Are You Politically Correct?

Q:     In this election year everyone is posting and talking about politics. I am surprised at the number of people who flaunt and argue their positions on social media and at social gatherings. It makes me uncomfortable and I thought it was taboo to talk about politics. Have the rules on discussing politics changed?

Dear Politically Puzzled:

The rules have not changed, but social convention has. There are a myriad of articles that discuss how social etiquette adapts to changing norms of society. Although it does appear that “society” finds it permissible to openly discuss and even flaunt our political affiliations, Mimi thinks this is one deserving of the a hit to the “pause” button, literally and figuratively. The rules on discussing politics are firm. There remains no etiquette book or consultant that says “discuss politics as you would the weather or in polite social context”. Leave it to the sanctity of the voting booth! Unless you are at a political event or being interviewed for a political site or article, DO NOT discuss politics at the dinner table, social events or work! Not at holidays, weddings or when meeting anyone for the first time.  NO. NO. NO. NEVER.

-Mimi no-snitching

Mademoiselle agrees with Mimi, but tends to understand that the younger set is a little more liberal. So, although I too, am in the NO category, if you do decide to engage in political conversation, I would offer that if someone else brings it up, be polite, stick to the facts of general knowledge politics (candidate stance or headlines) and quickly change the subject. If you are asked your opinion, state it and move on, agree to disagree. If others get heated and want you to join in, use Mimi’s magic one word response – “Indeed”. I read somewhere that the best political conversation is one where the participants can ask each other questions to learn more. So, if you are with what you consider “like-minded” friends, by all means discuss and learn. But, recognize the “mine-field” you are entering and if you feel like there is a path, take it, but do so at your own risk.



Are You Swimsuit Ready? Detox and De-stress Your Body



In four weeks, or Memorial Weekend, we all have to be swimsuit ready. Ugh. Mademoiselle always gets into the spirit of summer with her favorite detox, Blueprint Cleanse.  We have featured it before, but it is worth mentioning again.

Mademoiselle swears these are the best way to reset your system after serial indulgence or to set yourself on a new path.  There are several cleanse options: the Renovation (for beginners), the Foundation (“Middle of the Road” ) and Excavation (“Digging Deep”) and the new Invigoration (baby steps) or Inspiration. Mademoiselle does the Foundation and finds it satisfying and easy to stick with. Mimi likes the taste of them all, and replaces breakfast or lunch with them when she is on the go. They have a sampler so you can test out the flavors and pick the ones you like the best! They are easy to order, shipped professionally and you can even order a nifty cooler bag for on the go.

UnknownMimi has always had her doubts about detoxing, but one of our favorite sites, Goop, delivered a convincing article on the detox subject.  We think you should check it out.  In addition, to a regular detox, keep yourself fit and maybe even a bit thinner – try the Super Elixir.

The Super Elixir, marketed as “a highly specialized alkalizing greens supplement with vitamins, minerals and trace elements to assist wellness and vitality,” was developed by 80’s model, “the body” Elle MacPherson, a leading nutritional expert (who seems at 52, to be reverse aging). The website and published information list the ingredients and explains why the Super Elixir is so good.

Mimi and Mademoiselle are here to tell you if you can get used to drinking “greens”, or rather your vitamins, you will feel and look better. We both use it daily, but be forewarned, despite its representations of “great taste”, it is definitely an acquired taste that requires some getting used to. Or rather, tolerating it because of its quick, noticeable benefits. We tried all of the ingestion recommendations: water, coconut water, almond milk, juice, fruit smoothies, oatmeal, etc. Mimi prefers to take it “as a shot” with 4 oz. of water to get it over with as fast as possible. Mademoiselle uses the Super Elixir “hydrator bottle” with filtered water for “shake and go on the run”. We tried some other “green powders” and this was by far the best tasting of the bunch, but sorry, Elle, but neither of these options makes it taste any better than what we describe as grassy with a hint of bubble gum, but…stick with this…the results are amazing!  We both look better, sleep better, feel better and have fewer aches, pains and maladies. Mimi, as she is old, swears it lessened the number and severity of her headaches, evened out her hormones and improved her complexion. Mademoiselle says among other benefits, it is her secret hangover cure.  

Their new Nourishing Protein powder is also amazing and delicious!Unknown-2







Feel and look better in a swimsuit this summer and all year long!in-love

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.


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.



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 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!


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!


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



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.”


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.


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


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. 


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


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!