Thursday Tales and Traditions

Tonight I’ll have the opportunity to speak at my alma mater, Texas A&M University-Commerce. This is where I met my husband. This is where my parents met. And this is where my grandfather attended to start this legacy. I hope that one day my kids will have the opportunity to walk the grounds as students, too. While the name has changed multiple times (originally East Texas Normal College, which was a teachers’ college), the traditions have remained the same.

TAMUC isn’t a very large school. There are around 15,000, which is a size I absolutely love. I felt like we knew nearly everyone. I had the opportunity to be involved as much as I wanted. The bar is set high for all students there, and it’s constantly being destroyed. The Lions are the 2017 Divion II National Champions. That’s wonderful in and of itself. However, the school has numerous sporting teams ranked in the top 10. They excel academically, too. To say I’m honored to be chosen to speak on business etiquette at this school is a vast understatement.

I always lead any speaking engagement with the statement that I teach Southern etiquette. What is so different about Southern etiquette? Well, white after Labor Day or before Easter is a primary difference. Another difference is that in business etiquette, women remain the “more important person,” all other things equal. Southern etiquette also places a much higher emphasis on tradition.

If you’ve been keeping up with the news lately, you know a new royal baby has been born. Even as an American I love this. It reminded me of one of my favorite Southern etiquette books, though. A Southern Belle Primer: Why Princess Margaret Will Never Be a Kappa Kappa Gamma.

This book was full of both facts and fun. It’s really one of my staples. There is a follow up, though it’s a bit harder to find and is usually more expensive. It is New Times In The Old South: Or Why Scarlett’s in Therapy & Tara’s Going Condo.
Readers, this is where I need your help. I have recently run across A Southern Belle Primer: Or Why Paris Hilton Will Never Be a Kappa Kappa Gamma. I’m curious as to whether it’s simply a name update or if the book has actually changed.

Just for fun, the book I’ve recently purchased is: The Southerner’s Handbook: A Guide to Living the Good Life.
If you haven’t read it, Garden & Gun was introduced to me by one of my Southern Belle friends, Chaney. I have been addicted ever since! I hope y’all enjoy these books! If you’ve already read any of them, I’d love to hear your thoughts. ­čÖé As always, thank you for reading!

 

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The Best Way to Start Entertaining

I truly love having people over. I have an extroverted personality, and being around people refreshes me. My husband, though, is the exact opposite. He needs alone time to rejunvenate. I think for some introverts the planning and anticipation can often be as exhausting as the actual event.

Now that my kids are four and six and sleep through the night, I enjoy reading for a while before bed. One blogger I enjoy following, Money Saving Mom, has recently recommended the book Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation.

So often we build things up that we become overwhelmed with just the idea of it.

The best way to start entertaining is to simply open up your home.

I believe we are social creatures, which is why etiquette has such a big part in our lives. Etiquette, at its core, is about respect of others. While etiquette is so much more than knowing which fork to use, using the correct fork is respectful of your host. Knowing that it’s respectful is what etiquette is all about.

Now, you absolutely don’t need anything other than an open door to entertain.

Having an open heart and an open door leads to lasting relationships.

Use what you have, which is yourself. Offer a compassionate heart and open ear. Just take that first step to allow someone into your home and into your life. You’ll be so thankful you did.

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Making Your Own Luck

Happy Friday the 13th! Etiquette is a culmination of cultural and societal norms, which are both strongly influenced by tradition and history. Today I thought it’d be fun to share a little on Friday the 13th!

While many consider Friday the 13th to be an unlucky day, the origin isn’t truly known. It’s said that it, at least in part, stems from The Last Supper, which included 13 people (Jesus and His 12 disciples). However, that took place on a Thursday, so that may just account for the number being unlucky.

In Italy, the number 13 is considered good luck, particularly in gambling! It’s associated with fertility, prosperity and abundant life. However, in Italy it’s considered unlucky to sit down to a table of 12 for the reason mentioned above┬áregarding The Last Supper.

Now, I whole-heartedly do not truly believe in luck. For me, it’s all in good fun. I enjoy learning about traditions and old wives’ tales, as many of these have grown out of superstitions. If you enjoy this, too, I was recommended Black Cats & Four-Leaf Clovers: The Origins of Old Wives’ Tales and Superstitions in Our Everyday Lives┬áto read. *Note* I have not read it, yet, BUT I plan to!

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The Joy of Reading

I’m a huge fan of reading. In fact, I receive questions from readers often asking for recommendations. Each week I’ll have a post dedicated to what I’m reading. Sometimes it’s books about etiquette. Sometimes it’s fictions. Currently, it’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: a Savannah Story. I’ve read this before, but, like most books, I find myself almost homesick for the places and people. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, though, is different because it’s non-fiction, meaning that the people and places are real. I can’t express how much I want to go to Savannah, Georgia and meet some of the characters. There’s not a perfect soul among them, but it’s often the imperfections we fall in love with.

My kids, thankfully, also love to read. Well, my son, who is four, loves being read to. My daughter, who is in kindergarten, has started reading fairly well on her own. From the time I was pregnant, we’d read stories to them. The first book I vividly remember reading to my pregnant belly was a Berenstain Bears book, a childhood favorite of my own.

Each Thursday we go as a family to our local library to find new treasures.

We’re very fortunate to have a phenomenal librarian and library staff. Each employee is wonderful with kids and adults and offer fantastic suggestions. The Berenstain Bears continue to be a favorite of both of my kids. However, as they’ve aged, they’ve added new favorites, as well. My daughter loves everything My Little Pony. My son tends to favor Paw Patrol. We’ve read Ramona Quimby books (one of my top picks as a kid), the Pinkalicious series and lots of others, well.

Even as a child I knew the power a book held. It allowed you to travel to places that don’t actually exist. You were able to see from the viewpoint of people who lives hundreds of years ago or who lived in different parts of the world. I remember lying on my bed looking at the back of my Berenstain Bears books thinking of which one I wished I had. I had two favorites in particular.

By now y’all likely know of my love of holidays, so I doubt it comes as much of a surprise that one of my favorites was The Berenstain Bears and the Prize Pumpkin. It tells of the meaning behind Thanksgiving and how we sometimes forget to be grateful for the little things in life.

My absolute, without-a-doubt, top pick of all time is The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear (First Time Books(R)).

To this day, I get giddy when my kids and I curl up to read this book. It had the most beautiful cover, and I remember empathisizing strongly with Sister Bear. No matter what issue the Bear family faced, everything was always put back together by the end, which I appreciated as a child.

I strongly feel that reading grows our empathy and helps us to be a better person and citizen. We see the world from a different perspective, and we┬álearn that our way isn’t the only way. I look forward to sharing what I’m reading with y’all, as well as some reading goals I’ve set for myself! I hope you’ll share with me, too!

What books are you reading right now? I always love suggestions!

 

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The Differences In Etiquette Books

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I’m often asked which etiquette book is my favorite. To be 100% honest, most from the 1920s-1950s hit the nail on the head, in my opinion. I love The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette, 50th Anniversay Edition. This is not the exact one that I have. Mine is much older, but from what I’ve reasearched, a lot of the “older” etiquette remains in this 50th anniversary addition. I feel like Ms. Vandernbilt went into great depth explaining various rules of etiquette. She not only explained the basics – she covered it all.

Another favorite is Emily Post’s Etiquette, 19th Edition: Manners for Today (Emily’s Post’s Etiquette). Now, this is one I’ve really noticed changes in over time. The writers of Emily Post Etiquette have relaxed a lot of the rules, which, being fairly traditional, I don’t love. Overall, though, the bones hold true, and it’s an easily understood etiquette book, which I feel is important. Should etiquette change? Absolutely. I just feel that some of the guidance is a little too casual for certain circumstances and enjoy a sense of formality many seem to miss in the world?

I really enjoy studying how etiquette books have changed and evolved over time. I always teach that etiquette is the culmination of cultural and societal norms. I’ve never seen a more accurate example than that of etiquette books and how they evolve over time. I hope this post helps you find the etiquette book that is best for you! Thank you for reading!