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Archive for January, 2012

I am a true patriot.  I actually get out of my chair in my home office when I hear the National Anthem and move into the family room to stand respectfully and listen.  Yes….this is a “sports home” around here and my husband and son are ALWAYS watching SOMETHING that usually involves the National Anthem….and in this house…we respect that.  So…stop chomping on your Doritos, take off your team’s hat, and take a moment to STAND…and LISTEN…it’s quite beautiful and moving to listen to our National Anthem. 

Now…enough about how we do it at home….what about the teams…the coaches….the fans…the media? How can I raise and teach my son to respect the National Anthem if while he is standing and listening, he sees players chewing gum (or chew), or scratching (yep, I’ve seen it), or worse yet, chattering to a player next to them (seen that too).  

What about the fans?  I seriously despise when all the fans begin to rant and rave and cheer before the National Anthem has finished.  I don’t care how excited they are about the game…really…you can’t wait for the final two lines before you drown out the vocalist.  It’s not about their talent…or stardom…it’s about The Anthem. 

Can we just get back to place of respect…less than 3 minutes of our time…to respectfully listen, imagine, and view…Old Glory…with all the respect she deserves. 

With a range of one and a half octaves, it is known for being difficult to sing. Although the song has four stanzas, only the first is commonly sung today, with the fourth (“O! thus be it ever when free men shall stand…”) added on more formal occasions.[2] The fourth stanza includes the line “And this be our motto: In God is our Trust”.[3] The United States adopted “In God We Trust” as its national motto in 1956.  (Source – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Star-Spangled_Banner). 

So….I give you…my own etiquette tips for the National Anthem:

  • Remove your hat – male or female:  Yes, in the old days women didn’t have to do so…but hats were pinned and tethered and formal….nowadays, girls/women are wearing team caps, remove them.
  • If you are wearing a hat, place the hat across your heart with the inside of the hat facing your heart.
  • Address the flag – and no one or anything else.
  • Stop chewing.
  • Stop talking.
  • Stop moving/rocking.
  • Military members in uniform will salute the flag from the first note of the National Anthem until the last note is played.
  • Military members NOT in uniform, may also salute the flag throughout the Anthem.
  • All others will place their right hand over their heart for the duration of the Anthem.
  • Sing along if you desire – it will bring you closer to the history.  Do not be intimidated by celebrity power singers.  Contrary to some of them making it all about themselves, it is not…it is for you to honor your country… so please – sing along. It was stated in the 1942 National Anthem Committee, which wrote, “Since the message of the music is greatly heightened by the test, it is of paramount importance that emphasis be placed upon the singing of the National Anthem.”
  • While there is no “legal punishment” for NOT upholding these rules of etiquette, it is about “respect” so, put out the cigarette, put down your soda or beer, put your hand or your hat over your heart, eyes on the flag, and sing your heart out!

 

 

Well, I have to say, I was already pulling out the black and gold tablescaping for another “Saints Superbowl Party” when…well, let’s not re-live the moment we knew when that all changed!  I’m over it.  Time to get pumped for the Giants and Patriots right?!  Superbowl XLVI (that’s 46th for the roman numeral challenged) takes place in Indianapolis this year at 6:30pm EST at at Lucas Oil Stadium.  Since most of us won’t be tailgating there, here are a few tips to help make Superbowl, any year, fabulous, fun and full of friendly fans!

You’re The Host:

  • Tell your neighbors.  Especially if you think there will be a major parking issue.  It’s always nice to include them in the invite if you’re on friendly terms.  This definitely seals the parking issue up.


  • Get in the game. Whether you’re serving appetizers, pizza and wings, or blessed to have your affair catered, set the spirit!  Use the team colors (a no-brainer this year) for centerpieces and cocktail napkins.  Create a fun centerpiece with small footballs, turf grass and mini-penants from the party/dollar stores.  Print up a Superbowl Pool Grid on card stock with the team colors and place along side an envelope for collections and a  “team cup” that holds pencils for filling in the squares.  The amount should be agreed upon by everyone but keep in mind, this is a “spirit-raiser”, not the Sports Book in Vegas. 

 

  • Greet your guests and make introductions.  Don’t leave your guests waiting at the door while you’re busy with the bbq.  Greet them promptly with smiles and warmth as you bring them into join you and others.  Introduce or “refresh an introduction” to all the guests and let the small talk begin.  “Mary, you may recall meeting John at our Superbowl party last year.  John Jones, this is Mary Smith.  Mary works with me at XYZ.


  • Take their coat.  Not literally of course.  You can’t keep it!!  Even if it is that fabulous Alexander McQueen leopard print you want!  Be sure to assist your guest in taking their coat and letting them know where you are storing it so they can access it if needed.  If they don’t need their coat until departure, the host should retrieve the coat for their guest. 


  • Get the ball rolling.  Offer beverages soon after introductions and point your guests towards the food station.  Generally, football parties are best suited for buffet/kitchen island style dining or a barbeque outside, weather permitting.  Keep plenty of food, napkins, cocktail plates, toothpicks for h’ordoeurves, and cold beverages on hand throughout the game.


  • Have enough seating.  It’s true that not everyone will sit at the same time…but for Superbowl, expect a few guys to “own that seat for the duration”.  With the increasing excitement of seeing the newest “who will be the winner” commercials, seats may be at a premium.  Bring in the card table chairs, dining room chairs, and if it’s a super casual event, have some throw pillows and comfy throws available for those that are happy to lean at the feet of their spouse or date.


  • Kids coming?  Let’s face it…the kids are NOT going to sit for three or four hours watching the game.  They’ll just interrupt those that do.  Have a snack table and beverages in a small ice chest that can be in “their own space” (a child’s room, the converted for game day garage, etc.) and have age appropriate games, toys, coloring, etc. for them to enjoy together.  Oh…here’s a thought.  Give them a football to throw – outside, weather permitting.  I know, they’ll probably just play Madden on their hand-held, but it’s worth a try.


  • The party’s over.  Thank your guests for taking the time to spend the day with you.  Thank them if they drove a great distance to be with you.  Thank them for anything they may have contributed, i.e., food, gifts, help, etc.  Have your “co-host” (usually a spouse/date or designated friend) get the coats while you are graciously escorting to the door.


You’re The Guest:
  • Be a great guest.  If you’re the guest at this fabulous party, you have a few party etiquette rules too.

  

  • RSVP as soon as possible.  Waiting until the last minute implies you are waiting for a better offer.  


  • Bring a hostess gift.  Wine (to be offered for a future event), gourmet candy, fresh flowers or a homemade treat are all a welcomed gift. 

 

  • Arrive on time, unless you’ve advised ahead with any challenges in doing so.

 

  • Offer to help the hostess.  Even little things like carrying re-loaded trays of treats to the football fanatics that haven’t moved an inch since the game started, is a big help

 

  • Remember “bathroom etiquette“.  No splashing and leaving water drops everywhere.  No using the plush monogrammed guest towel (a smart hostess will have a basket or bowl of individual small guest towels and a receptacle in which to place used ones or very nice disposable napkins.  He/she will also have air freshener discreetly tucked away).  Basically, leave the loo as fresh and clean as you found it.


  • Don’t over-indulge.  Food or beverage.


  • Get a clue.  Don’t overstay your welcome.  While most party invitations will have a start/end time, some will end with natural timing, like the end of the game in this scenario.  Watch for clues from your host.  They may enjoy having you stay a little while afterwards to enjoy some conversational time that perhaps was thwarted during the event; however, if you see him/her washing dishes, turning off the TV and booting up their iPad (okay, a proper host would never do these things), then get a clue.  It’s time to go.


Have a wonderful Superbowl and I leave you with a simple little toast to share with your guests:

 

“Here’s to the bird that flew the coop,

Without losing a single feather;

And may this time next year, 

We all be together.”

When it comes to men’s fashion, we’ve come a long way since the 1950’s when the simple white shirt, black skinny tie and dark suit was the only choice a man had.  Though some things are timeless and fashions do tend to reappear years later, today, men have the option of so many different ties, shirt hues, shoe styles, and other dapper accessories, that it is important to know what one should wear at the job interview, on the job or when meeting clients.

I love to defer to my friend and peer, Diane Gottsman of The Protocol School of Texas. Diane has a great quiz for men to take (or the woman who dresses her man!) with answers that may surprise you.