Archive for the ‘Good Manners/Bad Manners’ Category

The cost of kindness, it won’t kill you

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

When I crossed the street in front of the Port Authority dragging my big yellow Samsonite suitcase,  the last thing I expected was a man picking up the back and helping me to the other side.  It was the first 10 minutes in NYC at the tender age of 22. This simple random act of kindness has stayed with me for 34 years.

Kindness by definition is generosity of spirit, charity, compassion, considerate, a helpful act and warmhearted. Are we naturally kind?  How hard is it to be kind? Kindness has been on my mind for a few months,  maybe I don’t feel like I’m kind enough or have I told my daughters the price of kindness? Growing up with two very kind mentors, have I done my job? Is that job ever done? Does kindness breed kindness?

from wired science

As I pondered the cost of kindness and my role in that world I came across a few quotes.

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see”-Mark Twain

“The best portion of a good man’s life-his little nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love”-William Wordsworth

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late”-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Take a minute and look around you. Where could you spread a little kindness? The cost is cheap and it certainly won’t kill you. The teen next to you might need a kind word, an elderly man might need help getting up the steps or that girl with the big yellow suitcase might need help getting across the street.

Candy and Flowers for your Valentine?

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Sugar is sweet

And so are you

Silly but it is all about sugar and flowers for the traditional Valentine.If you are buying for a boy friend, why not a nice potted African violet or some fragrant bulbs such as a pot of narcissus, or a hyacinth, both named for male gods and with interesting stories, though not really complimentary as narcissus liked to stare at his reflection in the water.

For a woman, anything! Not daisies though unless they are her favorite. They don’t even smell good, although the idea of their simple innocent  beauty is a powerful message.

You can still order chocolate and flowers on line for delivery tomorrow. I have sent my favorite men, my sons, Vosges Haut Chocolate. They are really unique, yet a bit expensive. They have spicy chocolates, and chocolate seasoned with spices from all over the world.

See’s Candy was a favorite growing up in California. Really excellent chocolate. My favorite is the bourdeau  truffles, having nothing to do with wine and everything about the rich butter cream filling.

Maybe a simple yet not so simple chocolate bar from the grocery. My favorite markets carry the great quality of Scharffen Berger chocolate bar for the discerning palate. Simply and elegantly packaged, not to distract you from the full bodied flavor inside.

So roses are always Nice, a bit cliche, but if they are in good shape and have fragrance you can’t go wrong. A single rose is just as sweet as a bouquet. No need to over do it. It is all about Love in the end and if you have that then you have a lot. Those of us who are single would love to have the love… But we don’t even get the chocolate and flowers unless we buy them for ourselves.

Viva l’ amour

WEDDING BELL BLUES

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

I’m invited to a wedding and I have like no money for a gift, should I go?

My initial response to this question was the standard etiquette book answer.  You have a year after the wedding to give a gift.  Then I thought about my own wedding and what I remember.  I remember the people.  I remember walking down the aisle on my brother’s arm and seeing the faces of friends and family,and feeling so happy to see them.

My husband was still in school when we got married, we had no money and neither did any of our friends.  I only remember a few of the gifts we were given.  A co-worker, Mary, crotched a beautiful blanket, our friend Bob conspired with the band and got up to call a square dance that everyone loved, Patty O. gave us a sampler she had made that says, “Marriage is like a garden, it takes a lot of work and a little love every day”.  I do remember who was there.

My point is, if you’re invited to a wedding, it’s because you are wanted.  Unless your friends are incredibly selfish (in which case, why do you care?), they did not invite you for the gift you bring, they invited you because they care for you.  Celebrate with them. If you can think of something you can do to make their day easier or more memorable, do it, take candid pictures for them, care for their plants or pets while they are on their honeymoon, drive them to the airport, make a CD of their favorite songs.  If nothing comes to you now, you’ve got a year to think about it.  They just want you there.

Visit us in Manners for more wedding protocol advice and to ask the moms a question, click here.

Meeting the Parents

Monday, March 21st, 2011

WHAT WOULD BE AN APPROPRIATE GIFT TO BRING WHEN MEETING MY BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND’S PARENTS?

If you have been invited to someone’s home, anyone’s home for a meal or an overnight, it is appropriate to bring a gift. I pulled this question today because there are a few cool places I’d like to share, that are perfect for small gifts.  Hope you enjoy!

Cindy’s Answer:If you are invited for a meal it is appropiate to bring a small gift. A plant, seasonal fruit, flowers, a bakery treat is always welcome. Do not give wine or any alcohol if you are not over 21.

While searching for St. Patrick’s Day, frog cupcakes, I came across a childhood memory. Judicke’s Bakery, in Bayonne NJ was the ONLY  place to get baked goods.  I’m not recommending the frogs as a house gift, just recommending Judicke’s in case you are ever in the neighborhood.  Baked goods are a good hostess gift, so if you have a favorite bakery, pick some up, and if you can, bake something yourself.

Sally’s Answer: A bottle of wine, flowers, plant or candles would all be appropiate gifts. Also write a nice Thank-you note.

If you need help, there are websites that will help you choose the right words for a thank you note.  I like this one.

Michele’s Answer: I like to bring different kinds of tea or coffee, for a more formal gift,add a Pretty teapot, or interesting coffee mugs.

While visiting Charleston, SC  recently, my nephew, knowing my penchant for good teas, took me to the Spice and Tea Exchange. There are so many ideas for small gifts here and they are online.  Cindy once received a tin of saffron.  I remember how much she liked it.

Joanna’s Answer:small orchid is one of my favorite gifts to give and to receive, Trader Joe’s always has a good deal on them. Whole foods, flowers and plants are a little bit nicer and healthier even though perhaps a bit more expensive,  and it is always nice to have the personal assistance in picking out a plant and get the growing instructions and find out about light requirements and watering instructions at a small nursery.

Check out the manners section for more advice on kinder and gentler behavior.  If You would like to ask the mom’s a question visit us here.