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Some dinner parties require a more formal protocol. For example, a military dinner will have strict guidelines as to where personnel will sit. If you are hosting a client dinner, you might also prefer a more formal arrangement. Even in a casual setting, you can choose to follow protocol to honor a special guest. The below description is based on a social party (vs. business), a rectangular table, and includes both men and women:

When hosting a dinner party, where you place your guests around the table is a crucial element for the success of your event. You presumably put thought into who you invited to the gathering. Do not stop there. The placement of each person around the table is something that should not be thrown together at the last minute.

I love entertaining friends and family in my home, especially during the holidays. But I must admit, it can be a bit overwhelming hosting a dinner party in the stage of life with little ones running around. The cooperation I receive from my toddlers is a significant factor in how efficient I am on a daily basis. Add in hosting a party, and it can be overwhelming. If you find yourself wanting to gather friends for a festive evening, here are my tried-and-true tips for entertaining with young children:

Planning a party can be fun, but do you know the best way to ensure everything runs smoothly? Have a rehearsal for your party. Yes, you heard correctly. You have spent a great deal of time planning your theme, creating your guestlist, and delivering your invitations. Now is the time to do a mock rehearsal which will allow you to create an action list of outstanding items around your home that might need attention. It also helps solidify any last-minute details.

These thirteen tips will get your through any dinner party. Here is a quick refresher. 

1. Leave The Cocktail Glass Behind:

If you are attending a dinner party, there may be cocktails offered before the meal begins. When the hostess signals it is time to head to the dining room, leave your drink behind. Why? The dining table has been pre-set with the glasses you will need and adding another to your place setting will only clutter the minimal real estate in front of you. Your palate is another reason to leave the cocktail behind. Many hostesses go to great lengths to pare wine with the food being served. Once seated at the table it is time to switch to wine or water.

You just received an invitation to a party, and the attire says: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture. What??? Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for a party, make it clear. We do not want our guests to solve a riddle to understand what is expected of them. There is a phrase I like to quote, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

Table manners are the area in which I receive the most questions, but it is introductions that have people the most baffled. After I explain the correct way to conduct an introduction, I often get that starry-eyed stare that tells me, “I really don’t understand what you just said.” To help all of us, I have broken down the process into a simple format. Before I proceed, let me say this. Do not let a lack of confidence in managing an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction. Even if you are unsure, most people do not care.

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food, drinks, a clean bathroom, and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest. When a hostess plans a party, a great deal of time is spent deciding who she will invite. What group of friends go well together?

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party looking scared, so unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screamed, “I wish I was anywhere but here!”

You are invited!!! There is something special we feel when we receive an invitation. It is the anticipation of a celebration, the excitement of choosing what to wear, but more importantly, it is the affirmation that tells us, “I was chosen!” We know a hostess has responsibilities to ensure her party is a success, but did you know there are expectations of the guests? And your first job begins when you receive an invitation that says RSVP. Follow the six steps below and the hostess will be singing your praises!

  • Alina Gersib

7 Daily Mental Hygiene Habits



We take showers, wash our hands, and use deodorant, but a lot of us let stress, anxiety, and fear rule our lives because we do not take the time to keep our minds clean. If you are trying to keep yourself on a healthy and happy track it is crucial to have daily mental hygiene habits. It is far easier to put up protective barriers and prevent a negative spiral from happening than it is to crawl out of a negative spiral mid-storm. Here are 7 ways that you can assist your mental state by taking care of things before they escalate.

1. Worry on Paper – Our brains are fast to worry. They identify the issue, multiply the issue, and then multiply the multiples of the issue! What started out as a small worry quickly spirals into the red zone of worst-case scenario. In order to stop the spiral in its tracks, it is important to not let your brain worry itself into a pit in the first place. Next time you feel a worry rising in your mind, grab a notebook or your notes app on your phone and write it down. The act of writing forces you to slow down and look at the initial issue without all the amplified projections filling your head as well. If you are able to stop the worry from ballooning, you will be in a far clearer headspace.

2. Set Boundaries – A huge trigger affecting brain overload is constantly saying yes or going along with things that you do not want to do. When we do not speak our needs in a given moment we can quickly fall into resentment or frustration over a situation. These feelings are not helpful in achieving a relaxed state of mind, so do yourself a favor and set clear boundaries around your time.

3. Sleep Consistently – A fundamental piece of the puzzle, sleep quality dramatically affects your relationship with the world in every aspect from immune health to mood. In order to receive the best rest, aim to go to sleep and wake up at a consistent time each night, even on the weekends.

4. Flex Time – Take a few moments of your day, I like to do it at the end of the day but do it whenever works best for you, to sit with a journal and say whatever needs to come out. Some days I doodle, others I write poetry, and on others, prayers. Take a few minutes to give your brain space to decompress in whatever way it needs. If you are constantly going without stopping to check in on your thoughts, they have the potential of stewing and building into anxiety.

5. Work Out – I am a huge believer in the benefit of exercise. Whether you walk, lift, or do a HIIT workout, move some way every day. Exercise not only produces endorphins, which make you feel great, but it is a fantastic way to distance yourself from your worries. It is difficult to focus on any other problems when you are concentrating on the weights in your hands or on the next step of your trail.

6. Quiet Moments–Even if I do not have time for anything else in my usual morning routine, what I find most beneficial to my day is taking 5 or 10 minutes to pray or meditate first thing. I like taking these few minutes to reset and be grateful as it sets my mind on a better trajectory for the rest of the day.

7. Eat Good Food – If you are anything like me, food massively impacts your mood and disposition towards the world. “Hangry” is a common term in my vocabulary. To quell this, I always keep a healthy bar on me. Not only that but I try to eat a whole foods diet and avoid things I know do not leave me feeling great. As delicious as fries and a milkshake are, all I want to do is sleep after consuming them. They are not the ideal building block for a clear head. If you know certain foods trigger a negative reaction for you, or you become pessimistic if you go too long between meals, be proactive and prevent these situations from occurring.

The more safety’s you can put in place to protect from negativity causing situations, the better. Whether it is packing a protein bar in your purse or waking up at the same time each day, small changes can make a huge difference on how you feel mentally. Find what works for you and try to incorporate them daily to help keep your mental state in tip top shape!

Alina Gersib