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Entertaining Cheat Sheet

 

DSC_0002It seems that manners have become a lost art, and this breaks my heart. I adore entertaining and I like to think that my husband and I are quite good at it. We strive to make sure that our guests never leave thirsty, hungry, or feeling like they were a last minute invite. It’s not difficult to make someone feel special, and yet it makes a world of difference. I have put together a few (easy) recommendations that can help you look like the perfect hostess. 

1. Offer a Glass of Water: Be an intuitive hostess. Don’t wait for guests to ASK for a glass of water. If you’re even remotely thirsty then it’s pretty likely that your guests are parched as well. After all, they had to travel to see you. Whether it was a 20-minute drive, or a walk across the street, have manners and offer the basics.

2. Have Snacks On Hand: I’ve been told that people enjoy coming over to our house. Want to know my secret? Keep a couple snacks on hand. Crackers are inexpensive, have a long shelf life, and can easily be stored in the pantry. Perhaps some cheese, grapes and carrots sticks in the fridge. A bag of tortilla chips and salsa are also great items to keep in your cupboard. Believe me, serving something as simple as this is a lot better than guests leaving your house starving, too tipsy to drive, or cranky. Plus, throwing this altogether on a pretty plate takes barely any time, and makes you look like the hostess of the year. HUGE pointer: Don’t be the hostess that always wants everyone to come to their house, and has NO food or beverages on the premises. Yuck. Do YOU want to be a guest at that house? No, neither do I. Treat your guests as you would like to be treated.

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3. Coffee, Tea & Wine: In my humble opinion, a top notch hostess should always offer more than just a glass of water. I find it handy to ALWAYS have a bottle of wine on hand. Unless you or your guest is riding the sober train or preggers, most friends can appreciate a glass of wine on any given day. Be a good friend (and host), and have a somewhat decent bottle on hand. I’m not expecting you to stock your cabinets with Opus One, nor do I recommend buying cases of “2 buck chuck”. However, there are plenty of great bottles in the $8.00 – $25.00 range that will make any guest feel special. Hide the back stock if entertaining a guest who likes to drink a lot and overstay their welcome (we all have that friend).

Please note that you don’t need to get your company wasted in order for them to have a good time, especially if you don’t want them moving into your guest room or snoring on your couch. This is where having a cup of coffee or tea (to sober them up) can really be a blessing. 

 

shutterstock_2343078614. Flowers: I’m a huge fan of having flowers in the home. They look pretty, smell pleasant, and add life to any room. I realize that most people are overwhelmed with busy schedules… going to work, the gym, picking up kids, cooking dinner, etc. This can make it challenging to keep fresh flowers in your home. However, if you know that you will be entertaining flowers are a great touch. If time or your budget are limited, simply pick a few flowers from your front yard if possible. If you don’t have a garden, but have nice neighbors, ask if you can pick some flowers from their yard.

5. Candles: Creating a pleasant environment is important. Perhaps the flowers didn’t work out, or you didn’t realize you’d be having company until it was last minute. Do not fret, candles are here to save the day. Anyone who likes to entertain should have candles on hand. Lighting one or two candles will immediately create a warm environment. As a side note, I do NOT recommend using a scented candle on the dinner table as this will alter the taste of the food, a scented candle is better suited for a foyer or bathroom.Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 12.40.08 AM

6. Music: Playing soft music is always a nice addition to classy entertaining. I adore walking into a home where I can hear pleasant background noise. I must emphasize that while music is lovely and can be calming, it should never overpower the voices of your guests (unless they’re obnoxious and you want to drown them out). When in doubt, keep the volume level on the lighter side.

7. Don’t Be A Pig: Please pardon my bluntness here, some people live in filth and don’t realize it. I’m not suggesting you hire a maid service to clean you home before entertaining, but here are a few basics that should be addressed.

First off, keep toilet paper in your guest bathroom. While this may seem like a no-brainer to most people, you’d be surprised how many guests will admit to digging through cabinets in powder rooms while searching for Kleenex, toilet paper or anything else that may serve its purpose. If you don’t want people to “dry themselves” on your hand towels, keep bathroom tissue on hand. I also recommend double checking that your kids, husband, roommate, etc. have flushed the toilet since last using your guest bathroom. 

rubber-duck-615390_640Secondly, pick your dirty clothes off the floor. I completely understand that having kids can alter the cleanliness of one’s home. I DO think its okay for guests to see rubber duckies in the tub, I DON’T think its classy to wash my hands in a sink that is covered in spit out toothpaste, or trip over little kids dirty underwear on the floor. Clutter can be acceptable, but dirty socks next to the coffee table are just downright tacky. In a nutshell: don’t be a slob and don’t let your guests leave your house wanting to pee at the local gas station because it’s cleaner than your bathroom.

 

Congratulations, you now have all the tools needed to prepare the perfect setting. I know this may seem like a lot to take on at first, but it really will change the whole experience you provide for your guests. If you want to be the classy hostess that everyone loves visiting, you are on your way. Happy entertaining!

Xo,

Simply Nina

 



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