how they portray themselves to others will make or break them in the business world. This is important to me. Thank you for letting me be different from the rest.

Nicest of Them All….Weddings Decoded

Alright, so earlier this week I asked the question of which type of wedding would be considered the most formal – morning church, evening church, at-home or venue. The answer? It’s actually an at-home wedding. Let’s jump into the “why” that y’all know I’m so eager to always explain?

Now, remember, this is for the USA, and this is actually the traditional etiquette answer, per Amy Vanderbilt and Emily Post. Weddings, by definition, are formal events. This does not equate to formal attire, though. While weddings have been held in churches for centuries, in the USA, it was more common until about the 1950s for weddings to be held at home, provided the bride’s family was wealthy enough to do so. It was considered a very formal affair. Full meals would be provided by servants for hundreds of people. After about the 1820s, families who could afford it went all out for weddings. A minister would still perform the ceremonial part of the wedding, and the reception would commonly follow.

In the 1950s, the USA experienced a religious resurgence with a big push to hold wedding ceremonies in a church building, such as a sanctuary. Still, even then it was popular for the bride’s family to host a full meal and reception at their home or at a family home. As peoples’ homes have decreased in size, the idea of having a receptions at a venue has increased in popularity. In Amy Vanderbilt’s 1954 etiquette book, she declares home weddings “nicest of them all,” showing a preference for tradition over trend. Think plantation home size.

Going by this etiquette precedence, the “nicest” type of wedding and reception a couple would most likely have today would be to have a church wedding and an at-home reception, provided the home is large enough to accommodate a large number of people. It would include a full meal with people serving the meal. An alternative that would be considered just slightly less formal would be a church wedding with a reception at a venue.

Now, if you choose to have a venue wedding, does any of this mean it’s not ok or “nice?” Not even in the least. It is, however, stating that there are certain expectations for choosing a more formal wedding type. That may rub some people the wrong way, but in all areas of life, there are expectations. I have a certain level of expectations when I come to work. Never feel obligated to host any event, including a wedding, that you can’t afford.

Now, going off of the comments, someone mentioned the Royal Wedding between the Duke and Duchess. That, in my opinion, was a perfect combination of old and new. It was a morning church wedding, followed by a luncheon reception. Finally there was an evening “home” reception. The duchess also changed dresses between the events. It was elaborate, but it had an element of youth to it that I loved. She also kept in mind appropriate dress for both venues. As we’ve talked about, the later in the day it gets, the more formal your attire would be. You’d never wear an evening gown to a church, regardless of time, so she kept it before 7 (well before, as it was morning). Prior to the evening event, many of the guests had also changed clothes into more formal threads.

Etiquette helps us to better understand others’ expectations. I hope you enjoyed this post! As always, thank you for reading.