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A toast may be offered in any setting and made to an individual or a group. Increase your confidence at your next social gathering by learning the ins and outs of this ancient tradition. Toasting to someone’s health or honor goes back to biblical times and can be found in most cultures including the Egyptians, Greeks, and Persians.

We could spend hours diving into every aspect of table do’s and don’ts, but I want to give you my top 13 tips that will help you navigate any social or business gathering with confidence.

When God knitted together our precious children before they were even born, I am convinced he also wove in their personalities, gifts, and a love language! The concept of “love languages” is that each of us expresses and receives love in a unique way. The five love languages identified by Gary Chapman in his bestselling book are: Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Gifts.

When God knitted together our precious children before they were even born, I am convinced he also wove in their personalities, gifts, and a love language! The concept of “love languages” is that each of us expresses and receives love in a unique way. The five love languages identified by Gary Chapman in his bestselling book are: Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Gifts.

Vacations are back on the calendar, and many people are crossing the country through our friendly skies. I thought a refresher on airport and plane travel might do us all a little good.

I heard the most interesting ad the other day. There is a company that offers private-type flights for the commercial world. They describe themselves as a “hop on jet service.” On their website it states, “The convenience of private air but at commercial prices.” I looked them up, and there was one flight from Dallas to Houston for only $99!

“Conflict is part of every marriage. Thirty-seven percent of newlyweds admit to being more critical of their mates after marriage. And 30 percent report an increase in arguments. Whether you argue does not determine the health of your marriage. Far more important than how often you argue is how you argue.

With Father’s Day coming soon, you and your family will be celebrating one of the most important men in your life- Dad. As a child, he was your hero, your protector, and your solid rock. Now that you are older, you admire him for all that he has done for you and you still look to him for advice and wisdom. Picking out the perfect gift for Dad is not easy!

School is almost out for summer! Many of us want to gift our child’s teacher something special at the end of the year for all the love, kindness, and patience they have poured out on our little ones. Being a teacher is not easy, and they are so deserving of our gratitude especially after this wild 20/21 school year! Some common go-to gifts you might have thought of are bath and body products, Starbucks gift cards and mugs, but below are some additional gift ideas your child’s teacher will be touched to receive:

School is almost out for summer! Many of us want to gift our child’s teacher something special at the end of the year for all the love, kindness, and patience they have poured out on our little ones. Being a teacher is not easy, and they are so deserving of our gratitude especially after this wild 20/21 school year! Some common go-to gifts you might have thought of are bath and body products, Starbucks gift cards and mugs, but below are some additional gift ideas your child’s teacher will be touched to receive:

Graduation is a pivotal point in a young person’s life. It is the beginning of a season of responsibility, coming of age, and independence. As these twenty-somethings are about to discover the meaning of “adulting,” here are some gift ideas that will no doubt be a blessing in your college grad’s new life.

If some of you are thinking, “I believe I have read this letter before,” you would be correct. Our son and daughter (in law) had a beautiful wedding ceremony planned for April of 2020. As with thousands around the country, they had to postpone the big event, but chose to hold a private covenant ceremony in our backyard. Well, we are finally celebrating their wedding vows, and it was on my heart to re-post the letter I wrote to my son last year. Some things have changed (he is now 25, not 24 as the letter states), but I hope you enjoy!

 I heard the most interesting ad the other day. There is a company that offers private-type flights for the commercial world. They describe themselves as a “hop on jet service.” On their website it states, “The convenience of private air but at commercial prices.” I looked them up, and there was one flight from Dallas to Houston for only $99! 

“We read a lot of articles and books about how to get through the engagement process, but no one ever talked to us about what it would be like the first year of our marriage. I wish we had known what to expect,” said one of the couples my husband and I mentor. This is a common comment, and if you find yourself having similar feelings, do not fret! You are not alone. The first year of marriage is fabulous, but it can also be difficult. Two people learning to become one does not happen overnight.

We all like to think we have good manners in marriage, but with the people that are closest to us, we can sometimes find ourselves slipping a bit. As stated by Cindy Grosso of the Charleston School of Protocol, manners are not about a bunch of rules. Manners are the outward manifestation of the condition of our heart. If we have a heart that loves, honors, respects, and cherishes our spouse, then these traits will show in how we behave.

Society is opening and people are resuming long overdue vacations. This is great news! I recently posted some tips on making your travels successful, but let’s focus on dos and don’ts of traveling with friends.

 

1. Boundaries: When traveling with others, set guidelines, boundaries, and expectations before leaving town. If you know you and your husband want one night to yourselves, express this up front. If a quiet breakfast in bed is necessary to start your day, see if this fits with the group’s schedule. 

  • 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