July 28, 2014

Keeping it Real- Nine Days of Nice

Two occurrences in the past week have made me stop and question how grown adults, with fully developed brains, all who have experienced puberty, can be so mean and childish.

The first incident happened to my sister. It's not my story to tell, by let's just say that the behavior expressed towards her was something I would expect from teenage girls, not a grown adult.

Think "Mean Girls".

The second, happened to my barre3 colleague and friend, Sara Catherine. As she was biking home last week she heard another cyclist coming up behind her to pass on the left. As he passed, he slowed down, looked her straight in the face and with matter of fact tone he said "Your ass is huge". Period. No chuckle. No smile. No tone to imply that he thought a big ass is a good thing. Just a plain fact. "Your ass is huge". And because she is a far bigger person, her only reply was that he was the "rudest person in the world." I am pretty sure I would have gone down to his level and screamed back something far more vulgar.

After hearing these two stories I was left flabbergasted! I just don't get it. How can people be so cruel? I'm not perfect. I have mean thoughts. I say mean things every now and again, but for the most part, I try to keep mean thoughts to myself. Why? Because nothing good comes of verbalizing it. NOTHING!

Remember this...

It's so simple, yet apparently not everyone has seen Bambi?

So, last month it was a 28 day hydration challenge, and this month my goal is to start a movement around being nice. And so begins "Nine Days of Nice." Nine days is a manageable amount of time to really track your behavior and to be mindful and aware of how your behavior impacts your life and the lives of others.  I considered doing nineteen, or ninety, but I've decided to start small, because even small changes can have a big impact.

So what is involved in the "Nine Days of Nice" challenge?

1) Being nice and kind to yourself. 
It's hard to treat others nicely if you can't even be kind to yourself. It starts with you. That means making time for yourself, taking care of yourself and doing things that fuel your body, mind and soul in a positive way. Katie shared this quote with me last week, and it really resonated.

"Stop hating yourself for everything that you aren't. Start loving yourself for everything that you are." 

2) Be nice and kind to your family and friends. 
It is very easy to be rude, impatient, discourteous, impolite, and unkind to the people you love the most. Think about the number of times during your day when you "snap" at your spouse or partner, or "bark" something at your child. It's often the people we love and cherish the most that we treat the worst. Remember my post about "Habits of Happy Couples". One of the habits was focusing more on what your partner does right than what he or she does wrong. Just as you want to lift yourself up, think about lifting up those who are closest to you. Celebrate their strengths. Make them feel good, and I am certain everyone will benefit.

3) Be nice and kind to strangers/Practice random acts of kindness. 
Remember the Golden Rule, "One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself." I'm pretty sure the A** Hole who yelled at Sara Catherine wouldn't want someone to treat him the way he treated her. Bottom line... be nice, courteous, patient, and polite (TO EVERYONE). I am certain good things will come of it.  For example, on Friday I held the door for an old, handicapped man. We passed him walking slowly into the gym with his cane. Despite the fact that he was steps behind me, I stood at the door and held it open. He said to me "you don't have to do that." And my response, "I don't have to, but it's the polite and kind thing to do, and there is no way I can teach my child to be kind and courteous if I don't do it myself." We had a nice exchange, and I left with my heart feeling a little more "full."

Mother Teresa said it best.

I hope all of you will join me in "Nine Days of Nice". Honestly I'm hoping this starts some sort of a movement. As I said, small changes can have a big impact. If all of you who read this join me for "Nine Days of Nice," and if you share this through social media and get others to join in, just think how much of a positive impact we will make in our own lives and in the lives of so many others. It will surely be immeasurable! 

Feel free to use #9daysofnice in your instagram photos, Facebook posts and tweets. I would love to see how the movement takes form! 

Who's with me?

July 25, 2014

Keeping it Real

Katie and I grew up with parents that heavily stressed good manners.

We were taught to shake someone's hand (with a good, firm grip), look them in the eye and address them as Mr. or Mrs. until we were told otherwise.

We answered the telephone with a script, "Wilson residence, Regan speaking". 

We wrote thank you notes. 

We said please and thank you. 

We sat up straight without our elbows on the table (most of the time).

We asked to be excused.

We cleared our plates and put them in the dishwasher. 

My question is this, when did it become socially acceptable to be rude and disrespectful? Is it just me or have good manners become a thing of the past? This topic is on my brain because I drill into the Mini Fashionista on a daily, hourly, minutely (is that a word?) basis the importance of nice manners.

Just last week we were driving to an appointment and there was an unusual amount of traffic which was going to cause me to be about 5-10 minutes late. So I picked up my phone and called to let them know that I was going to be late. The Mini asked me "mommy, why did you say you are sorry? We only say sorry when we hit". Well yes, apologizing after hitting is important, but that is not the only time (the conversation went on).

While five minutes is a somewhat insignificant period of time, it's not really about the time. It's about having the courtesy to appreciate that everyone's time is precious and be respectful of that.

I'd like to make a few of my own observations about manners, or lack there of. And please remember, I do not admit to being perfect (Emily Post would surely have some suggestions), but I do make a concerted effort. And, I respect the fact that not everyone will agree with me on this topic.

1. It is not okay to leave a phone call/voicemail unanswered. EVER. Be it personal or professional. One of my biggest pet peeves during my time at Nike was this exact problem. Call people back.

2. Make introductions. If you are in a social setting and two people are not acquainted, introduce them as soon as possible.

3. Ask nicely. Say thank you.

4. Write thank you notes. If someone goes out of their way for you, hosts you for a dinner, makes a kind gesture, or gives you a gift, write a hand written note. Not a text. Not an email. A note. With pen and paper.

5. Write a thank you note(s) after an interview. If you really want a job, you should have enough time and motivation to do this.

6. Look people in the eye. Why is it that so many people cannot have an eye to eye conversation? I can't tell you how many times recently I have been talking to someone and they can't look me in the eye.

7. Shake hands when you meet someone. And please, please don't have a limp hand shake. There is nothing worse than a limp grip.

8. Don't be late. And if you are going to be late, pick up the phone and call, or at least, send a text. Be respectful of other people's time.

9. If someone has food in their teeth, tell them...likewise, if their underwear is caught in their skirt, they really should know.

10. And finally, put down the phone. I am writing this to tell myself as much as I am hoping to tell others. It is rude to constantly look at your phone as if there is something more important than the person/people in your company. Engage with them as if they matter. Because they do.

I believe that good manners begin at a young age. Children with bad manners are simply a result of parents with bad manners. As a parent, one of the best gifts you can give to your children is that of manners. Teach them young, and it will surely carry into their adult life and serve them well.

And may I say, thank you for reading.

July 24, 2014

C & C Hosts a Baby Shower

Happy Thursday! We're almost through the week, and this girl (Katie) can't wait for the weekend to get here. Last weekend I had the pleasure of hosting a baby shower for a long-time college friend. I love entertaining and it was a fun reason to plan and execute on a brunch menu for 18 people. 

Not really being a crafty person, I relied on beautiful flowers (from Trader Joe's), a few paper products (from Shop Sweet Lulu), and a big buffet of food and drinks to do the talking. 

Butternut Squash and Kale Strata (it needed a little more than the prescribed time to cook)
Watermelon Salad with Mint Leaves (Next time I'd use less onion and dressing than it calls for)
Yogurt and Granola Bar with Fresh Berries

In addition to making the granola for the brunch, I also decided it would make a great party favor. In retrospect, I might not have conquered making ALL of this by myself. Making that much granola is no small undertaking - I had enough granola for an army of hippies. All that being said, it was DELICIOUS, and I think people were excited to take some home. In addition to eating, we played one game (in addition to not being crafty, I'm not really into shower games), where people had to match the baby names to their celebrity parents. I gave away nice lip balm as a prize. 

The guests and the guest of honor were happy, so I'd consider this baby shower a success! 

July 23, 2014

Travel Tips That Will Change Your Life

It's me, Katie!

Last week I came across this article of 40 travel tips that will change your life forever and it had to be shared. There are a few that I'm definitely going to be using on my next trip. 

First, did you know you can create an "icognito window" when searching for airline flights? It makes sense that sites like Travelocity and Orbitz cookie your searches. I'm curious to see if this really works.

I've always got a charger and my headphones in my bag when we travel - and this idea of putting them in a sunglasses case is brilliant! 

While I always take a copy of my passport with me (better to leave the actual document at the hotel in the safe and put a print copy in your purse), keeping a scanned copy on my phone is an equally good idea! 

I usually pack for Dr. B, and this trick is genius! I'll be putting his belts to good use on our next trip. 

And I'll end with my own travel tip....you may remember around Christmas a post about my collection of ornaments. Whenever we go somewhere, I pick up an ornament. That way, every year when we put up the tree, we can recount all our travels. It's one of my favorite things about Christmas. 

Any travel tips they missed on the list?

July 22, 2014

C&C on the Move

This past weekend we packed up the car for a weekend of camping in Central Oregon. We knew that there were forest fires in the area, but we were hopeful that the winds would be in our favor.

Mt. Hood
Unfortunately, we drove over Mt. Hood and quickly realized that the winds WERE NOT in fact blowing in our favor. It was a tough decision, but after two hours in the car we decided to turn around.

This is the plume of smoke. We were still to the North of it. 
I mean, who wants to camp in an ash tray?

So, we decided to stay North of the smoke and camp on Mt. Hood. Well, that idea was good, in theory, but at 5:00 p.m. we found that campsite after campsite was full. Ughh!

So, nearly 5 hours after leaving the house we made the call....to head back home. What? Crazy, I know.

Thank goodness for popcorn and a movie
First we made a quick stop in Hood River to refuel and stretch our legs. It was by far the highlight of our day.

We dined right along the Columbia River at a great restaurant called Solstice, and right next door there happened to be the most amazing gelato stand called Cicci. I had the "Gorge Berry" and it was phenomenal. I could have gone back for seconds and thirds.

The Mini Fashionista enjoyed playing at the river park playground, and then we hit the road again.

Rock Climbing, her next sport
Eight hours and nearly a tank of gas later, we found ourselves back at home. Fear not, we still got our camping in. We pitched the tent in the backyard, made a fire, roasted some marshmallows and then went to bed. All three of us lasted the entire night in the tent!

We had to laugh at the whole thing....especially given that one of the Mini's favorite books, A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee, ends just as our camping adventure did.

For anyone with kids, I highly recommend this book as well as others by Chris Van Dusen. The Circus Ship is also one of our favorites.

July 21, 2014

What A Wore: Night Out in the Neighborhood

Hi C & C readers! Katie here...

Two weekends ago I had some time to myself and decided to head over to Mazza Gallerie (a shopping area a mile from our house) to return a few things and browse for anything I might "need." The timing was perfect! Neiman Marcus was having an INCREDIBLE sale and I got this Shoshanna dress for $130 down from $360! To add to the visit, they were serving gelato while you shopped! For a minute I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Discount shopping and gelato all in one? 

With summer (and its humidity) in full effect here, the lightweight dress was perfect for a night out with friends at our new neighborhood restaurant - Macon. Playing on the two towns, Macon, GA, and Macon, France, the cuisine is Southern meets French, and it is delicious! 

Our neighborhood (Chevy Chase DC) was in dire need of a local haunt with good food, wine, and cocktails. And I've got one word for Macon (in French or English), bravo! 

The service is friendly (just what you'd want in a neighborhood restaurant), the wine list is chalk full of obscure and delicious French wines, the cocktails are innovative, and the food is DELICIOUS. I had the cauliflower steak with ratatouille, spring vegetable emulsion, and thyme crumble. It was AWESOME. This is definitely going to be my go-to for our nights out here. 

Both of our friends ordered the shrimp and grits (a special that night) and gave it a 10 (and they are definite foodies). Unlike a more Southern shrimp and grits, they both said the French influence was very apparent in the dish.

Dr. B went for the class steak frites. I might have "borrowed" a few of his fries...and they were perfection. 

We started with an order of the biscuits with honey butter and pepper jelly (I didn't snap a pic). I'm not normally a bread person, but I've never turned down a biscuit - and these were worth every calorie. On our first visit to the restaurant (a few weeks prior), I also tried the le puy green lentils - which were savory, yet light all at the same time. These are going to be a favorite during the winter months. 

And, of course, I can't get out of a restaurant without dessert. The blackberry cobbler is served warm with creme fraiche in a mason jar. I've never met a cobbler I didnt' like, and this was no exception. We also tried the coffee praline sundae - and needless to say it looked as if we'd (okay, maybe me) licked the jar clean. 

If you live in the D.C. area, do yourself a favor and add Macon to your date night list (they take reservations). You won't be sorry. 

July 18, 2014

Simplify and Go

Regan here....You may be wondering what the H*ll this is a photo of? 

Well, it's a straightening iron (yes, for your hair) and my leg(s) in a pair of shorts (J Crew from years ago, in case you are wondering). So why is the straightening iron around the hemline of my shorts? 

Well, they were wrinkled, and my favorite method of "ironing" hemlines, necklines or collars is my straightening iron. Typically when I pull a piece of clothing out of the closet, I'm in a hurry. So if there is a significant wrinkle, chances are I don't have time to get out my iron to fix it. A few years ago, I randomly decided to use my straightening iron to smooth out the neckline of a v-neck t-shirt, and ever since it has been my go-to method. 

In the words of one of The Nike Maxims, sometimes you just have to "Simplify and Go"! Try it, you won't be sorry.