Monday, February 8, 2016

Best Books on Manners & Etiquette

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Today's post is one that is long overdue. One question that I've received again and again over the years in the comments, via e-mail and on social media is what particular books I recommend on the topic of Manners and Etiquette. I thought it was about time that I put together a post to share some of my favorite resources for you, and of course I can now easily direct those with future inquiries here too!

Over the years I've read several books on the topic of good manners, everyday etiquette, becoming a lady as well as civility in general and these are the books that I personally recommend to add to your library to brush up on proper etiquette as you endeavor to become even more polished, well mannered and ultimately become a more classy woman.

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As a mother to a darling little girl who is nearly 2.5 years old, teaching polite behavior has been something I've been working on with her for well over a year. Some may think that is too soon to teach a toddler, however children truly are little sponges just waiting to learn and soak up new knowledge. I've witnessed first-hand how easy it is to train my daughter and everywhere we go, people frequently comment on how well behaved she is and also how well mannered she is for her age. Don't get me wrong, she has her little meltdown moments when she's overtired, but in general, I couldn't be more pleased with her behavior. I truly believe it begins at home and being that role model for our children daily is the most important factor.

Just after we celebrated Lily's 1st birthday, we were staying at a local resort in Vero Beach that had these adorable good manners flash cards  on manners and etiquette which I shared at that time here via Instagram. I actually began using them first to teach her colors too as the cards come in 6 different border colors and we'd stack them in piles and she'd ask me: "Mama, what's this?" after looking at the illustration of the piggy on the card, I'd explain to her what we do and say, as well as what we don't and would use further examples of my own to make it relatable. To this day, she still loves playing with her piggy cards and I'm proud to say that she has been saying: "Please, thank you, excuse me, you're welcome, may I have?, can I have? and will you please" for many months now with consistency, she also knows exactly when and how to use them which is a dream for this mama! I'm overjoyed to watch my sweet girl transforming into a lovely little lady. Over the past six months, I've been explaining to my daughter how to respect the environment whether it's being gentle while touching a flower or the difference between which items go into the trash and which can be recycled, and also not to be wasteful, so I was delighted to see the same company created a similar adorable deck of Respect the Earth flash cards, which is just another way to show respect and be mindful of our environment, which I'll be ordering for her next!

Above, I'm sharing another set of books and resources this time specifically geared towards kids of all ages including teens, in case any of you mamas are looking to reinforce good manners in your own home.


Let's Socialize!

I'd love to know, what are your favorite books on the topics of etiquette and manners?

Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, February 5, 2016

Pink Plaid x Denim

Plaid Shirt: sold out (similar in pink here, here + here)  |  Jacket: Gap old (similar here + here)
Skinny Jeans: mine are really faded but these are the exact dark wash new (+ another wash)
Booties: Sole Society sold out (similar here, here + here)  |  Earrings: Majorica |  Bracelet: Nina
Sunglasses: old (similar here + here)  |  Handbag: Calvin Klein old  (similar herehere + here)
Belt: Loft old (other hot pink styles here + here)  |  Lip gloss: Honeybee Gardens (innocence)


I wore this outfit last week on the most beautiful January day. It started off fairly chilly but the sun warmed things up quickly by noon. It was one of those days where you look for excuses to spend time outside even when you're supposed to be working inside. ;)

I don't typically wear a lot of plaid, and while I maintain a classic wardrobe and look most days, sometimes I like to experiment outside of my norm. Case in point: this pink plaid flannel shirt. I received a gift card for Christmas and decided to go for something different and because it was super soft and felt like pajamas, well I just couldn't resist! Since it was a casual day where I was running errands all over town coupled with working on proposals for clients at home, comfort and a punch of girly color was my goal for this look.

These are one of my older more worn-in pairs of skinny jeans (they started off as this dark rinse a few years ago and Loft still offers this modern skinny style), I paired them with a pink leopard print skinny belt in a similar hue for some pattern play, a pearl bracelet and pearl stud earrings to add a touch more femininity along with booties in a lighter tone. I added my sand color leather Calvin Klein handbag that I've owned for several years and a black corduroy jacket for the early morning temps, along with a swipe of pink lip gloss and some curls which completed the look.


Let's Socialize!

Stay tuned for the next post, I recently bought the cutest skirt that I can't wait to wear! As always, if you liked today's post, please share it with a friend or pin it for future reference to Pinterest.

Thank you for reading and Happy Weekend!


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Save vs. Splurge: Classic Handbags

Save (top left):   1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6

Splurge (top right):  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6

See more similar styles just above, they're all under $100! 


Since I have an outfit post scheduled for this Friday, I'm sharing another Save vs. Splurge edition today instead, this time focusing on handbags. As you all know, I always preach the importance of investing in quality items for the long haul, especially with handbags and shoes in classic shapes, colors and styles. There are times though where we just want something in the moment and know that it will take a lot of time to save up for the more expensive designer version. If you're just starting out in the workforce, have a minimal budget or aren't looking to splurge on a new handbag, but really need one, I'm showing you where you can get the look for less, more specifically under $100, with many under $50!

Over the past year, I've developed a love for Chloe handbags, so I've featured 3 different styles here today. They're always elegant and modern, perfect for a classy woman. They come in a variety of colors, so if you like the shape but the color I've shown isn't your favorite, click through and see the many others colors available! I'm so glad I was able to find such close matches, I mean that Drew crossbody bag dupe looks nearly identical and it's great to see so many color options! I always get so excited when I can find a replica and love that this one is leather too! You all know by now that I have a thing for clutches, so I had to include a couple favorites in the mix.

You may have seen me post this image below on Instagram or Facebook, I was pretty excited when I saw this Givenchy duplicate and I know it won't last once everyone else discovers it too. ;) I wanted to point out how the less expensive bag has a beautiful zipper detail and quilting on the front which I love! The back looks nearly identical to the designer version, it can be worn either side front/back and in the crook of your arm, on your shoulder or cross-body via the strap (I do that a lot when I'm in an airport or carrying Lily). Feel free to share this image below of pin it to Pinterest for future reference but this bag won't last long!


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Which was your favorite of the "save" handbags?

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, February 1, 2016

Manners Monday: Owning Up to Your Mistakes

One characteristic of every classy woman is her ability to admit when she is wrong and apologize to another if she has hurt them, offended them (once she's aware of it), ignored them, upset them, etc. Being able to own up to our mistakes and say sorry when know we are in the wrong is not only good manners but it builds trust and confidence in others and allows them to feel more comfortable around us and just creates a more pleasant environment. An apology never takes away what had been said and done but it's necessary to let the other person know that you care and respect them enough to address it and you're willing to make it right. You can read my other Manners Monday post on "How to Apologize".

There will be many times in life when we knowingly or unknowingly do something to make someone else feel uncomfortable. The key is to avoid letting it linger and address it head on. I have a few people in my life who are not good at apologizing, even when they are wrong or it has been expressed that something they have done or said was upsetting or rude, they continue to carry on, show little empathy or concern for their action and in some cases, move forward with zero regard and do as they please. When those people are acquaintances or friends, I don't allow that in my life, however when we're dealing with family, that's not always an option. That my friends is a lack of civility, it is self-righteousness and pride at its core and it's not pretty.

This afternoon (it's Sunday night as I write this post) Lily and I headed out for a day at a local attraction to see fish and other sea life as a fun mommy-daughter date. Since Whole Foods was around the corner, I planned to swing by on the way home to pick up some essentials for the week ahead. Let me start by saying that I have to admit, I'm probably the worst person to bump into in a grocery store (or maybe any store) and catch off guard, because I'm an 'in-the-zone' kind of person when I run errands. It's awful really, I sometimes don't even see people I know when they are in the same area and when they say hello, I'm caught off guard and then feel as though maybe they thought I was just ignoring them which is never the case, but that's another story for another day....

So, I had just walked into Whole Foods literally ready to fall asleep while walking after just 4 hours sleep, and Lily was deciding on the type of cart she wanted  to sit in (she loves the ones that are little Police cars she can drive or race cars with steering wheels). Since I had several items to pick up instead of a quick trip, I told her we were going to sit in a regular cart today as she likes to get in and out of the other type.  I didn't want to chase her all over the store which always takes twice as long, so I proceeded to put the cart cover on and get her in. Of course that didn't go over well after she saw the other ones, all bright and colorful, and she began having a bit of a meltdown. (As a side note, my husband is traveling for the second time this month out of the country and she is extra clingy and testing me lately in his absence which hasn't helped and my patience was wearing a bit thin at that point.) I tried to explain to her why I was putting her in that particular cart and was also trying to get her feet in as she attempted to stand up and escape. As this was all taking place in the cart area near the exit, I hear "Hi Lily!" and turn my head to see who was there that we knew. It was the mother of a little boy in Lily's class who helps her teacher out by managing various events/e-mails for volunteers, asking for donations for the school and various other events whom I've met before. I vaguely recognized her at first out of school then she said, "I'm x's mom". I smiled and said "I know, hi" because we had just exchanged e-mails a few days prior recently and I sometimes see her while dropping Lily off in the mornings when she is standing outside her older child's classroom down the hall. She reminded me about some items I had volunteered to drop off for the teacher's upcoming birthday and had mentioned who to drop them off with as the event is coming up in 10 days (which she had already e-mailed me about and I had responded to) so I didn't feel the reminder was necessary but I'm guessing she was just trying to make small talk. in any event, I wasn't as kind or polite as I could have been and wanted to be with her in that moment and realized it just as we finished our quick conversation and walked away.

All I could think of in that moment (about myself) was "well, that was rude!".  I mean, how about a simple "Hi 'x', it's nice to see you"? Geez. Here I write a blog on etiquette, manners and being a classy woman and the most basic of exchanges with another human being was not at all how I had intended and I left feeling bad about how things went down. Now, in her mind, she may not have even thought twice about it (perhaps I'm being hard on myself as I often am), although somehow I'm going to guess that she probably thought I was a bit curt with her, because well, I was. I've said it before in other posts and I'll say it again, I am not always the most patient person or the most present in the moment. It's something I really struggle with at times. Every year it seems that at some point I make it a goal to be more patient but it's something I have to really work at and pay attention to. For my daughter's sake though, I really do try to make an effort because she's at an age where she can read body language and tone of voice just beyond words from everyone around her. Anyway, as I was driving home from the store I promised myself once Lily was down for the night, the first thing I would do is sit down and e-mail her classmate's mom to tell her that I was sorry and why, so I did.

In marriage/intimate relationships, friendships, parent-child dynamics, with neighbors and co-workers (and really any type of relationship), it's so important to admit when you've messed up as resentment can grow over time. I grew up with a parent who often couldn't admit when they were wrong, almost always looking for a reason to justify their actions and watched how it drove my other parent away. I promised myself that I wouldn't emulate their behavior and do life that way. To this day, this person still operates in that same manner, and it hasn't served them well. When we wrong someone, the only way to make it right is to be honest, be real, and just say "I'm sorry" being specific about why you are apologizing and how you intend to make it right being mindful to apologize without excuses. It's always appropriate to ask for forgiveness also, showing you are invested in the relationship and truly do care to do what's right.

I want to encourage you today that no matter what point you're at on your journey to becoming your best self as a more classy woman, you're bound to screw up because none of us are perfect and we're not always going to handle every situation perfectly, and we'll sometimes leave a scenario feeling crummy and as though we wish we could have a do-over. Life does hand us a second chance though, it's called an apology. A nice side effect is that oftentimes, these awkward moments can actually help bring us closer to another person in the process, when handled correctly.

As much as I feel vulnerable in sharing my missteps, I personally find that I relate most to others who are transparent, keep it real and aren't afraid to admit that they're human and they made a mistake. During the 7 years that I've been blogging, I've always tried to focus on sharing with you the best approaches to handling a situation, the most correct/polite way to address someone or a particular scenario, how to choose the right fork at the dinner table, however I haven't spent a lot of time sharing my personal blunders, because it's embarrassing given the topic that I write on. However, I want women to know that they don't need to be perfect to be a more elegant, polished, classy woman. Sometimes that perfectionist mentality can really hold us back from reaching our greatest potential, feeling as though we can't make any errors. It's something I've struggled with my whole life since childhood. The truth is, I find I learn far more from my challenges and mistakes in life, than my successes. So, in an effort to be more relatable, I'll try to share more of my real life day-to-day struggles within my posts as I continue to commit to personal growth to become the best version of myself, because who doesn't like a "hey, me too, I've been there!" kind of post where you know you're not alone.

I'd love to know, was there ever a time you found it difficult to admit you were wrong? Was there a time you were pleasantly surprised by the way someone handled themselves after they had done wrong by you?

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, January 25, 2016

Classy Fashion Favorites for January

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend! Lily has been feverish and not feeling well as it's going around and it seems her entire class is sick, so I've been getting my snuggle time in with her as she's usually too on-the-go to cuddle.

As I do every month, I've put together my favorite pieces for this wintry time of year although I'll admit, I've craving the colors of spring evidenced by a few bold pieces I've included. Even though I live in the sunshine state, we still get our fair share of 'cold' weather and rain during the winter months. I love wearing cozy sweaters, layering up and finishing off my outfits with a soft scarf. Oh, and boots have been mandatory almost every day for the past few weeks! Winter with all of its layers always feels a bit more formal and polished which I really like, so many of the pieces I chose reflect that but I also love a relaxed feel too so I made sure to include those as well.

Here are a few that I'm looking to add to my own wardrobe...The blue suede lace up flats shown above are one of my wish list items right now, they come in several different colors and are handmade in Italy in small batches (they also make a black leather version). I've had my eye on these gorgeous Tory Burch burgundy embellished pumps for months, and now they're half off! I own several blazers but a classic red is the next color that I'd love to add, this one is marked down by the way! The shape of this neutral handbag is so unique-perfect for year round! A few pieces of statement jewelry like these brooch floral earrings (50% off!) are a must. I'll admit this stunning bell-sleeve black lace top is completely out of my budget but a girl can dream, right? I'm hoping to find a similar look for less. As much as I love investing in quality handbags, I've always been drawn to the shape and simplicity of a great clutch day or night and this black faux croc version with gold hardware + strap is so pretty and oh so affordable too at under $50! Neutrals are essential to a well stocked wardrobe and this cowl neck sweater dress is perfect day or night worn with pumps or over-the-knee boots, it's a cozy addition to any closet.

In case you missed any previous recent posts where I've shared the best end-of-season and winter sales/clearances taking place, I've rounded them up for you again below. There are some seriously amazing deals to be had right now. I've been stocking up over the past few weeks and taking advantage of the sales.

  • ANN TAYLOR: 50% OFF entire purchase w/code: PRETTY50 
  • ASOS: Final clearance up to 70% OFF, new styles just added.
  • BANANA REPUBLIC: Extra 50% OFF sale + up to 40% off new 2016 select styles
  • J.CREW: Extra 40-60% OFF final sale styles w/code: SHOPNOW
  • LOFT: 40% OFF new arrivals + 60% OFF all sale styles.
  • LORD & TAYLOR: Up to 75% OFF all clearance w/code: FINAL
  • MACY'S: Extra 25-40% OFF clearance. Total savings of 40-85% off select items.
  • NEIMAN MARCUS: Up to 75% OFF when taking add'l 20% off already reduced items.
  • NET-A-PORTER: Extra 20% OFF final clearance items labeled 'sale must have'.
  • NEW YORK & CO: Everything on sale up to 50% OFF including new arrivals.
  • TORY BURCH: Up to 60% OFF lots of sale styles of clothing, shoes, boots + accessories!
  • TOMMY HILFIGER: Extra 50% OFF all sale items w/code: EOS50


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What pieces are you living in for winter?

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