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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 Steps for an Anxiety Free Day



Mornings can make or break your day. No matter if you are a student, stay at home mom, or entrepreneur, the tone that you first engage the world with each day will affect how the rest goes. Let us look at two different scenarios:

You wake up from a deep slumber and stretch, hearing birds chirping peacefully outside of your window. Standing up you cross the room to turn off your still silent alarm (you naturally woke up before it, score!!) After a quick bit of stretching and exercise you are able to enjoy some reading and writing while eating a nourishing breakfast and sipping on a hot cup of coffee. After you finish you are able to jump into work with a clear head and full belly!

Contrast to,

BEEP BEEP BEEP your final (and most obtrusive) alarm is blaring at you. After snoozing 4 times it was left with no choice but to give you it’s loudest warning bells which signal that you must get up now or you will be late. You stumble out of bed and barely have time to brush your teeth and choose an outfit. Scrambling to assemble your work bag you quickly grab a granola bar and rush out the door.

Whew!! I can feel the anxiety bubbling.

It is irreplaceably important to have a morning routine to stick to. This might seem counterintuitive but routine and structure are what actually create the most space and freedom in our lives. If you do not have clear guidelines and goals for your day then you turn reactive to life as it is thrown at you, which heightens your anxiety. Parkinson’s law famously states, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” I find this to be especially true on days when I neglect to start off on the best possible foot by not setting my intentions and goals. If I wake up late and rush around, the rest of my day feels frazzled and I am far less productive. I find that giving myself enough time in the mornings is crucial to keeping me in a good headspace for the remainder of the day.

1. Wake Up Right Away – Snooze is not your friend. If you snooze your alarm and fall back to sleep, you confuse your brain on if you should actually wake up the next time the alarm goes off. Causing you to feel groggier once you do wake up.

2. Drink Water – A great way to ease your body into waking up is by drinking water first thing. I fill up a reusable bottle every evening and keep it on my bedside table to grab before I am even out of bed.

3. Wash Your Face – Nothing wakes me up more than splashing some cool water on my skin. Though sometimes a bit jarring it feels instantly refreshing.

4. Stretch/Workout – If you enjoy morning workouts then do your thing! If you are in the afternoon workout crowd though, a few simple stretches to wake up the body are a must, especially if you sit at a desk all day. I typically spend 10-15 minutes doing some active stretching while I listen to an audiobook, (currently I’m going through Waking the Dead by John Eldridge, and it’s incredible.)

5. Lay Out Your Clothes – I find it easiest to get ready if I lay out clothes the night before. The fewer decisions you have to make on menial tasks, the more cognitive resources you save for the important stuff. “Without realizing it, you can fritter away a fair portion of your mental energy on the day’s minor choices: what to eat, what to wear, when to exercise, when to sleep,” writes Executive Coach Caroline Webb.


6. Pre-Prep Your Breakfast – Every night I aim for pre-prepping my breakfast for the next day, for me that means overnight oats with chia seeds, flax, cinnamon, collagen powder, and some sort of fruit. Simple, delicious, and easy to customize. I grab it out of the fridge and enjoy it with a matcha while journaling and filling out my planner for the day.

7. Everything Easy to Go – Though I now work from home, I previously worked in an office and found a few habits incredibly helpful. First, always pre-pack your lunch and keep everything in one spot of your fridge to make it incredibly easy to transfer to your lunch box. Second, keep anything you need for the day in a specific bag and double-check it the night before. The last thing you want is to have a peaceful morning and then realize you misplaced your car keys.

These are the seven steps I include each morning to lower anxiety and give myself a solid foundation for the rest of the day. But I love seeing what works best for other people, so if you have a morning ritual you swear by, please let me know. It is also important to note that if you do miss an alarm or wake up late, the best thing to do is to not stress. If you prepped for the day the night before it should still be seamless to get out the door on time. Even if you have to eat your overnight oats in the car!

-Alina Gersib