Sunday, February 28, 2010

Socially Savvy Sunday!

About Weddings ... (what not to do!)
Last weekend I listed five wedding faux pas and reminded you that it is always wedding season thus we must be prepared in advance instead of embarrassing ourselves and everyone else. Here are five more tips of what NOT to do.

Wedding Etiquette Faux Pas

  • Not respecting cultural differences. If you attend a wedding not of your own culture, you must respect their customs. Never be embarrassed to ask what is expected—it can be very helpful.
  • Allowing your cell phone to ring. Turn your cell phone and pager off! It will be a disaster if your cell phone rings at the wedding, and for crying out loud, if it rings . . . don’t answer it!
  • Making wrong acknowledgements. Telling the bride “congratulations” is like saying to her, “You finally found a husband!” It is appropriate to greet the bride with “best wishes” and the groom with “congratulations.” 
  • Not sending thank-you notes for gifts. Believe it or not, there are people who do not take the time to send a thank-you note to those who send gifts to honor their marriage. It is unacceptable to overlook sending a thank-you note as soon as you receive the gift. 
  • Not sending the gift back to the giver if the wedding is canceled. Send a simple note stating that the wedding has been canceled, and along with the note return any gifts you may have received. No detailed explanation is necessary. 
To review the first five wedding faux pas - go back to last weekend to Socially Savvy Saturday.
If you have more faux pas to add or a story that must be told - email or comment to me, I would love to hear it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Money Does NOT Mean Class

Sorry for the absence in blogland - I had to take to the bed earlier this week after attending a prestigious fundraising luncheon only to see an extremely wealthy Dallas socialite dressed in bright white summer slacks (not winter white or cream), and she was toting a bright white summer handbag. Ooohhhh! 

I took three Advil and sat in confusion trying to make sense of it all. Last time I checked it is still February, dead of winter, the coldest winter on record here. I flipped through my calendar again to make sure it is nowhere close to Spring or Easter. What is going on in this world? 

Not only are we having to endure the Healthcare Summit Clash, a raging war against terrorist, and now "THIS!" The only sense I can make of it is nouveau riche. Those acquiring new money who have not been taught the basic rules of etiquette.  

Let's start here Ms. Money Bags: 1) NO SUMMER CLOTHES IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER (yes, all caps means I'm screaming - LOUDLY!) Just because the stores have new summer clothes on the racks does not mean we wear them now. 2). Invest in a copy of Socially Savvy

Okay, so as I was trying to unwind over this big social blunder I clicked on my yahoo homepage only to see this picture of a walking faux pas.
 This just can't be the Dakota Fanning - superstar, favorite young celebrity, who is wise beyond her 16 years - NO WAY (okay, I'm screaming again - so sorry!) Oh good grief - I am speechless - this makes my head hurt again! I originally though it was a pic from a new movie - uh no~ It our precious Dakota proving to be a rebel.  Hello Advil ...

~ And, in the famous last words of somebody ...  This Too Shall Pass!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Must-Have Monday

TASTE - Acquiring What Money Can't Buy
"Good taste is synonymous with success in all fields of life. It's not a question of money but of a trained eye."  - Letitia Baldrige

For those of you who do not know of Letitia Baldrige - she was Jacqueline Kennedy's chief of staff in the White House. She has advised four other first ladies and has written two dozen books. I am blessed to be trained under her organization and devour her books over and over. This is one of my favorites! I can't get enough the details of her well educated and well traveled life, her opulent culture, and of course her fabulous "Taste."
Another one to add to your library - enjoy!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Socially Savvy Saturday!

Weddings are always in season so we must remember our manners when attending this life long anticipated event!

Always avoid these situations when attending a wedding or reception. This is the biggest day in the lives of the bride and groom; we do not want to mess it up for them. 
Wedding Etiquette Faux Pas:

  • Being late! “Better late than never” does not apply at weddings. Walking in while the wedding ceremony is being held is an absolute embarrassment to everyone.
  • Not sending in the RSVP card ASAP. It is crucial to send the response card immediately in order for the bride to plan the details of her wedding.
  • Bringing babies or small children to a wedding. Crying babies and rambunctious children do not want to be at the event, nor do the bride and groom want them to destroy the romance of their wedding.
  • Dressing in solid white. Any way you look at it—it is still a faux pas to dress in solid white, even if the bride is not in white. It still sends a signal that you are competing with the bride. It is her day in the spotlight and white is reserved for the bride, whether she chooses to wear it or not.
  • Taking a gift to the wedding. Even though there will probably be a gift table at the wedding/reception, it is for the people who still do not understand that it is rude to bring a gift to the wedding. 
  • Send the gift to the couple ahead of time or after the wedding.

These big wedding faux pas mentioned are only a few, so absorb and remember them in order to help make a perfect day for newlyweds. Get ready - there are more faux pas to follow!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tasty Tuesday

Blue Cheese Pecan Crackers - You will want to stuff your cheeks with this mouth-watering appetizer.
If you are asked to take an appetizer to a party - this is the one to take! 
Easy and delicious~

Blue Cheese Pecan Crackers 
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter (softened)
8 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecan (or walnuts will work)

Directions: Preheat oven 350 Cream the butter and blue cheese until smooth. On low speed, mix in the flour, salt and pepper and mix until it is in large crumbles, about 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon of water and mix until combined.

Place dough on floured board, press it into a ball, then roll into a 12-inch long log. Brush log with egg wash. Spread pecans on a cutting board and roll the log back and forth in the pecans, pressing lightly, and distributing them evenly on the outside of the log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 min.

Cut log into thin crackers on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 23 minutes until lightly browned. Rotate cookie sheet once during baking. Cool and serve at room temperature.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Must-Have Monday

You MUST have this book! If you are serious at all about manners - add this book to your library. If you want to know ACCURATE information about table settings, table manners and tableware - this is your handbook. Written by Suzanne Von Drachenefels, she knows the history of "anything table" plus she gives details on flatware, stemware, linens, serving techniques and much more ...
The info she shares matches up with my extensive etiquette and protocol training - I approve this one for you!
Read and learn - you'll love it!


Saturday, February 13, 2010

All In The Name of Love!

Bring it on! 
Who does not like a holiday where you receive flowers, chocolate, and other romantic gifts? I know I do - so let's do this thing!

While there are many versions of the history of  Valentine’s as we know it today, the most popular version stems from a 19th century British tradition. The custom of sending valentines caught on quickly throughout the UK then spread like wildfire and since 1847 Americans do it too!

The Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion 
Valentine cards are sent world-wide each year, 
making Valentine's Day the second largest 
card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas.
If you receive Roses for Valentines Day here's the hidden 
meaning behind the color:(and my spin on it too!)
Red= Love
A Single Rose = I Love You
My interpretation of this is the more red roses the more you love the person!:) Right!
Red and White = Unity
Pink = Happiness (My friends Coco and Kara adore pink flowers)
Yellow = Joy, Gladness, (also The State Flower of Texas!) I love yellow roses or any yellow flower, they brighten any room, you can't be sad in a room with yellow flowers!
Yellow with Red Tip = Friendship or Falling in Love
White = Purity
Peach = Appreciation 
Orange = Desire and Fascination (hmmm?)
Lavender = Love at first sight (isn't that called lust?)

The roses above - they are for you! 
Happy Valentines Weekend~

Friday, February 12, 2010

Big Snow!

You know what cracks me up - the poor ol' weathermen here in Dallas. Wednesday night they predicted: A possibility of an inch of snow around noon on Thursday and that nothing would stick. 

The pictures below shows a whole different story! Here's what it looked like Thursday morning when I woke up - a blizzard of snow. The flakes were huge and they just kept falling! We received over a foot of beautiful slow falling snowflakes for 24 hours.

For those of you who don't live in Texas - we normally get ice and wind with our snow, so this all-day event was absolutely beautiful! I couldn't get enough...

As for the weathermen ... they had to report the weather they could not predict. I could not help but think of the Bible verse in Job, when God says: Don't you know I have storehouses of snow ... Job 38:22

God chooses how much snow falls, when it starts and when it stops.

As for Dallas, Texas - Today is a "Snow Day" for the city. School is out and many businesses are closed. As for me ... hot chocolate and you. Thank you for following All Things Refined. Stay tuned tomorrow to find out valuable Valentines info!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tasty Tuesday

Valentines Day is this coming Sunday!

We all have friends we want to give a treat on this sweet day. 
Here's the perfect recipe to spread the love!
1 lb. unsalted butter
1 lb. (about 3 cups) finely chopped pecans 
1 large egg, beaten
2 cups sugar
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 package Confectioners Sugar
Cream softened butter until fluffy and slowly add sugar until blended well – add in beaten egg and vanilla. Slowly add flour followed by pecans. Work the dough until mixed well. Using a teaspoon – remove a small amount and drop from a spoon on to lightly Pam sprayed cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Remove immediately when light brown. Don’t over brown! While warm sift with Powdered Sugar.

These cookies are sooooo good  .... You better make a double batch - one for you, one for your friends.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Must-Have Monday

You just "Must-Have" this book in your home library!

As most of you know, I am a stickler about accurate etiquette information. You can find any random answer on the internet  for your etiquette questions. Please make sure you receive accurate advice by reading information from those who are certified etiquette experts. Remember: There is a rhyme and reason for each rule that makes good sense. 

Today I am advising you to include Crane's Blue Book of Stationery in your home and work library - it is a must have for accurate answers if you are announcing an engagement, holding an open house, adding a partner to your law firm, or having a dinner party to honor a guest. This book will give you every "form of address" known to the history of the western world.

FYI - Crane's has been a creditable source for over 200 years, plus they make our currency - that's right ... the same people you buy your stationery from is the very same people who make your cold hard green dollar bills!
Happy "Must-Have" Monday!

Monday, February 1, 2010

2010 Plano Symphony Debutantes

Introducing the 2010 Plano Symphony Debutantes. 
I was honored to present Social and Correspondence Etiquette to this fabulous group yesterday.
Watch out world, we have 10 powerhouse debutante's sprinting up the stairway to success!
The Plano Symphony Debutante Program is under the leadership of Ms. Gephart who is the Director of the Debutante Program at Plano Symphony Orchestra. The goal of this program is to encourage volunteerism and expand the cultural and social horizons of young women. A huge thank you to Ms. Humenesky for opening the doors of her The Petite Papery for the session. (a super place to order the best stationery and invitations etc...)
We all agreed we are more confident and socially savvy as a result of one hour of polishing from the inside out.