Sunday, March 31, 2013

Party Prep

     Dear Hearts, I can't stress this enough.  You MUST have basic party prep finished before guests arrive.  My best suggestion is have your best friend over to 1/2 hour earlier to help set up.  I have been to parties where I am the one setting up, while the host is busy greeting guests.  See, greeting your guests must be a priority, however, if you are not yet ready....?  Well, you see the dilemma.

     7 days before: Intensive house cleaning - scrub baseboards, ceiling fans, hand wash floors.
     3 days before: Prepare food list, grocery list and to-do list.
     2 days before: Get out all the serving dishes you will use and wash them and place them on dining room table for easy access.
     1 day before: All shopping must be finished by this day!  The rest of the day should be spent making the dishes that can be made in advance and beginning set up.
     Day of:  Spot cleaning and finish all prep, including assigning jobs to helpful friends and kids.

By the time your guests arrive, your main job should be filling drinks, seeing that no empty dish is ever left on a table,  (My personal pet peeve, I'm a nazi about that.)  and chatting.  Also, and this is absolute must.  Please see that everyone is introduced to one another.  Don't invite a houseful of guests that don't know each other and leave them to shuffle around awkwardly until the liquor kicks in.

   Don't freak out if you are not perfect.  I've made each of these mistakes and that is how I learned for the next time!  But do learn from them.

Last tip: Keep Celebrating!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Etiquette Lesson

     Today, as your 19th Century Lady was driving to the library, (I'm so old-fashioned, I read actual books), I happened to be passed by a funeral procession.  I pulled over my vehicle and reflected calmly on the ephemeral nature of human life.  As I watched and waited, I noticed that a car across from me was also waiting.  Waiting impatiently to get out of a parking lot. So impatiently that the minute there was the slightest opening, this car darted through it and went on it's way.
     I was a bit surprised at that lack of decorum, however, then I realized that perhaps many people just do not know the basic etiquette that is part of such an event.  I don't think funeral processions are as common as they were back in my day.  My husband chose not to have them for his parents, because many years ago a family member taking part in one, had a fatal accident and upon checking the news, I find that such tragedies are happening more often.  Due in part, I believe, to ignorance of the rules regarding such processions.  So for your edification, I present:

       Etiquette for Funeral Processions

1.) Avoid breaking in to a funeral procession.  
     This is because very often family comes from out of town and you do not want to get in between someone who may be unfamiliar with the area and may get lost.  

2.) Don't honk or try to break up a procession when a funeral procession is running a red light.
     It is legal for processions to go through the traffic lights.  You won't be that inconvenienced if you need to sit through one light.  Be polite and respectful.  It's the very least you can do for a grieving family.

3.) Pull over if possible.
     It has long been considered respectful to pull over.  I do this when driving on a smaller street.  As we live in a rather big city, it is almost rude to other drivers to do this in all cases, but when possible, please try to do this.

Please understand that I do not live in Miss Manners rarefied world of the upper class, but merely am a day to day old fashioned lady trying to bring gracious living to a reality show millennium.