Summer Tea Time At Cotillion

One of my favorite parts of Cotillion is getting to watch the students experience something new for the first time. Aside from my daughter, none of the other students enrolled in Junior Cotillion had ever participated in an afternoon tea. While our tea time was a bit later than traditional tea (class begins at 4:15pm), they were all too thrilled to get to try it!

Their sweet, puckered faces told me that, while they didn’t love the taste of hot tea without additions, they were willing to step outside of their comfort zone and try something new – a trait that will take them far in life.

By far, their favorite version was the hot peach tea with both honey and a spash of milk added.

My own daughter is participating this summer, so I know too well how, even with correct teachings, kids can be when at home. Put them in a different atmosphere, though, and they really grow and mature. Each student placed their napkin on their lap, and they all did their very best to not splash or clink the glass when stirring. Mouths were closed when the delicious scones and tea sandwiches (avocado ranch and strawberry cream cheese) were devoured.

Give them an opportunity to meet your expectations, and I promise they will.

A few questions were brought up during tea, and I enjoyed getting the opportunity to teach on more than what was on our class agenda. One of the questions I felt worthy of sharing with everyone, as there is a common misconception on high tea.

Isn’t high tea very fancy? This was the simple question that spurred great conversation, and I’m happy to share my answer with everyone today!

No, high tea actually refers to the high-back chairs around a dining table. Commoners often ate “high tea” on Sundays after work was completed. It is more like our supper today. It was also referred to as a “meat and potatoes tea.”

A low tea is what most Americans think of as traditional tea. It refers to the low tables one might find in a person’s home, such as a coffee table.

Teas were meant to be an informal way of entertaining. While teas may be “formal” in today’s viewpoint, you would never wear a formal gown to one. The term “tea length” originates due to the time of day. Since it’s mid-afternoon, the length isn’t full length, but it would still be considered “nice,” which isn’t a synonym for “formal,” at least in the etiquette world.

Other common terms are afternoon tea or cream tea. An afternoon tea would usually offer both sweet and savory options, and a cream tea may have only scones with clotted cream to serve with the tea.

The students learned so much while trying something new, and I truly think I enjoy as much as they do each time. The next time you’re thinking of having friends over, consider a tea!

Bonus info: When drinking tea, the pinky never goes up!

Cutesy vs. Classy

I am blessed to be a contributor for our local paper where I answer readers’ questions on a weekly basis. In addition to this, I am finishing up this semseter’s Junior Cotillion and Cotillion courses, so I also receive questions there. I’ve noticed a “trend” (pun intended) of people leaning toward cutesy instead of classy. The difference, though, is very stark, in my opinion.

I remember when I was younger my mom asked me, “Do you want people to notice you or your clothes?” It changed my way of thinking. Now, this post is not implying that all trends are bad. I don’t believe that for one second. This post, though, is a gentle reminder that all trends aren’t for everyone.

If a trend detracts from you, it doesn’t work for you. I have forever wanted to be someone who wore maxi dresses well. I’m 5′ 3″ with hips. They just don’t work for me. There are several other trends, however, that do work well.

My goal in teaching my students etiquette is to encourage class over cute. We all work too hard to have a trend remembered instead of us.

Spring Cotillion Class Update

It was no accident that Spring Cotillion and Spring Junior Cotillion began yesterday, March 20th, which was the first official day of spring. I always love when a new class begins because I never know what to expect. The anticipation excites me. Now, I know exactly what I’ll teach, but each class contributes and extracts information differently, resulting in different results each time. The two spring classes are no different.This is the first semester I’ve offered classes for the younger grades (Kindergartern through 4th), and I have been so impressed by their attentiveness and desire to learn. It solidifies the thought that incorporating etiquette into their lives at a younger age will make it more understood and second nature for the students.

The Junior Cotillion class actually started out with more male students than female. However, the dancing portion quickly resolved that. One boy got knocked in the nose during an unfortunate Waltz spin, and another boy had his foot stomped on by accident. With two down, we were to a one-to-one ratio. 😉

Each class is not without comical times and ups and downs. At the end, though, I feel confident that the parents who enrolled their children in these classes will know they’ve gained knowledge and lifeskills that will set them apart from their peers. With that, I’m happy. 🙂

Spring 2018 Junior Cotillion Update

Hi, everyone! It’s been a few days since I’ve updated on Junior Cotillion and Cotillion. Junior Cotillion is now FULL. I am so thrilled to have this class at capacity in a matter of WEEKS. We’re still 5 1/2 weeks from starting, and your trust in me to teach your kiddos means more to me than I can say.

I still have around four spots for Cotillion. They are $75 each if you sign up and pay on or before February 28th. We begin on Tuesday, March 20th, and the class will be from 5:30-6:30, which follows Junior Cotillion. Both classes are at The Oaks Bed and Breakfast on Oak Ave. in Sulphur Springs, Texas. We meet for four weeks total, and at the end of the fourth class, we have a small presentations ceremony for the families to attend. It always means so much to the students when they get to show off their skills.

This year I’m also hosting Debutante, which I am beyond excited about. This is a dream of mine come true. Debutante is for young ladies in grades 9th through 12th. The cost is $100 per student. I try to keep my prices extremely affordable for families. I was blown away at the thousands it costs students in nearby cities. These skills will last them a lifetime, and I want to reinforce the fact that etiquette is for everyone. I appreciate your continued support so much.

Being a Hostess vs. Having People Over

New post, as promised! 🙂

Something has been on my mind, as I’ve engrossed myself recently in Southern movies like Fried Green Tomatoes, Steel Magnolias and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. That is, the difference between being a hostess and simply having people over. Believe me, there IS a difference.

To start, I’m blessed with lots of wonderful Southern, hospitable friends. My friend, Kayla, is the epitome of class. If you haven’t checked out her blog, At Home with Kayla Price, you definitely need to. It’s wonderful and can be found at kaylaprice.com. She covers everything from making cloth napkins to toilet paper!

My wonderful friend, Dusty, makes everyone feel at home immediately. She never acts as though anything burdens her and goes out of her way to make sure you have everything you could want or need. Absolutely love her. Truly, she’s someone I felt sad about not having in my life for longer the moment I met her. She’s that wonderful.

I, of course, have more friends than I could possibly list, and I’m grateful for all of them. Today, though, as I write, I’m remembering a recent visit with a good friend, Sharla. She is someone who always comes to mind when I think of being a hostess. She is perfect when it comes to details. We often visit with her and her family, as our two older kids are good friends (as are the adults and younger kiddos, too), and she makes every impromptu visit seem like she’s planned it for months. She knows the difference between having people over versus being a hostess, and she excels at the latter.

When you just have people over, they can feel slightly unwelcome. They are there to do what you want and are not treated as guests. Here is the ugly truth: being a hostess is hard. It means your guests gets the larger piece of pie, and the good toy goes to them first. This is NOT to say guests can’t or shouldn’t help prepare a meal, etc. It means they’re helping you, not acting as your inferior.

Even in the closest of relationships, where both or all parties feel comfortable enough to makes oneself at home, you can be a hostess by making your visitors feel like guests, not a burden.

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A few “extras” if you want to take the occasion from “having people over” to “hostessing”:

  1. Have their favorite drink on hand, if you know someone is coming over
  2. Have a stash of quickly prepared appetizers – crackers, canned olives, canned chip dips, etc. It may not be glamorous, but it will mean a lot.
  3. Offer your guests to come inside in a warm manner
  4. Have a clean guest restroom – this is an easy way to make it seem like guests are always welcome
  5. Thank your guest for coming over. Let them know you appreciate their time spent with you.
  6. Follow the Golden Rule

Thank you for reading! I’d love to know what you’d like to know more about. Please feel free to request topics!