Hats off! Or…on?

Never mind the sun-shielding practicality of most hats. Hats can make an outfit. They can dress you up or down, or just hide the fact that you haven’t showered in a while. Whatever the topper you choose, mind these Ps and Qs.

Knowing when and where hats are appropriate is a matter of respect, and there is a bit of history to it! According to Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition, the removal of a hat was not just for better eye contact. It states: “When a man of lesser rank entered the dwelling of a person of higher rank, he removed his hat or helmet. Baring his head was a sign of vulnerability and showed that he posed no threat, essentially acknowledging that the person of higher rank had power over him.” Going up the chain of command, the king would leave his crown on, unless attending Church, acknowledging the spiritual authority.

That’s where we get the saying, “Hats off to you!” It means you are saluting someone or showing admiration.

EP’s 18th also has an awesome chart detailing the whens and the wheres of hat etiquette for men and women, which inspired my super-distilled cheat sheet for happy hat wearing:

There are always exceptions, and as Emily Post explains, women’s “fashion hats” do not apply to all of these situations. Thank goodness, because I’d very much dislike taking off a fancy fascinator every time I met someone new at a friend’s wedding.

The type of hat also comes into play. For instance, it’s a good idea to avoid wearing a baseball cap to the office or on formal occasions – out of respect to the workplace or the hosts/occasion. I must admit I’ve worn a baseball cap into many a casual dining establishment, because the alternative would not have been pretty. It’s always good to know what’s polite…but I will not pretend disguising bedhead doesn’t outweigh proper etiquette sometimes.

On a visit to Charleston, South Carolina, my husband and I stopped into the Goorin Bros. hat shop off King Street. I left with the Lady Eileen hat, which I’ve been able to enjoy on a few sunny and cool days in Florida this season. The Goorin Bros. hats make me want to jump back in time (or onto the set of Downton Abbey). Founded in 1985 in Pittsburgh, Goorin Bros. has a friendly and knowledgeable staff which made the experience more like buying a wedding dress than a hat. Check them out the next time you are near one of their locations!

And now for gratuitous hat photos along with some Charleston beauty shots from our trip!




The Toastmaster’s Companion: A Proper PA

When hosting, toasting or roasting, it’s not quite the same when no one can hear you. A public address system, or PA system, gives words that extra boost when the guest list goes from a gaggle to a herd. While in a previous career post of mine, our marketing department kept a set of amps and a microphone in supply to help event music and remarks travel the extra mile. I’m now in the market for my own mini PA system for parties, public relations professional needs and the karaoke potential.

Getting on the loud speaker is not necessary at every shindig. Hosts and hostesses should consider the size of the crowd and the appropriateness. Are remarks expected? Will it disrupt more than it will enhance the gathering? Wedding toasts are a different beast altogether and a topic for another day.

When there is an opportunity for a brief-yet-meaningful toast or welcome, a PA system is often a dandy addition, especially for outdoor events. I’m honing in on the options below, and my eyes have been peeled for these user-friendly features: Portable (preferably on wheels), simple / low-tech, sturdy, preferably with an iPod dock, and with both battery-charge and AC options. In the running:

  1. PylePro PWMA100 Rechargeable Portable PA System $71.49
  2. Alesis TransActive Mobile Portable PA System with iPod Dock $199
  3. Ion Audio iPA16 Block Rocker AM/FM PA System with iPod Dock $175.97
  4. DJ Tech iVisa 50 Light Wireless iPod PA Speaker $149.99 (a little too tour-guidey)
  5. Pyle PCMX240I Battery Powered Portable PA System with iPod Dock $182.71




Card Carousel: A Note-worthy Display

If you enjoy sending cards and stationery, you likely have quite the assortment of paper greetings at your disposal. Looking for a better system of organizing my own cards, I had my eye on Pottery Barn’s awesome Floor-Standing Photo Carousel (left) for quite some time, but was hesitant to make the $129.00 purchase.

After exploring some alternatives on various commercial display websites, I opted for a similar model: the 24 Pocket Floor Greeting Card Display (right, in white) at $49.50 from Marvolus Manufacturing. With shipping, the total was closer to $80, but still a good savings to accomplish the same purpose! It displays cards handily and takes up little floor space.

Whether you are going with the PB version or an inspired-alternative, a card carousel is a great way to organize and display pretty papers in a way that’s truly note-worthy!




‘Tis the Season to be Thankful!

Guest post by Oh My Goodness Gracious friend Sarah Marie Powell!

This is an important post, folks! You’ll thank me in the end! We are now fully submerged in the most beautiful of seasons. If you’re a procrastinator (like me), the beauty may be lost on you at this point, but it will show itself soon enough! During this hectic time of decorating, baking, caroling, gifting, and getting, it’s important to remember how blessed we all are to have these “first world problems.” It’s important to say thanks.

Way back when, handwritten thank-you notes were borderline required upon receiving a gift. Certainly, they were expected. Nowadays, our selfish generation (okay, my selfish generation) has completely forgotten how cherished these simple notes can be. This holiday season, I charge you to take the time to write a note or two. I promise it isn’t so hard to do. To make the painstaking process easier, I’ve written a formula. Feel free to use and share it. I’m sure I’ll be famous for it one day….

Make it special…

  • If someone gives you stationery as a gift, write your note on a piece of it.
  • Include a photo, if appropriate. Example: My boyfriend’s aunt and uncle always let the two of us use their home as a hotel when we travel to Tampa. When I send their note, I like to include pictures of our trip.
  • Fit your stationery to the gift received. Example: If someone gave you tickets to an athletic event, use team-specific notes!

There are also situations that probably don’t require a full thank-you note but still beg for some sort of thanks. Find creative ways to say thank you, like (but not limited to!) these:

  • Scenario 1:A co-worker surprised you this morning with a treat from Starbucks.
    • When you finish the drink, write a quick note on the cardboard sleeve, and put it on his/her desk!
  • Scenario 2: A friend/family member sends you a Christmas/holiday card
    • Shoot them an email, IM them, tweet about it, or post a note on their Facebook wall!
  • Scenario 3: A friend whisks you away from your overflowing to-do list for drinks/dinner.
    • Tweet, Instagram, or “mupload” a photo to Facebook, publicly proclaiming how thankful you are for him/her!

Finally, I can’t do an OMGG blog post without referencing my beloved Emily Post. Here are some thank-you tips from the 18th edition of Etiquette:

Oh My Goodness Goodies: Superb Stationery Sources

  • Kate Spade: Her “All Occasion” note set (available via Papyrus) is a great staple to ensure you’re never at a loss for words.
  • Traylor Papers is a treasure for personalization addicts. Be sure to check out the Kids section for fantastic fill-in-the-blank options!
  • Snapfish is a one-stop-shop for incorporating photos into your stationery library. This extra step of personalization is a great addition to notes sent from the entire family!
  • May Designs is my new favorite. My dear friends, Helen and Charlie, recently surprised me with a pack of notes, and I simply can’t get enough!
  • Be sure to check out local paper/gift shops for fun ideas, too!





Come and get it!

I have to admit, when I cook dinner and call to Josh, “DINNER’S READY,” I get totally deflated if he’s not there within a few minutes to enjoy it. Not that I’m cooking Food Network meals every night, or even cooking every night, but if anyone takes the time to make a meal – any meal – it’s only right that it be appreciated in its finest form, fresh and warm. Right? Otherwise it’s like a ribbon cutting with no attendees. Maybe it’s not that big of a deal, but I’m hooked on the idea of a dinner bell for our home to help signal the call to gather.

“Dinner Bell” by Stevan Dohanos, 1944

From the sound of it, you might think we live on a ranch and can’t hear each other hollering about supper. Nope. But we do live in a ranch house, so that’s close enough. I remember a cute little hand-held bell at our house growing up, but I’m leaning toward one of these wall-mounted ringers for some gravitas. Come and get it!!!

  1. Elegant Dinner Bell by U.S. Bells, $85
  2. Cast Iron White Rooster Dinner Bell by Guales Woodcrafts, $10.50
  3. Silver Dinner Bell by Red Sky Trader, $30.95
  4. Lab Dinner Bell by, (Cute for my dog-loving friends!) $69.99
  5. Vintage Black and White Dinner Bell from Good Vintage, $24.50
  6. Tractor Cast Iron Dinner Bell by The Shabby Shak, $35.99





I’m convinced the open space along one of our living room walls can only be filled by a bar cart. In fact, I believe the original owners of our 50s pad likely enjoyed their own bar cart regularly in just the space I have in mind. Whether vintage treasures or new beauties like those below, bar carts are such happy, welcoming and versatile little pieces of furniture.

My well-appointed beverage station will one day include glasses, cocktail napkins, garnish of sorts, a killer ice bucket, a smattering of liquors and maybe a bowl of lemons. I’ve also seen bar carts styled with accessories like books, plants and lamps – the possibilities are endless! Dear Santa, these are the bar carts on my radar:

  1. Mrs. Lilien Bar Cart by Society Social, $550
  2. Sedgewick Bar Cart by Society Social, $515
  3. Becket Bar Cart by Williams-Sonoma, $999
  4. Emory Bar Cart by Arteriors, $1,399
  5. Libations Bar Cart by Crate and Barrel,$599




White Glove Treatment

There is something so romantic and refined about white gloves, reminiscent of the decades when pearls and hats were ladylike staples. I am determined to find a reason this season to add white gloves to my wardrobe. A holiday party perhaps? Or maybe just a happy hour. Loving the white gloving:

Transform a cocktail dress. | Via Prepfection

Ready to have a ball! | Via Celebrity Photos

Tasteful travel. | Via Pretty Peach Peonies




Tequila Flats

No, this post is not about a hot new Tex-Mex bar. It’s about portable, friendly footwear options to have on-hand after a long night of cutting a rug.

This past weekend at Jackie and Ryan’s still-trying-to-come-up-with-a-word-that-does-it-justice wedding, I thought I had it all planned out by bringing a pair of flat footwear in a separate bag for later. Inevitably, after an incredible time celebrating the beautiful couple – complete with tequila shots and Gangnam Style – I boarded the trolley home, sans flats. My second pair of kicks became a casualty of wedding night fun.

My feet are still paying the price for the high-heeled dance moves, but it was worth every minute. I do know that next time I’ll tuck some of these foldable flats into my handbag to help with dance-floor comfort and the walk home:

1. Tieks {A million different colors, and reviews say they are so comfy! Pricier at $165+}
2. Dr. Scholl’s Fast Flats {~$10 and available at Walgreens and Target}
3. Fit in Clouds {$20-$25}
4. Footzy Folds {$55-$80}
5. City Slips {$34-$58}

I would love to hear about your personal favorite pair of “Tequila Flats!”