What to do....

... and how to do it properly

....with grace and style


The topic for March is Mail
or correspondence.  

 March 1
In our tips for the month of February, we discussed the value of friends and family.  There is no greater wealth and strong, healthy relationships with a wide circle of friends.  The tips in March are a logical next step, as you must keep in touch with those friends and family. 
March 2
With our very mobile world, we find that our friends and family, may be at a great distance even if just temporarily.  This may occur, because we are the ones who have left home and hearth so to speak.  Either way, it is essential that you keep in touch.  There are so many convenient methods open to us today and because of new phone calling plans and the internet, these methods are not only convenient but inexpensive. 
March 3
In short, there is simply no good reason for not staying in touch!  It has become so routine so quickly that we forget how recent the cell phone picture technology has made it possible to shoot excellent quality pictures across the world in seconds either to another cell phone or to an email address.  Thus there is no excuse, now, is there? 
March 4
This begs the question, why don't you communicate more often?  Surely, we can anticipate your response: "Just too busy!"  Oh, really? And, what is it that takes up all of your time?  There are many right answers, but analyze them and be true to yourself.  Is much of that time being wasted?  A major culprit is the television.  Stop to think about how much time you spend watching television.  Perhaps you could use a little of that time to send a note to a friend. 
March 5
Okay, we have said that an email or text message may be acceptable.  However, it is no substitute for a well composed letter.  Stretch your language mussels and see what you can say and how effectively you can say it.  Words properly and carefully put together in sentences and paragraphs can convey deep emotions.  They can create mind pictures, they can sooth, stimulate emotion and inspire.  Give it a shot.  You will be surprised how satisfying it will be to see your thoughts and inner self expressed beautifully in the written word. 
 March 6 Site Launch Date Anniversary
Write a letter to a friend that you have lost track of but whose friendship was important to you at one time.  Make it a short hello and avoid the temptation to tell everything that has happened to you since the last contact.  Just say hi, and let them pick up from there if they are interested in renewing the acquaintance. 
March 7
When selecting your stationery don't be tempted by patterns or pictures.  These detract from the words and can cause confusion to the reader.  You will want to select something that will always be appropriate whether you are accepting an invitation or sending solemn condolences.
March 8
Carefully assemble your stationery wardrobe as it is an investment in your future.  Just as a lady carefully assembles her clothing wardrobe to be tasteful, versatile and expressive of her unique personality, she will create a stationery wardrobe that will be distinctive.  People will enjoy receiving a letter from you and the paper upon which it is written will help convey the message.
March 9
Your stationery should be distinctive so that someone receiving it will know immediately that it came from you. 
March 10
The style called "informal note" will be the basis for your stationery wardrobe. This convenient size can satisfy every need except a long personal letter.
March 11
For your personal letters, use a "half sheet".  The half-sheet requires a different size envelope from the "informal note".
March 12
There are many styles of monogram available.  It is now time for you to select something that you will be proud to use on all of your stationery.  Start by thinking about the color ink you will be using.  Your monogram should compliment your ink whether you use a pen or computer printer.
March 13
Now that you have decided on the color you will need to select the style of monogram that best reflects the image you wish to convey.  You can use your initials or just the first letter of your last name.  Alternatively, there are many elaborate monograms or "lozenges" available from your stationery supplier. By the way, in this case a lozenge is not a cough drop.  It is a rectangular, decorative monogram. They can be very distinctive and dramatic.
March 14
If you are married, you may want two monograms.  One for your own personal correspondence and one for you and your husband combined.
March 15
You will now need to decide whether you want to use engraving, thermography or flat printing on your stationery and envelopes.
March 16
Your address is placed on the back flap of the envelope.  Use the same color and style you have used for your monogram.  However, it is crucial that the address be legible. 
March 17
If you use your initials on your stationery, the correct form for a married women is first name, maiden name and married name.  For example, it would be Mary Smith Jenkins. A single woman uses her first,  middle and last name.  That would be Mary Kay Smith in our example.
March 18
Personal Calling Cards  are a nice addition to your writing papers wardrobe. If you are building your wardrobe gradually over time, designing calling cards would  be something you do in phase two or three.  You might be surprised to learn that is is inappropriate to use your business card in a social setting.  However, it is increasingly difficult to separate our business life from our personal life and women are beginning to understand the importance of "networking".  So, if this is a business contact it just makes sense that you would use your business card.  However, having a supply of tastefully designed personal calling cards or social business cards gives you the opportunity to decide which card is aappropriate for the occasion. For example, if you are attending a function hosted by your husband's office and meet someone that you wish to follow up with socially, you would probably want to use your personal calling card with your home phone number rather than your business card. On the other hand, perhaps you determine that this is a suitable business contact and you want a follow up phone call at your office. This is a perfect occasion for the personal business card. We will talk tomorrow about how to design a useful personal calling card.
March 19
Let's begin to design your personal calling card. There are many varieties available and you may wish to do something a little more dramatic than you have with your other personal papers.  For example, you could use a color card stock rather than the white or ecru that is traditional for you stationery.  Also, you can have it printed in either a horizontal or vertical orientation. 
March 20
It may be important at this point to distinguish between the calling card and the social business card. Though similar, these are two different items.  The calling card is 2 7/8" x 2" if you are single and 3 1/8" x 2 1/4" if you are married.  If you wish to have one for you and your husband together the size is 3 3/8" x 2 1/2".  This joint card for you and your husband is very useful as it can also be used as a gift enclosure card. It comes with a dainty but serviceable envelope and makes an impressive impact.
The social business card, by contrast, is 3 1/2" x 2" and looks just like a business card.  Over the next several days, our hints will help you decide which of these options will best suit your needs.
March 21  
It is unlikely that you will need both a social business card and a personal calling card.  The social business card will have only your name and your work contact phone number. It does not show your title or the name of your company
March 22
The calling card will show your name and title, Mrs. Edward Paul Smith, III for example.  If it is to be a joint card with your husband, it would say Mr. and Mrs. Edward Paul Smith, III.  The address goes in the lower right corner. 
March 23
The design of your envelopes should compliment the style of your other papers.  Thus, the envelope paper should match your stationery. Once again, there is unlimited variety in font and ink color available.  If you have selected a very formal monogram you will need a formal style fond for the printed/engraved address on your envelopes. However, remember the the return address must be clearly readable.  Do not sacrifice legibility in order to get a flowery font. Not only does this serve as the return address in case there is a problem in delivering the letter, it will also provide an address where the receiver can contact you. 
March 24
It is appropriate to include your name along with the return address on the flap of the envelope, however, this will limit the use of the envelope to your correspondence only.  If you have just the mailing address on the flap, the same envelope could be used by your husband or other members of the family. 
March 25 
As a follow up to yesterday's tip, there is a style called house stationery.  It is personalized to reflect the house but not a particular person.  Any member of your family can use the house stationery or it can be used by a house guest. Again, this is a practical reason to put only the street address on the flap of your envelope.
March 26
Some of these tips for your personal writing papers may seem a bit old fashioned but you will find that your wrting papers convey a very important message about who you are and what people can expect from you.
March 27
Tastefully designed writing papers are very distinctive.  Your envelopes and the documents contained within will stand out when people receive them.  They command attention among the otherwise mundane and mass produced pieces of mail received each day.  Isn't this your goal?  If you take the the time to compose and send a letter or invitation don't you want it to stand out?  Don't you want it to reflect your personality?  A hasty note scribbled on notebook paper and stuffed into an envelope will do none of the above.
March 28
Remember, if you invest the effort to send something in the mail, you are trying to accomplish something.  That something could be a positive response to an invitation; to convey gratitude for some kindness; to express sympathy over a loss; or to keep in touch and stimulate the receiver to do likewise.  So, as in any deliberate endeavor, do everything possible to get the greatest return on your investment.
March 29
The  exercise we have directed you through over the past month does more than help you design your personal writing papers, it has helped you begin to develop an image of yourself.  Admit it, aren't you more sure of who you are than when the month started. 
March 30
Reflect on your newly defined self image and re-evaluate your mental choices of the personal writing papers.  Do your choices accurately reflect who you are?  Do they accurately reflect how you want people to "see" you. 
March 31
The ancient wisdom about first impressions continues to hold true. Further, first impressions can be enhanced or reinforced with a follow up note on lovely, good quality, personalized writing paper.  If your writing papers reflect confidence and sophistication you may be offered opportunities that either wouldn't come your way or would come your way much later. 
Here is a post script prompted by one of of our emails...No, an email is not a "tacky" replacement for a thank you note.  Any expression of gratitude is much appreciated by the recipient. In today's rapid communications, an email is very appropriate, very prompt and completely proper.  So once again..thanks for the email! Best regards, Lady Virginia
You will notice that our topic for April is
Thus, we will continue to help you
build your understanding of who you are,
how you would like others to see you and
how to accomplish this goal. 
Stay tuned.....


 Later tips will help you select a good quality stationery wardrobe for all of your correspondence.