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We could spend hours diving into every aspect of table do’s and don’ts, but I want to give you my top 13 tips that will help you navigate any social or business gathering with confidence.

When God knitted together our precious children before they were even born, I am convinced he also wove in their personalities, gifts, and a love language! The concept of “love languages” is that each of us expresses and receives love in a unique way. The five love languages identified by Gary Chapman in his bestselling book are: Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Gifts.

When God knitted together our precious children before they were even born, I am convinced he also wove in their personalities, gifts, and a love language! The concept of “love languages” is that each of us expresses and receives love in a unique way. The five love languages identified by Gary Chapman in his bestselling book are: Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Gifts.

Vacations are back on the calendar, and many people are crossing the country through our friendly skies. I thought a refresher on airport and plane travel might do us all a little good.

I heard the most interesting ad the other day. There is a company that offers private-type flights for the commercial world. They describe themselves as a “hop on jet service.” On their website it states, “The convenience of private air but at commercial prices.” I looked them up, and there was one flight from Dallas to Houston for only $99!

“Conflict is part of every marriage. Thirty-seven percent of newlyweds admit to being more critical of their mates after marriage. And 30 percent report an increase in arguments. Whether you argue does not determine the health of your marriage. Far more important than how often you argue is how you argue.

With Father’s Day coming soon, you and your family will be celebrating one of the most important men in your life- Dad. As a child, he was your hero, your protector, and your solid rock. Now that you are older, you admire him for all that he has done for you and you still look to him for advice and wisdom. Picking out the perfect gift for Dad is not easy!

School is almost out for summer! Many of us want to gift our child’s teacher something special at the end of the year for all the love, kindness, and patience they have poured out on our little ones. Being a teacher is not easy, and they are so deserving of our gratitude especially after this wild 20/21 school year! Some common go-to gifts you might have thought of are bath and body products, Starbucks gift cards and mugs, but below are some additional gift ideas your child’s teacher will be touched to receive:

School is almost out for summer! Many of us want to gift our child’s teacher something special at the end of the year for all the love, kindness, and patience they have poured out on our little ones. Being a teacher is not easy, and they are so deserving of our gratitude especially after this wild 20/21 school year! Some common go-to gifts you might have thought of are bath and body products, Starbucks gift cards and mugs, but below are some additional gift ideas your child’s teacher will be touched to receive:

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.

If some of you are thinking, “I believe I have read this letter before,” you would be correct. Our son and daughter (in law) had a beautiful wedding ceremony planned for April of 2020. As with thousands around the country, they had to postpone the big event, but chose to hold a private covenant ceremony in our backyard. Well, we are finally celebrating their wedding vows, and it was on my heart to re-post the letter I wrote to my son last year. Some things have changed (he is now 25, not 24 as the letter states), but I hope you enjoy!

 I heard the most interesting ad the other day. There is a company that offers private-type flights for the commercial world. They describe themselves as a “hop on jet service.” On their website it states, “The convenience of private air but at commercial prices.” I looked them up, and there was one flight from Dallas to Houston for only $99! 

“We read a lot of articles and books about how to get through the engagement process, but no one ever talked to us about what it would be like the first year of our marriage. I wish we had known what to expect,” said one of the couples my husband and I mentor. This is a common comment, and if you find yourself having similar feelings, do not fret! You are not alone. The first year of marriage is fabulous, but it can also be difficult. Two people learning to become one does not happen overnight.

We all like to think we have good manners in marriage, but with the people that are closest to us, we can sometimes find ourselves slipping a bit. As stated by Cindy Grosso of the Charleston School of Protocol, manners are not about a bunch of rules. Manners are the outward manifestation of the condition of our heart. If we have a heart that loves, honors, respects, and cherishes our spouse, then these traits will show in how we behave.

Society is opening and people are resuming long overdue vacations. This is great news! I recently posted some tips on making your travels successful, but let’s focus on dos and don’ts of traveling with friends.

 

1. Boundaries: When traveling with others, set guidelines, boundaries, and expectations before leaving town. If you know you and your husband want one night to yourselves, express this up front. If a quiet breakfast in bed is necessary to start your day, see if this fits with the group’s schedule. 

  • Lisa Lou

My 10 Favorite Hostess Gifts

Updated: May 3


Giving a party 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. I love the challenge of putting together a nice basket of goodies for pennies on the dollar. When trying to figure out what you should bring, keep in mind what type of party you are attending. Is it a formal dinner? A backyard BBQ? Also, know the likes and dislikes of your hostess. If she is allergic to flowers, you probably will not arrive with a bouquet in hand.


I like to give items that can be consumed in some fashion (and this does not just mean oral consumption). This way I have not taken up precious space in her home with something she might or might not enjoy. Here is a list of some of my favorite hostess gifts.


Wine

Yes, this is what everyone seems to say, but, if you have a hostess that enjoys great wine, it really is nice to give. Put some thought into the selection. Maybe the two of you tried a new chardonnay at a local restaurant, and you both loved it. Purchase a bottle of this with a note attached saying how much you treasure your friendship. If she enjoys vacationing in a certain region or country, see if you can purchase a bottle from that area. If you do not wish to bring wine, bring an elegant wine stopper to add to her collection.


Food

Food can be nice to bring, but make sure it is the right type of food. If the hostess has invited you over for dinner, showing up with a platter of appetizers would not be the best choice. She has worked hard on her menu and might feel obligated to serve what you brought. The added addition might mess up the food choices she has planned. Instead, bring something for her to enjoy later, or maybe something that has meaning to you. I love giving a small bottle of our favorite home-made steak rub. It is unique and shows I took time to give something made by hand. Or stir up a batch of your favorite pasta sauce. You can tie a raffia bow around the lid and attach a wooden serving spoon.


One of the more enjoyable gifts I have received was a basket filled with Graham crackers, a bag of marshmallows, and 8 Hershey bars. It was my own little s’mores kit! Memorable and delicious. If you decide to bring food, let the hostess know this is a special treat to be enjoyed after the party. By doing this you are saying, “I brought food, but I do not expect you to serve this during the party.”


Stationary

A box of notecards or a journal makes a wonderful gift. Maybe purchase a gratitude book where she can keep track of moments and people she is grateful for. Add to the beauty of the journal by writing on the first page how much you appreciate her. Attach a pretty pen and you have a memorable gift.


Paper Guest Towels

I never have enough of these, so this is a favorite item I enjoy giving. You do not even need to wrap these. Just tie a festive bow and attach your greeting card.


Soaps

Beautiful hand soaps are a favorite for many. A bottle of pump foam goes great in the kitchen or powder room.


Christmas Ornament

I love presenting a beautiful ornament during the holidays, but only if I know my hostess has an eclectic tree. Giving a hanging football with the name of her favorite college team probably does not work when her tree is decorated with crystal balls. Of course, ornaments can be collected and used in other ways. So, as with everything else, know your audience.


Candle

A candle is always a well-received gift. If the hostess has a certain brand she enjoys, then treat her to her favorite fragrance. Candles are a great item you can stack up on during after-Christmas sales. Most stores will mark down their seasonal merchandise from 50-75% off.


Reading Material

If your hostess is a reader, purchase the newest release from her favorite author, or bring a gift card to the local bookstore. A stack of her favorite magazines would be fun or a subscription for an audible book app are two other ideas.


Coffee

This could go under the food category, but it makes a wonderful gift, so I listed it separately. Purchase a fun mug and a bag of her favorite flavored coffee. This can be done with tea, too. There are wonderful little pots that come with a single teacup on top. Wrap this in cellophane, add a bow and include her favorite tea leaves.


Games

I enjoy giving board games, if I know this is something my hostess and her family enjoy. A nice deck of cards with the family’s initials printed on the front is a treat.


Many of the above items I have found for $10 or less at my local discount store. A hostess gift does not need to be expensive, but it should be memorable and show you have taken time to think about the recipient. This is your way of showing her that she is appreciated and valued for gifting YOU an evening of celebration.

Together with you,

Lisa Lou