Monday, May 20, 2013
Happy Monday! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. It's been too long since I've posted a Manners Monday post, my apologies. I'm back with a new post, and while it may not be as common as how to properly set a table, cell phone etiquette or the importance of mailing wedding thank you cards, it's a topic that has become quite personal lately. Apart from just my own experiences, trying out new food and beverages is something that we all experience now and then. I mean, who doesn't enjoy sampling new food or drink items while shopping? Those bite-sized treats kind of draw you in like a moth to a flame, especially when you're hungry. ;)
I mentioned briefly both here and via Facebook that alongside of my design business, I picked up a part time job to supplement my income while I'm pregnant to build a little nest egg as I will be staying at home with our little one once she is born. While I'll continue to blog, offer e-design services and do some freelance writing jobs, these are all things I can do from home for the most part. I'm working as a Sales Rep for a specialty foods company whereby I'm responsible for building relationships with a particular chain of grocery stores here in Florida. Part of my job is to offer samples of our product for a few hours, 4 times per week in an attempt to build a loyal, repeat customer base. During the past 3 months that I've been in this position, I've seen some pretty interesting things occur at the sample table-some to my horror. Today's topic is all about Food Sampling Etiquette because I find that when it comes to complimentary food, some people's manners seem to go out the window.
10 Etiquette Tips for Sampling Food
1. Be Mindful of the Setup Process- I can't tell you how many times I'm in the midst of setting up my table and don't even have the product out yet, let alone the serving tools gathered and people rush up as if I'm going to give them a sample on command. Some stand off to the side and stare in my direction waiting for me to finish. I know from speaking to others who do demos that I'm not alone in my feelings that this is quite annoying, particularly if it's a day you happen to be running a bit behind schedule and do not need any distractions to slow you down. If one is feeling snack-ish or has questions about the product, they should wait. Instead the time can be used to work on a grocery list for a few minutes and circle back around, the samples aren't going anywhere.
2. Hello, Please & Thank You Go a Long Way- Whomever is offering the samples at a table or on a tray, goes to the trouble of setting everything up and preparing the food, the least one can do is greet them and treat them as a human being vs. a servant, asking politely for a sample and thanking the person for the food or drink sample. It's free food, anytime someone gives us anything or does something for us in life it's always proper to say thank you and this is no exception.
3. Ask Before Grabbing- Before reaching your hand out for a sample, always ask what it is or read the signage on the table. Many people take without asking only to realize it has an ingredient that they are allergic to or it does not fit their diet. Some aren't even entirely sure what it is or how spicy it is. If you take a sample and realize after grabbing it that you aren't going to be able to eat it, it then becomes wasteful as it ends up in the trash. With the product I sample, one is the original flavor and the other is a spicy version, even though it's extremely well marked, people don't bother to take a second to read and countless samples end up going into the garbage as a result which is completely avoidable.
4. If You Touch it, You Take it- As with anywhere else food is served, once an item of food (or the napkin/plate it is served on) is touched, it cannot be put back. This is common courtesy and an essential food safety rule when serving food. If you happen to change your mind or grab the wrong sample, apologize and toss that sample away. Don't leave it on the table for someone else to grab. Even if you only touched a corner of the napkin or the edge of a plate, it is food someone else will handle and it cannot be served.
5. Don't Leave a Mess Behind- If your sample is served in a cup, on on a plate or napkin, be sure to pick up the serving material from the table and toss it into the trash not leaving it for the demo server to do or tossed into a shopping cart, basket or on the floor. This is something that I experience daily and I don't understand why a napkin that comes with it would be left on a table. If you happen to drop or spill a sample on the floor, it becomes your responsibility to clean up the mess and leave the area the way you found it. Ask for some napkins and clean up the floor- the server will be happy to offer you another sample afterwards, accidents happen.
6. Keep it Positive- We're not all going to love everything we taste test, but we don't need to be rude, negative or disrespectful to the person serving it. After all, it's free food and the purpose it to test it out. If you're not a fan of the product, keep it to yourself. Never use the words ick, yuck, ew or make a disgusted face (as a young toddler would do). If it's not for you, you do not have to eat it. Instead, toss it out, thank the server and be on your way. If there is an area of critique, put a positive spin on it with a comment like, "This would be even better if it had more berries, jalapenos, etc."
7. Avoid Being a Sample Glutton- We've all seen these folks who take a sample but one is not enough and they go back to take several more as if the samples were a replacement for their lunch. They're also generally the same people who will tell you the reason why they cannot buy the product such as it's too high in fat but they'll come back around and eat 4-5 samples. Always assume that it's one sample per person unless otherwise stated. Sometimes, when multiple versions or flavors are offered, the server will encourage you to try a couple or one of each flavor. At my table, we offer 2-3 flavors and I always encourage customers to try one of each so they can be compared. If you're really in love with a new product, there is no harm in smiling and politely asking if you may have another because you enjoyed it so much. After this point, purchasing the item would be the greatest compliment, leave some samples for the next person.
8. Taking Coupons- Many times with a sampling table, coupons will be offered along side. Again, it's one coupon per person. Printing coupons costs companies money, unless you really see yourself buying the product that day or before the expiration date, it's best to leave it for someone else. If you grab one and change your mind upon seeing it on the shelf, leave the coupon beside the product for someone else. Never grab a stash of coupons, however if you are buying more than one item or multiple flavors, it's completely okay to ask if you are able to have 2 coupons for your 2 items and it shouldn't be a problem if you are going to be a new or repeat customer.
9. The Best Location to Eat Your Food Sample- Once you grab your sample, always take a few steps back and allow other passersby the opportunity to come up and grab something for themselves. This is also a good idea so you're not eating too close to the table where some have food fall from their mouths. Daily, I see someone who feels the need to eat their food sample and try to carry on a conversation with me. As always, chewing with one's mouth closed and not talking while eating is always appreciated by everyone nearby.
10. Responding to Being Offered a Sample- Sometimes as you pass by a sample table, if you don't come up to it directly you may be asked if you'd like to try the product. If it's processed, appears fatty, doesn't look appealing or you're just not hungry, a simple "No, thank you" or "Not today, thanks" will suffice. There's no need to go on a rant about how you don't eat processed food, junk food, anything that's not organic, how you think fish is gross, etc. It's impolite to say anything that may deter other customers from sampling and that may be offensive to the person serving the food.
Have you ever encountered any unusual behavior while at a sampling table? Maybe you work in the food service industry and have an example of your own? On the contrary, have you sampled something yummy recently that you just have to share? I'd love to hear what you have to say in the comments below!
As always, thanks for reading!
*photo credits: (1) , (2)
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Hi Everyone! Well, we finally did it. We shared the sex of our little one with our parents once I hit my 6 month mark and then revealed to the rest of our friends and family the next day via my personal Facebook page with some special photos we took specifically for the reveal.
Some of you may remember that I mentioned via Facebook a few weeks ago that I put the brakes on my plans for a fun gender reveal party (which was supposed to take place this coming weekend) even though I had all the details planned out, there was just too much going on and I was feeling too overwhelmed by life to prepare for this party and then clean up afterwards all on my own. I knew I could spend my time, energy and budget in a better way than a party that would last just a couple hours. We still wanted to do something creative and fun to document this time and decided to head to one of our favorite hotels which has a nice architectural backdrop for our photos that would mark the occasion and use the balloon color to announce our news.
Hubby and I are overjoyed to announce that we our expecting a baby GIRL!! We had both been praying for a healthy baby and would have been happy either way but the Lord is giving us both our true heart's desire, a daughter to love. :) Without further ado, here are a few photos from my 24-Week pregnancy belly shoot.
Over the weekend my in-laws hosted a family reunion get together of sorts to bring all of the extended family together since we hadn't seen each other in a while. We thought it was the perfect time to pull Paul's mom and dad aside privately and give them a special gift to open in another room together so they could learn the baby's gender first and then we let them share the news with everyone else at their party. It was such a fun evening and everyone was so sweet, supportive and excited for us. Since all of my husband's cousins began their families many years ago, we will be the only ones with a baby.
For their gift, I took our favorite sonogram photo of the bunch (our little jellybean with her hands clasped and close to her mouth) and had a duplicate made of the photo then added a cute little pink bow on the head and slipped it into a pretty cream frame for them to keep. It was really easy to do and I plan to make one for each of my parents as well as a keepsake for us which will likely live in the nursery until she arrives!
My Mother-in-law has graciously offered to host my baby shower along with the help of my husband's two Aunts since my closest friends and family live miles away back home in Toronto. They asked for my ideas on a theme and the date, so we've penciled in the date of July.13th and the overall decor will be a color theme of pale pink, white and gold. I'm thinking soft, feminine, elegant and chic. I look forward to seeing what they come up with!
What I craved the most this month: Everything sweet! Fruit (still eating watermelon almost daily), smoothies, sweet tea, desserts, you name it and my baby wants it! I was already a bit of a sweet tooth beforehand so not too much has changed. What they say about girls craving sweets is true!
Something new I tried this month: My midwife recommended Hypnobirthing and I have read so many great personal experiences about how it can shorten the length of labor and delivery as well as make for such a peaceful birthing experience-some women experienced no pain at all! I have attended my first private class so far and since she is also a Doula, we have chosen her to be present and support me during the birth as well. Has anyone else used the hypnobirthing technique? I figure it's not only good for pregnancy but also beyond, it helps you use the pain in your life and transform it into a powerful tool with the right visualization tools.
Weight gain from 20-24 weeks: A whopping half of a pound although my bi-weekly photos would have you believe otherwise! I've gained 11 lbs total as of my 24-week check up and am feeling really good which is most important to me.
When I started wearing maternity clothes: While I'm still in 95% regular clothes, I finally grabbed a couple pairs of maternity pants, a few tops and a pair of shorts and they are really comfortable! I'm trying to creatively work my own wardrobe and new pieces that are a size larger or my own size into my existing wardrobe for now so I can wear the items after the birth and beyond without investing a lot of money into a maternity-specific wardrobe.
New Development this month: Itchy tummy! No matter how much cocoa butter, belly oil or natural lotions I use, my bump is stretching and letting me know about it. If someone has a good home remedy, please let me know!
Did you find out and share the gender of your first baby? If you did, what was the most memorable moment about revealing it to family and friends? Maybe you had a creative way of sharing the news? I'd love to hear about it!
As always, thanks for reading!
*All other images my own, except these: (1), (2)
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
When I was a teen my mother and I would shop together for clothing quite a bit and because we were the same height with the same overall frame, we could share and essentially expand our wardrobe as a result which was a huge bonus. While I have memories of fun trips to the mall of us getting some great deals, carrying our shopping bags in the crook of our arm while eating frozen yogurt together and laughing, I also have other memories. I remember my mom trying on outfits and because of her youthful appearance for her age many sales clerks would think we were sisters often telling her she looked far too young to have a daughter my age. While some might see it as an ego boost, I think all this flattery may have gone to her head as she became even more engrossed in her physical appearance. She would often ask: "Does this dress make me look fat?" When I replied with a NO, she'd say, "Are you sure? Do you think I look too old for this?"
Even at that age I found her lack of confidence in the 'dressing' department and need for such constant validation as it pertained to how she looked quite annoying and not at all something that I wanted to emulate. I promised myself I wouldn't be that woman with my friends or my significant other. To this day she tends to still fuss about and obsess over her physical appearance to the point of dressing much younger than her age. It's hard to live in the present moment and enjoy the company around you when you're focused on yourself all the time. Besides, what man is attracted to a woman without confidence and who constantly second guesses herself and her decisions? I also knew that the last thing I'd want to do it point out my areas that may have needed a bit of improvement. It's always more fun to focus on the areas which you feel best about.
We've all had friends or other ladies in our life who have asked that dreaded question: "Does this make me look fat?" and to this question I have the following reply below as it pertains to being a classy woman.
Part of being a classy woman includes being a confident woman who is decisive in her choices-that is one of her most attractive qualities! She isn't wishy-washy and always asking others for their opinion nor does she require their validation. She takes the time to learn about and appreciate herself, others and the things which are important to her so she can make the best decisions possible with boldness and without regret!
Did anyone else grow up with a mother or friend who always asked this question. How did you respond and what did you take away from their behavior?
Thanks for Reading!
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Every Sunday I like to share a 'Sunday's Thought' on our Facebook Community Page. I thought this was a good reminder as we all feel like giving up at in area or another at times. Let me encourage you. Don't quit! The Lord rewards those who have the courage, faith and strength to persevere. When you run out of your own, pray and ask that He will give you His Strength to keep pressing on. We cannot do it all in our own strength nor were we ever intended to. The sooner we recognize this and put this into practice, the less burdened and heavy we will feel.
I ask for His strength, courage, confidence, joy and determination from time to time when I feel as though I've run low on my own and can't go any further and He has never let me down yet!
I hope you all have a beautiful Sunday & thanks for reading!
Monday, April 22, 2013
First off, I'm so sorry for my lack of posts lately! Life has certainly become much more hectic as I now have more appointments and baby-related things to attend to while still maintaining everything else. As I promised from the beginning, I will continue to share photo updates with all of you. I'm a bit behind on this one as I'm now over 22 weeks along. I thought I'd share the pics that we took at both 20 weeks as well as 18 weeks (I've been posting bi-weekly to an album via my personal Facebook page for my friends and family back home who I will not see during this time so they can follow the progress.)
This milestone week was particularly exciting as we got to see our little jumping bean on the ultrasound. Two friends gave me the bright idea of drinking either orange juice or sweet tea 30 mins beforehand to make sure baby uncrossed its legs and let's just say that baby was moving around so much that the technician couldn't get clear measurements or photos at times!
About 15 minutes into the appointment our technician told us she was pretty sure of the baby's sex. She took some more measurements and highlighted images to print and when she was positive she asked us if we know what we were having. We both knew what we hoped the answer was as we did have a preference but neither one of us wanted to say something and be wrong, so she shared with us what our little one was and showed us how she knew by pulling up a few images on the screen. It was such an exciting time and tears of joy came for me once we finally knew one way or the other for sure what we were having. Most importantly though, and what we had prayed the most about was that baby would be healthy, we were relieved to find out that everything was looking very healthy and on schedule and also that my due date remained the same. I'm a planner and I've always known that I wanted to know beforehand to prepare the nursery in a way that truly reflected the kind of space I wanted for our little one, I also thought it would help me bond and connect with baby in a more specific. We've had baby names of both sex chosen since the first year of our marriage so now that we actually know the sex, we enjoy speaking about and to our little jellybean by name.
For months I have been pinning images to a secret board on Pinterest and planning a gender reveal party down to the fine details. This is something that I've known for a few years that I'd want to do. The day I had to order the invitations I took a step back as I was feeling really overwhelmed with having so much on my plate. It was hard to let the idea of this cute party and reveal go but I realized I wanted to enjoy this time in my life and not feel stressed out while trying to fit in as many things as possible. Sadly, I decided it was a 'nice to have' and not a necessity. I am now going to use the budgeted party money as well as my time and energy towards something more long term (vs. a 2-hour party) like the nursery and some home improvement projects and I feel as though a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. We plan to share the gender with our friends and family in the next couple weeks in a cute, fun and free way which I'll be sure to share with you also really soon! :) Until then, it's still a secret but I finally began a registry and have begun purchasing a few items that incorporate gender specific colors.
Here are some 18-week photos below, the point at which I began living in comfy dresses! ;)
What I craved the most this month: I can't get enough of Watermelon! It's a fruit I love but lately I've been eating a big 32oz container of pre-cut watermelon DAILY! It's a nice way to begin my day or treat to stay cool during our 90-degree spring days here in Florida. Aside from my cravings for fruit, I also crave greek yogurt, pickles and kalamata olives regularly-all things I ate regularly before becoming pregnant.
The most memorable moment this month: Seeing our little one on the big screen during our 20-week ultrasound for the first time! Tied with this was learning the sex of our little jelly bean. :)
The most exciting development during this time: I first felt baby move at 15.5 weeks but since about 18 weeks I've felt baby move daily often several times per day, especially right before bed and first thing in the morning particularly if I lay on my back for a few minutes. Sometimes I get some pretty big bumps which always make me laugh as I wonder what new moves baby is learning.
Weight gain from 16-20 weeks: 6.5 lbs. I gained 10.5 lbs total by my 20-week check up and am feeling great.
Regular Wardrobe or Maternity Clothes?: While I've had fun picking out a few new maternity items over the past month for a little bit later on, I'm still wearing all of my own jeans, dresses with stretch, etc. I spent a few hours emptying out my closet and drawers last week of all winter clothing as well as items that I can no longer fit into or won't fit into soon which are in storage bins that hubby placed in the attic. I just gained a whole lot more closet space for my upcoming maternity wardrobe!
What was the most special memory from YOUR half way point? Was it learning the gender or seeing baby via ultrasound or maybe something else that was unique? How soon did you know what you'd name your little one?
As always, thanks for reading!