Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Etiquette of RSVPing

While working on weddings and events, and receiving some wedding invitations over the past several months, I found it seemed extremely necessary to address the art of RSVP'ing.  It's often that one detail on the invitation that is overlooked or postponed, but it's actually one of the most important details.  "Repondez s'il vous plait" is a simple request to "please respond," and let the host know if you can make it or not, even a maybe would do.  RSVP'ing is always the polite and correct thing to do, but it's especially taboo not to do so when sent any kind of formal invitation, such a wedding or any kind of plated dinner.

Let's Review some simple responsibilities for both  the host and the invitee, so this request can be made easier.

When requesting an RSVP:
 1) Be Specific:  Be clear about who is invited and if there are any restrictions (in numbers, children, etc.)  It's always proper to invite a married couple as a unit (for formal events).

2) Give a specific mode of response:  Such options might be a designated email address, phone number, or website.  Make sure this is somewhere where the responses are monitored frequently and in an organized manner.  
HELPFUL RESOURCE: When I got married I used an RSVP service, and I recommend this service to all of my brides.  For BIG events, such as weddings, it's a gift from heaven!!  They organize your guest list, keep track of your responses and meal choices (if you have any), they even contact people for you if they haven't responded or there's a problem with their response.  Their customer service was impeccable, and the prices are very reasonable. YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST LOOK INTO THEM for your major events. RSVP Services dotcom

3) Use Response Cards:  If you decide to forego technology and keep it traditional, response cards are a great way to track RSVPs.  The BIGGEST thing to remember about response cards are to include an additional STAMPED envelope for the invitee to send it back to you.  It is absolutely unacceptable to send an unstamped response card envelope, and you should probably expect to receive less responses back (at least on time).  This method will cost you the additional stationery and postage, but sometimes tradition is worth the expense.
HELPFUL RESOURCE:  For a great collection of gorgeous, modern invitations, announcements, and all stationery check out Tiny Prints. Just a glimpse of the website will make you fall in love, but there's much more to come about this wonderful company. Tiny Prints Website

4) Have a Deadline:  Make sure to include a closing date for RSVPs, or trust me, people will RSVP as they are walking through the door.  This might work well if it's an informal birthday party or kid's party, but not so well for your wedding.  If necessary, if possible, follow up with those who have not responded.  Don't assume that lack of a response means no attendance, especially if the USPS is involved.

1) RESPOND: The first and most simple rule of all is to respond.  Even if your initial response is simply a "Maybe" until you work out your calendar, that is better than no response at all.  But always be sure to update your response if things change in either direction.

2) Follow the invitation:  This means watch your numbers.  Be sure not to invite additional people.  If it's a formal invitation the addressing will let you know if you are invited with a guest, your spouse, your family, or whomever.  If ever in doubt, simply ASK.  Be understand if additional guest are an extra expense, and cannot be accommodated.  Do not just show up with an unaccounted for person(s).

3) Timing is important:  Read and respect the deadline for the RSVP.  If you needed to double check the date set a reminder for yourself.  Know that final numbers are important for the host.  Final head counts are usually due to the venue anywhere from 10-2 days in advance, keepsakes or party bags might need to be ordered, seating arrangements made, and money accounted for.  So be considerate and respond in time (keep mail time in mind for response cards).  If you miss the deadline it's ok to reach out and ask if it's too late, but be able to accept the fault if it is too late.

4) Respond As Requested:  Whatever mode of response was requested, be sure to use that.  If the RSVP is requested by email or phone, be sure to email or call.  It's a viable exception to give a verbal, face-to-face response in the case of a house party or children's party, especially if asked in person by the host.  In the event of a wedding (or large event) always use the requested mode to respond.  It's important for the bride to be able to track responses, numbers, and names of guests.  There's no way she can remember all verbal responses. 

5) Don't show up empty-handed:  Quite as it's kept (not really), an invitation is the polite exchange for a gift (graduation, wedding, birthday, etc.)  Usually the receipt of an invitation necessitates the sending of a present (especially for milestone events and formal events).  So even if it's a hostess gift, such as a fragrant candle or bottle of wine, don't show up empty handed.  There is no excuse for this when attending a wedding!!

The true key to the Art of RSVP'ing is communication.  People just want to have an idea how many and who is attending, so kindly oblige.  You would want the same courtesy if you were hosting an event.  Weddings are stressful enough, so this is an easy way to help make the bride's load much easier.  If you're the host, these simple tips help keep you organized and reduce potential confusion.

Hope this helps!
Happy Partying!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Mommie O' is Preggo.


Mommie O' did say she had a BIG announcement to  make, and I guess the title speaks for itself.
This post will be short and to the point.  

Mommie O' and the Family are expecting Babie Number 2.

Babie O' is nothing short of ecstatic.  She's been waiting a long time to be a BIG sister.
The hubbie is equally excited, and like me, is wishing for a baby boy.

Whatever we have, we are happy and grateful, and know the Lord will bless us with a healthy little one.  I just wanted to take this moment to share with my followers, family and friends our great joy.

One great thing about this news is that all my FAB Mommies are along for this joyous ride.  We have baby products to review and share, some shopping to do, names to pick, and a wonderful sacred process and health tips to share.  I'm so excited!!!

Stay tuned for the ride....

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Review of LeapPad 2 & her other Electronics

LeapPad 2, TAG Reader and MobiGo

There are very few toys for 5 year old girls that this child does not have, especially if it's educational.  When I was trying to figure out which tablet to get her there was not much assistance, because they were all relatively new.  So after having these items for a while I decided to help other parents out by letting you know how we've faired with them.

LeapPad2 - LeapFrog Website
LeapPad 2
First let me say that my daughter was VERY attached to my iPad.  She knew how to operate it better than any adult, cracked the passcode, and was actually very careful with it.  The problem was that I never got to use it myself, because she would immediately want it and would not want to give it back.  In addition, it was a pretty expensive item, and it getting broken or swiped from her was always a concern.  So I had to find her her own tablet.  I wanted something age-appropriate, not so fragile, educational, yet fun, and that's when I stumbled across the LeapPad (1st generation).

The original LeapPad was a disappointment to us.  After ripping it open, and uploading all the apps and games (which took hours to do), the tablet would not stay on more than 10 minutes at a time.  The screen would black out, and my Elle's heart would break each time.  The LeapPad was eating batteries faster then the Christmas dinner we had that evening, and Mommie was not happy.  So I returned the LeapPad to the store where many parents were waiting to get their hot hands on the Black Out Screen Tablet.  Six months later the LeapPad 2 hit the market.  It was marketed as Improved, better on energy, and uploading faster (resolving all of the problems I had), so I decided to give it a try.
THE VERDICT:  It is improved, and it is a WINNER!!

The LeapPad 2 uploads MUCH faster and it better on energy as well.  You actually have a warning, instead of the screen simply blacking out on you.  The apps are fun, educational, and there are many options (most Disney & Nickelodeon) to choose from, and if you sign up on the LeapFrog website they will often send you specials on Apps and cartridges.  My daughter loves hers, and while she does still try to swipe my iPad from time to time, she's very content with her LeapPad2 and takes it everywhere.  It's my favorite electronic devise and tablet, so I had to take time to give you all the spill on it.  It helps her practice her spelling, math, logic reasoning, has taught her how to draw Mickey Mouse, and even gives her a pet to take care of.  : )

Elle takes her LeapPad2 everywhere!
* Great educational tool
* Portable and light
* Option of downloading apps & games or purchasing cartridges
* Nice size screen
* Option of using earphones (which I LOVE) and a car or wall charger
* Many apps for various ages, levels, and interests
* You can track your child's progress on the LeapFrog website to see which skills they are mastering.
* I love that there's a girlie color option

* Keep extra batteries handy (even though it's better on energy)
* Buying games and apps can add up and become expensive
* It is a task to remember to upload to the LeapFrog site (which you must do to buy apps, track their progress, and claim their rewards from games)

Elle using her Tag Reader & her stack of  TAG books
TAG Reader Link

This is another favorite of mine, since I'm huge on teaching Elle to read (which she has quite mastered).  She loves to read, and as an Early-Admit Kindergartener, she's already reading on a mid 1st grade level. (Brag Moment)  She enjoys the Tag Reader because she can opt to have it read her the whole story or for it to only read the words that are unfamiliar to her.  The TAG pen will also spell and sound the words for the child, as well as give the name of all the pictures in the book.

* Great tool for learning how to read, spell and sound out words
* Very portable
* Very affordable (although you must buy the books individually, which can add up)
* Great for learning how to read because the child can see the words at the same time they are hearing them, and it works like their finger, guiding them as they read.
* Very good on batteries
* Jack for earphones
* Great book selection for varying interests and levels
* You still have a book, even if you don't use the TAG reader to read it.

* The price of books can add up, but you can purchase them in bundles or on sale (often at Toys R Us)
* The task of uploading the book to the pen from the LeapFrog site. (It's fast & easy, but another step)

MobiGo by VTech- Now there's MobiGo 2
This was the first electronic, learning toy that we bought her, for her 4th birthday.  Some of the games were a little advanced for her, but for the most part it was a learning process for her and it kept her attention.  She first struggled with flipping it open to utilize the keyboard, but she eventually mastered that as well.  As she got older she neglected it a bit in favor of the LeapPad, but when she does play with it, it still manages to teach her a thing or two.

* Great learning tool, especially for spelling and learning patterns
* Fits perfectly in little hand
* Has a jack for earphones
* Has a touch screen and keyboard option
* Gives children an option for easy or difficult level for each game
* Child's level and progress can be tracked online (make sure any other uses use the 'Guest' option so scores are not skewed).

* Chunky design, which is difficult to get in and out of the case.
* Seems to lend itself more to toddlers and those starting out.
* Keypad can be confusing since children are unfamiliar with the typing screen.  It's difficult for them to locate the letters in time.
* There are not many options of cartridges
* Small screen (especially if children are iPad friendly)

Elle shares the MobiGo fun with her younger cousin, Quincy

Hopefully this helps those parents, who like me, are technology and educational nuts.  Many of these tools are a great way to blend the two worlds, teaching our children while also letting them have fun!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Elle Chronicles- Getting Out of Mommie's Bed

Can someone please help me get this child out my bed?!

Starting early... She looks like she's having Waaaay too much fun.

Let me start by saying that I know it's my fault, and I'll accept that, but 5years later the child has officially moved into our bedroom.  I'm not quick to say this, but my mom did tell me so!!
The day we got home from the hospital she said, "Don't put that baby in that bed with you!"  But she was my new baby girl, and I was not letting her out of my sight; I was going to do it my way, and I did not want to hear it.  Plus I had to breast feed her, and every other excuse we come up with to keep the babie in the bed.
MORAL of the story:  Experience (parents) often know best.  (But don't tell mine I said that)
This is now the sound advise that I give to every new mother!

The "Why Am I In this Crib?" Look

Here we are, 5 years later, and I feel like I have tried everything:
* We've redecorated her room with all her favorite things and colors
* We added a TV/DVD and all the different night lights you can find
* We've slept in there with her the first few days until she fell asleep
*  I've slept there alone to show here how appealing her bedroom is ........  

       AND NOTHING WORKED........

We have had sporadic consecutive days of success, only to see the return of Elle to our bedroom, with credit to her Daddy.  On some occasions she'll fall asleep there then jump into our bed after her 2AM bathroom break, with acceptance from Daddy.  Or sometimes she'll fight and resist sleeping in her room by sitting outside our door and crying, only to to saved by Daddy.  I know, I know, I see the trend here.  I get it.  But again, what is Mommie to do when Daddie and Babie are broken hearted?
Does their collective "pain" outweigh the pain I feel when Elle's legs kick me in my tummy or my head during her wild sleep; or the frustration I feel when she lets one rip under our covers during the middle of the night?  At this point, I'm choosing peaceful sleep, fresh air, and no back pain over the distraught child in her perfect, pretty, pink room.  Now to get Daddie on board too.  Pray for me you all!

The worse part of this Tragedy is that Elle has the power in this situation (I hate so say, but I'm being honest here).  She knows exactly what to say and do to get Daddie to save her.  She knows Mommie made a huge mistake and is paying the price.  

Here are The ELLE Chronicles for this week.
This is Elle having a conversation with my sister (TeeTee) and her roommate (Celeste) about her sleeping in Mommie's bed still.

Celeste:  So Elle you have a pretty room, why don't you ever stay in it?
Elle:  I go in there to watch movies, but that's it.
Tee:  So why don't you ever sleep in your room.
E:  It's because Mommie made a mistake putting me in her bed when I was a babie.
    (Collective gasps)
C:  So what are you going to when a new babie comes?  That babie will have to sleep in the bed with Mommie and you'll have to sleep in your room like a big girl.
E: NO! Well if she does that she'll be making the same mistake again.  So she has to put the new babie in her bed, and I get to stay.

What do you say to that logic??  Not only is she not moving, she has it all figured out too. HELP ME!!

Elle (finally) spending time in her room (not sleeping though), with her TeeTee.

When I figure it out, I'll be updating you with successful tips to get your child out of your bed (because I know I'm not the only one).  Because whatever works to get Elle out of our room, will work for ANY child.  Stay tuned!

Welcome Home


I took a hiatus to get some things together, and get my business back up and running.
Elle-ite Consulting Group, Wedding & Event Planning, will make a big splash in 2013.
Thank many of you for sticking with me, and anticipating the glimpses into the World of Mommie Onassis.
I have so much to share with you, and I look forward to getting blogging!!

And Happy 2013 : )