The Rules of Life by Richard Templar (Credit: Story of Bing website)
Admittedly I watch reality TV much to the dismay and bewilderment of a few family members and friends. They can’t seem to understand why I would waste my time watching this “type” of programming. In my defense I feel that at the end of a long day, it’s nice to sit back and partake in mindless entertainment. However, I have recently questioned my participation in watching what I’m now realizing is a slow and dangerous digression in human behavior.
After watching shows like Real Housewives of New York, NJ, Beverly Hills, Bridezillas, Jersey Shore, Jerseylicious, etc. I wonder about the example these “celebrities” are setting for the younger generation. While I am able to decipher between what is right and wrong in the treatment of others, perhaps those that are younger might not be able to and assume what they are watching is considered acceptable behavior.
Jersey Shore - The Situation throwing a woman out of his bedroom
As I watched a few episodes of the Jersey Shore, I was horrified at how one of the cast members who calls himself, “The Situation” spoke to and treated the women he met. His complete lack of respect for these women infuriated me. This guy apparently has a sister too! I wonder if he would appreciate some other subhuman treating his little sis like that! However, I must say that the “women” cast members out do the “gents” with their vulgar language and frequent bar brawls and one night stands. With the majority of viewers between the ages of 15 – 28, this seriously scares me. I know a few 13 & 14 yr. olds that watch and LOVE this show and this age group is young and impressionable.
Bridezilla Karen and her bridesmaid berating a hard working seamstress
For women between the ages of 20-35 there are the two very popular shows: The Style Network’s Jerseylicious and WeTV’s Bridezillas. In Jerseylicious we get to watch two hairstylists scream and claw at each other for what seems to be extremely trivial issues. There is such a lack of civility and respect between these two employees, I wonder if there really is a manager/owner at the Gatsby Salon where much of the show is filmed. In Bridezillas, we watch brides berate not only their friends and family but all of the vendors helping them achieve the dream wedding day they have held on to since the age of 5 years old.
All I can say about Bravo’s Real Housewives brand is that these women are old enough to know better. Flipping tables, hair pulling and cat fighting amongst women who are supposed to be successful, educated women is out of control! Many of these women have children so how do they feel that this is the legacy they will leave behind or be remembered by? I find it so interesting that while they talk badly about one another to each other, they find success in writing books on “etiquette.” Really?
With each new reality show, the stakes seem to get higher for over the top bad behavior so that ratings sore and these individuals are definitely delivering. My question is at what cost? We are creating a global platform for the acceptance of mistreatment to each other!
So what do you think? Do you think these reality TV shows are negatively impacting society’s behavior towards each other?
Oops! Probably shouldn't have said that! Photo courtesy of www.zazzle.com
How often have you been at the receiving end of an unfiltered thought and it has either hurt your feelings or made you angry? I know I have and it leaves me wondering if that person was being intentionally cruel or just clueless. I typically give the person the benefit of doubt but lately I (along with a few of my fabulous friends) have encountered such a lack of “filtering” going on that I’m writing this blog to help people understand why it’s important and necessary to filter their thoughts.
To ensure we are all on the same “blog” page here, I want to define what I mean by “filtering” since there are multiple meanings. One of Webster’s definitions used in verb form is “to flow slowly; trickle” and this is the one we will use for the purpose of this article. When a thought comes to one’s mind and the initial reaction is to blurt it out without any regard for consequences (someone’s feelings) please remember this definition and apply accordingly. Think, process slowly, and let it trickle to your mouth in a slow manner so that the insensitive part of your comment or remark is filtered appropriately.
I recently had a conversation with a few female friends and we discussed the lack of “filtering” that people seem to exhibit these days and it’s baffling to us what some people feel is acceptable to ask or say. For example, before I was married, I was asked repeatedly by relatives and acquaintances “Why aren’t you married yet?” “What is wrong with you?” “Are you a lesbian?” Yes I was asked about my sexuality at a kid’s birthday party held on a Sunday early afternoon on Long Island (about an hour or so outside of NYC and two trains later). Instead of thanking me for coming out for this kid’s party, I was asked this question while on the buffet line! I guess because I didn’t feel the need to ask a random guy to a kid’s party, my sexuality came under question. Now that I’m married (4 yrs), I’m of course asked about why we don’t have children yet? Do you want kids? Do you have fertility issues?? And so on. It’s interesting to me that most people steer clear of talking politics because it’s considered a somewhat private topic but everything else from dating to marriage to children is considered fair game for discussion.
So in honor of all my fellow “peeps” that have had to endure an unfiltered remark, question or conversation, I’m jotting down a few of the more commons questions that should be considered off limits to ask.
1. Are you dating anyone? Are you going to get married?
If your friend or family member is dating anyone seriously, trust me, they will tell you. If they aren’t, they don’t need to be asked repeatedly as it could be a sore subject for them. And if they are dating anyone seriously, don’t ask about when they plan to marry. They might be fine with never getting married and that’s OK. However, if your friend or family member thinks it’s time to get married and he or she hasn’t popped the question, this is a sensitive topic so don’t ask.
2. When do you plan to have children? Do you want children? Are you trying?
Really people? This is a topic that is extremely private and should be kept that way. You never know if a couple is struggling with this issue. However, some couples might not want to have children and aren’t comfortable saying it out loud because there is at times a judgment placed on adults who come out and say this. For some reason, their character is questioned because they consciously opt out of procreation.
3. How old are you?
Never ask anyone how old they are. Age doesn’t define a person and most people are uncomfortable with giving out that information for fear of being judged about where he or she is in their stage of life.
4. How long have you been unemployed?
Being unemployed in this economic climate is frightening and stressful so asking for the precise months (or years) someone has been collecting unemployment only makes that person feel worse.
5. How much do you make? Or how much did something cost?
Why would it be necessary to know this information?
These are just a few of my top offenders for lack of filtering. Do you have any to add? Would love to hear them!
Growing up I was taught to send thank you cards to those who were kind enough to give me a gift for special occasions such as a birthday, communion, graduation etc. or performed an act of kindness that my parents felt warranted a thank you note. While I didn’t look forward to this ritual I did learn the importance and meaning behind it and as a result, it has helped me both personally and professionally.
Sending a thank you doesn’t just apply to gift givers but also includes acts of professional kindness such as a client referral, a business introduction, or an interview. Taking a few minutes out of your day to craft a nice thank you note will most definitely set you apart.
I’ve recently become surprised at how many people no longer think it necessary to send a thank you note; for anything! I cannot determine if it’s because of the perceived “casualness” of today’s society and people view thank you notes as a more “formal” task or is it that people just don’t know any better?
If you believe that a thank you note / email / phone call is “old school” and not necessary in today’s world, here are 5 (I think) great reasons to counter that argument. After reading, let me know if I’ve changed your mind!
1. It eliminates the guesswork – a gesture, whether it’s sending a gift or maybe a client referral, business contact etc. should be acknowledged because it enables the giver/sender to know that it was received. How often have you wondered whether your gift was received? Or if that a client referral or connection worked out for the receiver? With technology at our fingertips at all times, a simple thank you takes only a few minutes to craft and send.
2. It builds rapport and establishes long-term relationships – taking a few minutes out of your schedule to acknowledge a kind act helps to build rapport and trust in both personal and professional relationships. People want to do business (or develop relationships) with people they like.
3. It shows respect – thanking someone shows that you have respect for that person and their time. If someone takes the time out of their schedule to do something nice for you, why wouldn’t you show respect to that person and acknowledge their kindness?
4. It demonstrates good manners – think about how you feel when someone doesn’t say please or thank you to you. It’s not a nice feeling right? Why? Because as early back as you can remember, your parents instilled the importance of manners so when it’s not returned to you, it’s disappointing.
5. It shows gratitude – at times I feel there is a strong sense of entitlement amongst people today and I often wonder if this is why showing gratitude is a foreign concept for some. Recently, a friend sent me a client referral and I was grateful that she took time out to not only recommend me but she called to give me a little background on this individual so that I was prepared for the conversation. I was truly grateful and sent her a handwritten thank you note. Once received, she called to tell me that she cannot remember the last time she received a note like mine and it made her day.
So did I change your mind? Will you be sending more thank you notes when appropriate?
Thanks for taking time to read this blog article
So often we think we know someone by reading their bio or a blurb about them which really just gives a small glimpse into “what” they do and not necessary “who” they are. Without going into an autobiography, I put together a list of 25 things you might not have known about me (beyond my bio). I recently gave this to my husband to read and there were a few things on the list he didn’t know about me! What about you; have you done a list like this?
Simon Burch movie - Photo courtesy of Sidereel.com
25. All time favorite song is Amazing Grace.
24. All time favorite movie is Simon Burch.
23. All time favorite sound is the sound of thunder.
22. I cannot open my eyes under water (some sort of mental block).
21. All time favorite chocolate candy is the Kit Kat.
20. I read magazines and newspapers from back to front.
19. I love cheesy love songs.
Photo courtsey of kbkickboxing.com
18. I’ve been kick-boxing & boxing for over 10 years.
17. I’m shy (which most people can’t believe).
16. I’m a vegetarian and have been for 20 yrs.
15. If I switched careers today I would become a kindergarten teacher.
14. I can’t properly pronounce Gruyere & foie gras regardless of how often I practice (strange, I know).
13. I’m afraid of flying which only started a few years ago.
12. I am a control freak.
11. I LOVE non-fiction mystery novels.
10. I cycled 350 miles (NY to Boston) for a charity event which was the hardest physical challenge I have experienced to date.
9. I loathe Broadway musicals.
8. I love drama filled plays.
7. I love roller coasters; the higher the better.
6. I dread getting pedicures because my feet are so ticklish.
5. Friends and family call me Jake.
4. I am a reality TV show addict!
3. I am 1 of 6 kids.
2. I’m claustrophobic.
1. I have a sister with cerebral palsy who is an inspiration to me every day!
My sister Patty and me at my wedding in 2006
My sister Patty and me hanging out after a BIG Christmas dinner!
As the media continues to sensationalize this year’s Black Friday shopping day frenzy, here are a few tips to help you have a more productive (and safe) shopping experience.
1. Strategize – know the store and where your items are located so that you can cut down on the time spent searching. Bring a friend or family member and split the list of items you need to purchase.
2. Make your list – simple enough idea but even when I work with clients on wardrobe purchases, they never have a readily available list of items that they NEED and as a result they wander aimlessly around the store trying on items that they don’t need. Always have a “back up” item on your list so that if the store is out of stock or for some reason it becomes unavailable, you already have a replacement item on your list and it takes the “thinking” out of the equation.
3. Accept defeat – if an item is out of stock, move on to the next item on your list. It’s not necessary to waste time thinking about what you are going to get instead.
4. Be civil – even though Black Friday can be a stressful and at times an aggressive situation, always remember that purchase is worth a life or injury. The words, “please,” “thank you”, “excuse me” will help you navigate through this frenzy.
5. Be comfortable – wear comfortable shoes and clothing so it doesn’t distract you from your mission. Unlike me, it’s not necessary to wear 4″ heels to endure a day like Black Friday! And don’t forget to bring a few extra bottles of water so you keep yourself hydrated and happy!
First Communion is in full swing and thousands of young children are entering into what Catholic’s deem a very important step in their lives; receiving for the first time, the body and blood of Jesus Christ. While these children are taught the importance and significance of this event, I can only ask myself; do PARENTS understand the importance? I pose this question to my readers because this past Saturday I took part in my niece’s First Holy Communion and was completely horrified at the behavior of many of the families sitting inside the church. I would love to hear if any of you have experienced what I am about to tell you so please comment below if you have.
First, I come from a large Italian / Irish family and attended mass every Sunday while growing up and I was taught to be respectful of the church and observe good etiquette during the mass and if me or my siblings didn’t, we’d get the “look” from our parents and know that we were teetering on being punished once we walked outside. These teachings from my parents have served me well in conducting myself in an acceptable manner in many situations whether I’m entering into a church, a synagogue or any other house of worship. However I found myself scratching my head on Saturday wondering if my siblings and I were the only ones taught such things.
I’ll set the stage for you: The First Holy Communion mass was to begin at 11 a.m. so families were encouraged to get there early in order to get their children lined up and in order because there were 51 kids receiving communion that day so there was a lot to do. While assembling the children and providing last minute instructions, the noise / conversation level was so deafening that the catechism teacher had to PLEAD three times for the congregation to be quiet because the children were not able to hear the instructions. The “family” sitting behind ours, were quite annoyed by this plea and called the teacher NASTY! Really? This woman is trying to prepare YOUR child for an important moment in his/her life and because you can’t or won’t keep quiet, she’s the nasty one? This same family THROUGHOUT the entire mass continued to talk, curse at each other and speak on their cell phone. I was dumbfounded.
After multiple pleas to quiet down, went ignored, the priest had to finally get involved and request the attendees to stop talking. However, even when the priest walked in, attendees continued to “chat.” I couldn’t believe it and I honestly think the priest was perplexed at the behavior.
As the mass continued and the children received the host for the first time, the families were then invited to come up and receive the host as well but I honestly think for many that this was probably the first time these parents had actually received the host because some did not know what to do with it once it was placed in their hand! At one point, the priest had to run down the aisle after a woman to inform her that she had to place it in her mouth!? Is this the example one will set for their children? Did they not participate in their child’s preparation for that day? Did they not ever take them to mass up to this point? Will they take them to mass AFTER this day? I don’t say this in judgment but if I don’t understand that if a parent is going to go through the lengths of having their child receive First Holy Communion shouldn’t you set an example for them?
As an image and style consultant, I have a better understanding of appropriate attire for certain occasions so I’m willing to acknowledge that at times some people get it wrong. However, when you walk into a church and you are celebrating a child’s First Holy Communion why would one think it’s appropriate to wear micro mini skirts, plunging and revealing necklines, shorts, sneakers and baseball hats? In other cultures, one is not allowed into a house of worship unless they are covered up completely so why would one think it acceptable to walk into a church dressed in a suggestive manner? Children follow our lead, they look to us for guidance and it’s important to lead by example.
Here are a few basic etiquette reminders:
- Keep the cell phone off and that includes the vibrate and texting options.
- Refrain from using inappropriate language before, during or after mass.
- Refrain from chatting during the mass; it’s one hour and unless there is an emergency of some sort, have the conversation AFTER mass.
- Dress appropriate which means: no flip flips, sneakers, mini skirts, bare shoulders, bare midriffs, backless anything, revealing tops and baseball hats!
I only hope that my experience was unique and that this is not happening nationwide.
This list was forwarded to me via an email from a friend of mine and I think it is such a great reminder of how to live our lives. I do not know who the author is so unfortunately I cannot give appropriate credit but I it’s important to note that this is not original content from me. I just wanted to share with my readers.
1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is
manufactured in plants.
4. Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.
5. Make time to pray.
6. Play more games.
7. Read more books than you did in 2008.
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile.
11. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don’t have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don’t over do. Keep your limits.
14. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake.
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
18. Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything.
28. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. GOD heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. The best is yet to come.
38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
39. Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.
Last but not the least:
40. Please Forward this to everyone you care about. Or in this case, send them to my blog