Monday, September 13, 2010

Southern Etiquette Rules and More ...

A little history ...
Some of you know my mother died right after I was borne, my dad decided he did not want me so he gave me to his sister. Her name was Sally - she was "my mama". (1st rule of the South - your mother is called Mama)  Sally was 60 when she took me to raise as her own. She had already raised six children of her own who were by then grown. We lived in remote west Texas and she raised me as an only child. I loved her and she love me. She taught me things I never dreamed I would be traveling the country teaching to others as my career. The values she taught me we're never referred to as "The Rules of Etiquette", it was just the way things were done - common sense.
Here are some examples:
  • Treat others the way you want to be treated. (later to find out, that one is in the Bible - Luke 6:31)
  • Always be nice to those who aren't nice to you. This one has paid off big time! (hey, that one is in the Bible too - read Matt: 5:44)
  • Do your best! (now I know why I stay confused whether my mama said it or if it comes from The Bible - See Col:3:23)
  • People will let you down - God won't. (come to think of it, she was teaching me Scripture all along, I just didn't know it - Matt:28:20)
At an early age, she taught me to set a table properly, write a thank-you note immediately, and put away white after Labor Day (always my birthday weekend). We brought out our linen clothes and patent leather after Easter each year. The reason was never discussed and I never asked why - it was just the way we did it.

Here's a question asked on my "Just Ask Joy" email regarding dress after Labor Day.
Dear Joy,
I read your "Socially Savvy" book, follow your blog, and your Tweets too. Here's my question: With so many people claiming to be fashion experts, there are no firm rules to follow. Can you tell me traditional fashion rules since you are a Texas/Southern girl.
Thank you,

Hello RT, Thank you for your question.
Let me give you some valuable traditional information below, then we will ask our audience what traditional values and rules of etiquette their Mama taught them!
Traditional Rules for dressing after Labor Day:
  • No linen
  • No white clothing (not to be confused with winter white, champagne, or cream - of course you can wear white shirts, but not linen)
  • No white handbags
  • No white shoes
  • No white watches
  • No flipflops
  • No patent leather - shoes or handbags
  • No straw bags or hats
  • No seersucker
  • No madra shorts or tank tops
This was switch-out weekend. I switched out summer to fall clothing. 
Here's a glimpse of my shoe closet before the switch-a-roo.
Before the switch-a roo
Spring and summer shoes from closet waiting to be packed for annual trip to storage

Summer suits and dresses

Bright white and linen clothing - off to storage

I could not resist showing you this picture of Scooter (my snoopy cat) sticking his head out of part of the wall closet mirror during the switch. Do you see his head? (middle right - he is black and white)

Okay - now it is your time! Please advise RT and me about your traditional values and rules of etiquette that you were taught.

Love and hugs to you,xoJoy

Friday, September 10, 2010

Personally and Professionally Polished

Proper Introductions 
Do you want to be perceived as polished personally and professionally - here's valuable information you can use to make a proper introduction. 
I received several questions this week regarding proper introductions.
Here are some very valuable introduction tips :

  • Women and men should always stand when introduced, look the person in the eye and smile.
  • Shake a woman and man's hand the same, straight up and down. Extend a firm (not a bone crusher) handshake to show respect.
  • Never use an honorific such as Ms., Mr., or Dr. to introduce yourself. (Example: A doctor should never introduce himself/herself as Dr. Jones, but the person making an introduction gives the honorific of Dr. Jones.)
  • Socially: a woman’s name is said first in the introduction: Sally Smith this is Paul Miller.
  • Keep introductions equal. If you use Ms. Jones, use Mr. Smith. Never say Mr. Smith this is John. It is best to use first and last names when making introductions. 
  • It is important to create common ground between the two people you are introducing so they can springboard into their own conversation. Then you can excuse yourself and let them carry on a conversation.


  • The most important persons name is said first. Introduction is based on rank, not gender or age.
Correct: Ms. President, I would like to introduce Mr. Vice President
(never add “to you” in the previous sentence – it places the emphasis on the wrong person)
Incorrect: Ms. President, I would like to introduce to you Mr. Vice President” FYI -
When making a very formal introduction, such as dignitaries use the word "present" instead of the words "this is" or "introduce."

  • NEVER use the word "meet" when introducing people. When using the word "meet" to introduce someone, it always throw the emphasis toward to the wrong person. 
  • For example, in reading the following sentence you can’t tell who is the CEO and who is the newly hired employee. "Jack Jones, I would like you to meet John Smith." Which person is the most important person in this sentence? Is Jack or John the CEO? 
  • Rather, for an informal introduction, use the words "this is" as the bridge between the most important person's name said first and introducing the second person. "Jack Jones this is John Smith, our new staff member. Mr. Jones is our CFO."
  • The client, guest or visitor outranks the boss or co-worker and should be introduced first.

A note to All Things Refined readers: The protocol of proper introductions is difficult to understand. I wish I could explain to each of you in person to make it easier for you.

Have a wonderful weekend my well refined friends!
Polish up!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Your Favorite Mexican Food?
Just arriving back in Texas - the first stop is always Mexican Food.
I have a list of my favorite and I know you do too!
What is your favorite Mexican Food Restaurant and what do you order?
This is serious business!
For me: Cheese Enchiladas at Mi Cocina.
I also like Uncle Julio's and La Hacienda Ranch
Remember: you can tell if a Mexican Food Restaurant is good or not by the chips and hot sauce they serve! If they get that wrong ...don't expect much!