Thursday, April 8, 2010

New Twitter Name

If you've been following me on Twitter you know that I tweet a lot more than advice. As a result, it seemed misleading to continue to use the handle @newetiquette, so I've changed my Twitter handle to something that better reflects my eclectic tweeting style. I am now @observacious on Twitter. If you've been following me, expect more of the same. If you haven't been following, perhaps you want to try now? I tweet blog updates and advice as well as other items of interest.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

5 Tips for Packing (Relatively) Light for a Baby

When I was pregnant I remember being out with a friend and her one-year old. She didn't have one of those enormous diaper bags; she just had a moderately sized purse into which she had stashed a couple diapers, some wipes, an extra onesie, and a rattle. (She was breastfeeding, so she didn't need a bottle.) When I commented about her lack of a giant bag she said, "It's just a baby." I try to remember that whenever I go out with my now one-year old.

I feel that a lot of parents (usually mothers) burden themselves with far too much kid related stuff. Granted, the longer you are going to be out with the baby the more stuff you are likely to need. Also, although I don't have the personal experience yet, I understand that as kids get older they get more demanding about have certain things on the ready. Still, I think a lot of parents overdo it. At some point I should post about my philosophy of what you need for normal days out with a baby, but since this is a follow-up to my previous 10 Tips for Packing Light when travelling, I'm going to focus on overnight trips particularly those involving air travel.

First, what was tip number nine for mommy packing is the number one item for babies:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

10 Tips for Packing Light

I didn’t post last week because we were traveling. I think this was the baby’s 9th plane ride. He’s a pro. Because this was his first trip since learning to walk I was nervous. He generally doesn’t like to sit still for more than 2 minutes much less 2 hours, but as per usual, he slept for most of the flight.

Despite the good behavior, I have to admit that traveling with a baby is annoying. You see, my husband and I were always proud to travel light. Even before the days of exorbitant fees for checked bags we rarely checked luggage. For short trips, we usually used one small, roller bag for BOTH of us. However, with a baby comes stuff. Diapers. A car seat. The baby himself. We usually check luggage now if only because we don’t have enough arms to make it through the airport. Still, we manage to pack a lot lighter than most of the crowds in the “family and medical liquids” security lane. (I’m guessing a lot of these families don’t worry about getting housesitters since I doubt they have much left at home.)

Packing light makes traveling easier and more enjoyable. Not only don’t you have to pay those bag fees, but you don’t get a backache hauling mounds of luggage through unfamiliar terrain. Plus, you can use that extra space for bringing back treasures from your trip!

For those, like @spicymeatball who may be at a loss for how to pack light I’m sharing some of my tips. Today I’ll share tips for grown-ups (mostly's what I know). These are the tips I’ve followed for years and continue to do today. Then, I’ll follow up with some tips for packing light (or at least lighter) with a baby.

Packing Light: For You

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

3 Oscar Party Etiquette Tips

The Oscars are on Sunday, and many of you may be going to Oscar parties. For some people, this is like their Super Bowl. Others like the opportunity to make clever menus. But like any thematic social occasion some specific rules apply.

1. No spoilers.
As someone who finally saw The Wrestler last month, I can definitely say that just because someone hasn't seen a movie before the Oscars does not mean they never intend to see it. Unless you know for sure that everyone has seen a particular movie, don't spoil it. That means not describing the ending OR revealing any plot point that you might lead into with "I couldn't believe it when..." or "I totally wasn't expecting..." Learn to talk about why a movie was good or bad without revealing it's secrets.

2. Know A Serious Man from A Single Man.
You may not be a big movie buff. You may only be going to an Oscar party to critique the dresses on the red carpet or to eat your host's food. Regardless, you'll be a much more interesting guest if you have at least a rough idea what's going on. Saying "I've never even heard of that movie" may be acceptable when the nominations are announced, but by awards time you should some of idea of what the nominated films are. Not to do so is the equivalent of going to a Super Bowl party and asking "Who's playing?"

3. Realize that Opinions Vary.
Much like at a Super Bowl party, it's okay to to engage in some smack talk as long as you obey the rules. But realize that no matter how much someone loves something you hate or hates something you love, everyone has a right to an opinion. Disagreeing with you does not mean other people are matter how stupid their taste in movies may be.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Simple Recipe: Chicken and Apple Soup

I didn't used to use my slow-cooker very much, but since becoming a mom I've started to use it a lot more. It allows me to cook dinner for my family without having to feel rushed in the evening. In honor of  Smockity Frock's “What’s in your CrockPot?” Link-up, I'm sharing my husband's favorite slow-cooker meal. (And since the chicken is juicy and the apples are mushy it's a favorite of my son as well even though he's only 11 months old and still getting used to solid food.)

Chicken and Apple Soup
  1. Cut a large onion into 4-6 wedges and place in the the bottom of a slow-cooker.
  2. Core a large Granny Smith apple and cut into wedges. Place in the bottom of the slow-cooker.
  3. Cover apples and onions with chicken broth.
  4. Coat 6 chicken legs (We remove the skin first.) with Penzeys Turkish Seasoning.
  5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (or on high for 4-5 hours).

Monday, February 15, 2010

Don’t think of Buzz as just another social media app

The release of Google Buzz is making a lot of people ask, “Do I really need another social media thing?” Others ask if Buzz will kill Twitter or Facebook or even its own sibling Wave. But these are the wrong questions to ask. You shouldn’t look at social media sites as different versions of the same thing. You should think of them as unique tools that you use can for different things.

Those of you old enough to remember when email starting rolling out to the masses may recall that many people preferred to just pick up the phone. Then they realized that email was a much cheaper way to contact people long distance. Or that it was nice to have a record of certain correspondence. Or that it was useful to send a message to multiple people at the same time. Or so many other things.  Now most of us have situations in which email seems best and others when calling seems best. See also IM/Chat. See also phone text messages.

If you only use social media for a vague purpose (i.e. being “social”) using multiple sites can easily become overwhelming, but you can greatly improve your privacy and your sanity if you use multiple sites for distinct audiences and specific content.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fine. Be passive aggressive. Whatever. See if I care.

The days prior to Valentine's Day have the highest incidence of passive aggressiveness of any other time of year. Okay, I don't actually have any data to support that, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's true. People have expectations about this manufactured holiday of forced romanticism, but they are too *polite* to ask. So instead they combat undesirable suggestions with "Whatever" or "I suppose" or other incredibly unattractive attempts at getting people to read their minds.


There is a saying "Put up or shut up," but the key to overcoming passive aggressiveness is "Speak up then shut up."