New On The Blog

It is summer in Houston, and last night our bedroom A/C went kaput! My first reaction was to grumble, but then I reminded myself to “choose happiness!” I was thankful we had a guestroom to sleep in that had cool air and a fan. As we crawled into an unfamiliar bed, I was quickly reminded of the times I preached to others: “Every good hostess should sleep in her own guestroom for one full night. You will immediately see what is missing!”

Today, where we see every form of fashion on our streets, the question of men and shorts still produces uncertainty among many. There is a reason for this that is embedded in our DNA, and to fully understand we need to explore a little history.

“What are the main table manners children should know?” A common question I am frequently asked. Yet I have a tough time narrowing my answer. I pick my top three, then a fourth pops into my mind. Then a fifth. We may not all attend black-tie events, but we do all eat. Your children will one day be placed in a situation where they need to skillfully know their way around a dining table.

As we approach Mother’s Day, I would like to take a special look at the precious women in our lives that hold the title of Mother-in-law. 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.

I recently asked a group of college students these questions showing them the same photos. I had them shout out adjectives for the pictures they were viewing. For the home I heard: beautiful; wealthy; cared for; loving family; a place I want to live. For the broken-down home they said: old; no curb appeal; I wouldn’t go near it; scary; unstable.

“Rules without reason equals rebellion.” -Cynthia Grosso, Charleston School of Protocol. This could be my motto! I have a stubborn streak that can serve me well, but when it gets me into trouble, I just blame it on my DNA. No matter the reason, I am not the best rule follower unless I know why a rule was created. 

Remove your hat! Don’t set it on the table! Never let someone see the lining! Women, keep your hat on! Women, take your hat off! Ahhh…..I’m so confused!!! The old rules of hat etiquette were so straight forward, and everyone knew what to do. A gentleman removing his hat inside a building was as second nature as brushing his teeth. In today’s changing society, there is much confusion about hat etiquette, for both men and women, so let’s solve this mystery by starting with the “why” of hat protocol.

Do you find your spouse often saying, “Are you listening to me?” Or maybe you feel your child is not being an active part of the dinner conversation. If this resonates with you, it might be time to brush up on the finer points of being a good listener, while teaching your family to do the same. Below are 11 tips to help you get back on track so you can start enjoying deeper and more meaningful communication with those you love.

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11 ESV).

 

When I am tired and my mind does not seem to focus on a deep study of the Bible, I will flip to Proverbs to keep focused on God’s Word in a more simplistic way. Yet, every time I read this book, I walk away amazed at the power it brings and thankful for the renewal I feel. The verse I read today really resonated with me.

As a stay-at-home mom to 2 toddlers, a large part of my day is spent in the kitchen preparing food. Meal planning at the beginning of the week is essential to ensuring my family is well fed with home cooked nutrition (I give myself a break on the weekends)! If you get overwhelmed with meal planning like I used to, try these tips to sooth your soul:

As a wife and mother of two rambunctious toddlers, it is a challenge to get a home-cooked dinner on the table at a reasonable time. Pulling the children away from their toys, getting them seated at the table, cutting up their meal, blowing on food that is too hot, and calling my husband away from his work can be exhausting.

Sometimes you just need to re-post tips that were great to read. I find myself saying this quite often when it comes to The Gottman Institute. They are some of the leading relationship experts in our country, and the research they did on trustworthiness is very informative.

Meeting friends for dinner after work, grabbing coffee with your girlfriend or just ordering pizza on a Friday night with neighbors. We all have a deep desire to be connected in a world that often forgets the importance of relationships. Many of us have the desire to entertain, but we let our circumstances keep us from extending hospitality. Often it revolves around our lack of confidence in our ability to host events. I get this!

A perfect entertaining year for me would be hosting a different themed party each month! Will I do that? No. Will I dream about it? Yes! If I cannot have a party every 4 weeks, I can at least help my Lisa Lou family with ideas so hopefully a few of you can carry the torch of hospitality for the rest of us.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for. Read that again.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for. Read that again.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for.

  • 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