Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

May your Thanksgiving be filled with peace and love!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Friendship Gifts

The taste of the season...Sweet Potato Muffins!

These muffins are topped with a crunchy sugar topping and are scrumptious served at breakfast with coffee and heavenly served for supper with ham and green beans.  Add chopped pecans, walnuts, or raisins if you choose.  They are perfect anytime of the day.

The Sweet Potato Muffins are always a hit whenever I serve them and are the most popular food product that I offer!

I always try to have "Friendship Gifts" on hand to give to those people who visit my home or to take as small hostess gift.  I was trying to come up with something easy since right now I am visiting my Mama in Georgia.  I wanted something that I could take to her neighbors who are all so good to her and to have on hand for friends who might drop by.

A couple of years ago, I baked the muffins in mini-muffin pans and used these cute Thanksgiving-theme treat bags I found at Hobby Lobby.

  I thought I was over the chevron design fad but last week I found these cute bags at Hobby Lobby with the turkey-motif toppers and the presentation was appreciated by recipients!

Each box of Sweet Potato Muffins makes 12 muffins or 48 mini muffins and cost only $7.95/box.  Click here to order.

A wrapped muffin mix makes a great hostess gift...

You can visit my Taste of Gourmet site here to find these and more gourmet food products to stock your entertaining pantry.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Black Friday and Gray Thursday

That's right.  This shopaholic actually does have a limit.  I will not shop on Thanksgiving.  This has gone too far.  I have always loved the "Black Friday" shopping tradition. For many years, mama and I would wake up early and be at the stores by 6 a.m. in order to catch a good sale and to participate in the frenzy.  It was always a fun way to kick off the Christmas season. 

Every year the store opening times moved closer and closer to Thanksgiving Day.  This year, many big stores are opening on Thanksgiving...already being called "Gray Thursday."  These retailers have taken the fun out of the tradition.  Walmart, Toys "R" Us, Best Buy, Kohl's, Kmart, and Target are among those retailers who desperately want the sales. Shoppers are looking for bargains, so the greed has now moved into one of the last few holidays we have have left to spend with our families.  I understand there are people who are buying items for their children and need bargains, but boo hiss on the greedy retailers for offering the doorbuster sales on such a family day!  

Thanksgiving is a time to be with family and friends and reflect on our blessings...enjoying the Thanksgiving meal, football, and the Thanksgiving Day parade.

So yes, the thrill is gone for me now and I won't even be shopping on "Black Friday."  I'll do my shopping on Cyber Monday!

What do y'all think?  Will you shop on "Gray Thursday" or wait until "Black Friday" or stay away from the madness completely?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Holiday Greeting Card Etiquette Reminders

It's that time of year for exchanging holiday greeting cards.  I always get e-mails about greeting card etiquette and thought I would go over some of the rules again.

Your cards can be sent anytime after Thanksgiving {or before Thanksgiving for Chanukah cards} and should only be sent to family or friends who are NOT receiving a gift from you.  A holiday greeting card should always contain a personal greeting from you.  When preparing your cards, consider the following:

~If you simply cannot resist documenting the events of the year in a newsletter, please send these only to your family and close friends.

~Don't enclose confetti please--it's annoying!

~Never sign a card or letter "Mrs. Gibson," it may be Janice Gibson" and underneath "Mrs. Kenneth Gibson."

~The proper way to insert a card is to hold the envelope so that you are facing the back of it.  Lift the flap and place your card into the envelope faceup towards you.

~The proper spot for a return address on social correspondence is on the back flap of the envelope.

~An honorific is a complimentary title used to address a person and to denote respect.  Everyone is entitled to an honorific, some are fancier than others--Mrs., Mr., Miss, Ms., Dr., Judge, Mayor, etc.  Always use an honorific when addressing an envelope.  I will use my name as an example.  My given name at birth was Janice Kay Sessums...I married Kenneth Craig Gibson.  My name is now Janice Sessums Gibson--notice that the Kay was dropped and Sessums became my middle name.  This is a Southern tradition for a bride to use her maiden name as her middle name after being married.  This makes it easy for people who have known you all your life to recognize your name.

~Don't address the envelope to "Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Gibson and Family."  The proper address should be--"Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Gibson, Grace and Patrick."

~Unmarried girls are called "Miss" until age 21.

~Boys are called "Master" until age 8, then are called by their first name, and at age 21 are called "Mr. Gibson."

Use Ms. Janice Gibson, if divorced or married.

Use Ms. Janice Sessums, if married and keeping maiden name, or divorced and keeping maiden name; a divorced lady never uses "Miss."

Use Mrs. Kenneth Gibson, if married and going by husband's name, or widowed with children.

Use Mrs. Janice Gibson, only if divorced.

Use Miss Janice Sessums, if never married.

Another old Southern tradition is to keep the man's first and last name together; i.e., address/refer to us as Janice and Kenneth Gibson NOT Kenneth and Janice Gibson.

A married couple with one having a title and the wife still using her maiden name--Dr. Janice Sessums and Mr. Kenneth Gibson.  If the husband is the Doctor--Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth Gibson.


Mr. - Messrs. {two or more brothers}

Mrs. - Mesdames

Miss - Misses

Ms. - Mses. or Mss.

Holiday cards a great way to stay in touch with those we haven't seen for a long time and I always try to send an appropriate card for each recipient.

I'm sending this inspirational card to my friends and family who celebrate Christmas..."For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."  Luke 2:11.  The message inside reads:  "May Jesus be the light of your world and the joy in your heart this Christmas and always."

This card will be sent to those who do not celebrate Christmas..."Seasons Greetings!"   The message inside reads:  "Every good wish for happiness at the holidays and throughout the new year!"

This is the card I'm sending to my friends of the Jewish faith...wishing them "Happy Chanukah!"

Get your cards ready and mail them early.  It's okay to stop sending cards to those who have not sent you a card in several years, but please remember to continue to send greeting cards to the homebound and elderly!

Monday, November 18, 2013

When Did White Trash Become the New Norm?

Lord have mercy, Charlotte Hays has a new book out "When Did White Trash Become The New Normal?"  It was only a matter of time before someone addressed this subject.

The New York Post recently featured this article regarding the subject, submitted by Ms. Hays.

Charlotte is also the co-author of one of my all-time favorite books..."Being Dead Is No Excuse," which I wrote about in this post.

"Rampant irresponsibility, shameless greed, and bumptious disregard for other people have broken out of the trailer park and into the country club; you now encounter White Trash Normal at high-end grocery stores and posh garden parties." ~Charlotte Hays

From the behavior of those on the Jerry Springer show to the Kardashian clan, nothing is sacred anymore.  Tackiness is all around us today.  Per Ms. Hays, "You no longer have to be White Trash to do White Trash things.  Even highly educated, well-to-do people are behaving like White Trash!  Tramp stamps and skank stamps are all the rage now and even mosquito-infested swimming pools in the back yards of foreclosed McMansions are no longer a sign of embrarrassment to some."

The book includes recipes for White Trash cocktails, appetizers, sandwiches, entrees, side dishes, and desserts.  I must admit that I turned down the page for the Redneck Riviera Iced Tea and the Spiked Church Punch...gonna put those in my recipe file.

The author also includes a White Trash Timeline--Some milestones on the road to White Trash Normal.  Starting in 1936 with the first Tampax ad {don't even get me started on these advertisements for unmentionables} and bringing us up to present day 2013--a CBS production of the Two and a Half Men musical "Who Needs Charlie Sheen?  You're a Douche!"

Anything goes now.  What used to be shameful is now put out on parade for everyone to see.
The term "White trash" has been used in the South for a long, long time.  In the movie "The Help," Jessica Chastain played the part of 'Celia Foot' and Octavia Spencer played her maid 'Minny.'  When Celia asked Minny why none of the other ladies in town liked her, Minny answered her in a blunt yet somehow comforting tone "They don't like you 'cause they think you white trash, Miss Celia."

Hattie McDaniel, who played 'Mammy' in "Gone With The Wind" used the term "White trash" several times during the movie...referring to field hands and such--all the time telling the O'Hara girls not to act like "White trash."

My friend Miss Joy gave me this cookbook many years contains recipes for all my favorite Southern comfort food--White Trash Cooking!

While I do not have this book, I definitely have attended a couple of "White Trash Gatherings!"

So what are your thoughts?  Discuss. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Happy 5th Birthday to my Blog!

It's been five years this month since I started this blog.  In the beginning, I focused strictly on etiquette...all about social and dining etiquette.  I covered every subject I could possibly think of.  Then somehow, I added my outfits...first showing photos of them on a mannequin, then photos of myself in my OOTD.  Then came posts about what my Yorkie Mlle. Coco Chanel was wearing and posts about entertaining, recipes, book reviews, shopping trips, tea reviews, gift ideas, et cetera.  Before I knew it, my subject matter was all over the place.

Looking back, I wish now that I had titled the blog "Miss Janice."  Since I am not teaching etiquette at the present time, the blog name probably confuses a lot of people.  I am in the process of trying to link up my parked website to the blog.  {My late BF Teresa Jane designed everything and I'm lost without her technical support}.  Anyway, until I can get my sites together, I'll still be Etiquette With Miss Janice...and that's okay, because I'm not ruling out returning to teaching etiquette.

Writing blog posts is fun but can sometimes take a great deal of time.  I've always been surprised when a certain post gets a lot of hits--some of them unexpectedly so.  My Google analytics show that these are the top five posts which have received the most hits in the past five years: {beginning with #5}

This was such a fun post to write.  After reading the book "Bringing Home the Birkin" by Michael Tonello, I did a series of post about the elusive and sought-after Birkin here and here.  But this #5 favorite was about the celebrities who love their Birkins and the "Queen of Carrying Birkins" Victoria 'Posh' Beckham.  She is just so posh!

It's no shock to me that this post receives so many thousands of hits.  I receive so many e-mails about entertaining themes for golfing events and especially for the Masters Tournament.  This was one of my favorite tablescapes I ever created and my husband's friends loved it!  

I have to say that the number of hits this post receives is shocking to me.  I do love the show and had fun writing the post...just never knew it would be so popular.

I always thought this post would receive the most hits because it is my favorite tablescape ever!  I'm sad to say that I have found this photo on several websites with writers passing this tablescape off as their own!  Shame shame!

This post is all about Napkin Etiquette...and THE most popular post.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Forever Chic

Ooh la la...another darling book about those stylish Frenchwomen to add to my ever-growing stack of French chic literature!  I love this new little book by Tish Jett--Forever Chic.  The subtitle is:  Frenchwomen's Secrets for Timeless Beauty, Style, and Substance. 
Forever Chic, by Tish Jett.  I love the tres chic cover!

The author, Tish Jett is also the author of the blog A Femme d'un Certain Age...written for us grown-up girls over 40!  Ms. Jett was a longtime American fashion journalist and moved to Paris to become the style editor of the International Herald Tribune and eventually the editor of American Elle.  She married a Frenchman and continues her writing today through freelance articles and her blog.

We Francophiles can never get enough of Frenchwomen and I certainly am captivated with the style of those French ladies over 40!  The book covers secrets of the Frenchwomen's allure, diet, skincare, exercise habits, and of course--the wardrobe.  Love it.

Forever Chic...a cute gift for your BFF for Christmas!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Reverend Billy Graham

This week I am celebrating the life of the Reverend and Evangelist Billy Graham.  He will be 95 years old on his birthday on Thursday, November 7th.

Oh how I remember as a teenager, sitting in the den of my parent's home and watching Reverend Graham on the television...listening to the famed soloist, the late George Beverly Shea singing "How Great Thou Art," hearing the sermon preached by Reverend Graham--who always closed with "Every head bowed, every eye closed," and most of all singing along to my favorite invitation hymn "Just As I Am."  As a young girl, I had the privilege of meeting Reverend Graham and his wife Ruth at the Ridgecrest Baptist Assembly in North Carolina...the place all good Southern Baptist youngins were sent during the summertime--back in the 60's!

Reverend Graham has counseled and advised every President since Dwight D. Eisenhower, but I believe his greatest accomplishment has been leading so many millions of people around the world to Christ.
Reverend Graham preaching at a crusade in London, 1954

Reverend Graham with his family...his wife, the late Ruth Graham and his 3 daughters and 2 sons.

Franklin Graham{who now runs the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association} and his father.

My cousin Dr. J. Kim Sessums had the privilege of traveling to North Carolina to visit with Reverend Graham and while there he sculpted the portrait bust shown below.  You can visit Kim's site here and read about his experience with the famed minister from his journal.
Reverend Billy Graham, sculpted by Dr. J. Kim Sessums

This billboard now stands in Times Square--in a city where Reverend Graham shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ over the course of 48 years.

The billboard is advertising the upcoming message...Reverend Graham filmed this message which will be televised beginning this Thursday evening entitled "
My Hope America."  The evangelist encourages Christians to take the time to build authentic relationships with family, friends, and neighbors who are not believers.  From November 7-10, you will have the chance to invite those friends into your homes to watch the broadcast which tells the Gospel message through Reverend Graham's preaching and true stories of people who came to believe in Jesus while facing struggles like depression, addiction, and broken relationships.  You can watch the message online here or check here to view the scheduled televised listings in your area.  I will be watching on Fox News on Thursday at 10 p.m. 
"Our country is in great need of a spiritual awakening.  With all my heart, I want to leave you with truth."
~Reverend Billy Graham

I cannot invite all of you into my home to view this message, but I can extend this invitation to you to take a moment from your busy lives and hear the message from this faithful servant of God.  Blessings to y'all! 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Joyeux Anniversaire Marie Antoinette

Today is Marie Antoinette's birthday and I'm celebrating by relaxing in bed while watching the movie, starring Kirsten Dunst.  No football for me this afternoon...just sipping tea and nibbling on delectable tea foods.  

The September 2006 cover of Vogue featured an Annie Leibovitz photograph of Kirsten, who played Marie Antoinette in the film written and directed by Sofia Coppola.  The film was based on the life of the last Queen of France in the years leading up to the Revolution.  Filmed on location at the Palace of Versailles and the Petit Trianon, the film depicts a sympathetic view of Marie Antoinette.

 This photograph captures the signature poofy hairstyle and an extravagant costume worn by Dunst in the film.  It is no wonder that Milena Canonero won the Oscar for best costume design!  The entire film is filled beautiful creations worn by Dunst and other ladies.

Marie Antoinette
November 2, 1755 ~ October 16, 1793

Marie Antoinette was truly a lover of fashion...She had the finest gowns with panniers made of light fabrics and pastel colors.

She was always surrounded by a countless number of ladies-in-waiting...all dressed to the nines themselves!

The fabulous shoes worn in the film were designed by Manolo Blahnik...

Marie Antoinette was also known for her love of decadent pastries...the film would lead you to believe that she followed a diet of macarons and champagne! ooh la la

I set up a tray of goodies and a pot of 'Paris' tea in my bedroom to enjoy while I watched this beautiful movie...I never get tired of all the loveliness in this film!

Whenever I prepare afternoon for myself on a special occasion, I like to use the proper tea accoutrements....Tiered tea tray with a doily on each plate and silver serving pieces, a doily underneath my teacup, a tea serviette, and sugar tongs for the cubes.

The tea tray is filled with savories {quiche} on the bottom plate, scones/croissants on the middle plate, and sweets on the top.  The tea foods are eaten in that order...bottom to top.

I adore all of the Harney Teas, but 'Paris' is my absolute favorite!  It is a fruity black tea with vanilla and caramel flavors and a hint of lemony Bergamot.  It pairs well with traditional tea foods and is the perfect tea to enjoy in the afternoon.

Social Graces 101 etiquette tip:  Do not extend your pinkie finger when holding your teacup--it's considered an affectation and you'll end up looking like a mafia character.

Social Graces 101 etiquette tip:  One lump or two?  When sugar tongs are used for cubed sugar, remember that the tongs should never touch your tea and are placed by the sugar bowl/plate or draped over the handle of the sugar bowl/plate when not in use.

I've had a very relaxing Saturday afternoon.  Now, it's time to put away the prissy tea accoutrements and watch some football!  Thank you for visiting with me.