The Holidays Are Here | Prep for Guests

This is pretty much the busiest time of year for everything.  Food shopping, travel, gift buying--everyone is on the move with someone to see or a holiday party to attend.  Oftentimes, this means that you'll have guests--some expected, some it's good to just make sure your home is ready for a surprise visitor or two.  Not only will doing these things help you feel more relaxed but it will also make your guests more comfortable while they're in your home.

This first one is hard for the "unexpected guest" scenario but should be number one when it comes to expected or invited visitors--clean up!  While guests may make your home messy, it's always nice for them to be welcomed into a clean home.  The little things like a clean bathroom, dishes put away, fluffed pillows, and dusted furniture will immediately make them feel more comfortable in your home because a clean home is a welcoming home.  Since we all don't always keep a pristine home when it's just us, tidying up before guests arrive may be more difficult if the guest is unexpected so maybe the holidays is a good time to try to be more aware of the types of messes that are left.  Smaller messes are easier to clean up quickly when surprise visitors show up on your doorstep.

A good host always has food in her pantry to feed guests. Since we've already discussed that we don't always know when guests are going to arrive, try to keep some items in your pantry or freezer that will keep for a while but can be prepared quickly.  Quick meals like spaghetti or soup are easy comfort foods that can be made with little hassle if you need to feed your son's friends who show up from college a day early or the parent of one of your kid's playmates. Now, if you know guests are coming to stay for a little visit, you have more time to prepare and should be able to stock your pantry with the essentials.  Since everyone doesn't always wake up at the same time, it's nice to have quick and easy breakfast foods and snacks that guests can grab without bothering you about it.

You can also do these little things at the beginning of the holiday season to make preparation for any guests that might arrive and stay overnight--put clean sheets on the bed.  Maybe you haven't had guests in a few months and the sheets got a little stale.  Swap them out so that holiday guests have fresh sheets to sleep on.  The same thing goes for the towels in the guest bath.  Give the ones that have been sitting there un-used another wash just to fluff them up.  Place little conveniences in your guest bathroom--small bars of soap or travel size shampoos, so guest have the essentials available to them if they forgot something at home.

We love a cozy home filled with laughter and smiles so we hope these little tips will help make your holiday season more enjoyable!  Happy December 1st, everyone!

Thanksgiving Prep | Getting Your House Party-Ready

Thanksgiving is next week!  Can you believe it?!  That means there are only a few more weeks until Christmas and then it's 2016.  Ok, I'll stop now.  That might be a little more than some of you can handle right now.

Anyway.  Thanksgiving.  Are you hosting any Thanksgiving gatherings?!  If so, we want to help!  There's more to hosting a party than just cleaning your house, especially during the holidays when there are so many festive decorations to be put out.  Or, even if you don't have a ton of decor to display, there are ways to simply freshen up your existing spaces to spice things up. It's easy to get caught up doing things to get ready that won't really matter--things your guests either won't see or won't notice.  So, today we're talking about the key focal points in your home that, when spruced up, will make the most impact on your party.

First impressions.  What is the first things guests see when they arrive?  Is it your foyer/entryway or the front door/ front porch?  Whichever area is the ones that guests will see first is obviously a top priority for cleaning AND styling.  The time of day that you're hosting will determine the type of deco you put out.  If you're hosting an evening  event, candles or some sort of lanterns by the front door will set a relaxing mood for guests arriving.  Even string lights are fun and may be a good solution if you don't have a large front porch but do have an overhead area to attach lights to.

If you have decent size foyer or entryway, this is a nice place to welcome your guests into your home.  Be sure to make the transition easier for them by providing a place for shoes, bags, and coats too.  This may be a coat rack or even just a bench or chair by the front door to set items on.  If this area is large enough for a table,  consider placing a little "welcome appetizer" or even just a welcome note here to greet guests when they walk in.  Be sure to carry in the same mood from the front porch too--try to keep the feeling consistent so that everything flows!

Drinks.  If you're hosting a gathering, you have food.  While your food may be served in different ways, depending on the style of party you're having, most guests are sipping on drinks for the majority of a party.  For this reason, it's nice to have a little drinks station (or two) in your home.  This is an easy place to make festive.  Add a little topiary a pretty tray and of course cute cocktail napkins along with decorative glasses and you've got a functional & decorative space.

If you have a mantle, you probably have a fireplace which is definitely a focal point in a room.  Be sure to make this area festive and welcoming.  The nice thing about a fireplace mantle is that it's high enough to keep the items on top of it safe.  So, if you have special art or some sort of glass decor that you're concerned about getting knocked off of any other location and potentially breaking, the mantle is the perfect place for it.

Finally, don't forget the bathroom.  Of course, the bathroom needs to be clean but it's easy to overlook the fact that this is a very high traffic area.  Since so many guests will be in this area, it makes sense to add some decorative elements in this space as well.  We don't just mean candles on the back of the toilet, either.  Consider some cute guest towels, festive soaps, and even some cute art that works with the holiday.  Cozy it up!  Because so many people overlook the bathroom when they're decorating for a party, guests will be impressed that you didn't!

Good luck with the upcoming holiday festivities!