Saturday, August 18, 2018

SOCIAL STUDIES Snail Mail and Addressing Your Envelopes (Part 1)

 I've been an avid letter writer since I was a little girl, to family, friends and even pen pals and I continue to take any opportunity I can to scribble a note or two whenever the opportunity arises. 
Unfortunately, it has become a bit of dying art as many take the road of virtual correspondence like DM'ing, PM'ing, TM'ing and whatever 'ing happens to be the flavor of the week but there is something to be said about a person who takes the time to jot down a thank you note to last night's party host, a welcome note to a new neighbour or a condolence card to a friend who is in mourning.  It is a simple way to set you apart from the techie masses and since you have gone to the marvelous effort of hand writing a note or letter, every aspect of your letter should be touched with that same special energy, even your envelope!
If you are planning to write your note or letter by hand, you should always do the same with the envelope. While I am positive your cursive writing is absolutely tops, steer clear of flourishes and fancy strokes, if only for the sake of the mailman. Make your writing as neat and as legible as possible. The only time to entertain sweeping embellishments and spirals is on a formal event invitation (like a wedding) and even then, should be attempted by a professional calligrapher.
For some of us, the hardest thing about addressing envelopes is knowing how to address the actual recipient of the letter. The old Mr. and Mrs. is a cinch but it's not always so clear cut, especially with blended families or individuals who identify as non-gender specific but it doesn't need to be so troublesome if you familiarize yourself with the traditional standards and their modern twists!

Girls and young ladies should be addressed with 'Miss' until they reach the age of eighteen, after that they can be addressed as 'Ms.' until they marry. After getting married (and this applies for both heterosexual or same sex marriages) they can then choose to continue to be addressed as either 'Ms.' or the traditional title for a married women of 'Mrs.' and the rule applies regardless of whether the woman takes her husbands/spouses/partners last name or keeps her own maiden name.
If you are unsure of their marital status or their age, always default with the title 'Ms.' as it's suitable for any woman over the age of 18.

Girl or young lady-use Miss
Miss Maisie Kershaw
Adult unmarried lady-use Ms.
Ms. Maisie Kershaw
Adult married lady who goes by maiden or married name
Ms. Maisie Kershaw, Ms. Maisie Nithercott, Mrs. Maisie Nithercott
Divorced lady who uses maiden name
Ms. Maisie Kershaw
Divorced lady who keeps married last name
Ms. Maisie Nithercott or Mrs. Maisie Nithercott
Widow who keeps married last name or hasn't re-married
Mrs. Maisie Nithercott

When it comes to the gents, young and old, keep it simple and address them as Mister, abbreviated to Mr.
Many moons ago, boys and young men who hadn't reach the age of majority would have been addressed as Master and even then, in some cases it would only be used for the first born son. In North America, the word Master often evokes flashbacks of a time in history most of us would like to forget and luckily has gone the way of the rotary telephone and drive-in movies. In the United Kingdom, it is still occasionally used by the sons of gentlemen with personal titles like Duke, Baron, Count, Earl, etc. For example, the son of an Earl would be addressed as Master of followed by his father's title. The heir of the Earl of Grantham (had he had one) would be known as the Master of Grantham.

Man, regardless of age or marital status
Mr. Atticus Nithercott

Folks, the 'times are a changin' and if we want to move towards a society of inclusion, we must adjust and so do the 'rules'. (During these times, I think back to one of the first things I learned from my original etiquette instructor who I studied with for my certification and an Emily Post quote she lived by; "Manners are like primary colors, there are certain rules and once you have these you merely mix or adapt them to meet changing situations.”
And adapt we must when we are sending out a letter/invitation to family, friends, business colleagues, etc. who identify as non-binary or genderqueer and should be addressed with the abbreviation of Mx (pronounced 'mix') or Ind., which stands for Individual. Both titles were created to be free of gender so either can be used as you like.

Non-binary or Genderqueer, regardless of age or marital/personal status
Mx Grey Simpson
Ind. Grey Simpson

Sending a letter or invitation to a couple or to a Very Important Person like a General, a Reverend or a Doctor? A couple who both go by different last names? Or your Aunt Freida who has kept both surnames from her two prior marriages and has gotten hitched for the third time?
Check back tomorrow for Part 2!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

THE MODERN MUSE Princess Deena Ali Al-Juhani Abdulaziz

HH Princess Deena Ali Al-Juhani Abdulaziz

A Californian-born Saudi Royal Princess, the first ever Editor-in-Chief of VOGUE ARABIA, entrepreneur, founder/owner of luxury concept store called D'NA, a members only fashion club

Her family shuffles between NYC's Upper East Side and Riyadh

She's known as the 'Anna Wintour' of the Middle East, has the chicest pixie since Audrey Hepburn and can work the hell out of a midi skirt

Monday, August 6, 2018


"I'd prefer to remain a mystery. I never like to give my background and, anyway, I make it all up different every time I'm asked. It's not just that it's part of my image not to tell everything, it's just that I forget what I said the day before, and I have to make it all up over again."

Did you know...

1. Andrew Warhola was born on August 6, 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

2. He wore a wig most of the time in public. At a book signing in 1985, a girl snatched off his wig and Warhol later noted in his diary, "I don’t know what held me back from pushing her over the balcony"

3. He was known for having a very big sweet tooth. He would visit pastry shops daily, sometimes buying an entire birthday cake for himself. When more substantial meals were offered, he would refuse and one time gave the explanation, "Oh, I only eat candy".

Saturday, August 4, 2018

CHIC THIS WEEK Best Dressed for July 29-August 4, 2018

Who is your choice for best dressed this week?
Don't forget to scroll down and vote!

In Norma Kamali
At the HQ2 Beachclub at Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey

In Versace
At the Build Studios in NYC, New York

In Gabriela Hearst
('Hesper' heels by Jimmy Choo, ‘Amphora’ bag by Carolina Santo Domingo)
At 'The View' taping in NYC, New York

In Club Monaco
('Deneuve 105' heels by Aquazzura, knot-tie belt from MiuMiu, 'Anna' clutch by KAYU)
At the wedding of Charlie van Straubenzee and Daisy Jenks in Surrey, England

In Versace
At 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert' in NYC, New York

At the Disney’s ‘Christopher Robin’ premiere in Burbank, California

Who is your choice for Best Dressed for July 29-August 4, 2018

Alessandra Ambrosio in Norma Kamali
Laura Harrier in Versace
Amy Adams in Gabriela Hearst
The Duchess of Sussex in Club Monaco
Dua Lipa in Versace
Skai Jackson in Red Valentino

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

SOCIETY Silence is Golden Mr. Markle

Is it ever alright to publicly shame a child, parent or family member to soothe your own ego if you feel like you have been wronged? Not necessarily a topic of proper etiquette but more a question of good manners and good ethics which I like to think is within the realm of this blog.
Today, instead of me telling you how late one can be for a dinner party, how much to tip your mailman at Christmas or the difference between white tie and black tie, I'd like to pose a question or two to you, the reader.
When is it enough already? When is it time to hold your tongue and incendiary opinion about a family member and stop the public airing of grievances every time there is a camera and paycheck around the corner?
This weekend, after he had already made a point of declaring his July 15 interview with The Sun as the final time he was speaking on the matter publicly, yet another interview with Thomas Markle, the father of the newlywed Duchess of Sussex, was unveiled by The Daily Mail and during the 9 hour interview, Mr. Markle continued his embarrassing tirade against his daughter because she has supposedly cut off communication with him due to pressure from the Royal Family. He wants to let the Firm know that he is not having it and won't go away quietly.

''I refuse to stay quiet. What riles me is Meghan's sense of superiority. I tell you, I've just about reached my limit with Meghan and the Royal Family. They want me to be silent, they want me to just go away. But I won't be silenced. 

He has been hurt you see, by the lack of support he feels he should have received from the Queen, the Royal Family and more importantly his daughter, who he said would "be nothing without me. I made her the Duchess she is today. Everything that Meghan is, I made her."

And because of that 'hurt', his temperament during the interview runs the gamut from trying to garner sympathy ("It wouldn't be so bad. I have something of a Buddhist philosophy about death. Perhaps it would be easier for Meghan if I died") to an anger that bubbles over every other paragraph.
"Oh, she's a mummy's girl now and Doria gets a lot of the credit....When Meghan was 11, she moved back in with me up until she was 17 and went to college....I was having my good years then, making good money, and could afford to give her the best, with a good school, good education, good home....She became the woman that she is today thanks to everything I did for her....And did I get any recognition for it? Any thanks? She doesn't even speak to me now. How cold is that?"

As a parent myself, I have tried to save a little understanding as to the hurt Mr. Markle might be feeling. Estrangement from a beloved child you believe you've supported, emotionally and financially, through thick and thin is a hard thing for the heart to bear especially when your child seems to have soared into a completely foreign world, out of your realm and out of your reach. It happens often enough in real life; parents grumble and air their discontent to any patient ears they come across, that their children have gone off to live their new lives and forgotten about them.
But when those 'ears' stop being those of a neighbour or close companion and their scope reaches global headlines (AND are accompanied by a financial payout), does it stop being just a parent's emotional catharsis and venture into bitterness and vitriol meant to sting and hurtfully embarrass the one you supposedly hold so dear?
Whatever slight sympathy some of us might have originally had for Mr. Markle has diminished into feelings of embarrassment, annoyance and some might add disdain. Wishing that by some cosmic fate this would reach the ears of the man himself, the waning sympathy for you and rising empathy for your daughter is because of you Mr. Markle and your insistence to publicly betray your child.
It's because of your insistence to not silence yourself, to continue to shame her and publicly tear apart your personal relationship with your daughter. It's because of your insistence to bring down another family, albeit a royal one, who, as I understand from your direct quotes, have offered to assist you at times but that you found their offers insulting and turned them down.
That is what has torn you away from you daughter and nothing else.
Your daughter is not locked up in the Tower of London, unable to access phones or texts or the mail but is living the life of Riley, as a newlywed should and has made a independent choice to steer clear of you and your clan. She chooses to not communicate because you have made it quite clear to her and to the rest of the world, that she can not trust the one person in her life whose loyalty she should never have to question, her dad.
Take a deep breath Mr. Markle, you've unloaded your tale of woe and now it's time to take a bow and stop, if not for the sake of the masses who deem your fifteen minutes of infamy are up but for the daughter you insist you love with all of your heart. We have grown weary of your antics and it would be a pity if this was your footnote in history.

 And now I ask my second question; when does a person draw a line in the sand and step away from family when they have gone too far? Family dysfunction is not that odd a commodity and more of us than we would like to admit have gone through some sort of strained relationship with a parent or close relative at some point. Every once in awhile though, you witness a family that is so overloaded with toxicity (much like the Markles) that you start to understand why and how one could cut ties wherever possible and walk away from all the drama, that by the sounds of it, did not just come to the surface with Meghan Markle leaving Hollywood for jolly old England.

I would love to hear what you have to say!
Leave a comment or drop me a line in my inbox!