Category Archives: Food for Thought

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You Can Survive The Company Holiday Party!

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It’s Company Holiday Party Time! You are either excited about it or loathing the idea of having to spend yet another couple of hours with people who you have to already spend the majority of your life with. (Hopefully your situation is the former and not the latter) Either way, I support you and I want to get you through it unharmed, unbothered and with your dignity, respect and professionalism in tact. I offer 6 easy tips that will help you to survive your company holiday party:

  1. Show Up –  I image3am certain that there are a million other things that you could or maybe even want to be doing other than attending a party with the people who you spend 40+ hours of your life with every week, BUT, hear me out first. It’s not the daily recurring Monday morning team meeting that helps to building relationships. It is actually the random one-off similarities and conversations that you share about personal things, challenges and situations. While I’m not inferring that you should spill your deepest darkest secrets with your co-workers, I do recommend that you engage in casual, social conversations when the opportunity is appropriate. What better environment to do it in than the Company Holiday Party.
  2. Drink, (If You Want To) But Know Your Limit – I get it; an open bar filled with all the image2wine, champagne and liquor that you could ever yearn for is quite tempting, but know your limits. If you need to eliminate the constant nagging co-worker who wants you to keep drinking your life away well after you have reached your limits, try the club soda with a lime fix. It looks like a cocktail, but it most certainly is not.
  3. Dress To Kill, But Don’t Murder Your Career – If there is a dress code, stick to it. Don’t be the one person who wore a suit to your company’s Christmas Sweater themed party. Also, mind your sexy. I highly encourage dressing all the way up when its appropriate to do so, but be mindful of your outfit lengths, low cuts and fit.
  4. image1It’s A Party, Not A Meeting –  If Lisa did or did not send the report to you or if you plan to attend next week’s finance meeting are not really important tonight. Take this opportunity to get to know people personally and enjoy the festivities of the evening. Work is not going anywhere and will be there for you to discuss further on the next business day.
  5. Taking A Date?  Introduce Them! – If you are inviting someone as a date to your Company Holiday Party (or any party for that matter), introduce them! It is your responsibility to engage them in conversations.
  6. Turn Up… IN MODERATION –  I know that the word party is  clearly in the title of this event and while I encourage you to party, I also want you to acknowledge and accept the fact that this is still in many ways connected to work. Do party, do dance and do have fun, but always remember that you must have some limits. Set those limits before you step in the door and stick to them.  image4

Are you facing another upcoming holiday party challenge and you are trying to determine how to handle it? Just send the question our way.  Send a note using the form below or feel free to post your question on any of our various social media accounts by clicking them below!

Until Next Time,

Happy Partying!

Scarlet

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Does Your Date Deserve An Introduction?

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Just about a week ago, my friend Justin Kimpson extended an invitation to attend the Ford Freedom Award event  at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit.  I was already scheduled to be in town teaching dining etiquette for Deloitte, so the timing could not have been better. Now, we have been friends for quite some time, so there was nothing awkward, weird or out-of-place about going as his “fake date” for the evening; I was actually very much look forward to it.

Since we’re both native Detroiters, went to high school together and still work together in different capacities, we have a ton of mutual friends and colleagues, but since I travel quite a bit and formally live in Washington, DC now, Justin knows way more people than I do. There were several instances where Justin formally introduced me to people who I did not know, which was great. Now, I have no problem with working a crowd, introducing myself and joining in on conversations, but I must say, it is nice to be naturally pulled in and introduced.

I did, however, notice something very interesting that was occurring – lots of people were not introducing their dates, or were doing so as an afterthought. Now, it is understood that perhaps the lack of introductions were intentional for whatever reason, but if you are inviting someone as a date to an event (either in a romantic capacity or as a friend), it is your responsibility to engage them, at least during introductions. It is also wise to give some thought to the type of event that you are going to, and the type of person that your date is. In advance of extending an invitation, ask yourself:

  • Do I even have a +1 to extend?
  • What are my obligations at this event and will I have the time to entertain a guest?
  • What type of event is this and would my date be comfortable?
  • Have I given my date the heads up about what to expect, including attire expectations and any of my obligations that may leave them standing alone for a while?

Scarlet Says…events can surely be fun, and bringing a guest can take the fun up a notch, but without giving some thought to who you’re bringing, if they will enjoy and be comfortable there, and if you are comfortable enough to introduce them to others, you could be setting yourself up for a bad situation and a lousy night out. So, extend your +1 to events with care!

Until Next Time,

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Scarlet


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I’ll Support You… If I Can Get A Discount

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SLP-280Who pays the full price for anything anymore?

Let’s face it…we are all trying to find a way to stay within our budgets, exceed goals and advance to what’s next, all with a particular (usually limited) amount of resources, right? So, trying to cut corners and take advantage of discounts, deals or promotions is pretty wise. But, when does this taking advantage approach turn into down right negligence?

It turns into this when you start trying to get over, get on or get the hook up at the expense of your friends and family and their goals.  For example, think about your friends who are small business owners. Do they provide a product or service or manage a place that you frequent? Is your first question every single time you stop by their establishment, “can I get a discount on this” or “come on, I know you can do something”?

You absolutely should try to stretch your dollar and make it go as far as it can, but I’m suggesting that you genuinely and whole heartedly support people – especially friends and family – without always peaking through the lens of “what’s in this for me“?

Supporting someone does not always have to come in the form of a monetary exchange. There are surely other ways to show your appreciation and support of someone, including:

  • Sending someone an article that has content that they would interested in
  • Passing along a discount that you can’t use but perhaps they could
  • Calling (actually picking up the phone and dialing numbers – not texting) someone just to say hello
  • At work, let a colleagues’ superior know they do an outstanding job
  • Encourage someone to try something you know they want to try, but haven’t yet because they’re scared, and offer to try it with them

Scarlet Says…no one wants to feel like their relationship with someone is solely based on their ability to provide a “hook up”. Take the time – when you are not in need – to show the people around you that you are grateful for them, so when you actually do need something, making the ask will be appropriate and not awkward.

As a treat to our Scarlet supporters and readers, I’d like to pay it forward to you. You now have an opportunity to try out your first Hello Fresh box at a deeply discounted rate. Hello Fresh provides weekly deliveries of farm fresh ingredients and delicious recipes to your doorstep and is a dinner party partner to Scarlet. Visit their website and use the promotional code, Scarlet35, towards your first box. Consider this our way of paying it forward! Happy Eating!

Until Next Time,

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Scarlet


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Yes, YOU Can Host A Dinner Party Too! – National Etiquette Week – Day 3

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What visual comes to mind when you hear the words dinner party?  Do you think fancy schmansy? Do you visualize infused cocktails and dishes that require directions to eat? Do you envision dressing up in your finest attire?

If you answered yes OR no, you’re wrong AND you’re right!

Scarlet Says, a dinner party is a social occasion at which guests eat dinner together. There is a lot of flexibility in that definition. The bottom line is that a dinner party can be fancy or casual, at a restaurant or at your home, filled with the finest meats and vegetables prepared by a private chef or prepared by you in your own home.

If you are invited to, or plan to have a dinner party, relax – it’s really going to be just fine.

When we decided to host a couple’s dinner party last year, there were some very specific goals that we wanted to achieve. These items can apply to other kinds of dinner party’s, so let me give you the scoop:

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Food: Decide what you’ll serve and the entire serving/display plan behind it. Food is of course a very important component of a dinner party. One of the highest focal points of the party will in fact be dinner, so it’s in your best interest to get this part right. For the couple’s dinner party, we decided to hire a chef. Chef Samaya prepared a delicious 3-course meal and relieved the stress and hassle of preparing the meal myself. It’s important for you to be present at your event. When guests arrive, you#1 Dinner Party-12#1 Dinner Party-38 shouldn’t be still preparing food, cleaning up or getting yourself ready. There are ways that you can cook the meal yourself and still be in hostess mode when your guests arrive. If you go this route, you’ll just need to watch the time and ensure that you keep a to-do list to ensure that you’ll be ready to rock and roll when the first guest arrives. If you want to go the route of cooking all of the food yourself you may want to consider meal or grocery delivery that could assist with the added hassle of a trip to the grocery store. As a treat to our Scarlet supporters and readers, and because I am an avid user of Hello Fresh, you now have access to try out your first Hello Fresh box at a deeply discounted rate. Hello Fresh provides weekly deliveries of farm fresh ingredients and delicious recipes to your doorstep. Visit their website and use the promotional code, Scarlet35, towards your first box.

Beverages: Right up there with your food selection choices lies another event component that requires some intentional thought – the bar and beverage choices. Alcohol and food are usually the most expensive elements of any event, so mind these items carefully as it relates to your budget. While a completely open bar is certainly attractive, and will be very welcomed by many of your guests, if you are looking to reduce costs, consider a moist bar, where perhaps there is just beer, wine and non alcoholic beverages. We decided to have wine, a selection of liquor and non alcoholic beverages. For dinner, we served a selection of white and red wines and for desserts on the roof, we served more wine and a selection of dark liquor. Remember that there are many people who choose to not partake in the consumption of alcohol. As a hostess, its important for you to ensure that there are beverage options for everyone.

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The Guest List: The guest list was and always will be a difficult thing for us, especially as it relates to dinner party’s. It was decided to have this dinner party at our home. Our dining room table sits 10 people comfortably, so really the choice was made for us regarding the maximum amount of people. Now, we have well more than 10 friends who are in a relationships, so there still was some narrowing down that had to happen and knowing that we would have future dinner party’s in the near future helped with decision-making as well. We would have invited everyone if we could, but that size dining room table doesn’t exist yet. When deciding your guest list, think about personalities. Now, here’s the thing (that you may not want to hear, know or be aware of). All of your friends or acquaintances may not be complimentary of each other.

So, this means that you’ll need to give some honest and careful thought to your guest list. You may be thinking, “but they’re all my friends and I’m the connecting link, so why wouldn’t things all go smoothly”. Look, bottom line is, there a ton of different personalities just within your immediate friend group alone. The way that some people approach, respond or react to things may not be something that you want to have to deal with at dinner. Now, odds are your event will very likely (and hopefully)  be a smooth, harmonious and pleasant event, but giving a few moments of thought to who’s personalities mesh together  (and whose does not) could be the difference between a success or a disaster.

#1 Dinner Party-124The Environment: One of the most enjoyable elements of the event was having desserts on the roof. The formal party of a dinner party, which usually involves sitting down in front of nice dishes, a well set table and being served is all well and good, but if there is an opportunity to break up the formalities, change environments and continue with the fun – do it.

Get Your Guests Involved: If there is a wine aficionado in the group who insist#1 Dinner Party-43s on opening and pouring the wine, let them. If your best girlfriend wants to come early to help you put the final touches on things, let her. I personally take my hosting duties seriously and do 95% of the work myself – but it’s because I enjoy it. But, if you’re going to be run down and tired, and not fully able to enjoy your event because you’ve tried to do everything yourself, consider commissioning assistance or  at a minimum, accept  the offer when someone wants to help.

Scarlet Says… dinner party’s come in all different shapes and sizes. The next time that you remotely consider having one or maybe just inviting people over, allow your mind to wander a bit into creative and non-traditional possibilities. The most important thing is to plan. Make to-do lists and give yourself enough time to comfortably plan for the event so that when dinner is served, you can sit back and enjoy the occasion just as much as your guests. #1 Dinner Party-24

Until Next Time, 
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Scarlet


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Why Are You Golfing In Heels? National Etiquette Week – Day 2

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2014 1st Round Draft Pick, Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions at a Scarlet Communications Golf Etiquette Class

The weather is slowly starting to become favorable for the millions of golfers across the country. So, let’s talk golf…

At a first glance, the picture above appears to represent the ultimate violation of golf etiquette – wearing high heels on the green. Luckily, there’s a story behind the picture that will clear it all up – hopefully.

This picture was taken about a year ago, during the 2015 Detroit Lions Rookie Etiquette Training. Before each training segment, Scarlet gives an overview of the expectations and how etiquette ties in to the activity that the players were about to engage in. So, with that, please don’t put us on the naughty list. We really were just doing our job.  🙂

While we just narrowly escaped a bad etiquette citation, there are a number of other golf etiquette guidelines to make note of if you’re going to take advantage of an opportunity to golf this spring and summer:

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Kyle Van Noy – 2014 2nd Round Draft Pick, Detroit Lions and Golf Instructor Lindsay Mason III at a Scarlet Communications Golf Etiquette Class

  • Give Your Cell Phone A Break: We all love our technology – Scarlet included, and of course if there’s an emergency, step out-of-the-way and take the call, but excessive phone usage while golfing isn’t cool. Also, be sure to silence or place your phone on vibrate.
  • Drive Your Golf Cart Responsibly: This is golf, not the Indy 500. Take your time while driving and avoid running anyone down. (even if they’re the opposing group)
  • MOOOOVEEEE – Get Out The Way: Avoid walking in someone’s line of play on the putting green.  Learn where to stand and when to keep quiet.
  • Look The Part: Your appearance and speaks volumes about you before you even say a word. Take time to select and wear clothing that is comfortable and appropriate for the game.
  • Be A Good Sport: At the end of the round, shake hands with other players, congratulate the winners, don’t taught the losers too much, and thank them for their company. Keep in mind that the best part of the game is the time you get to spend with your friends whether old ones or new friends you just made during the game.

Scarlet Says…golf is the pastime for over 60 million people all over the world. Just like many of our other favorite sports like football, basketball and hockey, there is a prescribed and necessary set of rules and appropriate attire. Adhering to these few rules will ensure that you and everyone else enjoys this great weather and the golf that comes along with it.

Want more information on Golf Etiquette, check out, this list from PGA.

Until Next Time,

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Scarlet

 

 


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LOVE… is in the air

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b22e34ea-2d85-4c80-b248-f3a817217203What is it that you definitively LOVE? Is it traveling, shopping, cooking, your mate, FOOTBALL? If it’s football, today is definitely your day, since the NFL Draft kicks off this evening.
Speaking of football…while I was quickly shuffling from one plane to the next over the weekend, I saw a gentleman with this shirt on. Now, while I have my fair share of football knowledge and for the 5th straight year, Scarlet will be providing the Detroit Lions Rookies multi day etiquette training, I do not attest to being a football fanatic. So my first reaction to this shirt was an eye roll (in my mind).
Of course, I was walking alongside my husband who thought that the shirt was the absolutely best thing he had seen this year.
We are a household who listens to sports talk radio pretty much every day, even when the sport of choice (football) isn’t in season. So as you can imagine, we’re almost always on sports overload during every season of the year.
Now, let’s be clear. I knew EXACTLY what I was signing up for when marrying a sports aficionado a few years ago, so I keep most of my griping to myself. More importantly, when an eye roll starts to try to make an appearance, I remind myself that my husband isn’t the only one who has some borderline obsessive behavior, as it relates to thing things he enjoys doing. My love for cheese, deep house music and all things etiquette can sometimes border on obsessive as well. Despite this, I can say that there is a continual purposeful attempt to not over expose (or annoy) each other with our own individual likes, loves and obsessions. (READ MORE)...

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When Customer Service Goes… Good?

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About 4 years ago, we were in the market for a travel agent to assist with planning our wedding in Mexico. Although I’ve had a significant amount of experience in wedding planning, doing so internationally wasn’t quite my thing, so I knew that I needed an experienced travel agent. With all of the do it yourself options online nowadays, coming across an experienced and dedicated travel agent seemed almost impossible.

I recall that some dear friends of ours, the now married coupled, Mack and Linda Ornsby Hendricks, had just hosted a beautiful wedding in Costa Rica, so I reached out to see if they had used anyone to assist, and luckily they did. Now, at a first pass, I’ll admit, I was skeptical. Brenda has an email address that ends in comcast.net, which always makes me a bit eerie. I always expect that in business, a company or person should have a non-public domain name, but I digress. I pushed that piece of information to the side and took the recommendation at face value and reached out to her and I’m so happy that I did.

This is where the, now 4 year relationship, with our travel agent began. Mack and Linda referred us to a woman named Brenda Stock, who has been our consistent, reliable and dedicated travel agent since we’ve met her. While I take recommendations from my friends seriously, Brenda has surpassed the recommendation and went above and beyond proving that she is a highly qualified resource. She has even planned trips for my friends and family because of our recommendations. I was recently doing a brief tally in my head of how many trips she has planned for us or from a recommendation from us and that number is quite impressive.

But why? What has made Brenda’s service so outstanding and even caused me to push some usually, baseline business basics to the side. It really boils down to 4 things:

  • Consistence
  • Responsiveness
  • Professionalism
  • Industry Knowledge

Over the past 4 years, every encounter with Brenda has had the 4 components above. Unlike many professionals, who get used to your business, then begin to be a bit more lax in their responsiveness or professionalism, this is not the case for Brenda. The even more ironic and partially amazing things about this business relationship is that I’ve never physically met Brenda before; all of our encounters have been either via phone or email, which is completely against how I prefer to do business. Brenda gives her perspective of industry specifics and recommendations and she consistently meets or exceeds our expectations. In an industry where most people take to the Internet to “self serve” their travel needs, it’s nice to have a reliable professional who consistently exceeds expectations and does so with professionalism, industry knowledge and impeccable response time.

Scarlet Says… Customer Service has one key word that should be kept in mind – “customer”. The success or demise of a business is strongly indicative of how the customer is treated. If you want your business to succeed and thrive, take special care in how you treat your biggest asset – your customer.

Until next time,

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Scarlet 

Want to learn more about Customer Service Etiquette and how it can enhance your organization, just click HERE!


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Being Focused Can Save Your Life!

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CelebrationWhat is it that you really want to do? Where do you want to really spend your time?
Although most of us spend a substantial amount of time working hard – really hard, it’s not where we want to spend all of our time.
Most of us want to spend the majority of our time enjoying friends and family, relaxing, taking vacations or participating in our favorite hobbies, activities and celebrations. Most of us do not want to spend every waking hour working our lives away. But, unfortunately, many of us do. We spend more time in our offices or with our co-workers and colleagues than we do on the things that we value the most.
So, how does this happen? It happens because we often lack focus.
Think about what you’ve done just today. READ MORE…

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Are You Done Dating Your Mate?

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Photo Courtesy of: ashleyyoung8.blogspot.com 

You’ve found the one – the one person who does it for you. They’re pretty much everything that you wanted to have in a mate and things have gone just magically.

So, your relationship progresses, then you decide, let’s expand our relationship a bit. Perhaps you’ve thought, “well, we’re pretty good people, so let’s populate the world with more little people like us”. You agree to procreate and commence to going half on a baby.

Congratulations, the baby arrives and then something less magical appears to begin happening. You and your mate no longer have time for each other anymore. The baby has completely taken over any of the free time and money that you once had.

This is a recent scenario that has been shared with us numerous times and couples are frustrated because they really want that old thing back-the romance, the desire to feel special or just an acknowledgment of the sacrifices they are making to make the relationship work.

So, what do you do if you’re in this situation? What do you do if you feel like your relationship as you once knew it is being hijacked by your children, your career, your parents or your business?

You’re pretty much going to have to revisit the basics. The same things things that you diligently engaged in to initially secure your mate will have to be dusted off and revisited.

  • Did you once take your mate out on spontaneous dates?
  • Did you used to send flowers or lunch to them without warning?
  • Did you used to make their favorite meal or snack and surprise them with it?

Well, guess what? It’s still OK to do these things.

Regardless of which role you play in the relationship, you have an opportunity to make your mate feel special in spite of timing challenges by just revising the simple, little things.

Your career, your children, your entrepreneurial endeavors. All of those things will always require your attention and there will always be items competing for your time. Your mate – the one that once made you feel giddy, special and admired enough to win your heart is still in there.

Scarlet Says…Take the time to tend to what’s important and special to you. You deserve it, your mate deserves it and your healthy, thriving relationship will thank you later.

 

Until next time,

Scarlet

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Thank you for stopping by to see us. What other kinds of etiquette do you think we should teach?