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How to Prep for a House Guest

DIY guest welcome basket

Some good friends of ours are coming for a 4 day stay over Memorial Day weekend, and I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time. For one thing, I’m excited to show two New York City virgins around the town, and also, we’ve never hosted anyone for as long of a time as they’re staying! Any apartment dweller can relate, but when you live in a space with no spare bedroom, it can be hard to host anyone, and guests are usually limited to the overnight visitors who are couch surfing (which can often be more of a pain than a treat). However, since these friends very kindly made plans specifically to visit us, proper attention had to be paid. Slash, it awakens the hostess in me, and when it comes to entertaining and hosting people and making it feel special, I really just can’t help myself.

So, I put together this little welcome basket to help make their visit feel extra special. Today, I wanted to share what I did just in case you have house guests coming and wanted some easy hosting ideas. You could use any or all of the elements of my basket and it’ll still make them feel like an honored guest!

1. Samples, samples, samples

I saw this pin on Pinterest forever ago that suggested collecting those small samples you get at beauty counters in a jar, and saving them for your guests. I’ll totally cop to stealing that idea for part of my basket. How fun is this? I’m usually not really that interested in a lot of the samples that get stuffed into my shopping bag at places like Sephora, but somehow, when you’re on vacay, it’s SO fun to try new products (think about at cool hotels, where they stock the bathroom with interesting brands you’ve wanted to try!). I’ve been collecting samples for a couple months, and was able to put a nice jar together for my girlfriend, who happens to be a huge product junkie.  Read more »

Beach Season: 8 Swimsuits for Every Budget

I took a class in college where most of the course was made up of a series of different group projects. We were assigned groups in the first class, and that was your team for the whole semester. Since you and your group spent so much time together, it was inevitable that they sort of became your unofficial family for those few short months. There was one guy in my group who was the life of the party — such a cool, funny, genuinely nice dude. About a month or two into the semester, I noticed that he wore this bright turquoise blue surf t shirt at least once per week. On the front of it was a big palm tree and beach illustration, and across the top, the word ‘PLAYA’ was written in big white letters. It was very Hollister circa 2004. One day I asked him if he loved to surf or loved going to the beach, since he wore it a lot. He looked at me like I was nuts and asked why.

“Your shirt,” I said, pointing to it, “It says playa on it.” He looked at me for a second and then just started laughing.

“Oh. I thought it said “playa” this whole time.” As in play-uh or “player”, you guys. We seriously laughed about it for like five minutes. Both for the translation mistake, and on my part, because he thought he was wearing a shirt indicating he was a “player”, when in reality, most people California girls would have realized it was the Spanish word for “beach”. Which I told him to his face, and then we laughed some more. He was nothing if not exceedingly charming and confident, I’ll give him that (and I adored that he could laugh at himself. He totally still wore the shirt after, too!).

I always think about that shirt whenever I see the (Spanish) word “playa” and this weekend, as I was browsing swimsuits, was certainly no exception. I rounded up a bunch of suits that caught my eye (and a few are worth investigating just because the price is so good!). Do you have any beach trips planned for Memorial Day, or the summer ahead?

And, just to be clear, “plage” is not the same as “plague”. The more you know!


Also, the H&M bathing suit is available here and here. FYI, I got a couple bathing suits from them a few years ago and have been pleasantly surprised by how they’ve held up! Happy shopping!

Image Credit: “Tropical Tree!” by Jackie and licensed under Creative Commons with some graphic modifications made by me.



natural confetti


FROM THE DESK OF: I’d caught many of these “My Desk” features from Vanity Fair in print, but several were new to me. It’s so fun to sneak a peek at some very notable work spaces!

GROWN UP TREE HOUSE: Last week I mentioned the finale of another One Room Challenge series, but I neglected to mention Naomi’s INCREDIBLE space, which I wish I could have in my house, right now, no boys allowed, please and thank you. Homegirl is so talented!

TOTAL HIPPIE WINO: I thought this post debunking some myths and misunderstandings about organic and biodynamic wine was cool. Can you tell the difference?

BLOGGER BLOOPERS: Hallie’s series of outfit photo “outtakes” always cracks me up. I do love a girl with a sense of humor (and perspective)!

BARBECUE TIME: I can’t believe that Memorial Day weekend is NEXT weekend. Here’s a delish recipe for smoked chicken wings...

I WANT THIS: …and the most gorgeous Boozy Fruit Punch (with fruit striped ice cubes!) if you need a few entertaining ideas.

NINETIES, NO THANKS: Okay, when it comes to music, you’re welcome any time. But fashion? Hm. Those Birkenstocks I mentioned last week were delivered, and after a try-on, they immediately went back in the box. They looked horrible on me, you guys. So, the search continues for supremely comfortable walking sandals for travels abroad (and at-home errand running) this summer. Suggestions? I’m eyeing these and these, but you can never tell if these shoes are things you’ll be able to walk for literally miles in.

BUY SOME DAMN ART: I enjoyed discovering this little online gallery via this post on Miss Moss. Some really incredible pieces for not a lot of dough, considering they’re original works!

C’EST TRÈS BIZARRE, NON?: The Cut’s Paris in 30 Days series continues, and I loved reading this post on “Things Parisians Do That Stun New Yorkers. And Vice Versa.”

AM I ADDICTED?: In case you couldn’t tell, I spend a lot of time on NY Mag and all its sister sites. This week, they launched a new one that is SO up my alley: it’s called Science of Us, and it’s all about well, the science of us.

Apologies for the lack of post yesterday — things have been extra zany around here with projects finishing, beginning, and deep in development. I have a feeling random days off might happen more here and there, but I promise to try and let you know when they will! This week flew by: between gym, book club, meetings, and work, it’s hard to believe it’s Friday again…let alone that next weekend is MEMORIAL DAY. Y’all, before we know it, Labor Day will be here! This weekend will be a slow one before the holiday next week (and friends coming into town for an extended stay!). Gym tomorrow, a few errands, and I think I’m going to take Joe over to the west side to show him Gotham West Market (Hitha introduced me…this food and restaurant market is the coolest!). What are you up to this weekend? Anything fun?

Images: All snapshots from my week! Peonies are in season; the cherry and magnolia trees in Central Park are making the most incredible confetti; and last weekend at the Bronx Zoo, I spotted a peacock in full plumery. Be sure to follow along on Instagram!