Thursday, June 30, 2011

What would Emily Post Do?

If it is not obvious by now, I have an infatuation with Gwyneth Paltrow. Of course I mean this as purely a form of admiration! Her most recent GOOP newsletter was on etiquette.

Since it’s Thursday, and I feel like etiquette is slowly becoming a thing of the past, sadly, here’s a refresher, Q & A style, brought to you by Gwyneth Paltrow, actress, chef and author of GOOP and Derek Blasberg editor at large of Harper’s Bazaar and author of Classy!

Q: I never know whether it's proper to serve a bottle of wine that a guest brings to a dinner party or to regard it as a gift and put it away. What's the polite thing to do?
A: “If I'm the host and the wine is better than what I was planning to serve, I'm going to pop the cork! But a host is certainly not obliged to serve what a guest has brought; after all, the host has no doubt planned their menu and given consideration to which wines go best with the meal. A polite guest should know this and not be offended if their wine isn't served. I have a friend who brings room temperature champagne as a host gift so the host knows there's no obligation to serve it.”

Q: I always assumed it was the host's responsibility to ask houseguests and dinner guests about their dietary restrictions in advance, but someone recently told me this wasn't the case. Is it the host's or the guests' responsibility to make a note of dietary restrictions?
A: “An extremely organized host will ask about restrictions before he or she has planned their menu, but it's ultimately up to the guest to alert the host—and only in cases of strict medical conditions or moral or religious convictions. Compelling a host to change the menu or whip up a special dish at the last minute because someone has recently started a gluten cleanse isn't justification.

Someone with dietary restrictions should let the host know with ample time to offer alternatives, as opposed to merely mentioning that they're a hardcore vegan as everyone has just sat down to a bone marrow casserole. Most people I know who are picky eaters have a little pre-supper before a dinner so they're not ravenously hungry. No matter what, it's nice to tell your host that you love the food, even if you don't plan on touching it.”

Q: Conversely, you've neglected to tell your host about a dietary restriction and your host has neglected to ask, and you've been served something you'd rather not eat. Do you say something about it, send it back, or hold on until the end of the course? What to do?
A: “The polite thing to do is move the dish around a bit, so it looks like you've eaten some of it, and then swing by a deli on your way home to pick up some chips. To say something when the food is served is rude to the fellow diners and will make a precarious, awkward situation for the host—and at the end of the day, these sorts of dinners are for conversation, friends and a jolly evening, not just culinary consumption. If this is a larger affair, there may be a vegetarian option, which can be politely and discreetly requested as the meal is served. If it's a smaller fete and you're starving, feel free to discreetly ask for more salad or more bread, or whatever it is that you can eat. An astute hostess will notice if you haven't eaten any of the meat dishes, and would be happy to get you some more veggies from the kitchen. Remember to keep the focus on the dinner vibe and not what you're not eating; there's nothing more jarring than a girl who interrupts a good group conversation to announce she thinks cooked tongue is disgusting. (Even if I agree with her.)”

Q: Is an email thank you note ever appropriate, or is it better to just stick with the traditional handwritten thank you note?
A: “I've always said that handwritten notes on personalized stationary are the hallmark of a lady, but these are modern times and timely emails can be just as gracious. In our instant gratification culture, some hosts prefer a drunken text from the car ride home saying they had thrown a fabulous party more than a handwritten note a week later. (I send an email the night of—before the bloom is off the rose, or rosé, so to speak—but will follow up with a written letter if something was particularly fabulous or personal.) But for gifts, like those given at a wedding or birthday party, when a person has time to respond, only a handwritten note will do.”

Q: How do you make it clear to the guests you've invited for a get-together that you'd like them dressed in a certain way if there's not a written invitation?
A: “Generally speaking, if there's no written invitation, you've either called or emailed the details, and it's appropriate to follow up in the same manner. My suggestion: Ask a few of the more sartorially obsessed attendants what they're wearing, and readily offer your own look. They'll clearly understand the party's tone if you tell them that you're wearing, for example, jeans and a blazer, or your to-die-for, over-the-top YSL Moroccan tunic and metallic espadrilles. Then they'll pass this info on to the others as they scramble to find their own vintage kaftans.”

Q: I asked one of my very well mannered friends the following: Is it essential to bring a gift if you are staying the night/longer at a friend's house? What would a good gift be? And here's her answer:
A: “It could be a small bunch of hand picked wild flowers, some fresh strawberries from the local farm stand, an L.L. Bean beach bag emblazoned with your host's initials or last name, or a cashmere throw but yes, a little token of appreciation is a must if you are staying over.”

If I have peaked your interest in etiquette and you would like to know more, please visit the following links::

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Home Improvement

Last weekend, I was out running errands, helping my sister get ready for her trip when we ran into A Classy Flea for a second in hopes of finding a little present Claire could leave with her Host Family in New Zealand. Instead, I came across this beauty!
She was only $40 and I couldn't pass it up! The mirror I had up before was decent but it was too small and didn't really go with the rest of the room. This mirror makes my tiny apartment look so much bigger!

After the mirror update, I still had the urge to change up some other things.

My patio garden before was nice. It mainly consisted of herbs and a few other cactus plants but I wanted some color!

So I ran to Home Depot real quick to add some pretty flowers.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy Weekend

Because it's Friday...
Because I need some inspiration...
Because I have an affection for stripes, polka dots, and red...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ode to an Old House

Today, my Mom, Dad, Brother, and I are taking a day trip to Spartanburg, SC. My brother, who is a rising Senior in high school, is attending a one day football camp at Wofford College.

My father has recently become obsessed with my Great-Great-Grandparent's house which still stands in the city (once you see pictures, I'm sure you'll understand!). My dad was discussing the transportation plans with my mom one night as well as their plans while my brother was at the camp and I quickly invited myself along! There are only two of us in our immediate family who have not seen the house, Bon Haven as it's called, so I couldn't pass up this opportunity!

My Great-Great-Grandfather, as I recently found out, was deemed Spartanburg's most distinguished businessman and some also deemed him "Spartanburg's first citizen". He had a hand in the developement of almost every aspect of the city; from the school system (founding one college and being on the board of another), to health care, to the water system, to the city's bank and cotton mills he even was a part of the house senate. The names John Bomar and Georgia Alden Cleveland are still very prominent in the city today.

I'm very excited to hopefully journey back a little bit in time and visit the same places where my relatives lived and basically created!

For more information or pictures on Bon Haven (because my computer won't let me upload any), I highly recommend the article below from Garden and Guns Magazine: Ode to an Old House

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sentimental Sundays: My Sister

My 15-year-old sister, Claire

Today, my baby sister left for Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia for three weeks!
(Jealous?! Me too!)
A few months back, she was selected to be a part of a group of Student Ambassadors through People to People. Through this program, she will have the opportunity to do some amazing things; several, many people will only dream of!

 Her group of local students also attending

I cannot wait to hear all of her stories and see her pictures!

She will be able to visit and stay with a local Maori family (on her birthday).
• She will get to take a tour of the Sydney Opera House and later a dinner cruise in the harbor.
• She will get to dive in the Great Barrier Reef.
• She will get to hold Koalas and see Emus.
• She will get to stay with and see how New Zealanders live.
• She will get to visit a local school in Fiji.
• She will get to sunbathe on a yacht in Fiji.


Bye Sis! See ya when you get back!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What's in a Name

Family names are a big deal in my family!

There have been dibs placed on family names for children not even born yet, there have been family quarrels on who is going to name their what, there have even been names not even spoken for fear of someone claiming the name as their own!

Well, below are some family names which I have a feeling might not be some of the front runners in our family:

Bibby Bomar (1754-?)
Booker Bomar (1810-1889)
Fielding Bomar (1762-1840)
Larkin Cleveland (1772-1852)
Leander Murdock Alden (1829-1880)
Water Cleveland (1875-?)

Adeliza Wight (1794-1794)
Ambrose Blackburn (1710-1780)
Hopestill Alden (1668-1753)
Patience Bomar (1793-1823)
Thankful Alden (1813-1847)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Wordless Post

Royal Charity Gala for Children

Photos courtesy of A Melange et Moi

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Abby Frances Alden

I woke Sunday morning with the desire to go to the cemetery…that’s normal right?! Doesn’t everyone at some point in the week want to leisurely visit a cemetery?

My intention for going was to take pictures of family members’ headstone to add to Find a Grave and to also to explore some more since the last time I was there was for an actual funeral (don’t want you to think that I’m some weirdo who sunbathes at cemeteries because I’ve seen that and let me tell you, it is weird!)

So, I grabbed my dog and headed out to St. James Episcopal Cemetery in historic downtown Marietta. I took pictures of my grandparents and great-grandparents and a few distant cousins as well.

While exploring, I came across Abby Frances Alden.

The last name immediately got my attention and the fact that she was a bit secluded from those around her. So I snapped her picture and returned home to do some research.

Turns out, she’s my 1st cousin 4 times removed. She, like me, is a direct descendant from John Alden of the Mayflower – hence the last name!

Her mother, Alice Burrington Wight and my Great-Great-Great-Grandmother, Fanny Leonard Wight, were sisters and her father Charles Henry Alden is the Great-Great-Great-Grandson of John Alden from the Mayflower. If I’ve done my math correctly, it would appear that Abby’s parents were second cousins.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time I’ve come across this in my family. My mother jokes that this is why we bring in new blood like my grandmother and father.

This is about all of the information that I have so far on Abby. Hopefully, with time, I’ll be able to discover more about her and how she ended up in Marietta, GA.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Lovely Weekend

I have to say, that this weekend, while still a normal Friday to Sunday weekend has been quite lovely! 

Friday, I had a lovely Girl's Night In at one of my dearest friends RSB's house! We sat outside on her new patio, drank a glass of wine, and then began to make the best sandwich I have probably ever had! In fact, I'm not sure if you should even call it a sandwich; it was more of an artisan masterpiece. 

What did we make you ask? 

Portobello-Prosciutto Burgers
Photo Courtesy of The Pioneer Woman

We wanted something amazing, quick, and delicious, so, we headed over to The Pioneer Woman's blog. This night we were looking for something light but that still filled us up, so we headed over to her Cowgirl Food section. We browsed a few recipes until we came across this beauty. We didn't even have to say that's what we both wanted; we were both speechless and salivating. So we headed to the grocery. 

We changed the recipe up just a little bit because of personal preference (left out the aioli but added Boursin cheese instead) and Publix ran out of basil so that was omitted. Oh! And we changed the Kaiser roll to a Onion Egg Roll! It was sooo gooood!!!

We also include fruit salad which consisted of cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries, mint and a lil splash o' OJ. 

After a few episodes of International House Hunters, we called it a night because we had to be up early the next morning because we were participating in.....

National Learn How to Row Day!! 
Photo Courtesy of Atlanta Rowing Club

I am not going to sit here and tell you that Kate Middleton had no impact on me wanting to learn how to row because that would be an obvious and blatant lie! There are a million women out there who are wondering "What does she do to maintain her figure, not to mention, snag a Prince!" 

But in all seriousness, for a while I have been wanting to find a sport that I can participate in and that I truly enjoy and when my mom drove past the river one day and saw a sign for National Learn How to Row day, I felt it was meant to be! 
From about 9 to 11:30 am, we spent 15 minute increments, give or take, learning different aspects of the sport. We started with a tour of the boat house and learning all the terminology used in rowing. Then we watched a video and practiced learning how to row; the movements that your body has to make and keeping in time with everyone else. Next, we headed down to the river where we practiced rowing; getting used to how it feels once your ore hits the water and how your body needs to react to it. Finally, we headed out onto the water. We got into a barge, which is similar to  a pontoon boat but has been adjusted for rowing equipment; there is no chance of flipping over in this boat which makes it a good boat to learn in. 
RSB and I were split up into different groups but we still enjoyed learning something new and spending a little time outside! 
I feel this is going to be the beginning of a beautiful relationship; me and rowing!

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