Friday, January 30, 2015

Hosting 101: The Welcome Basket

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #McCafeMyWay #CollectiveBias
Parker and I get so excited to host family and friends in our Virginia home. For the first time ever, we have a guest room that does not require guests to sleep on an air mattress...yahtzee! I've tried to hone in my hosting skills over the years after seeing what guests need, what they always forget, and what they expect. For future temporary residents of our casa, I have created a welcome basket that I am excited to show you today! Want to one-up your hosting game even more? Have those home-cooked meals waiting! Now onto the welcome basket...

Items to include:
  • Travel-size toiletries. We have these stocked up from hotel stays and miscellaneous trips, so go through your cabinets and see what you already have. Toiletries to remember are shampoo/conditioner, body wash, mouthwash, toothpaste, lotion, and hand sanitizer. 
  • Chapstick. If your guests are visiting in the winter and happen to forget this little goldmine, they'll be thanking you for having it. 
  • A candy bar. We all like a little sweet treat every now and again. Just sayin. 
  • Magazines. Grab a magazine or two that you know your guests will love. It's nice to have something to flip through before you go to bed.  
  • McCafé coffee. People need the coffee. Enough said.

Honestly, if you only provide one item on the list, make it the coffee. It's the welcome basket MVP. Parker and I are the first to admit we aren't big coffee drinkers. I enjoy it loaded with all the tasty toppings as a treat every once in a while, but I'm not an avid coffee drinker. I realize though that we are definitely in the minority. People LOVE their morning cups of coffee and rely on it to have a happy, productive day. When Parker and I were living in Florida, his parents came to stay with us. We didn't have any coffee in the house, and I was so embarrassed when I woke up to find out they had run to the nearby gas station for coffee. Hosting fail, and lesson learned.

After attending a McCafé demo at Walmart, I decided this was the coffee to make my basket complete. I chose the McCafé coffee bag to give guests the five-star treatment without paying the five-star price, and you can opt for the coffee pods if that's more your style. This coffee is made with 100% Arabica beans and comes in 8 different flavors, so there's something for everybody. I headed to Walmart to pick up my bag along with any toiletries I didn't already have laying around the house for the welcome basket. It was one-stop shopping at its finest over here. 

So there you have it! These are the items I recommend including for your very own welcome basket. This is your key to being the hostess with the mostest, so get after it! Another way into your guests hearts? Through their stomachs. I have a few favorite recipes I like to make, but check out the Cooking Up Good website for some good go-to recipes. They also have loyalty programs, sweepstakes, and coupons, so it's a win-win, really. 

Have you ever made a welcome basket? Did your guests ask to move in and stay forever? 

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Your Questions Answered: Vlog Part 2

Today we are back with our second and final vlog to answer the remainder of the questions we received! These are questions about our faith and our pregnancy with Taylor, and at the end we tell you what the biggest eye opener getting married was for each of us. We hope you enjoy!

Here is the link to the video just in case:

We will be back to our regularly scheduled programming (aka, written words) tomorrow. Thanks to Laurie, Kelly, Ladonna, Kelsey, Stephanie, Rachel, and Brianna for today's questions!

Also, the link to our all-time favorite church that we talked about in this video is here in case you're interested:

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