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Candid About Crystal

WHAT IS IT?

All crystal is glass, but all glass is definitely not crystal.

Crystal is mouth-blown glass that contains lead oxide. When added to molten glass, it adds weight and gives a much higher index of refraction than normal glass, greatly increasing sparkle and brilliance and creating a prism effect. It can be cut and faceted into intricate patterns.

There are several processes/techniques which are used to enhance crystal. These include etching and frosting; engraving; glazing and gilding. Colored glass is usually created from the fusing of two layers of glass, one clear and one colored. The cutter cuts onto the colored glass to reveal the clear glass. The color comes from the addition of metal oxides, i.e. real gold results in ruby; cobalt in blue; and iron oxide in green.

Terms generally used:

  • Full Lead Crystal: Glass containing at least 24% lead oxide can be called “full lead crystal”; however, many well-known brands contain higher levels into the 30%’s.
  • Lead Crystal: Glass containing 10-24% lead oxide.
  • Crystalline: glass containing 6-10% lead oxide. However, American standards permit clear glass containing any amount of lead to be considered “crystal”.

CHOOSING CRYSTAL

Crystal is a product that really requires personal perusal–at least at first. Once you have done your homework, reviewed and handled a variety of crystal, online purchasing is a viable option. But no Internet picture is going to allow you to see or feel differences in light refraction, color, quality of edges, balance and weighting. Information regarding lead content is often absent from websites that sell crystal, so it is wise to call the manufacturer or retailer about the specific item to determine whether it is full lead crystal. You may also wish to inquire as to whether the crystal product is hand-crafted or machine made. Many manufacturers make handcrafted crystalline, crystal and full-lead crystal, but also their lead-free, machine-made cousins, so one should not make assumptions based on only the name of the manufacturer.

High quality crystal will display the following qualities:

*Sparkle, clarity and translucency

*Smooth, precise, polished cuts and edges

*Uniform shape and thin walls

*No seams, as this indicates pressed glass that was molded, not mouth-blown

*Slight or few variations, such as bubbles, cords (small lines), chill and flow marks (surface indentations).

*A crisp, clear high-pitched ring when you tap the rim. Lower-pitched or muted sounds indicate lesser quality.

CARING FOR CRYSTAL

*Temper your crystal–get it gradually used to temperature changes–when adding hot or iced drinks. Never put boiling water into crystal, or put it in the freezer.

*Since crystal easily absorbs stains and odors, rinse glasses soon after use. As for vases and carafes, don’t leave flowers or wine in them for long, as they can become permanently stained.

*Use warm soapy water (no abrasives) to wash crystal (one at a time to avoid breakage), with a rubber mat or towel cushioning bottom of sink. Dry with a lint-free towel.

*Keep items away from dust, as it can act as an abrasive.

*Store glasses right side up to ensure the rims don’t chip–or put your crystal in a stemware rack.

* For water spots, sub on lemon juice or vinegar; for hard-to-clean stains or residue, use denture-cleaning table or mix uncooked rice with lemon juice or vinegar and swish it around; use ammonia, but never on metal rims or decoration.

CRYSTAL WARNINGS

For the most part the lead contained in lead crystal is not dangerous. However, since heavy metals accumulate in the body and can cause serious harm, consumers may want to follow some guidelines to reduce the danger that lead crystal can present. The FDA recommends that people rethink the way they use lead crystal for food and beverages.

–Soak your new crystal in vinegar for 24 hours, then rinse thoroughly.

–Use a mild soap, as abrasives can make lead leaching more likely.

–Do not store food or beverages for long periods in crystal. This is particularly important for juices, vinegar and alcoholic beverages.

–Do not pour wine/alcohol into guests’ glasses until time for drinking.

–Pregnant women should avoid using crystal.

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Podcast: Cracking the Code on Elite Etiquette – Jennings Wire

Please enjoy a recent podcast interview with Dawn Bryan and Annie Jennings of Jennings Wire on proper etiquette.

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Highlights from the conversation include:

  • How would you define “etiquette” for the 21st Century? What is Elite Etiquette?
  • What are some of the unspoken, unwritten rules, customs and traditions? When do they apply?
  • What if you make an embarrassing protocol mistake in your business communications?
  • In new experiences, what do most people worry about doing wrong?
  • Why do some businesses ask to have a MEAL with a job candidate before making an offer?
  • What does the gift you give say about you? How is it a reflection of who you are as a person?
  • Why is it important in this rapidly changing, social media world to learn about etiquette and protocol?

Listen to the full podcast HERE

Full article HERE

 

Back to School Gifts for College Students

It’s that time of year again for the college students to head off to school—this can be exciting, but also nerve racking. Help ease their minds and get them prepared for the year with some fun gift ideas from Dawn Bryan, founder of The Qualipedia.

Fund Their New Expenses:

  • Coin bank filled with quarters for laundry or parking meters
  • Car parking fee for the first semester
  • Gift certificate to school bookstore for books and supplies
  • Coupons for local carwash

Select Necessary Items for Their Dorms or Apartments:

  • Gift certificate to a shopping website or local store for bedding and other linens
  • Footlocker or chest for storage, which can also be used as a table
  • Laundry bag with supply of detergents
  • Cooking basics, such as frying pan, knives, and mixing bowls

 Help Them Keep in Touch:

  • Subscription to hometown newspaper or magazine
  • Framed photos of loved ones and friends
  • Calendar marked with birthdays, anniversaries, etc. of family and friends

Give Them Some Fun:

  • Season (or single) tickets to school games
  • Passes to local driving range, movie house, or concert
  • Membership to a local museum, sports club, or gym
  • First shares of stock, along with a subscription to investor news

Going off to college is a big transition for anyone, but with these thoughtful and fun gift ideas you’ll surely make your favorite student’s transition much easier.

Happy back to school shopping from The Qualipedia!

RAINBOW GIFTING: WEDDINGS

“The ideal gift communicates the appropriate and desired message about both the giver and the receiver.”
Although gay and lesbian couples have the same wedding gift needs and desires as do more traditional couples, there are ways to add more thoughtfulness and pleasure to your gift giving , while at the same time often spending less time and money.
Couple Considerations:

  • Recognize that the couple may have been living together for many years and thus have no need for many of the basic household items usually given at showers and weddings. However, they may be interested in adding to or replacing pieces of their crystal or silver.
  • Realize that many rainbow weddings are not planned months in advance ( including invitations and gift registries) because the couple has waited years to become married and wish to be a part of the joy surrounding the recent legality of rainbow marriage in their state.
  • Appreciate that couples may prefer gifts that recognize/celebrate/contribute to gay pride .
  • If possible, consider the entire family when selecting the gift(s), including children and pets.

Rainbow Register:
Some suggestions for ways to give your gifts that special rainbow aura:

  • Select same-sex gifts which show both pride in each other and in the relationship, ie set of two teddy bears dressed as brides or as grooms; his/his or hers/hers monogrammed towels, sheets, pillows, aprons, or crystal; matching cufflinks with new combined monogram; game such as Our Family, a board game which highlights the contributions of GLBT-folk throughout history; rings or other jewelry with interlocking Venus symbols. Check out the internet for many other gay and lesbian themed items.
  • Cater to their sensual side with silk sheets, matching PJ’s and slippers with monograms, aromatherapy, set of DVD’s, foot massages, a spa package, gifts of buffed metal or leather.
  • Relate gift to their special interests by giving a Netflix subscription; workout or sports equipment; Bose speakers; extra stemware for entertaining; movie gift cards to their favorite foreign film theatre along with a gift certificate to the coffee shop next door; tickets to a concert, play, opera or a museum membership; over-the-top new kitchen equipment for making fancy desserts or special cookware.
  • Give something which is significant to their relationship, such as a gift package or gift card from the place where they first met, whether Starbucks, Macy’s, Barney’s NY, Barnes and Noble, the local bar…; a bottle or case of their favorite wine or rum (Mt. Gay?); a framed photo or painting of the two of them now–or as young children; reminders of their trips to Disney Land/World; a silver or crystal replica of the wedding invitation; a picnic basket outfitted for two to be used when they go to concerts in the park.
  • Choose to make your gift special by giving a monogrammed and dated leather or satin guest book or wedding album; voucher for a weekend stay at a B & B; kitchen appliance or utensils along with a gift certificate from Whole Foods; a monogrammed decanter and their favorite Scotch; a set of their favorite CD’s, show, or music in a special box; leather bound book of their favorite poetry; compiled scrapbook of photos and handwritten messages from family and friends; video tape of special greetings from family or friends who cannot attend the festivities.
  • Make your gift choice count by donating to a charity in the couple’s honor; selecting a gift from the gift registries which donate 10% back to the gay or lesbian charity of your choice; plant a marriage tree or give plants or shrubs for their yard (or gift certificate); selecting a gift which is environmentally friendly.

Remember that the well-selected gift, given in the right spirit, makes the giver into a receiver, too.

 

 

Same Sex Wedding Gifts!

Listen to Dawn Bryan share creative ideas on on same-sex wedding gifts here:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/btrplayer.swf

Listen to internet radio with Big Blend Radio on Blog Talk Radio
Dawn Bryan featured on Blog Talk Radio on How to Choose the Right Wedding Gift!

Originally posted on www.blogtalkradio.com

Dawn Bryan on FOX CT on Wedding Toasts

Click HERE to watch  Dawn on FOX CT  discussing  Wedding Toasts do’s and don’ts

Dawn on FOX CT

The Inviting Invitation

The right wording for your wedding invitation means everything. Not only does it convey much more than practical information, it also expresses your desire to share this special celebration with the recipients. Upon opening your invitation, your guests will know whether the occasion is formal or informal, religious or secular, same-sex or hetero-sexual, local or far away. In addition, the size, material (usually paper), stationery technique (engraving, letterhead printing, thermographic printing, embossing, laser print, calligraphy), font, design and color, and information given—all combine to reveal the nature and character of your upcoming celebration. You can look online to design and print out your own invitations.

Invitations, Paper and Thread Studio

Here are some common forms with appropriate wedding wording etiquette.

  • Save the Date Cards: These can be especially helpful for guests when you are planning a destination wedding or a wedding around a holiday when advanced travel planning may be needed.
  • Traditional Formal Invitations: Names of invitees are usually handwritten within the invitation itself. This may include a separate reception card, ceremony card (seldom), and/or RSVP card.
  • Semi-formal/Informal Invitations: Same information in a less formal, more intimate manner. Paper, colors, and design are usually selected to reflect the couple’s personal style. For an intimate wedding of family and close friends, handwritten  invitations are suitable and often written by the couple or their family members.
  • Non-traditional Invitations: The increasing popularity of non-traditional celebrations of love, unions, and commitment ceremonies has generated interest in more creative invitations. Original wedding themes from culinary to vintage are first evident in the invitations. Same sex invitations also frequently include two brides or two grooms as well as symbolic decoration.
  • Wedding Announcements: The announcement is not an invitation to the ceremony or festivities; it is sent to persons–business, school, friends, family– who for whatever reason were not invited or were unable to attend the event. It includes the same names and date as the invitation and sometimes also the names of parents. The announcement is most often used when a wedding is far away, very small or after an elopement. It is not sent until after the wedding, and frequently includes a wedding photo.

WORDING THE INVITATION

All invitations are traditionally sent by the host/hosts of the wedding and reception, whether parents, step parents, other relatives, friends, or the couple themselves. Although stationers and suppliers will have numerous examples of typical wording for most situations, an understanding of traditional wording as well as guidelines for more individual circumstances can be helpful. Military titles are used when the person is a member of the armed forces or serving on active duty with the reserve; all military titles are written in full–no abbreviations.

Green Seeded Garden Herb Wedding Invitation, Forever Fiances

Traditional and Formal Wording

Traditional and formal wording is written in the third person style and printed in black or dark gray ink; “honour” and “favour” usually written in British style; names on invitations are written in full with no initials. The invitation to the ceremony usually does not include an RSVP; numbers in the date of the wedding are spelled out; request RSVP at least two weeks prior to ceremony; all type is centered on the page.

Eco-Friendly Wedding Invitations and Envelopes, Paper and Thread Studio

Informal Wording

Printed informal invitations are written in the first person and reflect the mood of the occasion, whether written by parents or other family members.  Phrases such as “We invite you” and “Please join us” are commonly used.

Informal Invite, Dolce Press

Handwritten Notes

This wording is from parents or from the bride and groom and conveys necessary information in an original, warm, personal style.

Handwritten Invite, Imgspark

Individual Circumstances

Whatever the complications of your family situation, make certain to include all involved parents, and discuss inclusion of new spouses with your families.  If you do include them, name the parents first, then use the phrase “together with” to include the new spouses. If a bride or groom wishes to include the name of a deceased parent, use “the late” in front of the deceased’s name on the invitation. If your professional name is different from your real “formal” name, you may print your professional name in parentheses below your real name. On joint invitations issued by both bride and groom’s families, the bride’s parents are listed first.

Wooden invite made from sustainably harvested trees, Wanart

Cultural Awareness

If you are marrying someone of a different religion or culture, learn as much as you can about his or her heritage and expectations. It is especially important to respect those traditions which are significant to the family and/or are religious in nature. And, yes, some of these practices are reflected even in the invitations–from the appropriate colors of stock and ink to the wording itself. The double invitation–an old European custom with the bride’s family on the left side of the page and the groom’s on the right–is becoming increasingly popular in this country.

Most important: Only you and your partner know the perfect way to celebrate your wedding and respectfully share your happiness with family and friends.  Always trust your instincts!

DIY Invites, Sheknows

Dawn Bryan is the founder and President of The Qualipedia and an authority on gifting, protocol, quality, and conscious choice. She wrote the best-selling book “The Art and Etiquette of Gift Giving” and has taught etiquette and protocol to many celebrities and corporations around the globe, including P. Diddy’s Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group.