The Social Graces: We Loved Having You …

Hey Dolls! I’ve published this post annually for several years, with the original post published June 2012. It continues to be a favorite! Because summer is here and vacations are in full swing, I thought a refresher may be in order (even for me). Peep the original post below! (Hostess gift ideas have been updated,)

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Summer has arrived in all of its glory, and with it much-anticipated travel plans. Some travel involves a stay at a cute boutique hotel and other times we are guests of family or friends. On those occasions when we are guests in someone’s home, how do we ensure that we are invited for a return visit. In other words, what makes a gracious house guest?

Friends and family don’t really mean it when they say, “Feel free to drop in anytime.” Don’t drop in on anyone. In other words, communicate and coordinate your plans with your hosts well in advance. Let them know when you will be arriving and departing. It’s good practice to book your travel arrangements after you have confirmed these details with your hosts. Equally important, let your hosts know how many people will be traveling with you, especially if little ones are involved.

Inform your hosts of your schedule while you will be staying with them. This is a courtesy, especially if your plans do not involve spending all of your time with your hosts. You don’t want to inconvenience (or surprise) your hosts with an unexpected knock on the door from you late at night or early in the morning.

Observe and respect the house rules. Most hosts will offer a tour of their home to make you feel comfortable when you arrive. Ask questions. “Is this the powder room that I should use?” “Is this the closet in which I should hang my coat?” Don’t be too familiar just because you have a long-term relationship.

If you notice that your hosts take off their shoes when they come in the door, you should do the same. Similarly, if you notice that a certain room in the house is not used by your hosts, don’t “camp out” there during your visit. If your hosts turn in early, and you are on the nocturnal side, be respectful … speak in low tones if you are on your cell, don’t turn a bright light on directly outside of their sleeping area, don’t have the volume on the TV turned all of the way up, and for goodness sake, don’t order PPV movies “on their dime.”

Clean up after yourself. I will say it again. Clean up after yourself! Wait, let me say it again. Clean up after yourself! Your hosts are not your housekeepers. Make your bed, load your own dishes in the dishwasher (or offer to clear the table one night), turn the lights out when you leave the room, keep the powder room you are using neat and tidy. Don’t leave wet towels anywhere, but on the towel rack. Keep your things in one place. When you are leaving, ask your hosts what they would like you to do with bed and bath linens.

If you break something, inform your hosts immediately and offer to replace or pay for the broken item.

Ask to lend a hand when you see your hosts’ straightening. There is nothing worse than following guests around the house, picking up after them. Remember, you want to be invited back, not talked about after you leave.

Your Hosts are Not You Babysitters. If your children will be traveling with you, and you will need sitting services, make the appropriate arrangements before arriving at your hosts’ home. Don’t expect them, or their children, to watch and entertain your kids. Set expectations with your children, before you travel, about minding their manners and being neat.

And finally, these two go without saying ~ bring a gift when you arrive + send thank you note after your departure.

Peep these gift ideas to bring to your hosts.

Luxe Room Spray + Hand Soap. Gift your host and hostess a little bit of luxury that they wouldn’t normally pick up for themselves. I love Byredo Room Spray + Soap. The Cotton Poplin + Gypsy Water fragrances are particularly lovely for summer.

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Candles make great gifts. They are practical, yet you can selected from thousands of aromas to compliment the tastes of your hosts. Diptyque Candles and accompanying Wick Trimmer are always a win. My favorite scent is Baies

Diptyque Candle

Personalized Stationery are the “Write” Stuff. While shooting a quick “thank you” email has become commonplace, but there re still a lot of paper Dolls out there. Gift your hostess a beautiful Grand Silk Stationery Box. Personalized stationery ranges from whimsical to formal. 

While you’re at it, order a set for yourself, so that you will always be prepared to send a quick “Merci!”

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Fab Florals. Who doesn’t love flowers!? I have been swooning over the eternity roses from Venus ET Fleur. Gift your hosts a beautifully curated rose arrangement that will remind them of your gratitude and time together long after your gone – actually up to a year.

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Cocktail Glass Set. For your friends that imbibe from time to time, these Mr. and Mrs. Cocktail Glasses make for a super stylish gift.

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Personalized Guest Towels. A hostess can never have enough guest towels when entertaining. These luxe Caspari personalized guest towels from Horchow have the look of linen, with the feel of cotton. 

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And for a whimsical splurge for the friends who have everything, bring a a couple bottles of bubbly and a “Thank You Candy Trunk” from Sugarfina!

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So there you have it ~ Gracious Guest 101. Follow these simple rules and you’ll surely receive an invitation to visit again. Final thought, make sure you reciprocate. Don’t forget to invite your hosts to spend time at your home.

Until Then | Keep Sharing the Pretty,

TPD

Pretty Organized

For years, my family and friends have commented on my need for organization. I literally become paralyzed if my home and office are not completely organized ~ everything has a place. I laughingly remember the story of my BFF, Allyson, asking me to come and organize the closets in her newly purchased home. While she unpacked boxes in other rooms, I joyously organized her clothes by style, color, season and so on. At the completion of my task, I beamed with pride at my work. Allyson, on the other hand, was completely overwhelmed by the sense of order. While she absolutely appreciated my time and effort, “It’s just too much,” she laughed. I’ve since come to realize that organization and order are relative to the person and their lifestyle.

Girlfriends that know me well (not Allyson ~ smile) often comment that they would love for me to visit their homes and help them get organized; that I should also consider turning this into some type of business. I’m not there yet, but who knows. In the meantime, I thought that I would share some organizing tips that I have come to swear by.

Start small. Don’t try to tackle every room in your home in one day, or one week. Whether a closet, dresser, medicine cabinet, or linen closet decide on what needs the most attention and begin there. This year, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to tackle a room a weekend. I organized one room each weekend, and voila, I finished in short order, without feeling overwhelmed.

Purging is key. My general rule is that if I haven’t used or looked at it in six months, I throw it away. This includes unnecessary paperwork, bills, and old make up. Of course, there are certain caveats to this ~ off-season clothes in storage , unexpired medicine, etc. ~ other than these items, get rid of it. [Note: I’ll post about closet organizing very soon.]

Everything has a place. Storage options are endless these days. Some functional, some fashionable, but yes, everything has a place. In my bathroom for example, I use storage baskets with handles to organize my numerous creams, potions, and lotions. Try using baskets to organize by the following categories: (1) Skin care products; (2) Nail polish, remover, files, etc.; (3) Vitamins; and (4) Hair products, accessories and styling tools.

With stores like TJMaxx and Home Goods, purchasing baskets is an inexpensive endeavor. These resemble what I use in my bathroom; but don’t forget about your own sense of aesthetics. Select baskets that reflect your personal style. I chose brown baskets to pick up the colors in my bathroom. (Even though no one sees them once I close my bathroom closet door.)

Storage Baskets

Baskets can also be used for other areas of you home. I keep a basket by my bed for all of my magazines. Instead of them piling up on the floor and sliding all over the place, they are neatly stacked and out-of-the-way.

But what about the mounds of paper that we accumulate and are unable to throw out ~ appliance warranties, user manuals, large purchase receipts, etc.? When I purchased my home one of the best gifts I received was the Home Improvement Guide and Document Organizer. Barnes & Noble describes it as two products in one, and it is! The first part of the guide contains over 100 pages of home improvement information, but it’s the second part that counts. It’s an accordion file that allows you to store all of those documents that tend to get stuffed in a drawer somewhere. The sections include paint, flooring, windows and doors, cabinetry and hard surfaces, tubs, toilets and sinks, lighting and lamps, appliances, electronics, exteriors, and miscellaneous. I use this to store receipts, manuals and warranties anytime I purchase a new appliance or pay for work performed in my home.

Home Improvement Filing System

Now there are times that call more stylish storage; for example where you keep your keys and mail, “inspiration tears” from your favorite magazine, or other files. Here are some of my favorites.

These Horchow Desk Accessories can be used to hold keys and other small items that we tend to throw around our home.

Horchow Desk Accessories

I also love these Mariposa Desk Trays from Horchow to hold your keys.

Horchow Desk Trays

Place mail in this cute box instead of cluttering surfaces in your house. When it’s full and the lid doesn’t close, you’ll know its time to purge.

Mail Box

Finally, many of us are now addicted to Pinterest ~ raises hand. I love using it to create personal inspiration boards to capture styles I love, as well as interior design and entertaining ideas. But as a lover of magazines, I also see styles, products and ideas of interest among the glossy pages. I love tearing out pictures of a lipstick I want purchase, a tote I’m coveting, or a chaise I want to price. Yes, I type these things into the notes section of my iPad or iPhone, but I need the picture. Saving pcitures can cuase clutter, were it not for these stylish file folders. Check your local papier for style selections.

Leopard File Folders

Once you’ve organized your files. Consider storing them in a stylish file box.

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Next week, I’ll post on some very non-traditional organizing tips. If you have questions about organizing in your home, or office, feel free to email me at 1prettydomestic@gmail.com. Happy organizing!

Until Then,

~ L.

The Pretty Domestic