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Some dinner parties require a more formal protocol. For example, a military dinner will have strict guidelines as to where personnel will sit. If you are hosting a client dinner, you might also prefer a more formal arrangement. Even in a casual setting, you can choose to follow protocol to honor a special guest. The below description is based on a social party (vs. business), a rectangular table, and includes both men and women:

When hosting a dinner party, where you place your guests around the table is a crucial element for the success of your event. You presumably put thought into who you invited to the gathering. Do not stop there. The placement of each person around the table is something that should not be thrown together at the last minute.

I love entertaining friends and family in my home, especially during the holidays. But I must admit, it can be a bit overwhelming hosting a dinner party in the stage of life with little ones running around. The cooperation I receive from my toddlers is a significant factor in how efficient I am on a daily basis. Add in hosting a party, and it can be overwhelming. If you find yourself wanting to gather friends for a festive evening, here are my tried-and-true tips for entertaining with young children:

Planning a party can be fun, but do you know the best way to ensure everything runs smoothly? Have a rehearsal for your party. Yes, you heard correctly. You have spent a great deal of time planning your theme, creating your guestlist, and delivering your invitations. Now is the time to do a mock rehearsal which will allow you to create an action list of outstanding items around your home that might need attention. It also helps solidify any last-minute details.

These thirteen tips will get your through any dinner party. Here is a quick refresher. 

1. Leave The Cocktail Glass Behind:

If you are attending a dinner party, there may be cocktails offered before the meal begins. When the hostess signals it is time to head to the dining room, leave your drink behind. Why? The dining table has been pre-set with the glasses you will need and adding another to your place setting will only clutter the minimal real estate in front of you. Your palate is another reason to leave the cocktail behind. Many hostesses go to great lengths to pare wine with the food being served. Once seated at the table it is time to switch to wine or water.

You just received an invitation to a party, and the attire says: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture. What??? Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for a party, make it clear. We do not want our guests to solve a riddle to understand what is expected of them. There is a phrase I like to quote, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

Table manners are the area in which I receive the most 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 managing an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction. Even if you are unsure, most people do not care.

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food, drinks, a clean bathroom, and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest. When a hostess plans a party, a great deal of time is spent deciding who she will invite. What group of friends go well together?

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party looking scared, so unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screamed, “I wish I was anywhere but here!”

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 six steps below and the hostess will be singing your praises!

  • Lisa Lou

Q/A How to Find Time to Do the Things I Love

Q: With a full-time job and a new marriage, how do I find the time to do more of the things I love?


A: Finding time to do the things you want to do comes down to choices. There are 24 hours in a day, and YOU get to choose how you use them. When you have a spouse, the two of you need to make these decisions together, because it is no longer just about you. With that said, I will make two suggestions. One of the biggest time drains is social media. According to broadbandsearch.net Americans spend, on average, slightly over 2 hours a day on different platforms. That means, ON AVERAGE, a person will spend 14 hours every week watching what other people are doing. If I were trying to pick up more time in my day, I would start by analyzing how much time was spent in these areas. It may shock you (I know it did me!). If you find you spend 10 hours over a 7 day period checking Facebook and Instagram, ask yourself, “Could I give up 5 of those hours each week to focus on something I want to accomplish?” The answer is yes, you can. What it will come down to is how important it is to you. In life, we can choose to be observers of other people’s tales, or we can choose to write our own story.


The second thing I would recommend is waking up earlier. Could you give yourself an extra 30 minutes? Maybe a full hour? Sacrificing your rest will not be good for your health, and can keep you from being more productive, so you might need to adjust your bedtime schedule. What is more important, watching a Netflix show or working toward your goal? I will state it again, you can spend time in the evening living inside someone else’s tale, or you can go to bed an hour earlier so you can wake the next day to write your own story. Life is about choices. God gives us freedom to spend every 24 hours how we wish, but he also gives us a warning. “So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing? How long before you get out of bed? A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there, sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next? Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life, poverty your permanent houseguest!” -Proverbs 6:9-11 MSG. That is a strong warning. We reap what we sow. Our choices have consequences. I heard an interesting statement recently. A well-known public figure said a person does not become an adult until they ask themselves this one question before every decision they make. The question? “What is the cost?” (He was not talking financially.) His point is everything in life comes at a cost. If I spend 3 hours watching TV each night, I have cost myself sleep. If I choose to watch 3 hours of TV each night, and get the same amount of sleep, then I have cost myself 3 hours the next day that I could have used to pursue my goals, to write my own story. That question resonated with me. I have known people in their seventies that, by this definition, would not be adults. They still live in a child-like state chasing their next endorphin hit. I have begun asking myself this question. It is so simple, but it puts every decision I make into perspective. If something is important enough, you will make the sacrifice. You will pay the cost. Ask God to help you. He desires that you accomplish your purpose in life. He put you here for a reason. You have a part to play. I have confidence in you! You CAN accomplish what God has laid on your heart to do! Go for it!

Lisa Lou