The Social Graces: We Loved Having You …

Hey Dolls! I’ve published this post annually for several years, with the original post published June 2012. It continues to be a favorite! Because summer is here and vacations are in full swing, I thought a refresher may be in order (even for me). Peep the original post below! (Hostess gift ideas have been updated.)beach house

Summer has arrived in all of its glory, and with it much-anticipated travel plans. Some travel involves a stay at a cute boutique hotel and other times we are guests of family or friends. On those occasions when we are guests in someone’s home, how do we ensure that we are invited for a return visit. In other words, what makes a gracious house guest?

Friends and family don’t really mean it when they say, “Feel free to drop in anytime.” Don’t drop in on anyone. In other words, communicate and coordinate your plans with your hosts well in advance. Let them know when you will be arriving and departing. It’s good practice to book your travel arrangements after you have confirmed these details with your hosts. Equally important, let your hosts know how many people will be traveling with you, especially if little ones are involved.

Inform your hosts of your schedule while you will be staying with them. This is a courtesy, especially if your plans do not involve spending all of your time with your hosts. You don’t want to inconvenience (or surprise) your hosts with an unexpected knock on the door from you late at night or early in the morning.

Observe and respect the house rules. Most hosts will offer a tour of their home to make you feel comfortable when you arrive. Ask questions. “Is this the powder room that I should use?” “Is this the closet in which I should hang my coat?” Don’t be too familiar just because you have a long-term relationship.

If you notice that your hosts take off their shoes when they come in the door, you should do the same. Similarly, if you notice that a certain room in the house is not used by your hosts, don’t “camp out” there during your visit. If your hosts turn in early, and you are on the nocturnal side, be respectful … speak in low tones if you are on your cell, don’t turn a bright light on directly outside of their sleeping area, don’t have the volume on the TV turned all of the way up, and for goodness sake, don’t order PPV movies “on their dime.”

Clean up after yourself. I will say it again. Clean up after yourself! Wait, let me say it again. Clean up after yourself! Your hosts are not your housekeepers. Make your bed, load your own dishes in the dishwasher (or offer to clear the table one night), turn the lights out when you leave the room, keep the powder room you are using neat and tidy. Don’t leave wet towels anywhere, but on the towel rack. Keep your things in one place. When you are leaving, ask your hosts what they would like you to do with bed and bath linens.

If you break something, inform your hosts immediately and offer to replace or pay for the broken item.

Ask to lend a hand when you see your hosts’ straightening. There is nothing worse than following guests around the house, picking up after them. Remember, you want to be invited back, not talked about after you leave.

Your Hosts are Not You Babysitters. If your children will be traveling with you, and you will need sitting services, make the appropriate arrangements before arriving at your hosts’ home. Don’t expect them, or their children, to watch and entertain your kids. Set expectations with your children, before you travel, about minding their manners and being neat.

And finally, these two go without saying ~ bring a gift when you arrive + send thank you note after your departure.

Peep these gift ideas to bring to your hosts.

Luxe Room Spray + Hand Soap. Gift your host and hostess a little bit of luxury that they wouldn’t normally pick up for themselves. I love Byredo Room Spray + Soap. The Cotton Poplin + Gypsy Water fragrances are particularly lovely for summer.

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Candles make great gifts. They are practical, yet you can selected from thousands of aromas to compliment the tastes of your hosts. Diptyque Candles and accompanying Wick Trimmer are always a win. My favorite scent is Baies

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Personalized Stationery are the “Write” Stuff. While shooting a quick “thank you” email has become commonplace, but there re still a lot of paper Dolls out there. Gift your hostess a beautiful Grand Silk Stationery Box. Personalized stationery ranges from whimsical to formal. 

While you’re at it, order a set for yourself, so that you will always be prepared to send a quick “Merci!”

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Fab Florals. Who doesn’t love flowers!? I have been swooning over the eternity roses from Venus ET Fleur. Gift your hosts a beautifully curated rose arrangement that will remind them of your gratitude and time together long after your gone – actually up to a year.

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Cocktail Glass Set. For your friends that imbibe from time to time, these Mr. and Mrs. Cocktail Glasses make for a super stylish gift.

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Personalized Guest Towels. A hostess can never have enough guest towels when entertaining. These luxe Caspari personalized guest towels from Horchow have the look of linen, with the feel of cotton. 

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And for a whimsical splurge for the friends who have everything, bring a a couple bottles of bubbly and a “Thank You Candy Trunk” from Sugarfina!

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So there you have it ~ Gracious Guest 101. Follow these simple rules and you’ll surely receive an invitation to visit again. Final thought, make sure you reciprocate. Don’t forget to invite your hosts to spend time at your home.

Until Then | Keep Sharing the Pretty,

TPD

You Are Cordially Invited to Champagne Sunday!

Hey Dolls! Happy Sunday! Summer is here with a vengeance and the 4th is days away. I was trying to decide on the perfect champagne cocktail for the holiday and thought I would try the “Always Sparkling.” Don’t you love the name! Peep the mixology.

Always Sparkling

The Ingredients | 

  • 1 part cognac; 3/4 part lemon juice
  • 3/4 part sweetened strawberry purée
  • 1 dash rose water
  • favorite sparkling rose

The Mixology | In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine cognac, lemon juice, strawberry purée and rose water. Strain into a stemless glass filled with ice, and top with your favorite sparkling rose. Serve, sip + enjoy!

Until then, keep sharing the pretty,

L.

TPD

Source: Cosmopolitan.com

National Margarita Day!

Hey Dolls! It’s not Champagne Sunday, but it is National Margarita Day! Peep the mixology for The Perfect Margarita.

The Perfect Margarita

The Ingredients.

  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • Coarse salt
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 cup best-quality white tequila
  • 1/3 cup Cointreau
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus more if desired

The Mixology. To salt-rim the glasses, rub a cut lime around the rim of each of 4 cocktail glasses or stemmed goblets. Fill a saucer with salt. Dip glass, upside down, into salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Fill blender three-quarters full of ice cubes. Pour lime juice, tequila, and Cointreau over ice. Add sugar; blend, starting slowly, and then increasing to high speed, until ice is very finely chopped and mixture is frothy. Taste for sweetness; add more sugar if desired. Blend a few seconds more; pour into salt-rimmed glasses. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Until then, keep sharing the pretty,

L.

The Pretty Domestic

Dollentine’s Day Gift Ideas

Hey Dolls! We are a day shy of Valentine’s Day, and whether you have plans with a special someone or not, I say who cares! Tomorrow is a day we can spend showering ourselves with love. Peep some of my fab gifts ideas and splurge on yourself for “Dollentine’s Day.”

Brooches are everywhere and this ruby crystal number from Gucci is perfect to gift yourself. Don it on a distressed denim jacket, go-to LBD, or cutest French beret.

Sexy lingerie is not to be reserved for special occasions! Head over to La Perla and indulge yourself in some beautiful intimates.

Honestly, nothing beats a pop of red on the nails. I am obsessed with this opaque poppy color. Not to mention, Smith + Cult packaging is everything.

If we are doing red nails, then certainly we are doing red lips. Who does a red lip better than Chanel? Rouge Allure limited edition lip colour in No. 1 is the perfect shade of red.

Build your own jewelry collection with this David Yurman Crossover Wide Ring. True to his signature style, the Crossover Ring will compliment your Dollentine’s Night Out ensemble.

It goes without saying, that you don’t have to wait on anyone to send you fresh flowers. I’m a tulip Doll; but, swing by your favorite florist and pick up a bouquet of your bloom of choice.

Dollentine’s Day is synonymous with bubbly. Pull out your best flute and pour a glass or two.

Veuve Clicquot Rosé Champagne

Happy Dollentine’s Day!

Until then, keep sharing the pretty,

L.

The Pretty Domestic

You Are Cordially Invited to Champagne Sunday!

Hey Dolls! Happy Sunday! I am so excited that the Winter Olympics have started. I enjoy it from start to finish – the Opening Ceremony, Parade of Nations, lightening of the cauldron, and the spirit of sportsmanship.

It’s only appropriate that in the spirit of the games that we on an Olympic-themed cocktail. I’ve posted this before, but it is a gold medal winner. Peep the mixology below.

The Gold Medal Martini

The Ingredients |

  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • I tsp simple syrup
  • fresh lemon

The Mixology | Add vodka to a shaker filled with ice, simple syrup, and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Shake vigorously until the mixture is completely chilled and thoroughly mixed. Strain into martini glass that has been rimmed with sugar. For a little sparkle try mixing metallic dusting powder with the sugar. This sparkly dusting powder can be found at your local bakery supply store. Serve and enjoy.

Until then, keep sharing the pretty,

L.

The Pretty Domestic

You Are Cordially Invited to Champagne Sunday

Hey Dolls! Happy Super Bowl Sunday! If you’re like me, you’re either attending a fab party or hosting one. We’ll be watching with good friends at their annual Super Bowl soirée.

The big game is synonymous with beer; but I still say bubbles are appropriate. Or better yet, why not both! That said, I bring you The Black Velvet.

This famous drink was invented in 1861 at Brook’s Club in London. Prince Albert had died, everyone was in mourning. The story goes that the steward at the club, overcome with the emotion of the occasion, ordered that even the champagne should be put into mourning and proceeded to mix it with Guinness. The taste was so delicious the Black Velvet quickly became extremely popular. Peep the mixology below.

The Black Velvet

The Ingredients |

  • one part Guinness (extra stout)
  • one part Champagne (well chilled)

The Mixology | Fill half a Champagne flute glass with Guinness. Slowly top off each glass with chilled champagne. Serve and enjoy!

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

Until then, keep sharing the pretty,

L.

The Pretty Domestic

You Are Cordially Invited to Champagne Sunday!

Hey Dolls! Happy Sunday! While we’ve had a couple of very mild days in the last two weeks (57 degrees today); most days, the weather has been brutal. I will not be fooled by a little warmth on my face. I was thinking about my Champagne Sunday cocktail and am still trending towards cold weather libations. The Winter Champagne Cocktail is perfect for the blustery weather that’s sure to return. Peep the mixology below.

The Ingredients |

  • Your Favorite Champagne
  • Orange Bitters
  • Orange Juice
  • One Orange
  • Fresh Rosemary

The Mixology |Pour champagne into glasses. Add 1 dash of orange bitters, a squeeze of orange juice and garnish with orange peel and rosemary. Serve, stay cozy + enjoy!

Until then, keep with sharing the pretty,

Love, light + hugs, 💋

L.

The Pretty Domestic

Photo + Source: MamaNotes

Pretty Fit … the 2018 Edition

Hey Dolls! We’ve focused on our new year organization goals, but you know we also need to start getting beach body ready. I love that I can go to the gym or for a run and look super stylish while I’m there, or if I have to run an errand before or after. Peep my selections for trendy new year workout gear.

Lululemom Free to be Wild Bra and Bottoms

I’m loving grey and white these days. My closet, including workout gear, is slowly transitioning to shades of grey. This Lululemon set is so cute for a yoga, Pilates, group class, or individual strength training.

Wunder Under Hi-Rise 1/2 TightLuxtreme 17″

These are super cute, with almost a hint of shimmer! Made with Luxtreme, lulu’s signature fabric for running. It has a much lighter feel than luon and feels nothing like cotton. Instead, it’s smooth-faced and slick to the touch. Luxtreme is highly resistant to friction and will not pill.

Ivy Park Mesh Leggings

Of course Mrs. Carter would be on trend with mesh leggings, which are super haute right now. Designed to keep you cool during your workout, these Ivy Park navy camouflage print are the look of the moment.

Athleta, Old Navy, Forever21, Lululemon, and Champion have similar styles.

Marvel Underwire Sports Bra

Face it, some of us Dolls need a little more coverage and less bounce to the ounce. There are quite a few full coverage sports bras that do the job, while keeping it cute. The Marvel Underwire Sports Bra goes up to a size F, has channeled underwire and works well for Dolls will a smaller rib cage and larger breast. It also coverts to racerback.

GracedbyGrit Boobalicious Bra

I mean honestly, the name itself will make me buy this number. Touted as equal parts sexy and functional, the crop top length guarantees ultimate support.

Carrie Underwood’s CALIA Women’s Inner Power Cross Front Mesh Bra

Brought to us by singer Carrie Underwood, the Calia Women’s Inner Power Cross Front Mesh Bra provides padded cups to flatter your shape and perforation to maximize cooling ventilation. Adjust the hook-and-eye back closure for a perfect, tailored fit. 

Let me just say that a Doll has no shame in liking to look good while she works out and there are some great beauty products out there to help achieve the goal. Peep the beauty deets below.

Sweat Mineral Illuminizer SPF 25 with Twist Brush

What’s wrong with a sporting a pretty glow during Barre class? I say nothing! Sweat’s Mineral Illuminator SPF 25 combines finely milled highlighting powder, skincare, and SPF 25 sunscreen in a convenient tactical-grip twist brush for a natural-looking, radiant finish that helps protect and repair active skin. This will be a staple in my Barre bag.

Tarte Lifted Sweatproof Mascara

There’s nothing worse that raccoon eyes after an intense workout. Lifted volumizes and treats your eyelashes during your workout sans smudging. Even after the toughest workout, your lashes will still look lengthened & flirty for an effortless no-makeup look that lasts from gym to brunch.

Origins Warm Down Warming Lava Scrub to Detox and Smooth

Workout and sore muscles are synonymous. Origins Lava Scrub is a shower-activated exfoliator with Volcanic Ash that warms on contact, helping to ease tension as it smoothes, purifies and restores.

Marc Jacobs Re(Cover) Perfecting Coconut Setting Mist

Ready, set, go, with Marc Jacobs new setting mist! Inspired by Marc’s love of coconut water and a radiant complexion, five forms of coconut water set and hydrate for a dewy glow.

Anastasia Liquid Lipstick and Lipgloss

A Doll likes a little color on her lips when she works out. Sometimes I go for a run with a full on glam red; and other times I head to Barre or hit the treadmill with a little nude. Either way, my go-to is the uber long-lasting liquid lipstick from Anastasia. Full coverage and matte in liquid form, for red I like Sarafine. For a little moisture, I opt for the Lipgloss in Socialite. Nude – my holy grail is Stripped.

Sarafine

Socialite

Stripped

Having the appropriate, yet stylish, accessories are a must for this fit chick life. Peep some of my favs.

Soma Water Bottle

Made from high-quality, shatter-resistant glass, the Soma Water Bottle offers an easy grip protective sleeve. The natural bamboo cap is also leak-proof.

Guided Fitspiration Journal

This fitness gratitude journal helps you keep your healthy lifestyle on track. Set goals, track your progress and stay accountable with this hardcover fitness journal. Stay mindful, grateful and inspired as you work towards your goals.

Run with Me Ear Warmer

If you workout during winter, you’ll definitely need some cold weather gear. My body normally warms fairly quickly, but not my ears. This Lululemon ear warmer, made is Sherpa Reversible Fleece, is cute and practical.

Peep Lululemon, Athleta, and Under Armour for other workout headband choices.

Kate Spade Watson Lang Yoga Bag

How fab is this bag! The Watson Lang Yoga Bag, constructed from a durable nylon, totes a change of clothes, a water bottle, and any crystals, essences or spirit enhancers you may have brought along. Om!

What are you 2018 fitness favs?

Until then, keep sharing the pretty,

L.

The Pretty Domestic

You are Cordially Invited to Champagne Sunday …

Hey Dolls! Happy Sunday! The “Bomb Cyclone” has turned the Eastern Seaboard in the frozen tundra. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time it was this cold; and it is unrelenting. It’s 4, yes 4 degrees as I post! The last thing I want to think about is sipping on anything cold. I know that Champagne Sundays are reserved for some type of cocktail with bubbles, but given the weather, we need a little something to warm the spirit. Today, we’ll be sipping on Mulled Wine. Peep the mixology below.

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Mulled Wine

The Ingredients |

  • 1 large Orange
  • 2 Cardamon Pods
  • 6 Whole Cloves
  • 6 Allspice Berries
  • 6 Whole Black Peppercorns
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick (plus 4 for garnish – optional)
  • Star Anise for Garnish
  • 1 Bottle (3 cups) Fruity Red Wine
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Brandy

The Mixology | With a fine grater, zest, then juice the orange.

With the flat side of a knife, press firmly on the cardamom pods to bruise them. In a large pot (not aluminum), combine zest, juice, cardamom, cloves, allspice, peppercorns, cinnamon, wine, sugar, and brandy. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves, 1 to 2 minutes.

Reduce heat to low; simmer until flavors have melded, about 30 minutes. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve; garnish with cinnamon stick and star anise, if desired. Serve immediately, stay warm and enjoy!

If you want to make your home smell good all day, try this simple Mulled Wine Slow Cooker recipe from Delish.com.

Until then, keep sharing the pretty,

L.

The Pretty Domestic

Source: Martha Stewart