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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.

  • Alina Gersib

Rosemary Mushroom Soup

Rich, decadent, and packed full of flavor, this soup sings of fall. Prepare your taste buds for a serious treat with this recipe as the combinations of flavors come together to create a dish that is difficult to forget. I used a mix of cremini and portabella mushrooms in this batch but in the past have tried it with button mushrooms and a handful of shiitakes. Portabellas adds a depth of flavor that is absolutely mouthwatering and I highly recommend adding a few if you can.

While you are picking up the ingredients for this dish, be sure to grab a fresh french baguette as it pairs perfectly with this soup. My fiancé and I both went back for seconds and wiped our bowls clean with slices of the bread. Before you start cooking make sure you have everything cut up as you need to stir continuously at the beginning of the recipe. Overall this meal is quite quick and simple to throw together yet has the flavor profile of a soup that has been simmering all day. Enjoy!

Rosemary Mushroom Soup
Download PDF • 901KB

Makes 4 servings

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes


*1 tablespoon butter

*4 cloves of garlic, minced

*1 large onion, diced

*1 pound of mushrooms, sliced (I like using a mix of cremini and portabella)

*1/2 teaspoon of salt

*1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

*1 tablespoon fresh rosemary

*1/4 cup red wine

*1/3 heaping cup all-purpose flour

*4 cups hot beef broth

*1/2 cup heavy cream + 1/2 cup water

*2 teaspoons fresh chives for garnish

*Truffle oil to drizzle


*Melt butter over medium to high heat in a large soup pot or dutch oven.

*Add onion and sauté, stirring until they start to brown for around 4 minutes. Lower heat to medium, add in garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.

*Add mushrooms, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their liquid.

*Turn the heat to medium-high and add in the red wine, allowing it to cook off completely. This should take about 4 minutes.

*Move heat back to medium and sprinkle flour over the mixture, stirring to coat.

*Pour in the broth and stir continuously until the soup has thickened and is at a steady simmer.

*Stir in heavy cream and water until well combined.

*Taste and adjust to preference. Add more cream for a richer soup or a bit of broth to thin.

*Serve with chives and a drizzle of truffle oil.

Recipe Creator - Alina Gersib