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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.

The way my husband structures his day is different from how I organize mine, but there is one thing we both do. We start with a morning routine. I make coffee, read the news while eating my breakfast, and then dive into an hour of bible study. Once I finish, I pull out my journal and plan my day. About 2 years ago I discovered an organizational method that resonated with me.

Remember as children, during holidays, we would spend what seemed like hours creating homemade craft projects for our parents? It might be a paper Christmas snowflake sprinkled with glitter or a cutout heart for Valentine’s Day. We would address it: To: Mom or To: Dad. We would sign our name, and this become the gift we gave our parents. The act of giving is how we should view all letters, especially a thank you note. We may not be cutting out cute hearts, but when we take time to put pen to paper and share a little of ourselves with someone else, we are giving a part of our heart to another.  

People give to make you feel loved and remembered. Sometimes gifts are given out of obligation, but mostly they are presented to honor a special relationship or occasion. No matter the reason, we need to know how to show our appreciation. Here are my 7 tips to become a gracious gift receiver.  

Table manners seem to be the area in which I receive most of my questions, but it is introductions that have people the most baffled. After I explain the correct way to conduct an introduction, I often get that starry-eyed stare that tells me, “I really don’t understand what you just said.” To help all of us, I have broken down the process into a simple format. Before I proceed, let me say this. Do not let a lack of confidence in handling an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction.

I recently bumped into a friend at the store, and as we began talking, she expressed how she struggles with the holidays. When January rolls around, she feels like she somehow “missed out.” I understand this feeling because I, too, have often felt this way. Life was so busy with the preparation of celebration, that I missed the joy that awaited each of us this time of year.

How can you tell if someone will be successful? When I was in high school, they still had a category for a graduating senior titled: Voted Most Likely to Succeed. How, at 18-years-old, could classmates look at someone and say, “Yeah, I think they will be the most successful person in our graduating class.”

  • Lisa Lou

Why a Travel Agent Makes Sense!

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.

When you hire a professional, you benefit from all the influence and connections they have built over the years with the various hotels and resorts. Whatever perks the company is given, they can easily pass along to their clients. Look at the bonuses Caz and Cecelia received because they hired a travel expert:

  • $560: 7 days of free breakfast-for-2

  • $100: resort credit to spend as they wished

  • Bottle of champagne greeting them in their room upon arrival

  • Free wi-fi

  • Early check-in and late check-out

  • And the best upgrade of all: because there was availability, they were moved to one of the most expensive suites which came with a private butler!

Total benefits received: Just under $3,000!

Using an agent also guarantees other benefits. When Caz and Cecelia arrived, the hotel had already been informed of their food likes/dislikes/allergies, as well as the reason for the vacation, which came with its own bonuses provided by the hotel.

In our current, and post, COVID world I believe utilizing the many services of an agent becomes even more important. I am planning a trip to Maine for the summer. One of our friends who is traveling with us has a family member who lives in the state. We were just informed that a negative COVID test is required for those of us coming for a visit outside the state. It is either that, or we must quarantine for 10 days. I would not have known this if we had not been privy to this inside information.

My travel agent, though? She would have known. She would be able to give me all the scoop I need before departing on a trip. Flight delays or cancellations? Call your agent. Last minute emergency? Call your agent. Unplanned tour you wish to take after you arrive? Call your agent. And even better than this? A good agent will solve the many hiccups that arise with travel before you even know there is a problem. They become the point person for everything you do.

With a seasoned professional, your stress level is reduced dramatically, not to mention they know how to navigate the world of travel much better than most civilians, because they do it every day. For me, using an agent is like buying insurance for a trip. As our world begins to open back up, and we start to venture back out, having someone watch out for me is something I will not leave town without!

This is not a paid-for advertisement. I write this to convey my strong feelings on having an advocate when you travel, as well as to give a big THANK YOU to Cristina Buaas of CSB Travel for making my son and daughter (in law’s) honeymoon a smashing success! Be on the lookout for future posts on vacation etiquette, including one on traveling with friends! Here’s to exciting adventures for all of us in 2021!

Together with you,

Lisa Lou

Get rid of the noise in your life. Join Lisa Lou and receive commonsense, faith-based advice for the modern woman.

© 2021 Lisa Lou by Kaio

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