Friday, August 31, 2012

August Sponsor Spotlight




I hope you're all enjoying a nice start to your Labor Day long weekend! I wanted to extend a big thank you to all of my August sponsors and share them with you here in our monthly Sponsor Spotlight.

Since sponsors can purchase ad space any day of the month, you'll notice many are still running into the month of September since their ad space began after the middle of the month while others were showing in my sidebar until the end of August. A few have some great discounts for you as well which you can find below!


Stella & Dot



I absolutely adore all of the pieces by Stella & Dot  -you simply must pop by their online jewelry shop! Their pieces are regularly worn by celebrities but their collection is affordable and you're going to love them! If you're looking for a side business to make some extra money in this economy or while the kiddos are in school-this might be a great option for you. Did you know that Stella & Dot offers 3 different starter kit options to launch your very own fashion business by becoming a Stylist? You'll get hundreds of dollars worth of gorgeous jewelry pieces for a fraction of the cost! Plus, you can run your own business from home-perfect for stay-at-home moms, working women who are looking for extra income or those who just want to expand their accessory wardrobe!


                                        
Shabby Apple  


What I love about the Shabby Apple line is that each of their pieces is so ladylike, elegant and classy. They are very well known for the fit and comfort of their dresses, regularly featured as editor's picks in many fashion magazines. If you haven't heard of them, they have such a lovely collection of not only dresses but skirts, tops, swimwear, jewelry and they even have dresses for young girls and maternity wear too! They currently have many cute dress styles on sale HERE!


Marvelous Marketing Group



If you're looking for someone to manage the marketing behind your company or assist you with branding yourself, Marvelous Marketing can help! They are a full service, one stop shop for all of your business needs from business cards to logo design, PR, website creation, Search Engine Optimization, Photography and more! Founded by Kim Riley, Marvelous Marketing's sole purpose is to help you navigate through the maze of getting your business, blog or website up and running with the professional look and feel you desire.



Zinc Door



 Zinc Door is and online home decor shop offering a variety of gorgeous furniture & accessory pieces to decorate any space. What I love most about their store is that while on trend, you won't see the same types of pieces all over the web. If you're looking for that one-of-a-kind looking mirror, writing desk or wall art, they aim to please! I have enjoyed including some of their pieces in my e-design mood boards while decorating rooms for my clients. Zinc Door is the sister store to Layla Grayce. I feel so honored to have both of their shops on board!



Lot 26 Studios


Lot 26 Studios features a wide range of wall art which includes family rules signs, city signs, wall decals, canvas wall art, memo boards and more! Customize any space with inexpensive and unique art that suits your style! Perfect for dorm rooms or temporary spaces such as apartments, these works of art add a chic look and a lot of personality to any room and are easily removable. One of my personal favorites is this chalkboard wall decal.



All of My Love for All of My Days


Danette Dillon is the writer behind her personal blog titled 'All My Love for All My Days', she is a mother, wife and lover of Christ. She is passionate about helping hurting people, sharing her own journey through life and loving others. Who doesn't need more love in their life? Covering a multitude of topics, her light-hearted blog will leave your feeling happy and inspired. I hope you'll stop by to visit her and say hello!



NYC, Style & A Little Cannoli


Rosemary is the author of the blog NYC, Style & a Little Cannoli. Growing up with regular visits to the big apple as a child, her blog features her favorite activities and adventures in New York City as a woman who now resides in Pennsylvania but visits NYC every chance she gets. She knows all the best restaurants, cafes, shops & activities to enjoy a day trip, vacation or even a lifetime in NYC. Her love of desserts and Italian background mean you're guaranteed to get a regular dose of sweet sugary eye candy. Do visit her and  also follow her on Twitter where she shares her favorite must-see places and must-eat treats!



Layla Grayce



Have you ever visited Layla Grayce? I'm a huge fan of their online shop! If you haven't seen their goods before, they offer gorgeous items for women, babies, children and the home. Everything from lighting and jewelry to cribs and monogrammed dishware. This shop is filled with everything girly and delightful. One of my favorite collections of their jewelry line is the Kirra Tate jewelry collection-it's so stylish and super affordable.  Pop by this Labor Day weekend where Layla Grayce is offering 20% off everything!



The Intentional Minimalist


I just love the focus of Kristin's blog, The Intentional Minimalist. She features farm-to-table recipes to encourage cooking with local, seasonal and fresh produce. While her blog primarily focuses on recipes created from her local Community Supporter Agriculture (CSA) she also writes about minimalist natural skin care, homemade cleaning supplies, keeping a streamlined minimalist kitchen and living in the raw. Visit her site to find out how you can incorporate more simple, delicious and beautiful meals into your life.


Vignettes



Kristin is the author behind the blog, Vignettes, which is a lifestyle blog covering an array of topics from home decorating, renovation projects, recipes, travel, fashion and more. One of Kristin's main focuses is living a life with intention and for all of us who feel overwhelmed, she does a great job of sharing great ways of incorporating this into our lives daily and how to focus on what's really important. Be sure to stop by and say hello, I just know you'll find someone to be inspired by!



LME Designs



Lady McKnight is the owner of LME Designs, a company the focuses on building websites, creating business cards, logo designs and book cover designs. When she is not working on this aspect of the business, she also offers Life Coaching session to help propel you forward into your dreams. She is currently offering a free life coaching session. You can find out more about that HERE. She is also an author of two books: 'The Spirit of New Orleans' and 'Step into Divine Destiny'!




Thank you so much to each and every one of my August sponsors! Thank you to those who have already renewed your ad space for September and many of you who have purchased multi-month ad spots. I'm so glad to have you on board!

Are you interested in becoming a sponsor of this blog and having your ad proudly displayed in our sidebar? With summer coming to an end, everyone is gearing up for fall and back into a regular routine which means many readers begin reading their favorite blogs again and are even more likely to see your ad than in the summer months. For the month of September all Short & Sweet small ads are 50% off using code: SEPT50.

Click {here} for all of the details. It's just $10 and my way of helping your end the summer off right!  :)

XO



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

You Can't Please Everyone





Today's post is a shorter one and a gentle reminder to us all. Posting on Facebook then taking my message here and expanding upon it further has started to become a regular ritual. After seeing that today's post had 25 likes after just one hour I learned that many of you, my readers, agreed and felt strongly about these words so I wanted to share them here too!

I love this image and text above by Dita Von Teese. Think of the many times you've fallen in love with a particular book, movie, food or item of clothing and a friend really could care less for it. It wouldn't matter how much you tried to convince her of how awesome it is-she's just not having asparagus, skinny jeans or watching Glee. ;)

As women, it's as almost as if there is something inborn in us to become people pleasers. We want others to be happy, well fed, taken care of, nurtured, feel at home in our house and we long for friendships and to be liked. Sometimes we just want others to like what we like. These are all very good things but sometimes they just don't work out as we hope. I've always been able to make friends fairly easily as a child and adult even though I tend to be on the shy side at first. Sometimes you just get a feeling as though someone doesn't care for you or what you're all about. It could be a lack of common interests, different beliefs or even jealousy-whatever the reasoning, for many years I would try to over-analyze why they might not like me. While I wouldn't try hard to please the person in question, I would really want to know what it was. The thoughts were exhausting because I knew I wasn't about to change who I was to make someone like me. I finally decided that I just didn't care because there are enough amazing people on this planet that I will have things in common with and will have a great time with and will like me exactly as I am. The trick is in 'Staying True to Yourself'.




We must accept the fact that no matter how hard we try in life, we will never please EVERYONE 100% of the time nor will we be liked by every person. The sooner we realize this, the easier it will be to focus on just being our best self without feeling insecure or requiring the need to be accepted or perfect in another's eyes. 

For me, one thing I've learned is that people will have their opinions and reasons about why they do or don't like or accept you, and sometimes that won't ever change. Really, their opinion isn't all that important anyway. In my heart I know my creator and I know what He thinks of me. He created me in His own image and made me with all of my quirks and intricacies as well as likeable bits just as I am and loves me unconditionally. If you struggle with how other's perceive you, you'll benefit from this post I wrote called, 'Letting Go of How Others Perceive You'.

Remember, when you feel others are against you or you feel you just can't seem to live up to other's expectations, there is only ONE who will accept you just as you are-no pretenses and no judgments- just love, peace, grace and mercy offered because you are one of His children.

I hope you're all having a fabulous week so far! I'd love to know, what areas do you struggle with as it pertains to being liked or pleasing others?

XO




*Photo credit

Monday, August 27, 2012

Another Candle




Another candle will be added to my birthday cake today! :)  Each year that passes, I truly believe that we not only get older but wiser too.

There's something about an upcoming birthday that makes you evaluate where you are at in your life. How far you've come in the past year or more, what you've accomplished as well as what you did not achieve, the new dreams that lay ahead and new interests that await. This year for me I also contemplated where I had become distracted and how that affected so many areas of my life. I was confronted head on with the demanding perfectionist that lies within and tells me that in order to accomplish something it must be done perfectly when I know that it is not true. I've allowed this little voice to halt more than one project, leaving me feeling as though I've started many great things over the past year but accomplished only few. This will be my goal this year-discerning and dismissing that voice which hinders my progress. Sorry if this post sounds a bit heavy, I don't mean for it to be. I'm just a gal who always strives for personal growth and attempts to learn as much as possible from the past so I can move forward into my dreams. And while I could create a post filled with nothing but beautiful celebratory images with no real heart, meaning or depth, that is just not me. I choose to be real because this is where I'm at.

Even the mirror's reflection looks a little different today and in the weeks leading up. I've noticed fine lines that I swear didn't exist yesterday, new sun spots marked by days spent at the beach care free without the greasy and thick potion that is sunblock, and the the appearance of an enjoyable yet challenging year stare back at me. That's a hard one for us ladies sometimes, isn't it? So much of what the media sells women tells us that our worth is lost when we age. I'm also reminded on a regular basis by many well meaning friends and family members (even strangers sometimes) that I'm not getting younger and should act fast if I plan to have babies. Oh, the things we as women must endure. *wink*



I've made new goals and set new commitments for myself this year I really hope and intend to keep. Of the list in my head, these are a few things I've been thinking about:

1. I want to begin each day reading God's word (instead of when I randomly feel like it or once per week at church). I began again this morning before doing anything else and it felt great. Hubby sat in the living room with me as I read aloud and thanked me for our morning 'bible study'.

2. As a former Fitness Trainer, I know the value of exercise in one's life not only for appearance but overall heart health too. After an injury that set me back many months, a couple months ago I began getting back into the swing of things easing in with yoga classes. I really truly want to be in the best shape of my life by my next birthday which truth be told is sort of a milestone birthday. It's good to have a goal to shoot for, I have a plan of action and I'm really excited about it. For me it's not about weight loss, it's about taking this body and making it even more strong, flexible, fit and energized than it is today.

3. I have some writing goals. I've been working on three different books for a few years now. My mistake was trying to write all three at the same time. They keep getting put on the back burner while other projects pop up. I'm kind of ashamed to admit that I had a block of 4 months time where I could have focused solely on just finishing the first one and I did not. Again, it all comes back to sometimes listening to the wrong voice in my head instead of believing God's word for my life and also becoming distracted and being somewhat undisciplined at times. It feels like a bit of an uphill battle but the results will be SO worth the effort and I am excited about the process as much as the result.

Those are my top three. I have many others but as to not overwhelm myself I think it's best to stick to these and keep it simple, anything else is a bonus. ;)




Does anyone else make these kind of goals for themselves or at the very least think about what took place in the past year and how you might like to improve? I like to believe it's an ongoing process, I am constantly thinking about these things. I think one of a classy woman's best characteristics is her desire to endeavor to grow as a person and do things with excellence. Notice I did not say perfection? Doing the best that we can with the resources we have should be the goal.

Today it's raining in Florida but I can tell that in the distance the sun wants to peek through. Thankfully, hurricane Isaac didn't come too close to us and we only had to endure the rain so I'm daydreaming a little bit about what I would love to spend the day doing if it were sunny and I could go anywhere in the world. Here are a few beautiful images that highlight what a celebratory day would include if I could design it any way I wanted.....


An elegant outdoor garden lunch filled with ruffles, beautiful flowers, satin, pink & gold, sweet treats and savory snacks but most of all my very best girlfriends who I miss dearly that live back home in Toronto.




Until you've been to Santorini you cannot fathom how beautiful it is in person. Photos do not do it justice. This is by far one of my favorite places-a little village called Oia (pronounced EE-yuh) stole my heart. I would love to spend a whole month there but would settle for one full day of snapping photos, eating yummy Greek food, relaxing and just soaking up everything it has to offer again.



Paris is not only a dream destination for many, it is where my husband and I got engaged over 6 years ago. I adore the architecture, the simple yet delicious food, the elegance and beauty of the city. Knowing that we'd be doing a lot of walking on our trip to Paris, I packed mostly comfortable shoes, and mostly low-key casual attire since my hubby's a pretty relaxed kind of guy. My one regret is not getting to glam it up in Paris and get some photos of us all dolled up in one of our favorite cities with all of the stunning architecture as our backdrop. I'd love the change to do that for a day-just he and I.



I could spend a day at the beach anywhere, I love salt water, sand and sunshine. As a little girl we lived on the lake so I'm a water baby at heart. If I could choose where to spend a beach day it would be Fiji where we spent one week of our honeymoon. The water was pristine and  they have some of the best snorkel and scuba diving in the world. A hammock in the trees is a must!



Sweet Pink Lemonade- the perfect refreshing way to beat the heat of 
one's perfect sunshine-filled dreamy day. 






Since hubby is enrolled in a new set of school courses that begin today, we decided to do our celebrating yesterday instead of today. The rain washed out our outdoor plans for a relaxing day at the beach but instead  we relaxed at home headed out for a low key night of a yummy Italian dinner followed by a comedy movie at home-did I mention I love to laugh? We had a gorgeous backdrop of a street lined with stunning palm trees and white lights outside the restaurant but they all turned out pretty blurry since it was dark and rainy. The pic above was taken from my iPhone because we forgot to bring the camera. I'm thankful to have at least one picture that turned out to remember our evening even if it is a bit squinty. ;)





Even if it's not your birthday, I believe we all can begin EVERY day like it's a celebration-waking up with a smile, feeling happy and expectant as though good things are about to happen!

Happy Monday! XO





Photo Credits: (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Road to Success....




If this image looks familiar, it's because I posted it on Facebook yesterday and decided to share it here also since I realize some of you might prefer reading here. I try to limit posting the same content in both places to keep things interesting but thought someone might be blessed by the content.

In life, good is often the enemy of best. On the road to success, when you feel as though you are becoming sidetracked by entertaining certain jobs, opportunities, activities and relationships that don't truly represent your idea of success, be quick to keep on driving. Resist getting roped in by the allure of quick fixes, temporary gains or experiences that may set you back from your dreams for a year, a decade or even a lifetime!

I've been in this place before and while sometimes the parking spots are necessary for financial reasons, family reasons or a season of education to get to where you are headed, it's easy to get distracted by other things that steal our time and attention away from what matters to us most. These temporary place holders can turn into something more permanent and before we know it we feel further from our goals than ever before. 

Does anyone feel as though they've been parked temporarily while on the road to big dreams? I encourage you to  think about what might be keeping you there and why. The sooner you get back on the road, the sooner you'll achieve that which you desire most and there is no greater sense of accomplishment than that!


XO


Friday, August 17, 2012

Eliminating the Weeds in Your Life




I don't know about you but over the years I've had to let a few relationships die along the way to get to where I am today. While it wasn't easy in the moment, it was so necessary. If certain friends or family members aren't willing to love, support, encourage and uplift you or are just really negative and toxic, it's time to stop watering those relationships and spend time pouring into those who feed you. Sometimes it's a person that is extremely needy and just sucks the life out of you with their constant problems and often drama they bring upon themselves. Life is too short to be held back by those who aren't happy in their own life and take it out on others, looking for company in their misery.

Some will argue "but she's my sister" or "I've known her since kindergarten" and feel a sense of obligation.  While these things might be true, if you're not being treated right by the person in question of you don't feel happy, at ease or yourself around this person any longer, it might be time to have a talk. Many times in friendships and other relationships simply making a point of discussing something that is bothering you will remedy the problem. Other times, they might be too prideful to admit their wrongdoing to repair a relationship so it can continue. When you've been patient then taken it upon yourself to tell the other person how they are making you feel and there is no response, it may be time to move on. It doesn't mean you cannot ever be friends in the future, it just means that perhaps you both need a break. Maybe the other person will realize that they miss your friendship enough to work on themselves to repair what was once a beautiful and treasured relationship. Other times it may in fact be the best to move on and not look back.

It's definitely not always easy, but when you do this you'll feel a lightness as if a huge burden has been lifted off your shoulders. If you feel that and don't really feel a sense of the friendship missed, it's pretty clear that they weren't meant to be in your life any longer. It's liberating to live authentically, know what you stand for, what's important to you and to act accordingly, that you will not continue to put yourself in a negative environment that feels more like work than enjoyment.

As we prepare to enter a new season in just a few weeks, now might be a good time to look at your life and determine what's working, what and who bring you joy as well as those that do not and move in a direction that allows you to get the most out of your life so you won't become entangled by any weeds that exist. You deserve to be HAPPY! :)

Is there anyone right now that is a 'weed' in your life instead of a flower. Are there any flowers that aren't getting enough of your time because it's being spent watering the weeds?

Happy Weekend!


XO




*image credit

Monday, August 13, 2012

Manners Monday: Raising Polite Children



How was your weekend? It was a hot and rainy one in Florida! If you follow me on Facebook, you probably saw what I did yesterday and it's one of my favorite places to go as often as I can, especially when I want to stay cool!

While out and about this past week, I've encountered both well-mannered children and those that could use a refresher. It got me thinking....I haven't posted yet about manners for children. Many of you, my readers, are moms or will be very soon and I thought it was time to cover this topic. This will by no means be the only post I write on this topic, but I thought we should dive into the basics to get things rolling. While I'm not a mother yet myself, I was a hands-on second mom with a lot of responsibility to my 11-yrs-younger brother and learned a lot during the process including encouraging well-mannered behavior and sometimes disciplining him also and I had a few tips I wanted to share.




I love this quote above by Fred Astaire, isn't it so accurate? Society as a whole and what we deem to be important is continually changing. I'm finding that overall, a new culture is developing and shifting with a trend to a more casual form of expression and bad behavior. One thing is clear, the training of manners and the example has to be taught at home, parents cannot rely on the school system, a daycare or interaction with other children and adults alone to be their classroom. More important though than training a child to be well-mannered, is that the parents must be the example by first displaying these manners. Some days your children may test you beyond belief and zap the energy out of you but you must not give up! Letting things slide once or twice can lead to a pattern which can lead to trouble down the road. It is far easier to train a small child and set the ground work today when they are young than attempt to discipline them when they become tweens, teens or young adults who have a lot more personality and stubbornness.



Basic Manners for Children Under 6


1. Please, Thank You & You're Welcome- This may seem really basic, kind of a pre-requisite for kindergarten, no? I'm still amazed at the children that won't hesitate to say, "gimme that", "that's mine" or "I want...." with no please or thank you to be heard of. When I see how many adults do not use the basic please, thank you or you're welcome, it's not surprising that this generation's children are not speaking in such a way. Here in America, many adults and children reply with "uh huh" or "yup" when you thank them for something. This is not a proper or polite reply. Growing up where I did, I had never heard anyone say anything other than you're welcome and I think people are becoming lazy. These are the very basics every child should be using on a daily basis without parents having to constantly remind them.  By five or six years old this should become pretty automatic, parents should no longer need to prompt by saying, "Now what do we say, Ethan?"




2. Table Manners-It is important to encourage the use of eating utensils as soon as possible and of course when safe to do so. Whether it's scooping out yogurt, picking up veggies, etc., it's good to begin allowing toddlers to use a fork and spoon even if they are not using it properly. This will get them familiar with holding them and they'll begin watching you use yours so eating when they eat will help them learn. It's important to re-enforce that throwing food or putting food on another's plate or pushing it off of their own plate is not acceptable behavior. When they are around 4-5, this is a good age to have them understand that they must not get up from the table when they feel they would like to and instead understand that a family eats together, even if the family consists only of you-the parent- and them. It is polite to wait for others to finish. Keeping elbows off of the table can be introduced also. Some children lean on the table with both hands on their heads looking bored or sleepy when they are finished eating. This needs to be discouraged. Play a little game and see who can sit up straight the longest or who can keep their elbows off the table the longest-give them a gold star if that motivates them-whatever works in your home.

3. Tidying Up - It's very easy for parents to get into the habit of ALWAYS having to tidy up after their child whether it be in the living room, play room or their own bedroom. As early as possible, it's good to explain that toys get put away once pulled out. It is very important to have bins, baskets or totes that the child can  access at their height so that they can actually clean up. Using a picture on the front of the bin will help them along until they can read. As an Interior Designer and Home Stager I see the inside of many homes and while I don't judge other people for the way they live in their home, we're all entitled to live as we please, I have to admit it's always shocking when I see a teen or child's bedroom that looks like it has exploded. It shows me that the parents aren't enforcing keeping a clean room well enough and the children need to remember that they live in their parent's home so they must respect that while it is their space, the parents own it, pay for it and can decide how it should be cared for.

4. Sharing-Whether a child has other siblings they may need to share with or they are an only child who does not need to share much yet, sharing should always be encouraged. This is really another one of those important skills that is really best learned sooner than later. It's important at home, play dates, kindergarten and beyond. I think the best way to approach this is to explain to a child how you are sharing with them when you give them some of your ice cream cone for example. Speaking to as child like an adult is helpful and say, "I want you to have some of the ice cream too so we can both enjoy it. Isn't it yummy?" They will start to understand that sharing means someone else gets to have some of what they or another has. Sometimes you'll share and have some of their snack or crayons, etc. If they cry or react, remind them about the "ice cream" and how you shared and it's nice to let others enjoy what you have by letting them have some too.  It may not work every time, but it's good to begin creating the expectation with conversation. I'm sure you have your own tricks up your sleeve for this one!






5. Learning Not to Interrupt-Children love to be heard and sometimes this means that they want to tell you or ask you what they want exactly when and how they want. A common complaint is children who interrupt while the mother and father or two adults are talking. If they are sitting close enough, it's good to get them in the habit of having them lightly tap you on the arm or if further away, raise their hand when they want something. After all, raising their hand is what they will be learning in school and it teaches patience.  There are many adults that don't know how to wait their turn and interrupt when other adults speak so the sooner, the better for this one.

6. Eliminating the Word "EW"- When it comes to things a child deems gross or unpleasant, they are often vocal and use the word ew, ick or yuck to describe anything from food that looks or smells different to a scent or odor from another person or while in someone else's home. This can really offend others and it's good to have a child to hold their tongue when they see, hear, taste, touch or smell something that they're not a fan of. This is a tricky one but explaining how it hurts someone's feelings and makes them feel bad is a start. I believe this one is important because it teaches at a young age not to say out loud everything that you think, in other words learning to be discreet.




7. Responding to NO- I see children throw tantrums in stores all the time over one small word-no. As young toddlers they often use the world a lot to tell you what they don't want. In order to not give into a child's every whim, this expectation needs to be set as early as possible. No doesn't always mean never, it can sometimes mean not now, not today, not until your birthday, etc. Being clear of what the no means is step one. Encouraging and rewarding a patient and well-behaved child is a way to keep up good behavior. I also believe that teaching children the value of money and allowing them to do small chores and earn thier own money really helps cut back with all the wants. Giving them the opportunity to purchase their own items and knowing they must save up for it if they want it is one of the best things we can teach a child. Sometimes the 'no' does mean no forever. No, we are not getting a puppy, no you may not jump on that sofa (while furniture shopping), taking them aside to explain why not. Instead replace the no with a positive that they can have. No, you may not have those chips, but you can have a banana or some strawberries. No, you two may not run all over the store but you can chase each other in the backyard when we get home. Whatever changes a no to a yes for a child by giving other options changes that previous thought to something else more positive for the most part. It's a good place to start and also put an end to whining and fits.

Children need not feel like learning to become polite and well-mannered involves being in boot camp or is boring, it can be fun, but it's up to the parent to inject the fun as they might with a chore chart, etc., to keep a children interested and motivated.



Teaching children manners can begin at a very young age. Obviously some things will come in time as they can speak more clearly and learn a greater vocabulary, but body language is important too. Fortunately or unfortunately small children model adults so it is up to the adult in charge to be the role model. What does this mean? Not sighing when doing something we don't like. Not eye rolling at others or speaking ill of them when they are not around or under one's breath. Not yelling across the house to the other children or one's spouse-this is the foundation of respect. Always saying please, thank you and you're welcome when appropriate and addressing elders and others who are strangers as Miss, Ma'am or Sir or by their surname such as Mr. Green or Miss Gabriel. Being patient as the role model, not losing your temper and being kind to others are also important. Being the example is a full time job, I'm not going to sugar coat it, but it will be well worth your effort to raise children that become young ladies and little gentlemen that will set an example themselves.

Please note I'm not a childhood expert nor do I pretend to be. I also know that some children learn faster than others, some are more keen than others, some have limiting disabilities and every child's timeline for learning to be more polite (as with everything else they learn) will differ. I'd LOVE to hear from you moms!! Tell me, what timeline do you think is appropriate for children to learn the above mentioned basics? Feel free to add more of your own manners too, I'd like to hear them! :)

Happy Monday!

XO





Photo Credit for image # (1)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Manners Monday: Chewing Gum Etiquette




Two weekends ago, I was at a local church service enjoying hearing from a guest speaker who was visiting. He actually ran the Bible College my husband attended many years ago in California. While listening to the Pastor's awesome message, I kept hearing someone snap their from gum behind me, it had become quite distracting. I literally wrote the title for today's manners post in small letters on the back of my Sunday program so I'd remind myself to post about here later. (I actually got another post as the result of another woman's lack of manners at this same service if you can believe it), which I'll post here in the coming weeks. One thing is clear, people need to be re-taught manners and etiquette. While I sometimes hesitate on writing certain posts as to not offend you my reader, these messages need to get out because I just know someone will benefit from them which helps contribute to a better quality of society (at least that is my goal).

Aside from gum snappers and loud chewers, there are certain times when chewing gum is appropriate and times when it is not, so I wanted to address these aspects also. Let me just say though, if you're ever in doubt as to whether it might be okay, err on the side of caution and avoid it.


When Not to Chew Gum

1. At Work-Avoid chewing gum during any professional meetings, during church, at job interviews and in small classes or in any class where your participation is required or you'll be speaking. (I think it's a good thing that many schools don't allow it). You want to eliminate gum chewing in any working environment where you're in constant contact with customers or clients (this is common with sales jobs) and also advised for therapists, professors, teachers, counselors, professional speakers, instructors, trainers, singers, performers and of course clergy. Even Doctors, Dentists or Lawyers will have a more polished and professional appearance without the chomping of gum.

2. At Home-As it pertains to close family and friends, I think it is disrespectful particularly with the elderly to be chewing gum while carrying on a conversation. Many times they are hard of hearing, and are forced to read lips a little bit and this makes things challenging for them. Apart from this aspect, many older folks grew up in a time when gum chewing was considered to be tacky and you just didn't do it. Around your friends and closest of family, I think it is okay to chew gum with a closed mouth where thew chewing is quiet and almost not noticeable.

If you're going to chew gum, the best time is in your car, at home, while reading or anytime you're not carrying on a conversation with others on the phone or in person.

Chewing Quietly & Respectfully

As you'll note from my personal example at church, it only became an issue for those surrounding her including myself when it got noisy and became a distraction. Had the gum chewing been free of snapping and her mouth was closed while chewing, I probably wouldn't have even noticed.

If one cannot chew gum without needing to open their mouth and appear to be chewing cud like a horse, it's probably best to avoid gum altogether. If the gum chewing is for fresher breath, a mint might be a better option.

If you're one who enjoys snapping, popping and blowing bubbles from gum, the only time you should be doing this is at home, by yourself when you're not going to irritate others. In fact, I would strongly discourage such behavior as it would be easy to carry out the same popping in public forgetting where you are, as with most things in life what we do in private usually become public at some point in time.





Disposing of Chewed Gum

Nobody enjoys getting a wad of gum stuck to the bottom of their shoe. There is a proper way of disposing chewing gum that doesn't include sticking it under a desk or chair, rolling it in a ball and tossing it into a potted plant (I've seen people do this before) or sticking it to the wall of a building. Gum is sticky and especially when it gets hot, it becomes a gooey mess.

The most clean and elegant way of disposing of gum is to carry a small pack of tissues with you and use the tissue to quickly remove the gum from your mouth, squeeze the tissue and toss it into a garbage bin (not a recycling bin, not a smoker's ashtray-only a garbage. This way your hands stay clean and is is far more discreet. A lady never spits gum or anything else for that matter out of her mouth, that is an absolute no-no.

Chewing Gum & Health

Gum chewing is personal-some enjoy it and some don't. I've never known my husband to chew gum-he just doesn't like it. He's a mint kind of guy.

Let me just say that I used to chew a lot of gum. I've never been a smoker but for some reason since high school, I loved the fresh burst of mint-it seemed to perk me up midday and it seemed to somehow occupy my mouth while in a boring class. It just kind of became a habit I suppose. Today I almost never chew it. Two years ago, I went to the dentist because I had jaw pain and it felt as though my jaw wasn't aligned properly for some reason and it had started clicking. He enlightened me by letting me know that by constantly chewing (as in the case of gum) that you actually over-exercise your jaw. Like a rubber band, the constant stretching will eventually wear out those muscles and hearing clicking or grinding in the jaw would not be uncommon. That just about freaked me out. After that day, I stopped because I'm too young to have jaw problems. I'm now into mints. I'm pretty funny when it comes to carrying around floss and my toothbrush to work (I have a flossing obsession-I just really enjoy it) and in my bag when out and about so I really don't need gum for that aspect.



On a side note, the other negative health issue I found with gum is that 99.9% of all gum contains aspartame, acesulfame-potassium and other chemicals to artificially sweeten it which have been proven to cause health problems like tumors-eek! Yet, I see so many small children chewing it which is really scary. For that reason, the gum I did chew for the past few years is called Spry. Although I might sound like an ad for them here, I do not get paid by Spry to share their products, I just happen to think they have a healthy and quality alternative to regular gum after trying many other natural brands. They use natural ingredients and sweeten with sugar-free xylitol which comes from the birch tree and naturally sweetens without adding sugar and actually cleans your teeth and prevents cavities.  I purchased mine from Whole Foods or online and it's not like chewing on a rock as with some other natural gum. They also sell mints and toothpaste.

What are your thoughts on gum chewing as it pertains to manners? Are there any points I missed that you'd like to add?

Have a great week!

XO




*Photo credits: (1), (2)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

July Sponsor Spotlight!




Happy Sunday Everyone! I hope you had a fabulous weekend. Mine has been pretty mellow and involved planting some flowers, eating healthy treats and watching the Olympics. While we're already almost a week into August, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank my wonderful sponsors!

Since sponsors can purchase ad space any day of the month, you'll notice many are still running into the month of August since their ad space began after the middle of the month while others were showing in my sidebar until the end of July. A few have some great discounts for you as well which you can find below!




                                           Shabby Apple


I know that many of you are fond of the Shabby Apple line. If you haven't heard of them, they have such a lovely collection of not only dresses but skirts, tops, swimwear, jewelry and they even have dresses for young girls and maternity wear too! They are currently running a site-wide sale offering 20% off everything! Use code: SUMMER20



Layla Grayce



Have you ever visited Layla Grayce? I'm a huge fan of their online shop! If you haven't seen their goods before, they offer gorgeous items for women, babies, children and the home. Everything from lighting and jewelry to cribs and monogrammed dishware. This shop is filled with everything girly and delightful.




Stella & Dot



If you haven't stumbled upon Stella & Dot yet, you simply must pop by their online jewelry shop! They were a favorite of Emily Maynard while on The Bachelorette. Their pieces are affordable and you're going to love them! Looking for a side business to make some extra money in this economy? Did you know that Stella & Dot offers 3 different starter kit options to launch your very own fashion business by becoming a Stylist? You'll get hundreds of dollars worth of gorgeous jewelry pieces for a fraction of the cost! You can run your own business from home-perfect for stay-at-home moms, working women who are looking for extra income or those who want to expand their accessory wardrobe!




Lot 26 Studios


Lot 26 Studios features a wide range of wall art which includes family rules signs, city signs, wall decals, canvas wall art, memo boards and more! Customize any space with inexpensive and unique art that suits your style! Perfect for dorm rooms or temporary spaces such as apartments, these works of art add a chic look and a lot of personality to any room and are easily removable. One of my personal favorites is this chalkboard wall decal.



Paper Culture


While Paper Culture has a vast array of modern, fun stationery, what sets them apart is their offering of bamboo wall art. Create gorgeous customized pieces that proudly display a family monogram, your favorite wedding photo or go for something more playful like their counting board or the alphabet to add some whimsy to a young one's bedroom. Use code: ECOMOD to get $5 off your first order!



All of My Love for All of My Days


Danette Dillon is the writer behind her personal blog titled 'All My Love for All My Days', she is a mother, wife and lover of Christ. She is passionate about helping hurting people, sharing her own journey through life and loving others. Who doesn't need more love in their life? Covering a multitude of topics, her light-hearted blog will leave your feeling happy and inspired.



The Intentional Minimalist


I just love the focus of Kristin's blog, The Intentional Minimalist. She features farm-to-table recipes to encourage cooking with local, seasonal and fresh produce. While her blog primarily focuses on recipes created from her local Community Supporter Agriculture (CSA) she also writes about minimalist natural skin care, homemade cleaning supplies, keeping a streamlined minimalist kitchen and living in the raw. Visit her site to find out how you can incorporate more simple, delicious and beautiful meals into your life.





Once again a huge thank you to all of July's sponsors! Thank you to those who have already renewed your ad space for August and others who have purchased multi-month ad spots. I'm so glad to have you on board! :)

Are you interested in becoming a sponsor of this blog and having your ad proudly displayed in our sidebar? For the month of August all Short & Sweet small ads are 50% off using code: BDAY50 in celebration of my birthday month. Click {here} for all of the details. It's just $10 and my way of saying Happy Summer!  :)

XO


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