New On The Blog

The day after a party a gracious guest will follow up with a thank you note or phone call. Do this within 1-2 days so your appreciation does not seem stale. The formula for a thank you looks like this:

Some dinner parties require a more formal protocol. For example, a military dinner will have strict guidelines as to where personnel will sit. If you are hosting a client dinner, you might also prefer a more formal arrangement. Even in a casual setting, you can choose to follow protocol to honor a special guest. The below description is based on a social party (vs. business), a rectangular table, and includes both men and women:

When hosting a dinner party, where you place your guests around the table is a crucial element for the success of your event. You presumably put thought into who you invited to the gathering. Do not stop there. The placement of each person around the table is something that should not be thrown together at the last minute.

I love entertaining friends and family in my home, especially during the holidays. But I must admit, it can be a bit overwhelming hosting a dinner party in the stage of life with little ones running around. The cooperation I receive from my toddlers is a significant factor in how efficient I am on a daily basis. Add in hosting a party, and it can be overwhelming. If you find yourself wanting to gather friends for a festive evening, here are my tried-and-true tips for entertaining with young children:

Planning a party can be fun, but do you know the best way to ensure everything runs smoothly? Have a rehearsal for your party. Yes, you heard correctly. You have spent a great deal of time planning your theme, creating your guestlist, and delivering your invitations. Now is the time to do a mock rehearsal which will allow you to create an action list of outstanding items around your home that might need attention. It also helps solidify any last-minute details.

These thirteen tips will get your through any dinner party. Here is a quick refresher. 

1. Leave The Cocktail Glass Behind:

If you are attending a dinner party, there may be cocktails offered before the meal begins. When the hostess signals it is time to head to the dining room, leave your drink behind. Why? The dining table has been pre-set with the glasses you will need and adding another to your place setting will only clutter the minimal real estate in front of you. Your palate is another reason to leave the cocktail behind. Many hostesses go to great lengths to pare wine with the food being served. Once seated at the table it is time to switch to wine or water.

You just received an invitation to a party, and the attire says: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture. What??? Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for a party, make it clear. We do not want our guests to solve a riddle to understand what is expected of them. There is a phrase I like to quote, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

Table manners are the area in which I receive the most questions, but it is introductions that have people the most baffled. After I explain the correct way to conduct an introduction, I often get that starry-eyed stare that tells me, “I really don’t understand what you just said.” To help all of us, I have broken down the process into a simple format. Before I proceed, let me say this. Do not let a lack of confidence in managing an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction. Even if you are unsure, most people do not care.

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food, drinks, a clean bathroom, and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest. When a hostess plans a party, a great deal of time is spent deciding who she will invite. What group of friends go well together?

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party looking scared, so unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screamed, “I wish I was anywhere but here!”

You are invited!!! There is something special we feel when we receive an invitation. It is the anticipation of a celebration, the excitement of choosing what to wear, but more importantly, it is the affirmation that tells us, “I was chosen!” We know a hostess has responsibilities to ensure her party is a success, but did you know there are expectations of the guests? And your first job begins when you receive an invitation that says RSVP. Follow the six steps below and the hostess will be singing your praises!

  • Alina Gersib

6 Ways to Exercise for Mind, Body, and Spirit



Exercise can bring with it a slew of viewpoints from all over the map, providing advice on everything from the best way to run to how “everyone” should do HIIT workouts. In this blog I want to share my experience with exercise and six ideas for how to shift exercise from a practice based upon physical performance to one which incorporates the spiritual and mental aspects of movement.

My relationship with exercise has taken on many different forms over the years. Growing up I was constantly competing in basketball tournaments, performing ballet, or racing at swim meets. As I got a bit older, I put my emphasis on swimming and ended up competing in college for a few years before a shoulder surgery. I viewed practices and weight sessions in a highly competitive mindset, as things to accomplish and mental barriers to break through.

After I stopped swimming in college, I continued to exercise but it was more from a sense of routine. It was towards the end of college that I finally began to look at exercise not as something to simply “get done” but as a crucial piece of my overall wellness. This shift of perspective changed my relationship with working out and also with myself. It made me realize that working out does not always need to be a killer session in the gym. Though I love workouts that push me mentally and physically, some days I do not feel up to an intense workout. With that said here are six ideas for how you can move your body while also cultivating your mind and spirit in a setting outside of a traditional “workout.”

1. Meet a Friend for a Walk – I love catching up with friends during a walk. I am the type of person that can get fidgety sitting for long periods of time, so I prefer going on a walk versus meeting at a coffee shop. Whether you walk around a neighborhood, park, or shopping area, walking with a friend is a great way to bond while also getting a dose of movement.

2. Dance Around Your House – PreCOVID I loved going to salsa clubs to dance all night! Now a days, I enjoy dancing around my apartment to whatever music I am in the mood for. Whether by myself while cooking dinner or with friends around the living room, dance is a great way to connect to your body.

3. Yoga – With a wide variety of approaches and many schools of thought, you can take all sorts of approaches to yoga. From cardio infused flows to more stretching friendly practices. There is something to suit everyone.

4. Go on a Hike – There is nothing quite like going on a hike and enjoying nature. I love hiking as a way to connect to my body and connect to the natural world around me. Not only that but walking on uneven ground is the best place to build our kinesthetic awareness through activating all of the small muscles needed for balance. If you live in Houston here are 10 great parks with trails, and if you need help finding trails in your area, “trailforks” is a great app that shows paths all around the country.


5. Clean Your House – Chores like changing sheets, rearranging furniture, or vacuuming all work your muscles in small ways and have the benefit of making a clean environment. As the adage goes, a clean space = a clean mind.

6. Walk or Bike When Possible – If you live in an area which allows you to walk or bike to work, school, or the grocery store, do it! You will benefit physically from the movement, mentally from time outside, and spiritually from slowing down. Not only that but the less time spent driving, the better.

I hope these six ideas can spur you to view exercise not as simply a task to get done but as a way to add a little more movement into our life whenever we get the chance.

Alina Gersib