About Mavi

Mavi Viljoen (the artist formerly known as MA Giroux) is a hospitalitarian, writer, teacher, and urban godmother. She believes, to quote her spirit animal, Auntie Mame, that "life's a banquet and most poor sons of bitches are starving to death." A veteran leader in the hospitality industry, she and her husband moved to Honduras in 2015 to establish a bi-lingual tourism program for high school students. She's been published in the International Journal of Servant Leadership and the host of www.acumennial.com 's LeaderSips. Come spring, you can find her rooting for her beloved Washington Nationals.

Mastering the Art of Living

Given that this blog is inspired by a word that has no English equivalent – sobremesa – it seems appropriate to occasionally explore other words from around the globe. Shoutout to Danielle Shover for introducing this one to me.

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Manners Matter

Way back in the day when I was still in high school – maybe around 15 years old –  I attended the bridal shower of a family friend. It was an tasteful afternoon tea and since I didn’t know many people there I was quite happy to go into the kitchen and help with the serving and the cleaning. Later I heard the hostess (who to me was one of the most elegant women I had ever laid eyes on) say to my mother, “Your daughter was such a great help. What a lovely young lady.”

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Why I’m Skipping Reconstruction and Living Flat

I was what you might call a “late bloomer” in the breast development department. And when they finally did show up, there wasn’t a whole lot going on. My late brother used to taunt me unmercifully with, “Flatsie, flatsie, Mary’s flat and that’s that.” Turns out he was prescient, because living flat is now my choice.

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Revisiting the Prairie

half pintMy sister sent me the full collection of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series for my birthday. Diving back into the pioneer world of the Ingalls family has left me feeling a bit nostalgic and plenty grateful that I don’t have to churn my own butter. As an 8-year-old I was fascinated by the whole concept of pig bladder as balloon; as an adult it’s been an entirely different experience.

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Want to Stay in a Traveling State of Mind? Make it a Habit.

Last week, in celebration of my final chemo, I finished an around-the-world dream trip itinerary. It took about 3 months of on and off day-dreaming for me to come up with it… and even upon its completion there were some gaping holes ( Cześć, Poland; Ahoj, Prague).

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A Sobremesa at a Longer Table


sobremesaWelcome to A Longer Table.

I’m happy you’re here and I hope that you pull up a chair often.

If we’re meeting for the first time, here’s a little background of how this blog came about. A few months ago I stumbled onto the Spanish word sobremesa.  As it turns out, there is no English equivalent for this word, which describes the “art of savoring the conversation and company of others after a meal.” While the word was new to me, the concept was not.

I am currently living in Honduras, where I see sobremesa played out on almost a daily basis. The most important part of the meal begins when the last bite is finished. And while it is a cultural mainstay in Spain and Latin America, it is not unheard of in the United States. A habit in many homes, it’s a great opportunity to talk about what’s going on in one another’s lives, share opinions, and strengthen relationships. Sobremesa is an unplanned delight – you never know where the conversation may lead.

I currently have a business-focused blog, LeaderSips, but when I decided I had more to explore beyond that blog, it occurred to me that I was looking for an opportunity to create an online sobremesa. At the same time, I wanted to make sure that the community I was creating was open and welcoming. And that’s when the popular saying, “If you are more fortunate than others, it is better to build a longer table than a taller fence”  came to mind.

And voila! This blog is my longer table. I invite you to join me for a regular sobremesa.