5.25.2015

My Hostess Horror Story, The Respect of Dressing Well + My Writing Routine



I am on a strict deadline for my book three edits right now so this blog post will be much shorter than usual. Even though I have a heavy work load I didn't want to leave you without a video. So this week I am sharing some of the great comments of the past two weeks along with some of my own stories (like my very traumatizing experience as a first time dinner party hostess!). Check out the video above for that and much more, including my writing routine, a very inspiring observation about dressing well in Uganda and the excitement and nervousness that comes from changing the way you dress. If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

News

Thank you to all of the Japanese viewers who tuned into The Most Useful School in the World last weekend on Nippon Television. I had such a great time shooting the show!

Here is my interview (in Japanese) with Asahi Shimbun Online.

Thank you, Pink Julep, for your great review of At Home With Madame Chic.

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Just like our friend in rural Australia, let's feel both the excitement and nervousness that comes from making positive changes in our lives. No matter what small change you make, it can feel daunting! Take comfort in knowing that you have a community of fellow connoisseurs going through the same thing and cheering you on.


Stay tuned for a very exciting announcement later this week!

Until next time...


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16 comments:

Samantha Morgan said...

As someone with multiple food allergies, sensitivities and religious restrictions I can say that it was not your fault that you made something a guest was allergic to. Yes, perhaps you should have made a side but it is the responsibility of the guest to inform you of anything the CAN'T eat. I think sometimes people are unsure if it is the proper thing to do to tell a hostess that you can't eat a certain food. If you are mildly allergic to something but you usually eat it anyway or if you just don't like something then its best to leave that to yourself. I think all would agree however that if a food poses a health threat or imposes on a persons religious beliefs then the correct thing to do is politely inform your hostess of the situation BEFORE it becomes a problem.

Alice LoMascolo said...

I just pre-ordered your book 3!

celkalee said...

Thank you for sharing your process. I think that writing is a very challenging art. It is so much more than putting words to paper, you do it very well and I am looking forward to the next book.

Madeleine Lawrence said...

Hi Jennifer,

fabulous dress!

I agree with Samantha - it is my responsibilty to inform my hosts of my food allergies. How rude if I don't, and they go to a lot of trouble to prepare something I then cannot eat!

As someone who is trying to write around family and my business, I'm encouraged to hear what you were able to achieve with a small,concentrated block of writing each day.

Madeleine.x

Carrie Willard said...

Two hostess faux pas that come to mind: one was a tea party I was invited to in which it took the hostess over an hour to actually serve the tea and food. (And in the meanwhile, nothing else was offered.) I was pregnant and nauseated at the time and it was agony!

Another huge pet peeve of mine is when people leave their large TV (which regrettably is always the focal point of the home, ugh!) on loudly when having company. They aren't even watching it, but I find it SO distracting and distasteful. I'm not a TV watcher myself, but especially not when I have people over!

Madeleine Lawrence said...

PS in the case of multiple allergies or if you are vegan, I would think it appropriate to offer to bring a dish to share. A lot of people find hosting a dinner hard enough without having to study up on a diet that may be very different from their own.

Madeleine

TL said...

Hi Jennifer and all!
First of all - thank you so much Jennifer for all inspiring thoghts! Especially those on dessing presentable always and the ten item wardrobe.
I am also a living proof that one can stay presentable always on a lean or nearly non existing budget. The key is not only to find bargains or buing second hand, but also to take very good care of the few parcels you afford to by. What I do is that I treat/wash nearly all my clothes the same way you treat your delicate silk dresses.

For many years, between graduating from university and before finding employment (in hard-to-find-employment times) me and my husband were struggeling financially. All my closet contained were clothes from cheaper brands/shops like H&M, since I had recently been a student. Now faced with even less money, just barely affording to pay our bills and food, I could'nt even afford buying a new pair of socks! But I didn't want to look and feel empoverished, neither for myself, my friends or a potential employer (e.g. for a job interview).

So I could'nt afford any new clothes, but the ones I had I kept nice and new-looking by these routines: when washing laundry I would turn the garment (e.g. a blouse or a skirt) on the reverse, put it in a mesh laundry bag and wash it on the delicate cykle on low temperatures. Afterwoods I would leave them to hang dry (absolutely not tumblr dry!). The more nice/delicate garments on coat hangers and the less delicate stuff like t-shirs, socks or under garments on a drying rack. This way I made cheeper, low quality clothing look nice and last for a long time!

This period in our lives lasted for e couple of struggeling years but eventually we did get (permanent) employments and I could afford shopping again. But still, since then, I keep treating my garments as well as I can! Back then I even washed socks and undergarments in mesh bags! That was my state of non existing budget. This I don't do anymore or even recommend :) But for other garments yes!

The only things I wash warm and on normal cykle as well as tumble dry are beddings (sheets and such) and towels. The rest I leave to hang dry etc.

So a low budget, but always presentable wardrobe is afforded and kept by buing second hand and or in low price shops, and then care for them. Yes - and also to only wash when really needed - hanging to air dry a day or two can get you one more wear out of a blouse before washing is needed.

As for low budget personal care to maintain nice skin and hair, there are a plethora of do-it-yourself recepies on the internet for facial masks, cleansers, hair treatments, hand creme and so on! Olive oil and honey are two very useful ingredients for most things :) Just search away to find the exact instructions!

By the way - dispite my financial situation during those difficult years - I was always complimented on my nice appearances and clothing :)

TL said...

Oh and by the way! I also live in Sweden where we can have very cold winters. And yes, I have a ten item wardrobe! :)

It IS possible. Just like you say Jennifer, one might need a few more extras, but really not that many more. Stockings are e.g. an absolute necissity when wearing skirts & dresses here. Thinner ones for spring and fall, and thicker ones in wool for winter. And for those really ice cold and snowy days you might benefit from wearing a pair of ski pants on top the attire. Not the most cique non but of course you take it off first thing when entering indoors (work/home) so you may enjoy having a nice dress or skirt at the office. Also here you need two coats in your fall/winter wardrobe. A warm one for fall and early winter. And then a second and really warm one for the cold mid-winter months. Or - one coat but a couple of more and or warmer sweaters/cardigans. But besides these little adaptations the rest works just geat. Thanks again Jennifer! And I hope my examples helps to illustrate the use of a ten-item wardrobe regardless of budget or climate! :)

Evaline said...

Hi Jennifer, How exciting to be editing your third book. I write informational content for a large organization, and over the years I have gone from finding rewrites and edits to be an annoyance, to loving the editing and refining process. In fact, I now see that stage as the most fun and important part. It gives me the chance to polish the words and get the message just right for my audience. I have read several books on editing by established authors, many of which included before and after examples of their actual writing and explanations of why they made the changes...pretty cool. Can't wait to read number 3!

dysfunctionalscrapbooking said...

Hi Jennifer: I love that you write anywhere from one to currently a maximum of 3 hours as you work on your edits. I say this because many writers discuss writing for 6-8 hours a day. That's so daunting! I maintain a blog and also work on essays that are intended for inclusion in anthologies (you might like That's Paris: Life, Love and Sarcasm in the City of Light, which came out in Feb). When I set myself up to write for a whole day, it's usually a disaster. But if I set a goal or an hour or two, it goes much better. Thanks for your honesty, I think it will make a difference for many writers.

I have vacillated between being a daily dresser-upper (excuse the clunky description), and being much more casual. Thanks also for last week's post. During periods of dressing up, I did tire of the "Well, look who's so fancy" etc. I have found having a "uniform" works for me. In the fall and winter it's dark jeans, boots, short or sweater, nice belt and purse and a nice coat. In the spring and summer, I go between a casual solid shift dress or solid pants and a top that can be work tucked out and nice sandals.

Keep up the great work. I love what you have to say, and clearly I'm not alone.

Best,

Lucia

Sheri Chan said...

I agree with TL above, when I first started working I went from a bartending job to a office job. I had to buy a quick office wardrobe as it was completely different from what I was wearing as a bartender. I did buy cheaper clothes to get me going, but I also kept very good care of them, washing in cold water, hanging to dry and ironing (even when I despise ironing) I would throw on a small necklace or earrings and was ready to go. I always made sure my pants were hemmed, I used the hemming tape you could iron on and my shoes were always clean and polished, a shoe polisher is quite inexpensive. I too was always commented on how put together I was. When starting out if that is your only options, follow the above suggestions. It's easy to look nice in the clothes that you can afford, no matter what the price point is. Take good care of them.

Patricia said...

Jennifer, I follow a select few blogs on various topics of particular interest to me: writing, books, gardening, home decor, but your blog is a favorite of mine because you discuss topics more personal to one's well being as an individual: learning to treat yourself well by dressing well everyday, not just on special occasions, because "I am worth it," as is my family, my friends, and even strangers on the street. That regard for one's self and others, just by looking your best everyday translates to, living more graciously at home with your family, entertaining friends more often, and also how one interacts and is perceived in public. One of the most disheartening things for me is going to the Symphony perhaps and seeing many of the audience attending as though it is "a come as you are event, jeans and tee-shirts, more suitable for a picnic outdoors...the same for upscale restaurants nowadays, where the lowest common denominator is one must wear shoes of some sort, even if only flip-flops. It seems casual Friday has devolved into any attire for any venue, even church, weddings and funerals nowadays.

As you said at the end of your video, it's not about money. It's about respect for yourself and others.

Patricia Wilson
Columbia, CT

Soyokaze said...

The carrot comment reminded me of a guest horror story from a couple of years ago. I'd thought I'd share to make you smile: Usually, when my mum invites someone over he asks them if there's anything they don't eat, whether it's for health or taste reasons, in order to know what she can't or can't prepare. One day one of her cousins said she would come by, and my mum asked her that, the cousin said that anything would be alright, that she wasn't picky. Along came the day of the visit and my mum made lasagne with a simple salad to the side. She was very happy with her menu choice. However, when she presented the dish, and served her cousin's plate, she noticed that something was wrong. That was the moment when the cousin decided to inform her that she didn't eat cheese nor cream! My mum was so angry with her! She managed to find something else for her to eat but I'm afraid she hasn't been invited back since then. Oh well.
So, that's the story, I hope it never happens to any of you.
On another topic, quick question: when you are feeling really under the weather, and I mean really really unwell, do you still commit to looking as presentable as any other day? Last week I had the hardest time finding the strength just to get dressed, let alone trying to do my hair or makeup.
Congratulations on the new book!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Ladies I have so enjoyed your stories... thank you for sharing and commenting. I smile when I read your comments :) Jennifer x

Jenifer Pullman said...

Ladies, What do you think about this?

Some friends of ours threw together a potluck style dinner. Just to get together. It was truly about as casual as you can get. I brought a lovely green salad that I had prepared at home and as I arrived on the patio all I had to do was sit it on the table with the tongs and dressings that I had brought with me. As I explored the get-together, I found ladies in the kitchen using the hostess' utensils to cut up their fruit and make guacamole. I'm not sure how well they cleaned up after themselves, could be well; could also be not so well. The hostess herself was off juggling three small children (not having any food prep to do, I ended up helping her).

I have a vegetarian sister whom I always assign to bring green salad when we get together at my house. She always comes in with the ingredients in bags, and commences to wash lettuce, peel avocados etc. in the kitchen while I am usually trying to put the finishing touches on dinner.

What do you think about preparing food at the party in casual situations?

Jenifer Pullman said...

Ladies, What do you think about this?

Some friends of ours threw together a potluck style dinner. Just to get together. It was truly about as casual as you can get. I brought a lovely green salad that I had prepared at home and as I arrived on the patio all I had to do was sit it on the table with the tongs and dressings that I had brought with me. As I explored the get-together, I found ladies in the kitchen using the hostess' utensils to cut up their fruit and make guacamole. I'm not sure how well they cleaned up after themselves, could be well; could also be not so well. The hostess herself was off juggling three small children (not having any food prep to do, I ended up helping her).

I have a vegetarian sister whom I always assign to bring green salad when we get together at my house. She always comes in with the ingredients in bags, and commences to wash lettuce, peel avocados etc. in the kitchen while I am usually trying to put the finishing touches on dinner.

What do you think about preparing food at the party in casual situations?

 
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