New On The Blog

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching! As a busy mom, Mother’s Day can sneak up on you with the chaos of end of the year school activities, home projects, and travel plans. Moms have a heart of gold and do not have expectations of presents, but we still love the gesture of gifting to make the day special and show our appreciation for everything she does for the family.

“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. 

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.

Walking into the room, my husband pauses in front of the TV. Turning to me with a spoiler alert about my favorite Hallmark movie he says, “Hey Lisa…they get married.” And you know what? He’s right! The girl found her prince charming, and the couple has a happy ending, every time.

How many mornings have we left home in a state of utter chaos? Breakfast was late, children were crying, and we hurriedly throw on clothes from the night before only to realize how wrinkled we look. This mad dash makes for an unpleasant parting from our family and it is usually caused by a disorganized approach to our routine. So much of the bedlam we experience at the beginning of the day can be avoided if we are willing to implement a few tasks the night before.

The mamor (mother-in-law) and damor (daughter-in-law) relationship is meant to be beautiful and strong. In parts 1 and 2 of our series we learned why women in these roles might have certain feelings in their new family dynamics. Once we learned the “why” we then explored practical steps we can take to strengthen these special bonds. As we bring our series to a close, I want to impart some words of wisdom we all need to hear, and be reminded of, to ensure we create a healthy, life-long bond between the mamor/damor.

In part one of our series on the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship we learned why the women who find themselves in these roles often experience emotions ranging from pure joy to hurt and sadness. Once we discovered the answers, our understanding of this special relationship came into focus. We had an “aha” moment which makes our path forward easier to navigate.

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.

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. 

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.

  • Lisa Lou

Business Card Etiquette



As we continue to move away from COVID-19 lockdown, the American people are going on interviews and getting back to work. Now is a good time to brush up on business card etiquette. These 10 tips will give you the confidence needed when giving and receiving this all-important staple in a person’s life.


1. Keep your card with you and always have them available. If you are attending a networking lunch, this is important, but even if you are out to dinner with your spouse your cards should be easily accessible. It looks unprofessional when digging around your purse to locate a card. It gives the impression of disorganization and not performing at the top of your game. Forgetting your card or appearing disorganized can also mean missed opportunities.


2. If attending a social or business event, only offer your card if you are asked for your card. It comes off too salesy if you hand them out unsolicited.


3. Cards should be protected. The best way to do this is find a case that fits neatly in the pocket of your purse. (Side note: When it comes to the size of your card consider the audience in which you mingle. Traditional calling card size is 3.5”x2”. When you hand another person your card, they might choose to store it in their own personal case. If what you hand them is an unusual size, this is not possible, and your information will be shoved into a pocket or forgotten. The other way to think of this is use your card to garner attention. Going with a square instead of a rectangle will ensure your card stands out among the others. Just consider both of these points when deciding which direction to choose.)


4. When you are asked for your card, it is polite to ask for theirs. Since we do not want to give our card without being asked, this is one way you can get your card into their hands. Ask for their card. In return, they will ask for yours (…usually. It is standard practice, after all).


5. I am often asked why we have business cards when we can just pull out our phone and enter someone’s information. A business card will always make a better impression than a phone. A card can be designed to represent your uniqueness or professionalism. It can be designed to show the value you add. Your card will also increase the odds that the person will not forget you. Once you become just another contact in their phone, will they remember your name? A card also allows you to write a personal note on the back (if appropriate). A phone, well, is just a phone.


6. As mentioned above, it is sometimes appropriate to write a note on the back of the card you hand to another person. Maybe the two of you talked about the book you just released. They ask for your card so they can make a purchase. You choose to write the title along with a big Thank You. It is another way to make you stand out and remind the person why they now possess your card. The practice of writing on someone else’s card should be limited, though. Depending on what notes you are putting down, you might come across as salesy. (Side note: In some countries, it is considered rude to write on a business card. The card is considered a living representation of that person, and to deface it is viewed as an insult. In the U.S. this is acceptable, but if dealing with a foreign national be aware of this fact.)


7. Present your card with your right hand or both hands. Also receive a card with your right hand or both hands. The right hand is considered the “hand of discretion.” This is more important in other cultures, but it is good practice in the U.S. as well. (This is difficult for me to remember – Left-Handed Lisa Lou!)


8. When handing someone your card, present it where they can read it. Face up and with no fingers covering important information.


9. When receiving a card, read what is printed and make a comment about the card. “I like the weight of this card.” “Your logo is very nice.” Commenting on the card serves the same purpose as giving someone a compliment.


10. Keep your card updated. Crossing out information and adding a handwritten phone number never leaves a good impression. Make sure the style of the graphics on your card are not outdated.


First impressions matter. Another person will form an opinion of you within 2 seconds. This is true whether they meet you or only see you from across a room. Some might say this is superficial, but it is the way our minds work. If you need to purchase a new leather journal, and you see one without scratches and another with scratches, which one will you choose? There is nothing wrong with the scratched book. It was just mishandled in shipping, but you will purchase the one in better shape. If you are house shopping, the home that has curb appeal will stay on your list. The home that is poorly maintained in front will be eliminated. Why? The house may be great on the inside, but poor upkeep on the outside has scared you away. You will make assumptions about all other aspects of the property based on that first impression.


Our business card is no different. It is often the first impression we give someone about ourselves or our business. It is considered an extension of who we are, and if my calling card is going to speak on my behalf, I want it to scream, “Remember me. I am worth it!”


Together with you,

Lisa Lou