Dinner Is Served 

Your table manners reveal so quickly your background and practice so it is essential to learn to eat graciously and with confidence. There are certain standards for table coverings which include tablecloths, place mats, and more. An individual setting or cover, includes the dinnerware, silverware and glassware to be used by each person. Table manners are subject to the background of your host or hostess and should be respected always. 

Good table manners include:

How to set a table correctly;

How and when to use a knife, a fork, a spoon, chopsticks or your fingers; 

What the meal consist of and how the food may be served; 

What the difference is between private dining and public dining;

When and how to use a napkin and where to place it.

Practice at home when eating sticky and slippery foods, nuts, fresh fruits and firm cheeses. The next time you are a guest in someone’s home you can dine with confidence and enjoy the evening!


Finishing Touches starts this week at the prestigious FISK UNIVERSITY! 

Private Children and Adult Classes are available through September 2016.

“Influencing the Future from our Past”

Smart phones will be around years from now but pen and paper will not go away! Learn how to address a letter, invitations and yes, social media etiquette is covered!

Common courtesies, manners at home and school and engaging in the art of conversation…

Sharing, magic words and practicing charm and grace are always fun exercises!

How to be a friend starts with the golden rule and many other goodies we have learned along the way! 

Let’s bring good citizenship and civility back in fashion!

How To Live Supreme 

Manners take time to learn and to develop good manners one must practice.  I am familiar with Motown and the young ladies who became the Supremes. They were trained in personal development by Lady Maxine from Detroit and the rest is history. 

She taught them to present their best self when meeting the public. Of course conversation, kindness, neatness and building confidence required practice at home, at school or any social setting. Manners became second nature to them! This post is a reminder to polish your pattern for living by being thoughtful and courteous to others. In this day of negative and insensitive remarks we must be mindful of others and their insecurities by cultivating our on inner serenity. Developing your poise starts with how you act, react and interact in unexpected situations. 

Growth takes time and how much time it takes depends on you! Refresh your Manner button and choose to shine bright and I assure you others will take note of a new and improved You!

 Photos from The Story of the Supremes by Daryl Easlea

The Elegance of Lace

Time it has been said, does not exist. Often I find myself roaming through my linen closet and my hand stops on a silk or lace textured cloth. My heart beckons me to pull it out and when I hold it in my hands I discover time in a beautiful fabric. My Granny’s worn table cloth or coffee stained napkins speak to me and tell stories of yesterday.    
Reading Linens And Lace by Tricia Foley now reminds me of the elegance in the delicate ages pieces that capture our hearts. 

  The images in this treasure of a book encourage the reader to remember the simple and beautiful in a touch of lace.

Perhaps you have a table that needs a facelift by adding a vintage tablecloth. You might be inspired to allow a family heirloom of beaded silk to grace your lampshade or window pane. 

 I am going to play dress up by adding ribbons, gloves and collars to my wardrobe this month. How about you? Are you a lover of lace like the aristocrats of days gone by? Do you have a special treasure that sparks a story of elegance and time that stands still? As a collector of beauty I challenge you to wear and share your linens and lace!

Live in Joy!  Sepia

Observations of Practice 

My holiday in Italy was an education in living well for the rest of my life! I watched in wonder at the beautiful men and women as they went about their daily routines. Of course I asked the question to several of them and they shared a few secrets that aren’t so secret. Here is a short list of observations and suggestions:

The San Marcos residents walked almost everywhere and everyday…I lost several inches by applying this routine daily!

Many told me they surround themselves with books and good people who inspire, encourage or influence their growth. Sometimes that means leaving people who don’t contribute to you happiness factor alone! 

They practice mindfulness and breathe in the beauty of life by appreciating the gift of nature.

The choice to eat simple and beautiful meals was the most revealing for me. Years ago it was said that “you are what you eat”, I found that to be true as well as what you think, say and do. We become what we practice and my new life practice now includes the elegant and beautiful habits of the people of San Marcos. Wishing you the best of your 2016!

Live A Thoughtful Life!   Sepia

New Year- New You

I was introduced to him, Benjamin Franklin, in my elementary school library in the seventies. This one person has been most instrumental in shaping my character by sharing principles of perception or simply  Thirteen Virtues. The Aristocrat Code Seminar is based primarily on revealing qualities of this self made man. As we approach the new year I will share just a few that are beneficial to living a “life worth imitating” and enjoying. 

Ben thought it was important to approach life with a smile and a wink therefore not taking it so seriously. As a person who loved adventure he encouraged others to evaluate themselves with all honesty. For me self evaluation has been a life long tool that I use often and has helped me to improve myself in my personal and business affairs.  He believed if one were frugal they would be successful and committed to living a life of quality.  My love, respect and admiration for Benjamin Franklin over four decades and shared with my four children as part of my legacy.

While on holiday in Italy I purchased a fur cap in honor of the fashion trend Ben Franklin started when he visited France.  In 18th century France and Italian sculptor created the Nini B. Franklin, Americain medallion. My son Wellington was awarded this beauty in Philadelphia at the Italian Consulate in 2012 and presented the medallion to me. It is one of my most treasured possessions!

Benjamin Franklin suggested:

“To be extremely frugal”

“To speak truth in every instance”

“To speak ill of no man”

“To apply myself industriously”

There is so much more and I’m sure you have your own stories of my friend Ben. With the onset on 2016 perhaps you will include a few suggestions to your life practice. I send you love and best of wealth, health and peace in the new year!

Live A Thoughtful Life! …Sepia

6 Must Do’s For Your Legacy

If you’ve attended the ARISTOCRAT CODE Seminar or A PERSONAL AFFAIR workshop, you know my focus is on seven life areas of importance. I start with Details and finish with Life Legacy and give you tips on how to honor your family legacy.

We are living in a time where information is available at all hours and on any device known to man. Many of us have questioned our family history and realize we don’t want to bring all of our ” stuff” to the table. It is up to you to tell your story and decide how you want to share it! I encourage you to think about writing a memoir, biography or personal history on the people that mattered the most to you. You can do an oral history and record it on video or turn your written history into a pamphlet or book.

Sharing the Details in Life should include:

Honoring the story of a loved ones that had an impact on your life

• Talk about their Personality and tell what you liked about it

• If they’ve passed on Lessons and Qualities that you’ve embraced by all means share

• Be certain to answer what Actions did they take that encouraged you to be more productive

Inspiration is a must in order to ignite the flame for others that you desire to inspire. How did this person inspire you?

• Look forward and focus on Future Generations by passing down family recipes or small business plans.

This is a snippet of what I share during the seminar and workshop. Remember- Living the good life starts with the Details and ends with Your Life Legacy!

Live A Thoughtful Life! …Sepia

Art of the Letter

To write a letter one must decide to be on purpose and sit down to compose their thoughts. Perhaps you’ve written a note of thanks or a handwritten letter to a friend recently. As you know it takes a bit more time than a text, email or direct message! I enjoy writing and receiving letters or cards in my mailbox so I imagine my friends or loved ones do also. On this rainy day I’ve taken my box of old letters and cards to simply smell, feel and hear the voices that chose to share their hearts with me. The postage stamps on the envelope and personal stamped or written notes reveal so much of the senders soul.

 The choice of stationary and the font of lettering all take time to construct what looks like “a simple letter”. I carry my husbands letters of love in a classical CD case I found at a thrift store. Only I know the secret in the little blue box. It whispers to me in times that I need to hear his voice and feel his soul. Recently I made a special purchase of a writing instrument, a pen, just for his letters only. To compose a letter of the heart takes a little time. Are you taking a moment to scribble a special note to someone you hold dear?


 Live a Thoughtful Life! …Sepia

Tea In Autumn 

Leaves on the ground and trees looking for cover bear witness that fall has arrived. Soon the rush to the market for home style cooking ingredients will come. Please remember to add a few tea items so you can take pleasure and enjoy tea time in your home. Be creative and try different fruits, breads, sweet breads and even tea! I’m experimenting with a chocolate raisin tea I made up and will share soon! Stay warm and cozy as you allow tea to create magical moments with you this season.

  Good Fortune Sushi Tea  
  Gentleman’s Tea 
Parisian Friendship Tea

Bread by Beard

Fall is here and I was in the mood for bread. My love of pretzels, cinnamon rolls, baguettes and maple bars moved me to open a cook book by James Beard the Master of culinary delights. Comfort American food is what he loved and especially maple bars. I prepared the recipe as instructed but somewhere between rising and frying they fell (failed)! My days of attempting such challenging recipes are over for this season. I’m hanging up the rolling pin and sticking to what I know…scones! Do you have a favorite bread?