New On The Blog

It is summer in Houston, and last night our bedroom A/C went kaput! My first reaction was to grumble, but then I reminded myself to “choose happiness!” I was thankful we had a guestroom to sleep in that had cool air and a fan. As we crawled into an unfamiliar bed, I was quickly reminded of the times I preached to others: “Every good hostess should sleep in her own guestroom for one full night. You will immediately see what is missing!”

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

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