Posts

The holidays are coming and along with them… house guests.
If you’re like me, the shopping and cooking and cleaning miraculously manage to get done. Having a snappy home office leaves me without a proper guest room, but the sheets get changed, sleeping accommodations are made and everyone seems to be happy. I mean…they come back, right?
Through the years I’ve found a few personal touches to make my guests feel like I’m glad to have them. Here are my old favorites and one I’m adding.
1. Have you ever slept on someone’s sofa-bed? Their owners preface your evening turn-in with “Oh, it’s so comfortable” but obviously they haven’t slept on it since college. Rather than have your guests spend their nights on “the rack” and their days in traction, why not invest in a mattress topper? I purchased a gel foam topper for my son’s futon and it makes a world of difference. With company coming, I ran down to Costco and bought another for the guest (sofa) bed. If you have guests who fold that thing up every night you may want a different type of topper but my family tends to spread out and stay out and the gel pad with find a post-holiday home on the other son’s bed.
2. Add some flowers. Whether I’m creating guest space in the boys’ rooms, my office or in the basement, adding some seasonal sprigs brings a bright distraction. Those unexpected peach poinsettias make any room feel festive.
3. Sweet treats. Though I don’t go all Martha with chocolates on the pillow, I love to pre-set a few fun and useful things. Taking a tip from my travels, it’s easy to stay a step ahead by providing for their needs in advance. Arrange an extra toothbrush, toothpaste, a few bottles of water and that shampoo, conditioner and lotion from your last hotel stay in a holiday cookie tin. You may want to throw in some drugstore items (aspirin, antacids, etc), then place a few clementines, home baked cookies or some peppermint for some festive pop.
4. Basket of soft things. Rather than stack towels and toiletries on the bed, wrap them in ribbon and place them in a deep basket. Step it up with a robe, extra throw blanket and pillows and top it off with a small box of chocolates.
5. Double check the necessities. Though you may use the room for another reason, make sure your guests have everything they need. An adjustable desk lamp, reading light or bathroom nightlight, make your night owl guests feel at home, and have an alarm clock handy for the early birds. Have an old iPod and headphones? Load it up with soothing music or snappy jazz and make it handy, place a good book (one you’ve already read) and some recent magazines on the bedside table, or pick up some gallery guides and touristy pamphlets for that B&B touch.
6. Make all of the above easy to store and reuse.

Chances are your friends and family will be with you more than the three day limit, so make the most of their stay by starting with a warm and thoughtful welcome. Happy Holidays!

Planning a trip to New York is always exciting, but planning a ten day trip with two teenage boys is a handsome cab horse of a different color. How could they see New York’s New York, my New York and find those “I Heart NY” moments for themselves? I knew I had to keep it real. With all of the touristy things on our plate, the trick would be to spin those with the sights and sounds, the smells, bells and flavors that make the city what it is. In New York the magic’s in the moment, so the more opportunities I could create for them to dance among its denizens, the better the interface would be.
Rule number 1.) Walk as much as you can.
Rule number 2.) Take the subway for maximum effect.
Rule number 3.) Do not put any limits on the day. Including what time it starts and ends.
And the bonus tip…No matter how well you know the city, allow yourself to get lost.

Throwing down a bit of historical context to match the immediacy of the New York minute, I worked in some tales of my time in Manhattan and a few irritating, “See that (painting, building, church, store, statue…)? It’s important!” stops along the sidewalks. Dinner at Joe Allen’s over Applebee’s, and meeting friends for picnics, lunches, or museum visits gave things the personal touch and sense of belonging. The overall effect…? “Mom. Can we move here?”

To read more on our adventure, plan your own or find out what made the boys’ “TOP 5 THINGS TO DO IN NEW YORK”, click here.