Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!!

snow tires

It is indeed that time of year again when the white stuff is falling quickly from the sky. It is fun to watch children play in the snow! It has been a long time since I made a snow angel or snowman but this year I am channeling my “inner child” and getting out with my kids to design some snow creations!
Just as I was heading towards my car in the local supermarket parking lot, I was jolted from my daydreaming to see a large SUV honking madly at another vehicle. In this case the SUV was correct in using the horn. The second vehicle did not bother to brush the snow off their back window and proceeded to back out of their parking space. They backed out into the fender of the SUV.
What ensued was something I should have filmed. The driver of the other vehicle proceeded to scream at the driver of the SUV. What were they screaming about you ask? They were screaming at the driver for using their horn!!! I maintain that snow is the gift that gifts us some time to slow down, reflect on our actions and practice politeness in all that we do.
Snow is the great equalizer…..it makes it difficult to be impatient when we are driving.So this winter, practice good snow etiquette, use patience in all that you do!

Holiday Greeting Cards

holiday cards

If you still send cards through snail mail for majour holiday celebrations, do you enclose personal details of your life? Some etiquette experts say “no” and some say “yes”. The advantage of sending cards is that there is only one recipient. Unlike Facebook or other social media outlets, whereby your posts can be seen by many, a card is more personal and private. But is it good etiquette to include in your holiday card all of your trials and tribulations? Some experts would argue that you shouldn’t burden the recipient with all kinds of negative news, keep the tone of the card light and upbeat. Others argue that this is indeed the time to let friends and family know what has been happening in your life, it is the time to be “real” with people.
I think it depends on your circumstances. I know I enjoy hearing about everyone’s life in a letter or card, it is even a bonus if they send a picture, but I also know that I may be the exception to the rule. My advice would be use your discretion, if it is a close friend, they probably already know your trials in life, if it is a casual acquaintance, perhaps some detail but not the gory details may be in order.
Remember however, that the point of Holiday cards is to send that message that someone cares about you and wants you to know that you are in their thoughts!

Poppy Etiquette

Poppies

We are just days away from November 11 when we pause and give thanks for the men and women who serve and have served our country with honour and dignity. Many have sacrificed so much for our freedom and one small way we can show our thanks is by wearing our celebrated poppy. As an etiquette expert it pains me to see it worn so many ways when really there is only one way to wear it!
That is to pin it on your left lapel (signifying over your heart as in giving heartfelt thanks for the sacrifice of our veterans). You can begin wearing your poppy on the last Friday of October until the end of the day on November 11th. I know many people who “recycle” their poppy from year to year. Please recycle cans, plastic, newspapers, even your Timmies cup but for goodness sake if you are going to recycle your poppy from year to year, make sure you donate to the cause as this is a way of making much needed money for our veterans and their families. I would like to leave you with this poem!

Why Wear a Poppy Poem by Don Crawford

“Please wear a Poppy”, the lady said and

held one forth, but I shook my head, Then I stopped and watched as she offered them there,

And her face was old and lined with care;

But beneath the scars the years had made

There remained a smile that refused to fade.

A boy came whistling down the street,

Bouncing along on carefree feet,

His smile was full of joy and fun:

“Lady”, said he, “May I have one”?

When she pinned it on he turned to say,

“Why do we wear a poppy today”?

The lady smiled in her wistful way,

And answered, “This is Remembrance Day,

And the poppy there is a symbol for

The gallant men who died in war,

And because they did, you and I are free,

That’s why we wear the poppy, you see”.

I had a boy about your size,

With golden hair and big blue eyes.

He loved to play and jump and shout,

Free as a bird he would race about.

As the years went by he learned and grew,

And became a man – as you will, too.

But the war went on and he had to stay,

And all I could do was wait and pray.

His letters told of the awful fight,

(I can see it still in my dreams at night)

With the tanks and guns and cruel barbed wire, and the mines and bullets, the bombs and fire.

“Till at last, at last, the war was won –

And that’s why we wear a poppy, son.”

The small boy turned as if to go,

Then said, “Thanks lady, I’m glad to know,

That sure did sound like an awful fight,

But your son – did he come back all right?”

A tear rolled down each faded cheek:

She shook her head but didn’t speak.

I slunk away in a sort of shame,

And if you were me you’d have done the same:

For our thanks, in giving, is often delayed

Through our freedom was bought

And thousands paid.

And so when we see a poppy worn,

Let us reflect on the burden borne,

By those who gave their very all,

When asked to answer their country’s call.

That we at home in peace might live.

Then wear a poppy,

Remember

And give.

Ice Bucket Challenge Etiquette! Five tips to navigate the pressure!

icebucketchallenge

Ok, I admit,  I took it! I took the challenge that is sweeping the internet. My daughter dumped a bucket of ice water on me and I donated to ALS. It is personal for me because I had a good friend die of ALS so it was a no brainer. But what if you already donate to a number of charities and just can’t quite see yourself participating in  this one? What if everyone in the office wants to do it but you don’t? Here are some key ways to gracefully bow out without upsetting everyone and maintaining your dignity at the same time.

1. If you are invited via Facebook, thank the invitee for the challenge and then message them to let them know that you will not be participating at this time. It is not necessary to give a reason unless you want to let them know.

2. If you work with someone who invites you to participate, kindly thank them for the invitation but explain that at this time you will not be engaging in the challenge.

3. It is important to look them in the eye, smile and firmly let them know that “no” is your final answer.

4. If further pressed and you want to explain yourself, just ask the person to step aside and once alone, explain your reason for not participating. Many people already donate to causes close to their heart and feel that they have given as much as they can give.

5. If this is a cause close to  your heart, but you fear water that is full if ice, politely with a smile on your face, let them know you have already donated.

icebucketchallenge

Aggression Linked to How We Eat!

Cornell-study-finds-children-who-eat-chicken-on-the-bone-are-more-aggressive

Cornell study finds children who eat chicken on the bone are more aggressive….

 

By Evan Bleier   |   April 30, 2014 at 1:09 PM   |

 

 

Will eating chicken wings make him more aggressive? (File/UPI /Laura Cavanaugh)

| License Photo

 

ITHACA, N.Y., April 30 (UPI) — Researchers at Cornell University conducted a study about biting versus chewing habits in children and found that kids who eat chicken on the bone are more likely to disobey adults and be aggressive.The study, which was published in Eating Behaviors, found that children were “twice as likely to disobey adults and twice as aggressive toward other kids” when eating food they had to hold and bite.

Researches found that children were more docile when eating cut-up pieces of food, results which would seem to indicate that there is a connection between having to use teeth to eat and aggressive behavior.

Not everyone agrees with the study’s findings.

“I think people have been eating chicken wings, chicken drumsticks for a millennia and I don’t think it’s made them any more aggressive than they otherwise would have been,” clinical psychologist Dr. Brian Russell told Fox News.

The children that the researchers studied were between the ages of 6 and 10.

Office Etiquette

Unless you work by yourself, your ability to get along with others will determine whether you enjoy your job, whether you are able to work as part of a team and whether you are seen as someone to be promoted. Navigating the workplace politics can be draining and difficult to manage, especially if you are not a political person yourself. I still maintain however, that it is easy to navigate politics if you follow these simple rules.

1. Treat everyone as you would like to be treated. That includes all co-workers, not just your boss.

2. Check your ego at the door. Learn how to be part of a team to solve a problem, not to have your voice heard just for the sake of listening to it. If you work hard and contribute to the tasks at hand, you will be seen as an integral part of the team.

3. Don’t gossip. Do I have to say more? You don’t know where your information may go and let’s face it, picking sides can be a death trap for your career. If backed into a corner with someone who gossips, explain that you feel uncomfortable talking about anyone and would best be left to finish your work. And always remind yourself that gossip hurts, not just you but the other person.

4. Put a smile on your face. We all have down days, but it is important to leave our moods at the door. No one likes a moody co-worker and it will affect your opportunities for advancement. Yelling at co-workers has a nasty way of coming back and biting you……well you get it!

5. Stay away from sex, politics and topics that are inappropriate at the office. If you want to socialize outside of business hours, make plans away from work but keep the conversation focused on the tasks at hand.

When you are intentional about who you are at work and your level of professionalism, others begin to see you as a leader, someone whom they can trust and someone who is in line for a promotion.

 

 

Write a Thank You Note!!

DSCN5360

In our elementary and high school classes we practice the art of writing thank you notes. Some say this is a long lost art in the computer age, I disagree……a thank you note sets you apart and leave a lasting impression. Our students wrote a letter of thanks to our Prime Minister citing one special thing they are thankful for in Canada. Posted below is his response!

DSCN5360

 

 

How I Wear My Coat!

IMG_0735

I have to admit, I am steering away from the usual blog posts on etiquette to draw your attention to two blogs that I enjoy reading. The first is….. .http://www.therichlifeonabudget.com/…..a great blog about ….well…..living a rich and inviting life….on a budget.! Let’s face it, style does not cost a lot of money, it’s how you present yourself and how you feel about yourself that can influence how others see you. Today yours truly (me) is featured on in the segment “How I Wear My Coat”…….see if you can find me!!

IMG_0735

The second website blog that I like is http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/ . It is a great style blog/website for men’s fashions. A retro and present day look at styling for men.

Enjoy the browse and have a great day!

Snow Day Etiquette! Top Ten Etiquette Tips to Stay Warm!

snowplow

Yes, there is such a thing as “snow day etiquette”! Today in parts of Canada, the snow and windchill factor is making it impossible for schools and business’ to open. Parents are quickly making alternative plans for their children and offices are working at a lower capacity than usual. So how does this affect etiquette you ask? Well believe it or not, I have witnessed bad snow day etiquette from people I had not expected. So here are some tips to get you through the day.

snowplow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. If you are not having life saving surgery, chill out! Nothing is worth endangering the life of others or yourself by trying to speed around town. Stay home.

2. If you are physically able and like to shovel or blow snow, once you have done your own driveway, how about helping out a neighbour that may not have the physical ability to clear their lane, sidewalk or driveway.

3. Check in with the elderly or those who may need extra support during this time. You don’t even have to go outside, just pick up the phone and call. It will be met with great affection!

4. If you have children, check the windchill before sending them out to play. Frostbite can be nasty and although you might be going nuts with them inside, a frostbit child inside is much worse!

5. Don’t dump your kids on an unsuspecting relative or friend. If you must be at work, negotiate with a friend or relative to help your children but offer to return the favour on a Saturday morning or another time.

6. Remember all of the people who are trying to make your life a little better during this time. Your snow plow drivers, sidewalk cleaners, police officers, fire fighters etc. These people MUST work during cold snaps so show them the utmost respect and gratitude.

7. Stop your whining about winter. I know for many people, the choice to live in Canada was decided at birth but honestly, deal with it! We are blessed to live in one of the riches countries in the world, putting up with winter is the price we pay!

8. Try something new at home today that you might not regularly do for yourself. Watch a movie, clean out a cupboard, spend time playing a board game with the kids, write a letter, anything to add uniqueness to your day will beat the blahs.

9. Make sure your pets are safe and warm. It is easy to forget about Fido outside but the weather is just as harsh on our pets as it is on us.

10. Give thanks for a day to rest and reflect. Use your time wisely if you are home, enjoy some solitude at work, life is good!

Five New Years Resolutions You Can Actually Keep!

NewYearsResolutionResize

I don’t know if you are like me but I find that I make a New Years resolution and then approximately two weeks later break it.  Let’s face it, to change a behaviour it takes approximately 21 days to replace a bad habit with a good one. So perhaps it is time to revisit the type of resolutions we are actually making to ourselves. Perhaps it’s time to focus on resolutions that are positive and life giving vs. negative ones. The difference between “I have to lose weight” vs. “I want to be healthier this year”. There is a subtle difference of wording but it can make all the difference in how our minds interpret and process the information. And……whether we can stick to our goals. As an etiquette expert, I believe that there are some some resolutions that are absolutely doable and life giving at the same time. Resolutions that make us focus outside of ourselves and in turn help us inwardly to become better spouses, parents, friends, and employees/employers. Here are my top five “do-able” resolutions.

NewYearsResolutionResize

1. Make a point everyday to meet someone you do not know. This can be done by engaging in a conversation with the customer service representative at your favorite store or taking time to chat with a co-worker you have never met. A smile and a “hello” can start the conversation. This helps you to engage in a variety of different ways with a variety of different people. As you initiate conversation you build your network of people and potential clients and/or friends.

2. Resolve to organize your outfits the night before to a.) solve feeling and looking like you “threw” an outfit together, and b.) to reflect on your “to do” list for the following day. If you know there is an important meeting, even though it is casual Friday, there can be no mix-ups in the rush to get to work or school the next day. When you plan your wardrobe, you feel more confident and together.

3. Practice intentional listening. When you are in conversation with someone, really listen to what they have to say. Observe as you are listening, to their nonverbal language, their posture, eye contact and the placement of their hands. If someone is telling you something important, make sure you are making eye contact with them as well as using your own body language to exude understanding.

4. Practice your voice inflection. I know, this seems stupid, but there is nothing worse than a 20  minute presentation delivered in a monotone voice. Practice even the most mundane conversations. “Hello, how are you?” can mean so many different things to people depending on the tone of your voice. Practice sounding joyful, thankful, excited and caring…….you will be surprised!

5. Practice using gratitude words like “thank you”, “your welcome”, “please”, “have a great day”, “that was nice”. As my Granny use to say….you attract more bees with  honey than with vinegar. These gratitude words can make all the difference in how you are perceived at work, home, school and socially. Forgetting to incorporate these words into your vocabulary can affect your future prospects.

I hope these tidbits help you to have a happy and prosperous New Year!!