Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Updated: The Gift You Keep Giving By Yvonne

Just over a month ago, I was at a friend's home for a brunch celebrating my birthday along with two other friends. At a certain point, I saw something very familiar on the table.  A gift I'd given to her more than a year ago! It was soap in a beautifully designed box I chose specifically because her bedroom has the same colors.

We don't like re-gifting. We think it's rude and inconsiderate and takes the thoughtfulness out of giving. People, at least we do, take great care in choosing gifts, it's not about the cost, it's about the sentiment. Many look at a present as something to cherish, re-gifters look at presents as mere stuff. It wasn't good enough for them so it's good enough to give it to someone else. Has anyone ever re-gifted Hermes scarves or Chanel bag? Please let us know.

Re-gifting can be hurtful. Once, I gave a friend a beautiful music box that played her favorite song. I was so happy when I found it and didn't care that it was more than what I had planned to spend. She gave it to someone else and had no problems telling me. It gets me to start thinking if we really know our friends. Or if they're friends at all.

If someone gives you something you really don't want or need, ask if it's all right for you to return it. Or if there's a gift receipt, return it to the store and get something else and let them know how thankful you were for the gift and you were able to get something you really needed.

Before you go shopping for others in your closets, cabinets and dresser drawers, think about it and think about something outside the gift box that didn't come from another gift box.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014



 Oftentimes, people have the need to assume who’s who in the family when they meet people they don't know.  A common faux pas is when an older man is with a younger woman and someone asks, “Is this your daughter?”  

That's me on the left, and my daughter on the right.

The other night I was at a Knicks game with my twin, Yvette (Did you see us on the Jumbotron?).  We had pretty good seats, two men in front asked if we wanted to swap seats so they can sit closer to their friends next to us.

They helped Yvette climb over to a seat. And then one said, “We’ll help your mother, don’t worry.”  I would be the mother. Yvette told him I was her sister. He said I must be someone’s mom. I told him, “I’m barren.”

Maybe this wasn’t the most elegant response. But the lesson here is don’t assume that when you meet people they’re related. You’ll find out when proper introductions are made, be patient. It’s not a guessing game. No need to grow family trees.

Listen to me, mother knows best.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


A friend suggested that I should talk about people with manners for a change. He’s right.

  •   Today, a woman stopped texting just in time to avoid crashing into me
  •   “Watch out for the people,” a parent yelled as her kid sped down the street on his scooter.
  •   A man held a door for me.
  •    A woman put her toddler on her lap so that an older person could sit.
  •   A teenager offered me his seat on a train.
  •    I received a handwritten thank you note from a newlywed couple.
  •    A recruiter returned an email.
  •    Another recruiter returned a phone call!
  •    A perfect stranger paid me a compliment.
Have you seen any good manners? Please share, we can never have to many. Thanks!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Public Displays of Discipline: What would you do? By Yvonne

You’re walking down the street minding your business. Behind you, you hear a child crying. You turn around and look and an adult is slapping him/her. Do you intervene or mind your business?
            I have seen this, and I did not walk away quietly. Once, I yelled, “He’s a baby!”  “Mind your #$% business!” the child’s mother ordered. While she spewed her curses at me at least her child had a respite, and maybe she will think before she does that again, in public or the privacy of her home.
            One social worker suggested to approach if possible, if not, call 911.  Another points out how important it is to suss out the situation first, she too said 911 is probably the best solution, this way it gets reported. A social worker from Brooklyn emphasized that this is a community issue and it’s time to take ownership of it. Get involved some sort of way.
            In light of the news of sports figures and their domestic violence issues against children and women, many organizations and city agencies come to mind, such as Stop Abuse, dedicated to stopping the history of domestic of abuse in families against women and children. It’s a very informative site as is that of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (all states have their own sites and protocols). NYC Administration for Children’s Services is another government office, and there are others like it nationwide.
            Etiquette, a funny word when talking about abusive behavior toward children. An ironic thought because often times children are disciplined harshly for displaying a lack of manners and respect. They are punished in ways that clearly demonstrate a lack of civility.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


I started to interrupt my vacation to bring you this year’s Rudy Award Winner. I changed my mind because stupid, insensitive questions, unfortunately, are here to stay.

One night this summer, I was at a really nice party in Harlem taking in a barely there summer breeze on a patio. A young woman was sitting at the table. Some how the name of a late and great musician (Hint: He played the trumpet.) I told her that I’d once dated him. She asked, with out missing a beat, “Did he beat you up too?”

I don’t know what makes people tick, but I know what ticks me off, stupid ass questions! So, Miss Obnoxious congratulations on earning a well deserved RUDY. Here are your beat up flowers.

Think before you speak and think before you ask.

Monday, August 11, 2014


Since many seems to be minding their manners. We're going to take advantage and go mine some more etiquette tips.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


            Not much. The other day I was facing a woman in a restaurant. No problem with that, she had her table and I had mine. It was a pretty nice place and I was looking forward to a quiet lunch.
            All was going well until I looked up from my smoked salmon and noticed that the woman was busy picking her teeth with a toothpick (Either she brought her own or asked because there were none on the table.)
            What a dreadful sight to behold. She was just diggin’ a way. I guess she didn’t consider going to the restroom to really get down to business.
The expression of Her Majesty demonstrates brilliantly how I feel about the picking of teeth in public.
            There’s nothing to say to someone who uses toothpicks at a table, unless you know them well, very well.  Now, if a particle of the woman’s lunch came flying over to my table, I wouldn’t hesitate to say, “Excuse me, Miss, a piece of your lunch is now on mine. I wish you wouldn’t do that at the table.”  Maybe I should lose the last part? Or maybe the part about the piece of lunch?
            Oh, I don’t know what I would say.  I give up on public tooth picking pickers.           

Friday, August 1, 2014


I’ve been spending some time on the Hampton Jitney and I’ve seen some disturbing behavior.

What is about the Jitney that makes people so ill mannered?  The pretzels? Is the juice not up to their liking?

One woman could barely get a thank you out of her mouth. When asked if she’d like water, she answered, “Make it two.”  No “please”, no “thank you”. Her daughter’s made herself comfortable with her feet on the seat; the soles of her flip-flops were filthy.  Note to self – no white jeans on the Jitney. The attendant came through a couple of times with a trash bag, you wouldn’t have known for all the empty bottles, newspapers, and wrappers she and her daughter left behind.

On another trip, I sat across the aisle from a father and son. The father was dressed casually chic, the son quietly focused on his iPad.  When they got off the bus, the mess they left behind, was, well, a mess. (See photo)  I shudder to think of what their housekeeper meets every time she walks into their home.

Could it be that it’s the least expensive of all the coaches in the Jitney family that makes people forget their manners? Do they have them in the first place?

I don’t think so, I think it’s about people who are used to having others pick up their mess without ever expressing gratitude or appreciation. It’s enough to give you the jitters.

Monday, June 30, 2014



There is nothing more disheartening than the elusive recruiter, especially one you like. You call, you email – nothing. Ouch.

But don’t despair, check that box and move on. (sort of like dating) Don’t badger them or try and make them feel guilty. “Recruiters are probably receiving an average of 250 resumes,” points out Ryan Kahn of the Hired Group.  He thinks you should give them seven to ten days to get back to you and then you can send a gentle reminder that you’re interested in the position and you’re just following up to make sure they received your information. 

A couple of Ryan’s dos are:
1.     Go beyond job boards. Pick 20 companies you like, go to the site and figure out how to meet one person at this company, you can try emailing them to begin a conversation, maybe eventually have a coffee. The benefit in this could take six months when the right job for you comes up.
2.     Do flip the script, instead of asking how they can benefit you? What can you do for them in the way of contacts? This way you become a facilitator, you’re helping them.
3.     Do use Linkedin, it’s a good way to find people at the companies you like or who knows whom, this can lead to a contact or a reference.
The bitter truth – while Kahn responds to everyone, some recruiters are just not that into you because there’s a job that’ll yield a higher commission that’s more worth their while.

A talent recruiter at a major public relations firm suggests that you check in after a week. A good candidate will ask about timing before leaving the interview. Some of his dos are:
1.     Over prepare for every interview. Research, research. “You’d be surprised how many come to interviews unprepared.”
2.     Tell the truth, some candidates use a bit of hyperbole – sales numbers go up, wins are embellished and there’s more “I” than “We”.
3.     Do know when it’s time to move on after due diligence and follow up calls and still nothing, it’s hard to do but keep going.
4.     Do understand that recruiters are overwhelmed but he says, “There is no excuse for recruiters to be lazy. We have to make time and put ourselves into candidates shoes.”
The bitter truth – When someone doesn’t get back to you, he would take it as a slight but advises that you cast a wide but selective net so that you don’t become overly consumed by someone’s lack of professional courtesy.

Good luck and find recruiters who like your shoes enough to stand in them; maybe it’s all about style after all. (The Manolo Blahnik sale starts today.)

What do you think?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Q-Tips Are Not To Be Used On The Q Train or Any Other Train By Yvonne

A fellow subway passenger sitting across from me had a funny look on his face. I looked to my right, and my seat mate was going to town in his ear with a swab.  I noticed an object in his left hand. It looked like a hearing device.  His cleansing could have been a necessity - maybe he couldn't hear. 

This a special case and sometimes one has to do what they have to do. But there is no reason to go digging in public. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Am I the only one that finds it odd that people “like” bad news or deaths on Facebook? Just this morning I saw a posting about a landlord in the Bronx caught discriminating against black apartment seekers. It got three likes! I commented – “What’s there to like about this?”

Someone died? People “like” it. Are they liking that they learned the news or do they “like” that person dead?

There’s been a lot of liking surrounding the passing of Maya Angelou but posts I’ve seen are expressing her accomplishments, her bon mots, for those I wish there were a “love” button.

Question: What do you think? What do you “like”?

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Monday, May 5, 2014


1.     A neighbor letting her dog relieve himself in the entrance of the building.
2.     A man leaving a building and announcing his departure with a big spit.
3.     A large, young lady standing in the doorway of the bus with no intentions of making room for exiting passengers.
4.     A man in a bar acting like he wanted something when all he wanted to do was use the bathroom. He left his kid at the bar making it look like the kid wanted something.
5.     A young man with a huge backpack doing a 360 on a packed train.
6.     A woman getting on a bus with a cane and no one budged (I would have but I was standing up.)
7.     A cashier giving me my change and saying, “Thanks, hon.”
8.     A couple hugging and kissing at the top of the steps leading to the train station. Oh, did I mention they were leaning against the handrail?
9.     A woman coughing without covering her mouth.  (I nicely asked her to cover her mouth, and she did!)
10.  Since I doubt she reads my blog, my neighbor thinks the table in our hallway was put there expressly to store strollers underneath. The rent’s too damn high for that kind of mess!

Question:  What have you seen in the last ten days that strikes you as rudeness?

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014


A colleague told me that a woman sitting near his desk cracked her knuckles all day long. She has it down to a science. Apparently, she’s found a way to use just her thumb to crack all her knuckles in one fell crack!
She doesn’t have a clue how annoying her sound effects are to people around her.

I remember being warned that the more you crack your knuckles the bigger they become. It’s also believed that it could cause arthritis. Not.

Unfortunately, I have no advice for you. I don’t know what you should say to a serial knuckle cracker. If he/she is a close friend or relative, I guess you could tell them how annoying it is.  But what would you say to a colleague or your boss? I’m taking suggestions.

So, to knuckle crackers, think before you crack next time in the company of others.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Recently, I met E!’s Alicia Quarles. She’s pretty and pretty nice and very well mannered. You know how some people think and act like they’re FABULOUS? Not Alicia, but she is. And if you ever see her enjoying a meal with her husband or just living her life in the city, she won’t mind you approaching her, she figures she’s in your living room, why not?
Of course, we would like you to use discretion, at least let her finish chewing.

What do celebrities do that you wish they wouldn’t?
My number one pet peeve with celebrities is when they walk into a room and say hello only to me. The A-Listers get it. They’ll greet everyone, from the producer to the sound man. Acknowledging the hard work of others is real class.

Have you ever-encountered poor manners from someone you were interviewing?
Another pet peeve is lateness. Once, a celebrity was so late, I cancelled the interview. I let their reps know that money was wasted and not just my time but the entire camera crew’s time. The next day, the celebrity came to my office and apologized and delivered a bottle of wine.
Wouldn’t you love to know who it was? But since Alicia has manners, she won’t tell. 

 How do you feel about asking personal questions? I never begin an interview by asking personal questions. On those rare occasions when I’ve been directed to ask something I truly didn’t feel appropriate, I’ll say, “I’m not comfortable asking this, because (then I outline the reasons).” It’s a lot about instinct, I feel it out and that tells me whether to “go there” or not.”

 What were some of the golden rules of etiquette in your home?
My parents taught us that appearance was very important, not in a vain way but they believed that you don’t get a second chance to make an impression. We had to dress for occasions properly, (not easy for me, I was a tomboy).
You’d never know it. 

What was an absolute no-no?
No elbows on the table! My parents also taught us what cutlery to use and how to use it. It’s paid off. I have good table manners.
Too bad her table manners aren't contagious.

What do you think of young people with respect to etiquette?
I’m impressed with the degree of etiquette today’s young people have. Young folks are portrayed as being a generation of disrespectful people who don't have manners but nothing could be further from the truth. What I've learned from my observations is that teens today generally do have etiquette, even if they are glued to their phones.
 Nice to hear someone say something nice about young people.