Newport Manners & Etiquette: Nanny Cams + Relationship Busters
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Not sure how to accessorize your suit with the right tie? Didi can help!
Breaking off maintenance friendships, spying on the nanny with hidden cameras, and how to tell your babe she's contagious? There are ties and there are ties. All topics into Didi Lorillard this week at NewportManners.com
Assessing the hidden nanny spy cam
We love our children's nanny, but we're disturbed by all the incidents of nannies-going-out-of-control. Since our second child, our beloved nanny seems bedraggled and we worry. My husband and I work full-time. We're also worried that if we have a nanny cam set up and she finds out, she will think we've lost confidence in her abilities and the whole relationship will break down. Is there a more polite way of assessing the situation than hiding cameras in the house to spy on her? R.M., Providence
Sit down with the beloved, bedraggled nanny and have a heart-to-heart. This is the person who is responsible for your two children eight hours a day, but you're responsible for them 24/7. Gently ask her how she's adjusting to having two children to mind when she had originally been hired to care for only one. Watch her body language. If it tightens up and yet she fidgets, try to get her to relax enough so that she can tell you what you can do to make her job easier. Cut down on her hours? Give her more time off? She may breathe a sigh or relief and open up. She may even get teary-eyed. That's okay, because then you know you can work with her to smooth out wrinkles. Such as enlisting a relative or hiring a college student to pitch in with the older child or finding someone to come in to clean and do laundry. If she won't communicate, there may well be anger issues and that's a very bad sign. Talk to her and work it out or find a stronger support team, before you get to the stage of hiding cameras. ~Didi
The unromantic lip sore
My girlfriend has a sore on her lip. She said she got it from trying on lipstick colors in a department store. Should I be concerned? D.N., Peabody, MA
Gently suggest that you're concerned about the outbreak of the sore on her mouth and tell her to ask a pharmacist to recommend a product for her to use. Follow up and ask her what the pharmacist recommended. If the outbreak flares again, tell her she has to see a doctor or dentist to treat the ongoing problem. When you're gentle and genuinely concerned about her health and appearance, she'll respond, although you may have to offer to pay for the treatment. ~Didi
The best ties
What type of tie fabric/pattern should a man wear to a semi formal event? S.M., Brooklyn, NY
A good tie for a fairly formal event is made of three pieces of heavyweight silk that comprise the blade, under blade, and gusset which are hand sewn together. The heavier weight silk holds colors of greater intensity; the weight and texture of the silk determine the feel of the tie. When laying the tie across the palm of your hand it should feel significant and not easily slide off.
The pattern for evening would more than likely be a dark solid herringbone with spots in a different color. Alternatively, a two-color square design, a two-color diagonal diamond pattern, a two-color hounsdstooth, or a plain solid color twill tie are also warn with dark suits. A repp (diagonally-striped) tie in two colors works best with more casual jackets, such as a blazer or sports jacket. Linen ties are for summer or tropical locals and wool is primarily worn in a cooler climate in the daytime. Lastly, don't wear a button-down shirt after six o'clock, especially with a good tie. ~Didi
On a cruise we took six years ago we met another couple whom we really liked at the time. When we got home we would see them every couple of months, but now we accept the invitations to dinner and have them back, but only out of a sense of obligation. We've come to dread having to make time for them. How do we break it off with this other couple without hurting their feelings? P.W., Exeter
You never know, the other couple may feel the same strained obligation to keep the invitations flowing for sentimental reasons. The next time it is your turn to reciprocate suggest that you go to a concert, play, or movie where it is understood that you would grab a quick bite to eat ahead of time, which will minimize the actual time you'll have to engage in chit-chat. Then if it is tit for tat, they'll perhaps stall in inviting you back. ~Didi
Do you have a question to ask Didi? Email it to Didi@GoLocalProv.com or visit her at NewportManners.com. If we use your question, we can withhold your name and address. Didi researches etiquette and all matters of manners for her book,"Newport Etiquette." Prior weekly GoLocalProv.com columns are listed below. More topics can be accessed through a search.
10 Lighting Ideas For Your Home
Light your path
A little light grazing the edges of stone steps not only brings the material to life, but gives you a little something warm to smile about on the cold pathway to your front door.
Illuminate your doorway
A simple sconce beside your door can at once be a burst of warmth on a snowy night and an excellent way to make sure you can see the keyhole of your door. Side-lighting is far more warm and inviting than a porch light overhead.
A welcoming foyer
This pendant light provides a sparkling welcome and while I can’t say for certain, I can imagine that the light bounces between the pieces of glass and onto the surrounding walls in a lovely dance.
Too often, we forget that one light never looks as good as three! Don’t reserve your multiples for the kitchen island only. Three lights spanning a dining room table is a fresh look, but is also functional, as the entire table can be lit evenly, even when dimmed.
Living room lighting
While dimmable recessed lighting is always a nice plus in a living room, it’s important to remember that the ceiling is typically the most naked of all interior space. This makes it a good place to add a wide, wirey chandelier, which draws the eye up and out without being overbearing.
Every kitchen is different, but these days almost everyone has some kind of bar or island. Keeping in mind that those island lights are going to be very close to eye level, I like pendants that direct most of the light down (instead of out into the faces of the people sitting there). Also, I love the idea of hanging them at slightly different levels.
We struggle with finding appropriate bathroom sconces on a daily basis, which brings me to share a secret: I just don’t like bath sconces very much. I much prefer hanging pendants in the bathroom. To date, I have managed to convince only two clients to actually do this, but neither has been disappointed.
Photo: Nat Rea
Do not underestimate the power of lighting inside cabinetry. Not only can you showcase objects on shelving, but also, as seen here, the inside of drawers can be illuminated the second they open. You’ll never fumble in the dark again.
Light your art
There are plenty of ways to spotlight a beloved piece of art. If your collection is large, it’s important to have a variety of track or single adjustable recessed lighting to highlight the image. However, for the one or two super-special pieces, my favorite way is a modern take on a rather traditional fixture.
Photo: Nat Rea
While there are many ways to add accent lighting, the easiest way is with table and floor lamps. This affordable series of table lamps from www.westelm.com will allow you to turn off the overheads for a little more ambiance and add to the texture of your home.
Kelly Taylor has 15 plus years of experience in the field of interior design. She is the 2012 recipient of New England Home magazine’s “5 Under 40” award for excellence in design as well as Rhode Island Monthly magazine’s 2012 and 2013 Gold Awards for residential interior design. She practices residential and commercial interior design in Providence, Rhode Island. Find her on twitter at @ktidnet, visit her website at www.ktid.net or check her out on Facebook at http:// www.facebook.com/KellyTaylorInteriorDesign.
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