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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.

  • Olivia Bergeron

A Hope Chest

Updated: Jul 14, 2020


So, we are in the millionth day of 2020. It seems like a lifetime ago when my biggest problems revolved around work deadlines, social plans, and when the next @crimejunkie podcast would be released. Who would have thought that 2020 would bring about so much change?


While our world is shifting, I have hope for the future. So today, I am going to share something that I do not share with many people. It is old-fashioned and (kind of) materialistic, but it is also fun and light and makes me smile every time I think about it. I am going to share one of the ways my sister, Jacque, and I are preparing for the future--our hope chests.



Traditionally, a hope chest (also called a glory chest or dowry box) was a chest that an unmarried woman filled with items for her future home. These items were usually linens, table settings, or serving pieces. I am not a princess waiting in a tower to be whisked away to the castle. Maybe I will build my own palace! But to me, a hope chest is not about getting a ring by spring, it is about collecting items and memories to carry with me as I build my own life.


Don't believe me?


In December my mom, sister, and I went to one of our favorite stores on the planet,

@TheRoyalStandard, to do some serious after-Christmas sale shopping. Jacque was convinced that she was too cool for a hope chest, so she just decided to browse. Not me! I was ready to go with a large shopping bag in tow.


You do not understand--this sale is AMAZING. Try 75% off all Christmas items. I know!


So within about twenty minutes, my bag is full. I found these fab beaded napkin rings, fringed red cloth napkins, and embossed salad plates--the works. Jacque, noticing my treasure, stops dead in her tracks and says, "I need to get a bag" and bolts to begin hunting for her own loot.


My mom and I laughed so hard! We had the best day, and whenever I look at those silly beaded napkin rings, I am going to remember that day!


Even if it is an old-fashioned tradition, I still love my hope chest. It has my grandmother's china set, my mom's crystal rose bowl, and a few fun pieces that I have picked up over the years. I love the idea when I have my own house, I will have a few things to instantly make it feel like home.


I know my hope chest is small and insignificant when compared to the issues facing our world, but it makes me smile, and I hope it makes you smile, too.


Olivia Bergeron-Contributing Writer

Owner: Amigals.com

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