Hosting! My dad says I get that from his mother, my Nonna, who was the sweetest Italian woman (wish I could have met her). Inheriting the sweetness and a love for hosting has been so special to me.
Saturday, November 4, 2023, was a special time with a sweet friend, whom I've known for 11 years! I am thankful for friends that allow vulnerability and a moment or two to let out a heart cry. Who love the Lord, but still allow for questions and concerns to be asked. Thank you, Rebecca T, for spending a fall Saturday afternoon with me, and for creating space for intentionality and vulnerability.
No Need for Perfection
One of the things I couldn't wait to do once I moved out of my parents' house, was host friends and loved ones in my home. I got right to it, enjoying the company of friends during the Christmas season, hosting beauty parties, and writers' gatherings, and date nights. One thing I often found myself saying was, "please excuse the mess" or "my condo has some areas that need fixed." More often than not, my guests would put my heart at ease by saying it wasn't a big deal, or it's all good. Why than, do we feel the need to point out our flaws, even in regard to our home? Is it because as we show love and serve one another, exhibiting a life style of cleanliness may be viewed to some as an act of love, also? Whatever the reason may be, must we stress about it and does it all need to be perfect? I do not think so. An imperfect home shows a well lived in home, that is still full of love. It shows raw and authentic living, knowing that maybe the laundry didn't get done but you are still welcomed into my space and you'll still love me regardless. If I don't have the most extravagant set ups or foods, you'll love the company. Usually, I like to make my food from scratch, however when Rebecca came over, I realized I needed to keep it simple this time around and opted for pinwheels from Publix, you know the rolled up meat and cheeses? They are delicious. And Rebecca brought the dessert. I am realizing more than ever, it isn't about perfection, and it really isn't about duplicating what someone else does in order to show that we can. It's all about the simplicity of extending care and grace, and inviting someone into your space. So, with that being said, as I have developed some fun hosting ideas. You do not need to duplicate completely, but I would like to share some thoughts with you. So grab a snack and a cup of hot coffee (or if you prefer tea), and dive into some tasty tid bits about what I've learned while hosting.
The Little Things
When hosting, it's all about the little things. The details, and the decor make for a fun hosting experience for the host and the guest. However, must it always be extravagant? Does it have to be expensive? The answer to both, is no. Not at all. I think when we scroll on social media, our eyes see a plethora of fancy and over the top hosting expertise and experiences, and not that it is bad or we should never enjoy that to the fullest. I just believe, we can take the pressure off and build upon what we own and the expertise of what makes us as individuals, unique. That day I hosted my friend, I took out the charcuterie boards I owned, and I placed them out nicely on my table top. I took out my tea cup to seep chocolate mint tea (of course, if you have coffee, for sure use that)! I added a touch of fresh flowers. (SIDE NOTE: I understand most people are not into florals, but if you live in Southwest Florida, Publix supermarkets have some of the most fresh, and long lasting flowers!)
Next, I placed my mint green, two tiered cup cake holder on the table and added an orange plush decor pumpkin, to add a pop of color (The Pumpkin Bundt cakes were a delicious addition to my cupcake holder, thanks to Rebecca). Of course, you know who you are, what you have laying around, and any fancy thing you'd like to add a touch of like ribbon, fall pumpkins, just to name a couple more. Do I sometimes like to order a thing or two (or a few) on Amazon? Guilty! It is true, I certainly do. Yet, I realized that it is all about the way we are making our guests feel, and the memories we create together that will make the largest impact.
The Finishing Touch
It's moments before your loved one or friend arrives, and you're ready to put the last touch to the ambience and feel of the room. Making a room inviting, could be offering something your guest likes or prefers, like adding their favorite music to a playlist to have going while you are together. I'll add a nice Frank Sinatra playlist, and as my guest (s) arrive, they will be sure to enjoy what they're walking into since most of my friends like a good Sinatra song (not sure who doesn't, to be honest hehe). And last but certainly not least, knowing your guests well, you could opt to light a softly scented candle. Especially during the holidays, a soft subtle but refreshing scent lingering in the air sets the stage for a beautiful gathering. Rebecca and I have been creating a Fall Simmer Pot that leaves a lingering aroma of fresh fall scents, like oranges and spice. I am somewhat biased, since I've created it twice now (Pinterest inspired-and makes for sweet gifts too). Adding to all of this, we created the simmer pot together, which is a great way to create a memory.
Create a Memory
If you choose to gather to catch up and chat, that is a beautiful thing. Since just recently however, I have been wanting to create intentionality within my meet ups so creating a memory with a visitor in my home has been inspiring. Options to create a memory: paint, journal or create a bucket list together, do a DIY or craft (one year Rebecca and I made fall wreaths), and this year we sliced the ingredients to put into the simmer pot (which was fun yet simple).
Secret to the Simmer Pot
I didn't realize when we started making this lovely smelling concoction (and it does smell AMAZING, as you can see from the photo of me taking a whiff), that I'd want to make it all year around. You'll see what I mean after you make it. These make for great gifts, just search up "simmer pot recipes or gifts" on Pinterest.
Boil water and then add:
apple slices (a few)
cloves (I stick them to the orange peel)
A dash of pumpkin spice
Orange and lemon peel (also a few)
Vanilla extract (1/4 teaspoon)
Cinnamon sticks (two-three)
VOILA! Done, and it takes about 5-7 minutes for the home to smell fantastic!
An old quote I've seen before says, "they may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou/H. Jackson Brown I think this has to be said for hosting and creating memories while hosting. It's not necessarily just how we set the stage for that moment, but how we have made each person feel as they leave our presence. As our guests leave, our hope is always that they feel loved and refreshed.