I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about hospitality. Probably because I’ve had house guests just about non stop since mid September! It’s been great to have friends, extended family, international colleagues, and college students at our home over the past few weeks.
Kristin Schell came to speak to our mother/daughter organization this week about hospitality. One of of the questions she asked us was “What keeps you from having people over.” So often for me it can be lack of preparedness – laundry on the couch, dishes in the sink, etc. The thought of someone judging me makes me weak at the knees. Kristin also asked us, “Someone is coming in 15 minutes, what do you do?” ACK! My worst hospitality fail was a few years ago. There were wildfires in the area that caused nearby neighborhoods to evacuate. Without hesitation, I called our dear friends and offered our home if they needed a place to stay. I was already having a large extended family group over for dinner for Labor Day, so a few more folks were easy to accommodate. What I realized however, is that one daughter’s room, the guest room (aka “the kids lounge”) and their bathroom were in no way guest ready. The rest of the house was clean and there was plenty of food but YIKES!! My friends were really grateful for a place to stay, but I decided then and there, that I didn’t want to be caught unprepared again. After the fires were contained and all the company left, we added an egg crate mattress pad to the pull out couch in the lounge, cleaned out the bathroom cabinets, got rid of old towels, bought some new towels and wash cloths, etc. You get the idea. It wasn’t a remodel but boy did we need some upkeep. I have taken that lesson to heart. I’m no Martha Stewart. I’m likely to always have something out of place, but here are a few things I’ve learned to make hospitality easier:
It’s not about you the host, it’s about your guest. Stop worrying and focus on what will make the guest comfortable and feel good. You will feel good, too.
Discipline and habit go a long way toward preparedness. In our culture of multi-tasking, sometimes its hard to finish things, especially a housekeeping job because it’s practically a never ending cycle of wash, rinse, repeat. My sister’s friend sets a time for 10 minutes to “reset” her while she’s cleaning the house. Like her, I’ll fold the laundry, take it to the room, start to put it away but see something else that needs to go someplace else and it spirals out from there. The timer acts to reorient my friend to the original task at hand. With house guests for the past month, my family has gotten a great lesson in discipline and habit. The public areas in the house are staying reasonably guest ready (meaning there are no socks on/in the couch or computer cords to trip over.) Hooray!
Don’t wait for things to be perfect to invite people in. Friends, perfect is just not going to happen and that is absolutely ok. I’m always going to have laundry in the laundry room and someday I’ll get new couches. Authenticity is more welcoming than perfection.
Hospitality creates community and welcome in a world that is sorely lacking in both.
Pinterest has actually been pretty helpful both from a business stand point as well as personal. I can spend a lot of time there looking at beach decor, holiday recipes, DIY remodel ideas, crafts and gifts. Pouring over decor over time helps me know what I like and don’t like. Collecting the pins in a board allows a style or theme to become evident. When the need arises and when it’s time to actually purchase something, I’m ready. I like to arrange my boards with specific topics so that I can actually go back and find a pin for a meal, beverage, quote or a paint color etc. Each of my girls has a “Buy Me Something!” board which makes gift giving so easy! With the holidays coming up, I’ll be pinning a lot of great ideas to my Holidays – Coastal Thanksgiving, Holidays – Coastal Christmas and Great Meals – Holiday Recipes and looking for gift inspiration this season!
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread – one of my favorite Autumn breads. Pumpkin and chocolate doesn’t sound like it should really go together but it’s delicious! My local farmers market vendor had a fantastic gluten free version of this made with sweet potatoes.
Eggs Benedict – quintessential brunch dish in my household. But we usually eat it out! Would love to surprise the family one Saturday and make it at home – maybe when the college girl comes home for Fall break.
DIY Crafts and Home Improvement
Great Coasters – good idea for gifts from SadlerHouse.net. I made a slightly different version of these for Christmas last year. I love the stamps used in this pin and think it’s great inspiration for coasters I’d like to make for the beach houses.
I love looking at remodel ideas – my wish list includes wood on my stairs and painting the kitchen cabinets…and maybe a plank wall somewhere!
Beach House Decor
Beautiful Coastal Decor in this group board. I think about beach decor year round. I always keep an eye out for fresh trends and think about ways to keep the beach houses in their best shape. I also find ways to sneak that style into my home in Austin, too.
It’s all yours – the beach is lovely, warm and uncrowded. Perfect for morning walks, evening walks and anything in between. I’m always surprised at how warm the water can still be in the Fall. My kids have even been in it at Thanksgiving!
It’s all Mine!
2. Great Shells
I’m amazed at the different shells we find on the coast. A few Septembers ago I was in Galveston with some friends and we found the entire beach was littered with quarter sized shells – I think they were disk clams (Elegant Dosinia). Shelling on St Joe’s Island is an adventure anytime of the year. One contributor to TripAdvisor said they found fantastic shells in November.
3. Great Temperature
The average highs and lows in degrees fahrenheit for October are:
It’s that time of year again – mid summer – happily most of the beach house dates are booked til September and the summer season is cruising along. Aound July 4th we start getting inquiries for Thanksgiving, Christmas and a winter stays. It feels strange to advertise for Winter folk in July, time is slipping by us like sand through our fingers, but most of the folks I know are trying to ignore that fact. Me too this year – my oldest heads to college in about a month…say it isn’t so! Alas, time is marching on and we change our headlines to start attracting the people that head south for the winter.
Weather on the coast in the Fall and Winter is fabulous! Highs in the upper 50’s and lower 60’s. Check out these links for Port Aransas and Galveston monthly average temperatures. The crowds are gone and the water is warm well into the Fall. It’s actually my favorite time of year to be at the coast.
Several major publications have stories about heading south to the Texas coast for the Winter. This great article from the Dallas Morning News lists some fantastic things about wintering anywhere from South Padre to Galveston. This article from Texas Monthly is about Port Aransas and all the activities with directory (address and phone numbers) of places not to be missed.