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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.

  • Cecelia Zook

Chilled White Peach Gazpacho & Camembert and Fig Salad Taste Test

Happy Foodie Friday! This recipe comes courtesy of Penny and Eleazar Martinez.

We hope you enjoy!

There's nothing like a chilled gazpacho and fig salad on a hot day! These two recipes were a breeze to make and filled with delightful flavors and pair beautifully with a glass of Moscato d'Asti and Riesling. The gazpacho has ingredients that wonderfully compliment each other to make a light, sweet, yet tangy taste. My favorite part about this recipe was the unique balance of the vinegar, lime, hot sauce, and sugar. The fig salad is also incredibly flavorful with the bite of the blood orange vinaigrette and the sweetness of the fresh fig. Fig and prosciutto is one of my favorite pairings, and I was so excited to try them together in a salad. I was not disappointed!

Chilled White Peach Gazpacho

Chilled White Peach Gazpacho
PDF • 2.40MB

Makes 12 Servings

Time: About 30-45 minutes depending on chopping skills


*3 cups sliced, peeled fresh or frozen peaches (thawed)**

*3 medium yellow tomatoes, chopped**

*1 medium sweet yellow pepper, chopped

*1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped**

*1/2 cup chopped sweet onion

*1 garlic clove, minced

*1/3 cup lime juice

*2 tablespoons rice vinegar

*1 teaspoon salt

*1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

*1 to 3 teaspoons sugar, optional

**Buy additional peaches, cucumber and tomatoes (about 1 cup of each), if you would like to add as a garnish.


*Place the first six ingredients in a food processor; process until blended.

*Add lime juice, vinegar, salt and hot pepper sauce. (Add sugar, if desired.)

*Process until smooth.

*Refrigerate, covered, at least 4 hours.

*Top servings with additional chopped peaches, cucumber and tomatoes (used as garnish, so may omit.)

Camembert and Fig Salad

Camembert and Fig Salad
PDF • 2.40MB

Makes 5 Servings

Time: 30 minutes


*4 ounces Feta or smoked gouda cheese, in pieces

*5 fresh figs, cut into quarters

*4 tablespoon shaved toasted almonds

*6 each thin slices prosciutto di Parma, cut into large pieces

*4 cups spring mix of lettuce

*Blood Orange Vinaigrette, as needed (recipe below)

Ingredients for the Blood Orange Vinaigrette:

*1/2 cup fresh blood orange or orange juice

*1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

*1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

*1 ½ cups olive oil

*2 tablespoons honey

*1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation: *For the vinaigrette place all the ingredients in a blender and process on medium speed for 10 seconds.

*Pour into a saucer container and reserve until needed.

*Place all the salad ingredients in a bowl and toss to blend nicely.

*Place a handful of salad on a plate making sure to have 4 to 5 pieces of figs in each plate.

*Drizzle the vinaigrette on top of salad.

Recipe and Taste Tester - Cecelia Zook