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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

Do’s and Don’ts When Planning a Vacation

Updated: Nov 6, 2020



I asked a friend who owns a travel agency to give me some quick Do’s and Don’ts when planning a trip. These tips were on the top of her list:

DO:

  • Travel with a trusted source. A cruise line, tour operator, hotel, etc. Whoever you do business with needs to have a proven track record. They should be financially sound so you know they will still be in business when you plan to travel.

  • Use a travel advisor to elevate your trip. Depending on the type of vacation there is usually a small fee attached, but you will save this in multiples due to the global connections they have that you do not. Not to mention the VIP treatment they receive that they can then pass along to you. Your advisor will serve as your advocate during the planning process, while you are on your vacation, and when you return home. If something goes wrong, they are there for you. Your advisor takes the stress off you so you can enjoy your vacation. They will also help you prioritize your interests based on your budget. Their expertise will save you time and money.

  • Have a plan and a backup plan as well!

  • Be sure you have all passports up to date. These need to be valid 6+ months past the date you plan on returning from vacation.

  • Be sure you have all necessary visas for your destination based on your citizenship along with any necessary vaccines required for travel.

  • Be sure you have considered travel insurance to cover you in the event of cancellation or medical emergencies.

DON’T:

  • Try to cram too much into a short vacation, especially international destinations. Example: you need 10-14 days just to see New Zealand, not New Zealand and Australia!

  • Make decisions based solely on reviews from websites and anonymous sources that you cannot verify. This is where you need to rely on your travel professional. She has vetted these places and will help you make good choices.

  • Select a destination based solely on lowest price during rainy season and then be disappointed when it rains every day of your vacation! As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.

  • Pick the wrong tour operator or destination for your travel style. You want a shopping trip? Then choosing a small town in a remote state, because it fits your budget, is probably not the best fit. Partner with an advisor that will listen to your needs and desires.

  • Eliminate cruising as an option for your family because you do not want to sail on a big ship. There are wonderful cruise lines with smaller ships including river cruises. These can also be great vacations when traveling with multi generations.

  • Go to Walt Disney World or Disneyland without a plan! You will be frustrated and waste time and money! (This was a bonus for our friends with children! 😊)


Cristina Buaas

Owner and Travel Advisor CSB Travel

cristina@csbtravel.com

713-807-0722

https://www.virtuoso.com/advisors/11363383/cristina-buaas#.XxnMcJ5Kgps

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