“How Building a ‘Green’ Cleaning Caddy” Seminar was a Success!

Last night Town + Country hosted our fourth Housekeeper training seminar of the year. This seminar focused on “How to Build a ‘Green’ Cleaning Caddy.” Our very own Sarndra Elejorde dazzled our attendees with natural cleaning tips and products to use instead of traditional toxic alternatives.

ReducedThis was a hands-on workshop. Town + Country provided the tools, parts & ingredients, and Sarndra showed attendees how to mix their own green products and assemble their own caddies. Everyone left with their completed caddies, ready to use them on the job or at home! The booklet for the event was printed for future reference on the topics covered.

The cleaning caddies came with a bucket, all-surface cleaner, multi-purpose cleaner, disinfectant, baking soda, wipes, gloves, multi-colored sponges, microfiber cloths and a scrubbing toothbrush. The class included tools and tips for stuck on grease and grime and other common cleaning challenges. Natural cleaning tips by room and appliance were provided.

Our Housekeepers came together and shared experiences and tips for on the job training. Everyone enjoyed learning and sharing in a fun atmosphere. We look forward to our next seminar in September. Be sure and check-in with our Facebook page for future events!

Also, don’t forget about our referral program. If you refer a new Nanny or Housekeeper or any other candidate and we place them in a permanent position for 30 days, we will send you a $200 check! Click here for more details.

See you at the next event!

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Meet Chelsea!

Chelsea MoweryChelsea has been working in private homes as a Nanny since 2008 caring for children of all ages. She has also completed 18 ECE units at West Valley College. Chelsea has a true pitch-in attitude and is happy to cook family meals. In her free time, Chelsea enjoys photography, scrapbooking, reading, swimming and going to concerts. She is excited about working with Town + Country to find another family here in the Bay Area to work for long-term!

Get to know Chelsea:

What is your favorite quote?
“For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.” – John F. Kennedy

What three items would you take with you to a desert island (other than food and water)?
I would bring an umbrella to protect me from the sun -I don’t tan, I burn! – a good pair of shoes to protect me from the terrain, and I would bring lip balm, because I use it five times a day, and surely my lips would chap on a desert island!

What is the last book you read?
“The Help” by Kathryn Stockett. A perfect insight into the lives of caretakers during the Civil Rights era. It was a fascinating read. I couldn’t put it down!

What is your favorite day of the year and why?
My favorite day of the year is the first day of Autumn because it signifies the start of my favorite time of year (including Winter) and I just feel more at peace & relaxed with myself.

If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?
I would buy a house for my mother and a house for myself. Then take a Disney cruise!

What is your favorite outdoor activity?
My favorite outdoor activity is swimming. I was on a swim team for ten years. Once a swimmer, always a swimmer!

Chelsea is working with Town + Country to find a long-term, full-time Nanny position. If you are interested in learning more about Chelsea or any of the great Candidates we’re working with, please call us at 650-326-8570!

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Happy Birthday, Uncle Sam – Here are some local events for the 4th of July!

Even the smallest towns here in the Bay Area seem to pull out all the stops to celebrate Independence Day. From parades to fireworks to festival activities, there is no shortage of ENG_RWBFireworksentertainment.

Our team here at Town + Country hails from all over the Bay Area, and each of us have grown quite fond of our local celebrations, and we thought we’d share some of them with you. Below you will find some of our favorite places and activities for the 4th!

San Francisco
The San Francisco fireworks display can best be seen from the northern side of the City. Crissy Field, the Marina Green and Aquatic Park are great options. There will be a fireworks display near the Marina Green and a second one closer to Fisherman’s Wharf. These both promise to be gorgeous displays, pouring off the side of the Golden Gate Bridge and showering the ocean with a waterfall of bright lights. Other activities to do over the July 4th weekend in San Francisco include fireworks cruises, live music and family activities at Pier 39, local attractions including Alamo Square & The Painted Ladies, Aquarium of the Bay, the Botanical Gardens, Cable Cars, Grace Cathedral, Japanese Tea Garden and of course the famous Lombard Street. Click here for a longer list of events & links for San Francisco.

Berkeley and Oakland
Jack London Square on Oakland’s waterfront promises to be a festival of fun packed with free interactive activities! Activities and performers for both parents and children include bubble wrangler, jugglers, magicians, stilt walkers, petting zoo, face painters, balloon artists, hula hoopers, bike rentals, puppet shows, craft making and more.

For an all day and evening event visit the 4th of July celebration at Berkeley Marina. Festivities are from noon until 10 pm with all kinds of free fun! Adventure Playgrounds, face painting, a giant slide and a splash on the beach, plus live entertainment until 9:30 pm featuring Bang Data, The Boston Boys, The Lady Crooners, The Blondies, and The Allman Stepbrothers. Also enjoy juggling and magic acts while eating at food trucks, playing games at booths, making crafts, getting massages and riding carnival rides are all part of the fun. At the end of the night enjoy Berkeley’s grand fireworks over the water from the end of the Berkeley Pier starting at 9:30 pm.

Mountain View
The city of Mountain View and the San Francisco Symphony put on an evening only event. The main show starts at 8 pm and features the San Francisco Symphony. Last year Jon Williams’ Star Wars, Jurassic Park and E.T. themes songs kept the crowd entertained all the way up to a climax of fantastic fireworks.

Redwood City
Redwood City is hosting an extravagant parade through the downtown district starting at 10 am. The route starts on Marshall Street at the corner of Winslow Street and continues on Marshall, Main Street, Middlefield Road, Winslow Street, Broadway and onto Arguello Street where it ends near Alden Street. After the parade, enjoy festival activities that cover several blocks in the heart of Redwood City. This carnival continues from 9 am until the fireworks, which should start at about 9:30 pm at the Port of Redwood City with a public viewing area along the waterfront off of Seaport Court.

Sonoma
Have you been to the Wine Country lately? This is a fabulous time of year to visit. Sonoma’s festival and parade start at 10 am. The entire town will gather around the downtown square for the annual parade. After the parade enjoy carnival games, delightful local eateries, live music and other festival activities. At dusk, head over to the large field in front of General Vallejo’s home where you can enjoy a 30-minute fireworks show with one of the best finale’s you’ve ever seen! Well, we have covered the North Bay, Peninsula and East Bay.

There are many more places to enjoy the fourth of July but these are a few of our favorites!

Happy 4th of July!

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A San Francisco Recycling Guide – Recycle, compost or trash?

During our last Housekeeper Training Seminar, “Professionalism & Communication as a Housekeeper,” one of our attendees requested more information on recycling and composting. It can be confusing trying to figure out what goes where! We found a great site called recologysf.com that makes the whole process a lot easier to understand with their Residential Recycling, Composting & Trash Services information.

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You can find detailed information about these processes on their site. Just below we have listed a few quick tips we found on their site.

Things that can be recycled:

  • Metal (like aluminum foil and cans)
  • Plastic (except for plastic bags, wrappers or styrofoam)
  • Paper (except for paper that is soiled with food)
  • Glass (without liquids or food)

Things that should be composted:

  • Food scraps (basically, anything that used to be alive- including
  • meat!)
  • Paper that is soiled with food (like pizza boxes and napkins)
  • Plants (flowers, yard trimmings, even cotton balls!)
  • Anything labeled “compostable”

Things that are trash:

  • Non-recyclable plastics
  • Other complex materials that are not designed to be recycled

Properly recycling and composting is a great first step to helping with this important “green” initiatives. We have other blogs dedicated to “green” tips. At our “Managing Seasonal Projects” seminar, we suggested “Green Housekeeping” by Ellen Sandbeck as “a good read with helpful on-the-job tips.” And stay tuned for our “Green” Cleaning Caddy information to follow our July event!

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Five Great Recipes from Chef Laura Stec!

One of our speakers at NNTD this year was Chef Laura Stec. As mentioned in our blog after National Nanny Training Day with Town + Country, “Laura wowed us with her crash course on cooking for time, taste, cost and kids. Attendees learned day-to-day tips for thriving in the kitchen including why to keep water as far away from vegetables as possible, how to quickly & safely sharpen knives, as well as quick cooking and snack tips.”

We’ve had several requests for the recipes that Laura shared at NNTD, so here they are! We’ve included five complete recipes for your enjoyment. Yum!

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Roasted Sesame Candy Carrot Bites

6 large carrots, peeled and roll cut into same size pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, making sure the carrots are well coated. Use your hands to mix it all together. Put carrot pieces flat onto a baking sheet flat with all the carrot pieces touching the pan, not bunched up on top of each other. Roast 30 minutes, checking occasionally while cooking. Move carrot pieces with a spatula half way thru the roasting process. Spray with water bottle sprayer as needed. Baked till browned around edges and tender.

Raw Paleo Strawberry Macaroons, makes 20 cookies

2 cups unsweetened grate coconut
½ cup coconut oil
1 bag (1.2 ounces) freeze dried strawberries or raspberries, I use Trader Joes brand
3-4 tablespoons of maple syrup, honey or coconut nectar, to taste
½ teaspoon vanilla extract, plus an added vanilla bean scraped (optional)
⅛ teaspoon sea salt

Place all ingredients into a food processor. Process for 2 to 3 minutes until the shredded coconut begins to break down. Drop mixture in portions about 3 teaspoons each onto a lined cookie sheet and refrigerate for 10 to 20 minutes. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. Kale Rollups, makes about 20 1 bunch dinosaur kale 1 jar peanut or almond butter 1 cup craisins or small diced carrots Cut the rib out of each piece of kale and trim up pieces. Spread with nut butter, sprinkle on craisins or carrots. Roll up and eat!

Graham Cracker Sandwiches, serves 2

4 tablespoons cream cheese
8 graham cracker squares
1 pear or apple, cored and thinly sliced

Spread ½ tablespoon cream cheese on each graham cracker. Top with fruit slices and another cracker.

Roasted Veggie Avocado Wrap, serves 6

15 roasted asparagus or equivalent of leftover roasted, grilled, or sautéed veggies
1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 ½ cups cooked brown rice
3 tablespoons plain yoghurt
3 whole-wheat tortilla, 10 inches
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped red onion

In a small bowl, mash avocado, lime juice and garlic. In another small bowl, mix rice and yoghurt. Heat a dry frying pan over medium heat. One at a time, heat the tortillas to soften, about 20 seconds per side. Lay tortillas on a flat, dry surface. Spread on the avocado mixture. Top with rice, veggies, cilantro and onion. Fold in both sides and the bottom of each tortilla up over the filling, then roll to close. If made in advance, wrap in plastic wrap. To serve, cut each wrap in half.

Good luck and enjoy!

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Tips for Traveling with your Nanny

It is that time of year again. The kids are out of school and you’ll all be headed out on vacation soon.

Family Together on BeachMaybe you’ll also have your Nanny or Family Assistant for help along they way. If so, remember that this trip will be work for her; it will be part of her job, and you should plan accordingly. While she will of course have downtime, you and your Nanny should set plans and expectations from the start. You might even consider a separate written agreement for just vacations. The last thing anyone wants to experience is a disaster vacation that should and can be peaceful!

Listed below are just some of the items you should discuss with your Nanny or Family Assistant to help ensure successful travel. For your employee, this will essentially be a business trip, and you and your employee should both think of it in those terms.

Expenses: As your employee, your Nanny’s expenses for flight, hotel, and meals or activities where she is helping with childcare or the like are business expenses, and you should plan on paying for those items. Consider a per diem for other items such as food while she is not on the job. This may be the single most important conversation to have because it is such fertile ground for misunderstandings. Be very clear about who pays which travel expenses.

Salary: It is important to remember that while this is your vacation, it’s work for your employee. Yes, it is nice for your Nanny to get to go somewhere exotic, but it is also their job. Consider and talk to your Nanny about hourly pay for hours worked, a flat daily rate or a flat fee for the entire trip. Do you have an expectation for “24/7” support? Will there be set hours? Overtime? Compensation should be outlined from the start.

Hours: The fewer surprises you have on vacation the better. If a “24/7” mentality and full-time on-duty expectation is required, your Nanny may not find this to be a suitable trip. Desired hours, allowances of alone time and duty expectations are crucial to the success of a happy trip for everyone.

Duties: If your have your regular Nanny with you on vacation, you may have fewer issues than you might with a Nanny hired just for this vacation. A tentative schedule of activities, what your Nanny is expected to cover and what her duty hours will be will a benefit to you, help set her expectations, and make the entire trip smoother. Are clothing, feeding, bedtime, swimming or other activities expected duties? Even if your itinerary and plans are not set in stone, bringing these expectations up for discussion can help with boundary expectations for both parties.

As long as everyone is on the same page, vacationing with your Nanny along can be a very relaxing experience. Being clear about your expectations will help her decide if she will be able to help in the way you need. It’s best to find out if a situation is not the right fit before a commitment is made and especially before you reach your destination!

We hope you have happy and safe travels!

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Town + Country’s “Reinventing Yourself” Workshop Was a Great Success!

Last night our Estate and Executive staffing workshop was incredible! Our speaker, Sherri Allen, captivated her audience as she did a masterful job of sharing her background, work history and current experience as a Personal Assistant. She shared how she manages to stay fresh in her current position and how that enhances her value for her clients. She shared her struggles and triumphs as a Personal Assistant working in the personal service industry.

Attendees said they felt supported and by their peers and by T+C staff. This seminar provided a safe & discreet environment to ask questions, brainstorm, share ideas and seek advice from those who understand our industry. All the great input led to a lively discussion! The camaraderie and support for one another was a reminder of why we love what we do!

Two of our favorite quotes that we received after the event were:

“Thank you again for hosting such a great event last night. I’m so glad I made the effort to attend. I really felt a kinship with all of the attendees and was so impressed with the level of comfort and support I felt. I look forward to more events such as this in the future.”

“Wow! What a night! It was so great to meet other professionals in the industry while enjoying great food, wine, and conversation. It was wonderful to meet the T+C staff in person as well.  Thank you again for the confidence boost. Just knowing I’m not a little sail boat in this great big sea of moving ships helps me more than I can express.”

 The T+C team was so excited by the success of the evening that we are now planning on hosting a variety of related events on a more frequent basis. We anticipate that future events will rotate between our San Francisco and Palo Alto offices and are likely to be limited to a dozen or fewer attendees.

Look for details for our next events or contact our offices for events geared toward all candidates: Nanny, Housekeeper, Personal Assistants and other Estate Professionals … and more! You can contact our San Francisco office at 415-567-0956 or Palo Alto at 650-326-8570.

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Our “Professionalism & Communication as a Housekeeper” Seminar was a Success!

Last Thursday, Town + Country hosted our third Housekeeper training seminar of the year. This seminar focused on “Professionalism & Communication as a Housekeeper” and attracted attendees from all over the Bay Area.

Damaris engaging webOur speaker, Damaris Christopher, once again wowed the audience with practical tips and advice that can be applied daily in real-life work situations.

In addition to a little bit of Town + Country “swag,” everyone received course materials covering all the topics discussed at the seminar. Those topics included:

  • Professional phrases to use in work situations
  • Concepts for “work / life” boundaries
  • How and when to ask for a raise
  • Phone, email and internet etiquette
  • How to tell your boss you broke something, and
  • How to take feedback

Our entire Housekeeper placement team, Sarndra Elejorde, Heather Wakely & Lindsay Lechner, participated in role-plays with Damaris. Sarndra’s favorite part of the event was hearing the participants tell us what they learned and how useful the new information would be in their jobs everyday. Some were first-timers at this seminar, and others have come to all of the events. As she listens to everyone’s story and builds rapport with each student, Damaris is helping to build these hardworking professionals up in their careers. We’re so proud of all the Housekeepers who are attending these seminars!Sarndra web

In addition to helping Damaris role-play a variety of work situations, Sarnda also reminded students of two important things. First, Sarndra reminded everyone of T+C’s $200 candidate referral program. If you refer a Nanny or Housekeeper who meets our requirements and gets placed in a job for 30 days, we will send you a $200 check!

Sarndra also announced that our next Housekeeper seminar would be held on July 17th in our Palo Alto office 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Details will be posted on Eventbrite soon.

Materials webThat seminar is a hands-on course where attendees will build a cleaning caddy equipped with “green” cleaning solutions in addition to course materials and resource guides. We will supply all the needed materials. You don’t have to bring anything … and you’ll leave with a great new cleaning tool! And, of course there will also be light appetizers and beverages.

See you there!

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Meet Sherri Allen, Speaker for our next Estate & Executive Staffing Seminar!

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Town + Country Resources is happy to introduce Sherri Allen, the speaker for the year’s second Estate & Executive Staffing seminar, “Reinventing Yourself on The Job or in Your Job Search.”

Sherri is a Personal Assistant & Project Manager who has been working with individuals and corporations since 1999. Prior to her current position, Sherri was employed for eight years by the founding partners of a Fortune 500 company.

Sherri’s interpersonal skills are an important part of her current personal services business and her clients include non-profit organizations, corporate officers, realtors, busy executives and many more. Her philosophy is to positively and consistently approach problems with energy, creativity, honesty and relentless cheerfulness. She deals with countless circumstances on behalf of her employer and always acts with discretion and good judgment. She does not avoid problems but approaches them straight on. At the end of the day, Sherri keeps her employer fully abreast of all the day’s events to ensure the day runs smoothly.

Sherri is very knowledgable on this topic, and we hope you’ll be able to join us to learn tips on “Reinventing Yourself on The Job or in Your Job Search.” This useful seminar will be held at Town + Country’s Palo Alto office starting at 6:30 pm on June 4th. Check out our Eventbrite page for info and to register!

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Tips for a Successful In-Home Job Interview

Recently, we found this hilarious “interview blunders” blog on SFGate.com and thought we’d share. These 15 memorable interview mistakes are hilarious – though perhaps a bit “corporate.”

CUP0054998Now, we know you’re unlikely to repeat any of these blunders, but that blog post did inspire us to share a few of our own interview tips that we’ve found to be helpful if you’re going to be interviewing soon for an in-home position.

Show up on time. Punctuality is very important to every single family we work with. Don’t be late … and don’t arrive too early, either. Showing up on time is the first impression you make and could potentially make or break the rest of the interview for you.  

Dress the part. You don’t need to wear a suit if you’re working in childcare or other domestic work. Most likely, you will meet the children of the family you will be working with so, it is best to be comfortably dressed when interacting with them. For housekeeping positions, dress neat, tidy, conservative and comfortable. For all positions, avoid perfumes or a lot of makeup, have your nails clean & neatly trimmed.

Engage with the children. If you’re applying for a Nanny position, this will apply to you! It is important to show the family how you will engage with the children on the job. Listening and learning more about the children’s interests will steer you in the right direction!

Turn off your cell phone. This is one of the most forgotten interview rules out there! We recommend that instead of putting your cell phone on silent, you physically turn it off so the family has your undivided attention for the short time you spend with them.

Be prepared. You will be asked a series of questions regarding your background, values and goals. It is important to have sincere and truthful answers to any questions you may be asked. This shows not only your character, but also your passion for finding a job!

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