Failed New Year’s Resolution Solution

Mimi and Mademoiselle are always looking for inspiration.  We always make New Year’s resolutions, but it is at about this time in February, that we, like most folks get less motivated to fulfill our resolutions.  Be it diet, exercise, mindfulness, kindness or some other value or virtue we seek…it is hard to follow through.  We found an article from one of our favorite sites, Goop, that motivated us to think about the way we make resolutions and not be so hard on ourselves when we lose our motivation.  Shira Lenchewski’s article, Changing the Way We Think About Food, shows us how to change the way we think about food and empower us to eat better.  we may not be able to regain our willpower and meet our goals, but this article will make you feel better about the struggle.  Good luck!silly

All Brunched Out

Q:  My friends keep inviting me to brunch. Brunch to celebrate promotions, engagements or just for fun, it takes so long to brunch! I’m spending my Sunday’s mimosa-ing, munching and brunching! I’m curious, what’s the big deal with brunch?

Dear All Brunched Out:

“Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting”, as described in Britain’s 1895 Hunter’s Weekly, in an article entitled “Brunch: A Plea.”, describing brunch as a talk-compelling event, putting you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” I like to think of brunch this way, leisurely, relaxing and fulfilling. It is a result seldom seen from grabbing lunch or a weeknight dinner. Most people like brunch, its leisurely pace and comforting foods. But, if you are brunched out you can always make a polite excuse to skip it or make a suggestion for another day.

-MIMIhappy-wink

There is NO such thing as being brunched out in my opinion! Any meal where I can get eggs Benedict and/or pizza at the same time along with a Mimosa or Bellini is a great thing. Maybe you’re just brunching with the wrong people in the wrong places… because a great brunch cannot be beat. It’s a Saturday/Sunday ritual for me and my friends. It’s good for the soul, my friend.

-MADEMOISELLEangel

 

Happy 2016! Bon Appétit!

Cooking Books

Happy 2016 friends and followers!  We took a holiday break and are back to help you resolve to start the New Year living the #saysolife!

This year Mimi and Mademoiselle are going to continue to help you reach your healthy and gracious living goals by learning to cook! If you already know how to cook, we will help you expand your culinary horizons and domestic pursuits! Mimi and Mademoiselle believe that part of gracious living involves cooking and entertaining. Much to our chagrin, there are a lot of excuses today about not cooking or entertaining at home. Many seem especially defiant to embrace the art of cooking and feign helplessness in the kitchen. 

We find no viable excuse for not being able to properly prepare food and nourish yourself. Everyone should know how to cook a few things. If you learn to cook a select few items, preferably a breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner and dessert, you will eventually become confident enough to branch out and try cooking other things. In the great words of Julia Child, “you don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces –just good food from fresh ingredients.”

Mademoiselle gets the excuses and uses them frequently, but believes with a little effort you can learn to “source” fresh foods to make healthful meals a reality at home. She also believes you can impressively entertain without too much effort or expense. Mademoiselle has shortcuts and sources to make these and many other recipes quicker and easier by “sourcing” the required ingredients rather than making it all from scratch.

In our posts, Mimi and Mademoiselle share recipes and time saving entertaining and sourcing tips, so that even if cooking is not what you’re about, you will be able to master these recipes and cooking techniques. So, you can be the one to show up with something homemade at a party, feed yourself in a snowstorm or fix a meal for someone you love.

Our recipes are time tested and SaySo approved, but watch out…we are from the South. We eat meat, we like butter and cream and respect anyone who likes bread. Many of our recipes are old, and back then no one really counted their calories either! Yum! Our motto is just like Julia’s, “Everything in moderation…including moderation.”

If you want more inspiration for embracing cooking and entertaining at home, Mimi and Mademoiselle recommend:

 

Cooked by Michael Polland

Cooked by Michael Polland

 

Southern Food by John Egerton

Southern Food by John Egerton

 

A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg

A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg

 

The Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits Handbook of Etiquette and Recipes by Suzanne Pollak and Lee Manigault

The Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits Handbook of Etiquette and Recipes by Suzanne Pollak and Lee Manigault

 

Christmas Glassware

Q: I’m giving a Christmas dinner party for the first time! I have place settings for 8 of Spode Christmas dishes from my grandmother and flatware, but no glassware. Do you have a recommendation to make the tablescape special, but not break my Christmas budget?

Dear Serendipitous Spode Owner:

Yes! Congratulations on inheriting such a special gift that you will cherish and use forever. Likewise, making an investment in crystal or barware is always a good idea. You can most definitely pair the dishes with clear glassware that can be purchased virtually anywhere and at any price point, but if you want a special Christmas tablescape, we recommend you look for some of the lovely red or green glassware available from a variety of retailers.

Mikasa has French Countryside Ruby Iced Beverage glasses

Mikasa French Countryside Ruby

Pier One has the Spiral Line Stemware

Pier One Spiral Line Stemware

Target has Certified International’s Red (or Green) Wine Glasses and Goblets

Target Certified International Red Wine Glass

Replacements.com carries the ever-beautiful, but discontinued Cristal D’arques-Durand Antique Ruby glassware as well as some other red and green depression glass.

Cristal D'arques-Durand Antique Ruby

 

All of these are beautiful and for a setting of 8, they won’t break the bank!

-Mimi

Depending upon which Spode Christmas pattern you inherited you can really play up the colors. I might recommend alternating a red goblet for water with a green flute or wine glass. Spectacular! We liked all the glassware we found so much you can look at them (and a few others) under our Serendipitous Finds!

-Mademoiselle

The China Conundrum

Q: I am getting married and my fiancé does not care what dishes or china we register for, his only request is that everything be made in America. Are there even any American made china companies anymore? There are so many patterns and colors to choose from, what do you suggest?

Dear China Conundrum:

Yes! America does have great china manufacturers. Pickard is America’s oldest china and plate manufacturer. And Lenox has an extensive selection of china patterns. Both of these company’s china have been the choice of presidents, diplomats, aristocrats and the “best homes”.

Mimi’s advice would be to register an everyday china and a formal china. The everyday china should be white, only white because food looks best on white. The formal china should be traditional and something simple that you will never tire of. No trends, no bright colors. Mimi would choose a bone china with a simple decorative rim. You can dress up or down simple designs and get holiday or coordinating salad plates to liven up the patterns. Mimi’s favorite formal china pattern is Washington by Pickard.

Pickard Washington china

She applauds your fiancé for his choice of made in America! Go USA!in-love

Mademoiselle loves the made in the USA idea! She loves fun patterns and colors for everyday, but Mimi is right, food looks best on white or solid colors. Her personal made-in-the-USA choice is by Lenox. The French Chefs, paired with the Kathy Ireland Spring Bouquet, but I also love the Scalamandre Toile Tale in Sky Blue. Fun and functional!feeling-loved

Lenox French Chefs Collection

Lenox French Chefs Collection

Kathy Ireland Spring Bouquet

Kathy Ireland Spring Bouquet

Scalamandre Toile Tale

Scalamandre Toile Tale

Ghostbusting

Ghosting

Q: I’ve been in a relationship for two months. We’ve been hanging out together and talking about being exclusive. After dinner one night, he dropped me off, kissed me goodnight and I never heard from him again. Yes, I was “ghosted”. I’ve been thinking I did something wrong. It’s giving me so much anxiety and I keep thinking that maybe he’ll call. I’m confused and out of sorts and having a hard time moving on. Any advice on how to get over this?

Dear Ghosted,

This ghosting term seems to be getting  a lot of attention these days as dating manners, like many other types of manners, seem to be going by the wayside. What is even more interesting is that this act your generation is calling ghosting is the same as what we used to call getting “dumped”.  Uh… this is nothing new. Mimi’s been ghosted and done her fair share of ghosting, too. We just didn’t have cell phones to shield us from our bad behavior. Mimi literally left a guy with his dessert… deserted.

We all have different reasons why dates don’t work out, and the longer the relationship and the more invested you are in one another, the more the decision deserves careful consideration. I would like to think if you two were really “serious,” defined by Mimi as exclusive and have met both sets of parents, are socializing with both sets of friends, etc. that the person calling off the relationship should have the strength of character to give you a reason for the break up. Not only out of respect for you and the past relationship, but for closure for both of you. However, if this was a short term relationship, based mostly on social media communications and limited in person communication (the talking kind), then you were doomed from the start. Especially if you met on a social dating site. However rude or hurtful being dumped is, the person doing the ghosting or deserting is the one with the problem. They fear the responsibility of the relationship or they want to avoid the conflict involved with hurting feelings and avoiding conflict. In this case, it really is them, not you. Don’t be afraid of these ghosts, they are out there and you just need to be a ghostbuster! In the words of Marilyn Monroe, “pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick and pull yourself together.”

Mimifeeling-loved

Yes, ghosting is a reality. Let’s face it, in this age of technology, there is a disposable attitude about dating, and it has made getting dumped an easier, faster and more painless process for the ghosted. Is it bad manners? Yes. Is there anything we can do about it? No. All we can do is change our own expectations and behaviors in response to this reality. If a lot of things in your relationship don’t take place in person, then it’s not real.

Mademoisellesick

For more advice on the subject, check out The Psychology of Ghosting: Why People Do It and a Better Way to Break Up and “Ghosting:” the 21st Century Dating Problem Everyone Talks About, but no One Knows How to To Deal With.

Naughty Words

Swearing

Q: I’ve noticed a lot of young women cursing. My mother would kill me if she heard me use bad words! However, it seems to be much more socially acceptable for women (and men) to swear than it used to be. Is it still considered bad manners to curse? Are there any guidance for the occasional use of naughty words?

-Cursing Confused

Dear Cursing Confused: 

Most women (and men) grow up being told that cursing is lazy speech, crude, vulgar and even blasphemous. Emily Post once wrote, “Swearing does not express authority coming from the lips of a woman, nor does it add to the dignity of a man.” However, that was in 1945 and our culture has changed dramatically. It’s probably time to consider that since Post’s reign, our American sensibilities and spirit have also changed. It is clear that many words once considered dirty are now considered merely colorful rather than profane. I think it’s natural that we try and censor ourselves (particularly around children). We know that not all swearing is equal, and it’s not the words themselves that offend, but the way the words are used. We know angry, hostile, loud, aggressive or intimidating cursing is never acceptable and you never ever talk about private parts or private acts in public places.

However, Mimi imagines that most people, herself included, will use a good curse word. Either to let off steam or emphasize a point. There is even some science that backs up that using a curse word can make you feel better! Mimi went to law school with a bunch of dudes. Dudes who emphasized their points with lots of curse words. It’s an easy habit to fall into. However, it unfortunately remains a difficult balance for women to communicate with an expletive, emphasizing their points while not coming across as bawdy, crass or vulgar. If we learned anything from our post, To be or Not to be…”That Girl”, we learned that although women’s rights have dramatically changed for the better in most respects, cultural and male support for those changes has not caught up. So, is it okay to curse? Maybe. Cursing seems to only be acceptable for women when it comes off as charming, amusing or endearing. What does that mean? Well, I think it means occasional use. If you can effectively judge your audience, keep your voice down, and humorously and stylishly place them in your conversation, then by all means do so. 

Mimino-snitching

The under 30 crowd has a different cultural perspective on cursing, and although ladies believe they can and should do anything men do, the cursing thing can prove to be unattractive in both men and women. I believe there is a delicate balance, and my generation’s use of expletives is a bit of a paradox. For some, it is instant laughter-inducing camaraderie, and for others it’s instant disdain. Comedian Leighann Lord said, “Profanity is like a hot spice – it’s best used in small doses.” I think that if you know your audience and can carry it off in an effective and stylish manner, use a curse word if you want, but if it offends you, don’t.

Mademoiselle devil

Family Matters

Family

Dean Pollak is our advice guest this week, and her site is full of awesome advice for all of us to consider. Here is a reprint of a post she did last year on family. We thought it was particularly poignant as we embark into fall and all of the family holidays it brings. Check out her site for more advice and inspiration.

Our students have been on their own this summer, fending for themselves, because the Deans had pressing family business. The essence of what we preach at the Academy (gracious life well lived is a life where you don’t look back and have regrets) was borne out to us every day for the last three months.

Our trajectories were different. One of us was invited into several people’s families and one of us was tending to her own. Between us we experienced the full gamut.

The three things we learned:

A major family reunion is well worth doing, even if it’s just once.
What’s needed is major planning for meals and activities. To feed multi generations buffets are a must. An after dinner surprise of fireworks, music, or even a magician goes a long way to making the event truly memorable. Somebody in your family has artistic talent, we just know it. Ask that person to design a T-shirt or baseball cap as a permanent memento for the occasion.

If you were born into the wrong family of origin you can create your own idyllic one.
As we travel down life’s highway the Deans have met several people who are not close to the people to whom they are related. This is through no fault of their own; it’s like putting a square peg into a round hole. The Deans advocate you stop trying, and build your own family through your friends. There is no need to make a formal declaration of cutting anyone out of your life, the Deans never espouse cruelty, but if something isn’t working there is no point in endlessly trying. There are people you just click with, and by circumstance you are able to spend unstructured time together and lots of it. You live in a dorm, you have young children that need occupying, or you are bonded through a similar circumstance, such as a divorce.

When one of your parents is dying spend as much time as you can with them, since the time is short.
This might seem like the most obvious thing we have ever said, but you will never regret spending too much time with a loved one. Once they are gone it is common to regret not having spent enough time. This is a special time when listening is of the upmost importance. A dying person wants to tie things up, so this is not a moment to change the subject or allude to false hope that this is not happening.

Dean Pollakhappy

 

We concur!

Mimihappy-wink

Mademoisellein-love

To Be or Not To Be… “That girl”

Social Media

Q: I am entering my second year in college and it is hard to keep up with all the demands of class work, volunteer work, extracurricular activities, friends, parties, boys and more parties and more boys. In order to fit in, I’ve done a lot of things I said I would never do, my grades have suffered, as have my friendships. I’m lonely and unfulfilled. These late nights don’t even seem worth the time, just long nights of drinking and meeting boys that don’t seem to even want to go out on “dates”, just hook-ups. I’m tired of trying to be “that girl”, working to please everyone. Any advice on how to have fun, yet still maintain my grades and sanity?

Dear That Girl:

Mimi knows it’s a rough world out there when you leave home. Being without the support of your parents and old friends makes all these new opportunities even more appealing and urgent. Mimi is very sympathetic to your plight. The availability of social activity 24/7 increases your fear of “missing out”. And social media constantly makes you feel inadequate because of the faulty perception that everyone else is having a better time or has a better life. Not true. Your generation has a lot of interesting hurdles put in place by rampant social media use (and abuse). It is time you ladies mature up, recognize what’s important, and as we discussed in a prior post, reflect on the You, On View and make some goals for your future.

Mimi is not recommending that you become a nun and study 24/7. You can still have fun and go out and mingle, but make a conscious decision to limit it – with whom and how often. Set a weekly goal, based upon your responsibilities of what days are practical to go out. Mimi says no to Sunday through Wednesday. Then, when you do go out, set a goal ahead of time for how many drinks you can safely have to still enjoy the fun, but be present in the moment and observant of what is happening around you. Also, set a timer for when you should call Uber for a ride home. Mimi thinks you might be surprised what you observe about others if you limit your alcoholic intake.

Lastly, a few other Mimi thoughts:

First, healthy friendships and relationships are those that thrive outside of the social media realm, night life or bar scene. If a girl or a boy does not talk to you during the day, but makes friendly or romantic advances only at night, forget it.

Second, try and limit your social media following and use. It is normal and okay to post and tweet, but make sure you see it for what it is: just mini snapshots of everyone’s life, often highly embellished and creatively edited.

Third, for your own sake, remember why you are at school in the first place – to get a good education and take advantage of the opportunities that it will afford you. The idea that college is for an “MRS” degree, is positively prehistoric and an insult to you and all women. Many women have worked hard for you to have the opportunity to go to college, or are now working hard to get a degree or excel in their professions. Take yourself, and your education, seriously. Understand that only you can take care of yourself and only you can decide to change the path you’re on. I know all young women really want to be respected, responsible and make good choices. So lets take “baby steps” in the right direction. Start having important conversations with your friends about changing these social dynamics and concentrate on being the best you.  

Mimihappy

My quote at your age was, “Who was the idiot that thought putting a bunch of 18-year-olds together was a good idea anyway?” pretty much sums up what you’re feeling. As you can tell, Mimi has a lot to say about this issue, but our generation really is plagued by some serious social and dating issues. I think I’ve made every mistake a college student can make. I’m still alive and thriving, but these events, along with Face-Timing my parents while intoxicated, have sobered me up on many of these social issues, their use and abuse. Ironically, these issues are perfectly summed up in Vanity Fair’s recent article, Tinder and the Dawn of the Dating Apocalypse. I say we all read that article and make it a part of our conversation. I also think you should tell your parents to read it so that they understand the social and dating culture we are thrust into.

I’m all in for fun, but I’m also all in for me; my education and my well being. It’s tough to make these decisions, but after a few times of watching gross guys ogle or film girls dancing at a bar, you do start to think, “I think I have something better to do with my time.”  We have some interesting responsibilities thrust upon us as the first generation of social media users with a burgeoning array of dating apps. I say we stop making it so easy for these guys, refuse “those apps” and “those guys,” and tell the “Tinder Kings” and “F-boys” to get some manners and take us on a date.

Mademoiselleno-snitching

We love boys and we thought this issue might benefit from a guy’s perspective, so we asked the MDC to weigh in:

This is easy. Boys love girls. And given the opportunity, boys will hook up with girls. I will say for those of you who are interested in real relationships with real men, if a guy is on one of these sites, he’s already proving Darwinism still exists. He already cannot hack it in the real world. I could say the same for you girls on these sites, too. Let’s push this new messed up social scene into extinction. Real men and women don’t need these apps. Real men don’t treat women with disrespect. And ladies, you must begin to demand this respect if you want things to change. If you want real relationships, start by creating them. Stop being on the apps, start saying no and wanting less.

MDChappy-wink

Traveling Savior Faire – Revisited

Traveling Savior Faire

Once again Mimi and Mademoiselle have spent a significant part of their summer in airports! As we stressed in a previous post, travel requires good planning. Ironically, our first Q&A was from a newbie world traveler who wrote in and asked our advice for being a stylish and organized traveler. A perfect question for our first fashion post, but also timely now after our summer of travel abroad! We observed that most travelers were far from chic and composed. So here is some sage advice for organized and fashionable travel.

What Carry-on?

Mimi says it’s best to only carry one bag unless you simply must bring more and then two is acceptable. The purse or under seat bag should be one with lots of room and lots of pockets. Mimi’s favorite is the Louis Vuitton Totally MM with Eva clutch; it zips to prevent spills during take-off and landing. It also has an inside hook for the Eva clutch, that can double as an evening or cross-body bag. So versatile! The larger overhead bag should still be a soft sided bag, preferably duffel. Mimi uses the Louis Vuitton Keepall Bandouliere 45 (monogrammed, of course). Mademoiselle relies on the Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM, packed to overflowing! She rarely needs a second bag, but to be fair always puts her camera and extra’s in Mimi’s duffel.  If Louis Vuitton is not your bag, there are loads of other companies making great travel bags. Some of our favorites are listed below! 

What’s inside?

Mimi likes lots of little travel organizer cases or bags, one for make up, one for jewelry, one for electronics, one for meds and one for snacks. Mademoiselle concurs! Please use our travel necessities and incidentals checklist!

☐ Identity Documents and Foreign Currency (if necessary)

☐ Travel Documents: Itinerary, Hotel and Ground Transport documents

☐ Business or calling cards

☐ Glasses/Sunglasses

☐ Small make up kit (Remember: <3oz)

☐ Travel Size Brush (maybe even some Dry Shampoo!)

☐ Headphones (or earplugs)

☐ Chargers and charging cords

☐ Camera

☐ Sleep app (White Noise is an M&M favorite) 

☐ Socks

☐ Pashmina or sweater

☐ Reading material

☐ Hand sanitizer

☐ Kleenex

☐ Mints or gum

☐ Snacks

Optional Incidentals:

☐ Hair ties (Emi Jay’s are another M&M favorite)

☐ Packable beach bag

☐ Packable Flats

What should I wear?

We highly recommend being a stylish traveler. Plus, studies show if you’re nicely dressed you’re more likely to receive an upgrade! Can you say business class to Paris? Oui oui! We were a bit shocked by the number of travelers in bad t-shirts, sweats and pajamas. While we remember the Mad-Men/Pan-Am days when travel used to be a privilege and everyone dressed up, we recognize that Spanx and heels are a bit impractical for modern day travel and security requirements. We stress – you do not have to sacrifice comfort for style!

Pack your heels. Wear flats. Get “no-show socks”.

If you need heels at your destination stash them in your overhead carry-on bag. Any heel, no matter how comfortable, becomes unbearable when walking close to a mile for your gate. Our solution is to wear a cute flat, paired with a no-show sock. With all the security hubbub and shoe removal we are all grossed out by the thought of our bare feet sharing germs with everyone else’s bare feet, but it’s not an excuse to wear tennis shoes with your outfit. Do not wear sandals, especially gladiators, shoes with buckles, boots, or strappy heels and please, leave the crocs, flip-flops and Chacos at home. 

Mimi almost always chooses Chanel Ballet Flats, Mademoiselle prefers the Chloe scalloped ballet flat or the Tory Burch Reva. We also think Cole Haan’s Grammercy Oxford Cap Toe is too cute, comfortable and stylish. A cute Jack Purcell, La Coste or Prada tennis shoe can be a smart and casual exception. 

Wear layers with pants, boyfriend jeans or leggings.

It’s generally hot in the airport and cold on the flights. Mimi’s go to outfit this summer was a Vince linen drawstring beach pant and striped raglan cotton sweater.  

Mademoiselle’s choice was a Rag & Bone blazer and blouse with a comfortable Hudson stretch black jean.

Both outfits were comfortable and looked perfect even after eight hours of flying. Non-exercise leggings and oversized shirts with a blouse and cardigan or a lightweight sweater over a fashion tee is another excellent choice. On long flights be careful choosing jeans, make sure they are stretchy and non-binding, like the Current Elliot “boyfriend jean” or Mademoiselle’s favorite, the Hudson NICO cut jean. Hours in a pair of tight jeans can be miserable and bad for your circulation!

Here are a few additional Carry-on suggestions to check out:

Cuyana 

Lo & Sons 

Mark & Graham 

Longchamp – Le Pliage