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A toast may be offered in any setting and made to an individual or a group. Increase your confidence at your next social gathering by learning the ins and outs of this ancient tradition. Toasting to someone’s health or honor goes back to biblical times and can be found in most cultures including the Egyptians, Greeks, and Persians.

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

7 Tips to Be the Perfect Guest

Updated: May 3


Navigate A Party Checklist
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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? Do the different generations get along? What personality types will enjoy interacting? When an invitation is extended it is expected those invited will elevate the atmosphere and be joyful participants in the celebration. When a guest shows up late or stands in a corner and does not mingle, this causes undo stress for the host. Listed below are a few obligations every guest should fulfill.


RSVP

Within 24-48 hours of receiving the invitation, RSVP (French phrase for “please respond”) to your hostess and either accept or decline her invitation. Do not wait for the “respond by” deadline. This is printed only as a last resort. The hostess needs your answer as soon as possible.


Bring A Gift

Arrive with a hostess gift in hand.


Be On Time

If the party invitation says 7p.m., do not show up at 7:30p.m. The acceptable time to arrive is from the exact start of the party to approximately 15 minutes after the time stated on the invitation. Why does this matter? Your hostess has invited you to be a part of the atmosphere she has created. She is counting on your presence to help make the evening a success. If it is a sit-down dinner, and you are late, then she must hold the meal not only for you, but for everyone else. This can cause the food to become cold and guests to become “hangry.”


The one exception on arrival time is if you are attending an Open House. The hostess has clearly stated on the invitation that this is a come-and-go party. You may arrive at any time during the parameters stated by your hostess. Keep in mind it is polite to stay, at minimum, an hour. So, if the invitation says Open House from 7-10 p.m., arrive no later than 9p.m. One other important point…never be early! Most hostesses are putting the final touches on their event up to the very last minute. If you show up even 5 minutes early, it will likely catch her off-guard. If you are more comfortable arriving early to ensure you are on time, then park around the corner and wait in the car. Bottom line, just be on time.


Offer A Helping Hand

If you see your hostess excuse herself to work in the kitchen, offer to help. Tell her you would love to butter the rolls and put them in the oven. Or offer to pour beverages into the glasses. After the meal, help your hostess clear the table. If she refuses your aid, do not ask again. She may have a routine she likes carried out a certain way, and although your intentions are good, your assistance may cause more chaos. Offer your assistance, but if you receive a “no” then sit down and enjoy the party. What she may want most from you is peace of mind knowing you are helping entertain her other guests.


Socialize

A hostess has expectations of her guests. They were invited to her home because she wanted to shower them with hospitality, but they were also hand-picked because she knew they would mingle well with those in attendance. As a guest we have the obligation to help “carry” the party. This is not a time to be shy. Walk up to different groups and introduce yourself. When I attend a party, I like to find the person in a room that is standing by themselves. I usually make them the first person I approach. One, I know they appreciate it, and two, I know this helps my hostess. If you are attending a sit-down dinner, the evening will usually begin with cocktails that last 30-45 minutes. If small talk is an area where you struggle, click the link for a great blog on conversation starters.


Do Not Overindulge On Hors d’oeuvres:

You want to enjoy the dinner, so do not fill up before the meal. You also want to make sure the other guests enjoy the delicacies. A good rule of thumb for the party goer is to take one of each type of hors d’oeuvre that is passed. The server will be back again soon, and you may help yourself to more at that time. If the food is on a buffet table take no more than two of each as you pass through the line. You may go back for seconds once everyone has had an opportunity to fill their plate. Most hostesses plan for 5 individual hors d’oeuvres for each guest, so if you take more than this, you are depleting her supply and keeping other guests from partaking.


Fun tidbit: Hors d’oeuvre is a French word meaning “outside the meal.” It is generally small enough to consume in one bite and is served from a stationary table or passed by the catering staff. It is served during cocktails before a dinner party. Appetizers are different from hors d’oeuvres. Appetizers are what is served before the main entrée while seated at a dinner table.


Participate!

You were invited to be a lively part of the evening. Do not hide in a corner or exclude yourself from participating in the evening’s activities, even if it is not your favorite thing to do. If, after dinner, a game of charades takes place, participate. If the host wants to show you the car he is working on in the garage, show interest. Be a good sport and “go along” (within reason 😊).


Just as we have certain expectations when we attend a party, we also have an obligation when we are a guest. I have hosted several Murder Mystery dinner parties over the years, and those I invited have always gone above and beyond to dress in costume.

It is great fun when we can all laugh together as we move into our character roles throughout the evening. One time, though, I had a couple ignore the request for costumes and show up in street clothes. They were the last to arrive and it dampened the mood for everyone else. I did not know this couple well and their comment to me was, “We just don’t really get into dressing up.” As I have stated in other blogs, there is nothing wrong with declining an invitation to an event you just do not wish to attend. The hostess has gone to a great deal of effort to put together a wonderful evening, and if you are not prepared to fully participate, it is better for you and the hostess if you stay home. When we are a guest, we have a responsibility to be a welcome addition to the party. This is the best way to show your love and gratitude for a wonderful evening!


Together with you,

Lisa Lou