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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

Coconut Braised Chicken & Lime Basmati Rice Taste Test

Happy Foodie Friday! These recipes come courtesy of Penny and Eleazar Martinez.

Each of our Taste Test Reviews comes with the original recipe and the tester's notes/changes listed with the ingredient list in blue. We hope you enjoy!

This easy-to-prepare coconut chicken recipe was light and filling. I opted for a spicy curry, which paired nicely with the sweetness of the coconut milk. I especially enjoyed the fragrance of the lemongrass against the bold curry taste. The basmati rice included a touch of lime and brightened the entire dish with its acidity. The toasted coconut and cilantro added a perfect final touch!

Lime Basmati Rice

Lime Basmati Rice
Download PDF • 1.70MB

Makes 2 servings

Rice: about 30 minutes total


*1 teaspoon vegetable oil or 1 teaspoon butter

*2/3 cup white basmati rice

*1 cup water

*1⁄2 teaspoon salt

*1 lime

*2 teaspoons cilantro


*In a heavy saucepan, heat butter over low heat.

*Add rice and lime juice.

*Stir for 1 minute.

*Add water and salt, bring to a full boil.

*Cover, turn down to simmer over low heat until rice is tender and water is absorbed (approximately 25 minutes).

*Fluff rice with a fork and sprinkle cilantro on top while still in pot.

Coconut Braised Chicken

Coconut Braised Chicken
Download PDF • 1.69MB

Makes 2 servings

Chicken prep time: 15 minutes

Chicken cook time: About an hour


*1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

*1 Tbsp. Thai curry paste

*1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer layer removed, lightly crushed

*1 teaspoon ginger powder

*4 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed

*2 chicken legs (thigh and drumstick; about 1 1/2 lb. total)

*Kosher salt

*Toasted unsweetened coconut flakes, cilantro leaves with stems, cooked rice, and lime wedges (for serving)


*Place a rack in top third of oven.

*Preheat to 400F.

*Stir and combine coconut milk and curry paste in a 2-quart baking dish (or, use a medium skillet if that’s what you have).

*Add lemongrass, ginger and garlic.

*Season chicken with salt (go light on this since curry paste is high in salt).

*Place in baking dish and spoon a little liquid from the dish over the top.

*Bake, occasionally spooning liquid over, until chicken is browned, tender and cooked, 60–75 minutes (or internal meat temperature reaches 165F).

*Divide chicken between plates.

*Top with coconut flakes and cilantro.

*Serve with rice and lime wedges.

Recipe and Taste Tester - Cecelia Zook

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