How I Prepare For Guests: T-48 Hours

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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

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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!

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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

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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

6 Dates to Treat Yourself This Valentine’s Day

With my husband being in the Army, spending holidays together can be hit or miss. The last two years we’ve missed out on our fair share! Just because he’s not home to celebrate doesn’t mean I skip the celebration all together though!

With Valentine’s Day coming up and the possibility that my husband may be gone again, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite ways to treat myself!

1. Dinner for One. I’ve always been a big believer in having no shame with taking myself out to dinner at any one of my favorite restaurants! It’s a nice little twist on a traditional date night, and it gets me out of the house when my husband is away! I’m not going to lie though, the first time I went out by myself, I definitely felt a bit out of place.  At the end of the meal I was so glad I did! Now, I’m a pro at the game!

2. Go Exploring. If you’re someone that loves a good adventure, this will be right up your alley! I love getting to discover new things and places for myself. These trips make up some of my best memories! There is something so freeing about not having a set plan and just going with the flow. It could be a hike in a new place, going to a new city, or even just immersing yourself in something new! The possibilities are endless!

3. Buy the Outfit. Is there an outfit you’ve been eyeing from afar? This is your chance to buy it! Go all out; top, bottom, shoes, accessories, even new makeup to complete the look! Did you know that even just making an online wishlist of things you like can help reduce stress? I do this on a regular basis and definitely notice a difference from start to finish. Imagine what buying yourself a whole new outfit can do!

4. Visit Your Favorite Coffee Shop. If you follow me over on Instagram (@alongftride), you’ll know that I love having a good hot drink; coffee, tea, hot chocolate… My guilty pleasure is a hot vanilla latte! Have you ever gone to your favorite coffee shop with a good book and just enjoyed your drink and book? In our technology driven world, this idea may seem a little crazy, but I promise that unplugging for even just a half hour feels so good!

5. DIY Spa Day. I’m a big believe that treating myself can also involve things that are good for my mental health! I’m a whole package deal, so taking care of myself in this way is definitely high on my priorities. One of my favorite ways to do this is having an at home spa day. For me, this always includes a good bubble bath with Epsom salt, a hydrating lotion, fuzzy socks, a face mask, and a hot cup of tea! I love this because it can be whatever I need that day!

6. Netflix and Chill. Who says you need someone else for this? Personally, I think there’s nothing better than wearing my comfiest clothes and burrowing in a pile of blankets! Since my husband and I have very different tastes in what kinds of shows and movies we like to watch, when he’s gone is always a perfect opportunity to binge on the shows I normally wouldn’t or find a new series to watch! Add in your favorite snacks and drinks, and you’re all good to go!

What’s your favorite way to treat yourself when you’re flying solo for the day of love? Let me know down below!

XOXO,
Leah

3 Moments of Joy

If you’ve been following along with me on Instagram(@alongftride) you know that most days start out with me writing down three things from the previous day that brought me joy. It’s a great way to start the day out on a positive and thankful note!

Today, I wanted to share with you my three moments from yesterday (Sunday):

1. I got in a great workout!

2. It was nice enough to have the windows open in the afternoon and let some fresh air inside!

3. My husband and I got a head start on a little spring cleaning!

Moments of joy don’t always have to be the big and extravagant things like going on vacation. While those moments are nice, for me, it’s always the little things that really add up the most for me!

What’s something that brought you joy yesterday?

XOXO,

Leah