Decor

The weekend hostess with the mostess.

Our friends and family members are not strangers to spending the night or even the weekend at our house.

We knew that by moving an hour from the city and our previous life, it was going to be hard to have people come over for “a quick visit” and we wouldn’t be getting the “I’m in the area, thought I’d drop by” calls as often. That being said, we tend to get a lot more use of our guest rooms now than we did in our old house.

When we have guests in the house, I want to always do everything that I can to make sure they feel comfortable and at home. I want it to be a place where guests, no matter who they are, feel like they could stay forever and they can use anything, do anything and that they are not encroaching on our personal space. I am sure we can all think of a situation where someone made us feel that way and it’s not how I want people to feel when they come to stay with us.

Whether you have a guest room, a comfy couch that people crash on from time to time or are just trying to make guests feel better when visiting, here are a bunch of ideas and tips on how to do so. Some I have picked up along the way from others, and some I’ve thought on myself.

Tech information station.

I had seen things like this circulating all over the internet and I knew right away that I needed to do this. It really didn’t require more than a few dollars and a few minutes of my time. I purchased the frame from Dollarama for $2.00 and made my own design. You can find hundreds of free templates online though or you can also head to: TheHappierHomeMaker.com for some cute ones. Supplying the WiFi information right in their room instantly lets your guest know how things works and they don’t need to feel like they are “bugging” you by asking. Plus, I can’t be the only one who forgets our own password sometimes, right? I also make sure there is an extra phone charger available, in case they forgot theirs. Once we set up the extra TV in our guest room, I’ll be sure to have the remote in clear view for them also and maybe a quick little note on how to use it since I personally get anxiety trying to navigate someones TV remote!

get comfy

Consider the space in the dark.

This is easier to do in a bedroom than if you have someone sleeping on your couch, but make sure to assess the sleeping arrangements in the pitch dark. Are there windows that need treatments so guests can sleep better and aren’t blasted by the sunrise? Is there a flashing light from a tech device that’s annoying? A weird sound the dishwasher makes that would keep them up? Basically, make sure guests are sleeping in an environment that you’d be OK with. Before a guest arrives, I flick on the LOVE marquee light for them on the dresser. (I purchased this one from Michael’sabout 2 years ago and they no longer have them but you can find similar ones on Etsy, Amazonor Wayfair) By turning it on before they enter the room to get cozy and relaxed, I feel it allows them to feel comfortable switching it off if they’d like or leave it on as a night light.

love sign

Fresh food & drinks.

There’s nothing more welcoming and homey than something like fresh cookies or a bottle of wine being opened when a guest arrives. Go the extra mile with this touch. Plus, having something sitting out makes your guest feel a lot more confident eating/drinking, without feeling weird about digging through your pantry. In their room I like to leave a fresh bottle or a resealable jar of water with a glass and maybe a few snacks if there is something in particular I know they like. I also like to leave snacks out on the kitchen island so they know they are free to take anything they’d like. This ranges based on the time of their arrival  but if it is the morning it can be coffee, juices, fruit and some freshly baked goods. If they are arriving later in the day I tend to put out a little charcuterie board and a bottle of wine – don’t forget to set out the glasses and mugs so they feel empowered to help themselves and don’t get embarrassed looking in all your cupboards until they find one.

morning

afternoon evening.jpg

Stack of blankets.

Since everyone has a different preference when it comes to the ideal sleeping temperature I make a point to have a few extra blankets folded around the room in plain view. I also put a few extra pillows on their bed than necessary so they can pick the ones that are most comfortable to them before going to bed. It is so annoying when staying at someones place and having a pillow that is too hard or soft and nothing else to choose from. Make sure they have something other than decorative pillows to sleep on, too!

spare room

Dedicated space.

Your guests don’t want to feel like their all up in your grill during their stay, ya know? Make sure guests have a dedicated space for their belongings – in the bedroom AND bathroom, so they can place their things down. Even better if you can clear a drawer or at least a shelf so they can stay organized. I always keep pretty hangers in the guestroom closet so they can hang their things and I keep the dresser and side table drawers empty for them. In the guest bathroom I stock up on travel sized goodies of things they may have forgotten – toothpaste, extra toothbrushes, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, Q-tips etc. (just remember to replace these items once they leave so your next guest doesn’t reuse them by mistake). Don’t forget to leave out clean towels also!

SO, who wants to come stay over? But for real, I hope you find some of these tips helpful. Easter is coming up, are you having house guests for the weekend? Do you have any other ideas?

Don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.

Food & Drink

Leprechaun Kiss.

St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday filled with a rich history in Irish culture but, let’s be real… it’s also a really great excuse to wear a cute green outfit, rock a shamrock fake tattoo and consume endless green beverages. I promise I won’t judge you for doing any of those things. In fact, I’ll be doing them all this weekend, guilt and shame free!

In what seems like a lifetime ago, I was a bartender for many years and I always loved working St. Patrick’s Day! Sure, I went home with food coloring everywhere and spent the next day soaking it off my skin but it was such a great party every year.

Green beer is a staple, I know this. However, sometimes the urge to set it aside and reach for something sweeter while still keeping the green vibe is overpowering. An apple martini? Not since 2006. Vodka bar lime? Nah. Mojito? Not when there’s still snow on the ground, it seems wrong.

A Leprechaun Kiss… now we’re talking.

I don’t suggest you to around asking for a Leprechaun Kiss this weekend because you may get an unexpected surprise if you do. It’s what I decided to call it one year when creating a St. Patrick’s Day feature drink at the bar I was working at and I’ve stuck with it since then. I highly doubt it’s what this drink is called, if it’s even a thing outside of my group of friends.

At 34 proof, Hpnotiq is a fairly low proof liqueur that tastes like mango and passion fruit, with hints of citrus. Mixed with the ounce of vodka, it magically transforms to about 80 proof, and ends up being a rather strong cocktail, and the fruity flavors don’t entirely disguise that. Did I mention it looks amazing also?

st patty

What are you plans for the weekend? What will you be drinking?

Please remember to drink responsibly and get home safely from wherever you end up!

Make sure to read the whole post for a little surprise throwback photo at the end!

Here is what you will need:

2oz of Hpnotiq

1oz of vodka

1/2oz of orange juice

1/4 of a freshly squeezed lime

Combine all ingredients over ice in a shaker and strain into either a martini glass or a rocks glass.

Just for laughs, here is an old photo of me from 2010 teaching a mixology trick course. Martini waterfalls! 🙂

old bartending.jpg

ENJOY!

Don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.

Food & Drink

Banana Chips.

A while back, I shared my obsessive cucumber chip recipe with you and I received so much amazing feedback on it from you guys that I was inspired to further explore other fruits and vegetables that I could make into “chips”. I have to be honest though, I didn’t come up with this idea on my own. I actually saw them in my grocery store and bought them to test out “for research” purposes only (okay, maybe not only!)

I’ve been practicing making these for a little while and I think I have all the kinks worked out now which makes me excited to share with you, BAKED BANANA CHIPS. On a total side note for a second, can anyone out there really type the word BANANA without hearing Gwen Stefani in their head? B-A-NAN-A-S! It happen every time!

banana chips

These little pieces of heaven are a great late night snack on their own or even mixed with granola for breakfast. I haven’t found a wrong way to eat these and I haven’t found a wrong time of day either – that is a win-win situation for me! I would be lying if I said I didn’t throw a handful on top of a bowl of ice cream one night also.

There are only 2 ingredients needed to make these… b-a-nan-a-s and lemon juice.  That’s it, that’s all! You are going to want to use ripe and firm bananas for these though – not bruised or mushy.

banana baking.jpg

Here is what you will need:

10 ripe and firm bananas thinly sliced

Freshly squeezed lemon juice – 1 lemon should do the trick

Here is what you will need to do:

Preheat oven to 200F.

Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease with cooking spray.

Toss thinly sliced bananas in lemon juice.

Arrange bananas in a single layer on the cookie sheet.

Bake for 2 hours before flipping banana slices and continue to bake for 1.5 more hours or until you’ve reached your desired level of crisp.

Remove from the oven and transfer carefully to a wire rack. Allow them to cool completely before storing in a airtight container. The longer you allow them to cool, the crunchier they will get.

I am so curious to hear your feedback on these. Let me know if you have previously tried these or have made them yourselves. What else can I make chips from?

Don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.