Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Horrified Hostess - PART 2: What are you afraid of?

What are you afraid of?

House . . . not clean enough?
Not nice enough?
Not big enough?

Food . . . not edible?
Not suitable for guests?
Not ready on time?

Guests . . . not comfortable?
Bored? (Boring?)
Arriving too early? (Staying too late?)

Tip # 2 of this series:  Figure out what you're afraid of when it comes to entertaining.

Until you figure this out, you can't you tackle it.


If you're afraid of entertaining, but you're determined to conquer that fear and get into the game, you'll be happy to hear that the best way to do that is to ease yourself into it. No one who's afraid of the water gets into the pool by doing a reverse 2 1/2 somersault in the pike position off the 3-meter springboard.  It is perfectly acceptable -- and, in fact, highly recommended -- instead, to simply take one step at a time down into the shallow end of the pool with the idea of just getting your suit wet! (Whew!  Isn't that a relief!  Don't you feel better already?)

photo from lovemaegan.com

I really do think that any fears we have about entertaining fall into one of those categories listed above -- our houses, our food, or our guests.  (I know that some of you would put a big, fat check by each of those categories, but if you really focus on those scary thoughts, one category probably dominates the others. If not, well, pick one and just go with it for now. We'll get to all of them over the next couple of weeks.)

I know that at the top of this post, I listed our houses first, but I'm actually going to start with our guests.  And there's a reason for that. After all, WHO you invite into your home -- your "guest" list -- is the component you have the most control over in this whole entertaining equation!

In the pool of entertaining, who better to make a little splash with than friends?  (My motto is What good are your friends if you can't use 'em?)  That's right.  FRIENDS.  CLOSE friends.

There are huge advantages to choosing close friends as your first guinea pigs guests when you're just getting back into your entertaining groove. 

Advantage #1) You know them well, so you know their likes and dislikes. (These are the folks it should be easy to make feel comfortable).  

#2) You should have plenty to talk about (so neither they nor you should be bored or boring). 

#3) And perhaps the biggest advantage of all, you can be honest with them. (If this isn't the case, you need some new close friends.) You should be able to tell them that you haven't had anyone over in quiet a while and you're a little nervous.  (You probably don't want to tell them that you thought they'd be easy, but you get the idea, right?)  You can even tell really close friends not to dare show up early!  (If I knew them well enough, I've actually been known to tell prospective guests my Golden Guest Rule:  Come on time if you must.  Come late if you can.  Don't EVER come early!)  

#4) Close friends aren't going to be concerned with your house.  (Do the best you can with your house, and then forget about it and have fun!  More about  our houses, remember, in a later post.)  

#5) Close friends can usually tell when everyone's had enough fun and it's time for them to head home.

#6) Close friends want to spend time with you, so just about anything you do together -- regardless of your house, the food, or the ocassion -- will be a success.  And that's important when you're doing something that scares you. (NOTE:  Learn to set yourself up for SUCCESS!)

Photo from Laine and Abby's Ccookie Exchange on facebook

One success under your belt will give you the confidence to try for another!  (And before you know it, you won't be just sticking your toe in the water; you'll be doing laps at champ time!) 

Next time we'll talk about house horrors -- imagined or real -- and how to overcome them . . . 

Meanwhile, call a friend to stop over for a cup of coffee or hot chocolate in between last-minute Christmas shopping, or call a couple of friends to come over for an impromptu wrapping party. (Hey, wrapping Christmas presents is supposed to be messy, so as long as at least one bathroom's clean, you don't even worry about the rest of the house! And just pop some pre-made chocolate-chip cookie dough into the oven or pick up some cookies from the grocery store or local bakery, and you're set!)

Ahhh, the sweet smell of coffee and cookies success! 


Friday, December 16, 2011

The Horrified Hostess - Part 1

 Photo from dress4dinner.com.
[And for those of you wondering, yes, of course this is a picture of me. Why do you ask?] 




I ENTERTAINED! After our early dismissal from school last Friday, I had a group of women over for lunch and then a mere few hours later had friends over for dinner!

Big deal, some of you are thinking.  Well, for me, IT IS!

In my younger years (the ones that I miss in so many ways), I loved having people over to my casa. But somewhere along the way, I got out of the habit. 

And then, I somehow lost my confidence about the whole thing. 

[Before we continue, let me state for the record, that in other ways I LOVE being a 50s-something -- 54, to be exact -- woman. )

I'm not a great cook, and I'm a worse housekeeper, so I guess I worried that if the "entertaining"  involved cooking, the meal would flop. And/Or that the house wouldn't be clean enough -- that maybe one of the dust bunnies I had come to think of as beloved pets would jump from behind the couch and bite a guest on the ankle or something.  

You fellow Horrified Hostesses out there can attest to the things-that-can-go-wrong-nightmares the imagination can produce. And it doesn't help if you, yourself, are, in turn, entertained frequently by friends who make Martha Stewart look like a slacker. (Or that your very own mother cooks for groups of 75 or more without breaking a sweat and actually thinks it's fun.) 

Considering our phobias, why in the world then would any of us want to entertain?

Aha!  FIRST TIP IN THIS SERIES:  THAT is exactly the question you have to ask yourself and then honestly answer:  Why do I even care about this whole entertaining thing?

If you want to entertain simply because you think you should (or someone else told you that you have to), you want to impress people with your hostess-with-the-mostest skills (which we've already determined that we Horrified Hostesses probably don't naturally have), or you want to show off your new house (or your new flooring, your new sofa, your new whatever), or you're trying to make people to think you're someone you're not (hey, let's get real, here). . . well, then stop right now where you stand.  I can't help you.

But . . . if you find yourself genuinely having a deep desire to share your home with people you know and love (or want to get to know) because you feel that to share your home is to share yourself, then you're on the right track.  

The best hostesses I know (and I'm blessed to know many), more than any other skill, have the ability to make others feel truly welcomed not only into their homes but into their hearts.  

If you're wanting to gather friends and family into your home for that welcoming-and-lovin'-on reason alone, then I believe you can overcome anything that's keeping you from flinging open the doors and saying, "Ya'll come on in!"

And, that, I think I can help you with.  (Trust me, sister, if I can do it, so can you!)  So tune in later this week for the next Horrified Hostess post.



PS  Okay, I realize there is no burlap in this post.  Sorry.  The first post just kinda took a different turn.  But if it excites you (and it seems to be exciting lots of us in Blog Land these days), then I promise some burlap will be coming!  

NEW SERIES: The Horrified Hostess!

From thesaurus.com: 
Beginning tomorrow, I'm starting a new series of posts for those women who,  like me, somehow lost their entertaining groove but would seriously like to get it back . . . so stay turned! (There'll be pictures and everything!)

Hint for tomorrow's first post . . . BURLAP! 

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Believe it or not, this is the only 
picture from my Canton trip!
(Well, at least I made it a fun one!)

Bev and I had a great time on our Girl-Trip, despite my losing ALL of my money before we even left our motel.

Yup.  You read that right. 






I have no idea how it happened.  Bev had gone down to the lobby ahead of me to check on something.  I patted the wad (yep, it was a wad) in the front pocket of my jeans as I left our room.  I took the elevator downstairs, checked my E-mail at the motel's computer center, used the downstairs ladies' room, and then Bev and I drove across the street -- literally -- to grab breakfast. As I reached into my pocket at the drive-thru, I realized my pocket was empty. 
We rushed right back across the street to our motel, alerted the staff, and then looked everywhere, as we retraced my steps, but no money.  NO money. No MONEY. None. Zip. Nada.

Y'know what, though? I decided that we were not going to let a rocky start ruin our trip, and it didn't!  I prayed that I'd find my money, but then I did something kinda crazy . . . I reminded myself that everything I have belongs to Papa-God, and I asked Him to use it to bless someone who really needed it. (Bev said she'd pray that whoever found it would feel guilty for not turning it in!  LOL!) 

Don't get me wrong -- sure, I was disappointed that I'd somehow lost my "fun funds" (and truth be told, I felt like a big dummy -- make that a HUGE dummy -- for losing it), but choosing to trust Papa with it made all the difference, I think, in being able to enjoy the rest of the trip and not think of it, instead, as a disaster.

That being said, I did find some fun things to bring home, most of it coming from the Goodwill store in Tyler. (Goodwill accepts debit cards!  And we always stop at the Goodwill in Tyler as part the whole Canton-trip experience.) In fact, I have one project-buy that I found there, but I'm saving it to show you later (like "before" and "after" later -- maybe after Christmas 'cause, hopefully, I'll be able to get it done while I'm off from the School House). 

Meanwhile, enjoy this wonderful pink . . . uh . . . sculpture?  I've seen this every time I've been to Canton, and it always says the same thing to me:  


And I'm all about sharing the fun, so here it is for you to enjoy, too!

I hope you're doing something fun this weekend!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Canton Trade Days!

 All pictures in this post are from a feature Country Living magazine did on Canton Trade Days.

[Look at those scrumptious colors!  BE STILL, MY HEART!]
I'm going to CANTON for First Monday!  

No, not Canton, Ohio -- Canton, TEXAS! 

Every weekend before the first Monday of each month, Canton, Texas, hosts a huge flea market, antique show, craft fair, yard sale . . . well, an EVERYTHING sale!  If you need something or just plain ol' want something, it gonna be in Canton.  Sister-friend, Bev, and I are leaving right after school for some much needed Girl-Time and some shopping!  I'll try to take some pics and then give you the scoop when I get back to Casita 422!  Until then . . . 


[Yep, this is what Bev and I are going to be doing!]

 [I just LOVE me some junque-diggin'!]

 ["The stars at night . . . are big and bright . . . deep in the heart of Texas" . . . 
but I'll take this kind, too!]

[Stained glass, anyone, IN OLD WINDOWS (!) ? ]

Everything sparkles at Canton!