Hostess With The Mostes'
Welcome- yet again! Congrats, you made it here to my blog post. Post numero dos, numero deux, the second of many more to come. After recent conversations with clients and friends, I felt the need to share a part of me I consider to be major. As a business woman, it’s interesting learning what you feel comfortable sharing with the world and what you consider to be private, and I think this made the cut. In my life, I have been extremely privileged to travel the world. Twenty two countries thus far with no intention to stop. Every country is absolutely beautiful in every way, all of course unique, whether their language, culture, traditions and more. One thing however, in my observation over the years, has noticeably stuck out as a common denominator within every nation; hospitality.
My stories could fill a library, all different from one another. Filled with love, kindness and joy, every story has made an impact on my life and how I live. One story could be of my time in Israel where a silent nun at a local monastery offered me a tour of their historical home among the olive orchards and studios filled with delicate pottery. Not a word came from her lips as we toured every nook and cranny of the grounds; a sacred home to her and many others. As we concluded the tour, I was guided to a simple room which was filled with nothing but the sounds of nature that misted in through the open window. A room with no pomp and circumstance but rather love and generosity. In the warmth of the hospitality that enlightened the room was a generous, colorful and decadent flatbread which sat next to a freshly brewed hibiscus tea. I did nothing to deserve it, but there it was. A blessing was bestowed upon me as she placed her hand on my shoulder and shuffled me towards the intimate floor level dining table and pillows. I was nothing more than a stranger to them, yet was treated like I have been loved by them for centuries. A feeling of kindness, done through hospitality, left me with a memory that changed my life.
My time in Denmark when friends filled my belly with traditional meals which captured a sense of home. Candle lit with an intimate setting, table filled with festive drink and a feast that leaned into a night full of laughter, joy, and storytelling (not to mention it was only Tuesday). A story of my time in France where there was never hesitation from my host to provide nothing less than an exceptional experience. Every street crepe and I drooled over, every museum with an open door, every scooter ride around the Eiffel Tower, my days were filled with adventure and kindness by a persons simple and pure hospitable intentions. My journey through Vietnam left me with several new pounds and an increased pant size. A stranger I was to many but openly welcomed and loved by all. An incredible language barrier was never a hurdle for those who included me in Vietnamese dinner conversation, cooking lessons, market bartering or terrifying moped rides.
No matter where I traveled or who I was with, the valuable experience within all my journeys was the hospitality I received. Hospitality is defined by the Oxford journal as: “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.” When I think of an event, I first think of who I will host and how am I going to host them. Every living room dinner party, backyard barbeque or bachelorette weekend I have whipped up overtime, my main goal was - how do I be the perfect host. In my eyes, the perfect host, no matter how big or small of an event, is to be present, be welcoming, provide warmth and nurture the needs of your guests.
When you are labeled as the ‘hostess with the mostes' you are naturally identified as the doer, go-getter, taskmaster, ringleader, doorbell greeter etc. To this thought, I usually think “why the hell aren't I involved in the damn party that I planned?!” So that’s it, my thought stands: be present. Be a part of your party, talk with your guests, eat with your guests, dance with your guests, listen to your guests. You are not meant to whip it all up, pay for it and hope to god you get a bite to eat while everyone else has fun- NO. To be a host of any kind, whether your backyard BBQ or wedding, be freaking present.
We’ve all been there, an uncomfortable, nerve wracking, skin crawling, nauseating experience of being the new kid on the block which is undoubtedly worse when hospitality and kindness is nowhere to be seen. When hosting an event, inclusivity is key. Your guest sitting lonesome in the corner may enjoy a drink refill or friendly check in. A new friend at your dinner party might love a conversation they can participate in. A guest at your wedding may enjoy being sat next to someone you know has similar interest. A quick hello and welcoming smile can break the ice for anyone who comes through your welcoming open front door. Finding a way to be welcoming to all is key to a successful event.
Figuratively and literally- provide warmth. A warm toasty snack for your friends game night. A table filled by candlelight during your family dinner. A crackling fire at your holiday cookie decorating party. A cozy ambience at your intimate wedding will be the talk of the town. A little bit of warmth goes a long way.
Nurture the needs of your guests:
While the basics of food, water, and oxygen are preferable for guest enjoyment, a small splash of pizzazz enlightens your guests for a memorable experience. By elevating the needs of your guests, they will immediately feel nurtured. Providing cloth napkins rather than paper at your dinner party. Water bottles or hand held fans at everyone’s ceremony seat during your summer wedding. Bug spray and sunscreen at your back yard bonfire and s’mores night. Gluten free crackers or bread on the side of your charcuterie board. A formal invitation for even the casual things (yes, even if it’s just a text).
Hospitality is all about making those you are with feel loved. Finding ways to be friendly, encouraging generosity through small or large ways and being receptive to the entertainment of guests, visitors, and strangers alike. I’ve always known and loved hospitality for exactly what it is. I mean, any reason to throw a dinner party, right? No matter where I’ve been, or where I go, hospitality tends to find me. My goal, especially with events, is to curate memories of hospitality for everyone. So fold that napkin, say hello to every guest and think about the little things and you’re now the hostess with the mostes'.
“ I would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman, a loving woman, a woman who teaches by being.”
- Maya Angelou