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.

  • Sami Reyna

Graduation Gifts

Graduation is a pivotal point in a young person’s life. It is the beginning of a season of responsibility, coming of age, and independence. As these twenty-somethings are about to discover the meaning of “adulting,” here are some gift ideas that will no doubt be a blessing in your college grad’s new life.

Business Accessories:

1. Luggage: Spare your grad the embarrassment of rolling around their juvenile luggage set on their first business travel! I recommend a quality set such as Tumi for a young professional.

2. Black designer bag: A great bag is a staple accessory that your grad will absolutely adore for years to come. She will exude confidence and appear polished for job interviews, networking events, and corporate dinners.

3. Leather portfolio: When walking into a business meeting, boardroom, or boss’s office, your grad will look perfectly professional with a monogrammed leather portfolio from Mark & Graham.

4. Golf clubs: It is no secret golf is popular in business, especially among upper management. If your grad is going into a corporate job, chances are this game is in his/her future. Get them ready with a set of new clubs!

Kitchen/Home Items:

1. Coffeemaker: I used to avoid signing up for those dreaded 8am classes in college. I remember the moment when I finally realized I would have to wake up early the rest of my life after I landed my first job! That is when my coffee habit began. Get your grad a coffee maker or espresso machine to help them ease the transition!

2. Instant Pot: Give the gift of convenience. Easy cooking with quick, one-pot meals after a long day of work. Better than spending on takeout!

3. Bed sheets: Gift your grad a great night’s sleep with quality, high thread-count sheets. I recommend a Parachute sheet set. I bought mine back in 2016 and am so impressed with how well they have held up all these years.

Self-Improvement Gifts:

1. Planner: Set the new graduate up for success with a daily planner! This is a great way for them to stay organized and help them reach their life and career goals. To see how Lisa Lou organizes, check out her Daily Journal blog.

2. Book: One of my wonderful mentors gifted me a book that had a big impact on her life. She included a beautiful, handwritten note wishing me success. Give your grad literature that has helped you in your own life or career!

3. Finance Courses: Everyone student needs good advice when it comes to money. Set them up with financial success from the very start. I highly recommend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. I learned about budgeting, saving, and investing in a simple, commonsense way.

4. Vitamin subscription: Part of adulting is self-care! Help your grad get into the habit of maintaining good health by starting with a daily multivitamin. I love Ritual!


It can be overwhelming for any grad to think of all the financial responsibilities and expenses that come after graduation. A cash gift is always appreciated and will be put to good use!

Samantha Reyna

Mom to 2 toddlers and loving wife