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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

Invitations/RSVP



You are Invited!!!


There is something special we feel when we receive an invitation. It is the anticipation of a celebration, the excitement of choosing what to wear, but more importantly, it is the affirmation that tells us, “I was chosen!” We know a hostess has responsibilities to ensure her party is a success, but did you know there are expectations of the guests? And your first job begins when you receive an invitation that says RSVP. Follow the 5 steps below and the hostess will be singing your praises!


1. First, determine if you want to attend. This sounds strange to some, but I often have people tell me, “But I don’t really want to go.” My answer: Then do not go. Maybe you know you have a busy week leading up to the party and your plan is to live in your pajamas all weekend. Or, maybe the party being offered is not of interest to you. That is fine. In most situations, you are not obligated to attend, and you do not owe an explanation. Whatever you decide, though, just decide. Accept or decline and move on.


2. Once you have decided if you will or will not attend, the next step is to check the invitation to see if a response is required. Most hostesses will ask for an RSVP (which is an abbreviated French phrase that means “please reply”). If you see those letters written, or some other form of request made that you reply, then guess what? You reply.


The biggest headache most hostesses encounter is the lack of guest responses. If a friend sent you a text asking you to meet her for lunch, would you ignore her? Or, would you quickly send a text back with a yes or no? The same holds true when responding to an invitation. When a guest does not respond, the hostess is left wondering how much food to purchase and prepare, how many chairs to place at the dinner table, if anyone will even be attending her party. The hostess has extended a kind invitation, and it causes stress and difficulty when guests do not respond. So, respond!


3. Even if the RSVP has a deadline for the reply the rule of thumb is to respond within 24-48 hours of receipt of the invitation. Within 24-48 hours?!? Yes, within 24-48 hours. I understand we live busy lives that can require a few days to shuffle things around, but if you cannot respond within the first 2 days, then let the hostess know you have received her invitation and you are re-arranging your schedule so you can attend. Tell her you will give her an answer by a certain date. This lets her know you want to be at her party. She will proceed as though you are attending, which helps her in early preparations. If you receive an invitation and know you cannot attend, then there is no reason to delay your response. Reply right away. Sometimes a hostess only has room for a certain number of people in her home, and if you quickly decline the invitation, she might have the opportunity to invite other guests. Bottom line do not leave her hanging. Respond quickly.


4. Respond to the invitation in the way in which the hostess has requested. If she lists her phone number, then respond by calling. If she lists her email, then email your response. If she does not specify, then respond however you wish (phone, email, hand-written note). When I am hosting a party, my personal preference is to only list email. I do not wish to receive a lot of phone calls, so I do not give that as an option. Know your audience, though. If some of your guests are older and not as computer savvy, then provide a phone number along with an email.


If you run into your party hostess when you are out and about, it is fine to tell her you are attending (or not attending), but still respond to the invitation in the manner she requested. If I run into an invited guest at the grocery store, and she tells me that her family will be attending my party, my “too full” brain does not remember this by the time I get to my car. “Did she say yes, or no? Did she say only she and her husband will be attending or are they bringing the entire family?” Tell her you are excited to attend her gathering, but that you will reply to the invitation officially when you get home. This way she does not have to worry about remembering what you said. One last point. If the party is being given in someone’s honor you still need to respond to the hostess. Letting the bride know is nice, but it is not her job to then tell the hostess who is and is not attending. Plus, she may not remember to pass along your response. When I respond to a party in someone’s honor, I will email the hostess and copy the honoree. In summary, send your response in the manner listed on the invitation. The hostess has stated her request for a reason.


5. “I want to attend, but what if something else comes up?” I hear this quite often. The answer: rarely should your response change. If you want to attend the party, and your calendar is clear, then respond in the affirmative. If a “big” something comes up that you must attend (your best friend is having an engagement party and you are the maid of honor or you must attend a funeral), it is fine to call the hostess and let her know that you regrettably must change your reply. I would let her know why so she does not think you decided to bail. However, changing your reply because you received a bigger, better deal, or simply because you do not “feel” like going on the day of the party, is not cool. The hostess has gone to a lot of trouble to give the gift of a wonderful evening. Not only that, you may have been invited for a certain reason. Maybe she needs your personality to balance out the other guests at the dinner party. If you bail on her, it leaves her in a tight spot. Remember, to have good friends, you must be a good friend. Do your part, even when you might not feel like it.

To genuinely appreciate life, we must be present. There are two words my husband and I live by: be intentional and be present. Two things will happen if you continually turn down invitations. First, you will eventually be excluded. Hostesses do not continue to invite people that repeatedly turn them down. Eventually, the hostess will assume you are not interested in forging a deeper relationship, so there will come a time she will exclude you from future parties.

Secondly, and more importantly, when we constantly decline invitations, we miss out on being present in life. When we attend parties, even when we do not know the other guests, we expand our minds and learn more about the different worlds around us. We also expand our networking base, which ultimately expands our sphere of influence. Do you wish you had more influence in the world? This can only happen if you increase the size of territory around you. The way to expand our horizon is through interaction with others and continual education, and the best way to accomplish this is to be present. Do not sit life out on the sidelines. Accept the invitation!

Together with you,

Lisa Lou

Get rid of the noise in your life. Join Lisa Lou and receive commonsense, faith-based advice for the modern woman.

© 2021 Lisa Lou by Kaio

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