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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

Image: Story of an Interview



I had an interesting conversation with a friend today. Her son is in his 20s, and he made it to the final 3 for a job he is seeking. After a one-on-one interview with one of the executives, her son relayed an interesting conversation that had occurred. The executive told him, “You are smart, a go-getter and you know what you are doing, but the thing that has set you apart from the other two candidates is the way you dress. Whether we offer you the job or not, I want you to know how important this is. The other two guys showed up in sports coats and no tie. You have always been dressed in a suit and have shown us that your image matters. This is important, because if we hire you, you will be representing this firm, and we have to know you will represent us well.”

Whoa!!!! I felt like this executive had been reading my blogs! This is EXACTLY why image matters! You can read some of my other articles that talk more in depth about image, but I just wanted to use this example as an important reminder that how we present ourselves can make a difference in our level of success.

Our bodies are like a billboard on the main street of a busy intersection. When we walk into a room, we are telling people what they should think about us. A first impression will be formed about you in 2 seconds, EVEN if the other person never speaks to you. I often hear people say, “But that isn’t fair. Someone shouldn’t form an opinion about me without getting to know me first.” Wrong! The other person is forming an opinion about you, because you are telling them what to think about you! It is not the other way around.


When you are groomed, and your clothes are tailored to fit your body type it shows you care about yourself. It shows you take pride in who you are as a person. I always clarify when I speak of image, I am never referring to what one person might perceive as physically attractive. What constitutes beauty in modern society changes with each generation and is based on what is promoted in pop culture. In the Marilyn Monroe days, a curvy figure was what the world desired. Then came the toothpick-thin era where boney, narrow hips were all the rage. Now, we have moved to the bigger and more voluptuous “behind” as a sign of what others find attractive. Hey, that is good news for me. My pear-shaped body means I am back in vogue!

When we take pride in ourselves, groom ourselves, and wear clothes that fit, it does not matter what size we are, we will be seen by others as beautiful! Why? Because it is the pride and confidence that shines from within that is the real gem.


Counseling offices in universities across the country have begun bringing back etiquette, image, and protocol courses for their graduating seniors. Why? They have begun noticing many graduates are not being offered jobs in the work force, even when they have well-rounded resumes that appear to make them a desirable candidate. When these departments began asking companies why their students were not being hired, the common thread that was missing among the applicants was a basic knowledge of soft and social skills. These include dining and business etiquette, good communication, a well-groomed image, along with other intangible skills. It was not uncommon for an employer to say, “The candidate looks great on paper, but there is no way I can put them in front of a client. They would not represent us well.”

Nicholas Wyman with Forbes, stated, “Sadly, many college graduates lack both practical work experience as well as soft skills. These are the crucial people skills you need to land a job…”

Professor Cary Cooper of the Manchester Business School said, “…some graduates lack social skills and the ability to conduct face-to-face conversations.”

Image matters, because first impressions matter, and when you take pride in yourself you are portraying confidence in who you are as a person. As we have seen with my friend’s son, the positive portrayal of his image, along with his soft skills, may be the deciding factor to him securing his dream job.

The best news about obtaining soft skills and portraying a good image? It is 100% in your control!

Together with you,

Lisa Lou