- Dress up, just a bit, when traveling, as some nicer restaurants do not allow jeans on men, shorts or flip-flops. Also, please leave the dirty tennis shoes at home. Basically, just try NOT to look like you are cleaning our your garage. Simple and chic style is always better. Jersey material for women travels well, needs no ironing, wears nicely and is light. No wonder Coco Chanel used this material! Long Khaki pants for men always works, and please men, tuck your shirts IN and wear a belt.
- If you need the restroom, go into the fanciest hotel you can find and find their public, clean, beautiful restrooms on the first floor. Act like you belong there, as you will already be dressed like you belong!! Have a dollar ready for a tip or a fee. The French West Indies Mall in Marigot, St. Martin, charges $1 US. The Plaza in NYC has attendants. The Mill House in Charleston is free, and they have a bar open all day with fresh ice cream for the children!! You can have a cool drink inside, or out on the patio and you can treat the kids to luxurious, cool ice cream!!
- Walk deliberately and look straight ahead. Do not lolly-gag and meander around the sidewalk and gaze up at all the buildings. You will appear to be a tourist, therefore, a target. Go to an observatory or restaurant with a view to look at all the buildings.
- If you ever need to get away from any situation for any reason, duck into an apartment building with a doorman, or any hotel and find the front desk, or restaurant and find the hostess or maitre'd.
- Always bring along some light reading material; a small paperback book, magazine or daily paper to read on a bus or subway or while waiting in line. This way you can avoid eye contact and conversation with those you do not want to speak with. Cell phones are OK, but people are less likely to interrupt someone reading.
- Always have a few small bills and some change with you for a bus, parking, subway, pay phone, cab, hot dog, cup of coffee, or a cash tip.
- Travel with a thin travel wallet/billfold. Only take what you need. Leave at home photos, voter ID, and any other cards you do not need and that will be difficult to replace. Only take one credit or debit card. Write down the 1-800 number needed in case you loose your wallet or it is stolen, and keep it in a separate place.
- Always travel with jewelry you will NOT be crying in your soup if you loose or it is stolen. Also, always keep your jewelry on your person or in the hotel safe or a room safe. Do not use your phone number or street number or birthday for the safe pass code.
- Bring a disposable camera instead of your best and only camera, and have fun!
- Do not be where you are not supposed to be when you are not supposed to be there. As long as you are around people, you are OK. In case of emergency, yell "Fire" instead of "Help." People run towards a fire and away from someone yelling help.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Parents, don't worry! It's NOT a reflection on your parenting skills that these young people had to take lessons on table manners and how to manipulate their flatware, learn which fork is the salad fork and why they must pass the salt AND pepper.
In this busy day and age of Kids Menus, fast food and finger foods, not all families eat at the table often enough, or at all. Young people tell me they eat french fries and chicken nuggets with their fingers in front of their own TV or computer in their room, or in the car on the way home from soccer practice. Practice does make perfect, and knowledge gives each young person the confidence to eat, as they say: "At the big table," in an adult world when necessary.
So please pause a mere minute, watch the video, listen to the confident voices of the children and enjoy!
p.s. One must pass the salt AND pepper because in passing only the salt, the other person may later decide they then want the pepper, and by passing both, you are anticipating their next need. plus, they do not have to interrupt again to ask for something they did not know they wanted.
p.p.s. For parents out there looking for college scholarships: the latest trend is for the college/university to invite all their scholarship contenders to a fancy lunch. If you do not pass the salt AND pepper, you do not get the scholarship. Also, if you do not know which fork is your fish fork, or salad fork, they may as well "stick a fork in you because you are done!"
Saturday, May 22, 2010
- Walk whenever and wherever you can. Forget belonging to an expensive Gym. In NYC that first year, even the .50 cent Subway ride twice a day, for my budget, was out of the question. So, I walked 30 blocks to and from work every day, rain, snow or shine. It was relaxing to walk home every evening. Walk to relax and reflect.
- Walk up and down a flight of stairs at least 10 times a day. Again, no need for a gym membership. My first apartment was a fifth floor walk up, and now, I miss it! At first, you will be breathing hard and your legs will ache a bit. After a while, you will glide up and down those stairs, no problem.
- Give up fast food and junk food. Don't drive by it or buy it and you will not have it in your house as a temptation (your children do not need it either, so do not use that excuse). Fast Food is expensive anyway. After a while, you will not miss this type of food, and it will not appeal to you any more. Spend your money wisely instead on fresh foods, and make the time for preparaton. It only takes 20 minutes or so to make a nicesalad for dinner. Wrap the lettuce and veggies in dry paper towels and place in a zip lock plastic bag, and into your vegetable bin. They will last longer.
- Eat at least 5 servings of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables daily. Organic is best if you can afford it because organic has no pesticides. Pesticides trigger a metabolism slow down.
- Give up fruit juice and sodas if you can, or at least, cut back. Eat an orange instead of having orange juice. Juice has a ton of refined sugar. If you must have fruit juice, have a few sips of diet fruit juice, then put the small bottle back in the fridge for the next day. If yo must have soda, try buying those tiny 8 oz. cans. Have an 8 oz. soda every other day or so. Don't deprive yourself, because you will eventually binge. Try also taking two or three sips of the 8 z. soda then giving the rest to someone else to finish!
- Get rid of your salt shaker. I got rid of mine 27 years ago in NYC and have never looked back. Use pepper/garlic/lemon instead! Salt forces your body to retain water and makes you bloated. At first, you will notice the lack of salt, but after a while, food without salt will taste better, and you will think food you taste with salt will taste salty! If you must use some salt for cooking, use all natural, mineral rich Celtic Sea Salt. Also, try unsalted nuts. You'll actually taste the flavor of the nut! Remember though, only one palm full.
- A portion is the size and thickness of the palm of your hand. Yes, portion control is a big key to loosing weight. Pay attention to portions in restaurants. Try bringing half of your meal home. I love leftovers!
- No carbohydrates before bed. If you are hungry, try two cold cut slices of low fat chicken or turkey and 2 slices of reduced fat cheese. Or try a few stalks of celery, carrots and 1 serving of hummus with paprika.
- Oprah is right; no white carbohydrates, no white rices, no white pastas, no white flour No white cereals, no white bread No white bread croutons and no white sugars. Eat crunchy organic croutons on a salad each night instead of bread, if you can.If you must eat bread, buy only whole grain bread, and read the ingredients. Many companies use High Fructose Corn Syrup in their wheat or multi grain breads! White carbs/starches/pastas also make "Hot Flashes" worse.
- Fiber is the secret. Fiber will increase your metabolism 30% per day. 25 gram's of fiber daily is what we all need to keep things moving along in our systems.
- If you have to have a small piece of cake every few days, split a small piece with your spouse, roommate or friend. Take 1/3 of the piece and give your spouse or roommate 2/3 of the piece. Eat the cake with some organic fruit, or try only organic fruit and low fat or reduced fat cheese for dessert. Try to eat 25 g. of fresh fruit and veggies per day. Europeans commonly eat fruit and cheese for dessert because it will cut your cravings for sweets.
- Drink 6+ glasses of very cold water every day. Your body will have to rev up its metabolism thus burn calories to warm up the water during digestion. A 50 calorie boost per day is about 5 lbs. per year!
- Drink caffeine; organic coffee or green tea are best if you are healthy and have no heart issues or sleep issues. Caffeine is a Central Nervous system stimulant. It will rev up your metabolism by about 100-175 calories per day which works out to 5-7 lbs. per year! Drink caffeine as much and as late as possible without affecting your sleep. Caffeine keeps your metabolism up by about 10%, green tea about 12%.
- Ladies, keep your calories between 1300 and 1800 calories per day. Never drop below 1200 calories as the cerebellum part of your brain, like a caveman, will go into "starvation mode," and save as "fat" anything you eat. Men, y'all need 2000 calories per day. If you eat more one day, eat less the next few days. Don't worry about it too much.
- Do weight bearing exercises twice a week. I keep 3 lb. weights next to my chair in the Den, and exercise while watching the news. Exercise inside or outside. No big deal, just do it.
- The good news is: ONE alcoholic drink will rev up your metabolism up to 73%. A cold drink is best. The bad news is: in drinking the second drink, your body will then burn the alcohol instead of the fat. So, only one drink allowed! Also, alcohol does make "Hot Flashes" worse!
- Women need only 3 oz. of lean meat per week. Men may have a bit more. One petite tenderloin steak once a week, or one sirloin burger once per week. Ladies, give up hamburger meat, nothing but fatty hip food!
- Eat 200-600 units of salmon,fish, or shell fish per day. Good vitamin B.
- For a splurge,try organic tomato soup and a small low fat grilled cheese on whole wheat with thin tomato slices. Who doesn't like tomato soup and grilled cheese. Delicious!
- For extra Vitamin D, go out into the sunlight for 10 minutes per day. Yard work (and housework) is good for a least 30 calories per hour! Obviously, on my budget, I packed a small lunch every day. Packing a lunch is healthier and cheaper than eating fatty, expensive food anyway. Pack a lunch and go sit outside whenever you can.
So, everything in moderation, mind your portions and get moving!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
So, how do you hold your chopsticks? Can you hold your chopsticks? Do you need a bit of practice or shall we start from the beginning?
In order to eat proficiently at a Sushi Bar with friends, or in a Chinese restaurant with business associates, you need to understand the following principals:
- Cradle the middle of one chopstick in the hollow of your right or left thumb and palm with the narrow end resting on the third finger. Firm up your grip of the chopstick by using your upper thumb to press the chopstick securely against the tip of the fourth finger.
- Add the second chopstick and hold it like you hold a pencil when writing. Line the chopsticks up evenly.
- Hold the first chopstick in the original position and move the second chopstick up and down. The lower chopstick should never move while in operation. It should remain stationary at all times, serving as a base on which to clamp the food placed on it by the top chopstick.
Practice, Practice, Practice :
- First, practice on popcorn! Yeah! Fun!
- Second, practice lifting a wine glass straight up by the stem with your chopsticks. If you can do this without dropping the wine glass, you are ready to eat in public.
- Never point your chopsticks at anyone. It is considered to be bad luck and it is dangerous.
- Never stand chopsticks up in a bowl of rice. This is also considered to be bad luck.
- Do remember to use the larger ends of your chopsticks to serve yourself from a platter
- Never eat food directly from a platter. Always place the food on your plate first.
- Do not cross the chopsticks. When not using the chosticks, place them on the chopstick rest provided.
- Do remember that a banquet can last two or three hours, and may include twelve or more small courses.
Practice and enjoy!
Sunday, May 16, 2010
What is the difference between getting a feel for the establishment in which you may want to work, for a long time and getting to know the potential partner for whom you may want to marry, and will be with for a long time?
What is the difference in the techniques used in job interviews and the techniques used in dating?
The following are a few tips to pep up your job interviews and perk up your dinner dates:
- Each new job interview is a new opportunity for you to shine. Get yourself in a happy mood and be calm and positive.
- Each new first date is a new opportunity for you to shine. Get yourself in a happy mood and be calm and positive.
- Each new job interview is your chance to get the interviewer talking about themselves and their company. Prepare a few pertinent questions to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview when they ask you if you have any questions.
- Each new first date is your chance to get the other person talking about themselves and their family, friends, experiences, likes and dislikes, etc.
- Keep your resume professional and polite. Use Spell Check. Have a family member or friend who is good at editing look over your resume.
- Keep your conversation professional and polite. Pause, look and listen to what your date says. Pay attention to their tone. Listen also to what your date does not say.
- During your interview, do not comment on politics or religion, or talk about money. Do not list political or religious affiliations on your resume or Face book/My Space or any other social Internet site.
- During your first date, do not comment on politics or religion, money or past relationships.
- During your interview, look around the interviewer's office and desk for items and nick-knacks revealing what hobbies they may enjoy and read any degrees on the wall.
- During your first date, in conversation, nicely ask your date about their education and ask them to talk about their hobbies.
- On your resume, after each prior job listed, include an updated phone number and a current name of a contact. This makes it convenient for any future possible employer to easily check your information.
- On your first date, as the date is ending and if another date is agreed upon, leave the other person with updated contact information.
- As you enter and exit your interview, pay attention to how your interviewer treats their staff.
- As you are having your date, pay attention to how your date treats the waiter, cashier, etc.
- If you are asked during the interview why you wish to leave or why you have left another job, do not be negative. Be honest and explain why the past job was not right for you or why you wish to move on and what you have learned from the experience.
- If you are asked during your first date (or first few dates) why a past relationship was ended, do not be negative. Be honest and explain why the relationship was not right for you and why you chose to move on or why your partner chose to move on and what you learned from the experience.
A first job interview and a first date really are very similar, so enjoy your good opportunity and prepare!
Saturday, May 15, 2010
An example is American style vs. Continental style dining. One may eat in the "Continental Style" in America, and it is not wrong, it is just different. As a matter of fact, eating in the Continental style is how Americans ate in this country before 1840 when the style changed. Continental style is also very easy for left handed diners. I have been surrounded by lefties my whole life. My Mother used to complain about getting SO frustrated at dinner parties from people bumping her left arm while eating at the table because they were sticking their elbows out too far, and it never occurred to them someone would be eating with their left hand. Awareness and open-mindedness, y'all. It's simple.
While in St. Martin, reading the local daily paper "The Herald," I stumbled upon a delightful column called "Weekend Thoughts." The subject was "American Style" dining and how it was different from the way the French author of the column ate. She spoke of her American friend who ate in the American style while in the French Caribbean and how it was so different from the Continental Style way she was taught to eat. She commented at the end of her article: "It opens up a new world to me."
So, please be open-minded to differences in us all. Manners are not always either/or. Manners are not always yes or no. Manners are often just different!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
- Every evening, or, as often as possible, take an "Evening Constitutional" around the block. No big deal, 15-20 minutes or so is fine. Walk, chat, laugh and relax. You will digest your food, get your blood flowing, breath and relax. Make it a good habit and enjoy.
- Every evening after her walk, my Great-Grandmother drank a tea cup filled with hot water and lemon. My Father said she had the most beautiful skin for a 93 year old lady he had eve seen. The acidity of the lemon is good for your liver as it cleans out/detoxifies the liver, thus, will help clear up your skin.
- Before bedtime, smear petroleum jelly on your feet and heals, then put on footie's or socks and sleep in them. You will wake up with the softest feet ever!
- After handling fish or seafood, to rid your fingers the fishy smell, rub lemon or lime over your nails and the tips of your fingers. The citrus acid will work every time. The citrus, however, may dry your skin, so after you rub, wash your hands with warm water and soap, dry, then apply lotion.
- My Grandfather ate a tomato ever night. A good acidic fruit for you! Largely diced. Plain, or sprinkled with a bit of Kosher salt, with a dab of mayonnaise or vegenaise, topped with freshly ground pepper. Serve everyone one tomato each when you do not feel like taking the time making a salad or cooking a vegetable. It is quick and easy! Yum!
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
- Tape around the item so as not to harm any surrounding surface. Use the special painting masking tape so there is no sticky residue remaining when the tape is removed.
- Clean the item with an SOS pad. Scrub, scrub, scrub. The SOS pad will remove all the grime and dirt so you can then polish the brass item. The SOS pad will leave a Patina on your brass item. A Patina is comprised of all those little minute "scratches" that naturally occur with age and make the item look like an antique.
- A patina will change the luster of the item. I prefer my sterling, brass and pewter with a patina because I like the luxurious luster. Some people, however, prefer their brass, sterling and pewter looking shinny like new stainless steel. **If you do not want to change the luster of your item, do not use the SOS pad.
- Shine the item with Brasso or Never-Dull, or whatever brass cleaning product you prefer.
** The SOS pad will leave a Patina on your item. If you do not like the look and the new luster of the Patina, do not use the SOS pad!!!!
Very nice friends from out of town set me up with their next door neighbor, who also lived and was a tenured professor at a very exclusive private college 2 hours away from them and about an hour away from where I lived.
Upon the initial phone call with this man, I informed him I was in between management jobs with a sporadic schedule of part-time jobs, so, he suggested we meet at a very casual diner for Sunday Brunch. Cool.
My date began by driving 1 1/2 hours to this exclusive private college and met this seemingly nice, tenured professor at a very cute diner. Great breakfast. Better conversation. Everything moving along nicely.
Then, the check arrived. The professor eyed it and let it sit. Finally he turned it over. The bill totalled $13.50 plus a tip. Unknown to anyone, I had $20 in my pocket and $5 in the bank until my next pay day which was the following Friday. So, I pulled out my $20 bill figuring we would split the bill. The professor then said to me: "How about you get this one and I'll get the next."
What?? I thought to myself, not only is this tenured professor not going to pick up even and only his half of this small check, after I have driven 1 1/2 hours to get here, he is also going to assume I am going to go out on another date with him after I, who he knows am in between jobs, pay for this date!!
Always polite, I paid the check and the tip, drove the 1 1/2 hours home and never answered any phone calls from this guy again. The first of a few starving weeks in my future to come with $5 in the bank so I could maintain some semblance of dignity!
According to his neighbors, my friends who set me up, he had a great time and just could not figure out why I would not return his phone calls. Hmmm.
Monday, May 3, 2010
The table of eleven arrived 25 minutes late. It was raining. After being seated, they then changed their minds and wanted their raincoats, hats and umbrellas checked. So, I checked each coat and accessory for each lady and brought each lady the coat check chit. Everyone had multiple special menu requests during and after their individual orders: no croutons, dressing on the side, no dressing, extra dressing, no onions, no bacon, extra bacon, no eggs, and they were only ordering salads to have as their meal. This complicated meal of only salads and tap water went on and on for 2 1/2 hours.
Finally, just when I thought the meal was over, someone at the table took a cake out of a box they had quietly brought into the restaurant! Politely, I brought out a serving knife, plates and forks for the cake. Then the gift bags and presents appeared! Birthday wishes. Birthday singing. Birthday toasts (with the table water). Coffee was ordered. Regular and Decaf. Extra cream. More cream. No cream. Pink packets of sugar everywhere! More coffee refills. More creamer. More pink packets. At this point, I was seeing pink!
My Mother and Sister came into the restaurant in the middle of my waiting on this busy table to surprise me and eat lunch. As I served them and as they enjoyed their lunch, my Mother watched as I tirelessly, politely and patiently waited, waited and waited on these nice, well intending women.
One woman at the table then asked for eleven separate checks. Each lady had 1 salad and 1 cup of coffee. Each tab was brought to the table separately, and I brought each tab to the cashier, then returned the tab with change, and exited. Then, the long discussion ensued regarding the tip. Unknown to these ladies, my Mother, still sitting at the next table, was listening! How much should they each leave to the nice young girl for the tip? Yes, it was 1981 and prices were different. The large salads were about $4.95. The coffee was around .95 cents. The ladies had a nice time and thanked me upon leaving.
My tip totaled .11 cents for each separate customer. I thought my tip at almost 15%, was fine. My Mother had a different opinion. One dime and one penny placed at each place for 2 1/2 hours of hard work. Also, leaving a penny on the table as part of a tip??
My Mother heard this and thought she would burst! Leaving a penny on the table is rude! It is considered to be a terrible insult in Europe. It signifies that the service was more than insufficient, rather, horrible. Leaving a penny on the table is frowned upon even within the restaurant business in the USA. It is also considered to be bad luck for those who are superstitious.
No coat check tip was left, at all.
My tip, I thought, was sufficient, until my Mother spoke up after these ladies had gone. She had the following tips for me (and suggestions for the day manager) which still apply today:
- One of the Ladies should have assumed the responsibility of group leader or hostess.
- Coats and accessories should have all been checked upon arrival and the coat check tip should have been taken care of ahead of time.
- The party should have arrived on time.
- One check should have been agreed upon before the meal began. The Group leader should have paid with one credit card ahead of time, then settled up with each lady afterwards.
- The tip should have been paid by the group leader in hand to the waitress and not left on the table in change form.
- Pennies should never be left on the table as part of a tip for any reason, ever!
- The tip should have been at least 18% - 20% as it was a large table of eleven persons and because this table took up the entire lunch time.
- Menu extras, exceptions, additions and subtractions should have been stated as each order was placed.
- Bringing a Birthday Cake into the restaurant should have never been done. Also, what an insult to the chef and management of the restaurant!
- The birthday bows, wrapping paper, boxes and tissue paper should have been cleaned up by the group leader, not left all over the place for the waitress to clean up.
Take charge, plan a bit and make your office luncheon nice for everyone! Thanks Mom!!
- Vinegar and Rubbing alcohol together in a spray bottle will clean a shower?
- Place an aspirin tablet inside a wooden cabinet or wooden drawer and it will absorb any moisture.
- Boiling a scored orange will get rid of any kitchen odors and will leave the entire house smelling great!
- Peanut Butter will get chewing gum out of long hair.
- Substitute mayonnaise instead of vegetable oil the next time you make a batch of brownies and they will be the best tasting brownies ever! Yum!
Enjoy these cleaver tips and save!
Sunday, May 2, 2010
The well intending producers of these 24 hour cable news shows want the "Talking Heads" fighting with their guests because it raises ratings. High ratings mean more money.
Remember The Jerry Springer Show from many years ago? His was the first TV show that raised its ratings because his guests were regularly paid extra by producers not to simply fight with words, but to take punches at each other with their fists.
Fighting with fists or fighting with words, well intended or not, this 24 hour bickering is seeping into our psyche and society, daily behaviors, and the little ways we treat each other. What happened to the Puritan, Christian valued society of our founders?
We are now an "either/or" society. Everyone voicing their opinions on Facebook, Twitter, Internet blogs, radio, etc. Nothing wrong with free speech, but, does it have to be so angry? Also, when did we figure we had to be on one side or the other? Why do we have to say Merry Christmas OR Happy Holidays? Why can't we say Merry Christmas to our Christian friends AND Happy Holidays to our non-Christian friends? Why one side OR the other? Why not BOTH? Have we become so ETHNOCENTRIC?
The unintended consequence of our bickering combined with the changing face of America, is that we are entering into an uncivil society, as we have not been teaching tolerance. Free speech with tolerance. We CAN agree to disagree.