Modern Manners: How to Elevate a Hostess Gift



Whether a cozy dinner at a friend’s house in the winter, a luncheon in the spring, or a pool party during the summer, our agendas are often filled with fun events and parties. Along with your sparkling self, be sure to always bring a hostess gift – a token to show your appreciation for the invitation to the host’s home or party. I love to bring special gifts (a festive ornament during the holidays, a white orchid for the floral enthusiast, gourmet muffin mix for the baker, etc.) and so I wanted to share some ideas on how to elevate your hostess gifts. Yes, you can bring a bottle of wine or candle, however I encourage you to surprise the host or hostess with something extraordinary, and take hostess gift giving to the next level. Instead of a plain white candle, choose one in a colored gilded glass votive, or give an exceptional bottle of wine paired (via ribbon) with a cheese board.  The takeaway dear readers, is to think outside the box!

Also, when wrapping the gift, I love the simplicity of cello, a personalized gift tag, and a really fabulous bow.

Flowers – Flowers are always a crowd pleaser. Make blooms even more special by having them beautifully wrapped in tissue and tied with a ribbon, or even arranged in glass container. You can arrange the flowers yourself too if you prefer. Bonus points for picking the host’s favorite flowers or buds unique to that season!

Games – Surprise your host with a whimsical watercolor deck of playing cards. Because, who doesn’t love game night?

Candles – If you opt for a candle, find one with a stunning vessel or signature scent.

Food – While a well-chosen bottle of wine is lovely from time to time, strive to go beyond this typical gift and choose artisan chocolates or infused olive oil. Also, be sure to check if the host/hostess has any food allergies before you bring them a food-centered gift!

Dinner/Cocktail Napkins – Elevate dinner or cocktail napkins with a monogram or embroidered design. Cheeky cocktail napkins are always a great conversation starter!

Hand Soap/lotion set – We all have soap in our powder bath, however a luxurious hand soap and lotion set is such a treat. A unique twist on this gift is a delightful guest soap box filled with delicate pastel colored soaps.

Entertaining Essentials – Take their serving pieces up a notch with a charming kitchen tool like a cleverly designed spoon rest or elegant pitcher.


Happy Friday & Little Lovelies


  1. Get organized in 2020 with a gorgeous planner. I love this pale pink version!
  2. Blue and white block print napkins are always a classic.
  3. This pale pink coconut and rose body scrub is the ultimate indulgence.
  4. Darling dress for the spring
  5. Check out Tory Daily for the chicest new guest house in New Orleans


Healthy Chicken Tacos


Traditions are sacred in our family, and many of them center around food. From preparing the meal to sitting down at the table together and eating, talking and laughing, these are the times that we cherish and will hopefully be long remembered by our boys. Whether a weeknight dinner or special Sunday brunch, meals are when everyone can slow down and spend quality time as a family.

For us, every Friday is homemade pizza night (keep an eye out for that post soon!) and every Tuesday we of course have tacos. The type of tacos has varied over the years, however right now we are loving chipotle chicken tacos. I originally found the recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, The Defined Dish, and we just slightly adapted it by reducing it in half. Her recipes are phenomenal, and this one is a favorite in our family. Super easy to whip up on a Tuesday night, this recipe is sure to make it into your weekly rotation!

Chipotle Chicken Tacos (serves 4)


  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 lb ground chicken or turkey
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1 1/2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth

Serve with:


Heat a skilled over medium-high heat, and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Next, add the ground chicken or turkey and season it generously with salt and pepper. Brown the meat until it’s fully cooked through, breaking it up with the back of a spoon. Next, reduce the heat to medium, and add the cumin, chili powder, oregano, and tomato paste and stir until combined. Pour in the chicken broth and let it simmer about five minutes. Serve the meat in Siete crispy taco shells and garnish with guacamole, salsa, shredded purple cabbage, cheese and lime wedges.