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As Texas plunged into single digits with multiple days of a windchill below freezing, millions found themselves stranded with no power or water. Living along the Gulf Coast we have weathered hurricanes and endured power outages for much longer periods, but somehow this seemed different. Maybe for those of us close to the shoreline it was the unusual sight of snow we experienced as opposed to the natural disasters we usually face that arrive with rain, wind, and sweltering heat.

Our son and daughter (in law) were finally able to take a long-overdue honeymoon to St. Lucia in December. Cecelia interned one summer for a travel agent so naturally called the company to book their trip. What an incredible experience they had, and I was reminded WHY using a travel agent is worth the expense. Fees range depending on the service, but most charge between $300-350 to plan a vacation somewhere in the Caribbean Islands. 

Q: I will be a new mom soon, and I have been preparing for life “after” a newborn. There is a lot of information on raising babies, and how dads can support mom, but I cannot find much on how moms can support dads. A lot of my mental preparation has been around my marriage. Specific questions: How do I preserve my marriage? How do we embrace the changes? How do I maintain my husband as a priority when we have a tiny human demanding everything? How can I help my husband bond with our new child?

Want to set your children up for success? Then look no further than the habits of successful people you know, whether that be in the corporate world, media, or within your own circle of friends. Experts agree that there are certain common traits all successful people possess. This is great news because it means we can emulate those leaders that have come before us. 

How can you tell if someone will be successful? When I was in high school, they still had a category for a graduating senior titled: Voted Most Likely to Succeed. How, at 18-years-old, could classmates look at someone and say, “Yeah, I think they will be the most successful person in our graduating class.”

Many of us grew up learning multitasking was a hallmark of a productive person. While sounding good in theory, this practice has proven to be incorrect. Studies now reveal that multitasking is nothing more than switching back and forth between tasks and it lowers our productivity. Below are 5 points that deal with the facts behind project hopping and the lack of performance that occurs when we allow seemingly innocuous interruptions to occur in daily life.

The way my husband structures his day is different from how I organize mine, but there is one thing we both do. We start with a morning routine. I make coffee, read the news while eating my breakfast, and then dive into an hour of bible study. Once I finish, I pull out my journal and plan my day. About 2 years ago I discovered an organizational method that resonated with me.

Remember as children, during holidays, we would spend what seemed like hours creating homemade craft projects for our parents? It might be a paper Christmas snowflake sprinkled with glitter or a cutout heart for Valentine’s Day. We would address it: To: Mom or To: Dad. We would sign our name, and this become the gift we gave our parents. The act of giving is how we should view all letters, especially a thank you note. We may not be cutting out cute hearts, but when we take time to put pen to paper and share a little of ourselves with someone else, we are giving a part of our heart to another.  

People give to make you feel loved and remembered. Sometimes gifts are given out of obligation, but mostly they are presented to honor a special relationship or occasion. No matter the reason, we need to know how to show our appreciation. Here are my 7 tips to become a gracious gift receiver.  

Table manners seem to be the area in which I receive most of my 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 handling an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction.

I recently bumped into a friend at the store, and as we began talking, she expressed how she struggles with the holidays. When January rolls around, she feels like she somehow “missed out.” I understand this feeling because I, too, have often felt this way. Life was so busy with the preparation of celebration, that I missed the joy that awaited each of us this time of year.

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party that looked scared to death, unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screaming, “I wish I was anywhere but here!” Entering a room full of people that you do not know can be intimidating. I get that. Yet, your entrance is important in displaying overall confidence and portraying a strong image.

Giving a party, of any type, requires a great deal of work. If you have been fortunate enough to be included in a festive soiree, it is nice to arrive with a gift for the hostess. The typical present will cost between $15-$30, but there are less expensive things you can find at the local discount store.

  • Alina Gersib

7 Ways to Cure the Travel Bug During COVID


With limitations on travel to most international destinations and less flights going out domestically, people experiencing the travel bug in our COVID world need new ways to approach the situation. Below are 7 ideas you can incorporate into your life right away!


1. Watch Earth Documentaries

Though nothing quite compares to experiencing the beauty of the world with our own eyes, nature documentaries allow us to look inside parts of the world few humans ever see. Not only that, but with travel limited to many destinations, these documentaries are our opportunity to connect to the wonder of nature in a more tangible way. With so many streaming options, you can find incredible documentaries to suit your interests from a variety of sources. If you enjoy cooking as well as travel, National Geographic via Disney+ has a fantastic series called Gordon Ramsey: Uncharted which gives you a unique and hands on look at destinations via their culinary scenes.


2. Visit Museums Locally (Or Virtually)

Since most museums are housed in larger buildings and are currently limiting the number of occupants allowed, they are a great place to visit. Depending on where you live, you can experience creations from local as well as international artists.

If you prefer to stay home and still have a gallery experience, Google Arts and Culture has curated a number of virtual tours which take you through renown museums around the world, from The Met to the National Gallery, London.



3. Plan Your Dream Get Away

Planning a future trip is a great way to channel an adventurous spirit. I love using Pinterest to consolidate inspiration. From location ideas, to top activities, and what to wear to your next destination, it is easy to categorize information and create a visual guide to all of the places you want to visit.



4. Keep Your Eye on Flights

Even if you are not currently in the booking phase, it is fun to imagine all the possible routes you can take for future flights. I like to research using Skyscanner as they have an interactive map which allows you to compare prices for destinations around the globe.



5. Play Tourist Locally

Follow all local guidelines for your city or state but if you want to get out and do something, find an option that allows you to play tourist while also keeping yourself and others safe. If possible, find activities that are outdoors or in large areas. Visiting a monument in a park, going to the zoo, or walking down a historic street to enjoy the homes or shops on the block, are great ways to play tourist responsibly. No matter where you live, there are people around the globe wanting to visit, so search your own town and see what you discover!


6. Cook an International Meal

Spice up your weekly routine and prepare a dish from either a favorite destination or a location you cannot wait to visit. From Thai green curry to hand tossed pizza, your options are endless. Make a new dish and enjoy being transported with every bite.



7. Look Through Old Photos

When was the last time you looked through your old travel photos? After finishing a trip, we may post a few pictures on Facebook or Instagram but after that the photos sit hidden on our phones and computers. While we may not be able to visit exotic international destinations right now, it is easy to go down memory lane and re-live your past travel experiences by looking at your digital memories. Once you finish, print out your favorites and hang them on your wall!

I hope these 7 recommendations give you inspiration for ways you can actively work with your desire to travel during this time. For more resources and the most up to date information on travel restrictions visit the below sites.

Mayo Clinic’s coronavirus travel advice.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s travel advice.

Alina Gersib

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