Route Talk

On Friday I was in the car with my husband listening to the podcast, This American Life, where the producer’s mother was on the show discussing her list of the “Seven Things You’re Not Supposed to Talk About.”  Maria Matthissen (the mother) claimed these topics were off-limits to conversation because they were boring, uninteresting, vulgar, dull or self-indulgent. The seven things are:

1. How you slept
2. Your period
3. Your health
4. Your dreams
5. Money
6. Your diet
7. Route talk

The majority of the show consisted of Sarah (the producer) trying to convince her mother that these seven topics could, in fact, be interesting by presenting her with stories for each topic and then having her mother rate them.  In the end Sarah’s mother won, but I did think the story Sarah dug up about sleeping in space, as told by an NASA astronaut, was pretty cool.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about this segment a lot lately because I know many of us talk about these things all the time! I’m sure I’ve talked about most of the items on the list within the last week.  Didn’t I mention on Monday I was battling a cold?  Whoops! Sorry about that. So, after listening to this podcast and thinking about it very carefully, I’ve decided to be more conscious about the seven items:

Sleep, periods, diets and health matters are now reserved for the doctor.

And perhaps dreams as well, depending on what kind of doctor you see.

Money should never be discussed, unless you’re at the bank.

And route talk is only for police, detectives, and FBI agents who may be questioning you in a high-speed car chase investigation.

What do you think about these seven topics?  Off-limits? Boring? Interesting? Self-indulgent? And please, unless I got abducted by aliens on the way to your house, smack me if I ever start any “route talk”!

Modern Girl Monday: House Guest Rules

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My home for the week

Now that summer is finally in full swing, I know I am just dying to get out to the local beaches and lakes with my friends and family.  But sadly I don’t own a house by the beach or lake, so I’m usually a guest at someone’s house. And while it is so nice and relaxing to get away from daily life, there are some rules to being a good house guest!

1) Clean up
This should be a no-brainer, but I’ll just go ahead and mention it first anyway.  Make sure to clean up after yourself!  Put your dishes in the dishwasher (even if the host puts theirs in the sink!), keep your room and bathroom tidy, and don’t leave your belongings everywhere.  Leave the space cleaner than you found it!

2) Entertain yourself
If you’re visiting for more than just a day or two, give your hosts a break from entertaining you and do something  on your own.  Go for a walk on the beach or a drive into town. As much as they love having you, everyone needs their own alone time!

3) Don’t poke around
Most hosts and hostesses will say “make yourself at home” or “help yourself to anything you need,” but just because someone has opened their house to you, doesn’t mean you can poke around everywhere!  If your host doesn’t leave a set of towels for you in your room, ask where they are before you start opening cupboards and closets. If you wake up before your hosts and you’re starving, don’t head to the kitchen and start making a mess– pour yourself some OJ and sit on the porch with the paper until they are awake.

4) Thank your host/hostess
Be sure to explicitly thank your host/hostess for inviting you into their home. I also like to bring a little something along, just a small token to show my gratitude. The gift varies depending on who I visit, but it might be an outdoor plant for their patio, a nice bottle of wine, or something a bit more personal like this adorable monogrammed cheese board.

Of course this isn’t an all-inclusive list.  Use your best judgement (and common sense!) and think about how you would feel if the roles were reversed.   And don’t forget to have fun!

Mademoiselle Manners

Petit Jour Paris is the most adorable little company that makes plates and cups for little grown-ups-to-be! The plastic flatware shows pictures of little princes and princesses with cute phrases to remind them how to act at the table.  I saw these sold in museums when I was in Paris, and I just thought they were so adorable that I purchased a little coffee mug to leave on my desk for my pens and pencils.

assietteprincemangepasaveclesdoigts-z

I don’t eat chicken with my fingers…

assietteprincessesilteplait-z

I always say please and thank you…

I think these would have been way cool if I had them as a child. Who wouldn’t want to be a prince or princess?

Modern Girl Monday*

audrey

You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him.
-Audrey Hepburn

Audrey was definitely a modern girl of her time. And the above quote was her way of saying, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. This may very well be the simplest, yet hardest thing to do. I’ve said it before–misery loves company and we more easily bond with others over gossip and negativity!  I am certainly not perfect, but I try my hardest to bite my tongue when caught up in idle chatter.  It’s not easy, especially when its another party who is bringing up the gossipy subjects–so I try and change the subject as soon as possible.

I suppose the root of the issue is that gossiping and talking about others can make us feel better about ourselves. However, a shiny new pair of shoes or a pedicure makes me feel better about myself too.  So next time I need a pick me up– I’m going to call my manicurist to make an appointment instead of calling a friend to gossip!  Bad for my wallet, but definitely good for my soul!

*Apologies for Modern Girl Monday becoming a Tuesday this week!

Modern Girl Mondays

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A Victorian etiquette book from 1892

A few years ago, I pretty much tried to rebel against every type of traditional rule (or even a traditional thought!) with the idea that they were all too archaic and old-fashioned for such a modern girl like myself.  Remember the scene from Father of the Bride when Annie’s fiancé buys her a blender and she completely flips out thinking the gift carried some 1950s housewife expectation message?  I totally got what she was thinking!

We all know that most of those traditional rules are a little dated for the 21st century.  And that’s where Modern Girl Mondays comes into play!  Every Monday I’ll take one a well-known, yet old-fashioned etiquette rule, fashion issue, tradition, etc., and modernize it into something that today’s modern girl can appreciate, understand and apply. We all want to be classy and fabulous, but what that means today is different than what it meant 5o years ago!   So, stay tuned for our first Modern Girl Monday on May 13th!

Don’t forget about the #BBBos giveaway!  Deadline for comment entries is tonight at 12pm EST and the winner will be announced tomorrow!