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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.

  • Lisa Lou

Decorating For Spring

Updated: Jun 3, 2020

Top 5 Must Do’s

Are you ready for spring? Although I love the beginning of a new year where I can re-set my goals and turn over a new leaf, I have always felt spring brings about a cleansing of the soul like no other time or season. There is something about longer days, more sunshine and flowers bursting forth with color that brighten almost any mood. Spring is the time I take inventory of my home and prepare to make the transition from winter to summer. Here’s a list of my Top 5 Must Do’s:

1. Take Inventory: The first thing I do is take inventory of the things around my home that need attention. This can be from repairs to cleaning. That doggy door that was broken during Christmas? Time to get it fixed. The eaves that are overflowing with debris? Get the blower out. What about those filthy windows? Grab the Windex. Other items to consider: clean the refrigerator; power wash the patio furniture and sidewalk; deep clean your bathrooms and kitchen; change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.


2. Organize: Spring is the best time to organize your home. The pantry is usually overflowing with extra food from the holidays that has been sitting there for 3 months. And your garage often becomes a storage unit during winter, because you are too tired or it’s too cold for you to tackle. Use the spring to organize your pantry, closets and garage. I also organize all the drawers and cabinets in my office. After a year has passed, I have so many stacks of mismatched notebooks, pens and paperclips I could open my own supply store. It’s time to purge!


3. Go Shopping…At Home: One of my favorite ways to feel as though I have a fresh start is to re-arrange my furniture. If you have a room that just is not working, start by moving some pieces to another room. Or, store it in the garage to give you some breathing room until you can figure out what to do with it. If you find that piece no longer works in your home, then donate it to someone that will put it to good use. If you put away certain décor during winter, it is time to pull it back out. Changing up a room, even if that means you are just moving items from one place to another, can keep things from looking stale.


4. Add Color: After I have cleaned and organized my home, I have two more rituals that complete my spring preparation. I shop for color! This can be in the form of painting or refreshing an old wall or making a new purchase for my home. My favorite thing to do, and it seems to get the most bang for my buck, is to add a few brightly colored throw pillows to my couch. A pop of red, pink or green will do wonders to brighten up a room. I also bring color into my home in the form of flowers and foliage. Place a potted floral plant in a high traffic area in your home, like the great room or the kitchen. You do not need to overdo this, but a few well-placed plants can liven up a home. Don’t forget to add color to the outside of your home. This can be done with fresh planting, flowers and porch decorations. We have two rocking chairs out front, and I love to place a festive, colorful pillow in each of these. It’s the first thing I see when I come home each day.


5. The 5 Senses: When I decorate and entertain, I make sure the 5 senses are engaged. Not only do we want to see a beautiful home, but we need to be able to touch, taste, hear and smell a beautiful home. See and Touch: this was taken care of when we cleaned, organized, brought in beautiful plants and added new spring fabrics into our décor. Taste: now is a great time to bring in fresh fruits and revitalize your favorite summer recipes. Hear: it is a rare moment that you will walk into my home and NOT hear music playing. Songs are an easy way to lift your spirits, and spring is a perfect time to turn your thoughts to the beach with summer tunes you love. Smell: once I have completed all (or most) of the above, I celebrate my spring makeover by lighting a newly purchased candle. Smell is the most powerful sense we have that conjures up memories. Introduce beautiful aromas into your home that will cement happy times in the minds of those you love.


Together with you,

Lisa Lou

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