Monday, September 26, 2011

“Manners Monday” – Making Family Dinners Fashionable

Sitting down to a family meal together as a unit has certainly become a thing of the past.  The old image of mom whipping up a multi-course meal perfectly dressed with a neatly pressed apron and matching pearls while dad and the children wait patiently at the table with napkins in lap and impeccable posture are gone, or at least forgotten.  The days of wrapping up work by 5pm in order to be home in time for dinner with the kids has become virtually impossible. With the rise of two income families and the increase in extra-curricular activities, dining together as a family is definitely more difficult than it used to be and the reverberations are felt far and wide.

Experts have spoken about the significance of the family meal for many years.  Family meals have been found to have the strongest influence, more than any other family activity, over a broad range of positive behaviors. Studies have found that family meals help lower incidences of eating disorders in female adolescents, help promote better learning in children and help improve communication with parents and siblings.  Now Columbia University’s National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse has shown that regular participation in family meals significantly reduces the risk of adverse behavior in teens.

The study revealed that teens who share in regular family dinners feel a greater sense of belonging, security and stability and are less likely to partake in tobacco, alcohol or marijuana use than their counterparts. They spend more time with their parents overall and enjoy more stable relationships with their family members.
To encourage families in their efforts to arrange family dinners with their loved ones and keep their children out of trouble, CASA Columbia has instituted a national movement called Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children ( Launched as a grassroots effort in 2001, it has now grown to a nationwide initiative that is celebrated on the fourth Monday in September (today, the 26th.)  Ten years later, Family Day, has gained the support of such major corporations as Stouffer’s and the Coca-Cola Company and is supported by the President and all 50 U.S. governors. 

As an etiquette expert, I am forever holding the flag for regular family dinners because I know the myriad of benefits a dinner together can provide.  However, I don’t just want to stand on the soapbox, I want to make the dining experience something more, something fashionable, something that all children and teens will clamor to do for the evening. Now, I’m not talking about fashionable in the sense that everyone must come to dinner in a jacket and tie or knee length dress, I’m talking about making family dinners fashionable as in hip, cool and trendy. Like the “must” thing to do with your family!  To increase the chances of motivating your family in the right direction, we have devised a list of tips we hope you'll find useful!

Lay down some gentle ground rules.  A few friendly reminders for the family must be employed to guarantee everyone is present and ready for the experience about to take place. Make sure the television is turned off, all cell phones are put away in another room (or at least on vibration mode) and that everyone has washed their hands and looks presentable for dinner. 

Set the tone from the beginning.  Create ambiance if possible. Set the table using cloth napkins, real dishes, silverware and glassware.  Light a couple of candles if you wish.  Put on some soft background music.  This will automatically create atmosphere and will hopefully inspire everyone to conduct themselves with grace and poise at the table for the duration of the meal. 

Seize the opportunity to introduce good health habits.  Sitting down to a family dinner together is an excellent time to establish good health habits with kids.  Whether a meal is homemade or store bought, the menu should be creative and incorporate items from the various food groups.  Educate the children on the value of eating whole grains, buying Organic and incorporating a salad or vegetables with every meal.  If the parents eat these foods, the children will follow suit and learn to love them at a young age.

Allow a chance for everyone to slow down and connect.  Family dinners offer the perfect setting for family members to sit down with one another and really connect. They provide an opportunity for each person at the table to talk about their day, the highs, the lows and everything in between. Do not use the meal together to nag or scold the kids, rather look at it as an opening to engage them in pleasant conversation. The idea is for family members to interact naturally and openly communicate on a number of subjects that interest them.  
Display your finest dining skills.
  This is an excellent time for all members of the family to practice their best dining manners.  Everyone should sit at the table with good posture and both feet on the floor. Napkins should be placed in the lap folded in half lengthwise for maximum coverage. Use the napkin to wipe your mouth or capture a sneeze or cough. Hold utensils continental style with the fork in the left hand and the knife on the right remembering to pierce your food with your fork, push it on with the knife and then bring the food into your mouth fork tines down. If you have to excuse yourself from the table, young children should ask permission to be excused and older children should use the words “excuse me.” At the completion of the meal, napkins are placed on the left side of the place setting.

Continue the fun even after the meal is complete.  If everyone is having a good time at the table and all homework is complete (or it is a weekend night), the family dinner can continue even after the meal is finished.  Board games or a good old-fashioned game of cards or charades is an excellent, not to mention entertaining, way to bring the family together and continue the fun at any age.  Games provide more opportunity for face-to-face communication and add an element of friendly competition into the mix.

Ease into a schedule and give it some time.  Do not feel pressure to gather the troops for 4-5 nights of dining together at first.  Begin with one night a week and increase accordingly. What’s more important is the quality of your experience together, not the quantity.  With a little luck, all family members will look forward to these special nights in which everyone comes together face-to-face to connect, share and engage on a multitude of levels.  

Do you incorporate family dinners into your regular regimen at home? Share with us. We'd love to hear from you! We also highly recommend picking up a copy of The Family Dinner by Laurie David. It is a fantastic resource filled with great recipes and imaginative ideas for bringing the family together.

Monday, September 19, 2011

“Manners Monday” – In Defense of Cursive Writing & Snail Mail

Over the past year, two developing news headlines have left a particularly prickly thorn in my side.  Two stories that are simply another indication of the challenges we face in the 21st century and the direction we are travelling in as a nation. The first jeopardizes one of our country’s oldest institutions and questions the way we deliver communication and the second impacts our children’s school curriculum and the purpose and use of writing instruments.  

I am referring to the numerous articles surrounding the United States Postal Service and the accumulative debt that threatens to shut it down entirely this year (unless Congress takes immediate action) and the movement adopted by forty-two states that no longer requires the teaching of cursive handwriting as one of the standards students will need to learn before college.

These perhaps seemingly unrelated issues are actually inexplicably linked as the skill of cursive handwriting is often employed to formulate handwritten letters which are then mailed through the U.S. postal system. Unfortunately, both are now under scrutiny and face extinction as we continue to veer away from these traditional systems in favor of increased use and dependence on computers. 

I don’t know about you, but I am adamantly opposed to the removal of cursive handwriting in the schools and thank goodness, the State of California agrees opting to re-include the instruction into student’s curriculum.  I can’t imagine not knowing how to write beautiful script and being able to compose a letter incorporating my own personal style of loops and lines. After all, nothing is as gracious as the written word. With many new electronic ways to communicate, it takes a special effort to put pen to paper. 

I also am a fierce advocate for the preservation of the post office.  I cannot fathom the thought of living in a home without a mailbox, not being able to receive a special invitation in the mail for a birthday party or have the latest Vogue issue delivered right to my door.  I absolutely love getting the mail. It is exciting (well most of it, not the bills part!!).  You never know what surprise you might find and there is just something different about holding a piece of paper or a catalogue or a magazine or an invitation in your hand that has some permanence, some extra everlasting value, that you can refer back to time and again, that I totally appreciate. 

Now I know there will be a fair share of naysayers who think I am totally un-PC and wasteful and everything else opposed to the environment, but I don’t care.  I’m holding my ground on this one!  For those that subscribe to my old school style, here are some great tips on good old-fashioned stationery etiquette and the art of letter writing.  

Stationery Etiquette.  In today’s world of electronic communication, the ritual and art of letter writing by pen has become almost extinct.  Yet, it is the thoughtful handwritten letters and cards from our loved ones that we keep in a special drawer to refer back to year after year.  Developing this tradition takes a real kindness and compassion for the other person and requires much care and attention from the inventory of stationery that is chosen, to the type of pen that is used to write the letter and even the choice of postage.  All of these elements play an important part in the art of letter writing and should be valued and appreciated.

Getting Started. Create a special place for the supplies needed to write a letter or note. Purchase an inventory of stationery and note cards that reflect a particular interest or exhibit your personal style. If you are creative, you may wish to embellish your notes with decorations from a craft store.  Collect an assortment of writing instruments in various colors to choose from and make sure they have plenty of ink. Add a calligraphy pen for more elegant handwriting.

Proper Letter Writing.  A simple format begins with the date in upper right hand corner, followed by the salutation.  The body of the letter is next.  The letter ends with a nice closing and signing your name. 

Personalizing Your Letters.  A letter is meant to embody a bit of your personality not only in the words, but in the stationery you choose and in the handwriting.  Often these letters are saved and read by others and may be put on display.   As a result, the message should be clear and succinct, and proper spelling and grammar should be used.  Everything about the letter is a reflection of you. 

Writing Thank You Notes. A thank you note is one of the most important letters to write.  Writing a well-expressed thank you note takes practice and is an ideal occasion to show someone that you appreciate the effort they expended. A thank you note consists of 3 parts: saying “thanks” at the beginning and end of the note, naming the gift, event or act of kindness that you are acknowledging, and including a unique detail or high point to describe your thanks.  A thank you note ends with an appropriate closing and signing your name.  Thank you notes should be sent promptly within 48 hours. 

Mailing Invitations.  A mailed invitation provides insight into the party or event that will be taking place.  It is a preview that lets you know what to expect.  Written invitations are always preferred. Avoid fill-in-the-blank invitations as they allow for little imagination. Make sure to include the what, where, when why and suggested attire. Invitations for birthday parties or other small gatherings may be mailed 2-4 weeks in advance.  More formal celebrations or special occasions require a longer lead time of 6-8 weeks.

Letter writing skills will always be necessary. Although technology has become increasingly important and typing skills have become the preferred method over the teaching of handwriting, there is still a relevance to learning penmanship and practicing cursive. If we don’t make an effort to re-integrate handwriting into our schools and everyday life, technology may cause it to disappear forever.  The same goes for our conventional mail system due to the rise of email and other forms of electronic communication.  So join me in turning the tides and break out your stationery and your card invitations and let's start writing!  Buy some decorative stamps and pop those puppies in the good 'ole reliable U.S. Mail!!  

Do you share our sentiment about cursive writing and snail mail?  Let us know.  If not, state your case. We're listening.

Red Carpet Manners at the 2011 Emmys – “Sue Sylvester Delivers a Solid”

Emmy winning actress, Jane Lynch, may not want to quit her day job as the sarcastic and sardonic, Sue Sylvester, but she certainly ruled the stage as this year’s mistress of ceremonies at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards. Dressed elegantly in flowing gowns designed by David Meister to fit her towering six foot frame (after triple Spanx!), she seamlessly scurried from pre-taped skits to live stage performances to lightning speed dress changes and managed to throw in some very funny jokes, a Jersey Shore parody and a gentle poke at the gay community to boot!  There were no major flubs, no trips or falls (although I was a little nervous when the two gentlemen lifted her in the air for her big stage number) and no blatantly offensive moments a la Ricky Gervais.  All in all, she delivered a solid performance worthy of an invitation back just as long as she remembers to write a thank you note to Mark Burnett and Fox for the extraordinary opportunity.

This year’s show, presented on the Fox Network, promised viewers a hipper and edgier version of the normal Emmy fare. After all, Fox’s demographic skews younger than the other networks. However,  nothing particularly stood out for us as edgy (and believe me we were looking!) other than the musical medley performed by “The Lonely Island Boys” that had them gyrating in the audience while singing about sex and perhaps the slightly edgy Ricky Gervais cameo describing his exile from American soil for his inappropriate and offensive behavior as host of the Golden Globes and let’s not forget Charlie Sheen.

Before we launch into our red carpet manners capturing the various highlights and low points of the show, we must give a nod to the night’s biggest winners. It’s no surprise that “Modern Family” swept the comedy category providing it’s cast and crew with a total of five wins.  The British period piece, “Downton Abbey,” took home six awards and AMC’s critically acclaimed “Mad Men” won for the fourth consecutive year in the dramatic category. For a more comprehensive list of winners, click here.

Red Dresses Ruled the Red Carpet. The major trend at this year’s Emmy’s was bright red to match the red carpet.  Celebs from Kate Winslet to Kerry Washington, Sofia Vergara to Kathy Griffin and a whole host of television personalities from Nancy O’Dell to Guiliana Rancic, donned beautiful red gowns that hugged their sillouettes.  Yardage, as in how long is your train, played a very big role on the red carpet along with comfort. Countless actresses were commenting on the comfort factor and how important that was in making the final decision on their dress.

Here Come the Boobs.  I was seriously concerned for Julie Bowen, who appeared so thin that I thought her dress was going to malfunction and accidentally reveal a breast.  As well, Kate Winslet got us nervous as she ran up the stage to accept her award.  She was running so fast, I was sure that one or both of her breasts weren’t going to make it.  As always, Christina Hendricks put them out there for all the world to see (and apparently enjoy), in contrast to Sofia Vergara, who actually had them tucked nicely into her stunning Vera Wang gown. 

Skinny Minis.  My apologies for ripping on the talented actresses' figures, but these stunning ladies are starting to look emaciated and haggard. Believe me, I understand, I love it when someone tells me I look skinny, but Hollywood is taking it too far.  For some, the red carpet arrivals are beginning to look like the arrivals of the walking dead. Julie Bowen, Paula Abdul, Guliana Rancic, Annie Ilonzeh, Kathy Griffin (yes, I said it), Christine Baranski and Jennifer Westfeldt, eat a donut for goodness sakes!! I have to admit, I much preferred the healthier looking body types of Sofia Vergara and Kate Winslet. These ladies have gorgeous figures, they exude style and confidence and it shows!

The Emmytones.  In theory, the throwback to the 40’s live stage shows with the acapella group standing by singing lovely tunes may have sounded like a good idea, but I do not think it worked tonight. I also did not understand the selection of actors and actresses that were chosen. Were they closet singers on the side?  Do they have outstanding voices? The whole thing made no sense to me and seemed to be a waste of precious air time.

Can You Say Winning? Jane Lynch’s introduction in which she declared, “I was this next presenter’s therapist and I apparently suck!” was one for the record books! Television is apparently very forgiving and when Sheen took the stage to present the award for his old category Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series, the audience applauded. Before he announced the nominees however, he politely paused to say a few words to his former cast mates, “From the bottom of my heart, I wish you nothing but the best this upcoming season. We spent eight wonderful years together and I know you’ll continue to make great television.” The big question of the evening though was whether this was a sincere, heartfelt apology or a forced, rehearsed expression of regret.  I suppose we’ll learn more after tomorrow night’s premiere with Kutcher fulfilling his new role in Sheen’s old shoes.

Beauty Pageant Moment.  One of the highlight’s of the evening was when some of television's best and brightest comediennes spontaneously gathered (well not really, it was rehearsed) on stage to support one another in the category for Best Actress in a Comedy Series. Watching Amy Poehler alongside Melissa McCarthy, Martha Plimpton, Edie Falco, Tina Fey and Laura Linney join hands in solidarity as each of their names was called in classic beauty pageant style was priceless. When Melissa McCarthy won the category, the ladies adorned her with the ceremonious flowers and a crown.  Later on in the evening, Poehler and McCarthy went on to poke fun at men in television and gave them advice on how to break the glass ceiling, reveal a little skin and sleep their way to the top!

Classic One-Liners.  There were actually quite a few memorable one-liners from the night that are worth repeating and remembering. Julie Bowen after winning Best Actress in a Comedy exclaimed, “I don’t know what I’m going to talk about in therapy next week!”  Jeremy Piven making fun of Mark Wahlberg’s successful producing career snapped, “HBO, also known as the Mark Wahlberg channel.” Steve Levitan receiving kudos from a gay couple who told him, “You’re not just making people laugh, you’re making them more tolerant.”  To which his response was, “They’re right, we are showing the world that there is nothing wrong between an old man and a hot young women and looking around this room tonight I see many of you agree! Jane Lynch quote during Mad Men skit, “This haircut costs more than your house.”  Betty White describing her dress to Ryan Seacrest, “I’m wearing a put together from the back of my closet.”  Julianna Margulies in her acceptance speech to her husband exclaimed, “I love being your good wife and I am so grateful you have no political aspirations.”

Two Men & Their Sexy Acceptance Speeches.  Steve Levitan and Guy Pearce both intentionally and quite hysterically got into some pretty hot water with their wives while referencing their day jobs and explaining the hard work (wink, wink?) that goes into creating television.  First, Steve Levitan, opened up to the audience about the real life inspiration for the “Modern Family” episode in which the parents are caught in the act. When the camera panned on his embarassed wife, her expression was priceless. He then later thanked his “somewhat satisfied wife” which prompted a second deadpan look to the camera. Then later in the evening, Guy Pearce who took home the award for “Mildred Pierce” had these sentiments to share, “I got to have sex with Kate Winslet many, many times.  I didn’t realize it would result in this.  So Kate, I share this with you for allowing me to insert myself into your world of Mildred and to my wife, Kate, who had to listen to me talk about that every day when I came home from work.  Thank you, my darling and I’m sorry."  Looks like both men may need to take a trip to the jewelry store and soon!

And there you have it.  That’s all folks!  Any comments you would like to share from last night’s show?  Let us know.  We’d love to hear from you.   

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Manners Monday – On the 10th Anniversary Remembering 9/11 – "Dignity in the Face of Disaster"

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, it was an otherwise typical morning.  I was 6 months pregnant and lying in bed with my husband. I didn’t get much sleep the night before as I was already carrying about 30 pounds plus extra baby weight on my 4 foot 11 inch frame and peaceful slumber was not part of the program.  When the clock finally struck 7:00am, I figured it was okay to turn on “The Today Show” and let the day officially begin. 

The phone rang shortly thereafter.  I never like phone calls early in the morning, or frankly anytime late at night, because it is never a good sign.  My father, who was sitting at the Coffee Bean, frantically called to tell me to turn on the television because the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane and was about to collapse.

My heart immediately fell into my stomach.  What I witnessed across the screen was almost too much to bear. Like everyone else who woke up that morning thinking it was just another regular day, I was totally blindsided by the disastrous vision that was unfolding before my eyes.  I was not physically in New York City, the place of my birth, but the emotion was just as raw and unnerving as if I were standing on the streets of Manhattan watching the world collapse right in front of me.

As the newscasters reported each new catastrophic development from the frontlines, the pain in my stomach increased. By this time, the news had broken that the airline crash was not an accident, but a sheer act of terrorism against our country. I immediately began to worry about the health of my baby. What kind of world was I bringing he or she into?  Was Los Angeles the next big city target?  Was I going to send myself into early labor because of the stress?  After a couple of hours with my eyes glued to the television, I finally had to turn it off and meditate to some relaxing music.  It was all too overwhelming.  Thankfully, as the days went on the pain in my stomach subsided and three months later I gave birth to a healthy baby girl. 

Ten years later, as we memorialize one of the worst days in American history, we also celebrate a great country that honors the heroic men and women who risked their lives and displayed unbelievable dignity and bravery during a time of enormous need. Their courageous stories, their incredible calm, and their collective strength of steel will forever be emblazoned in our hearts.  

Whether you choose to attend a memorial, say a personal prayer, raise a glass, or do something charitable to observe this 10th anniversary, be sure to pay your respects with thoughtfulness, sensitivity and consideration by following our helpful guidelines below.  

Fly a Flag.  In 2001, the House of Representatives declared, September 11th “Patriot Day” to recognize those  “who serve in the military, those who travel to dangerous places in the name of freedom and all those who work here in our nation to ensure our safety.”  In remembrance, all American Flags should be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset. U.S. flags on state buildings should fly at half-staff from Friday morning until sunset on Sunday.  With regard to flag etiquette, the flag should never touch the ground, it should never be written upon, no other flag should fly above the U.S. flag and flags in poor condition should not be displayed.

Show Your Patriotism.  If you are attending a memorial on this day, dress appropriately for the occasion.  9/11 is a somber and patriotic event so colors that are subdued or that represent the American flag in shades of red, white and blue are a wonderful way to show your spirit.  Americans are encouraged to wear a flag pin on their lapel even if they are unable to attend an event observing the anniversary.

Lend Support. Suffering a loss and experiencing grief is a very personal process for the victim. Although the wounds are not fresh, some individuals may recall feelings of loss or depression. To show your support and offer comfort, simply be available and let the person know you are there for them.  Get physical. A hug or embrace may be just the thing they need to alleviate some of the pain they are suffering.  Propose assistance with errands, grocery shopping or watching the kids so that they may have some additional alone time to remember and grieve.  Listen and empathize. Sometimes, all we need is someone to hear us and then we can move on. 

Do Something.  How each individual decides to commemorate this day will vary.  Some will make a plan to unite with friends and neighbors to reflect on how America came together ten years ago, others will observe with personal reflection during a religious service or donate their time to an organization or charity.There are numerous ways to get involved from Viacom's, national day of service campaign that asks, "What will you do to remember?" to countless 9/11 events happening across Southern California. I plan to  attend the unveiling of the Beverly Hills 9/11 Memorial Garden with my family.

Just for Kids.  The 9/11 anniversary raises the question of how to address tough topics with our children.  Parenting website, Mamasource, offers a perfect solution with easy to follow advice.  

Monday, September 5, 2011

Manners Monday – “White After Labor Day? – Don’t Fall Prey to Fashion Faux Pas

When I think about the Labor Day holiday, I confess that the images that come to mind are not of laborers toiling away in the trenches or standing on the picket lines fighting for their rights. I admit that I do not view the holiday as a day of observance to rest or look at it as a final opportunity to party with friends and family before summer officially ends. When I think about Labor Day, I associate it with one thing and one thing only, the marking of the very last day of the year in which it is acceptable, and fashionable, to wear white.  

This same time each year as the holiday approaches, I find myself in a panic scrambling through my closet looking for white dresses, white pant suits, white flowing tops, any significant white piece of clothing I can get my hands on as a last ditch effort to make sure it is worn before the clock strikes midnight.  It’s not that I’m desperate to get rid of my white clothing as much as it has become almost a symbolic ritual, a purging of sorts, that helps me transition both mentally and physically from the light and carefree days of summer into the more industrious and diligent days that make up the fall season. 

Historically, white garments were associated with a look of leisure reserved mainly for the privileged.  They were a status symbol for the fortunate souls who were able to change their clothing with the season.  Many of the well-to-do adorned themselves in white linen pant suits, light cotton shirts and white panama hats as they escaped their sweltering city dwellings for more appealing climates.  When they returned from their vacations, they would deposit their summer duds and circulate a wardrobe that consisted of darker, heavier material.

So is white alright after Labor Day or is it considered a fashion faux-pas? A true fashionista does not burden themselves with such frivolous questions. They beat to their own drum and do not worry about working within the confines and constrictions of the majority. Consider for example, Coco Chanel, one of the greatest fashion icons of all time, who balked at the notion of banning white after Labor Day and made it a permanent staple in her wardrobe. 

In fact, a shade of white that is universally accepted after Labor Day is known as winter white.  Winter white is considered very much on-trend during the winter months with its slightly creamier shade of white and heavier fabric.  The fashion magazines sing its praises and dedicate pages of styles after Labor Day to the cozy look.  

This week not only celebrates the Labor Day holiday, but it also initiates the beginning of Fashion Week in New York and celebrates the third annual Fashion’s Night Out in major cities across the globe.  So whether you dare to prolong wearing white or not, you’ll feel confident stepping out at one of these fabulous events celebrating fashion. Confidence is, after all,the number one best accessory and it goes with everything! 

Fashion’s Night Out.  FNO, for those in-the-know, is a global initiative that began in 2009 as a way to encourage consumers to shop and show their support for the fashion industry during the tough economic climate.  Sponsored by Vogue Magazine and the CFDA, the event is now in its third year and is celebrated in cities all over the world from Paris to Milan, New York to LA.  The after-hours shopping extravaganza will take place from 6pm to 10pm on Thursday, September 8th here in Los Angeles with events occuring everywhere from the valley to downtown and Santa Monica.  I’ll be attending the event in Beverly Hills.  The city will pull out all the stops closing down Rodeo Drive and erecting a 4-story Ferris wheel that will provide complimentary rides to shoppers with a proof of purchase.  The 3 blocks of the famed street will boast 76 fashion events from the participating stores,15 gourmet food trucks and a chance to win a Cirque du Soleil package that includes dinner, overnight accommodations and tickets to see IRIS at the Kodak Theatre. For a complete list of happenings around town, click here

New York Fashion Week. Sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, New York Fashion Week begins this Thursday, September 8th.  The semi-annual event takes place each year in February and September mainly in Bryant Park. Founded in 1943, New York Fashion Week was created for fashion industry insiders who were unable to travel to Paris during WWII to see the French fashion shows.  As a response, New York Fashion Week featured American designers for fashion journalists who had previously ignored their designs. Today admission is by invitation only and is reserved for the fashion industry, fashion press, fashion bloggers and other assorted celebrity A-listers. If you’re heading to New York and lucky enough to receive a coveted invitation, here’s a complete lineup of the shows,

Do you view the changing of seasons as an opportunity to break out new wardrobes? Are you sad to part with your summer whites?  Share with us.  We'd love to hear from you!