Things my Grandmother Taught Me: 3 Lessons in Grace


I’ve shuffled off to Buffalo this week to work on a really fun project. There are trees, snails, guns, vegans and an “only in Buffalo” Dyngus Day celebration.   Click this link to read about it.

I love Buffalo—my father’s family is here and I spent many holidays in the basement at 37 St. Florian. As soon as I step off the plane I am overwhelmed with nostalgia.  I can’t help it. Mention the back yard pear tree or Grampa Mantione’s burnt pancakes and my face becomes Niagara Falls.

Of course, my Gramma Mantione was a huge influence in why I do what I do. Part of that influence came from the hours we spent together in front of her vanity mirror, the same one I use today. But most of it came from just observing. Read on for the most important lessons she taught me.

Your appearance matters.

Gramma never went anywhere without a perfectly coordinated outfit and makeup on. There was never a panty line, a visible bra strap or a stain. In short, she knew she would get better service if she looked nice. She also just liked looking nice for everyone.

Hold your own with class and grace.

Grampa Mantione was an amazing guy. He was charismatic, a natural performer and the spotlight searched for him. Through some personal alchemy Gramma supported his attention-loving personality yet never melted into the background. She was one of the first ladies in the Women’s Army Corp. There were many parades where she was marching as the lone woman in the cadre of local Legionnaires. She never made a big deal about it, just shouldered her bayonet with dignity and lined up. Side note: I was talking with Gramma this week about her time in the army. She was a weather researcher stationed in the Pentagon. She casually mentioned that she used to rendezvous with a boy in General Patton’s office. He was one of the general’s guards so he knew when the office was unoccupied.

Take care of your body

Gramma has had her share of illnesses including leukemia and colon cancer. As a result she is slightly obsessed with how our food affects our health. Cutting cantaloupe in the morning was a lesson in fiber and vitamins. She always insisted we eat soup or salad with everything, even pizza and wings. She owned a first generation Vitamix and used it regularly. This was when the term “health food” meant it had to taste disgusting. She made sure she got 15 minutes of sunshine a day for her vitamin D.

I’m so grateful to have learned these things from her and I’m so proud that I can share them with my clients every day.

Much Love and Fabulousness,

Carmen Adriana




I’m Carmen Adriana.  I help fierce individuals rule their world in style!  Click here to schedule a free wardrobe strategy session. 




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