Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Wednesday Wisdom - Rescheduling Puts People in a Particular Pecking Order


Rescheduling of any kind puts people in a particular pecking order. Whether we’re postponing a meeting with a prospective client or rearranging a rendezvous with an old friend, our priorities are made clear by whom we choose to keep appointments and whom we believe it’s okay to defer for another time.  When it comes to rescheduling a work meeting or a plan with a friend, better think twice before you accidentally offend. The gravity of the excuse can make all the difference. In certain circumstances, you may choose to share a white lie to spare someone’s feelings and other times we have a genuinely legitimate reason for canceling such as an illness or accident. 

How you communicate your message also matters. What delivery method you use – will it be a text, a call or an email – demonstrates the level of respect in the relationship.  For social engagements, I always advise my clients to pick up the phone. A pleasant tone of voice is vital to letting someone down easy.  When it comes to rescheduling a business meeting, an email should suffice.  One of the unwritten rules in Hollywood, however, and really with anyone is ‘3 strikes, you’re out!’ The 3rd time is NOT a charm when it comes to rescheduling.  If you are canceled on three times, call it quits. No point in pursuing that person, they’re deemed totally rude and you move on.  I learned the hard way this rule also applies to doctors.  I had been putting off a colonoscopy and rescheduled my consultation with the office three times.  The day before my third appointment when I was finally committed to going, the doctor’s assistant called and canceled. Apparently, doctors don’t like getting snubbed either!

Most beauty services from hair and massage appointments to facials and bikini waxes require 24 hours advice notice to reschedule without being charged. If you neglect this rule, you must be prepared to make payment.  I never reschedule my hairdresser, but she reschedules me all the time to take care of her many A-list clients.  I am always devastated but completely at her mercy as no one else can handle my tresses with such expertise. Does it pain me to have to handle the reschedule gracefully?  You betcha, but I have to act graciously, especially if I wish to continue having her do my hair. 

Rarely is a reschedule completely benign, but it is possible if both parties are happily amenable to the idea.  There are those occasions where you made a plan or a set a meeting and you’re really not in the mood or ill-prepared, but you don’t want to be the one to initiate the change.  If the universe is working in your favor that day, one person will reschedule and the other one breathes a sigh of relief and all is right with the world.



Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day 2018 - Me & My Shadows


I spent the day before Mother's Day visiting with a high school friend sipping on champagne and reflecting on motherhood in scenic Los Olivos.  We sat curled up on the burnt orange cushions of the outdoor furniture with the sun beaming down and nary a care in the world, Her kids with the babysitter and my girls' miles away at home in Los Angeles with dad.  

There was no one to ask me to make them lunch or do their hair or put money on their credit card or drive them to the beach or take them emergency shopping at Sephora for a friend's last minute birthday gift. I was spending 24 blissful hours taking a break from being a mom.  We enjoyed a full day of strolling through the town, wine tasting, vintage shopping, and eating till our hearts were content. 

After swapping stories about our work, my husband, her online dating after divorce, and our parents the conversation came full circle to where it always winds up - with our kids!  She has 7-year-old twins and my girls are fully developed, teenagers. Despite the fact that we are both driven entrepreneurs who spend almost every waking hour thinking about our work, we were both over-the-moon grateful for the best gifts we could have ever received - the blessing of children.  

As I lay my head on the silk pillow I brought from home and tucked into the trundle bed of my friend's daughter last night, I smiled a deep sigh of satisfaction.  Like a Cheshire Cat with a mischievous grin, I felt like I won the lottery having been blessed with two amazing daughters who are beautiful both inside and out and who make me proud on an (almost) daily basis.  Sharing in the minutia of their lives and having them come to me with their most intimate of problems makes me feel needed and that they can trust me to help them navigate through the rollercoaster of life.

Watching them shine with such grace, warmth, and humility is like a dream come true.  They are far from perfect, but they are intrinsically good people.  I love them more than life itself and I am filled with gratitude on this day celebrating mothers that in some small way I am on the right track and doing a decent job. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Super Bowl 2018: Unstoppable Patriots or Underdog Eagles - Game Day Etiquette for Spectators & Fans


Super Bowl 52 is just hours away and more than 100 million people will be saddled in their seats watching every punt, tackle, and fumble.  This year’s game between the underdog Philadelphia Eagles and the unstoppable New England Patriots is certain to be one of the most watched television events of 2018.  With a predicted coldest temperature on record, fans will be nice and toasty indoors at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Spectators both at home and in the stadium are gearing up for every over-priced commercial and home-made delectable dish.  I’m particularly excited about the half-time show sponsored by Pepsi and fueled by high-powered superstar talent Justin Timberlake, one of the most consummate performers of our time. The night’s lineup will kick off with Leslie Odom Jr. who is sure to belt out a heart-wrenching rendition of “America the Beautiful” followed by Pink making her Super Bowl debut to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Today as you get ready to cheer on your favorite team while consuming massive amounts of food and guzzling unimaginable quantities of beverages, remember to stay mindful of those around you.  The NFL players aren’t the only ones being held under a microscope, don’t be mistaken, your nearest and dearest are holding a close lens on you too.  Before stepping foot out the door, here's how to best mind your manners this Super Bowl 2018.

Arrive on Time and Bearing Gifts.  Official start time isn’t until 3:30pm, but many parties will begin well beforehand.  Whatever you do, plan your arrival before kickoff so hosts will not feel compelled to welcome you and interrupt their viewing. Do not show up empty-handed. BYOB (the good stuff please!) or break out your stellar 7-layer dip recipe and you’ll be the life of the party.

Keep it Friendly.  Sunday is a family day so children are typically in tow.  Keep the atmosphere friendly and comfortable for everyone.  Reserve the foul language for the street when you’re walking to your car at the end of the game and monitor your alcohol intake so you don’t embarrass yourself and regret your behavior the next day.  

Acknowledge the National Anthem.  The moment you hear the music play and Pink hit her first note, it’s time to stand up straight, remove all head coverings, and place your hand firmly on your heart.  Regardless of your personal political feelings, standing for the National Anthem is nothing but a sign of respect and as a citizen living in this great country. It is a unifying act that unites us as a people.  As such, all conversation should cease, but singing is encouraged right along with Pink until the very last word is sung. 

Pay Deference to the Screen. Super Bowl fans want sufficient screen time, but there are always those who are more interested in making conversation than watching the game.  If there are multiple screens, station yourself in the room where you'll cause the least disruption. If you can’t find a seat or feel compelled to stand and shout for your team, just make sure those behind you can still see the game. And for goodness' sake, no giant hats or wild accessories that will prohibit the view.

Stay on Topic. On Super Bowl Sunday, the dialogue should be on the game. Know your facts beforehand so you are well-versed in the teams that are playing and the host city.  Learn the vernacular, know the difference between a touchdown and a field goal.  You want to be able to bond and converse with everyone.  This is not the time to bring up a serious conversation, mention a grave illness or ask for a job.  Super Bowl Sunday is supposed to be fun. Keep the tone light and breezy and pay attention to the ball.  Here’s a complete glossary of everything you could possibly want to know for game day terminology.

Avoid Being the Know-It-All.  You may be the type of person who thrives on knowing every minute detail about the two football teams and the players, and you may enjoy spending hours researching the commercials that will be shown during the game, but that information is best kept to yourself.  Today is not the day to sit on your soapbox espousing your knowledge. A know-it-all is a big turn off. 

Display Good Sportsmanship.  Wearing your team's jersey’s and caps, painting your body to show your support, showing the love by cheering them on is all perfectly fine.  What will not fly on Super Bowl Sunday is shouting expletives at the television screen when your team misses the ball or picking a fight with your neighbor because he did a victory dance for a touchdown for your opposing team. Remember you are not playing in the game, you are just a fan.  Don’t make it personal.

Don’t Bet the Farm.  There are more Super Bowl pools than I care to imagine.  Know your limits.  If you’re an out of control gambler, designate the set amount for your bet before you leave the house so that you cannot be coerced into contributing more than you can afford.  There are plenty of pools to choose from and not all require a $500 ante.  You certainly don’t want to dip into your child’s college fund for a silly square on the football grid.    

Absolutely No Double-Dipping.  With flu season taking such a terrible turn this year, double-dipping has never carried more weight.  As George Costanza made infinitely famous on Seinfeld, if you take a chip, you get only one dip and then end it! Rather than risk spreading unwanted germs and a lecture from the double-dip police, place a handful of chips on a napkin or small plate then use one large chip to scoop extra dip that you can then enjoy with the remaining chips. 

Avoid Cutsies at Buffet Line.  Inevitably, there will be one coveted line with the short rib pizza or the crispy rice sushi that everyone is going to flock to. Whatever you do, please wait patiently for your turn. If you see friends further up, resist the urge to move even if they are waving you in with permission. It’s not their call and the others behind you will be most appreciative.

Leave No Trace Behind.  Be a good guest and clean up after your mess.  All those beef rib bones, leftover cold nachos, and ketchup-soaked napkins aren’t going to deposit themselves. Before making your way to partake in more witty repartee, do a complete 360 and leave no trace of trash behind. 

Compliment the Chef.  Super Bowl Sunday is the second most popular eating day after Thanksgiving and food plays a major part in the enjoyment.  Hosts spend weeks preparing the special menu of finger foods typically based on the two playing teams’ hometown favorites. A compliment to the chef lets them know they satisfied your every need.  

You, Gotta Give Thanks. Of course, it goes without mentioning to make sure you thank the host before you leave and follow up with a nice handwritten thank you note the following day.  Your graciousness will not go unnoticed.

Now go and enjoy the game!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wednesday Wisdom - Five Ways to Avoid Talking Turkey at Thanksgiving




This past week I've heard nothing but phrase for Thanksgiving. It is probably one of the most beloved holidays of the year.  Practically everyone looks forward to sitting down to a sumptuous feast surrounded by family and friends.  Whether the guest list is comprised of crazy blood relatives or an eclectic mashup of companions and co-workers, one thing's for certain, Thanksgiving provides us with an opportunity to share in each other's company and feel grateful without the pressure of giving anything but our time and our presence.

Bearing this in mind, the best thing we can do for one another on this day devoted to giving thanks is to hold our collective tongues and avoid talking turkey at all costs. No need to speak frankly and please leave your passionate one-sided opinions at home.  Trust me, they'll be there waiting for you when you return. The Thanksgiving table is not the time to rehash terrible atrocities or stand on soapboxes of any kind.  Our cup is full after what has seemed like an endless stream of outrageous scandals, senseless crimes, and unforeseen disasters.  On this day we can take a break from getting to the meat of the matter and focus instead on what's truly important - the sides - those kindler, gentler exchanges that guide our conversations and drive civil discourse.  To ensure your Thanksgiving is free of controversy, here are five ways to avoid talking turkey at the table this year.  

1. Make it a formal affair. To create harmony at Thanksgiving, create a more formal atmosphere. Set the tone of the Thanksgiving meal and keep things cordial by encouraging all guests to dress for the occasion. They will be much more inclined to be on their best behavior and turn on the charm than if they had arrived in their stretchy sweatpants and comfy sweaters.


2. Keep atmosphere light and breezy. It is a well-known fact that humor is the best remedy to loosen things up and relieve a tense situation. Levity is definitely the way to go with those guests who are wound up too tight. If the air is so thick you can cut it with a knife, put on a fun holiday movie, crack a few jokes or encourage a spontaneous game of charades which is always guaranteed to make people laugh. This should help alleviate the tension and hopefully make everyone forget their troubles (at least for a while).

3. Refrain from pushing each other's buttons. Family members and close friends are acutely aware of just the right button to push that might trigger another guest even on their best day. Bite your tongue, count to ten, run a lap around the block, do whatever you can to abstain from saying the wrong thing that may potentially ruin the entire occasion. You have the control and it is within your power to hold back, smile and rise above the situation.

4. Compliments are better than criticism. When we relax and are truly present for one another it is easy to find something nice to say that will make the other person feel good and loved during this time of year. Compliments are always well-received. It doesn't have to be anything earth-shattering, but it should definitely be authentic. After you pay a compliment, you may be pleasantly surprised by a normally restrained guest who now feels more inclined to pay you a compliment in return.

5. Find something to be thankful for. Recognize the obvious and be thankful for the small things. Being invited to someone's home or hosting a Thanksgiving meal is a blessing in itself. For older relatives in attendance, this may be their last. You never know what the future holds so cherish each moment together, appreciate each other and concentrate on the positive, unique attributes. Finally, before you gorge yourself with the Thanksgiving feast, go around the table and say one thing you are thankful for and maybe even one nice thing to each person at the table. This will bring instant connection and warmth to everyone in the room and isn't that all we really want anyway?

Monday, November 13, 2017

Manners Monday - Petiquette: 8 Tips for Civilizing your Furry Friend at Holiday Time & Beyond


In Beverly Hills, it’s quite commonplace to treat your pet like a person.  They are a bona fide member of the family attending power lunches, going to the salon and staying in the finest hotels. They hide inconspicuously in Hermés totes and parade down red carpets with equal ease.  They’re accustomed to accompanying their companions on shopping sprees at Neiman Marcus and finishing the day dining al fresco at The Ivy. 

Whether your pet is living the high life in a tony town or enjoying a more laid-back lifestyle by the beach, they must learn to be civilized and socialized just like the rest of the clan. To ensure your furry friend makes a positive impression, follow these recommended rules of petiquette guaranteed to keep them on their best behavior at holiday time and beyond.

1. Observe Pets Presentation. They say many pets resemble their owners. You’ll never see a disheveled or unkempt pet in Beverly Hills.  Just saunter through Saks on any given Saturday and you’ll see an assemblage of pets expertly coiffed, dressed to the nines, smelling like a rose in brand name carriers. These owners will have ample supplies on hand, wipes for muddy paws, portable water dishes with filtered water to quench thirst and resting pads for getting some shut-eye.

2. Approach with Caution.  Not everyone is aware of how to properly approach a pet.   Big, excitable or aggressive dogs must be tethered or leashed in the event a small child or elderly adult decides to get close without a formal introduction.  Want to get up close and personal? Ask permission from the owner first and then proceed cautiously.

3. Be Mindful of their Mess.  My aesthetician told me about a client who routinely brings her pet to the salon only to leave small presents on the bathroom floor for others to clean up.  This is not only unsanitary and could cost the salon its license, but it is inexcusable.  Rule number one is clean up after your pet's mess.  Have your scooper and small bags handy to remove said offenses immediately. Don’t let your pet relieve themselves anywhere, certainly not on other people’s property. Walk them curbside and encourage them to ‘go’ there.

4. Train them Young.  Obedience training is a must for all dogs.  It is for their safety and yours.  Simple commands such as how to ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ are a necessity and will help socialize your dog so that they can be around others.  Even dog lovers get annoyed when a pooch jumps and claws at them when they walk through the door. 

5. No Barking or Begging Zone.  Excessive barking can be a big nuisance and be upsetting to those within earshot.  Don’t risk a noise complaint from next door. High strung pets who live in smaller quarters should have a regular exercise routine to release repressed energy.  A little fresh air and running around will exhaust them and calm them down so they will not bark unreasonably.  Begging is unacceptable and can also spread germs. Never feed a dog table food and if begging ensues, remove them immediately from the scene.

6. Travel Companion or Therapy Animal?  As many a non-disabled person will circumvent the law and obtain a handicap placard for easier parking, there are those that claim their pet is a service animal so they may travel first class.  Pet Partners® has never been more popular!  If you have an emotional or physical disability and are in need of a therapeutic travel companion, I understand. Have your applicable paperwork, tag and license on hand. If not, please don’t subject the rest of us to your service pet antics, it is not very becoming.

7. Preferable Pet Sitting.  Don’t burden your family and friends with the responsibility of watching your pet when you leave town.  If they are interested in babysitting your pet while you’re away, they will let you know.  Neighbors make a nice option, especially if the relationship is reciprocal and you both leave at different times. Otherwise, enlist the help of a professional pet sitting service.  Check references and make sure they are insured and bonded before dropping your unsuspecting pet at their door.

8.  Love Me, Love My Pet.  You and your canine may be attached at the hip, but that does not give them license to tag along to your social engagements or accompany you at work.  Many people are allergic to pet fur. Untrained pets may damage furniture or permanently stain rugs leaving a wake of destruction in their path.  Showing up with yours unannounced can be considered incredibly insensitive.  If you are in a bind with your pet, have the courtesy to ask permission and wait for the green light.  Be gracious and make sure your pet is on their extra-special best behavior.

Don't forget to shower your pet with lots of love along with a treat or toy to reward them for their hard work.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Manners Monday - This Halloween Bring On The Sweet Treats & Give the Tricks a Much-Needed Break


In honor of National Candy Corn Day, this Halloween let's focus on on the sweet treats and give the tricks a much-needed break.  Lord knows we all could use it. The past couple of months have been a particularly challenging time in our country from the disastrous hurricanes and the terrible atrocity in Vegas to the Weinstein sexual harassment scandals and the Russian controversies, we've had our fill of nasty tricks, thank you. it's time to bring on a few welcome treats!  

As you prepare to set out on Halloween night in search of the best candies to fill your stash, please take a moment to review these helpful tips. They're guaranteed to keep the most ghastly goblins or ghouls in line.

Ditch the Clown Costume. As far as costumes for children, the general rule is that they be age appropriate and kid-friendly. The movie "It" served to solidify the already universal panic surrounding menacing clowns, therefore these costumes are still banned from schools and parties. Political outfits are as popular as ever with Trump costumes filling the shelves, but politically incorrect outfits or extremely scary horror costumes are never acceptable. Ask yourself one simple question, "Is my costume disrespectful or would it offend or scare another person at the party?" If the answer is yes, then find an alternative choice. 

If You're Old Enough to Drive...Trick or treating is a tradition reserved for younger children who look forward each year to dressing up in their favorite costumes and going door-to-door to receive unlimited amounts of sugary treats. Most teenagers typically lose their interest, but if you're sixteen and still stomping around in your scary costume, it's time to turn in your pumpkin bucket.

Treatin' In N Out of the Hood. It is perfectly acceptable to travel outside one's own neighborhood, particularly, for children who live in a canyon without sidewalks or who live in a neighborhood that is less than child-friendly. However, if you do decide to leave your hood, the next best thing is to trick-or-treat with a friend in their area or find an alternate place that feels comfortable and familiar. Wherever you choose, be respectful of lawns and gardens and use the sidewalks or pathways leading up to the front door. If a house is dark and all the lights are turned off, this is a signal that the family is not participating in the ritual or may not be at home.

Hosting & Ghosting Halloween Parties. Anyone with a birthday in October knows how much fun it can be to have a Halloween party. If you are hosting, be gracious and provide ample treats and entertainment for your guests. Encourage everyone to come dressed in costume to help set the tone for the party. A little spooky music adds to the fun. Make sure to be a good guest as well. Don't ghost your host by not responding to an invitation and never show up empty-handed. Bring a birthday gift or host gift for the party-giver as a thank you for including you in the festivities.

Safety First on the Night of Fright. Begin trick-or-treating at dusk while there is still some light for safety. Sidewalks and lawns lined with electrical cords can be dangerous. Come prepared with flashlights to make sure you do not trip or fall. Have supplies on hand for emergencies. Keep a couple of Band-Aids and Neosporin in your pocket should minor accidents occur. Make sure to look both ways before crossing the streets. Although there are more pedestrians out than usual, it is still dark and drivers may not see clearly. Adults and children should stick together at all times. There is nothing more treacherous than trying to track down a small child in the pitch black of night.

Tricks within Reason. Halloween is meant to be fun, but never at the expense of others. Contrary to what we might see on television or in the movies, it is not an opportunity to toilet paper a neighbor's front yard or throw eggs at their front door. It also does not give one free reign to steal or damage pumpkins or other decorations. It is wise to stay away from anything that could potentially cause property damage as these types of pranks are not only dangerous but illegal. If pranks and tricks are a must, try creating an imaginative fun house or haunted house for your friends and other guests to experience.

Teal is the New Orange.  NOTE FOR KIDS WITH NUT ALLERGIES: The Teal Pumpkin Project is a new organization designed to raise awareness for kids with peanuts and tree nuts food allergies. If you see a Teal colored pumpkin, it is a signal that a home is handing out non-food treats. Whether a non-food or candy treat, teach children to be patient and polite and limit themselves to one piece unless more is offered. Remind them to say please and thank you and try not to crowd or stampede the doorways. 

General Halloween Etiquette Tips. Halloween is a perfect "training" time to teach children how to mind their "P's" & "Q's." After just a few house visits, your two-year-old will be an expert! At least one parent should accompany all children up to the age of twelve. Trick-or-treating should generally end around 9pm as most families with children and older adults are preparing for bed by that time. Parents should check the treats of the younger children before they eat them. Children should never eat anything that is handmade, unwrapped or specially prepared unless they personally know the family.