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Many Dimensions of Your Path

June 15, 2017

Other people may be there to help us, teach us, guide us along our path,
but the lesson to be learned is always ours.”

– Unknown

Forest Lane Forest Path Away Autumn Nature

Feeling like you’re “on the right path” is crucial to being satisfied with your life. Most of us know this, but when it comes to determining what the “right path” is, many people are unsure.

Your path is a way of being in the world that fulfills you and calls forward your own unique gifts. If you’re wondering if you’re on the right path. well then you’re not. How do I know that? Because when you’re on the right path, you know it. It feels absolute and undeniable – it’s just right, and no one can convince you otherwise.

If you aren’t feeling that level of clarity and conviction, it’s time to do some investigating. Think about the following questions: What makes your heart sing? What makes you so excited that you can’t wait to jump out of bed in the morning?

When presented with these questions, some people get very excited as they tap into their own reservoir of personal inspiration and energy. But others get anxious, frustrated, even depressed by these questions — because they can’t feel their own passion anymore. Maybe they lost faith in the possibility of their dream, or someone talked them out of it. Or they just got swallowed up by the demands of day-to-day life and forgot to keep dreaming.

For those of you who are confused about your path, a few questions can get you thinking in the right direction:

  • When you were a child, what did you always want to be? Why? This line of thinking can call forward some of your innate talents and core passions.
  • Who do you admire, or aspire to be like? What do you like best about this person? These questions can reveal some of your intangible goals.
  • What roles do you play in your life (i.e. parent, boss, confidante, etc.)? How would you like to show up in each of these roles?
  • What is your most cherished compliment? Why is that important to you?
  • What would you like to experience in life?

If you’re ready to take action on a path that inspires you, please take some time for the following exercise. Not only will you walk away with some valuable insights about your life, but you’ll also have the clarity to make changes and take steps in a direction that resonates deeply with you.

As a coach, I recommend:
Go to my website www.beyondthepage.ca and download the Wheel of Life.

This wheel represents your life. On a scale of 0-10, where the center of the wheel is zero and the outer edge is 10, indicate your level of satisfaction in each area of your life by shading in that section of the wheel. (For example, if you’re fully satisfied, shade the entire section; if you rate that area of your life at a 5, start at the center and shade halfway to the edge.)

Once you’ve finished shading, take a look at the shape of your Wheel of Life. Is it full and smooth, or uneven and jagged? This wheel is the vehicle you are using to travel your path. how bumpy is your ride?

Now, choose an area of your life that you’d most like to improve and brainstorm three action steps that will improve your experience in that area. For example, if you scored low on Health, you could schedule an appointment with the doctor, join a gym, improve your diet, take vitamins, eat more nutritiously, and so on.

Commit to raising your rating by 1-2 points in the next week, and another increase within 30 days. With consistent steps in the right direction, a rewarding path is only a matter of time.

Have fun with this – after all it’s your life! Your path!

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Posted by Amazing Editor in A Page of Insight and tagged , ,

The Business Lunch Demystified

June 10, 2017

Lunch

Lunchtime is a great opportunity to be productive and network. Here is a healthy serving of guidance to help you thrive in a business lunch.

No matter where you go for your business lunch, be on time. If you live in a big city, you know that traffic can be terrible. Even in the worst traffic scenarios, you can be on time if you plan ahead. Arriving early gives you time to use the restroom to check your appearance, fix your tie, reapply lipstick, make sure your shirt is tucked in, etc.

At your lunch meeting, enjoy your meal, be yourself, and remember to exchange any important information before you leave the table.

In Japan, meishi koukan is the formal exchange of business cards. The practice is very important in Japanese culture, and their long list of proper steps in the business card exchange is taken seriously. While we are not so formal in North America we have adopted the Japanese custom of handing a business card to someone with both hands with the print readable to the receiver. Your business card needs to be pristine and accurate. Look the person in the eye as you hand them your business card.

No matter the type of business lunch, whether it is an interview, a sales pitch, or just a get-to-know-you meal, remember your table manners. Keep the phone on silent and put away, and keep your handbag on a hook — never on the table or floor. Know and practice napkin knowhow, silent service code, and be silverware savvy.

Before you meet for your next business lunch, have an outcome for that lunch in mind. If you invited someone to lunch let them know why you are wanted to meet with them. It is good form to pay for your guest if you extended the invitation. If it is a mutually agreed upon luncheon, be prepared to pick up the tab, at least for yourself, when the bill arrives. Most importantly, be polite, stay focused on the outcome, and enjoy the conversation.

 

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Posted by Margaret Page in Business Etiquette, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , ,

10 Ways Women Sabotage Their Own Presentations (And How to Fix Them)

May 11, 2017

Speaker at conference and presentation. Audience at the conference hall

Presenting before a group is a golden opportunity to make your voice and your opinions heard, to change minds and hearts, and to woo people to your business.

So why is it that we women are so prone to sabotaging these valuable moments?

I’ve watched thousands of speakers and have presented innumerable times myself, and over the years I’ve noticed a pattern: Women are prone to several habits and tics that undermine their message.

I’m not saying that men don’t make similar mistakes — they do — but let’s face facts. Woman make less money on the dollar. We face the tug-of-war between home and the office in a different way than men do. We risk being called too shrill, too bossy, too opinionated.

Combine that with the following speaking faux pas and you risk undermining your own hard work. You can gain the upper hand, though, with a bit of practice. Here are the most common mistakes we women make — and how to fix them.

No point of view. Women are wonderful at one-on-one discussions and small groups because we’re naturals at collaborating and building consensus. Unfortunately, that also means that many women avoid the stage. We have fewer female speaking role models that we can emulate, and we can tend toward general sharing of information rather than specific viewpoints. A presentation without a point of view can come off as a lecture, or the presenter can appear wishy-washy. The fix: Create and cultivate your own unique perspective. Think about TED Talks: They’re informative, yet they always have a point of view that makes you think. By drilling down, reflecting and asking good questions about your information you can develop an opinion that stands out.

Pacing the stage. This is a bad habit that’s common among both men and women presenting on small to medium stages. Pacing the stage makes you seem unsure and it also robs your audience of a steady viewing point. Think about what audiences have become accustomed to: Broadcasters stay in one spot. At large events, you don’t see speakers dashing all over the stage — it would be magnified on the Jumbotron! Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t move during your presentation. But pacing doesn’t indicate confidence or wisdom; it telegraphs nervousness to the crowd. The fix: Try the Fripp method of stage movement: move when you want to demonstrate action such as walking or running, when you demonstrate the passing of time, and when you transition from point to point. Remember that your goal is to connect with your message and to connect with your audience. Before speaking, release nervous energy with jumping jacks and move on to deep, diaphragmatic breathing to center yourself and clear your mind. You can even hold your hand over your heart to remind you of how you want to present yourself to your audience: With a passion that clearly comes from within.

High voice and upspeak. Everyone’s voice tends to rise when nervous — it’s human nature — but on the stage it’s a clear sign that you have a bit of stage fright. Upspeak, on the other hand, is when your voice rises at the end of a sentence so that it sounds like a question. Women are more prone to upspeak thanks to our collaborative nature; we want to invite opinions. It’s common for speakers to draw the audience in with rhetorical and literal questions, but those questions need to be planned and deliberate. The fix: Practice modulating your voice. Slow down. Be present. Focus more on connecting with your audience rather than being overwhelmed by the prospect of having one. Remember, all speaking is public speaking and you’ve been speaking to others your entire life.

Too much smiling. Women are taught from an early age to smile, but smiling too much can seem as if you’re insincere. I’ve watched women smile through presentations even when they’re delivering pain points and bad or sad news, which throws the audience off. You want your facial movements to reflect your inner feelings and emotions; otherwise, it’s just a mask! An audience can always sense a speaker’s lack of authenticity. The fix: Practice with your presentation so that you’re not just reading words, you’re delivering a message. You would be thrown off if a person told you about a death in the family while smiling; the same rules apply to your presentation. Both you and your audience will have a better time if you take the journey together. A word of caution: If you’re still acutely grieving over a loss or difficult event you’re not yet ready to share what you’ve learned from the platform.

Clothing that doesn’t match the occasion. There’s a time and place for your favorite short skirt or deep-V shirt, but it’s not on a stage or in a boardroom where it can detract from your credibility. The fix: Stick to skirts or dresses that are knee-length or just above the knee and avoid cleavage.

The wrong set of heels. As with short skirts and low-cut tops, there’s a place for those sky-high stilettos. (Hint: It’s not at work or on the stage.) Keep in mind, too, that certain high heels — no matter the heel size — can make a distracting clack-clack-clack as you walk across a stage. The fix: Stash the stilettos and test your heels on a hard surface before making your presentation. If they make noise when you walk, ditch them in favor of a less noisy pair. If the problem persists, buy some felt-bottomed ballroom dance shoes. This will allow your words to be heard rather than your heels.

Clothing patterns. Men, in their suits and ties, normally have an advantage here: We haven’t seen too many heavily patterned clothes for men since the 1970s. We women, on the other hand, have a wide variety of styles and patterns to choose from when dressing. Unfortunately, too-busy patterns can put the focus on our clothes rather than on what we’re saying. The fix: Reserve patterns for off-work hours and stick to solids.

Imploding body language. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy has a term for women who cross their legs, pull their shoulders in, or cross their arms: “imploding.” All three of these body stances make you physically smaller, which is the opposite of what you want when you’re before an audience. To connect, you must be open. For your message to land, you need to deliver it confidently. Creating the smallest version of yourself doesn’t indicate confidence, it indicates defensiveness. The fix: Stand with your shoulders back and your spine straight. If you’re sitting, keep your legs together and uncrossed or crossed at the ankle.

Using eyeglasses as props. Eyeglasses are essential for so many of us, but they belong in one place during presentations: Balanced on the bridge of your nose. If your glasses slide down your nose and you peer over them, it gives the actual effect of looking down your nose at someone. Not the best if you’re trying to create a real connection. Another faux pas is removing the glasses and then holding them while speaking. Drama teachers will tell you that props are powerful because they command attention. Do you want to command attention to your reading glasses? The fix: Adjust your glasses immediately if they slide down your nose. At the next opportunity, have them adjusted at an eyeglass store. If you need to remove your glasses during a presentation, make sure you have a place to stash them out of sight.

Preening. This is another unconscious action that’s particular to women: We touch our faces and push around our hair while speaking, which is just as distracting as using eyeglasses as props. The fix: If necessary, pull your hair back so you’re not tempted to touch it. Ask your hairstylist to teach you two or three stage-ready styles that you can easily create yourself. Touching your face can be a difficult habit to break, but I’ve found great success by remembering that touching your face can spread germs and make myself more vulnerable to illnesses like the flu.

With a little preparation, practice, and awareness, you can dial back distractions and turn your next speaking engagement into a chance to make a difference for your audience.

 

 

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Posted by Margaret Page in A Page of Insight, Communication and tagged ,

Email Essentials

April 21, 2017

Infographic email

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Posted by Margaret Page in Uncategorized

A Roadmap of Manners from Coast to Coast

March 19, 2017

Diverse People in a Circle with Culture Concept

If you have done any kind of travel, especially for business, you will have noticed there can be huge differences in the way we communicate, ways of dress, leisure activities, and business practices from Coast to Coast. Our cultural norms—how we behave socially or in business from region to region or age group to age group—can feel as dramatic as visiting a foreign land.

According to a prominent social and cultural psychologist, the stereotypes we hear are true – the East is more old and established and the West is more new and free, and this does not differ in the business world.

Crossing the Communication Border

The way people speak – the words, tone, and dialect they use – are one of the biggest differences we see from coast to coast. This can be especially challenging in business settings.

How we greet each other is often unique to a region. In the Northeast, people are less likely to greet people with a “hello” while walking to their office, unless you know the person.  In the South and the West, however, if you pass someone in the hallway, or are sharing a long elevator ride, it would be odd not to smile or extend a casual greeting to the individual.

And of course, if you are in the South you can expect to be greeted with a cheery “Yes, Ma’am” or a “Hi Ya’ll!” from all levels of the corporate ladder. By simply paying attention to a greeting you can easily understand where someone’s roots are planted.

Differences within cross-regional communication also apply to indirect communication. In New York City, busy businesspeople move from home to work with purpose. They are accustomed to the busyness around them—to the point where the sounds they encounter from Point A to Point B fall on deaf ears.

Remember Emma Stone’s interview about the filming of the Spiderman movie. Busy New York office workers hustled along and were so oblivious to the action (where cars were literally being blown up) that they had to hire people to react to the situations. You are less likely to see that kind of reaction on the West Coast. Though just as determined and focused in their business life, if cars are blowing up around them, they’re likely to stop and watch the action.

When it comes to business communication, the most important thing to remember is to be open and flexible—and if you’re unsure of what behaviour is expected or appreciated, just ask.

Dressing for Success

Take for example a recent client’s visit to coastal California. In what we would call the business hub of the city, she found businessmen and women dressed in casual attire—especially in the heat of summer. Gentlemen rarely wear suits—opting for pressed khakis and a nice polo shirt in its place. Where suits and ties are a rare occurrence in the West, gentlemen seem to shower with them on in the East.

A West Coast businessperson was surprised on a recent business trip to New York City because of how different the corporate culture felt. Men and women in suits scurried from the subway to the office—grabbing a bagel at the local food cart. Said businessperson exclaimed how New Yorkers moved with intention. She herself felt that she couldn’t keep up with them, and she wasn’t the one in 3-inch heels!

And, much like the South where temperatures and humidity are higher, you won’t see women wearing pantyhose to the office. The atmosphere in the West is definitely more laid back and casual.

An interesting tidbit to note: women who work in the White House or on Parliament Hill must wear stockings or hose and closed toed shoes ALL year round. Though this may be surprising, those that work closely with other cultures must set a high standard and respect other’s cultural beliefs around dress codes.

Since wearing inappropriate clothing to a foreign area can sometimes be awkward and embarrassing, there are things you can do to ensure the comfort of others when faced with cultural and regional differences. Do your homework before your next business trip by making Google your go-to resource. Enter in the address or area, such as Downtown Vancouver, where you’ll be prompted with a street view that allows you to see how people are dressed! Or, simply search for the city’s business attire, such as Business Attire Vancouver, for a host of resources that discuss etiquette do’s and don’ts catered to that city.

Mixing Business with Pleasure

It is becoming more and more common to mix “labor with leisure” – that is, business with pleasure. Attending a cocktail party at your boss’ home, or gathering the team for a brainstorm session over lunch at a colleague’s apartment, is not uncommon nowadays. And if you do visit someone’s home for a business-related function, one of the things that can differ from one coast to the other is whether to remove your shoes. Most likely, if you came from a colder climate where part of the year is under snow, you grew up removing your shoes at the door, before entering someone’s home — winter or summer. It just became a habit. And when you enter someone’s home today, no matter where you live, it’s the first thing you do.

Whereas those that grew up in climates where the walkways remain clean all year round are encouraged to leave their footwear on.  Bare feet or sweaty socks on carpets or hardwoods can be damaging and is really not a good practice, but in the battle between dirty shoes and stocking feet – socks wins!

Outdoor leisure activities also differ from region to region. Since the weather in the West is moderate, golf is a popular business leisure activity. Its also not uncommon for businesspeople in metropolitan cities such as Los Angeles to take their clients to NHL, NFL, or MBL sporting events, or to even experience the city’s nightlife. However in the South, you can expect an invitation for something more adventurous, such as hunting. In the Northeast, leisure activities can range from fishing to a night at the theatre.

If you know your business travels will include an activity that’s unfamiliar to you, it doesn’t hurt to do some light research. If you are feeling uneasy about your abilities to do said sport, expressing a light-hearted joke with your company at the start of the day will help ease your tensions.

Culturally Connected

We’ve all heard the expression that begins “When in Rome…”; when it comes to travelling for business relations, the expression holds true. It’s important to be respectful of local customs and traditions. Prior to scheduling your business travels, it is essential to check the region’s observed holidays. Where Jewish holidays are honored in Southern Florida and the North East, the Midwest and the South are known to embrace the traditions of Cinco de Mayo. However in cities such as New York and Los Angeles, you will likely find that only traditional holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are observed. These are all important to keep in mind when scheduling business trips.

Respecting cultural boundaries also takes effect in more intimate circumstances such as hugging and cheek kissing. Some things to consider are how long you have known the person and whether you are friends with them outside of the business arena. The setting also comes into consideration here; what if their boss is present? No matter how well you know the person, a handshake may be the better choice in this situation.

Is the Gap Narrowing?

While it’s true that there are definite cultural nuances, it’s also true that these differences seem to be narrowing as younger generations move into the business world. Co-working spaces are opening across the country—east to west. Millennials and Gen Y’ers are slowly changing the way we work and it’s happening everywhere. Working from co-working spaces or coffee shops have become the “norm” for this generation and working traditions are far less formal than what generations before them are accustomed to.

No matter what part of the country you are in, the most important thing to remember is that you are in someone else’s backyard—not yours, so avoid making any judgements. By being respectful, receptive, and inclusive of new cultures and “norms,” you will benefit. And when in doubt, let it go! No one is trying to offend you!

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Posted by Margaret Page in Uncategorized and tagged , , ,

A Valentine’s Survival Guide for Couples

February 13, 2017

Heart frame from red rose petals over white background

I know Valentine’s Day is here already, but here are some Valentines Day etiquette tips that will ensure a romantic and memorable evening (and keep everyone out of the dog house!)

(Note: If you waited until today to buy a special Valentine’s Day card, you might be stuck with the leftover corny Valentine’s Day cards. Think about making your own card for your sweetie. Homemade gifts are always a hit in the romance department.)

  • Turn your cell phones off: It goes without saying that you should give your date your undivided attention at all times, and most especially on such a romantic day as Valentine’s Day. Gentlemen: turn your cell phones off—and leave them off the table–so you’re not tempted to check sports scores during dinner.
  • Buying a gift: Valentines Day means different things to different people – depending on how long you’ve been together and how serious the relationship is. A traditional gift of flowers and chocolate are still time-honored traditions, and they fit into most budgets. Remember, it really is the thought that counts. Handwritten love letters are also a hit!
  • Mind your table manners: As with any time you’re sharing a meal with someone, be sure to bring along your best table manners. Chewing with your mouth open or shoveling food into your mouth is NOT romantic.
  • For the men: Remember the simple things, like opening the door for her, helping her with her coat, and pulling out her chair for her if the wait staff don’t do it for her.
  • Who pays? Many women are still looking for that knight in shining armor–chivalry is desirable. So, men, pick up the tab unless your lady in waiting has extended the dinner invitation.

Valentines hearts beat more passionately than everyday hearts

~ Anonymous

 Wishing you all a very happy (and romantic) Valentines Day!

photo credit: pixieclipx 

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Posted by Margaret in Everyday Etiquette

Flying Solo: Valentine’s Day Tips for Singles

February 7, 2017

Heart Crayon
Just because you’re single on Valentines Day doesn’t mean you have to miss out on an opportunity to do something special. Defy Cupid this year with these Valentine’s etiquette tips for single guys and gals – and make Valentine’s Day 2017 a day to remember!

  • Plan ahead – Prepare a plan of action well before the day arrives so you’re not stuck for ideas when Cupid comes to town.
  • Do something nice for yourself – Do you love flowers? Buy yourself a big bouquet. Enjoy chocolate? There are plenty of decadent chocolates to choose from! Buy yourself the biggest box! Men, pick up that gadget you’ve been eyeing since Christmas. Splurge a little on yourself this Valentine’s Day!
  • Relax – Schedule a massage or book a day at the spa. Splurge on a bottle of expensive wine, make your favorite dish and eat  in front of the TV — watching your all-time favorite movie, in your pajamas!
  • Get together with friends – Just because you’re single, doesn’t mean you’re alone. Gather up a group of unattached friends and meet for cocktails, go to a comedy show or a late night flick!
  • Host a dinner party – Invite your single friends to join you for a dinner party at your home. Good food, good wine and good company? Now you all have awesome dates on Valentine’s Day.
  • Schedule a movie marathon – Themed movie nights are always fun! Host a Casablanca night where everyone dresses like 40s screen sirens or wears a fedora!
  • Step outside your comfort zone – Think about something that you are afraid of and give yourself permission to step into doing it! Do something that challenges you!
  • Tap into your creative side – Sign up for a pottery class or explore a local art gallery. Your creative self will thank you!
  • Give back There’s no shortage of ways you can give of yourself on Valentine’s Day. Spend the day volunteering at your local children’s shelter, soup kitchen or Salvation Army.

Go beyond February 14th and participate in Random Acts of Kindness Day – celebrated around the world February 12 – 18th. Think about how you can go over and above to do something special for someone. Write a handwritten note to an old friend, bring a treat to a neighbor, hold the door open for someone, or pay the tab for the person in line behind you at the coffee shop. The Random Acts of Kindess Week website has more than 280 kindness ideas to choose from!

Valentine’s day can be a lot of fun, even if you’re flying solo this year! With a little imagination and some planning, this special day can be you will never forget!

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day this year? Share with us in the comments below!

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Posted by Margaret in Everyday Etiquette and tagged ,

Valentine’s Day Etiquette Tips for Couples

February 6, 2017

Valentines Day Etiquette tips

Some Valentines Day ideas and etiquette tips that will leave a lasting impression with your sweetie!

  • Valentine’s Day is a busy day for restaurants so if you’re planning on taking your date out for a special dinner, make the reservation now. Today. It’s not surprising that all the good restaurants book up far in advance and you don’t want to find yourself running through a drive-thru with your date. That would NOT be romantic, and it may be your very last date. 🙂
  • If you’re checking out a new place for dinner, be sure to give some thought to how you’ll get there and where you’ll park. This will avoid being late for your reservation.
  • If you’re buying flowers, red roses are classic, but to go the extra mile, consider your loved one’s favorite flower. You’ll definitely gain some points for paying attention if you arrive with a bouquet of her favorites.
  • Instead of spending hours sifting through store-bought (often-generic) Valentine’s Day cards, why not create a video message or create a Lovestegram! With a Lovestegram, you can send a Valentine’s Day photo album to your love that is completely personal.
  • Just because you’re on a tight budget, doesn’t mean you can’t plan a special evening with your spouse or significant other. Cooking together, with soft music playing in the background is very romantic.  Make the evening special by getting dressed up, lighting some candles and setting the table with your best china and a bouquet of fresh flowers.
  • If you’re looking for a special gift that costs very little, consider this handmade treasure. What better way to share how much someone means to you than a “10 Things I Love About You Jar!” Just jot down all the reasons the person is special to you (and it can be more than 10!) and put them in a jar. Fancy it up with some fabric and you will have a personal gift that they will never forget!

If you do plan an evening out at a restaurant, keep your phone turned off, or, at the very least, out of sight. If it’s out of sight, you’ll be less tempted to check it. Many times I’ve witnessed couples, seated at a beautiful table in a nice restaurant, each of them off in their own world – on their cell phones, texting or chatting with someone else! If you’re expecting an urgent call, ask to be excused and take your call away from the table, in privacy.

Another tricky question I get this time of year is around splitting the check – or “going Dutch.” The answer to this is simple, for Valentine’s Day and any time of year, “Whoever does the asking, does the paying.” And if you have a coupon deal, best to save that for a night out with your friends.

Lastly, bad manners are a big turn-off, so be very mindful of your manners from the moment you greet your date.  Chewing with your mouth open, talking with your mouth full, and shoveling your food into your mouth will not impress. Men, keep the simple things in mind: opening the door for your date, pulling out her chair if the wait staff doesn’t do it for her. Courtesy and respect will never go out of style.

Do you have a favorite Valentine’s Day memory you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it!

 

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Posted by Margaret in Everyday Etiquette and tagged , , ,

Gifts That Say “I Love You” All Year Long

February 5, 2017

Love You GiftsLooking for some unique gift ideas to express your love and affection for that special someone this Valentines?

We thought we’d have some fun by sharing a few unique ideas we found.

FOR HIM

My brother absolutely loved this gift I gave him for Christmas. Help him discover his inner chef—and master the skills for a great meal – with the “Everyday Gourmet” cooking course.

Etsy is a great place to go for homemade gifts, and more. This personalized bottle opener is pretty sharp and I love the packaging.

FOR HER

Flowers and candy are classic, but if you are looking for a unique gift idea, this personalized heart in the sand canvas will definitely show her you’re a romantic at heart. 🙂

You could really be romantic with these “reasons I love you stones.” With sayings like “…because you’re an inspiration” and “… for always getting my jokes,” she’ll love the sentiment. And the pretty bag the stones come in. Or hide them around the house – in places you know she’ll find them. This gift could go on giving all year long!

FOR EITHER OF YOU!

These were a fun gift idea – for any occasion. For Valentine’s Day, they offer a Personalized M & M’s Romance gift box. Very cute.

I gave these personalized fortune cookies to someone a few years ago and they were a hit. There are some yummy-looking Valentine’s Day themed options now/

Take a look at these super cute and unique plants. Very unique gift idea.

If you have a way with words, this may be the perfect gift. Tell your own love story with The Love Book. Very romantic!

When I saw these pillowcases, I knew they would bring a smile to someone’s face. True pillow talk 🙂

What special or unique gift have you received for Valentines Day (or any other day!)? Share some ideas with us!

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Posted by Margaret in Just for Fun and tagged , ,

Delegating for the Holidays

December 3, 2016

christmas-funny-womanThe holidays are always such a magical time. When I first smell that sharp, festive scent of Scot’s pine in the winter, I know the season is finally here. My family and I celebrate Christmas, and I just love getting into the spirit of the season by listening to Christmas carols and wrapping all the gifts.

My family has a pretty funny history when it comes to gift wrapping. We have gone through several present-wrapping phases. There was a time when we wrapped everything in newspaper, saving money on gift wrap and recycling old paper in the process. A few years later, my sister-in-law made us all reusable gift bags, and we started putting Christmas presents in these bags. However, we always seem to go back to the colorful paper and ribbons, even if wrapping presents with gift wrap takes more time.

I don’t always have time to wrap gifts myself every Christmas. Some years, I hire a teenager to lend me a hand and do the gift wrapping for me. It’s a nice opportunity for a young person to earn some extra money during the holidays. Hiring someone else to take on gift wrapping also helps me from getting overly stressed by everything I need to do during the holidays.

During the holidays, we can be doing a lot of dining and entertaining. Women in particular have a habit of wanting to do everything — I know this from personal experience. There’s this desire to attend all the events, make sure the food is delicious, the house is presentable, the presents look pretty sitting under the tree, and be the best hostess at every event. It is incredibly demanding and can take a lot of the fun out of the holidays, but one strategy can help you finish your to-do list without all the stress.

If you are in charge of planning an event — such as an office party, a family gathering, or even a Christmas caroling outing — start by identifying everything that will need to get done. Pick out the tasks you will most enjoy doing and assign those tasks to yourself.

Next, print out the rest of the tasks on individual slips of paper and put them all into a hat. Pass the hat around to everyone who will be attending and have them draw a task at random. Each person who will be attending the event now has a role in putting on that event. Delegation can be a very important tool when planning, but it’s not something everyone takes advantage of.

This method can be very beneficial in the professional setting. Everyone is chipping in and working together as a team toward a common goal. People can practice teamwork while getting to know their co-workers better.

Whatever tasks this time of year brings, I find that when to-do items are delegated, everything gets done, and you can still enjoy the pleasures of the holiday season.

Happy holidays!

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Posted by Margaret Page in Newsletters, Uncategorized and tagged ,