How I Prepare For Guests: T-48 Hours

999fde0c-9c8b-4042-a71f-21b8113ab204

971b279d-6e1b-4623-ad5c-24e078ad9072

12f05f85-833e-4da4-a68a-5cbe6c45ba0e

We all know that feeling of still having a million things we’d like to get done before guests come to stay. I’m currently right in the middle of it!

Every time, I always wonder to myself what I can leave until the last 48 hours beforehand. Have you ever done that too? After many times hosting, these are the 10 things I’ve learned can wait until almost the last second to do:

1. Putting fresh towels out. If there’s a clean towel left unattended for too long, my pup will find it! She loves smelling fresh laundry, so I’ve learned it’s best to wait until right before guests arrive to put these out!

2. Vacuuming. Did I mention I have a puppy? With a big back yard to play in and spring in full swing, it seems like she’s always tracking something into the house. Laminate floors are not too forgiving either. Needless to say, I may or may not be putting the vacuum away as you pull up to our house.

3. Lighting candles. I love how inviting a good smelling candle can make a house, but I’ve also been in homes before where you can tell the candles have been burning for days. For our home, I’ve found that the perfect compromise is lighting the candles an hour or two before guests arrive. This way you can still smell the scent, but it’s not too overpowering!

4. Stocking the fridge with the fresh stuff. It’s no secret that fresh fruits and veggies don’t last forever. That’s why I wait until a day or two before to stock up on the fresh goodies; fruit, veggies, dips, etc. This way, they’re good and ready to snack on, but not pushing their expiration or sell by date!

5. All of the pretty flowers. I think a pretty bouquet of flowers really adds an extra touch to a guest room or kitchen table. Not only are they pretty, but they smell good too! Just like fresh produce though, flowers don’t last forever. Whenever I go out for the fresh food, I make a point of it to pick up some fresh flowers too!

6. Cleaning the kitchen, living room, etc. This is not to say I don’t clean, because I do at least once a week. I do however wait to give every day spaces like the kitchen and living room until the day of before I go through one more time. Life is never 100% neat and tidy and neither are the spaces we live in on a daily basis!

7. Laundry. I like to have as little in the dirty clothes hamper as I can when we have guests. This way my husband and I know we have plenty of clean options for whatever we end up doing. There’s almost nothing worse than getting ready to go out and realizing that part of the outfit you had in mind is dirty!

8. Any kind of baking or cooking. I always like being able to offer guests something homemade; bread, cookies, muffins, etc. It’s a nice little extra touch since when we do have guests it involves a full day of travel to get here. Since there aren’t any preservatives, it’s best not to make them too far in advance. It also helps makes the whole house smell so yummy!

9. Stocking the coffee and tea bar. Our coffee and tea bar gets used on a daily basis and even more so when we have guests! I always wait until the day of to restock and top things like sugar off. That way, it’s fully loaded for guests to use. I also make sure to have a little dish with peppermints nearby in case it’s a grab and go kind of morning for coffee!

10. Make the bed(s). Last but certainly not least, is making and freshening up the bed or beds depending on how many guests are coming. This always involves clean sheets, fluffing up the pillows and smoothing out the comforter. I normally finish it off with a cozy blanket on the end to help make the room feel warm and inviting!

What are the things you leave until the last 48 hours to do before guests arrive? Let me know in the comments below!

XOXO,
Leah

Advertisements

7 Unconventional Ways to Practice Self-Care

It goes without saying that self-care and taking care of your mental health are so important! Between work, school, family, health and various other responsibilities life can get pretty tough sometimes.

I used to be so guilty of pushing things to the side until they would all blow up at once before addressing my mental health. It was an awful way to handle things, but at the time, that’s what I had going.

Now that I’m a little older and have some more life under my belt, I really do try to make taking care of myself a main priority!

It seems like everyone shares the self-care options like taking a bath, reading a book, going for a walk… While those are all great, they don’t always work for everyone. That’s why I’m sharing 10 of my favorite ways to get some self-care in that are a little different than what you see and hear about every day:

1. Baking or cooking. There’s something so therapeutic about measuring and mixing ingredients. Not to mention, there’s the amazing smells that fill your whole kitchen and you get something yummy to eat at the end of it all!

2. Taking a break from everything and everyone. It’s okay to say “no” to doing things, and it’s definitely okay to need space and time away when you’re in the middle of something too. If you need to go be by yourself somewhere away from everything, then that’s what you need to do! This is something that I still struggle with from time to time.

3. Having a good cry. Sometimes you just need a good cry to let everything out and cleanse your heart. It doesn’t make you weak or anything else others might try to say. What does matter is what you do after you allow yourself to cry it all out. Dry your tears, take a few good deep breaths, and pick yourself back up off the floor. Always remember, that’s not where you belong!

4. Arts and crafts. For me, it’s writing. There’s just something about putting your feelings out into the world and not having to hold them in any longer. For you, maybe it’s painting or singing or dancing. The great thing about creativity is that there is no wrong or right way to do it. It’s all about what makes you feel good, when all is said and done!

5. Building something with your own two hands. My husband can attest for this, but I’m not very useful when it comes to building things that require tools. Maybe working with the power tools and having a goal of what you’re end product will look like is what helps you unwind though. There really is something to be said about those that can have a vision in their head and make it come to life!

6. Working outside. This is my husband all day, every day! It doesn’t matter how long and frustrating his day was. If he’s in a bad mood or needs to work off some steam, working in the yard never fails to ease that tension that’s been built up! Cutting trees down, pulling up overgrown vines… You name it and he’s done it.

7. Volunteering. Sometimes, for me, the best way I can take care of myself is by helping others. I’ve never given my time to a cause I’m passionate about and regretted it later, but I’m always so grateful to have been able to give back in some small way! Not only does it take my mind off of whatever problem is present in my life, but it refills my cup and adds to the fuel of wanting to do and be my best!

What’s an unconventional way you like to practice self-care? Let me know in the comments below!

XOXO,
Leah

 

New House, Who ‘Dis?

Happy Monday, y’all

Today I’m sharing some pretty big news; the biggest news of 2019! If you follow me on Instagram (@alongftride), you’re already in the know. This past week my husband, our Ailey girl, and I moved into our new home!

This has been in the works for quite a while, and after much searching we finally found the one that felt like ours from the moment we stepped foot in it!

If you’ve been following along with my How I Prepare For Guests series (Bathroom and Guest Room are up!), you’ll also understand that a new house means preparing a little differently than I used to. We have T-minus two weeks until our first guests arrive, and I’m in go mode!

Stay tuned to see how I’ll be tweaking and revamping my ways to make sure our guests feel welcomed in our new home!

ce1da0f6-a28a-4475-aaeb-f5052d28ec54

9018d14f-c6f6-4c61-b693-12cb3eb5c402

6ffc994a-d39a-4c24-8f4f-4b1d2666add4

43ea5576-3f20-4efc-b9b4-7635c2d27313

XOXO,
Leah

Spring Products Refresh

Happy Monday, y’all!

I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but here in North Carolina, the sun is finally out consistently and the temperatures are getting warmed. Now that it is officially March and we’ve sprung forward an hour, I’m in full on spring mode!

It’s also the time of the year where I refresh and revamp what I’m using (or restock on my faves). Today, I’m talking all about some of my favorite products going into this spring season!

1. Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer. This product is no stranger in my makeup collection! If you read my 6 of My Fall Beauty Faves post, you’ll know that this is the only bronzer I use anymore. The light and tropical scent of this makes it a must have, for me, for spring! I love how it gives me my skin that perfect sun kissed glow that looks so natural and beautiful!

img_3503

2. Mario Badescu Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs, and Rosewater. This is another oldie but goodie for me! It’s the perfect light and refreshing facial spray that I always love to have on hand. I love that I can use this whether it’s a full face of makeup kind of day or just a day getting things done around the house too! It’s perfect for setting my makeup or even just when my skin needs a little refresher! At under $10, it really can’t be beat!

img_3502

3. Go With The Lava Flow Nail Lacquer by O.P.I. There’s just something about springtime and the warmer weather that makes me want to have a pretty color on my nails. I’ve always been a big fan of reds and corals, so when I saw this shade at Ulta, I knew I had to have it! It’s the perfect golden red that reads a little more coral than red. It’s the perfect pop of color that really goes well with any look too!

img_3501

4. Endless Weekend Ultra Shea Body Cream by Bath & Body Works. This is one of my most favorite scents from Bath & Body Works, but especially when the weather is warmer and nicer out! It’s light with a touch of tropical that keeps me coming back for more! The aloe butter, cocoa butter, and shea in the formula leave my skin feeling soft and moisturized without that greasy feeling left behind.

img_3499

5. Jergens Natural Glow Daily Firming Moisturizer. If you’re like me, you’re skin’s shade range varies greatly throughout the year. I like to call it my winter Asian and summer Asian times! Spring is that awkward in between time, when I’m not super pale anymore (thank goodness), but I’m not tan either. This lotion is the perfect boost of color my skin needs, and the scent reminds me of days spent on the beach!

img_3500

What are the products you’ve been loving as the weather gets warmer? Let me know in the comments below!

XOXO,
Leah

How I Prepare For Guests: The Bedroom

Happy Monday, ya’ll!

If you read my post two weeks ago, you’ll know that this is part two of that series! If you haven’t had the chance to read it yet, you can click here and get all caught up!

After I have the guest bathroom all stocked and fully loaded with the things to make my guests’ stay a little better, it’s on to the bedroom. When I’m getting the guest room together, I always try to think of little ways to make it comfy, cozy, and inviting; a place I would want to stay in.

First things first: the bed: I’m a big believer in fresh sheets and plenty of pillows!  There are normally at least four pillows on the bed, not including decorative ones. This way our guests have plenty to use if they want, or the extras can just go on the floor.

img_3463

Depending on the season determines what kind of comforter or duvet cover is on the bed. In the colder months, it’s a little ticker and warmer. Right now, I have a white duvet cover that has an almost woven like texture to it on the bed.

There’s a mirror and a small hutch in the corner of the room, but other than those and the bed, there’s not much else in the ways of furniture. The guest room isn’t big by any means, so less is definitely more in this case!

img_3466

Little touches you’ll also find are a letter board with the Wi-Fi information, extra blankets in the hutch, and hangers in the closet.

img_3465

What little things stand out to you the most when you stay at someone’s home? Let me know in the comments below!

XOXO,
Leah

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

I have such a big sweet tooth; candy, cake, ice cream, you name it! My husband on the other hand is a little pickier when it comes to the ones he likes. While I will eat pretty much any kind of sweet, he would much rather have something that’s light and not quite so sugary sweet tasting.

Enter these cookies that he had months ago, and I knew I had to figure out how to make them for myself! After much trial and error to get the texture just right, I have a new go to cookie recipe that we both can enjoy!

What You’ll Need

• 1 Box of Lemon Cake Mix
• 1 Egg
• 1 8 oz tub of Cool Whip
• About 1/2 Cup of Powdered Sugar

img_3437

Like always, you’ll want to start by preheating your oven to 350°F and having your baking tray ready to go. I lined mine with a silicone baking mat to help prevent sticking, but parchment paper would work too!

Next you’ll combine your cake mix, egg, and Cool Whip in a bowl. Mix all of this together until it’s well combined. The mixture may seem lighter and a little fluffier than normal cookie doughs, but that’s how it’s supposed to be!

img_3438

img_3439

Next you’ll take two spoons and a portion at a time, coat the dough in the powder sugar before placing on your baking tray. Once your tray is full, you’ll put them in the oven to bake for about 10 minutes! Repeat this step until all of your cookie dough has been baked.

img_3440

Allow cookies to cool on the tray for a minute or two before moving them to a wire rack to fully cool. Once all of your cookies have been baked, enjoy!

img_3441

XOXO,
Leah

Warning: In my experience, it is impossible to eat just one!

How I Prepare For Guests: The Bathroom

Now that my husband and I live hundreds of miles away from our families, when they are able to come visit it’s not just for an afternoon. This has really made me take a step back and think about the things I tend to forget when I’m packing my bag! I bet you’re already thinking about the one thing you always forget too!

Being the planner that I am, I love being ready for guests to be comfortable staying in our home!

Having a separate guest bathroom has given me the perfect opportunity to be able to have it stocked with the things that are so easy to forget!

I use a cute glass jar that I found at Target to help keep everything nice and organized!

img_3424

Fully stocked and ready to go, you’ll always find…

– Toothpaste
– Mouthwash
– Floss
– Shampoo
– Conditioner
– Hairspray
– Body Lotion
– Body Wash
– A Razor
– Deodorant
– Makeup Removing Wipes
– Hand Sanitizer
– Q Tips
– Contact Solution
– A Contact Lens Case
– A Nail File
– Band Aids
– Advil, Tylenol, or Aleve
– Hand Lotion

img_3423
Currently what the jar holds. I’m in the process of switching out and replacing a few products before our next guests come!

Unless they’re staying for an extended period of time, I normally just buy the travel size products, but full sized is always an option too! You can find these at most any store in a travel/trial size section in the health and beauty department.

In addition, there are always fresh towels, hand soap, toilet paper stocked, and a good smelling candle burning! Oh, and guests are always more than welcome to anything else in the house, but I’ll save those details for another day!

What’s a little way you like to make guests feel welcomed?

XOXO,
Leah