Know Before You Go…Be Respectful of Others and Country Customs

R.E.S.P.E.C.T: a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. Its a positive feeling for a person or other entity. Respect can be given or received. Depending on an individual’s cultural reference frame: respect can be something that is earned or built over time.

If respect is considered a positive feeling, why does it seem to be lacking in our society. What is happening to our culture? Where is our respect for other cultures and their rules of protocol?

Since we are entering our summer months of travel, I want to focus on understanding the culture of other countries.

Know Before You Go..Do some homework if you are traveling. Here are some travel etiquette guides to tuck away in your travel log. These guides will help you show respect for others and in turn respect will be given back to you.

Did you know?…

  •  That other countries do not celebrate Flag Day. The US celebrates Flag Day on June 14.
  • Unlike the USA–In Asia, faith and ritual are inseparable from business and everyday life.  You must show respect for a person’s beliefs. Most recently, a few Westerners decided to show a bit more than their respect…Read the article on the Huffington Post website: Tourists Who Posed Naked On Malaysia Mountain Sentenced To 3 Days In Jail.
  • Also in Asia, If you are a man, wait for a women to initiate a handshake. There may be cultural or religious taboos against women shaking hands with men outside of the family.
  • Leaving anything on your plate in Belize is disrespectful. Learn more on
  • When relaxing in Costa Rica, don’t rest your feet on any furniture except items expressly designed for that purpose.
  • In Guatemala, the “okay” sign (thumb and forefinger forming a circle) is considered obscene.

This list can go on and on, and knowing before you go will keep you feeling confident and secure about yourself in your travels. We should always show respect to other countries and their cultures. In turn, we can expect travel to our country to be respected as well.

If you would like to share a travel etiquette post on a place you visited, please share it on our Facebook! We want to know before we go any news about your travels.

Demetria and Lisa

Make Wedding Planning Easier with Etiquette

Wedding Etiquette

Todays’ wedding events are more than they used to be. There was a time when the proposal was popped, a date was picked, a registry was selected, the dress was bought, the invite list was put together. Once the invites were sent, the bride and groom would then wait for the hopefully, on time RSVPs to make their final plans.

Well, times have changed, and wedding planning has gone from a simple place to a grand destination, from Mom and Aunt Edna making the plans and a mountain of cookies to the launching of butterflies and swans. Wedding Etiquette topics range from fashion, money, bridal party, reception, venue, gifts, dining, invitations…the list goes on. Since we don’t have the space to hit every subject, here are some real questions that Mother, May I is asked frequently:

Do I have to wear a veil? Of course not. Traditionally, wedding veils were worn to ward off evil spirits, or to prevent any sneak peaks from the  groom. Well, veils have gone in and out of bridal fashion so its really your day…wear what you want.

We know are about 8-10% of our invitees are vegan. Do I have to provide a vegan entrée? Yes, you should prearrange with your caterer what can be served. And be sure to double check that list so your vegan guest does not feel uncomfortable waiting for their food.

Do I treat our out-of-town guests with preference? Out of courtesy, there should be something specail to indicate your happiness that they made such an effort. A small token in their room accommodations or a nice note for them at the dinner, perhaps on their place setting.

Can I hand-deliver my invites to close friends? Yes, of course…BUT you must deliver them from your hands into theirs.

What about the “Plus One”? Generally, when invited to a wedding, you are given a plus one. Usually the plus one represents a significant other, or a good friend that is appropriate for the wedding. However, budgets and other important factors do not include the plus one. This can be disturbing to you. If it is important to you to attend with a companion, then call the couple, and politely explain your situation and request their inclusion.

Do I pay for my flower girls’ dress? It would be nice to offer it as a gift, especially if the parents of the flower girl are not in a financial position to buy the dress. Be sure to think about this and inquire about their involvement at the same time you ask for their daughter to be the flower girl.

Can I safely assume that guests are not coming if I have not heard from them at the time of RSVP? No, go ahead and give them a ring. Who knows, Maybe they thought they sent the card in, but didn’t. Or maybe it got lost in the mail. Nothing is more cringe-worthy than having invited guests show up with nowhere to sit and nothing to eat.

Are E-vites tacky for a wedding invitation? In todays’s technology-based world, where your guests receive hundreds of emails every day, a physical invite has become that more special. Your invitiation is the first thing your guests see and read about your wedding. It sets the stage. If you are having a casual pre and post wedding event, then you can use email. But your wedding ceremony is a ceremony to celebrate with a physical invitation.

Getting married is more than just spending this important commitment with family and friends. It sends a message to your guests about your expectations for each other. It creates a memory that everyone should be able to sit back and smile upon. Using the right manners and etiquette will keep any mis-steps to a minimum. Be sure to ask MMI for guidance on this event. Lisa and I are the experts in creating that special day the right way. For more wedding information of all kinds, visit The Knot.


Demetria and Lisa

Biking…A Rite of Passage in Many Mannerly Ways!


My children will remember their “first” real bike ride. You see, right before they graduated from high school, each one had to ride the 50 mile leg of Pedal Pittsburgh with me. This ride was and still is an amazing way to see the city of Pittsburgh.

What I found was that it was an amazing way to teach my kids how to get from point A to point B with the drive to never give up. Riding through the hills of Pittsburgh is not a small accomplishment…it is not for the faint of heart or spirit. I’m happy to report that they got through those 50 miles, though it wasn’t without a few mishaps like my son Alex taking a shortcut to the finish line (without telling anyone). This miscue caused me to get the police involved and possibly report him missing. Where was Alex?—Oh he got thirsty and hungry when we didn’t show up, so he helped himself to some food from Hooters-yes, apparently, the staff at Hooters felt sorry for this 16 year old who lost his biking group. And then there was, my son Nico, who got lost at a turn—fortunately after spending two hours trying to locate him, he came pedaling up to all of us at the Washington’s Landing rest-stop. My daughter Tory did get lost-and we had to request a rescue van to go find her. Needless, to say she was very embarrassed. And finally my youngest Effie…well she breezed through it without incident, since she had plenty of her sibling’s experiences to draw from.

Biking is more than just a way to exercise. It creates memories and makes you get to places you might not ever visit by car. it’s important to note that biking etiquette is in the news. There are more bikers on the road than ever before. Mayor Peduto even put a bike lane on Penn Avenue!

By the way…It is National Bike to Work Week this week!

So, please keep in mind these manners when biking.

  1. Face it-If you like your Face…Wear a helmet, and wear it the right way. Be sure to clip on the chin strap. Why wear a helmet if you can’t keep it on your head.
  2. Never ride more than two abreast.
  3. Pass to the left.
  4. Follow the traffic lights and rules of the road.
  5. Maintain a distance, no more than 12 inches from your shoulder to the shoulder of the rider next to you.
  6. It only takes one person to call things out. This should be the person in the front. Ideally a bell on your bike, or a point of the hand is all it take to indicate obstructions or turns.


It is a great way to see any city if you are visiting…Pittsburgh, like many cities in the US and Europe are gearing up for a Ride Share Program. It is an inexpensive and energetic way to get around.

These Top Six Rules will actually improve your riding, and keep you safe.. There are many unwritten rules of cycling etiquette, and we just don’t have the blog space to list all of them!

New Bikers –  Do some searches before hoping onto your new wheels and learn the biking routes, as well as tips from other bikers in your area.

Experienced Bikers – Don’t get lazy about biking etiquette! Just because you have biked a bunch, doesn’t mean the biker in front of you has. Make sure you stay alert while biking.

By the way, both Lisa and I rode in PedalPittsburgh-the whole 50 miles! We love to bicycle around any town that we are in…and we hope that our MMI fans fare well this summer by bicycling safely and sharing the road with the right social biking behavior. Let us know about the paths you have taken on your bicycle. We are always open to go for a ride.



Demetria and Lisa

Co-Founders Mother, May I – Etiquette Experts



April Showers May Bring May Flowers

April Showers

As an expert in etiquette and manners, my daily conversations often involve someone telling me about something they saw and “how rude it was”. Then the conversation usually goes down the path as to why? Why do people behave the way they do? What has happened to our social skills? What is going to happen when all of this rudeness just gets to be “normal”? (Note: Learn good manners here.)

Usually, my reply is “Well, today people don’t have time to be nice. And today, people don’t know what to do in everyday social settings to try to be helpful. And, unfortunately-people are not being taught good manners.” Are any of my replies true? Of course they are. Why are random acts of kindness overruled by bad behavior?
Mother, May I wants to rain on this parade of bad behavior. Please help us promote kindness and address those around you who are displaying rudeness. The old adage that our mothers would say is true: If you sprinkle a little sugar on someone, they will respond with a sweet act. We are happy to report that schools are starting to understand the importance of rewarding good behavior, rather that publishing the bad.
To help all of you grow into a better person, here are some random acts of kindness to choose. One random act of kindness a day never hurt anyone, and while you’re at it—try for three a day!

1. Send a card and seeds to a neighbor (whose garden you admire).
2. Invite an acquaintance out for coffee. (And be prepared to pay-remember the MMI rule, whomever reaches out for the invite, will reach for that check.)
3. Send a handwritten thank-you note.
4. Pay the toll for the car behind you on the interstate
5. Hold the door open for someone.
6. Ask your mother for one of her favorite recipes.
7. Let another car take that parking spot.
8. Let the person at the supermarket checkout with only a few items go ahead of you.

9. Share an umbrella with someone who needs it. (Check out the yellow umbrella movement.)

In today’s hypercompetitive world, knowing to take some time to look around and find a “Good Deed” to do takes some good intention. Finding that intention inside yourself, to share random acts of kindness with co-workers, family, friends, and complete strangers, takes some effort. My neighbor was brought to tears by opening a door for a disabled person…that person turned to her and thanked her with a poem. Imagine the impact that poem had on her, and obviously her opening that door had a huge impact on the stranger.

open the door for others
We all have a story like that. On days when it seems like the rain just won’t stop, we come across someone who sprinkles some sunshine and helps us move forward, with a warmer heart and usually a big smile!
Please share with us your moving story…it can make a change in someone’s day.

Demetria and Lisa
Co-founders Mother, May I

March for that Dream Job by Using Your Manners…

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 12.56.21 PM

In my wildest dreams, I never dreamt I would become an etiquette expert-however I have dreamt about being an entrepreneur and about being a mother. My dream job as a mother has not been easy… Nor has my dream job as an entrepreneur. What has helped me thrive, is believing that within my dreams are opportunities. Our dreams invite us to reach beyond our present goals. If you don’t like your present job, challenge yourself to reach for that dream job. It’s hard to change, and even though you might get the opportunity to interview for that job—something happens, and we don’t get that job.

Are you wondering why?

  1. Maybe you made the wrong impression when you walked into the room?
  2. Maybe you wore the wrong clothes?
  3. Maybe you did not answer the question the right way?
  4. Maybe you did not ask the right questions?
  5. Maybe you did not maintain good eye contact?
  6. Maybe you squirmed and fidgeted in your seat?
  7. Maybe you did not smile when you said goodbye?
  8. Maybe you did not send a written thank-you and instead sent an email.?

Well, thinking about all those may-be’s would give anyone a bad dream. Let Mother, May I wake you up and offer you the right advice to make that dream job a reality. MMI did a Business Etiquette program for the University Of AZ Eller College of Management:

A candidate was disappointed that they kept getting rejected interview after interview. Upon receiving a Certificate of Completion from MMI Business Etiquette Class, that student figured out what they needed to do to outclass others in getting that job.

Here are some etiquette words of advice to help you perform better as an interviewee:

  1. You don’t have to be a saint to make a positive difference in the world. Make time to volunteer and add volunteering to your resume.
  1. There is a reason actors have dress rehearsals. Take their cue, and be sure to practice your interview by making a video tape, in a mirror or in the presence of a friend. Dry run the clothes  you intend to wear for the interview as well.
  2. Practice your elevator speech on why you want this job. If you don’t say out loud why this has been your dream job, then you won’t sound like you really want the job.
  3. During your interview, demonstrate that you are a good listener. Follow our Facebook to read about active listening tips.
  4. Be Yourself! If you are kind, sincere, and mannerly, than you are likeable. People want to work around people that are likeable.

Do you want more advice on how to make your dream come true? Contact us! We will make your dream job become a reality !!


Demetria and Lisa

Mother, May I – Etiquette Experts


Thrive Arianna Huffington

The Promise of a New Day Karen Casey and Martha Vanceburgh

Strategy and Business Spring 2015, magazine

A Presidents Day Review: Washington’s Rules of Civility

Mother, May I….02.19.15

Do you know how to introduce the President of the United States?

Continue reading to learn more…

Monday marked the national holiday called Presidents Day.
Did you know that Presidents Day does not really celebrate any specific President? The intent of Presidents Day today is to offer our nations’ government workers a 3 day holiday.

The orign of Presidents’ Day dates back to 1800. Following President George Washington’s death in 1799, his February 22nd birthday became a perennial day of remembrance.
Did you know that at the age of 14, George Washington wrote down 110 rules under the title “Rule of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.” Even today, his rules of protocol codes of conduct and manners resonate. Mother, May I helps keep those codes of conduct front and center.

In honor of Presidents’ Day, we would like to share three of his written rules:

George Washington Rules of Civility

Washington’s Rules of Civility

Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.(in other words-pay attention)
In the presence of others sing not to yourself with a humming noise, nor drum your fingers or feet. (in other words-no fidgeting)
Wear not your clothes foul, ripped or dusty, but see that they be brushed once every day, at least, and take heed that you approach not to any uncleanliness. (in other words, personal hygiene and mindful dressing is important).

Read the full list of Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior.

Did you know that when visiting the George Washington National Memorial proper attire is required. Nonetheless, somewhere along the way-we forget to observe that simple code of conduct when visiting any national monument and wear proper monument visiting attire.

And to answer the question above…

Did you know that the President of the U.S.A.’s surname is never mentioned. He is spoken to and addressed as Mr. President or Sir. And, he is introduced first. So, even if you won’t be introducing any presidents this Presidents Day- please observe this National Holiday with respect.

If you want to learn more about how to make an impressive introduction, email us at Our words of advice will get you empowered to succeed towards your own presidential level.

Demetria and Lisa

And the Winner Is…

Mother, May I 02.04.15

And the Winner IS….


YOU!-You made it through January. You managed to keep at least one of your New Year’s Resolutions, and that’s OK -as long as you are feeling good about your behavior and habits. Just like Superbowl XLIX is behind us -put behind you any bad memories or consequences that came from your behavior. It’s February, 2015 and Mother, May I is going to help you be a good sport in work, play and family.
Words of Advice to help keep you on track for a SUPER 2015


• Work on improving your listening skills. At home, school, work, even on the subway and in short conversations in the grocery store, wherever you are, try to be an active listener. Active listening can be developed with practice. Don’t simply hear, but concentrate on what a speaker is saying. Doing so will teach about who your talking to, help you understand underlying messages, feelings, and dispositions, and make the conversation more beneficial for all parties involved

Here are some tips that can help you become an active listener.

  • – Pay full attention to the speaker.
  • – Use body language to give gesture that you are listening.
  • – Give ample feedback
  • – Do not judge
  • – Respond accordingly.
  • – Do not plan your response while the speaker is still talking. Instead hear them out fully, and then take an extra moment to gather your response afterward if necessary.


• Hit the Pause button often. Stop Look Listen— This kindergarten code of conduct for crossing the street still resonates into our everyday social conduct. And now that we are older, a word of advice is added:-Think before you speak. Is it ever okay to correct someones manners? Read the Huffington Post Article “Minding Other People’s Manners: When and How Is It Okay?” to find out.

• It’s National Heart Month-Take yourself to the doctor for a yearly physical. Taking care of your own health will make you feel better. Take it one-step further-Ask your friends and neighbors—have they had their health checked? Leanr more about health and manners with this past  Mother, May I  Facebook post.

May we ask for your say on how you are feeling in February? We promise to listen and ask caring questions.

Etiquette Experts-
Demetria and Lisa
Co-founders-Mother, May I

How to be Mindful with Gym Manners!

gym etiquette dumb bell put away

May I pull my own weight as I try to better my health?

YES, you may! For decades, getting thinner has been a New Year Resolution for many. Read Forbes’ article on achieving those goals here:  Just 8% of People Achieve Their New Year’s Resolutions. Here’s How They Do It.

Let’s say you’re on the road to achieving your goals by going to the gym… Building a Better You starts at the top, and I’m not talking about your shoulder muscles—I’m taking about being mindful when you are exercising in public spaces.
Gym attendance is at an all-time high. Consider these Fitness trends by  Shape: The Ten Biggest Fitness Trends in 2015

So with all that extra weight attending the gym-what does any of that have to do with our own weight? Well, we get distracted when we see someone wipe their sweaty nose and then wipe down a machine using the same towel. Or using earphones yet the volume is so loud you can hear the song being played along the whole weight circuit. And what about the locker room? Wet towels left on the floor, used razors in the shower… where is the humanity?
What’s a dedicated motivated exerciser to do?

Mother, May I suggests you help these people get out of their exerciser zone and politely point out the errors of their ways. Say, with eye contact “Excuse me, would you mind…” and politely ask them to do a particular task the correct way. We hope that they don’t mean to be sloppy or rude, they are just in their “zone”—and not being mindful.

Exercising is a benefit we should all be grateful for…”But with a benefit comes responsibility” says Peter Post. Here’s an article about Office Showers and the new etiquette questions they create.
Follow the rules of your gym, practice good behavior, and we promise you will feel like you have less weight to pull around.
What was your worst witnessed workout behavior? We want to know!

Demetria and Lisa
Co-founders Mother, May I

May I Feel Guilty About Re-Gifting?


Here is my first online confession…I am a re-gifter!   It all started when my children would get a gift that they already had. I would immediately know who I could pass it on to, so, I would quickly grab the gift before any mishandling of plastic wrap occurred, and put it in my re-gifting closet. YES, I even have a designated place for my re-gifting treasures.

Re-gifting Rules… and I mean this in the real sense. There are websites dedicated to re-gifting. Canada has an annual re-gifting week! Re-gifting even hit Oprah’s Favorite Things.

May I add a little history lesson on re-gifting to help you understand its modern origin?

In 2006, Money Management International (MMI), started National Re-gifting Day. Re-gifting day falls on the third Thursday of December, the day when the most office holiday parties are held. Allegedly, re-gifting is more socially acceptable when the recipient is a coworker rather than a close friend or family member. However, with the world of recycling, reusing, and repurposing making an impact outside of the workplace, re-gifting has crossed over into everyday gift-giving.

And as long as you follow a few simple rules in re-gifting, you too will feel the guiltless pleasure of giving that perfect gift. Mother, May I suggests being mindful of the following rules before re-gifting:

1. The gift needs to be new and unopened…the key word is, unopened. You would not open a bottle of perfume, decide you don’t like the smell and regift it, right?

2. Don’t re-gift just because you did not like it. Regift with a thoughtful purpose, making sure the gift is meant for that particular person.

3. Be sure to unwrap the gift and rewrap it for the new recipient. Do not embarrass yourself by leaving a card addressed to the original recipient inside the packaging.

4. Avoid re-gifting where social worlds might collide. If there are 6 degrees of separation, then be sure a misguided repurposed gift may not bring that separation closer.

5. It is green to re-gift. Better for that gift to land in a worthy persons’ hands than in a landfill somewhere. Can’t think of the perfect recipient? Donate it before tossing it in the trash!

624-04291 Check out Mother, May I with KDKA (CBS) on the topic:

KDKA Video: Local Manners Expert: Re-Gifting Gets A Bad Rap

So, do you regift? Ever been on the receiving end of a re-gift?  Please gift our readers with your story on our blog or Facebook page! Also feel free to share this post with someone who could use some re-gifting tips too!


Demetria and Lisa

Co-Founders – Mother, May I

May I Rush Others Because I am Running Late?

Time Travel

When was the last time you were late? If you can recall this answer quickly, you can find comfort that you are not alone…This Huffington Post article takes a look at the psychological reasons behind people who are late most of the time.

Today, due to all our GPS devices and location apps, people are showing up late more often. It seems that technology enables many of us to be late, and somehow this is “Okay”.
What is the definition of being late? Mother, May I emphasizes that the modern on time is “being between 7-15 minutes early” Anything under 7 minutes defines being late. Why do you think that is?

  • If you arrive too close to “Go time” it offers the appearance that you are not prepared
  • You could inconvenience others by your “fashionably late” arrival
  • You are probably missing opportunities to connect with others or even relax yourself


It makes sense…if you ever found yourself sprinting through an airport, you can understand that the energy spent running could have been better spent sitting and smiling. We are heading into the holiday travel season. When you are late, you are rude. Don’t be rude. Be on time for your holiday events and your holiday travels.

Blogging about time…this past weekend, many of us turned back our clocks one hour. This practice was initiated by our nation to conserve energy. Read about the history of Daylight Savings Time.

So if you are feeling behind, well we will cut you some slack this week.

Running on empty

Want to learn how to be on time and see how that can benefit you or your organization? Contact us at Don’t delay!
Please share with us your worst “I can’t believe I was late” story…we can learn from each other about being on time.

Demetria and Lisa
Co-Founders – Mother, May I