Its summer and that means one thing: vacation! Some of you may be jetting off to fabulous and exotic locations (lucky ducks); others may be heading to the local lake or the nearest beach (I fall under this category). You may be staying at a hotel or you may have a friend who is kind and generous enough to let you crash at their fantastic beach house. If this is the case, you want be a gracious houseguest. Here are my tips for how to do just that:
Never come empty handed- When you are staying with a friend and not at a hotel, I reason that you can afford to be generous and come bearing gifts. These gifts need not be expensive, but they should be thoughtful and creative. Fresh flowers in a vase ready to go is always a nice gesture for your hostess. Something that can be used and enjoyed after you leave is also a good way to go, you could gift your hostess with a sumptuous throw for the couch or thick terry cloth beach towels. If you want to do something a little more inspired than a bottle of wine, try bringing the necessary ingredients for a delicious cocktail. One of my personal favorites is to bring my mom’s homemade and world renowned iced tea and some Firefly iced tea flavored vodka. It’s an unbeatable combination and it always goes over well.
Don’t bring an entourage- If you were invited to come with your husband or significant other absolutely bring them. But leave your Great Aunt Sue and BFF Becky at home. Along with Fido. You are welcome but your pet may not be.
Be independent- Feel free to join your hostess for group dinners or outings, but know how to entertain yourself as well. You don’t want to be a stage 5 clinger, give your hostess some space and downtime from “entertaining.” Also remember these are your friends, you don’t need a permission slip, but you want to be respectful of their home and keep in mind that you are a guest check in with them on your comings and goings.
Help out- I’m not saying cook a meal, especially if all you can create in the kitchen is a mess, but contribute in some way. You could set the table, make a run to the grocery store, clean up after a meal. You definitely want to clean up after yourself. Even if there is a housekeeper (and if this is the case I’m seriously crashing and will be your stowaway) you want to be tidy and respectful. A good rule of thumb is to never leave evidence that you were ever there.
The goodbye tour- Don’t overstay your welcome. Your friends love you, but be prompt when you arrive and leave when you are supposed to so you get invited again.
Give many thanks- In the world of digital correspondence nothing replaces a handwritten note on pretty paper or stationary. The sooner you send out your thank you the better. I like to include a small gift as well.
Here are a few of my favorite hostess gifts:
Giada at Home: Family Recipes from Italy and California- I adore Giada de Laurentiis and her Giada at Home show is a must watch. Everyone loves Italian food and this cookbook will be referenced and loved for years to come.
Candele De Viaggio Travel Candle Set- Tocca candles are my hands down favorite. They are intensely fragrant without being cloying, and there is truly a scent for everyone. Your hostess can scatter these around the beach house or she can (and probably will) take them home with her.
Lafco New York Soaps- If there is something more decadent than hand-milled bars of soap I highly doubt it. The lather of these bars is so rich and thick, and the scents are to die for. Your hostess will love these indulgent guest soaps.
Anthropologie Superbly Splattered Dishtowels- Anthropologie anything, really, is a welcome gift. These dishtowels are gorgeous and colorful-they’re bound to color coordinate.
Dagoba Organic Chocolate Bars- These will go over. HUGE. ‘Nuff said.
Do you have any favorite hostess gifts to give/get?
Have a great weekend lovelies!