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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.

  • Alina Gersib

Top 10 Parks Around Houston

In the sprawling metropolis that is Houston, Texas, it can be difficult to get away from the traffic and noise. In order to destress and reconnect with nature, finding a good park to walk, run, or sit on a bench and enjoy is crucial. Having lived in The Med Center, Galleria, and Heights, I quickly learned about the best parks in and around the city. If you’re looking for a spot for some peace and tranquility, be sure to check out one of these Top 10 Houston Parks. (In no particular order)


1. Herman Park

With ample space and a variety of different attractions this park always has something new to see. Depending on what you want your park experience to be you can rent bikes and ride around the outer loop. Visit the Centennial Gardens and climb to the top of the mound. Or go feed the ducks on the lake by the zoo.

2. Brays Bayou Park

Though this park is located right next to Herman Park and even has bridges that attach the two, it has a dramatically different feel from its more structured neighbor. One section in particular, about a quarter mile to the right of the main parking area, takes you into an area which quickly transports you out of the city. The forested grove feels more akin to something out of a Tolkien novel.

3. Evelyn’s Park Conservancy

This little gem was one of my favorite places to people watch or set up my computer and work. There is an adorable little restaurant on the grounds called Betsy’s at Evelyn’s Park which has delicious coffee, food, and drinks. Events happen frequently on the lawn space at this park and there is an area with Alice in Wonderland statues and quotes which is fun to walk around.


4. Menil Park

Photo Menil Collection


Though tiny, this park was a go-to while I lived in Houston. It was always enjoyable to walk through the Menil Collection or sit in the Rothko Chapel before going out to the green space and laying on the grass. The area is perfect for a picnic blanket and to admire a sunset while listening to the hum of conversation floating through the air.

5. Buffalo Bayou Park

Sandwiched between Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive this park is a great spot to visit on a hot summer day as a breeze from the Bayou tends to make it cooler than other areas. Though not a park, a must visit while you’re there is the Buffalo Park Cistern. Reserve tickets online so you get a spot, and marvel at the incredible Romanesque architecture while learning about the fascinating history of this cistern that supplied the city with water starting in 1926.

6. West 11th Street Park

This gorgeous little park in the heights is full of a surprising number of wooded trails. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a place to walk, run, or explore. Educational markers give information on native plants, and birds and small wildlife are incredibly active within these tranquil woods.

7. Memorial Park

Memorial Park (Memorial Park Conservancy)

It’s difficult to talk about Houston parks and leave this popular spot off of the list. With its famous dirt running/walking loop and a vast outlet of mountain biking and hiking trails this is an area many enjoy. The Picnic Loop Trail has some great running areas if you’re looking for something a little off the beaten path.


8. Levy Park

Photo Urban Land Institute and Levy Park

Filled with all sorts of whimsical playground equipment and climbing areas, this park would be a hit if you have any kiddos. My fiancé and I enjoyed strolling in the park and playing ping-pong at the free tables.

9. Terry Hershey Park

If you’re looking for a spot for either a long run or bike ride, this loop is a great place to check out. With more than 500 acres it makes for a huge area of outdoor exploration. There are also plenty of benches, playground equipment, and restrooms along the route if you’re planning for a day out with your family.

10. Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

A park perfect for nature lovers. The many paved, dirt, and wooded paths provide an up close look at native Texas Wildlife. There is no running or biking in the park, so this is a spot to come to if you’re looking for a leisurely stroll on pristine grounds.

-Alina Gersib