New On The Blog

Today, where we see every form of fashion on our streets, the question of men and shorts still produces uncertainty among many. There is a reason for this that is embedded in our DNA, and to fully understand we need to explore a little history.

“What are the main table manners children should know?” A common question I am frequently asked. Yet I have a tough time narrowing my answer. I pick my top three, then a fourth pops into my mind. Then a fifth. We may not all attend black-tie events, but we do all eat. Your children will one day be placed in a situation where they need to skillfully know their way around a dining table.

As we approach Mother’s Day, I would like to take a special look at the precious women in our lives that hold the title of Mother-in-law. Do you remember the movie Monster-in-Law? It starred Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda in a romantic comedy centered around the tumultuous relationship between a bride and her future mother-in-law. If you have not seen it, you should. It will keep you laughing but, sadly, may hit closer to home than you would like to admit.

I recently asked a group of college students these questions showing them the same photos. I had them shout out adjectives for the pictures they were viewing. For the home I heard: beautiful; wealthy; cared for; loving family; a place I want to live. For the broken-down home they said: old; no curb appeal; I wouldn’t go near it; scary; unstable.

“Rules without reason equals rebellion.” -Cynthia Grosso, Charleston School of Protocol. This could be my motto! I have a stubborn streak that can serve me well, but when it gets me into trouble, I just blame it on my DNA. No matter the reason, I am not the best rule follower unless I know why a rule was created. 

Remove your hat! Don’t set it on the table! Never let someone see the lining! Women, keep your hat on! Women, take your hat off! Ahhh…..I’m so confused!!! The old rules of hat etiquette were so straight forward, and everyone knew what to do. A gentleman removing his hat inside a building was as second nature as brushing his teeth. In today’s changing society, there is much confusion about hat etiquette, for both men and women, so let’s solve this mystery by starting with the “why” of hat protocol.

Do you find your spouse often saying, “Are you listening to me?” Or maybe you feel your child is not being an active part of the dinner conversation. If this resonates with you, it might be time to brush up on the finer points of being a good listener, while teaching your family to do the same. Below are 11 tips to help you get back on track so you can start enjoying deeper and more meaningful communication with those you love.

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11 ESV).

 

When I am tired and my mind does not seem to focus on a deep study of the Bible, I will flip to Proverbs to keep focused on God’s Word in a more simplistic way. Yet, every time I read this book, I walk away amazed at the power it brings and thankful for the renewal I feel. The verse I read today really resonated with me.

As a stay-at-home mom to 2 toddlers, a large part of my day is spent in the kitchen preparing food. Meal planning at the beginning of the week is essential to ensuring my family is well fed with home cooked nutrition (I give myself a break on the weekends)! If you get overwhelmed with meal planning like I used to, try these tips to sooth your soul:

As a wife and mother of two rambunctious toddlers, it is a challenge to get a home-cooked dinner on the table at a reasonable time. Pulling the children away from their toys, getting them seated at the table, cutting up their meal, blowing on food that is too hot, and calling my husband away from his work can be exhausting.

Sometimes you just need to re-post tips that were great to read. I find myself saying this quite often when it comes to The Gottman Institute. They are some of the leading relationship experts in our country, and the research they did on trustworthiness is very informative.

Meeting friends for dinner after work, grabbing coffee with your girlfriend or just ordering pizza on a Friday night with neighbors. We all have a deep desire to be connected in a world that often forgets the importance of relationships. Many of us have the desire to entertain, but we let our circumstances keep us from extending hospitality. Often it revolves around our lack of confidence in our ability to host events. I get this!

A perfect entertaining year for me would be hosting a different themed party each month! Will I do that? No. Will I dream about it? Yes! If I cannot have a party every 4 weeks, I can at least help my Lisa Lou family with ideas so hopefully a few of you can carry the torch of hospitality for the rest of us.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for. Read that again.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for. Read that again.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for.

  • Lisa Lou

14 Tips for a Successful Vacation



The world is opening, and it is time to celebrate! One of the first things people are doing as they exercise their recaptured freedom is heading out of town to new destinations. I thought a few refresher tips on travel might be good for all of us.


1. Population: If you are concerned about vacationing in an over-populated place, look for areas that are more secluded. Stay away from the hotspots you see on social media. Ask a travel expert for recommendations that have the activities you want without the congestion.


2. Children: If you are traveling with children, let them be part of the planning. This will help everyone in the family understand the desires of each member. Use this opportunity to teach your little ones about the culture you will be visiting. If traveling out of the country where a different language is spoken, help them learn basic words like please and thank you. Find an age-appropriate book they can read about the place you will visit.


3. Rules: Establish rules and set boundaries BEFORE you leave home. This manages expectations and helps avoid arguments. We enjoy cruising, and one expectation we would set with our son when he was a teenager was, while we were at sea, he could spend his free days hanging with his new friends, but dinner time was reserved for the family. We never had an issue because expectations were set from the beginning. If you are staying in a friend’s home during your vacation let children know they are to act as they would in their own home. Make the bed, clean up after yourself. Setting the ground rules before you leave will avoid confrontations later.


4. Regulations: Check on any restrictions or regulations before traveling. Some countries, and some states, still have covid restrictions. You might be required to produce a negative test. Just know what you are walking into before traveling.


5. Money: If you are leaving the country, it is recommended you have cash on hand in the currency of your foreign destination. I recommend $300-$500 in small bills, but it really depends on your comfort level.


6. Ambassador: Remember your manners! You are an ambassador for your city, state, or country. From the moment you arrive, you will leave an impression on others. Represent your home well!


7. Cell Phones: Bragging about what you are doing is not something others want to hear. Be selective in your choices, be humble, and remember anytime you state on social media you are out of town you have just advertised your home is empty and unprotected. Police strongly advise against this. If you do decide to post, show interesting places you are visiting that others might not get to see. A picture of your hamburger from the local grill? Maybe not. A picture of a chuck wagon breakfast cooked by a real cowboy? That is post worthy! There is an unstated rule among travel professionals and social media influencers. They advise no more than 10 photos should be posted for a two-week trip. You can agree or disagree, but that is the standard opinion in the industry. The best tip? Take as many photos as you want during the vacation. When you return home categorize and delete pictures you no longer like. What seemed a big deal two weeks ago at the museum may not be important now. Now post about your trip. Friends will enjoy seeing your collection of photos in one sitting. In all things, remember why you are on vacation. It is to spend time with family and friends and disconnect from the real world. That is hard to do on a cell phone.


8. Beach or Pool Bag: I venture to say most people will head to outdoor, beach destinations this summer, so let’s talk specifically about vacationing in hotter climates. When packing, include a separate bag you can take to the pool or beach. Fill it with items you need so when you arrive you know you have everything neatly in one place. Here is what I pack:

a. Sunscreen

b. Glasses

c. Hand sanitizer and wipes

d. Lip balm

e. Cooling spray

f. Sunglasses

g. Reading glasses

h. Portable charger

i. Earbuds

j. Snacks (items that withstand heat: nuts, beef sticks, hummus, breakfast bars, fruit)

k. Bottled waters

l. Hat

m. Plastic Ziplock (keeps items protected like phone, money, keys)

n. Toys for children


9. Towels: If you are heading to a hotel pool/beach, check to see if you can checkout towels. Some places will not allow room towels to be used, and others have a limit on how many beach towels you may borrow. You might consider bringing your own from home.


10. Hydrate: I cannot say this enough! You do not want to be sick on your vacation. For every alcoholic beverage you consume drink at least one big glass of water.


11. Pool Chairs: It is alright to save a chair if you are waiting for a companion, but only do this for a short time. If they do not arrive within 30 minutes you should let the chair go.


12. Sandy Towel: After a day at the beach, be mindful of where you shake out your towel. Remove yourself from others so sand does not blow onto your oil covered neighbor. Or worse, get in their eyes.


13. Tidy Up: Clean up after yourself. If you can throw it away, throw it away. Just because there might be a wait staff does not mean we leave an unnecessary mess for others to clean up.


14. Bonus Tip: One last tip (pun intended) I will mention that is often forgotten. Always leave a cash gratuity in a sealed envelope for the hotel housekeeper. This can be placed on the dresser before you check out of your room. They work hard to provide clean accommodations for you, yet they are often overlooked. The customary amount in the U.S. is $2-$5 per day.


With spring upon us and summer on its way, let’s do what we can to make our travel experiences fabulous. Be intentional, plan well, set boundaries, and remember to go with the flow. The true treasures in life are not found in our phone, in the 5-star meal, or an incredible destination. They are found right in front of us in the form of friends and family. Do not take your time together for granted. Now get out there, and let’s start celebrating life!!


Together with you,

Lisa Lou