Email Tips

Email is so prevalent today, that it’s often a go-to communication method. In my day to day work, I’ve received so many emails that make me cringe from the email address onward. I’ve listed out a few of my favorite email tips below.

Have a proper email address with your name. Trust me.

Spell check – Emails with typos are simply not taken as seriously.

Make sure you spell all names correctly.

Refrain from using “text speak” or “Emoticons.”  Use proper language throughout your emails.  Example: “R U available?” is not as professional as “Can we speak on Thursday afternoon?”

Be sure you are including all relevant details or information necessary for the recipient to understand your request or point of view.

Are you using proper sentence structure such as first word capitalized with appropriate punctuations?  Multiple instances of !!!! or ??? are perceived as rude or condescending.

If sending attachments, please indicate so in the message.

Make one last check that the address or addresses in the To: field are those you wish to send your reply to.

Be sure your name is reflected properly in the From: field.

Type in complete sentences.  To type random phrases or cryptic thoughts does not lend to clear communication.

Never assume the intent of an email.  If you are not sure, ask so as to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings.

Be sure the Subject: field accurately reflects the content of your email.

Always end your emails with “Thank you,” “Sincerely,” – Something!

Ensure that you have a signature on your email with your full name, email address, phone number, and any other relevant contact information. 


Meal Planning

I have an obsession with meal planning. By “obsession”, I mean I love the idea of meal planning, but the execution has always been a sticking point. In my experience and research, Meal Planning comes in one format.

Assign an exact meal or theme to a specific day or date.

This has never worked for me. Mostly, because life changes and I’ve never found that format to be flexible. So, I designed my own format.

Every week, I look at the schedule for the week and figure out how many nights dinner needs to be eaten at home (usually 5 – 7). Nights that I’m not home mean that my husband will be in charge of feeding our kid, which is covered by our grocery shopping “standard items”.

I would like to have a running list of 60 meals that I know my family will eat. Right now, that list is at about 40. Which means, I use Pinterest and Google to find recommendations for new things to put in front of them. Each week, I do 2 – 4 meals from this running list and 1 – 2 brand new meals. So, before I go grocery shopping, I look at what we have in our pantry, cabinets, fridge, freezer, and deep freezer. Then, I’m able to determine which meals will fit best.

With all of us being home, due to the Stay-At-Home Order in our state, I’m getting much more creative with meal planning, meal ideas, meal creation, etc. simply out of necessity. After I pick the meals I plan to cook, I make my grocery list based on what we are going to need to ensure those meals happen. Then, each day, depending on the weather, how we feel, what I feel like doing (how intense a meal is), I pick something from that list.

This way, I don’t feel pigeonholed into a specific meal on a specific day. It allows for the flexibility I need to maintain my sanity without feeling like I’m not meeting a super high expectation.

Another benefit of this style is that my husband can decide to cook dinner one night. He has a handful of meals that he can make beginning to end that are often a huge hit with our kid. I find these to be my favorite nights, too.

Etiquette & Professionalism

Just Pick Up The Phone.

A few years ago, I was about two months into a new job that required information from clients to get to various teams.  I had one client that hadn’t responded to a single email I sent.  I went to my boss and asked, “What do I do?”  Her answer: “Pick up the phone and call them.  Talk to your clients face to face.”

This was such an easy answer.  Pick up the phone.  Call the client.   TALK to them, person to person.

Life requires phone calls.  Actually picking up a phone and talking to a human being.  I’ve talked to a lot of people lately who are terrified just thinking about doing this.  Here are my tips to making it easier.

1 – The worst answer you will get is “No.”. Embrace the no.  Expect the no. This then prepares you to use a back up plan.  Don’t have a back up plan, well, you’re going to need one.

2 – Use a script.  I have scripts for EVERYTHING I do on the phone.  My outgoing voicemail, my out of office voicemail, my email out of office, I even have a script for when I leave a voicemail for someone else!

3 – Have notes, a list, your questions, written down and ready in front of you.  

4 – Take notes.  THis way, after the call has ended, you can send the callee an email recapping what you just discussed.  That way any action steps are in writing. It will be harder for you and them to forget!

5 – Make calls in a quiet place, using speakerphone if needed.  I love making calls in the car. Not while driving, unless it’s my mom or other family members where I don’t have to remember specific details.  (I know I’m going to pick up nephew’s birthday gift. I don’t need to write that down in that instant.).

Here is my script for leaving someone a voicemail.  

“Hi, this message is for *Callee*.  This is Safety Pin Queen. You can return my call to 312-456-7890.  I am calling about setting up a meeting to discuss my current project about phone calls. I’m available all week.  Again, this is Safety Pin Queen and you can reach me at 321-456-7890. Thank you. Goodbye.”

One last tip, when leaving your return phone number, pretend like you are writing it as you say it.  I know, sounds silly, but how many times have you had to re-listen to a message just to get the phone number?  Pretend you are writing it down, it will force you to speak slower. Bonus, the person you need to call you back will actually be able to and you won’t have wasted their time.



“Practicing gratitude is how we acknowledge that there’s enough and we’re enough.”- Brene Brown


Being grateful is something I have always struggled with doing, making it a physical action in my day. Not that I’m not grateful, not that I don’t say “Thank you” or “I appreciate you”, but to take 5, 10 minutes out of my day to think about all of the amazing things that are part of my life and just give a little bit of love to the universe for them.

So, today, I’m starting a movement. #GratiTuesday. Every Tuesday, I’m going to talk about one thing that I am grateful for in my life. 52 amazing things in a year. You tell me, what are you grateful for today?

Today’s grateful for: Life. That I am alive today. I can’t go into all of the details, but 16 years ago, I became part of a statistic. I became one of the ones who survived. So, today, I am thankful for life.

What are you grateful for?

Etiquette & Professionalism

Hitting Send.

The other day, I received an email.  At least, I think it was an email. It had missing words, zero punctuation, and so many misspelled words and phrases that I could barely get through the content of it.  

I do feel bad for the person who sent it to me, since they do not see how they are presenting themselves.  Badly, in case you were wondering. I’m also saddened, because it is obvious to me that no one has shown them or taught them a better way.  

Here are a few tips to ensure your email presents you and your message in the best way possible.  

1 – An email is an electronic message, not unlike a text message on a phone, that has a sender, a recipient, and content.  It is like a letter, except that some parts are automatic and easy to use.

2 – Have a professional and/or practical username and domain.  (i.e. YourName@ website .com)  Please, please, please, do not use “sweetkitty” or other such “cute” usernames.  Unless, of course, it is your business name and therefore, should be your domain.  

3 – Use salutations.  I know this sounds silly, but “Dear”, “Hello”, and “Thank you” really can go a long way in an impersonal, electronic medium.  

4 – Use punctuation and spacing.  Capital Letters belong at the beginning of sentences.  Sentences have periods at the ends of them. Commas, save lives.  The space bar is not there to annoy you. The enter button is not just for submitting a post on social media.  Please use these tools. They are there to support you. No one wants to attempt to decipher a “wall of text”, because you wrote something on your phone quickly.  FYI, your phone keyboard has an “enter” key. Promise.

5 – Remember that you are reaching out to another human being.  Words on a screen are just that. Tone of voice, tempo of speech, accents, dialects, etc. cannot be “read” into an email accurately.  Unless you know the person very well and they email in their manner of speaking.

Please note, these are my tips, based on my experiences. Your experience may (will) vary.


A Grocery Store List

For the past three weeks, we’ve been hunkering down at home. Like most folks, we’re really trying to not go anywhere that we don’t NEED to visit. That means my usual multi-store grocery trips required massive consolidation.

The biggest thing that has really helped is my Fool-Proof Grocery List. Every week, when we’re running out of milk, I hand this list to my husband and he returns with just about everything on it.

As I’m sure you can imagine, prior to our Staying-At-Home extravaganza, I did most of the grocery shopping (okay, ordering for pick up, seriously, best thing ever!). Which meant that not only did my husband not know what I bought from which stores, but that he didn’t really know where to find things inside each store.

This list breaks down your items into sections found in most grocery or mega stores. It also has a spot for Miscellaneous and Meal Ideas. I’ve found each section to be really helpful, since it narrows down where in the store you have to hunt through.

Click the link below to get your hands on a copy!