Life Lessons | Make This Thanksgiving The Best Yet

It's Thanksgiving week.  Have you started reflecting on what you're thankful for?  We know it sounds cliché but considering how much we take for granted throughout the year, it's nice to take a little time to appreciate your blessings.  This goes for Thanksgiving dinner too.  We spend so much time preparing for this meal, getting our home clean, setting out the perfect decor...and we forget that this is the time to enjoy.  If you can relate, then this post is for you.  Today we're discussing a few ways to make the day a little more relaxing for you while still being beautiful & tasty for everyone else.

Set realistic expectations.  Does your family consist of lots of small children that will most likely walk in and make a mess of everything?  Is that magazine picture really an attainable image for your holiday gathering?  Will the perfection of everything be lost on your guests?  Things to consider.  Because, if you're going to all the trouble to do these things for yourself, you're stressing yourself out for the wrong reason.  Take the perfection down a notch, put away some of the cute holiday decor that the kids are sure to break, and be ok with your guests not noticing.  Once you come to grips with a lower expectation, you eliminate the frustration and disappointment that comes with un-met expectations.  Believe us.  Not worth it.

PRE prepare.  The day of and even the day before can be crazy with last minute items.  So try to accomplish some of the small tasks even earlier.  Many food items can be frozen & thawed immediately before cooking or serving.  Set your holiday table early and remember to keep it simple.  By doing these things beforehand, you eliminate the items you're scrambling to do during the event.  Everybody loves it when a host can conversion so be sure to be present for your guests!

Keep them out of the kitchen.  The kitchen is commonly a place that people like to hangout for holiday gatherings.  The kitchen is usually at the center of the house and is also where all the food is (so it smells good), so guests just naturally gravitate towards it.  Don't let them stay!  One way to pull your guests out of the kitchen is by setting up a separate appetizer & drink station.  This accomplishes a couple of different things...1. It allows guests to refill their drinks right before eating without getting in the way of those who are getting their dinner. 2. It creates another "eating area" where people will most likely hangout (instead of kitchen!).  Food makes for happy guests and an un-cluttered workspace makes for a less-stressed host.

Reflect.  Right before guests arrive, when the house smells good and is still clean & decorated, take a moment to just sit and breathe.  You've worked hard, people are going to enjoy themselves in your home...YOU'RE going to enjoy yourself in your home.  It's going to be a good day.

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

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!