A Month of Warmth & Kindness

Welcome to our Month of Warmth & Kindness!

Our world can always use a little more warmth, kindness and patience, seems we all like a ‘challenge’ (as long as it’s not that challenging) so here is ours, with a candy cane twist.

Note! Here are all the things you don’t need to worry about with our challenge:

  • You don’t have to check-in with anyone…except yourself
  • You don’t have to do all the tasks to be successful – honestly just doing the bonus task everyday will make things brighter
  • You don’t have to do them in order…pick, chose, omit, or even add your own!
  • AND (in my view this is best of all) you don’t need to sign-up, or give us your email address to access the ‘challenge’…it’s all here in this post, ready and waiting for you to save or print or come back to.

Life can be hard on any given day but often more so around holidays. Making a conscious decision to spread some warmth and kindness will not only make your day better but will absolutely (money-back-guarantee-absolutely) make those around you, even strangers, feel appreciated, respected and loved.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started!! Let us know how you get along…which one is your favourite? Which do you already do? How many can you tick off the list?

No matter which holiday you mark or how you chose to celebrate, I wish you VERY best of the season.


Polished Professionals - A Month of Warmth & Kindness

Polished Professionals - A Month of Warmth & Kindness

Polished Professionals - A Month of Warmth & Kindness  Polished Professionals - A Month of Warmth & Kindness

Polished Professionals - A Month of Warmth & Kindness

The Eleventh Hour: Five tips to ensure two-minutes of silence

Remembrance DayFor me, the phrase ‘the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month’ has always held great power and significance. It represents not only history – the end of the Great War, the First World War, the ‘war to end all wars’ – but also the moment in modern life when we are meant to stop, reflect and remember.

However, I have noticed that in my lifetime (and I’m not that old) many people have ‘stopped stopping’ for those two minutes, they don’t always take the time for this small observance; instead they plough through, ignoring it, or simply forgetting to pause.  Not only are they themselves missing an opportunity to stop and reflect, but they are often actively intruding on those who do want to mark that time with silence.

In our constant modern rush we very rarely stop, let alone in silence and stillness. I truly believe that we owe it not only to history but to the future, to pause and reflect for those two minutes – perhaps more now than ever.

The power of the two-minute silence is that it is based in humanity. It is time to reflect on what we owe all the men and women, past and present, who have helped shape our countries both in times of war and times of peace.  They lived through events we can never imagine and hope never to experience; recognizing this and showing our gratitude is the least we can do.

Here are five ways to ensure you not only stop for those few minutes but also help encourage others to do the same. These apply whether the 11th falls on a weekday or weekend. 

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Symbols & Remembrance: Wearing Your Poppy

I’m a firm believer in both buying and wearing a poppy.

The sale of poppies in Commonwealth countries not only supports the vital work of the Legions in those countries (Royal Canadian Legion, Royal British Legion among others) but also serves as an Poppiesimportant physical reminder of past wars and conflicts.

Remembering and marking (not celebrating) these events is as important now as it was when poppies were first introduced as a symbol of remembrance in 1921.

When should I wear my poppy?

I’ve been asked whether it’s acceptable to wear a poppy year-round.  While it’s a nice thought to show support throughout the year, the impact of the symbol starts to wane over time, so it’s best to restrict it to a few weeks a year.

Some people like to wait until after Hallowe’en, however, poppies traditionally go on sale on the last weekend in October, so anytime from then through November 11th is appropriate.

Note that in the United Kingdom the observance of ‘Remembrance Sunday’ sometimes takes place on the Sunday after November 11th (as is the case this year), therefore you may wish to keep your poppy on through to the end of that day.

Where do I wear my poppy?

There are many people who feel strongly about this. Left side, right side? On a cap or hat, or not?

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Dining Etiquette Mini-series Part 2: Napkin Nuances

Dining Etiquette at Your Fingertips (Literally!)

This week we give you some quick tips on what to do, and NOT to do, with your napkin!

Will using your napkin change your life? I doubt it.  Will not using it make you look less polished and professional? Absolutely!

Entertaining clients?
Being interviewed over a meal?
Going out to a fancy restaurant?

Whether you’re taking clients to your favourite burger joint or the finest four-star restaurant – we have your (Dining Etiquette) back.

Our Dining Etiquette Mini-series will help you avoid (or recover from) disaster, clean up the spilled Pinot, and deal with that pesky fish bone.

Want access to answers anytime? Then we’d love you to join the conversation over at our FB Group: The Snapdragon Society for Polished Professionals and Etiquette Enthusiasts

Celebrating International Women’s Day

It’s International Women’s Day, so we’ve done a little something different.

I am lucky enough to have had amazing women influence my life – they have inspired me, encouraged me, tolerated me, supported me and helped get me where I am today.

Three of these amazing women are featured in this video.

Curious? A quick click will reveal all. 

Who are the women who have influenced you? Let us know in the comments – we would LOVE to hear your stories.

If you’d like to join the conversation then we’d love to have you over at our FB Group: The Snapdragon Society for Polished Professionals and Etiquette Enthusiasts.

Handshakes: They speak volumes, what’s yours saying?

Handshakes been in the news lately, so we though it was time to take a look at what they communicate – and how to make sure yours is the best it can be! 

Here are some quick tips and pointers to ensure that yours is always polished, professional and confident.  Remember to add a smile and eye contact to take your greeting to the next level!

I’d love to hear if you’ve hand any funny, telling, successful or disastrous handshake experiences send us a note.

We’d also love you to join the conversation over at our FB Group: The Snapdragon Society for Polished Professionals and Etiquette Enthusiasts.

Emotion Commotion: Which Emoticon to Chose?

Facebook. FB Emoticons

(for the purposes of this blog I’m going to assume you use it…otherwise you’ve probably already stopped reading)

Whether you love it, hate it, or are ambivalent towards it, it probably takes up at least a little bit of your time and  your energy.

I happen to love it. Sure it has pros and cons but over the years it has kept me in touch with friends and family from all over the world, and that is a true gift.

However, I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the ‘like’ button – how do you ‘like’ a post that is sad or makes you angry? So, I was delighted when FB introduced a wider rage of emoticons – THESE, I figured, would solve that trickiness. But have they?

With so many choices, it should be easy to click the right one, right? But that doesn’t always seem to be the case. I’ve noticed that some posts create a bit of a conundrum, an ’emotion commotion’, if you will.  Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m overthinking (wouldn’t be the first time) but in case I’m not alone I thought I’d bring it up.

The posts I’m talking about are the ones that cause me to stop and think about which button to click. This has come up a few times in the last couple of days, most recently when a friend’s mother died.  The post was, of course, incredibly sad but the way she had written it was beautiful and loving.

So, in these circumstances which emoticon fits? The only one we can rule out for certain is the ‘laughing’ one. But let’s look at the others:

  • I might like what she wrote, even if what she wrote was sad.
  • Perhaps I want to send love to her.
  • Maybe I’m surprised at her news.
  • I’m certainly sad for her.
  • And just maybe I’m bubbling up with anger, on her behalf, that she’s lost her mum.

They all fit, one way or another, so there is a decision to be made. How do I convey the right thing, or more importantly, the thing that will bring comfort to my friend?

In the end I chose the ❤️ , partly because the sad face felt too sad, too visceral, but also because I wanted to send her warmth and love. I also followed it up with a comment that said as much.

But these decisions aren’t limited to personal posts. There have been other kinds that have caused me pause as well. The one’s where the shared content makes me feel one way, but the poster’s comment makes me feel another. In those moments, I do stop and think about what I want to communicate.

I realize that on the face of it this might seem like a silly thing to think about, let alone give time and effort to write about. But is it?

In this day in age when SO much of our communication hinges on ‘likes’, quick comments and passing clicks, these things take on far more meaning.  Therefore, perhaps we need to be putting MORE thought, not less, into what we’re ‘saying’.

Food for thought.




The Spirit of the Season

Holiday Greetings from Polished Professionals


December is almost here and our thoughts are turning to our various holidays, and these days that gives way to the inevitable discussion about ‘holiday’ greetings.

Over the past number of years I’ve seen an increase in the number of “It’s not Happy Holidays, it’s MERRY CHRISTMAS” posts, and I find these unfortunate.  The frustration that leaps from these posts is palpable, but I’m not entirely sure where it comes from – when any greeting is given in warmth and friendship we ought to receive it the same way.

Whether your faith or belief system is based in deep religious roots, or a certainty that Santa does live at the North Pole, it should not be so easily shaken that you rail against a ‘happy’ greeting.  Instead of worrying which greeting is used, we ought to recognize that the words (no matter which ones they are) come from a place of affection and warmth.

I think that we are immensely fortunate living where we do, and when we do: our melting-pot-cities and societies are made up of many traditions and holidays, and this is what gives our lives richness and depth. Let’s embrace it, not fight it.

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Putting Presence in your Presents

Delivering PresentsThis time of year – a time of peace and goodwill – can be one of the most stressful for us, particularly when it comes to buying presents. We often feel an enormous amount of pressure to get it all ‘right’.  To help ease some of the strain, I’ve come up with a few suggestions.

How do I decide?
Generally we give presents because it feels nice to make others happy, right? Therefore the key thing is to give our purchases some thought. Even a little goes a long way.

“Sure”, I hear you say, “but where do I start?”

Start by making a short list of some of the things you know about the recipient – even as few as five things will give you ideas (and if you don’t know five things about them, do you really need to give them a present?). For instance, a list about me would look like this:

  • Wears jewellery
  • Reads biographies
  • Likes a nice G&T
  • Loves tea
  • Hates being cold

Now you have at least five ideas of presents that would be very well received.

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How to ask for a favour

Need to ask someone to do something they don’t necessarily want to do? Try this simple change of language and see what happens.


Your Stories
We love hearing from you! If you have a tip, trick or story you’d like to share we would love to hear it.  Send us a note and we’ll include it here.