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Mother’s Day is quickly approaching! As a busy mom, Mother’s Day can sneak up on you with the chaos of end of the year school activities, home projects, and travel plans. Moms have a heart of gold and do not have expectations of presents, but we still love the gesture of gifting to make the day special and show our appreciation for everything she does for the family.

“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. 

The world is opening, and it is time to celebrate! One of the first things people are doing as they exercise their recaptured freedom is heading out of town to new destinations. I thought a few refresher tips on travel might be good for all of us.

Walking into the room, my husband pauses in front of the TV. Turning to me with a spoiler alert about my favorite Hallmark movie he says, “Hey Lisa…they get married.” And you know what? He’s right! The girl found her prince charming, and the couple has a happy ending, every time.

How many mornings have we left home in a state of utter chaos? Breakfast was late, children were crying, and we hurriedly throw on clothes from the night before only to realize how wrinkled we look. This mad dash makes for an unpleasant parting from our family and it is usually caused by a disorganized approach to our routine. So much of the bedlam we experience at the beginning of the day can be avoided if we are willing to implement a few tasks the night before.

The mamor (mother-in-law) and damor (daughter-in-law) relationship is meant to be beautiful and strong. In parts 1 and 2 of our series we learned why women in these roles might have certain feelings in their new family dynamics. Once we learned the “why” we then explored practical steps we can take to strengthen these special bonds. As we bring our series to a close, I want to impart some words of wisdom we all need to hear, and be reminded of, to ensure we create a healthy, life-long bond between the mamor/damor.

In part one of our series on the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship we learned why the women who find themselves in these roles often experience emotions ranging from pure joy to hurt and sadness. Once we discovered the answers, our understanding of this special relationship came into focus. We had an “aha” moment which makes our path forward easier to navigate.

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.

As Texas plunged into single digits with multiple days of a windchill below freezing, millions found themselves stranded with no power or water. Living along the Gulf Coast we have weathered hurricanes and endured power outages for much longer periods, but somehow this seemed different. Maybe for those of us close to the shoreline it was the unusual sight of snow we experienced as opposed to the natural disasters we usually face that arrive with rain, wind, and sweltering heat.

Our son and daughter (in law) were finally able to take a long-overdue honeymoon to St. Lucia in December. Cecelia interned one summer for a travel agent so naturally called the company to book their trip. What an incredible experience they had, and I was reminded WHY using a travel agent is worth the expense. Fees range depending on the service, but most charge between $300-350 to plan a vacation somewhere in the Caribbean Islands. 

Q: I will be a new mom soon, and I have been preparing for life “after” a newborn. There is a lot of information on raising babies, and how dads can support mom, but I cannot find much on how moms can support dads. A lot of my mental preparation has been around my marriage. Specific questions: How do I preserve my marriage? How do we embrace the changes? How do I maintain my husband as a priority when we have a tiny human demanding everything? How can I help my husband bond with our new child?

Want to set your children up for success? Then look no further than the habits of successful people you know, whether that be in the corporate world, media, or within your own circle of friends. Experts agree that there are certain common traits all successful people possess. This is great news because it means we can emulate those leaders that have come before us. 

Many of us grew up learning multitasking was a hallmark of a productive person. While sounding good in theory, this practice has proven to be incorrect. Studies now reveal that multitasking is nothing more than switching back and forth between tasks and it lowers our productivity. Below are 5 points that deal with the facts behind project hopping and the lack of performance that occurs when we allow seemingly innocuous interruptions to occur in daily life.

  • Lisa Lou

What Do I Wear to the Party?




Attire: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture


WHAT????


Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for your party, make it clear. Do not let your creative thoughts have you writing a description that requires an interpreter. We do not want to force 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.” When we are unclear, this only serves to add undo stress on those we have invited. An invitation to a party should be a joyful experience from beginning to end. Growing up with grandparents that were cattle ranchers, if I received an invitation that said “cowboy” in it, I would don my favorite pair of jeans and boots and head out the door. The word “couture” might give me a clue that I should elevate my choice of attire, but why leave your guests wondering?

If you have been invited to a party, most likely the dress suggested will fall under one of the categories below.


Casual

Let me clarify up front. Casual does not mean athletic gear or cutoff shorts. Save this for the gym or yard work.

Women: If your invitation says casual, the best choice is a pair of jeans and a cute top. A comfortable pair of crop pants and flats always works, too.

Men: A nice pair of jeans and a collared shirt. This can be a golf shirt or a button down with the sleeves rolled up. *


*Casual Chic

Step up your game a little in the casual department.

Women: Add heals with your jeans and throw on a blazer. This has you covered.

Men: If you mix jeans with a sports jacket, you will fit right in.


Business Casual

Women: Business skirt or slacks and a blouse. Maybe throw on a blazer.

Men: Slacks, a collared shirt and a sports coat or blazer. Know your audience when choosing your dress. There are some groups that feel Business Casual is your standard khakis, button down and no jacket. When my husband receives a Business Casual invitation, he always wears some type of jacket. If his attire is too dressy when he arrives, he can leave the coat in the car. It is better to be overdressed than underdressed.


Cocktail

Women: A short, black dress is usually a great “go-to” outfit. Throw on some jewelry, heels and a great handbag, and you are set.

Men: Dark suit with a tie.


Black Tie Optional

I find this dress code more difficult, because it leaves people wondering which way they should go. Let me clear this up. The word “optional” means, “If you do not own a tux, or just do not feel like renting one, we do not want this to keep you from attending our event, so come on anyway.” The hostess is saying she wants you in black tie, but your presence is more important to her than your attire. So, when my husband and I receive a Black Tie Optional invitation, we always err on the dressier side and go Black Tie! If you do not wish to do this, though, here is the best choice.

Women: A longer dress, but not floor length, heels and great jewelry.

Men: Dark suit, white shirt, and very dark tie. Preferably a solid black or dark navy. This can be a regular tie or a bow tie.


Black Tie

This is the easiest to decipher, because we all know what to expect.

Women: Floor length gown.

Men: Tuxedo.


In all things, though, know your audience and your hostess. A Hollywood gala or political black-tie event might be dressier than a friend’s 7p.m. wedding. Use your judgement and feel free to ask the hostess what she is wearing. This is sometimes the best route!


*A comment about men and shorts. In our casual culture today, it is more common and acceptable to see grown men wearing shorts. A word of caution, though. Here is a quick recap on the history of shorts and when they should and should not be worn.