Ditch Your Kids (With Style)

Every couple values a good date night, especially once you add a few children into the mix. With date night comes the pressure of finding a reliable babysitter. Not only are the parents left worrying about leaving their children for the night, they also have to worry about proper babysitting etiquette. It is very hard to find a babysitter you completely trust with your children and that your children connect with and want to be with. When you do find that perfect babysitter for your family, you don’t want to let her go. Lucky for you, the parents have the easier part of the bargain. You don’t really need to do much to keep your babysitter happy. Here are just a few tips that will keep your babysitter coming back for more:

*Let the babysitter know what time they should arrive at your house well in advance (a few days before is great) and never cancel last minute unless it’s an absolute emergency. Your babysitter was depending on making money and probably cancelled/turned down plans in order to babysit.

*Don’t leave a sick child with a babysitter unless you have an event you ABSOLUTELY have to go to. If you need to go an event, try to leave your child with a family member instead. It’s not fair to the babysitter to expose her to a sickness and your child would much rather have you or a grandparent taking care of them when they are sick.

*Provide food for the sitter. If they aren’t babysitting during a meal time, make sure there are snacks available and that she knows she can eat them.

*Leave a list of important phone numbers in case of an emergency.

*Arrive home when you say you are going to (or at least within 15-20 minutes of that time). The babysitter might have other plans or a parent might be expecting her home at a certain time. If you cannot avoid being late, call the babysitter and let her know.

*Make sure you aren’t under paying. Check with friends and family members what they pay their babysitters.

When you hire a babysitter, you become the employer- the boss. Make sure that the babysitter has everything they need and that all their questions are answered. Make yourself available for them to ask you questions and come to you with concerns. Not only does the babysitter need to connect with your children, she needs to connect with you as well.

Now, go practice your ‘lipstick confidence’ on your next date night- you deserve it!

P.S. Babysitters, stay tuned for next week’s post (hint, hint)!

The Bathroom Confessional

Cleanliness, atmosphere, and comfort are all major componets of the women’s public restroom debacle. All women have had horrible bathroom experiences that we hope we never have to encounter ever again. But the truth is, we probably will. The good news: we can ALL make it better by paying closer attention to our bathroom etiquette. For women, the bathroom is a sacred place. I’m warning you now, don’t mess with the Bathroom Goddess or else a vicious storm will ensue.

*The most basic rule- flush! Even if it’s just number one, no one wants to walk into a stall with your business in the toilet.

*If you tinkle on the seat (especially if you are a fan of the hover), quickly wipe the seat before you leave.

*If you clog the toilet, report it. The faster you report it, the quicker it will get fixed.

*Let’s face it- the bathroom is a social place for women. But it’s still a public place so we need to mind our manners:

-Don’t talk to strangers while they are in a stall- it’s just plain awkward. If you want to make some small talk while they are at the mirror or sink, go ahead. It’s ok to talk to your friends across stalls but use your inside voices, censor what you talk about, and be respectful of other users.

-It’s not uncommon for a group of girls to huddle in the bathroom for a quick break but keep your voices down, stay out of the way of others, and don’t gossip (especially at work). You never know who is in the stalls or will enter the bathroom without you knowing.

-The bathroom is not an appropriate place to talk on your cell phone. Step outside to take or make a call.

*If you know that there is something wrong with a stall (no toilet paper or its a gross mess), warn other women before they enter, just don’t stand at the sink watching someone enter into a stall you know is not up to par.

*Check for feet under the stall door before pushing it open, don’t just push through without checking. Many bathroom stall locks are faulty or it may not be properly locked.

*Use the proper trash receptacle. Throw paper towels into the trash and if you miss, pick it up. Also make sure to dispose of your personal feminine products in the right place (please don’t just leave them in the stall or in the toilet).

*Always wash your hands after you go to the bathroom.

*After you wash your hands, quickly wipe the counter/sink area, especially if you just applied make-up or brushed your hair.

Sometimes the bathroom is the only place women can escape, compose themselves, and consult with friends so don’t ruin our sanctuary. But we must also remember that the purpose of a bathroom isn’t for socializing, so we need to respect actual bathroom users.

Now, go practice your ‘lipstick confidence’!

The First Date Jitters

Everyone dreads the first date. No matter who you are, what you have accomplished, or how much confidence you have the first date is never easy. Many women tend to put immense pressure on themselves to be someone they aren’t. We tend to conjure up an image in our minds of who we think our date wants us to be (like that super sexy Victoria’s Secret model on the cover of that catalogue sitting on your kitchen counter) rather than trying to show who we truly are. Many women ruin their first date before it even happens, letting their nerves and preconceptions get the best of them. When you are too worried about being someone else, you forget all the basics. And most importantly, you forget how to be yourself and despite what you may think the real you is much more interesting than that lingerie model.

On your next date, drop the act and give these few suggestions a whirl (I promise you won’t regret it and you’re date won’t either):

*Half the nerves come from the preparation. What to wear is probably the biggest decision of the night. You want to dress to impress but at the same time you don’t want to wear something you normally wouldn’t or something that isn’t your style. You want your date to like you for you, not because of what you have failed to cover up (leave a little something for their imagination). Also, dress for the occasion. If you know you are going on a picnic in a park, stiletto heels probably aren’t the best choice.

*Do your makeup like you would for any other night out and use only a few squirts of perfume. Too much of anything is never a good thing.

*It’s really important to be on time for your first date. You never want to be too early. It gives off that overexcited I-have-no-life-and-have-been-waiting-forever-for-this-moment type of vibe. On the other hand, you don’t want to be late. Many people have pet peeves for tardiness and you don’t want to turn off your date before you even introduce yourself.

*Turn off your cell phone. You will be able to tell all your girlfriends how the date went once you get home, I promise.

*Unfortunately, it’s not all about you. Make sure you alternate asking questions about each other. Share your passions, interests, and hobbies with him but make sure he tells you about his as well.

*My biggest caution: DON’T, under any circumstances, talk about ex-boyfriends or compare this date to other dates or guys you have dated in the past. If he brings up the ex subject, quickly change it. There will be plenty of time for that later.

*Every guy likes a girl who laughs at his jokes but don’t overdo it. He’s just as nervous as you are and a little laugh here and there will ease his nerves.

*Compliment your date. His clothes, manners, or choice of restaurant are all great options for compliments (but use these sparingly as well).

*Remember: eye contact, eye contact, eye contact.

*No guy likes a girl who excessively drinks on the first date (or at all). He asked you out to have a good time, not to drive you home and carry you to your front door. If you are with a guy who is encouraging you to excessively drink, you should probably just end the date there.

*When the final bill comes, offer to add a contribution- don’t assume that he is just going to pay for the whole thing.

*The first date should never last too long; three to four hours is a perfect length. If you see the date is running much longer than this try to politely end it. The longer the date is, the more room for error. You want to end your first date on a high note and plus, a lack of time could leave him wanting that second date.

*At the end of the date make sure to tell him you had a great time (even if you didn’t) and thank him for taking you out (especially if he paid). If you’re date didn’t go as planned that is no excuse for poor manners. It’s not his fault you two weren’t compatible.

First dates go sour all the time, so don’t feel bad if you don’t get that second date. It was nothing against you, he just wasn’t the one. If you were yourself there should be no regrets.

Now, go practice your ‘lipstick confidence’!

You Got Mail!

In today’s world we don’t only need to know how to communicate properly in person, on the phone, or on social network websites but we also need to master the art of an e-mail. How you present yourself in an e-mail is important because the person on the other end has nothing else to judge you off of (unless they have met you before and in this case you want to make a stellar second impression). You may not think that a quick e-mail has a large impact on your image, but in reality it does. I know that every time I receive a poorly composed e-mail all I can think about is how many mistakes I can find and I lose sight of what is actually important.

The purpose of an e-mail is convenience and speed, so don’t over think it. The simpler, the better:

*Keep the e-mail short and to the point. Ever open up an e-mail only to see five large block paragraphs? Yes, we all have. And what did you do? You probably skimmed it. No one wants to read a long e-mail, it’s kind of overwhelming.

*If you are replying to an e-mail, make sure to answer all the questions that the other person asked. If they have to ask you again, they might start to get a little annoyed. Also, try to pre-empt any future questions you think they may have. The more prepared you appear, the better impression you will have.

*Check your grammar and spelling. If your e-mail doesn’t have spell check, type it up in Word first. Also, it is always a good idea to have someone else proofread an important e-mail before you send it (and you should always read it over one last time yourself before sending it).

*Try to answer as soon as you get the e-mail or as quickly as you can.

*Keep the e-mail easy to read with a clean structure. Use small paragraphs and leave empty blank spaces between the paragraphs.

*Avoid using CAPS. It makes it seem like you are yelling and no one likes to be yelled at.

*Stay away from abbreviations or emoticons (no matter how cute they are).

*Don’t discuss private information through e-mail. Even if you are sending an e-mail to a private address, it’s still the internet and nothing is ever private on the internet.

*Use a meaningful subject line. The recipient should be able to figure out what the e-mail is about just by reading the subject.

*Lastly, use a signature at the end of the e-mail that includes your contact information. E-mail should never replace face-to-face contact so give the other person a way to contact the real you.

These are very basic guidelines that should help you to write a typical e-mail, but if you find yourself with more questions check out these 101 e-mail etiquette tips (if you can’t find the answer to your question there, I think you’re in trouble or just paranoid!)

Now, go practice your ‘lipstick confidence’!