Etiquette Class Anyone?!

Everyone (ok– everyone that reads my blog and FB posts anyway) knows that I am one of the few that say all this starts at home–YOU are your child’s first teacher… But I’ll admit, not many folks from certain areas, backgrounds or certain lifestyles have been taught simple “etiquette” at home. Not everyone had the fortunate upbringing where they were taught by their elders, how to respect their elders, open a door for a lady or even how to extend their hand when meeting someone for the first time.


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Photo courtesy of Alex Garcia – Chicago Tribune – used with permission

Some I will give proper credit to for having tact and class, without being taught at home. These folks probably learned skills from watching and seeing how people outside the neighborhoods display these actions. They learned the “when in Rome” rule and found what is acceptable in society outside the “hood”. Some of the hood-rats do have manners. Some of them learned along the way how to treat each other civilly and how to respect life and others lives.

With the overcrowding of classrooms in Chicago and the suburbs it seems like its struggle enough that children are getting what they need in their core subjects at schools. Why aren’t manners just as important? A simple training on etiquette of how to treat each other. Should we want it in our schools whether you’re black, white, Hispanic, rich, poor, Republican, Democratic, WHATEVER?! Maybe, possibly, DEFINITELY!!

It’s time to implement etiquette classes in the schools. Whether your child attends a public, private, charter, boarding, upper-class, whatever, they ALL need it and they need it NOW.

Etiquette classes should be added as an additional subject in all schools of all grades– no, make that a requirement for graduation for every child. Sure it starts at home, of course it does, but it needs to continue, just like reading to your child, at school. As important as physical education and the arts are needed, so is etiquette training for every individual.
Teaching children etiquette at a young age is important. It’s not a teacher’s or the school system’s responsibility to bring it in the classroom, not yet anyway. In today’s society, especially here, in the rough City of Chicago, with all the crime and sad stories of children getting gunned down over stupid reasons, beat to death out of sheer anger, shot at, stomped on…the list goes on, shouldn’t it be part of the curriculum?

For children to learn simple lessons like:
• If you need to borrow an item, always ask for permission first. If the owner of the item is not available to ask for permission, do not borrow the item.  Never borrow or take anything without asking permission.
• It is impolite to comment on the health or specific physical changes of another person.  You may think the comment is positive, “Wow, your weight loss looks great”, but the other person might think you thought they needed to lose weight. 
• The use of deodorant is essential for good hygiene and personal grooming. Apply it daily. For some people, and depending on your activity level, more than once a day.
• It doesn’t matter who makes the clothing or how much it costs.   Do not embarrass anyone by announcing their clothing labels or judge them by the amount of money they spend on their clothing. What matters is good hygiene, good grooming, and appropriate attire.
• If you approach a customer service counter and see an associate or customer service representative speaking with another customer, do not barge up to the counter and interrupt their conversation. It is appropriate to stand aside or behind them and wait for your turn.

It may sound silly or even comical but seriously, some adults don’t know any better so how do we expect our children to know any better?! Why do adults expect respect when they don’t teach respect?!

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Photo courtesy of David Pierini – Chicago Tribune – used with permission.

I would think (as I’m NOT an expert on the matter) that most problems in schools today are due to behavior problems and issues. Many children obtain an IEP (Individualized Education Plan– which is required by the State of Illinois if your child qualifies for it, by the way) for behavior issues while school aged. I would have to also guess that almost as many children that have IEP’s for non-behavioral reasons have these IEP’s for behavior. That’s a LOT of children to have issues with behavior. TOO MANY! And, if my self-made calculations are even near accurate, why isn’t the one thing that would probably help (not hinder) the problem of children acting out being implemented NOW in the schools? Cost?! Wouldn’t it simply be most cost effective as well as beneficial for our youth to learn now what they need to survive as adults and create a civil society instead of pay for their rehabilitation and commit them to alternative facilities or schools for behavior problems? Really?! There’s always a way…Why not just give it a try.

Social media, social skills, and society…whatever way you look at it, online or offline our society depends on etiquette. Let’s give our children ALL the necessary tools to be successful in life. Implement etiquette classes in school and see what happens when it turns out well behaved young people. You may just be surprised.

Let’s ALL as parents and citizens of a beautiful city continue the discussion further and see where it takes us. It can’t get any worse, can it?! We need some happiness to come from all the sadness.


Below are some links on the subject. Although I don’t agree with all the “conservative” comments, forcing into the military bolderdash, and a few other things on these websites I think it’s a pretty good start…Especially this link where Bill Gates gives his advice to kids.


Special Invitation to GLAM

I would like to share a special invitation for an expert makeup session with

Global Makeup Stylist Rick DiCecca at Saks Fifth Avenue,

700 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL – Thursday, December 2nd, 2010


Book your appointment today with Estee Lauder representative

Isabel Morales at 312-799-5362.

Appointment times are available between 10:00 AM – Noon ; 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Coffee and Pastries will be served


As a special gift to you, pick up an exclusive 15% off shopping discount to use all day at the Estee Lauder Counter.



Starrlight at the Drake

Steve Starr brought follow-up debut of his very own “Starrlight Glamourous Latin Movie Stars of Hollywood” book premier to the Drake Hotel’s Palm Court where manager Shaun Raja and Shelly Patoff-Becker ensured the Palm Court’s tastiest teas and treats were available for the chilly Chicago winter afternoon.

The event was a welcomed a gathering that included a live harpist, beautiful people, great pettifors, finger sandwiches, an excellent selection teas and of course a true artist displaying his newest publication just in time for the holiday season.

Starrlight at the Drake

Steve Starr premiers Starrlight Glamorous Latin Movie Stars of Early Hollywood at the Drake Palm Court. Photo courtesy of Mila Samokhina

Jesse Charbonier, jazz singer by day as well as by night, but also event coordinator for this, the second of two Steve Starr events, pulled off yet another flawless reception for the local famed photographer.

The event was also hosted by beautiful book handler and Elda de la Rosa gown model, Laura Silva. Laura was flawless as she adorned the gown perfectly but not without the help of Denise Lenore’s magical hair and make-up touch for the perfect Hollywood glam theme that was so desired for Steve’s event.

Other hosts included, Christian Garcia and Enrique Hank Vela both who looked as dapper as if they walked out of the era themselves and Red Carpet Concierge diva, Sandra Smith-Doghmi lent a hand to assist Steve with the book table while friends and Hollywood glam facinated picked up their copies of the book that each readied for Steve’s signature that day.

Joel Burton was also on hand with a camera crew to take interviews for C3M Television.

I was fortunate enought to obtain the title International Hostess. A job performed with honor. It’s always a wonderful time to help Steve as he’s a great person and I love being involved with his events. It’s always a GRAND and GLAMOROUS TIME where Steve is involved!!

Photos courtesy of Steve Starr –

Photos courtesy of Mila Samokhina –


Latino Fashion Week Opens Big and Finishes FABULOUS

It was all about the FASHION!!! The beautiful, the fabulous, the sparkling, the odd, the glamorous, the classic, the structured, the trendy, the innovative the now, the teen, the future but all about the FASHIONS!!!

Latino Fashion Week– notably one of fashions finest hours… no, wait– that would be WEEK of Latin designers from across the globe, as well as local student designers, were all fit (or ready to fit models) for the most exciting week in Latin Fashion history. It was Latino Fashion Week and it was ONLY en Chicago!!

Latino Fashion Week 2010

James De Colon design on display for Latino Fashion Week 2010 Photo courtesy of SergioV Photography

Designers, models, fashionistas, all gathered for an entire week in the City of Chicago at various venues and stages for what I called a Fashion FEAST!!

An entire week, the only one of its kind in the country dedicated to Latin Designers. I do hope this concept catches on–can you imagine the possibilities?!

The event was brought to us by Chicago’s very own dynamic duo Arabel Alva Rosales and Cesar Rolon, along with a host of committee members and volunteers, they all made the week’s events worth the year long it took to plan it.

Designers from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic represented outside the U.S. this year. Jose Jhan Rodriguez and the team of Julio Marcano and Jorge Luis Gutierrez represented the DR. While Jaer Caban brought Puerto Rican flavors to the shows.

Designers from past fashion week and other designers who also contributed fashion for this year’s events included: Carlos Campos of Chicago, James De Colon of Chicago, John Dunn of New York and Puerto Rico, Michelle Gomez of Chicago, Angelica Santoyo of Chicago, Julius LaCour Jr. of New Orleans and Chicago, Hector-Javier MonArrez of Durango, Mexico and Chicago, Lazaro Perez of New York, Magaly Triburcio of the Dominican Republic and Claudia Urrutia of Chicago.

Student designers were also involved in the making of the week of events for the “Fashion Forward” series. These designers impressed the very diverse audience of Chicagoans with their many off the wall as well as tailored and classic designs that shot toward the future. The year 2060 to be exact!

Latino Fashion Week 2010

Flower dress by Pave Wedding Designs and Hector-Javier MonArrez Photo courtesy of SergioV Photography

Celebrities from around the globe and arenas took to the stages as well. Patricia de Leon, Paulo Quevedo, Carlos Anaya, Jaslene Gonzalez, Cece Segarra, Colby O’Donis, Leo Passage, Brian Michael, and Cesar Corrales were in town to sometimes host or MC the week’s events.

Teen day at Ford City Mall was where our leaders of the future, from around the city, got the chance to voice and view what they love to see on themselves as well as the models. HOY Chicago and Cricket sponsored the packed venue while local radio DJ’s and a panel hosted the event.

Structure was the title for the preview of the local and international Spring lines. One of which included a first for MGO Fashion Salon owner Michelle Gomez, of Chicago who debuted her swim suit line for Spring 2011. Simply lovely and very sexy!!  

It all came down to the final “Passport to Design” gala on Saturday night. The grand finale of the designers were shown and worn while all were treated to gorgeous luxury vehicles at Mercedes Benz of Chicago, located on North Avenue. Shopping events would wrap up the entire weekend, just in time for some holiday shopping. WHEW!!! What a whirlwind of a week.

A lot of hard work and planning took place on this one week in November and hopefully it becomes a national trend, maybe going world-wide and who knows the possibilities for our talented designers of today and tomorrow Latin countries?!

There were some beautiful garments displayed…too many to detail so I’ve attached a photo gallery of no less than 200 pictures for your viewing pleasures…It was truly all about the FASHION so enjoy!!

Please do post your comments and let me know your favorite pieces, parts of the show, whatever you wish–comments are always welcome!!

 Photos courtesy of Steve Starr –

Photos courtesy of Mila Samokhina –
Photos courtesy of David Earnisse –
Photos courtesy of SergioV Photography – email:


Open Letter to God…for Isaiah

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

And if I die before I wake. I pray the Lord my soul to take.

That’s my opening to every letter I’ve ever written or spoken to GOD. Since I was a little kid, that’s my opening. I feel the Almighty gets my attention when I start off like a 4 year old.

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Isaiah Mendez

I’ve opened up my line of communication with God tonight because I have a question…

Dear Lord, I never question why you do what you do. I never ask what is the point, for me or for anyone else around but today I must ask you this forbidden question… Why? Why would you take that little boy? Was it really his time to be by your side? Why would you choose to have his mother sufffer like this? What is the point in all this? OK, so that was a few questions…But just the same, I feel like I’ve sinned for asking. Sinned for wondering and even put my own at risk by caring so much and hurting so hard.

The boy I speak of Isaiah Mendez who was just born in February of 1997. I don’t know him, nor do I know his family. I only met his aunt recently and read her posting on Facebook about losing her nephew and the pain her family was going through. The senseless act that reamins unsolved…Isaiah a boy who lost his life recently in what authorities are now calling an “accident”. The story is here:

2 fatal teen shootings both called accidental

Isaiah and his family

I just don’t understand why it’s an accident and why this or anything like it should happen to any other child. They’ve not had a fair chance to live even part of their lives. What’s going on? I’m absolutely not trying to be funny to quote Marvin Gaye but really, What’s Going ON?!

I promised myself not to use my blog, my personal platform I intended for happiness and positive minority moments, for these types of stories or tragedies. That’s what the newspaper is for and they do the job all too well. My sole intention is to bring awareness and hope others will want to rally to help the problem that plagues our city and possibly find a solution once and for all.

For Isaiah I can’t help but think of his mom, Tabitha Cruz who is about my age…what she feels…I can’t even imagine, nor would I ever want to imagine. His brother and sister, Kaela and Demetrius. What are they going to do without their big brother? Who will they look up to? It pains me to think about it and it also raises my question. What can WE DO?!

What can we all do to help our youth? From Derrion Albert (who I cry about every so often when I think of him) victim of beating death at Fenger High School, a notably horrible death, to this one, to the next one…what can we do? So many children that I myself cry for when I hear of them being gunned down, beat to death or just shot by accident because of a gun in the wrong hands. It’s so sad. There must be something we ALL can do.

I propose a challenge to all of us as parents, community leaders, activits, and as humans in a city that is great, who care about the welfare of children, to please gather and find a way. Find some way to help these children, help our children move forward to live without fear and death so evident everyday that it becomes the way of life in the streets of Chicago. Children should be held to the highest standards and respect that they are innocent beings and should be treated as angels long before they are taken away and become true Angels all too early. It’s simply heartbreaking and it must stop.

It’s a long time coming to take the streets back. It’s what needs to be done so no more  mothers have to cry themselves to sleep wondering why and other mothers, like me, fearing will this happen to my child next? We have passion for so many good things, why not this? Someone other than GOD should hear our prayers and pleas for help. Someone(s) should step up and help this city before all are lost to violence that can and should be controled.


Photos courtesy of the brave mother of Isaiah Mendez, Tabitha Cruz, who I don’t know but my heart bleeds for everyday. I pray for you to heal a little more every day and carry on for your children everyday. Tabitha, he will never be forgotten.

For more information on the problems our kids face in Chicago, I’ve listed some really good articles from the Chicago Tribune below. Please comment by adding any resources you have for our youth to take advantage of to be better, feel better and get better. It’s ALL our job.

Why Kids Fight – Chicago Tribune

Cease Fire Chicago

Chicago anti-violence groups struggle

CPS anti-violence program takes off, slowly

Shakira's Hips Don't Lie

Shakira’s new release, “Sale El Sol” (“The Sun Comes Out”), was turned out for the City of Chicago and especially Chicago’s Hispanic community. She was in Chicago and we knew about it and we all showed up!

While we waited for show to begin, Columbia’s pride snuck up on her oblivious fans in a hot pink hooded dress through the audience’s stage right of the long stage set up for her show.

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Shakira in Concert at Allstate Arena Photo courtesy of Dean Paul

Shaki harmonized in smooth Shakira like hymns as she opened her long awaited show with “Pienso en Ti”. As soon as that song was complete, she ripped off her hood to reveal her tight shinny leggings and barely there gold top.

Shakira treated the audience to her best hits. La Tortura, famous duet that was mastered by one of her back-up singers (sigh:::  while I’m sure we all hope for surprises at concerts when a duet comes up, we must admit he pulled it off flawlessly).

She also gave us Whenever, Wherever, Gypsy, Underneath Your Clothes, Palabras Bonitas, Salio el Sol, Loca, She Wolf and many more.

The audience seemed content when a rare, almost quiet, moment at the front of the catwalk displayed a stripped down band that played the acapella and smooth drum beats so she could cover Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” for the mesmerized audience. Shakira is a ROCKSTAR and at this moment, it was her Rock Star moment.

She also delivered the much anticipated, Hips Don’t Lie and Waka Waka Africa, before she closed her more or less 2 hour show.

I’ve seen some pretty amazing dancers but Shakira can seriously move her hips, chest and run barefoot across a stage like no one I’ve seen in a long time and all without breaking much of a sweat! 

She gave the crowd exactly what they paid for– a fun, entertaining show. She truly kept her word made to the audience at the beginning of the show when she promised “I’m YOURS tonight and I just want you all to have a GREAT TIME!!” She so delivered on that promise.

Thanks Shakira and do come back to the Chi soon!!!

Photos courtesy of Dean Paul  – Dean Paul Photography  –