Thursday, October 31, 2013

Common Courtesies

It’s the Holidays and parties abound!  It’s a time for visiting with friends and loved ones, and it’s a time for entertaining in our homes.  I grew up with Miss Manners and proper etiquette.  Not only did we learn about respect and common courtesies at home…but we learned them in school as well.  It still amazes me that now-a-days so many of our children never learn these simple tips. So here are some basic Common Courtesies that will help make visiting or entertaining more enjoyable for all.

 ** Respond to your Invitation – please, please, please let your Host/Hostess know if you plan to attend or not…even if it’s to say maybe.  Your RSVP helps in planning for the correct number of guests.  If you don’t respond to your invitation and you just ‘show up’ you’re being more than just rude – and you can’t complain if your Host/Hostess isn’t prepared for you to be there.

 ** Don’t forget to show up – if you’ve extended your RSVP make certain you honor your promise.  If life happens and your plans change, notify your Host/Hostess as soon as you become aware you cannot make it or you may be late.

 ** Be on time – be respectful, ‘fashionably late’ is not fashionable; it’s downright rude.  Don’t create liars out of your friends and acquaintances - don’t force people to give out fictitious times just because they know you so well.

 ** Bring something to eat or a small gift – never arrive empty handed.  Always bring something to contribute.

Special dietary needs:
 ** Bring something you enjoy – if you have special needs pay attention and bring something to share that you can enjoy without worry.  Don’t be the one standing by the table shouting, “isn’t there ANYTHING here that I can eat??”

 ** Learn how to say “No, Thank you.” – be respectful, if offered something you can’t eat don’t proclaim loudly, “Are you trying to poison me??”

Using your favorite baking dish:
 ** Mark your possessions for easy return – whenever possible, use dishes you don’t mind losing.  If you use a prized possession, make certain you mark it with your name and phone # and don’t be afraid to call a day or two later to claim it.  It’s a perfect opportunity to say “Thank you for inviting me.”

 ** Learn how to say ‘Yes” – when someone asks if they can bring something, always say, “YES”!!  Don’t create future monsters - the ones who cause others to complain, “They NEVER contribute anything!!”

 ** Learn how to say “Thank You” – when someone offers to contribute make certain you say Thank you, even if it’s something you wouldn’t use in a thousand lifetimes.

 ** Set understandable time frames – ‘around 7ish’ is not a true time.  Many a Host/Hostess have actually learned to lie just to get people to arrive on time - saying it’s 7:00pm when the time will truly be 7:30pm.

Be prepared for some special dietary needs
 ** Be flexible – make allowances for others.  Provide an alternative whenever possible, example:  Juice or water, fresh fruit or raw vegetables.

 ** Don’t be offended – don’t push the matter if someone refuses what you’re offering.  Saying, “a little bit won’t hurt you” might just actually kill someone.  Accept a “No, Thank you” gracefully.

Finding someone’s favorite baking dish
 ** Returning it to the proper owner – if the dish is marked, so much the better - return it as soon as possible.  If the dish is not marked and you don’t hear from anyone within a week or two - well, you’ve just inherited a new dish.  Don’t be upset if someone recognizes it several months later and wants to take it home again.

 ** Never return anything dirty or empty – returning a dirty dish is simply insulting.  Returning an empty dish symbolizes a future without prosperity.  It’s customary to place something inside, a small gift or food of some sort - symbolizing a prosperous relationship with the other person.

 ** General rule is simple – bring enough to serve at least 6 people, regardless of the number of people expected to be there.  Don’t forget, if everyone brings enough for 6 there will be plenty to feed even 200!!

 ** When do you bring something – always when joining a large group, always when visiting a new location, always when meeting new people, always when you’re nervous and afraid you won’t fit in.

 ** When can you get away with NOT bringing anything – if the person you’re visiting is someone you feel comfortable burping or farting in front of chances are real good that you can get away without bringing something to the occasion.  In fact, by then your Host/Hostess will probably EXPECT you to show up empty handed.

 ** When in doubt:  ask – don’t be afraid to ask what’s needed.  You may get a desperate plea for something needed or special instructions to blend in with the occasion.  After all, you wouldn’t really want to bring liver and onions to a chocolate party, or wine & beer to a recovering alcoholic.

 ** What to do if you don’t cook – the answer to this one is simple * SHOP J There are many delicious ways to fill the need at your local grocers.  Don’t forget to check your own pantry first; you just might have something tucked away in the freezer for a special occasion.

 ** What to do if you’re broke – check the pantry first, it’s amazing what you can bring together to make a great dish.  Example:  1lb hamburger, 1 box macaroni, 1 can stewed tomatoes cooked and combined makes a great dish.  It only takes 10-12 teabags and a bottle of spring water to make a gallon of iced tea.

 ** Even more broke – how about a bag of potato chips, a bottle of soda, or a box of cookies.  It’s amazing what you can buy for a couple $$ if you shop a little bit.

 ** Just plain destitute – Recycle, recycle…in other words, remember that item you received and just couldn’t do anything with??  Chances are good someone else may just appreciate it more than you do. 
NOTE:  Be careful with this one, you don’t want to be the one other people snicker behind their hands about.  “Don’t invite that one!!  They always bring their trash with them!!”

 ** What to do if you're living in a tent –Good rule on this one is to keep it simple.  Something that doesn’t require refrigeration or cooking is your best bet.  Believe it or not some of the most appreciated items are fresh fruit, water, or chocolate.

 ** What to do if you’re living in a cave – this one’s pretty extreme, it’s the person with nothing but ketchup in the fridge, along with some unidentifiable green stuff in the corner; peanut butter in the pantry next to a loaf of bread that’s hard as a rock and not a single clean dish anywhere to be found.  What does someone like this contribute??  What does anyone really WANT them to contribute??  Well, if there’s a fruit tree growing in the yard they just might have it covered.  If not, hopefully, there’s a 7-11 on the way!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Starting your own Celiac or Gluten Intolerance Support Group - Part II

Free is for me:
So I’m pretty certain by now you've realized my major theme :-) If it’s free…it’s for me.  I don’t mind spending my time…but I don’t have the extra pocket change to spend my own money.  So now you've got your location and schedule pinned down…here are some Freebie (and Cheapo) hints for expanding your Support Group.  Don't forget to check out Part I.

With that free G-mail address…you also get a free blog.  Go ahead and get a bit inventive…work up a front page just for your meetings.  Tell people a little bit about what you plan on doing.  Post your location and your schedule for at least the next 12 months.  Make certain you post your contact G-mail address.  Then use that HTTP address as your webpage address.  Once you have that front page in place you won’t need to do any more blogging.  You can make corrections or updates as you need to.

DO NOT put your personal phone # out there…I still don’t feel that’s a safe thing to do.  BUT another freebie you can get with that same G-mail address is a Google Phone # that you CAN publish.  What it does is give you a phone # that you can publish that will link directly to your own phone.  You can make your own recorded message.  People call the Google phone # and get your recorded message, they then leave a message of their own…and you get notified by text or email that you have a message waiting.  You can then go into your G-mail account and listen to the message and return the call on your own phone. Be careful to set it up for messaging only and use it for incoming calls…you do get charged for any outgoing calls.

Business Cards:
Vista Print…that’s all I have to say.  Use that same G-mail address and get yourself some business cards.  These do cost about $10.00 but that’s pretty darn cheap and very good quality for about 250 cards.  I did put my Cell Phone on the cards.  And I don’t hand them out by the dozen.  I hand them out one at a time to people who ask me for some contact information...yes, I am cheap.

Press Release:
Go ahead and write up a Press Release.  Just one or two short paragraphs with all the important information – Who, What, When, Where and Why.  VERY IMPORTANT – include that G-mail address, your Blogger web address and your new Google Phone #. Then read it…several times.  Read it to yourself, read it out loud, read it in front of a mirror, read it to your dog/cat and then let someone else read it.  Make corrections, additions, check for spelling errors, grammatical errors…fix it until it doesn't need to be fixed any more.  The last thing you want to do is look like an idiot when you start putting things into print…with your name attached to it. Then store it in several places because it’s going to become important.

Free Advertising:
Stop by your biggest neighborhood health food store.  You know those free papers they always have in the bins at the front of the store??  Grab one of each and take them home.  Some place in the first few pages of the papers you will find email addresses for contact. Start emailing that Press Release you worked so hard on.  Send it out about once every six months.  Look around on Google for any online new papers, or places that accept Press Releases.  You may hear from one or two wanting to sell you space…just be polite and say ‘no thank you’.  Because what you truly want are those places that will accept your Press Release as part of their Community Resources and give you a little free advertising.  Over the years I’ve managed to get free advertising in just about every media available – Online, Newspapers, Magazines, Radio, TV, Community Bulletins – you name it, with a little bit of research and a great Press Release you can get just about anything.

Never be afraid to ask for donations…and I don’t mean money.  I mean Gluten-Free products.  My little Support Group just loves getting samples to try out at our Meetings. There are tons of manufacturers out there just waiting to get samples of product into your hands.  Put your hands out and ask!!  Do some searching on Google and work up a list of different GF manufacturers.  Stick to Companies that specialize in Gluten-Free items…it’s safer for you that way.  Remember that Press Release??  Now it’s time to change it up a bit and ask for donations of product for your group to sample. Invite them to send brochures or flyers along with ordering forms for people to place future orders. Simply send out two or three requests per month to different manufacturers.   DON’T GET GREEDY…keep your requests to a minimum.  The idea is to begin building a relationship with these companies…not force them to dump you into their Spam Box.  A good rule of thumb is to request from each manufacturer only once per year.  Some companies will insist that you use their forms on their websites…don’t be afraid to do just that.  Many will ignore you, but many will email you back for dates and shipping information.  I try to make arrangements for stuff to arrive a few days just prior to the next meeting.  And I have it delivered to my home address.  That way all I have to do is bring it with me the day of the meeting.  And who doesn't love free stuff??

Carolanne LeBlanc
Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse, 101 Imperial Palm Drive, Largo, Florida 33771

Friday, August 9, 2013

Celiac and Gluten-Free Events 2013


8/18/13 – 7th Annual Incredible, Edible Gluten-Free Food Fair, Denver, CO
8/30/13 - 8/31/13 – Coeliac Expo - Sydney, Australia
9/14/13 - 9/15/13 – Gluten-Free Expo, Toronto, Ontario – Canada
9/14/13 - 9/15/13 – Gluten-Free Expo & Conference, Victoria, Australia
9/22/13 - 9/25/13 – International Celiac Disease Symposium, Chicago, IL
9/25/13 - 9/28/13 – Natural Products Expo East, Baltimore, MD
9/28/13 - Gluten-Free Expo, Greenville, SC
9/28/13 – Gluten-Free Expo, West Bend, WI
10/5/13 – Gluten-Free Living Now Expo, Carmel, IN
10/20/13 - Gluten-Free Expo, Norwood, MA
10/21/13 – Gluten/Allergen Free Expo, New Orleans, LA
10/26/13 - 10/30/13 – Gluten-Free Fair, Lansing, MI
11/2/13 – Gluten & Allergen Free Expo, Baton Rouge, LA
11/10/13 - Gluten-Free Expo, State College, PA
11/23/13 – Gluten-Free Expo & Conference, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Some of these are Guesstimates based on previous history.
Make certain to check their websites for correct dates and times.

1/12/14 – Gluten-Free Expo - Vancouver, Canada
1/20/14 – Celiac 101 Class, Lancaster, PA
1/19/14 - 1/21/14 – NASFT Fancy Food Show, San Francisco, CA
1/23/14 – Gluten-Free Food & Wine Tasting, Philadelphia, PA
2/1/14 – Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event, Austin, TX
2/15/14 – 6th Annual Gluten Free EXPO, West Palm Beach, FL
3/6/14 - 3/9/14 – Natural Products Expo West, Anaheim, CA
3/9/14 – Glutenology Gluten-Free Expo, Houston, TX
3/15/14 – 3/16/14 Coles Gluten Free Food & Healthy Living Expo, Perth, Western Australia
3/22/14 – Gluten-Free For Life Expo, St. Petersburg, FL
3/23/14 – Gluten Free Expo, Calgary, Canada
3/29/14 – Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event, Charlotte NC
4/5/14 – 4/6/14 Gluten & Allergen Free Expo, Des Moines, IA
4/12/14 – Gluten/Allergen Free Expo, Charlotte, NC
4/12/14 – Gluten-Free Expo, Phoenix, AZ
4/12/14 – 2nd Annual Gluten-Free Expo, Roanoke, VA
4/19/14 – 4/20/14 Gluten & Allergen Free Expo, Shaumburg, IL
4/26/14 – Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event, Nashville TN
4/26 - 4/27/14 – Gluten Free Fair & Expo, Haupaugge, NY
5/2/14 - 5/4/14 CDF National Education Conference & Gluten-Free EXPO,
5/4/14 – Gluten/Allergen Free Expo, Atlanta, GA
5/9/14 - 5/10/14 Gluten Free Food Expo, Queensland, Australia
5/17/14 - 5/20/14 DDW Conference & Exhibit, Orlando, FL
5/17/14 - 5/20/14 NRA (National Restaurant Association) Show, Chicago, IL
5/23/14 - 5/26/14 – I'm Going Gluten-Free Workshop, Rhinebeck, NY
5/30/14 - 6/1/14 – NJY Gluten-Free Family Camp, Milford, NJ

5/31/14 – Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event, St. Louis, MO
6/1/14 – Gluten-Free Expo, Bethesda, MD
6/8/14 – Gluten-Free Expo Ernie's Pub & Grille, Burnsville, MN
6/15/14 - 6/20/14 – Great Gluten Escape at Camp Gilmont, Gilmer, TX
6/15/14 - 6/21/14 – Free to Be Camp, Higgins Lake, MI
6/21/14 – Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event, Little Rock, AR
6/22/14 - 6/27/14 – Camp Weekaneatit, Warm Springs, GA
6/24/14 - 6/27/14 – Camp Gluten-Freedom, Indianapolis, IN

6/24/14 - 8/14/14 – NJY Children's Gluten-Free Summer Camps, Milford, PA 
6/29/14 - 7/1/14 – NASFT Fancy Food Show, New York City, NY
7/14/14 - 7/18/14 – CDF Camp Gluten-Free, San Bernardino, CA
7/22/14 - 7/26/14 – Camp Celiac, Camp Arroyo, Livermore, CA
7/26/14 - 7/30/14 – Camp Celiac, Camp Arroyo, Livermore, CA
8/9/14 – Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event, Raleigh/Durham NC
8/17/14 – 7th Annual Incredible, Edible Gluten-Free Food Fair, Denver, CO
8/29/14 - 8/30/14 – Coeliac Expo - Sydney, Australia
9/13/14 - 9/14/14 – Gluten-Free Expo, Toronto, Ontario – Canada
9/13/14 - 9/14/14 – Gluten-Free Expo & Conference, Victoria, Australia
9/21/14 - 9/24/14 – International Celiac Disease Symposium, Chicago, IL
9/24/14 - 9/27/14 – Natural Products Expo East, Baltimore, MD
TBD/14 – Celi-Act Gluten Free Vendor Fair & Expo, Knoxville, TN
10/4/14 – Gluten-Free Living Now Expo, Carmel, IN
10/4/14 – Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event, Hartford CT
10/19/13 - Gluten-Free Expo, Norwood, MA
10/20/14 – Gluten/Allergen Free Expo, New Orleans, LA
10/25/14 - 10/29/14 – Gluten-Free Fair, Lansing, MI
11/1/14 – Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event, Jacksonville, FL
11/1/14 – Gluten & Allergen Free Expo, Baton Rouge, LA
11/22/14 – Gluten-Free Expo & Conference, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia