Monday, April 23, 2012

Manners Monday: Elevator Etiquette

While spending quite a bit of time riding elevators recently during this last cruise, I realized that what might seem common courtesy to most, is not, as many did not use proper elevator etiquette on our ship. Even the Comedian aboard our ship incorporated this lack of manners in his routine by informing everyone that it is polite to let everyone off first before attempting to enter an elevator. 

Upon getting to the Ft. Lauderdale airport to grab a rental car and head home, we were greeting by a woman who was trying to force her bags into the elevator we were in without even taking into account the fact that we were trying to get off on her floor. Whether in an office building, airport, residential elevator, or hotel, I've personally experienced this lack of manners numerous times so I got to thinking it might be time to make this the next Manners Monday post.

How to Ride a Lift: Proper Elevator Etiquette

1. How to Enter an Elevator-While waiting to board, stand away from the door. Under no circumstances should you enter unless you are sure no one is getting off on your floor. If someone needs to get off, allow them the space to do so before attempting to board. The people exiting the elevator ALWAYS have the right-of-way.

In general those standing closest to the door should be allowed to board first. Gentlemen should allow ladies to board first if it is practical. Determine if there is enough room for you and your buffer space before entering, each person should have double their size for personal space.

During busy times, you may have to board a car that is crowded. Wait for others to invite you in either verbally or by making room for you, don't insist on entering a crowded car that makes everyone uncomfortable. If you are with others, you may have to wait for another car or separate so you can all reach the destination floor in a timely manner.

2. Where to Stand Inside the ElevatorAlways stand as close to a wall as possible. Consider your destination stop and stand towards the back if you are going to a high floor. If you will be getting off shortly, stand toward the front. Always be sure to face the elevator doors, it's poor etiquette to have your back facing the elevator door and essentially staring a stranger in the face, that invades someone's private space. Leave ample space between yourself and other passenger and do not make eye contact.

If you end up standing near the buttons, be aware that you may become responsible for pressing the floor buttons for others. Be sure to offer to press the buttons for those entering the elevator after you. This protocol alleviates people trying to reach across others and makes it easy for those who cannot reach it. Regardless of your location, if you are asked by another to press a button, it is proper to follow that request or inform the person standing closest if it isn't you. 

3. Do's & Don'ts Inside an Elevator

Do not keep others waiting by holding the door for someone that you are waiting upon. In an empty elevator it is considered polite to hold the doors for someone that is running toward the car.

If you are using an elevator while under the weather, consider waiting for an empty elevator car. Germs can be transferred very easily in close quarters so if you have to cough or sneeze, keep your mouth covered and refrain from touching the buttons if at all possible. 
It is NEVER acceptable to smoke in an elevator.
If you board an elevator with your significant other,  do not engage in a public display of affection while there are other passengers present, hand-holding is appropriate. Intimate relations in an empty elevator are not at all appropriate. Nobody will want to see what you two were up to when the doors open. Never use the emergency stop button for the purpose of getting intimate, save it for the bedroom.
Conversations in elevators are generally discouraged. However, if you began a conversation before getting into the elevator, especially with a colleague or someone getting off on a floor different from your destination, be sure to lower your voice and finish it as quickly as you can. Those who follow cell phone etiquette know that mobile phone conversations are a no-no, end them before you get into an elevator where you're not likely to maintain reception anyhow.
While striking up conversations with strangers in an elevator is not proper protocol, it is acceptable and a nice gesture to say "good morning" or "hello" upon entering out of politeness, but it is by no means necessary.
If you need to take  luggage onto an elevator, wait for an empty car if possible. If the car you enter is occupied, before entering make sure there is enough room for both you and your bags without violating others' personal space. Try to remain close to the doors with baggage to eliminate inconveniencing others by having them shift for your sake.
4. Riding in an Elevator with Children

Keep children close to you at all times and don't allow them to move or touch other passengers. If you have a baby with a "full" diaper that you can smell, or a small child that is throwing a tantrum, taking a stroller up the stairs is not an option so it's best to do everyone a favor and wait for the next empty car.

It's best not to encourage small children to press the numbered panel for your own floor while other riders are present. If they press more than your number, you'll be stopping at every floor and the other passengers will not be impressed.

5. How to Exit an Elevator

Gentlemen should allow ladies to exit the elevator first unless they are blocking the doors on a crowded elevator.

In a crowded elevator, when you are not close to the door, politely announce to others that the it's your floor and excuse yourself while making your way through the crowd, do not push.

If you are standing in the middle of the exit and the passenger who needs to exit, move out of the way as best as you can. It may sometimes be necessary to actually exit the elevator, allow them to leave and then re-enter. You might want to let others in the car know you'll be getting back on so the door doesn't close without you.

What's the most common lack of etiquette you've encountered while riding an elevator?

*images: (1) (2)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

What I Learned About Myself During Our Vacation

Hello Friends! I'm back and am so looking forward to connecting with you again! As I mentioned in my last post, it was time for the hubbs and I to get some R&R time away, especially after he's been busy writing his thesis so he can graduate and I recently left the company I was working for and the crazy schedule that eventually came with it- 7:30pm-3:30am shifts for the past 2 months had taken a toll on me. So, we packed our bags and drove down to Ft. Lauderdale where our cruise ship to the Caribbean awaited us for the next 10 days. We visited Antigua, St.Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and the cruise ship's private island in The Bahamas which you might have already seen a pic of hubby and I in if you follow The Classy Woman Facebook page.

One of the perks to being married to a Professional Speaker is that he gets invited to many different cities, countries and venues and I get to tag along. As an Author of a variety of topics, he gets asked all the time to speak on cruise ships as their guest Lecturer on an array of topics during the at sea days. While the cruises aren't entirely free it makes seeing new destinations extremely affordable and living in Florida is a huge plus because we have so many ports to depart from. Airfare isn't necessary which makes stuffing my suitcases that much easier since I don't have to worry about weight restrictions for my many pairs of shoes in their respective boxes-yes I'm particular like that. ;) I can do many things well but packing light isn't one of them...yet.

While relaxation and fun was the goal, I had not anticipated that by the end of the trip I would have so many new lessons learned, but I did. Although not always easy to share weaknesses, since I value personal growth and being transparent with others and because I know most people can learn a lot through others' experiences/lessons, I thought I'd share them with you, maybe they'll help you to evaluate your own life also. Here we go! Prepare yourself for a L-O-N-G post...this is what I learned about myself during our 10 days away.

Lessons Learned:

1. What you Want isn't Always What You Need- The very first cruise that hubby worked on, I had anticipated the worst for our accommodations (after all, he was working on the ship) so I set my expectations pretty low so that I wouldn't be disappointed. To my surprise and delight, that first glorious cruise we were set up with a sweet ocean view cabin-it was an even bigger room than on previous ships that we had had a balcony-it was awesome. The next one I set my expectations low again especially since we were cruising at such a busy time-Christmas & New Year's, and we were in fact provided with an inside cabin which simply means it's the smallest cabin (or so I thought) and it does not have a window or balcony. It was a little weird not getting to see the sun rise/set and see our arrival into a new port but heck, we were at sea for 14 days so we pushed the two individual beds together and made a queen size bed for ourselves. ;)

For some reason, even though it was a cruise during Easter, I somehow felt like we might have a nice sized cabin waiting for us. However, when they handed us two cruise cards each upon arrival of this ship, I just knew things were going to be different this time around as I read though our paperwork. We found our room and as I turned the handle and peered inside my heart sank when I saw it was a crew cabin with....wait for it......bunk beds! LOL. It was the tiniest cabin we had ever stayed in and with both of us not ones to pack lightly I had wondered where we were going to store all of our stuff and not go crazy over the next 10 days, especially with no window. I moved my bags into a corner out of the way and decided to leave the cabin, partly to give my hubbs a chance to unpack some of his stuff alone and give him some space and also give me space to get over my immediate feelings of disappointment. I headed to the other decks to check out the pool and spa only to learn that the discounts we previously received on other ships for shopping, spa, and fancy drinks didn't apply on this ship. For a brief moment I felt that disappointed and then suddenly remembered something my dad used to tell me as a young girl. While he always promoted dreaming big, he'd often say, "If you don't set your expectations so high, you will be less likely to get disappointed". And how true it was in this case. As I walked around the ship I told myself to snap out of my funky feeling, after all our room was just for sleeping hours and showering, we were blessed to have such an opportunity. There are bigger problems in life to contend with then one's stateroom!

I realized that in ways, I had become a bit....dare I say...spoiled with having such a fab room out of the gates a few cruises back. It's hard to go backwards sometimes when you've experienced something greater. I do realize that some people will never go on a cruise or a vacation at all in their lifetime, I had much to celebrate and forced myself to be grateful for everything that we did have-10 days together away from home, a cabin in a quiet area away from the elevators, great meals that I didn't have to prepare, 5 new destinations we hadn't been to before (we were in St. Thomas on a previous cruise), sunshine, beautiful beaches and hubby's opportunity to expand his growing roster of cruise lines.

It turned out that our lack of space actually brought us closer together as we laughed, made jokes about our bunk beds and other bits of our circumstances during the trip. We hadn't laughed that much on any other cruise. The space for our stuff? Turns out that the Officer's cabin we stayed in had a lot of storage space, just as much as the other rooms with under-bunk storage. Even still, Most of my items that don't wrinkle easily like jeans stayed in my suitcase during the trip making packing to go home a breeze! Sometimes the circumstances we want to fight, don't feel we deserve or don't understand make us better, helping us to become more grateful for previous wonderful opportunities or circumstances.

2. Don't be Afraid of Looking Silly- Looking forward to the beaches of our first destination in Antigua, I spent more time in the water than I should have. The glass-like water was so stunning that I enjoyed 3 hours straight in it followed by lunch. After re-applying sunblock many times, I thought I had myself covered but the nasty sunburn that appeared later that day revealed otherwise. My shoulders, face, neck, back and chest looked like a lobster and boy did that make sleeping unbearable for the upcoming days-bunk beds actually proved to be helpful for us on this particular trip! Since we didn't pre-purchase excursions this time as we normally do, we decided to play it by ear. Sadly, I couldn't do much that involved being in the sun. Mostly I stayed covered up in the shade with a big floppy hat and halter dresses as to not put pressure on my red, hot shoulders followed by a long sleeved linen shirt over top and zinc sunblock everywhere else. I looked a bit silly to be honest but the health of my skin was more important than fashion.

When we hit our last destination, my skin was healing and although peeling, was looking much better. I was not going to miss the snorkel opportunity in Bahamas as I sat out of other possible snorkel adventures due to my intense burn. There I was with my 3/4 length sleeve bathing suit cover-up on, a mask and snorkel over top of my white-ish face covered with zinc oxide sunblock, hair in a bun messed up by putting on my mask and trying to navigate my way into what I learned from hubby who was already in the water, was a beach shore filled with rocks. As I forewarned another couple about the rocks which were hard to see, the guy who responded kind of looked at me with a smirk looking at my getup. I was there to see fish, and fish I was going to see!  As I entered the water and swam over the rocks hubby scooped me up and went in for a kiss and joked "only a face a husband could love" as we tried to kiss with his hat brim and my snorkel mask in the way- we were laughing hysterically, a fine looking pair that day! Thankfully all of the prep work paid off, there were lots of beautiful fish, huge sea fans and coral to be seen and I don't regret looking silly for one moment. We all want to look our best and present our best self, but sometimes it just doesn't work out that way. The perfect situation is over-rated, being silly is what creates funny stories and leaves lasting memories.

3. I've Become a More Patient Person- Sharing a tiny cabin, and an even smaller bathroom (when we don't share one at home), and trying to get into the same closet as we got dressed for dinner was tricky. We usually did things in shifts. He'd work out at the gym while I got ready since he always gets ready at warp speed. I would walk around the shops before we ate or read a book in one of the lounges. Perhaps it was the vacation atmosphere, but I'd like to think I've made some progress, patience has been an area that I've been working on for a while.

As hubby and I have discussed having children in the next couple years, I've been praying for a while that God would help me to become a more patient woman so I can be the best possible wife and eventually mother also. It helps that I have a mostly patient husband who gives me grace when I need it.

5. I Need to Stop Pre-Judging Situations- The night before we arrived at the cruise ship's private island, we discussed what we wanted to do once we were there. We had decided to spend that day snorkeling but I knew I didn't want to stay there for more than a few hours. When we sailed on a previous cruise line a few years ago, their private island beach was okay but nothing to write home about, hubby agreed. I had just assumed that most of the private beach areas were more or less the same. We agreed to head to the beach around noon time allowing everyone else to get off the ship and we could eat breakfast with far less people around.

That morning we took our time getting out of bed and heading to breakfast, there we saw the beach from a distance. When we finally decided to head over, we learned that the last tender boat would pick everyone up at 3:30pm, which wasn't much time since we dilly-dallied. When we arrived, it was so beautiful-brightly painted cabanas, little shops that I wasn't expecting, a much larger beach with gorgeous white sand and many more places for people to lounge. There I was, taking in the beautiful scenery but all the while I was mad at myself. Why? Because I had preconceived notions about what this little beach area would be and as a result, I missed out on spending several more hours at such a lovely spot. While I don't pre-judge people, I realized in that moment that I do tend to spend too much time thinking about how things will be or how they'll turn out, even on vacation. I need to let go of presumptions and pre-judging situations just because something similar wasn't so great (once again my over-analytical brain at work). I'm looking forward to being more open to all opportunities and take things as they come instead of ruling them out before I've even experienced them.

5. I'm more in love with my husband than ever before-We've had our ups and downs like any couple but I can honestly say that our first year married was not the lovey-dovey rainbows and butterflies kind of newly married life that we had envisioned. At times I questioned whether I made the right decision as I'm sure he did as well. It was a frustrating time which was intensified by the fact that I had moved to a new country with all of my close friends and family thousands of miles away.  We can both be stubborn, we're both very independent and very driven. I also have a need for things to be organized that hubby cannot relate to-his office door is the only one that stays shut for this reason-he admits he's a disorganized clutter bug. These things aren't always a great recipe for a good relationship and I had struggled to make his home feel like mine as his grandparents raised him in the house we live in today.

The past few months since he's been home for NYU have been amazing, not to say that other times weren't but we feel connected and committed to each other more than ever. Somehow, it was all magnified for me on this trip as we laughed our way though circumstances. Seeing my husband speaking in front of everyone on his lecturing days at sea made me so proud too, he's so talented, a very hard worker and has such a heart for people. I feel really blessed to have him in my life. While many relationships start strong and fizzle out years later, I'm glad ours started out with all of its challenges. It has given us perspective and we now know how committed we are to one another. Five and a half years in, it's as if the mountain we've been climbing has ended and we've suddenly arrived at the top with the brightest view of our future.

Being on a ship and seeing many elderly couples reminded me of how short life truly is. There's no time like the present to make things happen, we are given each day as a gift. Sometimes there are things we can do best in our current decade than we cannot in future decades, my goal for the rest of the year is to make sure I'm maximizing on all of those things to avoid having regrets later.

Are you still with me? Oh, good you are. If you're up for more reading, if you've been missing our Manners Monday posts on etiquette, or if you're planning on taking a cruise soon yourself, he're a post on Cruise Ship Etiquette.

Anyone getting ready to take a trip or just come back from one?
What things have you learned about yourself recently? I'd love to hear from you! :)

*images via

Friday, April 6, 2012

Taking Some Time For R&R

Hello Lovelies! Sorry for the sporadic posts, sometimes life just gets so crazy, doesn't it? I still can't even comprehend how all of you mamas do it! The hubbs and I have been working very hard lately and it is time for us to take a break. We need some R&R together to reconnect after his long 18 months living out of state for school.

We're also celebrating. As some of you know, he is completing his Master's Degree this Summer and is in the final stages of completing his thesis. I just finished a full time job of 8 months to finally come back to what I love doing most-writing and interior design. Yay! :)

My big plan was to leave you with a post every few days while I'm away from my desk but between enjoying the gorgeous weather here and taking care of some unplanned things around the house, I wasn't left with any time.

I hope you'll all hang in there, now that my schedule is my own again, I look forward to providing a lot of exciting, new content on a  regular basis. Thank you for sticking with me and I'll chat with you again soon!


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