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Keeping Your Furbabies Safe this 4th of July

Hello Darlings!

Today I’m going to take a break from my usual vintage living ramblings to touch on a subject near and dear to my heart. Relax, nothing political. Today I am going to share how you can make this Independence Day, or any fireworks celebration, a little easier on your beloved furbabies. Have I mentioned I am a, now retired, Applied Animal Behaviorist? Throughout my near 20 year career one thing I always tried to impress upon my clients was to be prepared. If you live in areas prone to natural disasters, have a plan and a supply box for your pets. Firework celebrations are no different. With some simple preparations, you and your pet can have a relatively stress-free 4th of July. But first, some all important statistics.

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  • More dogs are lost on the 4th of July than any other day of the year.
  • Shelters report up to a 30% increase in stray animal intake on July 5th.
  • Because of the way sounds travel, and the amount of fireworks going off in different neighborhoods, dogs running from noise can easily become lost and disoriented, finding themselves miles and miles from home.
  • Many lost dogs don’t make it back home because they are picked up miles away and sent to shelters in different towns from where they live. Their families simply don’t think to check shelters in the entire surrounding area.
  • Veterinarians see dogs with a wide variety of injuries during this holiday: lacerations from jumping through windows, torn paw pads from running, dehydration, broken teeth, lacerated lips from frantic chewing to escape.

**This is not a sponsored post. The products I link to are products I have used and referred to my clients over the years, and Petco is just where I happen to shop (they also don’t breed discriminate like some places *cough*petsmart*cough*.

So how can you protect your precious pooch this Independence Day? Simple, preparation.

Stay Home

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Ugh! I know, I know. You want to got to a BBQ, or pool party, or stadium fireworks show. But if after all that frivolity, you come home to find your  home ripped up, your dog seriously injured or even missing, would you still think going out was worth it? Get creative and find ways to celebrate at home. Your dog will certainly appreciate it.

Boarding and Daycare 

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My neighbor’s dog, Pepper, is a frequent guest at Chez Marlowe. She’ll be with us over the 4th while her dad is watching the fireworks.

If you really must go out, have your dog board with a reputable boarding facility. Most facilities fill up around holidays, so book in advance. Also make sure your pet is current on their vaccinations. Inquire as to what vaccinations the facility requires their guest pooches to have, and plan accordingly.

A dog sitter is another option if you aren’t comfortable with sending your dog away or if the boarding facilities are full. Just be sure they are well versed in caring for frightened dogs. And with any animal care giver, ask for references and a tour of where your dog will be staying.

Update I.D.

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Dog Tags aren’t just for soldiers! Make sure your dog is wearing up-to-date identification.

 

Make sure your dog is wearing identification tags with your current contact information as well as an alternate contact. Many people won’t stop to help a dog without tags. They assume the dog may be feral or don’t want to take on the responsibility of a dog with no contact information or owner.

Having your dog microchipped is also a good idea, but again, be sure to register their chip and keep that information updated. Microchips are not only identification, but can also serve as proof of ownership if the need arises. Collars and tags can sometimes be lost or removed, but microchips are forever.

*having “needs medication” or “special needs” printed on your dog’s tags is a great way to discourage would-be dog thieves or over zealous good samaritans from keeping your lost dog. A dog that “needs medication” or is “special needs” certainly isn’t free, and has a family that loves and cares for them. A little incentive to return Fido rather than keeping him.

Chill Pills

There are a variety of prescriptions and over the counter supplements you can give your dog to take the edge off. It is imperative you follow the directions, and the advice of your veterinarian before giving your dog anything. For some animals, an exam and blood panel may be required before your veterinarian will prescribe any medications. I personally give my dogs a natural supplement called Quiet Moments. I find it works well for dogs with mild to moderate noise phobias.

*Remember to never leave a sedated animal alone for any length of time.

Safe Space

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Where are your parents?!

Give your dog a nice safe space to hide during the fireworks. Bathrooms and walk-in closets work nicely as they blot out a lot of noise and are generally dark and cool. Make sure your dog has a nice soft bed with blankets to fluff or hide under, plenty of water, and something to focus on like a great chew, treat dispenser, or stuffed Kong toy. Add a little classical music to help soothe their nerves. A study done by the Scottish SPCA showed that playing classical music had a short-term calming effect on kenneled dogs. I find Mozart to be particularly light and soothing.

Secure Yard and Home

Go around your yard and home to make sure doors are closed, gates are locked and there are no areas where your dog can escape. Do not let your dog outside unattended. Likewise, if you’re hosting guests, kindly remind them to not let the dog out. A frightened dog will take any opportunity to escape. It only takes a second for your dog to bolt out of an open door.

Buckle Up for Safety

The Umbilical Method is one of my favorite dog training stratagies. Simply attach a 6′ leash to your dog and to your belt with a carabiner which can be purchased just about anywhere. Wherever you go, so does your dog and vice versa.

Don’t Bring Your Dog

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American Bulldog, Blanche Devereaux, is the official mascot of The Pinup Patriettes. She goes to many fund raising events to show our veterans some love, but if fireworks are on the agenda, Blanche stays home. Photo by Margo Moriarty 

If you’re tempted to bring your dog with you to the festivities, reconsider. Dogs have heightened senses of sight, sound, and smell. Fireworks are a blinding deafening sensory overload that your best friend will not enjoy.

Act Natural

You may be tempted to coddle and fret over your frightened pooch, but do your best not to. Coddling is a reinforcing behavior that may make the problem worse. Think of it as telling your dog “Good boy/girl! Yes, be afraid. Good dog.” Not terribly effective. Instead, act natural. Show your fur baby there is nothing to fear. Talk to you dog in soft soothing tones without reinforcing their fears.

Don’t Overestimate Your Dog’s Cool

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Even the bravest dog can surprise you. 

I was giving a community lecture on this very topic a few years ago when an audience member came up to me to assure me that nothing I said applied to his dog who was “super chill and cool about everything”. I ran into him a few weeks later at a shelter I volunteered for. He was looking for his lost dog who ran away during the fireworks.

Don’t just assume that your dog won’t develop a phobia to fireworks. Dogs learn by association, and we cannot control the associations they make or when they make them. Your dog may just surprise you one year, with tragic results.

And with that, I wish you a very happy Independence Day! We will return with our regularly scheduled vintage shenanigans when next we meet.

XOXO

Dolly Marlowe

 

 

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How to be the “Perfect” Vintage Housewife

Hello Darlings!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been having a gloriously productive January. Spring fever is starting to set in, so I thought I would take advantage and participate in Apartment Therapy’s The January cure. I can’t begin to describe how much I love it… but I’m going to anyway.

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I very much loathe a household out of order. I can’t think straight surrounded by clutter. I’m not so much a clean freak as I am a person who feels put off by disarray. Spring cleaning, while therapeutic, can also be overwhelming! Where do I start? What needs doing? What am I missing? The January cure has been enormously helpful in guiding me through the process. Without it, I’d probably be scrubbing baseboards with a toothbrush while the rest of my house fell to pieces! But today’s post really isn’t about the January Cure. Today I’d like to share with you my daily tasks as a real life (modern) vintage housewife. But first we need to address the history of the “1950’s housewife” archetype.

The 1950’s Housewife: Symbol of Misogyny… or was she?

Anytime someone brings up “my look” as it relates to misogyny in the before times, my eyes roll (not really, that would be terribly rude). The fact is, popular culture, media, and entertainment have given us this idea that  women of the 1950’s were enslaved in their homes, forced to cater to their husband’s every whim, completely devoid of pleasure or enjoyment. She is a lovely and sad creature. She is The Stepford Wives, Mad Men, and Mona Lisa Smile. Or was she?

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This little image has made it’s rounds on the interwebs for ages. It serves as a reminder as to how awful men and the times were… except it’s a hoax.

The truth is, the 1950’s housewife wasn’t at all unlike women today. My grandmothers, for instance, had jobs. They were divorced and remarried. They lived lives, day to day, like  other women. Then, and now, women make choices. We choose the paths we want to walk. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Some women marry honorable men, some marry real jerks, some don’t get married at all. Some go to school, some work outside the home, some choose to be homemakers. And while, yes, the role of most women in the before times was that of homemaker, not every woman followed this path. The point is, we should be wary of falling for stereotypes as they are rarely ever true.

How to be the “Perfect” Vintage Housewife

 

Alright, this title is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, poking fun at our vision of the Donna Reed homemaker. Truth is, pigeons, there is no such thing as “perfect”. It doesn’t exist. Striving for an unattainable goal will only make you feel like a failure, so STOP IT! Instead, I like to think of “perfect” more as improved. What am I doing daily to make my home better?

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I will be the first to tell you I am extremely privileged to be a full-time homemaker. While technically self-employed, I consider myself, first and foremost, a homemaker. I had a wonderful career in animal and behavioral sciences spanning 20 years, and when my Mr got his promotion and subsequent transfer, it was the perfect time for me to retire. I tell you this so when you see my daily task list, you don’t freak out. My job is to care for my home. If I worked outside of the home, I wouldn’t get half of these things done! My daily tasks, on paper, look never ending! It looks like I do nothing but scrub and clean, but that isn’t entirely true either. Because I keep up on these tasks every day, I have all kinds of time to indulge in a hobby, take a nap, binge watch a season of whatever on Netflix, and some days skip cleaning entirely. Because I don’t let my house fall apart, taking care of it isn’t too much work at all. I also enlist help. My son has chores. My Mr, even after working a twelve hour day, will pitch in. Nothing in our home is ever viewed as “mom’s job”. When something needs doing, someone does it. Simple as that.

I’ve compiled my daily task list on not only the things related to my home specifically, but also on the myriad of housekeeping and etiquette books I’ve amassed though the years. Keep in mind, my list is tailored to my home and my family. Feel free to use it as inspiration for your own task list. Remember, perfection doesn’t exist. The “perfect” housewife is merely one who cares for her home and the people (and pets) in it.

Dolly Marlowe’s Guide for the “Perfect” Vintage Housewife (pdf)

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XOXO

Dolly Marlowe

 

Holiday Greeting Etiquette

Hello Darlings!

Now that Hallowe’en is over, my thoughts wander to family feasts, snow, and sugar plums. As joyful as the holidays are for many people, there are also some humbugs out there. Between the over commercializing of Christmas, Black Friday extended into Thanksgiving, and some very recent political ugliness in the US (and abroad), I thought this would be an excellent time to talk about holiday greeting etiquette.

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For the last few years there have been a number of silly controversies popping up, from the color and style of coffee cups to exactly what greetings people are allowed to offer to wether or not there is a cultural war on Christmas. I honestly believe these controversies are given life because too many people are unaware there are actual standards of etiquette that go along with the holidays, well, that and some people could benefit from a hobby.

So, let’s discuss appropriate holiday greetings. Its important to remember there are many holidays reflecting many religions and cultures during the latter part of the year. Good manners dictates we be mindful of the person we are greeting. The greetings we offer are for them, not us.

 

What to Say to Whom

Verbal greetings are by far the trickiest of the holiday greetings. Unlike cards, we offer verbal greetings to everyone, friend and stranger alike. Because holidays are rooted in religious and cultural traditions, holiday greetings for strangers take a moderate amount of presumption. Some presumptions are safe, others not so much.

Before Thanksgiving, usually starting the week of, I say “Happy holidays” because I am including the pending holiday of Thanksgiving as well as the following holidays of Christmas and the New Year. A simple “Happy Thanksgiving” is also appropriate. Most Americans observe Thanksgiving in some fashion, and because it is the cultural norm, it is an appropriate greeting for friends and strangers.

Once Thanksgiving is over, we then greet with the coming holidays in mind. Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Al-Hijira, Ashura, and Yule are all observed at the end of the Gregorian calendar year, making greetings to a stranger a bit more difficult. Remember, your greeting is for the benefit of the person to whom you are speaking, so it should speak to their point of view.

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There are some things we can safely presume. If you live in the western world, Christmas is the predominant holiday. In modern times Christmas has taken on a more secular role in society. I come from a multi-faith family (Christian and Jewish). Many of my Jewish family members  send Christmas gifts, have a Christmas tree, and so on. To them, Christmas is more of an American cultural holiday than a Christian one. The majority of the American population observes the Christmas holiday in some way, whether it be religious, secular, or a mixture of both. It is ,therefor, perfectly fine to wish someone a “Merry Christmas” if there is no obvious indication the person you are greeting celebrates something else.

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The Kwanzaa Kinara

If you do see an obvious indication that Christmas is not the holiday they observe, feel free to greet them with something specific to their worldview. For instance, if you meet a man wearing a yarmulke, it’s ok to wish him a “Happy Chanukah”. It is worth noting the Jewish yarmulke and the Muslim taqiyah may look similar to those unfamiliar with those particular headpieces. When in doubt, a friendly “Happy holidays” is good option as well as the non-holiday related “Have a nice day”. Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Al-Hijira, Ashura, and Yule are their own holidays with their own religious and cultural significance. They are not stand-ins for Christmas and should not be treated as such.The thing you certainly do NOT want to do is assume a holiday preference based on a person’s color or ethnicity! Do not assume because a person is black they celebrate Kwanzaa. Likewise offering up a “Happy Chanukah” to someone because they “look Jewish” is deeply offensive. Again, the greeting isn’t for you, it’s for them.

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A Finnish Yule Card

Offenses

What if you are the person offended by a misguided greeting? Suck it up. No, really. Most people don’t mean any offense when they say the wrong thing and should not be punished or made to feel embarrassed for it. Etiquette is all about making those around us feel comfortable. You can either graciously accept the greeting and return it or offer something neutral like, “Happy holidays” instead. NEVER reprimand or admonish a greeting and NEVER use a greeting as a verbal weapon, EVER! If you do, YOU are the Grinch, no one else.

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

Last year I was doing some Christmas shopping when I overheard a cashier give out a cheerful greeting, the woman to whom she was speaking promptly snatched her receipt from the cashier and snapped, “It’s (insert holiday here)!”. **Im intentionally leaving out the exact exchange for two reasons. #1. It doesn’t matter, slide in any number of greetings and retorts, but the outcome is still the same. The person rebuking the greeting was in the wrong. She was rude. Period. #2. I don’t want your personal bias, and we are all of us biased, to taint the way you view the transaction. A friendly, but (unintentionally) incorrect greeting was offered. It was rebuked. While the greeting may have been incorrect, there was no malice. The rebuke, however was full of malice, and therefor the one that violates the laws good manners. 

What if you have inadvertently offended someone? Apologize as you would any other time, even if the other party is behaving in a particularly nasty way, still offer up a sincere apology. “I’m terribly sorry. I meant no offense. I hope you have a very (happy, merry, etc)…” is a nice way to defuse a potentially uncomfortable situation. Don’t flog yourself. Apologize, smile, and them move on.

The holidays are meant to be a time of generosity and goodwill to our fellow man. We can all do our bit by just being friendly. I hope your holidays are full of laughter, good food, and good cheer.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours.

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Lighting the menorah with my little boy.

XOXO

Dolly Marlowe

 

 

 

 

 

Honoring the Fallen. Memorial Day Etiquette.

Hello Darlings!

The weather is warming, the flowers are blooming, and summer is nipping at our heels. It’s nearly time for BBQs and pool parties. For many, the three day weekend, known here in the USA as Memorial Day Weekend, is the unofficial kick-off to the summer season. Through the years and the BBQs and the extra day off work, the true meaning of Memorial Day has been lost. I cringe every time I hear “Happy Memorial Day”, a personal peeve of mine. In an effort to make the world (or at least my little corner of it) a more polite place, I’d like to share some important Memorial Day etiquette tips.

 

I have had the extreme pleasure and honor to work with some of the finest men and women on the planet, the men and women of the United States military. Through my charity work with the Pinup Patriettes I’ve learned a great deal about the sometimes complex  realm of military etiquette. Memorial Day etiquette, however, isn’t military etiquette. Memorial Day etiquette is something every single American should know. Sadly, the majority of Americans don’t know the first thing about Memorial Day, save for summer parties and store sales. Many Americans believe Memorial Day is a day to honor veterans and active duty military members. Not so. Memorial Day is the day that we honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country. We honor the fallen.

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The Pinup Patriettes volunteering at the Veterans + Labor food drive

Memorial Day was first observed after the Civil War when on May 30th, then known as Decoration Day, citizens would decorate the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers. Fast forward 100 + years, Memorial Day is now observed on the last Monday of May to honor the sacrifice of every American man and woman who have given their lives in the service of their nation. It is a solemn day, a sobering reminder of the cost of war and the price of freedom. So here are some Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind this Memorial Day.

Do observe Memorial Day. It is proper to say you are observing Memorial Day rather than celebrating it. There are many ways to observe the holiday and honor the fallen: attend a Memorial Day service at a local cemetery, watch a Memorial Day procession (sometimes incorrectly referred to as a parade), volunteer with a local group to place flags on the graves of fallen veterans, even attend a patriotic bbq or pool party, whatever you do, keep the true meaning of the day present. Remember, someone gave their life for your three day weekend.

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Memorial Day observances in cemeteries are becoming more and more scarce as people forget the reason for their three day weekend. If you have an opportunity to attend such a ceremony, do not pass it up. It is a powerful experience indeed.

Don’t greet anyone with “Happy Memorial Day”. Remember, it is a solemn day, a day of remembrance. One wouldn’t offer up a cheerful “Happy 9/11” or “Happy funeral”, but that is essentially what a “happy Memorial Day” greeting is. I’ve heard all kinds of defense of and excuses for offering such a greeting: “I’m celebrating the lives of our soldiers” or “I’m showing how happy I am for my freedom”. While I realize no malice is intended, keep in mind to those who have actually lost someone, this sort of greeting is very insensitive. Memorial Day isn’t celebrated, it is observed.

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Gold Star moms remembering the their sons lost in battle.

Do fly the American flag at half-staff. There are etiquette protocols for raising a ceremonial half-staff flag. The Flag is sharply raised to full-staff (the top of the flag pole), and then solemnly lowered to half-staff. The Flag stays at half staff (in a mourning position) until noon, then it is raised is up again to full staff as a promise by the living to lift the memories of the fallen, to never forget, and to carry on the fight for freedom and liberty. The Flag should then be taken down at sundown. If your flag pole is stationary and the Flag cannot be raised up or down, then you may show observance for the day by flying a black ribbon or sash from the top of the pole. Please be sure to show the Flag proper respect by following regular flag etiquette.

Don’t (accidentally) disrespect the Flag. This one in particular is for the pinup girls planning patriotic photo shoots. Old Glory is not a carpet, a cape, or a blanket. Do not sit on the Flag. Do not stand on it or let it drape on the floor. If you want to use the Flag as a prop, display it using proper flag etiquette. Show your patriotism by showing Old Glory the resect she deserves.

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A few of the Pinup Patriettes posing with American flags. Notice no one is sitting on them or using them as clothing.

Do take a moment at 3 PM to remember our fallen, to show your respect, to reflect. The National Moment of Remembrance is observed at 3 PM on Memorial Day. It is a moment where Americans, no matter where they are or what they are doing, stop to remember, observe a moment of silence, or listen to Taps. The Stater Brothers grocery chain officially observes the National Moment of Remembrance by making an announcement asking their customers to take that 60 seconds to honor the fallen.

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I have had the honor to sing at so many welcome home celebrations, Memorial Day services, and every sort of patriotic event imaginable. I can never get trough a song without choking up.

Don’t be obnoxious with the sales. This is really more for shop keepers, but it also applies to consumers. I love to save money just as much as the next gal, but mobbing the local boutiques or electronic stores for a holiday discount seems, well, in poor taste. I’m not saying you shouldn’t shop or take advantage of a good deal, just remember why that store is offering a sale. If you are a shop keeper, again, remember what Memorial Day is really about. Be respectful and sensitive about offering “huge Memorial Day blowout sales”.

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The Pinup Patriettes love hamming it up with fans and new friends, but we never lose sight of why we do the work we do. There are so many who never made it home, and we will never forget them.

Do know what holiday you’re observing. On Memorial Day we honor those who have died in service of our country. On Veterans Day we celebrate and say thank you to the veterans who have  previously served in the military. On Armed Forces Day we celebrate and say thank you to the men and women currently serving in the US military.

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My Mr and I took our little boy with us as we Hiked for Heroes. Educating our children will keep these important traditions alive.

Do buy Buddy Poppies from the VFW. Outside grocery stores (especially the afore mentioned Stater Bros.) you will likely see representatives from the VFW selling Buddy Poppies, buy one…or twelve. These traditional flowers of Memorial Day, inspired by the poem, In Flanders Fields, are made by disabled veterans and the proceeds go to veteran’s charities. “Honor the dead by helping the living.”

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A veteran salutes the flag with a Buddy Poppy in his cap.

I hope you’ve found this little etiquette piece informative. If you’d like to learn more about the Pinup Patriettes and what we do…or leave a much appreciated donation, please visit us at pinuppatriettes.com

XOXO,

Dolly Marlowe

 

 

 

 

A Lady on the Street or The Importance of Manners and Etiquette and Why One Should Care

Hello Darlings!

I do hope you are thoroughly enjoying the new year. I am quite excited about all the fresh new things going on in my life, both personally and professionally. I’ve received a great many requests to write a series on manners and etiquette, and now that I have the proper format, I am only too happy to oblige! The art of manners and etiquette is quickly eroding away as time progresses. One need only take a trip to the local Wal-Mart or drive in rush hour traffic to understand what I mean.
Sadly, when most people think of manners and etiquette they think of rules meant to dominate life; hard, cold, feeling-less things forcing us into social servitude. But the truth is manners and etiquette aren’t about us at all, they are about the people around us. They are a standardized set of behaviors meant to help us in unfamiliar territory. For instance, if one is invited to tea, but has never attended such a social gathering, manners and etiquette are there to save the day! With just a bit of coaching one will know how to hold a teacup, eat finger foods, and engage in polite conversation without offense or embarrassment. To quote Emerson, “Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices”. Indeed, good manners are devoid of selfishness.

“The true aim of all etiquette is the development of a kindly interest in and consideration for others.” The New American Etiquette

Etiquette guides us through all life situations: love and courtship, marriage, children, finances, social gatherings, even divorce and death. Etiquette is such an important aspect of life it is one of the first lessons we learn as children. As soon as we are able to speak, we are taught to say “please” and “thank you.” As tikes being introduced to social situations we learn to share, to take turns, and not to interrupt. Yet somewhere along the way we forget many of those lessons. We neglect to thank our server, we cut people off in traffic, we forget that we are not the only inhabitants in this great wide world. In this modern world of rush, rush, rush, I, I, me, me, ME we have lost the beauty of ritual, refinement, and grace.

I am thrilled to be able to introduce these things back to the world in whatever small way I can. Every month will feature a post on Manners and Etiquette taken from my favorite vintage resources and modernized a bit for today’s less refined world. I hope you will take what you learn in this series and share it. Think of it as Ms. Manners pays it forward. If there is anything you would like to see covered here or have a question about etiquette, please do drop me a line!

Time for Tea Photo by Margo Von Pigtails

Time for Tea
Photo by Margo Von Pigtails

XOXO

Dolly Marlowe