Now that we’re closing in on Thanksgiving, the prime holiday traveling season is right around the corner. Yes, I also feel like it was just Memorial Day yesterday, but that’s how these things go I suppose, right? When I’m traveling and staying over with friends or family, I know I always love it when they go out of their way to make me feel really at home, which is something I definitely try to do when we have overnight guests, too. So today, in the spirit of all things hospitable, I’m sharing my tips for how to make your guests feel at home for the holidays!
Stock the Guest Room
Whether your guest room is an actual room or a corner of the rec room with an air mattress blown up, stock it up with little things to help your guests feel comfortable. Think basic things like drinking water (a pretty bedside carafe is a nice choice, but a couple of bottles of water will work just as well), a stack of magazines, and a notebook and pen in case they need it during their stay. A few little extras are nice to include, too! A pretty candle with matches, a little plant or a few fresh flowers, even a bar of chocolate or two. Guests hate feeling like they’re imposing so having lots of little comforts at the ready will make them feel really special!
Stock the Bathroom
Toiletries are the number one thing people forget while traveling, so make your guests feel right at home by stocking the bathroom! If they’ll have their own bathroom, you can stock a tray or a basket in the actual bathroom, or you can just tuck a stash in their room. Either way, you can easily hit up the travel size section at Target or wherever and grab a whole bunch of mini bottles of things like contact solution, shampoo, conditioner, lotion and body wash. Lip balm, an extra toothbrush, toothpaste, Q-tips and a razor are great ideas, too! (If I had a dollar for every time I forgot to pack a razor while traveling, I would be a very very rich woman!)
Make them Feel Connected
Precisely no one travels without some combination of smartphone, tablet and/or laptop these days, and I know that the WiFi password is always one of my priorities once I arrive somewhere and get settled in for my stay. I like to get my phone switched over from data and get any other devices I might need while I’m there connected and ready to go. Make it easy for guests to get all settled in by having the network information and password somewhere really easy to find in their room. A fun sign like this is great (and it’s available for you to download right here), but simply writing it down on a card and setting it by the bed will work just as well, too!
Stock the Linens
Last but not least, you can never ever go wrong by piling on all of the linens and pillows. A big stack of towels, hand towels and wash cloths can go a really long way toward making guests feel at home. In addition to having the bed made, I also like to have a stash of extra blankets and pillows set out and ready for friends or family when they’re staying over. Should someone get chilly in the middle of the night for some reason, they’re never going to feel comfortable messing with the thermostat or rifling through closets for another blanket, so having a few set aside for them to grab if they need them is a really nice gesture that they’ll definitely appreciate.
[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]
Howdy, friends, TGIF! I hope everyone has had a great week. Starting next week we’re going to get to talking about the holidays. Because, well, I love the holidays and also it’s time! (They’re coming sooner than we think!) In the meantime, today I’m sharing five fun colorful Thanksgiving ideas with you to help make the transition. Generally I am a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving, but I do admit to occasionally loving a more modern look with a bolder color palette, so we’re dabbling with that today. It’s pretty fun, right? Don’t forget to keep scrolling for your weekly dose of Friday Link Love, too, and I’ll see you here on Monday, friends! xoxo
[Printable leftover pie labels | DIY I am thankful for balloon | DIY Thanksgiving banner | DIY give thanks banner | DIY color wrapped wheat centerpiece.]
Ready or not, friends, the holiday season is quickly approaching! Before I go full out with all the holiday goodness up in here, I thought we’d start by talking about stocking the pantry. Today marks three weeks until Thanksgiving, which is, yes, utterly mind boggling. That said, it’s also the perfect time to start thinking about your upcoming holiday baking! I personally love to bake during the holidays so right about now is when I start to grab extra flour and sugar here and there during my regular grocery trips. It makes baking a pie or whipping up cookies on the fly much easier when you have a fully stocked pantry! Here is my go-to list of things I like to keep on hand at all times. Any other suggestions? I’d love to add your favorites to my list! (Want a printable checklist? Scroll to the bottom of the post to download, print and take with you while shopping!)
Generally I like to keep a lot of all purpose flour around as it’s the most commonly asked for flour in holiday recipes, but it’s also a great idea to pick up a bag of whole wheat flour and cake flour to have them handy, too.
Baking soda + baking powder.
If you haven’t baked in a while, it might be a good idea to ditch your baking soda and baking powder! A good rule of thumb is to refresh your supply every six months or so, because their effectiveness can become compromised over time. One container of each will be plenty for all of your holiday baking needs.
At any given time I like to make sure I have a couple of bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips in my pantry. Additionally, it’s a really great idea to have unsweetened baker’s chocolate and baker’s white chocolate, too. (Especially if you like a good ganache!)
You never know when you might have a hankering for pumpkin roll, pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin you-name-it during the holidays. Keeping a few of the smaller 15 oz. cans around is a great idea and it won’t go bad if you don’t use it up!
There’s always a chance that a recipe will call for something else, but in general if you have a stash of cinnamon (both ground and sticks), ground cloves, nutmeg (again, I prefer whole and ground), all spice and cardamom you’ll largely be all set for most holiday recipes.
We’re talking white sugar, dark brown sugar, light brown sugar and powdered/confectioner’s sugar. Let’s be real. Holiday baked goods are anything but health food so you’ll probably go through quite a bit of sugar!
Make sure to get pure vanilla extract, not the imitation stuff. It really really does make a difference! I also like to have a few vanilla beans at all times, too.
In general, vanilla extract is the only variety I keep on hand year-round, but during the holidays it’s a great idea to have peppermint extract in your pantry, too.
I prefer kosher salt for baking, but I’ll also use sea salt in a pinch. We don’t usually keep regular table salt around the house, but it will work if it’s all you have!
Most chocolate cookies use cocoa powder to impart the chocolate flavor so I like to keep at least one fresh container on hand at all times during the holidays. I also really like having carob powder around, too. It’s kind of like cocoa powder’s slightly better for you older cousin.
Old fashioned or rolled oats are the way to go when it comes to oatmeal. If you only have quick oats they’ll often work for baking, but oatmeal imparts such a great texture that it’s best to just go with the larger old fashioned oats. You’ll be glad you did!
Most of the time I prefer to bake with butter if it’s an option (I just prefer the flavor), but some recipes are just best with shortening so I like to keep a tub of basic shortening around.
A lot of holiday recipes call for nuts so it’s never a bad idea to keep a supply of almonds, walnuts and pecans at the ready. Bonus points that they make great snacks even if you don’t even up baking with them!
Sprinkles are fun for topping any kind of brownie or bar cookie and, of course, classic sugar cookies. So load up on all the festive sprinkles you can find!
[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]
Hi, friends! I know I’ve been a bit MIA the first part of this week and frankly, I’m just worn out. The weekend was incredibly hectic, pretty much the exact opposite of relaxing in any way, and my energy level is taking a hit. Also, I’m getting totally overwhelmed now that we’re in the final homestretch. It feels like there is so much left to do (mainly to get things squared away on the work front) and I find myself wishing we had a few extra weeks. Then there’s the fact that oh, I don’t know, we’re having a baby in a few weeks and that’s enough to be overwhelming in and of itself. Speaking of things to do, I’ve finally gotten around to starting to think about packing my hospital bag. I need your help! I’ve been watching YouTube videos aplenty (as I do as my preferred form of research these days), but I’d love to hear from you. What do you consider essentials? Luckily we live less than two blocks from the hospital so if we forget anything it will be easy to send someone home to retrieve things, but I’d like to be pretty much set if possible. So, fill me in! Especially those of you who have had c-sections. What do I need to pack?
[For information and shopping links, be sure to click through to check out all the details after the jump!]
Happy Friday, friends! I hope you’ve had a great week. I’m planning to fill you in on a few baby-related updates on Monday, but in the meantime can we take a quick moment to marvel over the fact that I’m 36 weeks pregnant today? How on earth that happened so quickly I will never know. We have a really fun Halloween weekend on deck, starting with a film crew showing up at our house later this afternoon to interview me and do a fun little DIY demo. So, I’m off to prep for that, but in the meantime I’ve rounded up a few really fun last minute Halloween ideas and a whole bunch of Friday Link Love to kick off your weekend. Happy Halloween, everyone! xoxo
[DIY Pun-kins | DIY Paper Plate Animal Masks | DIY Wire Wall Signs | DIY Pop Tart Costume | DIY Pantone Couples Costume.]