Everything You Need to Know about Being a Houseguest

 

Hi dear readers! We recently traveled to California to visit our family, and words can’t describe how wonderful it was to be reunited after seven months. We built sandcastles at the beach, enjoyed late afternoon lunches overlooking the ocean, and even had an early birthday celebration (complete with confetti and the ultimate vegan chocolate cake) for my husband, son and stepdad. It was a magical week!

My brother graciously hosted us in California, and so as we packed our bags to leave for our trip, I started thinking about what it means to be a good houseguest, and what tips I could share with you. We’ve stayed with him before of course as well as with other friends and family, and yet I think it’s always a good idea to have an etiquette refresher on being a houseguest. You want to strike that ideal balance of being comfortable and relaxed during your stay, yet still on your best behavior. Staying in someone’s home or their vacation home is such an honor, and so it’s important to follow a few tips to shine as your best and most gracious self, and ensure the visit runs smoothly. Also, if you have ever hosted house guests, you have a host’s perspective, which is so helpful as well!

And so, here is everything you need to know about being a gracious houseguest:

Never show up empty handed: Bring a host gift to show your appreciation for the visit. It can be a basket of gourmet breads and jams (check for food allergies before bringing this!), personalized cups and their favorite cocktail makings, monogramed hand towels, chic beach tote, coffee table book, or a gorgeous pitcher filled with fresh flowers. Remember, it doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant. Instead, aim for thoughtful.

Make your bed everyday: Just as you would at home, strive to make the bed every day so your room is neat and tidy. Keep your bathroom clean as well.

Clean up after yourself: Whether you take folding chairs and towels down to the beach or decide to curl up in the den with a blanket and book or puzzle, be sure to clean up after yourself and put everything back in its place.

Help prepare meals, do dishes (unless the host objects): Pitch in with cooking, setting the table and washing dishes. It’s respectful, helpful and gracious – all qualities of an outstanding houseguest :).

Contribute to meals out and/or groceries (unless the host objects): If your host arranges for you to eat out during your visit (brunch, lunch, dinner, etc.), offer to pay for the meal. The same goes for groceries if you are staying for more than a long weekend and cooking meals at home. Your host will be touched and it’s yet another fabulous way to let the host know how much you appreciate their hospitality.

Show that you are having a great time: Be cheerful, engaging, helpful and fun to be around! And be open to whatever the host has planned, be it a low key morning or action packed afternoon.

Write a thank you note or send thank you flowers: After your visit, send a hand written thank you note sharing some of your favorite memories from the visit, and thanking your host for having you. You could also send a gorgeous arrangement and thank you enclosure card as another option.

Quick Tips

Houseguest Quick Tips

•••

Confirm how long you will stay prior to your visit and make it short and sweet (unless the host has invited you for an extended visit)

Follow house rules

Bring your own toiletries

Be present – phones and devices away!

At the end of your visit, ask the host if they would like you to strip the bed (remove the sheets and pillow cases). If so, be sure to spread out the duvet or blanket and place the pillows on the bed so it still looks “made.”

On the last day, leave your room tidy, just as it was the day you arrived.

 

 

Quick Tips
Etiquette

No. 1

“WHEN ATTENDING A WEDDING, IT’S ALWAYS BETTER TO BE OVERDRESSED.”

Wedding Guest Attire Etiquette

A Beautiful Blue & White Brunch with Pomegranate Inc.

 

While I can only dream of entertaining again someday when the world is a healthier place (and believe me, I am ready when the time comes!), we have been setting the table every night and every Sunday morning for brunch. I find such joy in picking out the napkins and placemats, and creating not just a meal for my family, but a memory. A memory I hope will bring them endless happiness and even inspiration! More now than ever, it is these precious moments with loved ones that are the most magical. Whether you live on your own or with a family of two, four or six people, setting the table with lovely linens, flowers and silverware transforms a meal from ordinary to extraordinary.

During the week, dinner is our meal of choice to sit down as a family, however on the weekends Sunday brunch is a sacred event. I make waffles or pancakes, depending upon the boy’s requests, as well as chicken apple sausage and bacon, fresh fruit, and coffee. We all gather around the table – often in our pajamas! – and have a leisurely brunch, listening to music, talking about our plans for the day, and savoring every maple syrup drenched bite.

 

 

When setting the table for our family (or a relaxed yet beautiful meal with friends), I often choose block print linens, like these stunning ones from Pomegranate Inc. I instantly fell in love with the Gaya Cobalt’s blue and white design – my favorite color combination and one you can find throughout our home – and adore how these linens elevate any occasion. The pattern feels rich with history as its namesake suggests, and there is something so effortlessly charming about the matching napkin and tablecloth. 

Layering different colors, patterns and textures brings a table setting to life and adds such visual interest. In this setting, I mixed and matched the coordinating cotton linens with the natural raffia placemats and napkin rings. Raffia evokes feelings of sunshine drenched dining on breezy summer days, and so it felt only fitting to choose them for this setting. The deep blue border on the raffia placemats and napkin rings perfectly ties everything together. You can recreate this look on your own (with flatware and glassware of your choice), and find everything on Pomegranate Inc.‘s site in this bespoke Pom Box that I curated for them. Be it for a family brunch or a celebratory dinner, complete with flickering votive candles and pretty glassware. Pomegranate Inc. was also gracious enough to provide MBB readers with a special code – BUNS0720 – which can be redeemed with a $75 or more purchase for a gorgeous blue and white apron – exactly what every hostess needs!

 

 

The finishing touch to any table is flowers. Hydrangeas, peonies, ranunculus, roses, dahlias, tulips and whispers of cheerful chamomile blooms are among my favorites. For this setting I chose pale blue hydrangeas, as I love their volume and soft color. Remember, flowers complement the setting, so have fun with them! You can opt for a tight pave arrangement with roses nestled close to each other, or a series of small vases filled with earthy blooms reminiscent of wildflowers. The options are endless!

 

 

My favorite part of this beautiful tablescape was how it brought my family together and made Sunday brunch feel oh so special. And of course, I am already daydreaming about my next table setting :).

Thank you to Pomegranate Inc. for sponsoring this post.

Advice
HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTESS

No. 2

“IT’S ALL ABOUT THE THOUGHTFUL DETAILS WHEN ENTERTAINING, SO CONSIDER LITTLE EXTRAS SUCH AS CUSTOM NAPKINS OR UNIQUE PARTY FAVORS.”

MORE SOCIAL ETIQUETTE TIPS

Red, white and Blue!

 

 

In case you need some extra inspiration for your Fourth of July celebration on Saturday, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite red, white, and blue entertaining essentials. Just because America’s birthday might look different than years past, it’s still a time to celebrate and make this holiday one to remember!

Set a patriotic table with miniature flags, chekered linens and charming serving pieces; cook a summer inspired meal of grilled and fresh foods; and even bake a sweet cherry pie if the mood strikes! Whether you’re with your immediate family or a small group of friends, you can create a Fourth of July that everyone will love.

We will be celebrating with family and making our traditional dinner of hamburgers and hot dogs, and I bought these classic flag sweaters for the boys which will be so festive and cute!