Wednesday, November 24, 2010

From the Source: Manners & the Mayor of Beverly Hills Jimmy Delshad

BHM: How important is community spirit in modern day society where isolation and disconnection seem to prevail?

Mayor: Thank you for the opportunity to address your readers and share my thoughts on the importance of community spirit. The City of Beverly Hills is unique, in that we have a very active and engaged community. Our residents and businesses play an important role in shaping the vision and future of this City and it is because of their strong community spirit we are so successful. The City’s many programs such as the Library’s very popular Teen Zone and innovative Story Time classes for children as young as four months, along with the many programs at Roxbury Senior Center, are just some examples of how we encourage community participation. I believe it’s important to create a culture of mutual respect and understanding. Our City’s Human Relations Commission recently developed an Election Civility Statement, which encourages everyone to practice civility and respect in all aspects of community life. This is just another way we are trying to set an example for our younger generations, that yes, responsible leadership is possible. Additionally, the establishment of the Friendly City Awards offers an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to those who have provided exceptional customer service and have made our Beverly Hills visitors feel special.

BHM: Beverly Hills is a world-class destination. What do you believe are the three most vital qualities to upholding this title?

Mayor: Beverly Hills captivates the heart and inspires the imagination of people everywhere. We have top-notch City services, an active and engaged community and a unique international cache that is unparalleled in many ways. Beverly Hills’ police and fire department are ranked as one of the top in the nation. Our City is the center for luxury retail, hotels and fine dining restaurants in the region. Beverly Hills is a friendly, beautiful and safe community. We understand the need to always refresh the Beverly Hills brand. Through offering unique programs such as the immensely successful 9.02.10 Day and the Taste of Beverly Hills wine and food festival, to establishing policies such as innovative green building codes, we are a community that is always active.

BHM: As a father of two and the Mayor of our fine City, you must be a good role model both personally and professionally. What part, if any, do you think manners have played in achieving your success?

Mayor: Good manners have always been an integral part of my life. I learned early on, that in order to be successful both personally and professionally, you must not only have excellent communications skills, but you should know how to articulate your message with courtesy and respect. Social graces provide a sense of security, happiness and yes, much success. After a long time people will forget what you said, and they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel. We would like everyone who comes to Beverly Hills to leave with a positive and memorable experience because that is the one thing they will never forget – which in essence is the key to keeping our City as a world-class destination of choice.

Celebrate the Holidays in Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills always shines, but during the holidays, it positively dazzles. This year, amid twinkling lights and colorful street banners, Beverly Hills becomes a winter paradise – complete with snow and a sleigh-full of good cheer. On Thursday, Dec. 9, Snow 90210 Rodeo entices shoppers to stroll through drifting snowflakes, enjoying in-store events and receiving complimentary horse and carriage rides with their purchases. At Two Rodeo Drive, a majestic, 30-foot holiday tree provides a stunning backdrop for Dickens carolers, frolicking polar bears and spirited musical entertainment. Hop on the trolley the same evening and visit Canon Drive host a festive family celebration event at 4 p.m. that includes face-painting, scavenger hunt, live entertainment and an adoptable doggie parade. A concert featuring the Beverly Hills High School Madrigals is planned at 5:30 p.m. in Beverly Canon Gardens. Throughout the season, Santa flies his sleigh high over Wilshire Boulevard and Beverly Drive. When he touches down at the Paley Center for Media, young and old can take the Beverly Hills trolley to visit him, being entertained along the way by a story-telling Mrs. Claus. For all the details on
holiday events, visit

Thursday, October 28, 2010

From the Source: Cyber-Bullying Education is Good Manners

According to the National Crime Prevention Center, over 40% of all teenagers with Internet access have reported being bullied online during the past year. 58% of 4th graders through 8th graders, also reported having mean or cruel things being said to them online. The increasing number of suicides related to cyber-bullying incidents has made us take notice of how devastating the effects of online humiliation can actually be. As a result, we thought it was imperative to check in with educator and expert, Lori Getz of Cyber Education Consultants, to help both parents and children acquire tools about cyber-bullying prevention.

BHM: What is “Cyber-bullying?”
Lori Getz: Cyber-bullying is the act of bullying online. The actual behavior isn’t much different from traditional schoolyard bullying, but the different medium makes the consequences far more severe. Cyber-bullying consists of: (1) sending mean, hurtful or threatening messages via electronic communication (e-mail, IM, text, posts to social networking sites),(2) pretending to be someone you’re not in order to embarrass or harass a person, (3) pretending to be someone you’re not in order to gain access to personal information and (4) posting pictures or video of another person in order to harass or embarrass that person.

BHM: What should children do if they become victims of Cyber-bullying?
Lori Getz: The truth is that the question is not what to do IF your kids get caught up in a cyber-bullying incident but what to do WHEN it happens. Cyber-bullying has become a ubiquitous part of online teen life, and it’s virtually impossible to avoid or protect your children from encountering (unless you keep them offline, homeschooled, and virtually in a closet). The important thing is to understand it, be able to recognize it, and know how to teach your children to deal with it.

BHM: How does Cyber-bullying differ from schoolyard bullying?
Lori Getz: The consequences of cyber-bullying are more severe because: (1) The victim has no safe place! Usually, a child can retreat to his or her home to escape the bullying. But with cyber-bullying, the harassment is always following them on their phones and computers. (2) The victim sees the messages over and over again! Victims of cyber-bullying tend to continue to read the hurtful messages in order to try and figure out why the bully is sending them. This repetitive confusion and self-doubt has a severe effect on the child. (3) Cyber-bullying is viral! Schoolyard bullying usually only involves a few individuals. With cyber-bullying, however, the whole world is privy to the child’s humiliation.

BHM: Are there different types of bullies?
Lori Getz: Yes. The most common types are listed below.
1. The Controlling Bully: This bully believes that in order to maintain relationships with peers, they must control them. We have all seen this bully — the one who no one really likes, but who seems popular because no one wants to be his or her next target.
2. The Victim-Turned-Bully: In order to retaliate against a bully, the victim sometimes becomes the aggressor. This is VERY common in cyber-bullying — and why it’s so important that we teach our children to “Stop, Block and Report.”
3. The “Mean Girl” (or Boy): This bully believes that putting down others is funny and will make others laugh — thereby increasing their own popularity status.
4. The “I Didn’t Mean To” Bully: This bully doesn’t see himself or herself as a bully. They are often being careless and thoughtless and do not consider the impact of their actions. This bully will often feel remorse when confronted with how their actions affected others.

BHM: Most people believe that bullying is motivated by jealousy and insecurity. Is this true?
Lori Getz: Bullies are not necessarily motivated by jealousy (although there are some cases of this). They are most often motivated by a severe dislike of an individual and/or the need for control. We must make sure that we explain this to our children, so we can give them the appropriate advice when dealing with a bully. If we teach our children to think they can fix the bully, we put them in situations where they will not win! You can’t stop a bully from controlling others. You can’t make a bully like his or her victim. Retaliating in kind won’t work, either, because the victim will never be meaner than the bully. You can’t even ignore a bully. None of this works. The only way to empower victims is to tell them the truth about why they’re being bullied, and then help them take back control by rebuilding their own self-esteem, finding a safe group of friends and reporting the bullying to the appropriate agency (a parent, school, social-networking site or even law enforcement) to deal with.

BHM: How can victims of Cyber-bullying protect themselves?
Lori Getz: Teach victims to “Stop, Block and Report“
1. ”Stop“: Tell your child, “Do not respond to cyberbullying.” You don’t want your child to inadvertently become a bully because they lash out in defense. Although bullies deserve to be dealt with (and as a former victim, I would like to see them all get their fair comeuppances), that task should not fall to the victim. It’s also tempting as a parent to expend time and effort trying to “get the bully that hurt your child” — especially when the cyber-bullying happens anonymously. But how will exposing the culprit help your child? Now they’ll just know who it is that hates them so much. Although you may choose to handle the situation as you see fit behind-the-scenes, make sure you’re also focusing on what will help your children rebuild their self-esteem and get past the situation.
2. “Block“: Teach your children how to stop the cyberbully from sending any more messages. If the bullying is happening anonymously, then your child should shut down the application being used to transmit the messages. They may even want to shut down their e-mail, IM or social-networking accounts and start over again with a smaller group of friends they know they can trust. You can block individuals from e-mail, IM and text messages (for that you may have to call the cell phone provider).
3. “Report“: Encourage your child to print out the entire conversation and tell someone! Hopefully, they’ll tell you first — although a 2008 study found that many teens didn’t tell their parents about cyber-bullying because they were afraid they’d take away the technology. Parents, please remember that cyber-bullying is a behavior! Let’s treat the behavior — not the technology! Most websites (including gaming and social-networking sites) have a way to report abuse. That should be the first reporting you and your child do together. Depending on the site and the degree of bullying, they may do everything from warning the culprit to shutting down an account to contacting law enforcement. Different states have different laws about cyber-bullying. However, if your child is being threatened online, contact local law enforcement immediately!

BHM: Is there anything else parents should know about Cyber-bullying?
Lori Getz: Talk to your children about their role in a cyber-bullying situation. There are typically one of four roles being played: (1) The Bully: The person directly involved in the malicious act (as described above), (2) The Victim: The person directly affected by the bullying, (3) The Bystander: The person who, while not directly involved, is aware of the situation and does nothing to stop it and (4) The Advocate: The person who, while not directly involved, chooses to stand up to the bully and attempt to stop the taunting, teasing or harassment. Take time to role-play, allowing your children to experience all four roles so they can decide the best course of action when it comes to cyber-bullying. Talk to them about what it means to be respectful — both in the physical realm and online. Also, it’s important that you model positive, respectful behavior in the home. (Bullies often learn aggressive behavior in the home, whether from a parent or a sibling.) Your children should have a predefined plan for dealing with cyber-bullying. That way, they’ll have a mental path to follow should they ever find themselves in a cyber-bullying situation. We don’t want them trying to come up with a plan on the fly: Impulsive actions often lead to more harm than good. It’s the well-thought-out plan that stops cyber-bullying!

Lori Getz
Cyber Education Consultants

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

From The Source: Manners, Like a Tiffany's Box, Never Go Out of Style

When it comes to the world of manners, Tiffany & Co. knows a thing or two about its importance. A Company steeped in tradition and heritage, manners and etiquette are a vital part of day to day business. Whether it be assisting a client with the purchase of the perfect engagement ring, styling a customer for her first big interview, helping design the appropriate china for a dinner party, navigating a client relationship…manners and etiquette guide client interactions everyday. They are the foundation for enduring relationships and are a major part of Tiffany’s values and identity. Jonathan Bruckner, Vice President of the Southwest Region, speaks about how Tiffany and manners are so intimately tied…
BHM: I remember my father taking me to Tiffany’s to purchase my first watch, a Baume and Mercier gorgeous delicate timepiece. I recently read a New York Times article that an increasing number of college freshman don’t even wear watches because they are using their cell phones as timepieces! How can we convince young consumers today that there is value in everlasting, classic accessories?

JB: A fine timepiece is so much more than just keeping time; it is engineered with the belief that it will be passed down from generation to generation. A timepiece, like jewelry, marks the important milestones in our lives, just as you experienced with your (very wise!) father. They invoke memories and speak volumes about the wearer, giving insight into the wearer’s personal values. There is something very tangible about the beauty and the value of a fine timepiece, and I really believe a timepiece is the perfect marriage between fashion and function. Like the shoes you wear or the car your drive, a watch goes a long way into conveying your personal and professional persona. At Tiffany & Co, our watches feature classic elements that refuse to go out of style, so year after year you can rely on your timepiece as a joy forever.

BHM: You recently launched a line of exquisite handbags, for both women and men, designed by dynamic duo handbag makers Lambertson Truex. Do you feel that owning a well-crafted bag adds personal value and defines the man or woman of today’s world?

JB: Well, my wife would tell you that one should never be limited to just one bag! She’s in good company too; John Truex, of the design team Lambertson Truex, changes his wallet to match his shoes! His design partner, Richard Lambertson, aptly notes that shopping for a handbag is such a feel-good purchase, just like shopping for jewelry. Accessories define high fashion, and just like a fine timepiece, a well-crafted bag certainly speaks to wearer’s values and identity. The pieces in the new Tiffany Leather Collection are a true labor of love; it takes over thirty pieces to make one wallet from our collection. Indeed, some of the more detailed handbags from our collection result from months of several artists’ and craftsmen’s work, all bestowing the same thoughtfulness as that of a couture gown. When you carry a luxury handbag, you are making a personal statement that you value the care and professionalism that went into the bag’s construction. I love that the Tiffany Leather Collection offers a variety of colors and silhouettes, all with the unmistakable signature Tiffany quality and constancy, so that each individual can tell their own unique story.

BHM: Tiffany & Company’s iconic eggshell blue boxes are a huge part of their brand identity. Everyone knows that a gift from Tiffany’s means you are receiving something that is at once precious and timeless. What are some of the values that Tiffany’s holds dearest and what do you think drives the clientele to return year after year?

JB: I think that you have touched upon a couple of very important attributes to what makes Tiffany & Co. so special: timeless design, exquisite craftsmanship, and world class service. We believe that our products represent the world of good taste and remain above the whim of fashion. Our mission is to deliver warm, gracious, and efficient service that builds enduring relationships with our clients. Tiffany has a deep association with families that transcends generations. When you choose Tiffany, you are making a statement of how much you care. Each day, we are sincerely honored and humbled to be a part of our customer’s celebrations, and as a celebration destination we work to live up to our customers’ dreams and highest expectations. All of this wrapped in the iconic blue box!

Jonathan Bruckner
Vice President, Southwest Region
Tiffany & Co.
210 North Rodeo Drive
Beverly Hills, CA. 90210


Monday, August 30, 2010

Top 10 Compelling Arguments for Enrolling Your Child In Our Cotillion

1.We offer a safe and welcoming environment for all students who wish to participate in our program.

2.We present a comprehensive curriculum that takes the traditional tenets of cotillion and fashions them into modern vernacular that is more fun and relatable for today's children.

3.We are passionate about ending the growing violence, anger and rude behavior that is running rampant in our schools and in society in general.

4.We are concerned that children are losing their basic conversation and face-to-face communication skills and therefore make it a priority to practice and refine these skills in each of our sessions.

5.We empower and encourage children to be their best naturally, to have respect for themselves as well as others, and to take responsibility for their role in society.

6.We are troubled by the disproportionate amount of time children are spending on social media and have become advocates for educating children on the importance of online as well as offline behavior.

7.We supply children with life tools that will help break down physical inhibitions, instill confidence, improve communication, build character, foster positive relationships, face challenges and develop mutual respect in a structured, nurturing environment.

8. We acknowledge our increasingly global society by teaching children to be tolerant of different cultures and diverse socioeconomic classes.

9. We provide a sense of community and connectedness for both children and parents to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, feelings and concerns regarding today's toughest issues.

10. We are on a personal mission to raise the awareness level on civility, respect and kindness so that children are not only reciting "The Golden Rule," they are truly living it!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

From the Source: Pool Etiquette & Precautionary Measures

Having manners at the pool is not only important for etiquette but for safety. The most important manners are those that can prevent a drowning or help save a life. Head Above Water is the most expansive swim school in southern California. We have 8 pools up and down the coast and have taught thousands of children to swim in the last nine years. When at the pool this summer or anytime, be sure to keep in mind these very important safety tips.

BHM: What is the #1 paramount rule all parents should know when it comes to pool safety?
MM: Never take your eyes of your child. My company offers lifeguards at pool parties and you would never believe how many parents take their eyes off their child - even for a second. I think parents feel more relaxed at pool parties and turn their head away from their child in the pool for a moment to say hello to a friend or refill their beverage and turn around only to find their child underwater and going down fast. Perhaps it's the social scene of the party that causes a distraction or the over confidence in the child's ability to stay on the step, but no matter the reason, there is no excuse for taking both eyes off any child who is left in the pool. Head Above Water provides lifeguards for pool parties and I have witnessed numerous children being saved from a near drowning. When hosting a pool party, always hire a lifeguard.

BHM: Do children really need to wait 30 minutes after eating before they can go swimming?
MM: Remember when your mother told you this, well it's a wives tale and has little truth. Of course, if you just ate a large pizza you might want to consider waiting a few minutes but in general the amount of food consumed in one sitting is fine and has already traveled down your throat and into your stomach. The common belief that the blood going to your digestive tract after eating steals the blood needed to keep your arms and legs pumping during swimming is not true, says many scientist and exercise experts. The body does supply extra blood to aid in digestion, but not enough blood to keep your arm and leg muscles from properly functioning. Your biggest danger related to eating and swimming is probably a minor cramp.

BHM: If a young child makes an accidental poop in the pool, what is the proper cleanup to get rid of the germs and possible bacteria?
MM: Before this happens use preventative measures to cloth all children still in potty training in a baby swim diaper. If fecal matter does slip into the pool, clear the pool of all persons immediately. Then remove the matter with a net and dispose in the garbage. Chlorine in the pool water does kill most germs that are responsible for water-borne illnesses, but chlorine takes time to work so added chemicals will have to be put into the water and the pool will need to be shut down for a few hours. Check the chlorine levels and raise them to 2.0 parts per million if they are below that level. Check the pH levels, and make sure they are between 7.2 and 7.5 -- this combination of chlorine and pH will ensure that your pool is decontaminated within a few hours.

Supervise your children or aid in the supervision of other unattended children. Needless to say, you should protect all children from accidental drowning. A considerable number of children in the United States die every year due to accidental drowning. Thus, swimming pool safety rule should be strictly followed both by adults and children. If your child wants to go swimming, then accompany him or her. If you are not available to personally supervise your child, then you should ask a relative or a sitter to accompany your child in your absence. You should also instruct your kids not to stray away too far. Remind your children to be always on the lookout for you or other adults when swimming so they would know where to get help.

Know the swimming pool staff or the surrounding environment. If strictly followed, the swimming pool safety rules will be a crucial point in the success of preventing unfortunate circumstances like accidental drowning. You should know the pool environment so that you can instruct your child to not go beyond a place in the pool that you deem is too risky for them. You should also know the surrounding facilities that can immediately aid you in case something goes wrong. You should also be familiar with the swimming pool staff and lifeguard, so you would know who you can rely on, in emergency cases like who is knowledgeable on CPR.

Learn how to swim. Obviously, going swimming does not necessarily mean knowing how to swim. Knowing how to swim is an important swimming pool safety rule and can be a decisive factor between life and death. So, if you do not know how to swim then learn how to swim by enrolling in swimming classes. Or if your child does not know how to swim, teach them or enroll them in swimming lessons.

Strictly instill common swimming pool safety rules such as no running, no pushing or no eating in the pools. You should follow these and other swimming pool safety rules since they are implemented primarily to prevent accidents. For example, the no-running-rule is implemented because the surrounding environment is generally wet and doing so may increase the risk of accidental slips that may cause brain injuries. You should always instill the swimming pool safety rules to your children.

Maintain good hygiene and good health before swimming. Good hygiene is often disregarded by many individuals, and maintaining good health is a required swimming pool safety rule. If an individual who is a carrier of E-coli failed to wash his or her hands after going to the washroom, he or she may then contaminate the pool spreading e-coli to others. Also, being in good health, like being alcohol or drug free, may prevent alcohol or drug-related incidents such as unruly behavior. You do not want one or both to happen so make sure you maintain good hygiene in and out of the pool.

Following these simple rules can help keep your kids safe this summer and prevent an accident before it's too late.

Meredith McWatters is the founder of Head Above Water swim school. For inquiries contact or visit

Monday, June 28, 2010

From the Source: Wine Etiquette

Going to a nice restaurant can be intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. At Mastro’s Steakhouse, we pride ourselves on providing great food, service and atmosphere in a warm, inviting and hospitable way. Our goal is to make you feel comfortable and guide you through the process to give you the kind of experience that you and your guests are looking for, which aren’t the same for everyone. Some diners like to celebrate with Cristal Champagne and Caviar, while others like to enjoy the hard-to-find wines that are a great deal, while sharing a steak and some side dishes. No matter what kind of experience you are looking for, we make sure to cater to your needs, and oblige your requests.

When it comes to food, in general, people know what they like and don’t like. When it comes to ordering the right wine, however, it is a mystery to most diners, even the most seasoned ones. The following are some tips that might help you navigate through the wine ordering process, and hopefully assure that you, and your guests, get something that you will enjoy that won’t break your budget, unless of course this is not your concern.

How do I order the right bottle of wine for the table? It can be quite intimidating to be handed a wine list like Mastro’s, with almost 400 selections, and be expected to pick the exact right bottle that will suit not just you, but your guests, and everyones chosen meal. First rule of thumb is to remember that food and wine should be fun. Just ask yourself and your guests some simple questions. What does everyone at the table typically enjoy? What is our budget? At Mastro’s Steakhouse, we have five Certified Sommeliers, including myself, and numerous others that have passed their first level examination with the Court of Master Sommeliers. We are very aggressive in training our staff in wine knowledge and service, so even those that have not been officially tested, are well equipped to assist you with your wine selection for the evening. Of course, you can get really ambitious and look up a restaurant’s wine list online before dining, checking scores and tasting notes, but there is no substitute for talking to the sommelier or server at the restaurant to find out what the really good deals or great finds are.

The waiter presents the cork to me, what do I do? Don’t bother smelling the cork. Unless the wine has gone completely bad, there is not much you are going to smell. Rather look at the cork and feel it. The cork should give a little, when you squeeze it, and not be completely hardened. If it feels like a rock, it is possible that too much air may have been able to reach the wine, causing its flavor profile to become compromised. Also look at the cork and see if the red wine has soaked one side or the whole cork. This can be an indication of a red wine that is ‘corked’ but does not always mean this, and the wine is always still worth a taste. Lastly, if your waiter presents your wine and it has a screw cap, don’t worry; screw caps have been proven to preserve wine as well, if not better than corks, and are being used by some of the leading wine producers all over the world.

I have a nice bottle that I have been saving for a special occasion, and want to enjoy it tonight at Mastro’s, but will the staff there think I am rude for bringing it? No. At Mastro’s we allow guests to bring in their own wine, and we charge a very reasonable corkage: $25 per bottle. If you are really concerned with etiquette, some good rules of thumb are as follows. If you are going to bring in a bottle to a restaurant, bring something that is special or unique, and make sure that it is not a bottle on their list. If you are a big group, then along with the bottle you brought, buy a bottle off of the restaurant’s wine list. You never know, the restaurant may waive the corkage for the bottle you brought.

How do I know which vintage is good for the wine I am selecting? This is tough, especially since there are so many wineries, and their statistics change every year. For a fairly accurate vintage rating reference I recommend Wine Spectator, a food and beverage publication that focuses on the world of wine. They have great vintage charts, and sometimes have one you can tear out of the magazine (or print out from their website ) and keep in your wallet – for that moment you need to know which was a better year in Napa for Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 or 2006?

My guest has very expensive taste in wine, but I don’t drink. If we end up splitting the bill, should I pick up half the wine as well? This of course is up to the particular guests dining together, but I would say not. If you didn’t enjoy an item on the table, then you shouldn’t have to pay for it either. It is very common for guests to ask for a separate alcohol tab, making the bill easier to split.

If my guests and I order drinks at the bar, should we settle our tab before we sit down or add it to our food bill? At Mastro’s we will absolutely allow you to transfer your bill to your table from the bar. However, being a bartender myself at one point in my career, I will tell you that the bartender that took care of you and that you established a rapport with, will always appreciate it when you settle up with him or her and tip them directly. In most restaurants, if you transfer the tab, you never know if some of the final tip is making it back to that nice bartender that spent all that time muddling your Mojito.

Is there a gentle way to cut off a customer who is having one too many? Not really. This is always a sensitive issue because most of the time when a guest has had too much they don’t realize it, so telling them comes as a complete shock. The bottom line is that we do have a responsibility to our patrons to make all efforts to keep them safe, and not to over serve them. So much like our no tolerance policy of not serving minors, or those appearing to be minors that cannot produce identification, we absolutely cannot knowingly serve a guest that we have determined to be overly intoxicated. We can however bring them a cup of freshly brewed coffee to accompany our famous Mastro’s Signature Warm Butter Cake, and make sure to secure a taxi for them to have a safe ride home.

I hope this has helped to demystify the wine ordering process for you, allowed you to spend more time relaxing with your guests, and less time worrying about vintages or screw caps. Just remember that dining out is all about enjoying, so don’t stress. Do your research, if you like, before heading to the restaurant, but always ask the experts that work there. If the restaurant is anything like Mastro’s, they won’t steer you wrong.

Gregory Hammann
General Manager, Certified Sommelier
Mastro’s Steakhouse
246 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA. 90210

Monday, May 31, 2010

From the Source: Get Organized, Get Manners

I have found that being organized can pertain to just about every aspect of your life including having good manners. Yes, even having good manners requires a bit of planning. At Buttoned Up, we help busy people get sanely organized by giving them tips and tricks for staying a few steps ahead of the chaos. This can certainly apply to planning to have good manners. Here are 5 of our favorite tips for doing just that:

1. Ditch Perfection. The pursuit of perfection takes a superhuman effort to achieve and a superhuman effort to maintain. This is no less true when it comes to having exceptional manners. That being said, you should not expect yourself to always be perfect. Figure out what is important to you about manners and focus on that, and accept that the other areas may not always be perfect. For me, being on time, remember to say and show appreciation, and good table manners are the areas that are most important to me.

2. Remember To Show Appreciation. Showing appreciation is a simple way to show people you recognize what they have done for you. Think about having hostess gifts on hand so they are at the ready if you have somewhere to go. Bottles of wine are always a good option. Make it easy by planning ahead and you do not even have to think about it.

3. Notes At The Ready. Thank you notes are such a quick and easy thing to do to show your good manners. Kids as young as 5 can start to send out thank you notes (even photos) to show appreciation for gifts they receive. A quick way to prepare for this is to have notes and stamps on hand and easily accessible. If they are there, you will use them.

4. Teach The Kids. I have an eight year old, Lucy, so this tips is especially near and dear to my heart. You can never start too early teaching your kids basic manners. It is really all about repetition and by telling them over and over again pretty soon, manners become second nature. A few of the ones I like to focus on: (a) Saying please & thank you; (b) How to properly meet someone; (c) Basic table manners and etiquette; and (d) Writing a proper thank you note.

5. Time Management. Finally, a bit of time management means you will have the time to make good manners a priority. This can be helpful in many ways:
a. Are you someone who is often late? That doesn’t show good manners. Instead plan on your calendar to be at things 15 minutes early. You will then get there on time.
b. Are you inconsiderate because you forget birthdays, important dates? Plan them in your calendar and set up as reoccurring events so that you remember each year. Even have a reminder set up 3 days before so you know something is coming up.

Planning and organizing to have good manners does not have to be a chore. As a matter of fact, it can give you peace of mind and relieve stress. Give it a try. It is quite easy to do! Below are three more ways organization can impact your manners.

Having good manners actually requires a bit of organization. Can you think of a couple of circumstances where this is most evident?
BU: Good manners do require organization. If you plan ahead when you go someone’s house so you bring a hostess gift, that takes organization. When you write thank you notes for gifts you receive, that takes time management and organization.

BHM: Do you think people who are unorganized make a bad impression?
BU: People who are unorganized can come across as not caring and not thinking of others. This is not necessarily warranted but if you forget to thank people for things they do for you, if you are late for appointments because you are not good at time management, people will most like attribute that to the person just not being thoughtful or respectful. A little organization can make sure that does not happen.

BHM: What is the difference between unorganized and disorganized and does one have a stronger, negative connotation than the other?
BU: Being disorganized is about “destroying or disrupting the organization of something” while unorganized is about “not acting or thinking in an orderly manner.” I believe, disorganized is a more negative term because it implies the act of not being organized is more of a deliberate choice (e.g. I won’t make the time or effort to get organized) vs. just a character trait (e.g. I just can’t seem to make my brain get organized.). That being said, neither is great and both are avoidable.

Alicia Rockmore is one of the co-founders of Buttoned Up, Inc. (twitter: @getbuttonedup), a company dedicated to helping stretched and stressed women get themselves organized. For inquiries contact: or visit

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

From The Source - Eco Manners & Recycling

BHM: What do you believe are the most important ways we can show good manners towards the environment?

ES: I think it's just a simple question of respect. If you respect something, you think about your impact. You consider your actions in a different way. We can't all be treehuggers all the time, but we can think about the choices we're making, and look for ways to act in more sustainable ways.

BHM: How do you handle someone who is not environmentally conscious?

ES: I'm not always environmentally conscious! I mean, I'm conscious, but there are times when I just want a hamburger (organic, free-range, of course). I try to lead by example, and not to judge. I think the judgmental part of the sustainability movement has really hindered its growth. Acting more consciously should be fun, not a chore. I try to inspire that feeling in others through what I do personally, as well as through what I do with

BHM: If one person in a family is eco-friendly and the others are not, is there a judicious way in which you all can cohabitate peacefully?

ES: Absolutely! My father is a great example. He lives with us three days a week and has done so for the past four years (he commutes for work from Santa Fe, NM). I've told him time and time again how the composter works, and what's recyclable, yet each time he leaves I find bread in the compost bin, and plastic in the trash. I just do my best to be in the kitchen when he's there so I can say, "Not that bin, Dad. The other one!" Gently, of course. Eventually he'll remember!

BHM: In honor of Earth Day, we thought you could share with us a few of the frequently asked questions you receive regarding recycling.

ES: Certainly, even the most seasoned ecoista can be stumped by a bottle cap or a straw. Does it go in the blue bin or the black? If I’m recycling, do I need to wash it first? Here's some info that may help to make it a bit easier.

What do those arrows and numbers on the bottom of plastic bottles mean?

That’s the “chasing arrow” symbol, and the number in the middle indicates the type of plastic the container is made from. Typically, numbers one and two are the most widely recyclable plastics, but there are exceptions: For example, one through seven are recyclable in the City of Phoenix, but in Scottsdale (a suburb of Phoenix), they only take one (polyethylene terephthalate or PET, used for soda bottles) and two (high-density polyethylene or HDPE, used for milk and detergent bottles). Some recycling programs even take Stryofoam!

Why should I wash out my recycling?

First, to remove possible contaminants and second to keep your recycling bin from getting stinky. However, you won’t prevent a can from being recycled if you leave it dirty.

Can I recycle small pieces of plastic? What about bottle caps?

Yes, you can recycle small pieces of plastic like bottle tops. Bottle caps are metal, but they’re typically lined with plastic—items made from mixed materials can’t be recycled because the materials can’t be separated. Same thing goes for juice boxes and coated cardboard drink containers—although there are new versions specially marked for recycling or composting, which are indicated on the label.

I’m buying a soda. Bottle or can?

Can, definitely. Most cans contain 50% or more recycled aluminum. And a used aluminum can is recycled and back on the grocery shelf as a new can in as little as 60 days.

I recycle about half of my trash. Could I be doing more?

You’re doing great! According to the EPA, nearly 75% of the 6,000 pounds of trash the average American household generates each year is recyclable and/or compostable, yet we typically only recycle and compost 30%.

Founder and editor of and, Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff is a writer, producer and spokesperson who represents a new vision of eco-friendly living.

As a special offer for Beverly Hills Manners readers, EcoStiletto is offering one month free membership ($1.99 value). Members are automatically entered to win the more than $1,000 in eco-swag that EcoStiletto gives away each and every month to Members. Sign up by clicking here

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

From the Source - Restaurant Etiquette

At Porta Via, there are three things we expect from our staff. The first is punctuality. They need to show up to work on time and be prepared to work. Two is a good attitude. People come to a restaurant to get away from work or their home. Porta Via employees need to leave their own problems at the door, come to work with great energy and an eagerness to service the customers. A warm smile is a must. Third, they must show respect. From the top on down, the staff is required to be respectful to each other. This is crucial to creating a good and successful team.

BHM: What do you believe are the most vital elements to providing good restaurant service?
PV: Preparation. From the back of the house perspective, the chef and cooking staff need to have all items prepped in advance and be ready to work at his or her respective station; the wait staff needs to know the specials in advance and how each dish is prepared. Good service is to be able to anticipate the customer's wants and needs. Timing and follow-through without being invasive.

BHM: How do you handle the difficult customer?
PV: The best way to handle a difficult customer is not to engage in a confrontation. If the food is not prepared to their satisfaction, we immediately return the dish to the kitchen and ask if there is something else that he/she wants. I remind the staff not to take things too personal.

BHM: In an extremely competitive business environment where restaurants and other establishments are shutting down daily, what do you think has contributed to your continued success?

PV: Hard work and really caring about the customers. I have created an environment for the staff and customers alike that is really special. The staff respects each other and works together as a team. We provide a wonderful experience for the customer with great food and service.

BHM: I think the key word here is respect which is one of the main ingredients to having good manners. You've used it a number of times with reference to the staff and management and how they treat one another at the restaurant and you also addressed it in how you deal with your customers making sure their feelings are validated and that they come first. Sounds like a recipe for success to me!

Peter Garland founded Porta Via in August of 1994. Most recently, Garland opened a new lounge adjacent to Porta Via call "THE BAR ROOM." The Bar Room features classic cocktails, beer and wine, along with small plates of Porta Via favorites, in a chic “nouveau pub” setting. Porta Via has received the Award of Excellence from The Wine Spectator in 2008 and 2009. Located at 424 N. Canon Drive in Beverly Hills, Porta Via is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner and Sunday brunch. For reservations, call 310.274.4820 or visit the website at

***Mention this article and receive a 20% discount at Porta Via or The Bar Room.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sending Valentines

To receive love, send love.

Valentine's Day is one of my favorite times of the year. Imagine that within this fast-paced and consumer-driven society, we all can still embrace a day where the celebration is focused on the very thing that all humans crave and need, the intangible and invaluable thing called Love.

Recognizing the love that you have for another, whether it be a lover, husband, wife, child, friend or relative is so meaningful in this day and age. When communication has taken the form of 5-second texting, a phone call on one's cell phone or colorless e-mails, communicating love is a welcome message in any form. However, conveying this love to another is made even more special when communicating with something that is tactile, something that satisfies not just one of the human senses, but all 5, or 6 if you subscribe to the existence of the sixth sense of intuition (I do.).

I am a paperphile, a lover of paper. Its tactile, for sure. Handmade cotton papers feel so good to the touch. Ecru-colored deckle-edged letter sheets are a calming respite for the eye. Scented inks laid down on luxurious papers with a glass dipping pen brings happiness to the nose. Opening a sealed envelope and experiencing the brush of paper against paper when removing a love letter or card from its envelope is breath to the ears. An encounter with the little bit of delectable chocolate hidden within the love letter's folds satisfies the tongue. And finally, reading heartfelt words written from one's heart to another certainly tingles one's sense of intuition, one's spirit.

The expression of love is always welcome, in my book. Whether its been years since you've communicated your nostalgic feelings to an old friend from your high school days, or if you've just been in a quarrel with a lover or spouse, or if you are simply in the middle of the daily routine of picking up your child from school, choosing to be open with your heart is a gift for not only the recipient, but a gift to yourself. The act of giving love or loving someone fills your own heart. Make this expression of love truly a gift by taking the time to write and record on a handmade card (preferably by you) or a piece of handmade paper made of cotton rag. And if these vehicles of communication are simply not available to you, reach for a recycled piece of copy paper from your fax machine, pick up a pen, any pen, and scribe what's in your heart. There is nothing better than to receive love in the form of the written word.

With love,
Wanda Soolip Wen