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Wedding Guest Etiquette

3/25/2015 12:08 PM

 

The arrival of spring means it’s time for the arrival of wedding invitations. There is nothing like wedding season, for good and for bad. It’s a safe bet that you’ll be an attendee in a couple weddings, but you’ll be a guest in more than a few. There is a certain, unspoken protocol that goes into attending a wedding. Here at Onward Reserve, we want to help you wedding guests with some simple etiquette reminders:

 

  1. RSVP. Remember that the couple that is doing you the honor of inviting you to their wedding is going through enormous amounts of stress in their wedding planning adventures. The number of attendees is down to a science, so you MUST RSVP as promptly as possible. 99 times out of 100 there will be a stamped and addressed envelope, so check your calendar and let them know that you will be there (or not). Also, let them know if you are bringing….

 

  2. A Plus One. Your wedding date should be a carefully chosen partner for a very unique date. If you are taken, then it’s a no brainer. If you are a single guy, then give some thought to whom you’d like to bring. A couple of hints: first, don’t bring someone that you’ll have to babysit all night. If she doesn’t know anyone at the wedding except you, then you’ll have your hands full. Do consider bringing someone that is friends with at least some of the attendees. Don’t ask a girl that you just started dating, as it gives the wrong signal. Bottom line: if you are single, bring a fun girl. Fun girl = fun date.

 

  3. Dress the Part. For God’s sake, please dress well. Get your best suit cleaned and your dress shirt pressed. Shine your shoes. Shave. Wear a great tie. You should present the best version of yourself on the newlywed’s big day. You are going to be in pictures that they look at for the rest of their lives, so don’t leave them with the memory of you in wrinkled khakis.

 

  4. Bring a Gift. Every couple registers, but you aren’t required to bring a gift. That being the case, it’s not a very good message to send. If you aren’t into getting a gift, give the couple a $100 bill. Pull the bride and groom aside, and discreetly give it to them, and let them know that you want them to spend it on dinner one night on their honeymoon. It’s a very classy move, and they will remember the gesture.

 

  5. Behavior. There is nothing wrong with having fun at the wedding, but don’t turn it into a Vince Vaughan/Owen Wilson-like affair. The best advice is to go with the flow. If the dance floor is getting a little rowdy, then feel free to take part, but don’t lead the pack. If the wedding is a somber affair, enjoy a couple drinks, and hit the road after they cut the cake. Speak to everyone, especially the bride and groom’s families. Don’t hang out at the bar and watch the one TV that is showing a game. Keep a drink in your date’s hand. Be a gentleman. It will pay off in the long run, because those that need to notice will.

Posted By Onward Reserve

Smoked Georgia Red Hot Wings

3/10/2015 11:30 AM

 

It’s still cold outside, but that smoker is calling your name...don’t let the weather stop you, and don’t pass up a chance to try something new.

 

The Georgia Red Hot Wings are a delicious version of “hot” wings that aim to please. They're hot, but it’s a savory heat, not the Hooters version of heat. These wings are strong – they are the centerpiece of an excellent spread for your family and friends this time of year.

 

Ingredients:

 

1 Cup soy sauce

 

¾ Cup water

 

½ Cup Texas Pete’s hot sauce

 

½ Cup lemon juice

 

1 ¼ Cup Hot & Spicy V8 Juice

 

4 Pounds Chicken Wings (jointed)

 

Instructions:

 

1. Cut the wings apart at the joints, discarding the tips.

 

2. Combine marinade ingredients in a large container with a lid and place all the wings in the container making sure they are all covered with marinade. ***It is best to let the wings marinate in the refrigerator overnight***

 

3. Remove the wings from the marinade and sprinkle with your favorite chicken rub seasoning.

 

4. Grill indirect on your smoker at about 350 degrees for 15 to 30 minutes on each side. If grilling directly, monitor very closely and turn every ten minutes. These are best eaten a little crisp; so let them cook for about an hour.

 

Serves 6-8 people (depending on the appetite).

 

Serve these with a chunky blue cheese dip, but go lightly – they are excellent without any help. On the side, a vinegar-based potato salad will cool off your palate. Have some celery sticks to eat up the rest of the blue cheese + good beer to wash it all down, and you are in business.

Posted By Onward Reserve

 

Tuesday, March 17th is getting close, and you’ll notice the color green begin taking over. The Irish and the Irish-for-a-day observe St. Patrick’s Day, which began as a feast day for the patron saint of Ireland. It has evolved into an international festival celebrating Irish culture.

 

St. Patrick was the guy. He lived from AD 385 to March 17th, 461. Early in the 17th century, St. Patrick’s Day was made an official feast day for Christians (especially celebrated by the Church of Ireland). The day commemorates St. Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and celebrates Irish heritage and culture. There are parades, festivals, concerts, and feasts, each centered around all things Irish. The church even lifts consumption of food and alcohol for those that gave it up for Lent.

 

Traditions around the world are relatively similar.

 

In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday. There are concerts, parades, feasts, theater performances, fireworks, and lots of drinking. Their 1996 Festival was a one-day event, and extended to three days in 1997. In 2000 it was a four-day event, and five days long in 2006. More than a million visitors took part in the 2009 five-day festival. To say the least, they really get down for what is now known in Ireland as St. Patrick’s Festival.

 

Russia has been celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day with a parade in Moscow annually, that started in 1992. The parade is celebrated in two parts: the first is with the Russian military and the Irish embassy, and the second part is more of a volunteer effort, which looks more like a carnival.

 

In Great Britain, there are celebrations and parades in almost every town, as England has a large Irish population. Most of these involve packing Irish pubs and enjoying the libations all day (and night) long.

 

Canada boasts the longest-running St. Patrick’s Day parade in North America. It happens in Montreal, and has been going on since 1824.

 

In the United States, everyone is Irish on March 17th. While it is not a legal holiday, the festivities in Boston start early. In Chicago, they dye the river green. Irish and Irish-American cultures are celebrated with green-themed parties held at Irish pubs, parks, concerts, and parade routes.

 

From a traditions standpoint, the most obvious is wearing green. There is a myth that if you don’t wear green,  you get pinched. This can be a strategic move by single partygoers. Shamrocks are on display almost everywhere, which is a nod to the traditional Irish symbol. Bars and pubs will have specials on “green” beer, which is usually the cheapest tap beer with green food coloring, or on the traditional Irish stout, Guinness. The shot of the day will be either Jamieson Irish whiskey or an Irish Car Bomb.

 

The Irish are a very proud culture that deserve a day of celebration. Be respectful while you are paying homage. For those that are Irish – Erin go Bragh!

Posted By Onward Reserve

Valentine's Day Do's & Don'ts

2/12/2015 3:25 PM


Valentine’s Day. It’s here. While this day is a non-religious ‘holiday’ about love, it is really the litmus test for a guy’s personality. She’s watching. For some reason, Valentine’s Day is a highly emotional day, either in fits of rage or deeply in love. Most of it is about managing expectations. Don’t go over the top, but don’t take a mulligan. Here are some dos and don’ts for a successful Valentine’s Day:


Do’s:


  1. Embrace that it’s Valentine’s Day. Sure – there is the theory that it’s a ‘Hallmark Holiday’, but if you are lucky enough to have a hot date, then you need to understand that there are some extra implied connotations. Be the guy that holds her hand through the night. Don’t be cheesy, but don’t be cynical.


  2. Plan your night in advance. Any good restaurant will book up pretty quickly, and unless you want to share a $5 foot long from Subway, get on it. If all the restaurants are full, then plan on cooking her dinner at your place. She’ll notice the effort as much as she’ll recognize your amazing culinary skills.


  3. Either way – dress the part. This is a night for you to look your best. Iron your shirt. Put on a tie. Polish your shoes. Shave. Trust that she will notice the extra effort. This day is about her, so go above and beyond.


  4. Call your mother. She loved you before any other women in your life, and she deserves the gratitude.


  5. (For the single folks): Guys night out. You’ll have no problem finding a table at the sports bar. Eat wings, drink beer, and enjoy time with the guys. This time next year, you could all be practicing 1-4 above. You never know.


Don’ts:


  1. When sending flowers, don’t send a computer printed stock message. There is nothing less personal than a ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ printed on a stock card with a bunch of roses. Flowers are great, but the message will have a much more lasting effect. Two options – write the note yourself (if you are using a local florist), or write something catchy if you are using ProFlowers.com.


  2. Don’t do guy stuff. This is not the night to bring her to an NBA game or to Supercross. Don’t go to dinner at a sports bar. You have a DVR, so record the game and watch it later. This is her night, so treat it as such.


  3. Don’t get drunk. There is not much good that can come from her having to walk you home. Limit yourself to a couple drinks.


  4. Don’t go on a first date. The pressure and mismanaged expectations would make this a very awkward and uncomfortable date. Even if you just met someone great – resist the urge. It’s not worth it. Wait until next weekend.


  5. (For the single folks): Don’t call your ex. It’s not worth it. It screams desperation and there is NOTHING good that can come from it. You are better off.

Posted By Onward Reserve

History of Valentine's Day

2/10/2015 9:57 AM


Today, when we think of Valentine’s Day, we think of a rather commercialized “Hallmark” holiday of “love”. A day to emphasize celebrating your significant other through dinners, gifts, chocolate, and flowers. Depending on your relationship status (or lack thereof), it can also be seen as a day of cynicism. Either way, it is a highly marketed day – to the tune of Christmas or Thanksgiving (even though it isn’t a federal holiday). Americans are expected to spend $17.3 billion dollars for Valentine’s Day this year.

 

Valentine’s Day is observed on February 14th every year. It is named after Saint Valentine, who was a third century Roman saint that is associated with courtly love and died on February 14th. He is known as a priest of Rome who was imprisoned for giving assistance to persecuted Christians. He was buried in the Church of Praxedes in Rome, where a pink-blossomed almond tree was planted near his grave. To this day, the almond tree remains a symbol of abiding love and friendship. Saint Valentine was also known for marrying Christian soldiers that were forbidden to marry (the belief was that married men did not make good soldiers). He was said to give these solders hearts cut out of parchment, and is said to have worn a purple amethyst ring with an engraved image of Cupid.


Since then, the customs of Valentine’s Day have become associated with romantic love. It has been a subject of poetry, starting in the medieval period and the English Renaissance. In 1797, a reduction in postal rates and some stock British love poetry made it easier for the romantic to send cards featuring sentimental verses to their loved ones (sometimes anonymously). By the 19th century, these cards were so popular in England that they were produced in factories. Valentines cards were first produced in the United States in 1847 out of Worchester, Massachusetts. This began the transition from hand-written Valentine’s notes to mass-produced greeting cards.


Gifts superseded cards in the second half of the 20th century, which primarily consisted of roses and chocolates. In the 80’s, the jewelry industry jumped on board, claiming that Valentine’s Day was a day for giving jewelry. That claim has stuck. The US Greeting Card Association estimates that about 190 million Valentine cards are sent each year. School activities boost that number to almost a billion, with teachers being those people receiving the most Valentines.


With the Internet, sending Valentines greetings is unlimited. Millions use quite a few means to deliver Valentine’s Day messages through email, e-cards, etc.


The customs of Valentine’s Day spread worldwide in the 19th and 20th centuries. Some traditions:


   • In Finland, Valentine’s Day translates to “Friend’s Day”, which is more about remembering your friends rather than loved ones.


  • In France, they celebrate love (as if they needed a special day).


  • In Japan, it is customary for women to give chocolates to the man they love, and in turn, the man is to give the woman a gift that is two or three times more valuable than the gift received.


  • In Puerto Rico, it is common to see people perform “Acts of Appreciation” for their friends.


  • In Sweden, Valentine’s Day is known as “All Hearts Day”, which is largely a result of influences from American culture. Cosmetic and flower sales on this day are only exceeded by those given on Mother’s Day.


  • Singapore residents spend the most money on Valentine’s Day.


  • In South Korea, women give chocolates to men on February 14th, and men give non-chocolate candy to women on March 14th. On April 14th (also known as “Black Day”), those that didn’t receive anything go to a Korean restaurant and eat black noodles.


Gifts are the thing on Valentine’s Day. Here are some outrageously expensive Valentine’s Day gifts from a few names you may know:


  • George Clooney spent $40K for one night at the Hugh Hefner Sky Village’s suite in Las Vegas.


  • Katy Perry gave (at the time boyfriend) Russell Brand a purple Bentley valued at $341,000.


  • Howard Stern gave his to-be fiancé a 5.2-carat engagement ring valued at over $250,000 for Valentine’s Day.

Posted By Onward Reserve
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