guests welcome…

My sister is the hostess-with-the-mostess. She always fixes up her guest bedroom as if the Queen herself was coming for the visit (hmmm…I just realized that she thinks I’m as fussy as a queen). I love to check out the basket of goodies she leaves on the cedar chest at the end of my bed. It’s usually filled with hand cream, chocolates, bottled water and the piece de resistance–new magazines!

photo courtesy Restoration Hardware

If you want to show your guests how much  you look forward to their visit, put some extra care into setting up the guest room. Or, if you really don’t want them to ever come back, or even stay at all, tell them there’s a super-sized spider living in the room that might hiss and rear up on its back legs if they go near it or even look at it sideways (actually happened to my best friend who was visiting relatives in Australia).

I just had to take a break from typing to have a giggle fit! Australia is now crossed off my bucket list! Who am I kidding? I took it off the list 20 years ago when my husband described a hiking trip when he stumbled upon a rather large snake going across his path–he couldn’t see its head or its tail…that’s how big it was!!! This blog post has gone crazy!

Ahem…I’ve  composed myself and we shall carry on. Here are some rather dignified ideas for hosting your guests. I’d just like to qualify myself by saying that this is a wish list, not necessarily what I will achieve every time someone comes to stay (just sayin’…don’t get your heart set on it).

I have a nasty little secret. I love using other people’s shampoo when I go for a visit. So my first choice for spoiling guests would be a nice little bottle of shampoo.  I’m madly in love with anything by Lollia.

photo courtesy Lollia

Where there’s shampoo, there has to be fresh towels. It’s handy that I have a warehouse full of them at Nicole Jane Home!

When your guests just can’t tolerate one more minute of your company, they can retreat to their retreat and forget their troubles by immersing themselves in some great magazines.

My other dark secret is that I generally sleep really well at someone else’s house. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I like to experience different bedding. If you can afford it, and you like your guests, I’d recommend really lovely sheets.

photo courtesy Restoration Hardware

I’m a fresh flower fanatic, so I would definitely, if nothing else, make sure my guest had a bouquet to enjoy!

photo courtesy Country Living Magazine

Make sure they have some wickedly good snacks to munch on, or I …er…they…won’t come back!

photo courtesy Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut

Once your guest has eaten all that chocolate, I’m pretty sure they’ll need some fluids. I just love bedside water carafes and glasses–they’re just so refined.

photo courtesy Apartment Therapy

When I have guests, they have usually traveled a long distance and made a very special effort to come here, so I like to go the extra mile and thank them. I love to send them home with a little something to remember the trip. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, just something that took a little thought.

photo via A Gift-Wrapped Life

If you ever want gift-wrapping inspiration, visit A Gift Wrapped Life. It’s full of gorgeous ideas!

dreaming New York City…

Every year I sit at my computer in July, desperately trying to find some place that Mark and I can take our kids for a vacation–an exercise in futility! This year, I’m finally getting organized. I’ve got a plan. I’m crossing my fingers that it all works out!

I’m going to the New York Gift Show (my dream shopping trip) in August, and I’m dragging the whole fam damily with me. Mark and I love NYC, but we haven’t taken the kids there yet. After the show, we’ll travel up the coast toward Cape Cod. Yippeeeeee!!!!

Here’s to dreaming of summer!

photo credit: Tony Stamolis for Country Living Magazine

photo courtesy of The Huffington Post

photo via Sports By the Numbers

photo via Fine Living

Can’t wait to see the New York Interntional Gift Fair!!!! Yahooooooo!!!!

photo via Gift & Decorative Accessories

cabin in the woods…

I just came across this sweet brown cabin in the woods on Country Living Magazine‘s website. The fresh decor appeals to me, and I can just imagine waking up on summer mornings, sitting with a cup of coffee looking out over a peaceful lake, listening to the loons calling each other, and watching a shirtless Johnny Depp chop wood for our fireplace!

You’ll want to read right to the bottom ’cause there’s a surprise about this cabin.

photo credit: James Merrell for Country Living Magazine

photo credit: James Merrell for Country Living Magazine

photo credit: James Merrell for Country Living Magazine

photo credit: James Merrell for Country Living Magazine

Surprise…this home was built entirely from a kit for $45,000. Not bad, eh?

instant glamour…

Don’t get me wrong…I don’t drink a lot, but I love a great cocktail. They’re so elegant, so sophistimicated. Put a cocktail in my hand and I instantly channel Audrey Hepburn…some might say Carrot Top. There’s something so “grown-up” about a cocktail cart in the living room or on the patio. Even if it’s temporary for a get together with friends, a tray with drinks, great glasses and garnishes is such a classy touch.

This article appears in Lonny Magazine‘s February online issue. If you haven’t seen Lonny, it’s a fantastic e-magazine.

photo courtesy of Lonny Magazine

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