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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.

  • Lisa Lou

Social Guidelines for Wearing a Hat


woman wearing a hat

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.

The purpose of a hat was to keep you warm and the sun off your face. It also served as a barrier to dirt and dust. Imagine walking down a road where horses and carriages were passing. The amount of grit tossed in the air meant those walking nearby were coated in a layer of grime. The brim of a hat functioned to keep dirt and water away from the head and face. We see the hat had a purpose other than style, but why was it proper for men to remove their hat when entering a building? For the simple reason, the hat was usually dirty. If a man were to leave his hat on while sitting at the dining table, dirt and dust would fall from the brim and likely into his food.

Today, if you walk into a restaurant with a trench coat covered in rainwater, would you keep it on at the dining table? No. You would remove it at the entrance of the restaurant and retrieve it upon leaving. If you are working in your garden before dinner, do you wash your hands before sitting down at the table? Yes. Why? You do not want to contaminate your food. A man removing his hat, especially in the industrial era, was a matter of personal hygiene.

Why were women not required to remove their hats? Because their hat usually served a different role. A woman’s hat could keep the harsh elements away, but these head coverings were more for fashion than function. They were also used for modesty. In some religions covering a woman’s head was (and still is) required.


Some female hats had brims, but others were simple caps that coordinated with their attire. Pins, ribbons, and bows were used to secure them in place, and removing the hat was a big ordeal as they did not come off easily. The purpose of a woman’s hat was not as much for hygiene as it was for fashion. Therefore, women were exempt from removing their hat.


Now that we understand the background of hat etiquette, let’s discuss what is expected today.

Men still need to remove their hat when entering a building. If you are simply walking through a corridor or a public place, you may leave it on. Once you enter an area where you will be staying (office, restaurant, theatre), remove your hat.


“Do I remove my hat at the dinner table?” If you are expected to remove your hat when you enter an establishment, then, yes, you remove your hat at the dinner table. In reality, your hat should be off before you approach the dinner table, since you would have removed it as soon as you entered the building.


Other places you are expected to remove your hat:

1. Places of worship (unless your religion requires you wear head covering)

2. When you stand for the National Anthem (if you are attending an outdoor baseball game, you are probably wearing a hat, therefore remove it during the anthem)

3. Whenever the U.S. or state flags pass by (as in a color guard ceremony)

4. During a funeral procession (even if you are outdoors)

5. During a prayer (even if outside, the hat is removed)

6. Weddings (even if outside)

7. Dedications (inside or outside, the hat is removed during a dedication)

8. Photographs (if a picture is being taken of you, remove your hat, unless part of your costume)

9. When you are being introduced to someone (this is a sign of respect)


How to take your hat off when greeting someone:

Remove the hat with your left hand so your right hand is free to shake. Place the hat lining towards your body so only the outside of your hat is visible to those around you. Why? The inside of your hat is dirty.


Where to put your hat during the anthem (or another ceremonial event):

Remove your hat with your right hand and place your hat over your heart. You may also set your hat on a chair. It is up to you.

When entering an establishment, ask if they have a hat rack. If not, place your hat on a nearby chair. Do not put your hat on a table. Why? For the same reason women should never put their purse on a table. Hygiene!


Most hat rules for men have not changed throughout history. The biggest change in hat etiquette has been for women. Even today, women do not need to remove their hat when they enter a building unless they are wearing a unisex covering. An example would be a baseball cap. This is a hat worn by both men and women; therefore, a woman is expected to remove this type of hat. The easiest way to remember this is when wearing a unisex hat, women should follow the same rules as men.

Example: If a woman is attending a ballgame in her baseball cap and the national anthem is played, she should remove her hat. Why? She is wearing a unisex covering.

Overall, women still have more leeway than men when it comes to hat etiquette. A decorative hat, for example, does not need to be removed. A unisex hat does need to be removed. The exception to this is if your fashionable hat has a wide brim and will obstruct someone’s view. If you are attending a theatre performance, remove your hat if it interferes with other’s ability to see. Side note: Wide brimmed hats are meant for daytime. Why? A wide brim kept the sun off your face. If it is evening, then the purpose of the wide brim is no longer relevant. If you are attending a theatre performance in the evening, you should not have a problem with your hat interfering with others if you stick to the protocol that brims are only for daytime.


Let’s wrap this up and make it simple. Men, remove your hats. Women, remove your unisex hats. If you cannot remember…remove your hat.


Together with you,

Lisa Lou


(The above points are for civilian men and women. Military protocol regarding head coverings is quite different.)