Monday, October 31, 2011

Respond So Very Promptly

One thing I absolutely love about this time of year is that it signals the official launch of Newman’s Own Party Season! Sure, spring and summer parties are fine, but I much prefer those that occur during the fall and winter months because: a) we have snazzier fashion choices, b) we’re offered snazzier food choices, and c) there’s less sweating.

And even though it’s a party, certain rules exists that one must follow, the primary one being that of the RSVP. The RSVP is a request for a response from the invited person. It comes from the French phrase répondez s'il vous plaît, meaning "Please respond". That’s your cue to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’. It’s quite simple, but not practiced as diligently as it should be.

I have been guilty of a last minute RSVP recently. Although it was a family ‘do, I verbally responded to the key players, but I didn’t officially notify the hostess until a couple of days prior to the event. Shame on me. I felt terrible and vowed never to leave a hostess hanging in such a manner because I know what it’s like to have potential guests who don’t commit. Having learned my lesson, I shall now pass my vast knowledge of party etiquette on to you.

The ‘Maybe’ option on an invitation (we see them quite a bit on electronic invitations) drives me mad. A decent host will issue invitations weeks before a party, and your selection of ‘Maybe’ sends the message I’ll come, unless I find something better to do. Typically, a host will request an official ‘yes’ or ‘no’ by a certain date, so there’s really no need to respond immediately with a ‘maybe’. Your host needs an accurate head count in order to know how much food to prepare and how much wine to have on hand. If you actually show up to the party, still on the ‘maybe’ list, you may be out of luck when it comes to cheese ball portions and the good wine.

‘Yes’ responders are my favorites, particularly when they show up. Should you RSVP a ‘yes’ and are struck by an illness, family emergency, or a recent arrest, contact your hostess immediately, offering your regrets. That’s classy, especially if you’re the latter and it’s your one opportunity to make a phone call.

‘No’ responders usually feel the need to explain why they can’t attend. I don’t need an explanation, but word to the wise: I party by the Three Strike Rule. If I’ve invited you to three different parties and you’ve yet to come to one, you’re off the list, especially if you’ve responded ‘maybe’ to each one and have yet to show. I take a tough love approach to throwing parties.

As much as I adore going to parties, I simply can’t make them all, unfortunately. I work wonky hours sometimes, which keeps me away from a few shindigs. My husband works nights, and, call me old-fashioned, I don’t go to parties without him unless it’s hosted by a family member or is one of those ‘Girls Only’ type of things (Pampered Chef parties, bridal showers, baby showers, etc.) held in someone’s home or in a restaurant (I won’t go if it takes place in a club – especially if it’s a baby shower (tacky) – because, as a happily married woman, I don’t believe I have any business hanging out in bars without my husband present, even if it is with ‘the girls’. I didn’t always feel this way, but after a Come to Jesus moment a few years ago, I realized this is what’s right for me. It may not be right for you, and that’s okay. You’re not me, and I’m not you, so let’s just band together and practice individuality, shall we? ) I mention this because I get many invitations to clubs, thanks to the number of musicians I know who want me to come to their shows, and I simply want to set the record straight. It’s not you, it’s me. It’s always me. When I must turn down a request for my presence, I’m always sure to thank the hostess for including me on her invite list.

The point of this little musing is to remind you that it’s common courtesy to respond promptly and accurately to your party invitations. The pointer point of it is to let you know that the size of my cheese ball depends on you. And I take my cheese balls very, very seriously.

Beth Newman
Newman Image
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shop Smart!

Alright, Sweeties, we’re down to the wire: it’s officially shopping season! If you’ve not yet hit the stores in order to snag some fabulous new fall finds, you must hop to it! Before you do, however, remain mindful of the following:

– shop from your closet first. If you didn’t wear it at all last season, chances are you won’t wear it this season. Get rid of it. Make a list of what you need in order to revamp your wardrobe. This includes not only your clothing, but your shoes and accessories as well.

Budget- yes, you can be frugal and fabulous. Most stores and boutiques are already offering markdowns on fall merchandise in order to make room for incoming holiday collections. Stay within your budget. Get on customer rewards programs offered by most boutiques, and take advantage of the deals and coupons they offer.

Do Your Homework – look online for looks you love, and visit only those stores. I limit myself (and my clients) to two places during any shopping excursion. Call ahead to insure those stores carry what you’re seeking (not every store sells what is available online). Some boutiques will allow you to call ahead and hold certain items providing you’ll be in within 24 hours.

Be Classy – use those coupons, but don’t ask for a ‘double dip’. Carefully consider having a sales associate ring your items up under several different transactions in order to use several different coupons, particularly if the store is crowded and you won’t save that much more money in the long run by having her do so.

Show Some Respect – After trying on clothes, re-hang the ones you’re not taking and leave them neatly in the fitting room. The sales associates are not your personal maid service, nor are they your personal punching bag. Always remain kind and considerate to those who assist you.

Wear Proper Undergarments – If you’re shopping for cocktail attire, don’t wear a jogging bra. Wear your Spanx to insurer a smooth silhouette.

Child’s Play – Never allow your child to roam freely in a store. Not only does this put the child in danger, it could also present a liability to the store. Small children and boutique shopping really don’t mix, so do try to leave the kids with a sitter while you shop.

Return to Sender – Should you discover that recent purchases won’t work for you, return them to the store in which you bought them. Stores take a ‘hit’ anytime you return, and it’s not really fair to penalize Boutique North because you changed your mind about what you bought at Boutique South. Most online purchases include a return address label – use it.

Remain focused, smart, and considerate – happy shopping, Sweeties!

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach/Author
Newman Image
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

Beth’s book, 365 Days of Fabulosity, is now available through Amazon!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Classy Warfare

I read the headlines each morning. I scan all of your Facebook posts and tweets. I review the stories brought to me weekly by Star magazine. I try to stay well-informed, and in doing so, I’ve come to the following conclusion: classy people are few and far between these days.

Classy People are those who simply live their lives, doing their best to bring a little fabulosity into the world. Ruled by the greater good, rather than their own ego, they share what they feel might be interesting, entertaining, or inspiring to others.

Non-Classy People do just the opposite. They’re crass, bothersome complainers who definitely possess a membership card from the doom and gloom club: the world is ending, and it’s all the government’s fault. A slight sniffle is most likely a symptom of something deadly, because, after all, everything will kill you nowadays. Never trust a rich, white man – you know, that sort of thing.

A sub-section of the Non-Classy People consists of the Attention Whores. With social media, everyone’s a celebrity. I believe that with that ‘celebrity’ comes responsibility: be smart in your posts; today alone I’ve seen everything from vomiting jack-o-lanterns to bitch-slapping cats. Not classy.

A good wit – that’s classy. People doing their own thing and helping others to succeed at doing their own thing – that’s classy. Parents who force their children to write thank-you notes – that’s classy.

Talking on your cell phone in public – not classy. Bragging about your hangover from your binge last night – not classy. Proclaiming yourself as a princess or diva – not classy.

Hang on – I’ve got more:

Leaving the party a tad early – classy.

Hanging around long after the party’s over – not classy (just plain sad, at that point)

Treating your spouse with respect - classy.

Badmouthing him to others because he’s being himself – not classy.

Treating your wedding as simply the first step toward a long, happy life of teamwork – classy.

Proclaiming that your wedding is ‘your big day’ or ‘your time to shine’ – not classy.

Delight when others dig the people/places/things you dig – classy.

Possessiveness over the people/places/things you dig – not classy.

I could go on, but rambling is not classy. And I, as a disciple of fabulosity and all things elegant, know that I must keep class in the forefront of my mind. I invite you to join me on my classy mission. Let’s rise up, have some fun, and put the kibosh on the negative messages hurled at us each day. The world isn’t doomed, nor will it end because you have an undiagnosed rash. Sure, Jennifer Aniston still graces far too magazine covers, but perhaps if we stop buying those magazines, she’ll go away. Maybe if we turn off the so-called reality TV, somebody, somewhere might re-introduce us to quality entertainment. We’ll all be better off if we simply live our message rather than preach our message. A little outreach is good – being in someone’s face isn’t. Classy Warfare is on - who’s with me?

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach/Author
Newman Image
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!
Beth’s new book, 365 Days of Fabulosity, is now available through Amazon