Archive | Hosting Guests

2017 Holiday Hostess Gift Guide

It’s the season of holiday parties and with all of those parties comes the need to give a hostess gift.  It’s a pretty amazing thing to open up your home to others and invite them in, so giving your hostess a little gift is a great idea to show your appreciation.

I’ve put together a great list of hostess gift ideas for your today.  They are all perfect for anyone that likes to throw a party and celebrate.  All different price ranges and from all different retailers, so you’re sure to find something that will work.

Holiday Hostess Gifts, gifts for the party hostess, hostess gift ideas

1// Try bringing the typical bottle of wine wrapped up in a fun Christmas stocking.  I love this one from the Hearth and Hand by Magnolia collection at Target.  I mean, what don’t I like about their stuff.  Surprisingly, I haven’t even stepped in a Target to look at it all yet!

Anyway, pop your bottle of wine into the stocking and tie a ribbon around the top and boom, gift done!

2// A bit unusual, but this jam makes a great hostess gift.  All the hostess has to do is add a little goat cheese to a crostini and drop a bit of this fig spread on top for a perfect and quick appetizer. Bonus that the jam comes in a two pack so you’re able to gift it twice!

3// Peppermint bark is a classic Christmas candy.  This one from Williams Sonoma is already packaged in a fun throwback tin.  Just add a bow and you’re set!

4// Agate is all the rage right now, and these make really fun coasters.  I love the variety of colors and how irregular they are.

5// Instead of just bringing a bottle of wine to the party, bring a candle in a recycled bottle of wine.  Such a fun twist on the typical hostess gift.  You’re also being environmentally conscious with these recycled bottles and soy wax candles.

6// I just love this ornament.  What better way to tell your hostess thanks for opening up your home than with an adorable home ornament.  It’s perfect for Christmas!

7// I’m sure you’ll be doing some eating around a table at any party you go to this time of year.  Bring your hostess a great tablecloth that they’ll be able to use for all of their parties or even just a Tuesday night dinner.

8// It’s almost a given that your hostess will receive a bottle of wine as a gift from someone attending the party.  To go along with that gift give a fun wine stopper.  These initial wine stoppers make it even more personalized.

I hope these ideas make picking something up for your hostess much easier or are at least a jumping off point for you to come up with something really clever on your own.


How to Make a Party Guest List

Do you ever feel overwhelmed when trying to keep track of your party guests?  I’m not talking about at your party, but figuring out who’s coming, who’s bringing what, what time they’re coming, and all of those other little things.  

Today I’m going to give you a few tips and details to help you keep track of all of that stuff and show you how I make a party guest list.

Track your party guest list with this spreadsheet, guest list categories, how to make a guest listFirst, I love a good spreadsheet, but doing this with pen and paper works too.  Find whatever method will help you remember to write things down and be able to refer to it often. Maybe keep it in a handy place so it’s easy to get to leading up to your party.

Guest List Categories

Next, here are some column headings that are necessary to track your guests if you are using a spreadsheet.  If you aren’t using a spreadsheet, these categories will definitely help you make a guest list for your party. 

  • Name
  • Contact Information (phone number, address, email, etc.)
    • This is good information to have in case you are mailing invitations or thank you cards.  It’s also great to reference if you need to call a guest before the party to get their RSVP information or ask them to help pick up a bag of ice on the way to your party. <- This always seems to be the one thing we need right before a party. 
  • Invitation Sent
    • I recommend just using a checkmark or X to indicate whether you’ve sent the invitation.
  • RSVP
    • In this column I typically indicate whether the guest is coming with a simple Yes or No.  Does anyone else feel like we’ve gotten away from RSVPing to the host?  I don’t understand why it’s so hard for people to commit to coming to your party or letting you know if they can’t.  A simple text would be fine, it’ so important to let the host know that you’re coming, so just do it!
  • Total Numbers
    • This column is where I like to break out exactly how many people are coming.  Mostly, separating adults and children.  Obviously, young children don’t eat as much as adults, so that plays a key role in how much and what kind of food to purchase and prepare.
  • Food
    • This section of your tracker may be fairly extensive, but it’s flexible depending on the type of party you’re having.  If you are having a pot luck, this is a great way to track what everyone is bringing.  If you’re providing the food, there’s really no need to include this section.  For a wedding or seated dinner, it’s a great idea to ask what choice your guest wants and track it in this area.  Keep in mind to use this section to track any allergies or food restrictions your guests may have to certain foods.
  • Gift Received
    • This section is great to include in your tracker if you’re having a wedding shower, baby shower, bridal shower, or birthday party.  Tracking what gifts you have received will help you to write the proper thank you card.
  • The last category to include in your tracker is a Thank You Card column.
    • This area is where you’ll track if you’ve written and delivered thank you cards to your guests that brought you a gift.  It’s only appropriate to send a thank you card.  Now you’ll be able to remind yourself by referring to the tracker you made.

These are all things that you are probably already doing, but sometimes just tracking people can be overwhelming.  Hopefully, you’ve found a category that you maybe haven’t thought of before.  If so, plan to add it to your guest list tracking system the next time you’re hosting a party.  


5 Things to Do to be the Perfect Party Guest

As promised earlier this week, I’m back today with five tips to help you be the perfect party guest.  So after this week, you’ll be the best hostess and guest with all of these tips.  These aren’t ground breaking at all, but definitely things that bear repeating.

Learn some simple tips to be the best party guest. Click here in time for your holiday parties!1. Always RSVP

This is literally my biggest party pet peeve, maybe my biggest pet peeve of all.  As a host, there is a lot of planning that takes place for any party, no matter the size.  One of the biggest pieces of information you need to make all of your plans come together is to know the number of people attending your party.

If you as a guest don’t RSVP, your host may not make enough food, have enough drinks, or make a place for you at the table.  Making your host jump through hoops to accommodate you is not very gracious.  Plus, it’s pretty easy to RSVP.  If you’re not sure you can attend, say so.  Don’t make your host wonder whether you’re showing up.  A simple, “I’ll try to attend, but may not be able to.” is completely sufficient.

2. Show up on Time

Learn some simple tips to be the best party guest. Click here in time for your holiday parties!Another general pet peeve is being late.  However, with parties, I would say that there is a bit of a grace period of about 10-15 minutes.  If you as a guest plan to be much later than that send a quick message to the host to let them know you won’t be there on time.  The host may be waiting for everyone to arrive before serving food or doing an activity, and keeping them waiting will totally throw off their plans.

3. Interact with the other party Guests

Parties are supposed to be a fun time surrounded by fun people.  If you’re not interacting with other party guests, the party just won’t be any fun for you.  Plus if you spend all of your time only interacting with the host you’ll be tying them up when they (according to Tuesday’s post) should be following up with all of their guests.  Who knows maybe you’ll find something really interesting about one of the other guests and make a new friend, or a new work connection, or someone that enjoys your same hobby.

4. Don’t Overidulge

Learn some simple tips to be the best party guest. Click here in time for your holiday parties!This may go without saying, but being the sloppy drunk at a party is not a good look.  Be sure not to overindulge on either the drinks or on the food.  Hosts usually make enough for everyone, but try to make sure everyone gets enough.  Do that by not hoarding all of the snacks, appetizers, or other food for yourself.

If you do plan to drink, make sure to keep it classy and limit yourself to about two drinks.  Especially if the party is associated with work or with an unfamiliar host or other guests.  I do understand that there are some parties that are more acceptable to drink more.  Try and keep those to Vegas and 30th birthdays!  And always have a ride in place for after the party if you’ve been drinking.  Ok, mom rant over, haha!

5. Offer to help with set-up or Clean-up

Learn some simple tips to be the best party guest. Click here in time for your holiday parties!One of the most helpful things you can do as a party guest is to help the host with set-up or clean-up.  I have a great friend who would always text on his way to our parties and ask if we needed anything.  It was so nice to know I could have him get any last minute things (usually ice!) on his way so I wouldn’t have to leave the party.  This is such an easy way to help set-up the party without actually being at the party venue before it starts.

Another great way to show your appreciation as a guest is to help the guest clean-up.  Whether it be washing dishes, putting food away, or picking up the million and one toys that your child has strewn about the room it’s a big help.  Hosting is a lot of cleaning and preparing, so not having as much to clean up afterwards is such a nice relief.

With all of the hostess tips from earlier this week and the tips today, you now know how to make your guests feel welcome and how to be the perfect party guest.  Ready to host now?  Or attend some holiday parties?  I hope so, because you’re fully equipped.

I hope you have a great weekend and put these tips to use at your next holiday party.  I’ll be attending a cookie exchange this weekend and am really looking forward to all of those yummy cookies!






How to Make your Party Guests Feel Welcome

Welcome back from the weekend friends.  I hope everyone had a great time kicking off the holiday season.  If you need a little help, don’t forget to download my printable Christmas Bucket List to help you celebrate all season long.  Today, I’m going to be helping you welcome your party guests so they feel comfortable to have a good time in your home.

Hosting can be very stressful for some people, even going to parties as a guest can be stressful for some.  With these five tips you’ll be fully equipped to welcome guests and make them feel right at home so you can have a smooth and fun party.  Plus, you’ll ease your guests tensions so they can loosen up and have a great time.

5 Tips to Welcome Party Guests into your home, have a great party when party guests are comfortable.1. Greet them Warmly

Be sure to welcome your party guests with a warm hug, a smile, and a nice greeting. It’s always a good feeling to be welcomed into someone’s home and not have to awkwardly walk through the door feeling like you’re breaking into someone’s home. Or I’ve also had other guests’ greet me at a party and not the host. That’s kind of weird too.

If you’re having a normal size party, typically under 15 people, it shouldn’t be too difficult to make sure you greet every guest at the door. Just be sure to keep your ears open for the doorbell or knocks. It may help to station yourself somewhere near the door for about 15 minutes around the start of your party to catch all the guests arriving.

2. Give them the lay of the Land

Once guests arrive, be sure you show them where everything is, especially if they’ve never been in your home. Be sure to show them the coat closet, or better yet hang their coat for them. They definitely need to know where the bathroom is. Once the basics are done, point them in the direction of the food and drinks.

If your party is a potluck, be sure to accept the dish that your guest brought with them and show them where to put it.  Ask if it needs to stay warm or if they need to add anything to the dish.  Place an appropriate serving utensil with the dish, so it’s ready to be eaten.

5 Tips to Welcome Party Guests into your home, have a great party when party guests are comfortable.3. Get them eating and Drinking

Speaking of food and drinks, you want to get your guests eating and drinking once they arrive. Whether you have an assortment of appetizers or the full spread, people will want to eat right away. If you don’t plan to eat right away, be sure to let your party guests know when the meal will be served.  Having that information ahead of time reduces any confusion for your guests.  Plus, the sooner you get them a cocktail the sooner they will start loosening up and having a good time.

5 Tips to Welcome Party Guests into your home, have a great party when party guests are comfortable.4. Make some Introductions

It’s helpful to your party guests to introduce them to other guests in your home. Try and find something in common between party guests and get them chatting about their connection.  It may help to think about these things before your party.  While you’re making your guest list think of people that would love to chat with each other.

If your guests do know each other already, be sure they know who and where their friends are. Something as easy as, “hey thanks for coming, Susie’s here too, she’s over by the appetizers.” Then you’ve met almost all five things I recommend to make guests feel welcome in one little sentence!

5. The fortune is in the follow Up

Check back in with your guests frequently throughout the party.  If having a larger party, 15 or more people, try not to get caught up in once conversation. Be sure to mingle and check back in with guests that you’ve only briefly talked to. Ensuring that they have a fresh drink or a bite to eat is an easy way to kind of move from guest to guest.

With these five guidelines, you’ll definitely be the hostess with the mostess and make your party guests feel right at home.  A smooth and fun party is always the goal and taking the time to make your guests feel at ease is the fastest way to reach your goal.

Be sure to come back later this week to see some similar tips from the perspective of a party guest.  It will help you be the best guest you can be!  See ya then!




How to Create the Perfect Bar Set Up

Recently, we had a get together with most of the people my husband works with.  The party started with a navy, white, and burlap theme, but because my husband is in the military, the theme really started to reflect that.  The biggest reflection was in our bar set up.

I was so excited as it started coming together because we were using things we hadn’t used before to entertain with.  I love using things around the house to entertain that normally aren’t for entertaining.  Options are great!  I want to show you in just a few steps how you can set up your own bar.

Create the perfect bar set up. Click here for step by step instructions.Step 1-A Great Location

Here is where we went a little wrong with our set up.  You want your bar to be in a central location so your guests can have quick access to refill their drink.  Typically, the best central location is going to be where your guests are hanging out.

During our party we had our garage set up with heaters and an outdoor couch so everyone congregated there, but our bar was inside.  Needless to say, not many people made a drink at the bar.  Don’t worry though, they had beer within an arms reach!

Create the perfect bar set up. Click here for step by step instructions.Step 2- Provide the Liquor

I recommend having a good variety of liquor becuase everyone’s tastes are so different.  Some people like gin, others hate it.  A good mix is to include two clear liquors (vodka, gin, or tequila), a rum, and a whiskey.  If you have four different kinds you’ll cover all of your bases.

Step 3- Provide the Mixers

There are a few things that are required when it comes to mixers in my opinion.  You need something fruity/sweet, something bubbly, and something interesting.  So for our bar set up I provided a variety of sodas (sweet and bubbly), club soda and tonic (bubbly), juice (fruity/sweet), and ginger beer (interesting).

Here’s where thinking outside of the entertaining box comes into play.  I used this completely versatile cart from Ikea as a drink station to hold all of our mixers.  It helped to ensure there was plenty of room on the bar to mix up a drink.  You just have to look around your house to find things that will work.  This cart is normally in my office holding my sewing machine, but transformed into the perfect bar accessory for our party.

Create the perfect bar set up. Click here for step by step instructions.Create the perfect bar set up. Click here for step by step instructions.Step 4-Provide all the Tools

Be sure to include all the tools necessary to mix up a great cocktail.  Things like a shot measuring cup, something to stir with, shakers, strainers, and bottle openers.  Plus you’ll want to be sure your bar is fully stocked with plenty of cups.

It may say something about my husband, but most of our bar gear was received as a gift for my husband’s 30th birthday a few years ago.  Either way, they’ve been great gifts that we use regularly.

Create the perfect bar set up. Click here for step by step instructions.Step 5- Provide Ice

One thing that is critical to making a cocktail is having plenty of ice to chill it.  We were able to fit a small ice bucket on our bar so ice was always accessible for our party.  Putting the ice in a convenient spot to cocktail making eases the cocktail making process.  You know so when you’re feeling lazy and don’t want to walk across the room to get ice it’s right where you need it!  Just be sure as the hostess to check it regularly in case it needs a refill.

Step 6-Provide the Garnish

Adding a garnish to your homemade cocktail really elevates it.  I recommend a couple simple garnishes that will work for almost any cocktail and make a great addition to your bar.  Cut up a lime and lemon, place in a little bowl or dish and you’ve instantly rounded out your bar set up.  Other options are oranges, maraschino cherries, or mint (hello mojitos!).  Adding a few garnishes adds some life and color to your bar too.

Create the perfect bar set up. Click here for step by step instructions.Create the perfect bar set up. Click here for step by step instructions.Six easy steps to setting up a great bar ready for any party and any cocktail.  What are your must have bar staples?  Who’s ready to mix up a cocktail and celebrate the weekend?  I hope you enjoy yourself this weekend!





Celebrating everyday!