How to Prevent #WordCrimes

“Is your prose dopey?
Think you should only
write in emogi?

You should hire some cunning linguist
to help you distinguish
what is proper English.”
—-From the song and video “Word Crimes” by “Weird Al” Yankovic

Thank you for inadvertently promoting my YourWebWriter.com services, Weird Al!

Weird Al champions one of my dearest causes in the new song and video below, “Word Crimes”. (It’s a parody of Robin Thicke’s song “Blurred Lines”.)

Now the back story: I’ve always loved Weird Al’s music. Of course, as a musician myself (a harper, not a rocker), I can appreciate his spot-on music parodies. But my love of his music dates back to growing up in L.A., in “The Val”. My first exposure to Weird Al’s music was on the Dr. Demento radio show. Dr. Demento is credited to discovering Weird Al and simply claims, “I think without The Dr. Demento Show, the probability is high that Alfred Yankovic would be a professional architect today.” (quote from “Dr. Demento: Off The Air, But Still Happily Deranged”, NPR, June 22, 2010)

But what is it that I find most endearing about Weird Al? He looked exactly like my brother, George…or my brother, George, looked exactly like Weird Al. I don’t know which came first. No matter.

George would don shorts and a Hawaiian shirt in hopes that the cute girls at UCLA would think he was the real Weird Al. I even heard tale that George even crashed frat parties impersonating Weird Al. Alas, this may be all the stuff of myths.

WeirdAlSuitcase

Weird Al Yankovic, not my brother. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/ogz2von)

What is not a myth is that one day, the stars aligned and they met. On that fateful day, George walked into the Studio City Bowling Alley (now known as PINZ Bowling Center), and there stood his doppelgänger. They approached each other and at the same time exclaimed, “You look like me!”

That was long ago. George grew a goatee, cut his hair, and became a successful insurance agent. Weird Al grew his hair long, shaved the mustache, and tossed the glasses. And of course, Weird Al went on to be much more than the professional architect that Dr. Demento imagined he might have been.

Like my dear brother, who always rescues me out of the pickles I seem to get into, Weird Al has now come to my rescue. He is supporting my cause for using good English. Indeed, “Weird Al” Yankovic has a mighty big dictionary.

Seriously, if you need some help with writing the kind of copy that gets noticed for all the right reasons (good grammar, interesting topics, and search engine optimization), I’m here to help. Visit my menu of services, fill out the contact form, or scroll to the bottom of this page and send along an email or give me a call.

Special thanks to Shel, at Moore Than SEO, for turning my attention to this video. And of course, a big “Thank You!” to my brother and to Weird Al!

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4 Unexpected Ways SEO Can Give You Better Hair

iStock_HairCut_SmallYes, SEO can be like the Rogaine for your business…But why am I talking about SEO here when this is supposed to be a blog about having Fun With Words?

It’s simple. Google and all the other search engines value the way you use words to attract people to your site. If you attract them the nice way, known as “Organic SEO“, Google rewards you. The nice way is to write quality content, not count the number of keywords you placed in your blog or on your website pages. It’s got to make sense and be relevant to your reader. But if it’s just a journal or a diary about you, without any value for your target customers, it won’t gather new sales, either.

Today’s SEO relies on social media mentions. People don’t use the Yellow Pages much anymore when they are searching for a product or service. They just whip out their iPad, tablet, iPhone, android, or laptop, hop on the Internet, and go searching. Positive reviews, blog posts, and backlinks (hyperlinks to a particular service) found in Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn posts make certain lucky websites appear at the top of search engines. How do they get lucky? Search engines now rely on how many people are talking about your site or blog to determine where it belongs in the search engine results, plain and simple. The more people talk about your business, the higher the rank.

So, how can organic SEO put your mind at ease and be the Rogaine for your business?

1. You’ll have more visitors, more readers, and very possibly more sales. You’ll  have the ability to get more conversions–The more people exposed to your pages, the higher the probability that they will fill out and submit a form on your site or buy a product (as long as you are targeting the right audience). More sales means that you won’t lose your hair over lost revenue.

2. More online word-of-mouth means that like-minded people who  love your services and products could spread the word to future clients and customers. Farming for more clients and customers means that you are planting hair plugs for the future. Get the analogy?

3. It gets you noticed by other businesses who’ll want to connect with you. Referrals are always a good thing–They make you feel like you have a hairdresser waiting in the wings, ready to step in and fix those out-of-place locks.

4. You can rest easy knowing that your business will be found on the Internet, whether someone Googles a few relevant keywords, or whether they read a blog or social media post. You won’t lose sleep wondering whether the time and money you invested into building your site was worthwhile. You won’t lose your hair over lost sleep.

Don’t care about losing your hair? Then revert back to the old-fashioned word-stuffing ways of the past. Trade links with sites that are irrelevant to your business. And then watch the search engines drop your page waaaaaaaay down the list in search rankings, or maybe even not list your page at all. How will your site be found?

Good, organic SEO is a lot of work. Like tending to your hair regularly with a good shampoo and visits to the salon, organic SEO needs to be tended to on a regular basis. If you don’t know beans about this stuff, you should hire someone who does. Get started with solid, interesting writing. Get noticed among all the crazy online businesses that are vying for your customers’ attention. Get organic SEO writing, and get better hair.

 

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Fun With Words for April Fool’s Day

Practical jokes abound for April Fool’s Day. Why is this the accepted day for tomfoolery? One theory was due to the change of calendars from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. New Year’s Day was transferred from April 1st to January 1st, so anyone who still thought April 1st was the beginning of the New Year was considered to be a fool. But this is just one theory–This link takes you to more info about the history of April Fool’s Day.

For a bit of fun with words for this April Fool’s Day, here is a recent video mash-up of the show Jeaopardy! that late night TV host Conan O’Brien concocted. And it includes Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek’s retaliation, so make sure to watch the video to the end.  

Now it’s your turn. Post a link to your favorite word mash-up in the comment section below, in honor of having fun with words for April Fool’s Day. 

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Keeping Up Your Writing Skills Using Snail Mail

My friends, Corey and Liam, over at IrishFireside.com have begun a new project–The Irish Pen Pal Project–and it got me thinking about how truly great writing is becoming a lost art. Even over the holidays, when a hand-addressed card received in the postal mail is not so very uncommon, the contents are slim: pre-printed messages on cards and often, a mass-produced Christmas newsletter. Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing from friends and loved ones, but so seldom do the messages contain any real personalization.

Enter the Irish Pen Pal Project–A way to keep the old-fashioned art of correspondence alive and well. There is nothing better than the anticipation of opening up a letter from afar and reading a message that can be kept and savored and read again later, instead of receiving a digital message that can be deleted easily to make more room in the inbox.

So, to my dear friend Mr. Bill, who has kept all my letters over the years in shoe boxes, I dedicate this blog post to him. Learn the magic of keeping in touch by postal mail with an old acquaintance or long-lost friend that has fallen out of touch. Bone up on your writing skills while having fun, too.

If you want to get started, but you don’t have anyone to write to, you can join the Irish Fireside Pen Pal Project (if you are interested in sharing Irish heritage, culture or travel), or you can check out some of these other postal pen pal services online. From foodie pen pals to Star Trek pen pals, you can find the perfect person to start up a fascinating written conversation. The following general services are listed in no particular order, and they should get you started:

Marten’s Snail Mail Pen Pals Online–Has an online track record since 1998. A free site where you can search by country, age, gender, and language.

International Pen Friends–A paid site that matches you up with the best pen pal for you. It has a track record since 1997.

Global Penfriends–Find email or snail mail pen pals

Sassociations Pen Pal Directory–Where you can place your own pen pal ad for free. Search by age and gender.

Student Letter Exchange–Establishing pen pals for students, ages 9-20, for over 75 years (this is a paid service)

Snail Mail PenPals for Kids, Students, and Teachers–A free site that selects your pen pal according to your wishes.

Have a Happy New Year!
All My Best,
Anne :-)

*Interested in the music playing in the above video? Yes, that is my music (I am also a harpist). You’ll find this arrangement of the Beatles tune “I Will” on my album Blue Jeans, which you can purchase at my Celtic Harp Music website. You’ll also find this track available for download on iTunes

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My Personal List of Taboo Words

There are some words that need a long vacation from the English language, because they really - question in letterpress typeare simply overused, redundant, or have no meaning. I’m keeping it brief and introducing my top seven list.

I’ve based this list on the fact that I am originally from the San Fernando Valley, the birthplace and home of “Valley Girl” talk. This vernacular became popular after I moved out of “The Val'”, so understandably, I have a deep aversion to speaking or writing that way. I particularly want to avoid the words that sound like the current “baby girl” talk of teenagers and young women (I don’t even like it when women do the baby talk when they sing). It sounds so terrible and unprofessional. This is why my list is personal, and these terms are a taboo for me:

1. Really—What does this mean when you write with it? It’s far more succinct to remove this adjective, and then the message sounds ever so much more stronger.

2. Very—Isn’t this the same thing as “Really”?

3. Just—I use this all the time when I talk, but it doesn’t add anything additional to the terms it is describing. Using more succinct adjectives are more descriptive, or removing the word from the sentence makes more sense.

4. Went, Go, and Going—Get more specific. How did you get there?

5. Stuff —This isn’t very descriptive, unless you are being casual and more specific terms aren’t necessary.

5. Things—Yep, same goes for this term as “Stuff”. But I do get cutesy if I am being casual, by using the slang word “thingies”.

6. Like—Best used when you are “liking” something, but not to be used as “it was like”. More succinct terms of comparison make for stronger writing.

7. Irregardless—One of many words that don’t actually exist in the English language. Using “regardless” will do just fine. (My other pet peeve of an unknown word is “acrossed”. No such word.)

So in other words, writing in ways that avoid redundancy, using specific adjectives rather than adjectives that add no meaning, and applying real words that exist in the English language, make any statement more powerful.

Only when the writing is casual (emails to friends, social networking, blogging for a general public, for instance) do I try to write the way I speak in casual conversation, but too much monitoring of my writing should be avoided, too. After all, I want to speak so that my conversation will be heard, so I need to consider the audience first.

You might find it a good exercise to build your own list of words that you lean on and use that have little meaning. Use your new list as a checklist when you are in the process of proofing your writing.  

Of course, there are infinitely more words you may personally want to remove from your own writing, particularly if you lean on those words way too much. You’ll find a few sage lists of words, which you may agree with or not, at Entrepreneur.com, litreactor.com, tameri.com, freelancewriting.com, and elsewhere.

What is your taboo list of words? Please share (I might have forgotten a few here).

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My Lesson From Accepting Guest Blog Posts

1115855_32937600Many of you know that I am a writer and a musician (my other website is CelticHarpMusic.com). I also have a Celtic music and Celtic info blog, too. But I simply ran out of steam on that blog, having difficulties coming up with fresh content. So I began to  request posts from guest bloggers. My thought was, “There must be plenty of other writers out there, like me, who want to get their posts on the ‘net in exchange for a link back to the web page of their choice in their bio.”

Perhaps this is so, but there are also plenty of people out there who pose as writers but farm articles off to someone who does not have a good command of English. I recently encountered this, posted an article after much editing, and to my dismay, discovered that one of the facts the author included in the article was incorrect. I also discovered that the link included in the author bio was a dead link. I removed the blog post altogether, after putting time into editing and posting it. A lot of time was wasted on my part.

This isn’t to say that adding guest posts to your blog is a bad thing. In fact, I’ve received some great articles up until I had to pull that one article. I’ve learned my lesson–Vet out all articles submitted by guest bloggers before posting.

As a service to all of you who have blogs, here are my suggestions for deciphering whether to accept a blog post or not:

1. Does the article fit your blog theme? This is obvious. Only post info that would be of interest to your readers and your potential readers. And only post info that interests you.

2. Was the article written by the person who is submitting it? If you don’t know who the author is, the article may be suspect. Either the person submitting it wants to be incognito, which begs the question, “Why the anonymity?” Or the person submitting it is farming articles from somewhere else, which begs the question, “Is this original content?” Ask to see other samples of their work online, if you are unfamiliar with the author.

3. Is the article grammatically correct? Some correction for grammar is normal. Too much sends up a red flag that the author is either not a native speaker or writing purely with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in mind, stuffing the article with so many keywords that it’s rendered nonsensical. The article should flow like conversational speech–Read it out loud to see if it meets this test.

4. Do you trust the author with factual information? When accepting a guest post, you shouldn’t need to verify all the facts mentioned in the article. If you don’t know the author, and you aren’t sure if the facts in their article are correct, it is easier to go back to the author and ask them to cite their information. Don’t bother going through and checking the facts yourself–It can be a major time suck.

5. Is the information unique? Use a tool like copyscape.com to determine whether the info in the article was duplicated from elsewhere on the Internet. (Google frowns upon duplicate content in search results). If you post duplicate content, you may  receive terse requests to remove your post from the original authors of the content.

6. Is the author real? Request a short author bio, make sure the author supplies their first and last name, and you know where the author resides. Their hyperlink should go to a page that meets your approval, not an unsavory page or a page that is just a list of links. Don’t accept the post if the link they provide is dead.

7. If you are accepting images to post along with the article, what is the source of the image? Owners of images will definitely contact you if their images are used without their consent. Best to pay a nominal fee for images at a site like iStock.com, or pick up free images, with a subscription, to a site like stock.xchng (which is where I found the image for this article).

Head these problems off at the pass. Set some requirements for accepting guest blog posts. Set a number of words and a theme for the requirements. Most importantly, make sure the guest blogger understands that if the article is considered for posting, it will be edited for proper grammar and punctuation, and it may also be edited for content. In other words, authors need to understand that the article will be scrutinized before it is posted. If it doesn’t meet your standards, you are under no obligation to post it.

If you are not a writer and need content for your blog, you can avoid all of this vetting out of guest bloggers. Hire a writer to do the job for you (hint, hint). I am available to write fresh content for your blog. Visit my menu of services and contact me by filling out the form.

Please feel free to add additional suggestions that you may have for accepting and posting articles by guest authors on your blog.

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New Word Gems for Today’s English

From Stock.xchng at http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1013210

From Stock.xchng at http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1013210

Sometimes, as I write, I am in search of words that just don’t exist in the English language. I am left describing something that requires the use of many adjectives, when one or two words might have done the job. I often wish my thesaurus was more complete.

Perhaps turning to other languages could fill this void. Here are a few of my very favorite words that I wish English had an equivalent. To get the correct pronunciations, find a native speaker or check out forvo.com. The terms below, and more, can be found at Cracked.com, TheWeek.com, and SoBadSoGood.com:

• Nunchi (Korean)–Having enough of a social aptitude to avoid putting one’s foot in one’s own mouth.
• Espirit d’escalier (French)–Literally meaning, “Having the wit of the staircase.” This word describes when you can’t think of a good comeback until after you walked down the stairs and have left the building.
• Bakku-shan (Japanese)–That girl that looks attractive from behind, until she turns to look at you and you want to exclaim in shock, “Ewwwww!”.
• Desenrascanco (Portuguese)–Literally, “To untangle yourself, as if by magic, from the tendrils of a bad situation.” No preparation needed–You’re ready for any situation without any particular planning. It’s pulling a MacGyver.
• Sgiomlaireachd (Scottish Gaelic)–Rude interruptions during mealtime. Examples include those phone calls during dinnertime from marketers who want me to give up my credit card information or answer a lengthy political survey. Literally translated, it may mean, “A visit with less worth to you than even one cold french fry.
• Shlimazl (Yiddish)–Okay, so this is just one of perhaps a gazillion Yiddish words that the English language should contain, but this one is a good one. Perhaps you remember hearing it in the nonsensical jingle for the old “Laverne and Shirley” TV show: “Shlamiel, Shlimazl, Hozenpheffer incorporated.” [What the heck does that mean?]. Well Shlimazl is simply a poor sap who has terrible luck. It’s not a bit of a bad spell. This person  was born under the astrological sign of bad luck. (And a Shlamiel is more of a clumsy buffoon who may create bad luck for himself–pretty similar to a Shlimazle).
• Shemomedjamo (Georgian)–Literally means, “I accidentally I ate the whole thing.” That feast was so wonderful that you became an oinker and inhaled your food like a pig in a trough.
• Rhwe (Tsonga, South Africa)–This means, “To sleep on the floor without a mat, while drunk and naked.” Shades of Animal House.
• Zeg (Georgian)–This means, “The day after tomorrow.” What a useful term!
• Tartle (Scottish)–Can’t remember someone’s name at a business meeting? That nasty bit of embarrassment is what the Scots call a “tartle”.
• Pålegg (Norwegian)–Any food that could fit inside two slices of bread to produce a sandwich. Get creative here, because this isn’t just your luncheon meats. Think condiments and any creative foodstuffs. Use Pålegg to build your own Dagwood.
• Gigil (Filipino)–The automatic urge to squeeze or pinch something that is too darn cute. Babies come to mind, but puppies and kittens may fall into this category, too.
• Koi No Yokan (Japanese)–That feeling that you just may have become a victim of  love-at-first-sight.

Filling this void doesn’t necessarily mean borrowing exotic terms from other languages. Maybe we could resurrect old English words that have gone extinct. English is a chameleon, and it likes to reflect the present times. But why not bring obsolete, fun words back into usage? The following terms could still have meaning in today’s world. Find these and more examples at DeathandTaxes.com and BuzzFeed.com:

• Wonder-wench–A sweetheart. Truly, a wonderful girl.
• California widow–A married lady whose husband is nonexistent: He is often away for long periods of time.
• Cockalorum–A small man with a big opinion of himself.
• Curglaff–The shock you feel when you dive into frigid water.
• Groak--Watching someone eat and hoping that they will invite you to dine with them.
• Crapulous–Feeling like c*rap after eating and drinking waaaaaay too much.
• Callipygian–Having a beautiful rear end–The perfect description for Pippa Middleton.
• Lumming–A torrential downpour. A simple term to describe, “Raining cats and dogs.”
Elflock–Hair so tangled, it looks like the elves have been messing with it.
• Vocabulation–Using choice words.

It’s your turn. Please share below some words that have gone extinct in the English language. Or add a few that English should borrow from other languages.

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Teenage Utterances–Can You Spell These?

Just had to add this. Teenage vernacular makes me giggle, but I sure wish there was a way to actually spell their utterances out on the page. This linguistic expert seems to come the closest. Enjoy the video, and for an accompanying article, visit The Week.

 

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Tulle Time!

What on earth is “tulle“? You might just know if you are in the midst of wedding planning. (See the glossary below for the answer.)

Beyond writing for all different topics, I’m also a harpist, a Celtic harpist. I’ve been performing for several decades, mostly for weddings. So, I thought it was high time to introduce some wedding lingo into this Fun With Words blog. Do I hear you utter, “I’m not getting married! Why should I read further?” Even if you are not on the way to tying the knot, you may still wish to peruse this list so that you’ll be able to converse with your friends and loved ones who are preparing to walk down the aisle.

You don’t want to be caught unable to speak wedding language when you are in the planning stages and hiring wedding service vendors. Know what they are talking about with this short, ready-to-use glossary. Take it with you when you go shopping for your wedding gown and when you taste-test cakes. Keep it at your computer so that when the tux rental shop says, “Do you want a cummerbund with that?” you aren’t stuck for an answer.

Common abbreviations–These may be used by your wedding coordinator and by your reception MC (that’s “emcee” or “master of ceremonies”–You know, the person announcing the wedding party into the reception hall and for the first dance). Use these abbreviations in your wedding notes, in emails, and in texts. Or make up a few of your own. These are common abbreviations that I’ve known and that you can find online:

AI–All-Inclusive
B2B–Bride to Be
BM–Best Man or Bridesmaid
BP–Bridal Party
FH–Future Husband
FOB–Father of the Bride
FOG–Father of the Groom
FH–Future Husband
FW–Future Wife
G2B–Groom to Be
JB–Junior Bridesmaid
JP–Justice of the Peace
MOB–Mother of the Bride
MOG–Mother of the Groom
MOH–Maid of Honor or Matron of Honor
RB–Ring Bearer
RD–Rehearsal Dinner
SO–Significant Other
STDs–Save-The-Date Cards
WP–Wedding Planner or Wedding Party
Test

Reserve OTT (Over the Top) for describing things that are beyond your budget and beyond your sensibilities.

Terms you don’t want to hear–If you find out that you are being described as “high-maintenance” by wedding service providers, this is their way of saying that you are being “anal” or a pain in the rear. It’s not a compliment, and it really means that you are on the way to becoming a Bridezilla or a Frankengroom in their eyes (you don’t need me to tell you what those terms mean). Vendors can charge you for all kinds of things if they think you might be trouble. So, turn on the sugar and become as nice as can be, and you’ll save money and may be offered a few discounts, too. You’ve heard the old saying, “You attract more bees with honey.” Well, it’s exceptionally true when it comes to getting what you want at your wedding. More about how to save money at your wedding, and how to work with musicians, too, in my book, “The Bride’s Guide to Weddings: Live Wedding Music Made Easy and Affordable.

Here’s the most useful phrase that you should know: “Wedding Insurance”. It protects you from financial loss if you need to cancel your plans due to circumstances beyond your control. It also protects you, financially, from wedding service providers (vendors) who do not follow through with their contractual obligations. It’s inexpensive. Get it. My suggestion: Contact the folks at Travelers Wedding Protector Plan. Travel insurance is also imperative, especially for destination weddings and honeymoons. That’s a separate thing altogether from wedding insurance. It’s easy to buy it online from Geldin Insurance. From personal experience, I know that travel insurance works–It paid me when I threw my back out lifting luggage and had to cut a trip short.

Now for the glossary. There are many, many terms for specific types of flower arrangements, gown styles, engagement rings, cakes, and more. So below is just a sampling of terms you are likely to hear. But if you come across a term that puzzles you and it isn’t on this list, just Google it, or better yet, visit these glossaries: YourWedding101.com, LifeTips, and DexKnows.com.  Here are a few of my favorites from these glossaries:

Blackout Dates–Dates that cannot be booked at a wedding venue or hotel, due to lack of availability or due to closure over holidays.
Blended Family
–Family members are not biologically related–Involves stepbrothers, stepsisters, stepchildren, and in-laws. Usually the result of family members having multiple marriages.
Boutonniere-
-a little flower arrangement attached to the left lapel of the jacket of the groom and other men in the bridal party. May also be given to the officiant or other honored male guests.
Bridal Boot Camp
(ugh)–A high-intensity workout program that aims at getting the bride in shape before her wedding day.
Bridal Party
–Closest people in the family who walk down the aisle as the bride’s attendants–The bride and groom’s immediate family and closest friends. These are the people who are invited to attend the rehearsal dinner and the ceremony rehearsal.
Butler Service
–When servers deliver platters of appetizers, food, and drink directly to guests.
Cash Bar
–The wedding guests pay for their drinks at the bar.
Chafing Dish
–A pan, typically found at buffets, that has a small flame under it to keep its contents warm.
Corsage
–a little flower arrangement pinned to a woman’s dress or attached to a bracelet worn on her wrist. Typically reserved for mothers and grandparents of the wedding couple. May also be given to the officiant or other honored female guests.
Cummerbund
–A broad waist sash often worn with dinner jackets and tuxes. They often match the color of the ties at weddings.
Day Of Planner
–A wedding planner who only works on the day of the wedding to make sure that everything runs smoothly.
Destination Wedding
–The wedding ceremony is held away from the bride and groom’s hometown, often at a resort.
Down Payment Registry
–The bride and groom request money towards the purchase of a home.
Elopement
–When the couple goes off to get married quickly, without a period of engagement, or without the knowledge of most friends and family. It’s not an elopement if everyone knows that the two of you are going away to get married and that you’ve been spending many months planning this getaway. The term elopement doesn’t only mean “a wedding ceremony without a wedding party or guests.”
Engagement Session
–Photos taken by the wedding photographer ahead of the wedding. These photos are often used for announcements and save-the-date cards.
Fascinator
–A woman’s headpiece that is smaller than a hat and larger than a comb or barrette. It is pinned or attaches to the head with a headband. It is sometimes called a cocktail hat.
Final Guarantee
–The final count of the number of guests that is given to the caterer or reception coordinator ahead of the wedding day. This indicates the amount of food that the wedding couple will pay for, and it is the amount of food that the caterer agrees to provide. Final guarantee may also apply to the cake baker and to any other vendors whose services depend upon knowledge of the number of guests (musicians want to know this so that they provide proper amplification, for instance).
Full-Service Planner
–A wedding planner who helps the couple navigate through the entire wedding process, from selecting wedding service providers to assisting on the wedding day.
Ganache
–A decadent chocolate mixture made with semisweet chocolate and cream. It typically is used as a cake frosting or filling. It will melt in humid weather.
Green/Eco Wedding
–An environmentally-friendly wedding. The definition of “green” is open to interpretation, as any aspect of a wedding that saves the planet can make it a green wedding–from using recyclables to relying on local, organic foods.
Groom’s Cake
–A second cake that stands separate from the traditional tiered wedding cake, with decorations and flavors made to the groom’s liking.
Hen Party
–The bachelorette party.
Hosted Bar (or Open Bar)
–The guests do not pay for their drinks–The host pays for them.
House Sound
–The venue (church, reception hall, etc.) provides the sound for the officiant and musicians. You do not need to rent or pay for amplification.
Junior Bridesmaid
–A bridesmaid that is too old to be a flower girl but too young to be a traditional bridesmaid. She usually dresses like a standard bridesmaid, but is too young to be invited to the hen party.
Mocktail
–A cocktail without alcohol.
Officiant
–The person legally permitted to preside over the wedding ceremony. This person does not need to be affiliated with a church, temple, or religion and can be male or female.
Photojournalism
–A style of photography that uses candid, unposed shots instead of formal poses.
Plus-one
–On an invitation, this means the guest can bring one more person with them, typically a spouse or date.
Prelude
–The music that is played while guests are being seated.
Postlude
–The music that is played after the recessional.

Processional
–When the bridal party walks down the aisle. The bride’s processional is specifically when she makes her entrance and walks down the aisle.
Recessional
–When the wedding party, including the newlyweds, walk back up the aisle at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Save-the-Date Cards
–an informal card sent out to guests months ahead of the wedding, reminding them to save the wedding date on their calendars.
Shoulder Season
–The time before or after the busy season. This is the best time for weddings or travel if you are on a tight budget, because you’ll typically pay less than during the busy seasons.
Stag Party
–Bachelor party.
Sweetheart
–A neckline that looks like the top of a heart.
Tea-Length
–A dress that falls between the knees and the ankles.
Tulle
–Light, see-through fabric that is used to decorate wedding gowns and wedding venues.
Trousseau
–The bride’s gown or attire. Historically, this term means the bride’s possessions that she brings to the marriage.
Trunk Show
–An open house at a bridal shop where designer show off their latest wedding fashions.
Universal Registry
–A gift registry that includes items from many different stores.
Welcome Basket
–A basket filled with goodies for out-of-town guests who have traveled afar to attend the wedding. It usually greets the guest in their hotel room or upon check-in at the reception desk.

Please share your own favorite terms for weddings and honeymoons below!

 

 

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Clever New Words for 2013: At the End of the Day, I’d Really Like to Ditch the Old Ones

Some words are now “old hat”

What are the best words to use in 2013. Well, I know which words or phrases I’ll be avoiding. A plethora of websites list words to steer clear of using. Some of these words cause the user to appear woefully uncool. Some phrases form cliches that have been so overused that they no longer have any real meaning. And then, some have undertones that sound politically incorrect.

 

 

This is a short collection of words that you might want to avoid using in 2013:

From Entrepreneur.com, here are their 10 most useless buzzwords: game-changer, at the end of the day (and its cousin, having said that), solution, YOLO (You only live once), epic, low-hanging fruit, really, value-add, impactful, utilize. Go to their website to discover why they recommend removing these words from vocabulary.

From the UrbanDictionary.com, here are the top 7 words from their list of the most overused words: babe, Internet meme, extreme, mangina, poser, nutritious, peruse. Find many, many more at their website.

From TIME, here are suggested words that they think should be banished in 2013 (you can even take a poll for your favorite): quoting percents such as 75%/95%/100%, adorkable, amazeballs, artisanal, cray, fiscal cliff, gangnam style, jelly, literally, meh, mommy porn, teehee, totes, YOLO, zombie apocalypse.

From Inc.com (posted on Yahoo), 11 marketing phrases no one wants to hear: customer focused, best in class, low-hanging fruit, exceed expectations, unique, value added, expert, exceptional ROI, partner, turn-key.

I can’t say that I agree with these, and in fact, I must be so uncool that I’ve never even heard of some of these words and phrases! For me, the words and phrases that should be banned are words that seem to have no meaning when they are said. They seem to fill up space, as if the speaker just couldn’t think of anything better to say. Examples are the old Valley Girl phrases, “you know,” and “for sure.”

At the top of my list is “at the end of the day“. I believe I once heard someone use this term at least five times while being interviewed on NPR (National Public Radio). Surely, there must be better ways to punctuate a statement.

My close runner-up is the word, “really“. Does it have any meaning? Does it mean “truthfully”, or does it mean “I am certain about this fact,” or does it mean something else altogether?

NPR argues that there are uses for these words and cliches. Listen and decide for yourself: Taboo Words Serve an Important Purpose and At the End Of The Day, Cliches Can Be As Good As Gold

So, it’s 2013. Let’s look at the new year in a positive light and examine  some words that you might want to think about adding to your vocabulary. Here are this week’s new words from the Cambridge Dictionaries Online Blog: on the bubble, smack-talk, superbowl (not relating to football), underbrag. Don’t know what these mean? Go to the blog and find out. Or better yet, subscribe to their newsletter and keep up on new words. Check out the new words for 2013 in Mirriam-Webster Dictionary and Oxford University Press, too.

Some of my favorite new words (I’ve used some of these for some time now): hat tip, earworm, aha moment, bucket list, brain cramp, gassed, and cream-crackered (a Brittish adjective from my friend Ade in Bristol).

It’s your turn. Please share your favorite and not-so-favorite words, phrases, and cliches for 2013 with us! And include definitions for those of us who are not in-the-know. <no naughty terms, please>

photo credit: geishaboy500 via photopin cc

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