For most parents, teaching children about etiquette amounts to correcting them if they put their elbows on the table, or neglect to say please and thank you. “What I find is that parents tend to not proactively teach social skills. Instead, it becomes a badgering kind of thing—kids are always being corrected,” says Faye Rogaski who runs Socialsklz:), Manhattan-based etiquette workshops for children. “It’s great to have kids in ballet, soccer, and all of that,” she says, “but if they don’t have the proper social skills to apply to all these activities, they will be at a loss in life.”
Rogaski’s interactive age-appropriate instruction includes pre-K to highschoolers and is: “not pinkies up at tea. We address how to make proper greetings and introductions, how to start a conversation, the importance of making eye contact, and netiquette (technology etiquette),” explains the Mendham native.
While teaching public relations at New York University, Rogaski, president of a celebrity PR firm in Manhattan, discovered that many of her college students were lacking basic social and presentation savvy. “I thought, these skills need to be taught much earlier.” Before long, the 34-year-old launched Socialsklz:).
The hour-and-a-half-long workshops are offered on Saturdays—as individual classes ($75 each) or in a series of four ($195)—at the company’s Union Square, New York location. “Parents cannot attend classes, so they drop their kids with us and enjoy some time off in the city,” says Rogaski. “I take the kids out on the street and teach them things like how to make purchases, how to get on and off buses—it may sound minor, but these are things they need to know. They also may be more receptive to instruction from us than from their parents,” she says. “As one little girl put it: ‘My mom says this is manners class, but it’s so much more fun.’ ”
Through a partnership with the Four Seasons restaurant, the finale of the four-part workshop is an elegant dinner, which parents can attend. “The kids get dressed up, we elect a time keeper—being on time is important—and we have good time. For more information, visit socialsklz.com
Gatsby Gets Real
First, there were the all-glam-all-the-time housewives, then the cringe-producing Jersey Shore antics, now get ready for Jerseylicious, a reality show that has glamour, humor, and style. Set to premiere on the Style Network on March 21, the comedy “docusoap” spotlights the goings on at the Gatsby Salon in Green Brook. In August, the shop moved to a newly renovated 3,400-square-foot space, and owner Gayle Giacomo brought in a few new operators.
“We were planning to hire some new blood, which turned out to be a perfect fit for what the producers were looking for. The salon is just another character on the show,” says Giacomo, whose husband, Daniel, opened the salon 33 years ago, and now runs the shop with her daughter, Christy, as manager.
Jerseylicious focuses on the personal lives and interactions of five stylists, including Anthony Lombardi, whose shop, Anthony Robert Salon in Verona, also got a visit from the cameras. As the cameras are rolling, the operators are being trained, trying to stand out, and, in one case, competing over a romantic interest. All the while, blow dryers keep buzzing, conflicts arise, and customers are coming in. “It really shows how women in New Jersey are stylish and bold,” says Giacomo. “We have it all here and we look great.”
Remodeling for a Good Cause
Keep your gently used furniture, kitchen cabinets, light fixtures, doors, and appliances out of landfills by donating them to the Morris Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Mine Hill. All donations are tax deductible and all proceeds go toward building Habitat for Humanity homes. For information, call 973-366-3358, or visit morrisrestore.org