I have a husband, a teenage daughter, and three dogs. I love them. I love spending time with them. I also love when my husband leaves town for a few days. I know…it sounds terrible, but sometimes, it’s fun to miss him! When he is out of town, I love to have friends visit.
When I have a friend or friends visit, my daughter will spend a little time with us, but mostly, she wants to carry on her social life. So once she goes to a friend’s house, we have “girl time,”even though we are 50+. Chances are, we won’t even leave the house.
No kids? No husband? Friends in town? What to do? Every situation is different, but I will share some ideas of things we have done in the past. I’ve included lots of links!
*FAVORS I am all about some favors. If you plan ahead, you can give each guest a goody bag on arrival with some small take-home trinkets for the weekend. I think it’s fun to give them on the front end, especially if they can be used on during the weekend. Whether I’m getting together with one friend or seven friends, it’s fun to have some favors to offer. Custom T-SHIRTS are fun. When I gathered with some friends to bike the Virginia Creeper Trail, I had t-shirts made that said “Got Brakes?” and included the date and location on the back. I ordered everyone size XL, because I know they won’t wear them in public…best for sleeping or lounging at home. You can have custom t-shirts made through Zazzle (click here) or Cafe Press (click here). Some of the items I’ve listed in previous blogs are great for goody bags: 1818Farms Shea Creme (click here or order from Amazon here), Dry Divas Shower Caps (on sale at Neiman Marcus, click here), or some cute little, custom bags from Collective’s Etsy shop. I have one friend who loves candy (see photo below), so when she is in town, I always have some of her favorite candies: Zotz, Spree, Twizzlers, Skittles, and even Fruit by the Foot. (She eats healthy almost all the time, so it’s OK to splurge.)
*WHAT TO WATCH Old friend gatherings mean lots of talking, but it can also mean binge-watching favorite shows or watching favorite movies. As I posted on Instagram before, one binge-worthy show is an Amazon Original, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. They have streamed one season; watch now and be ready when the next season starts. It’s a funny, smart, heartwarming dramedy, and the aesthetics are incredible! It’s about a young, Jewish housewife, Midge Maisel, living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the 1950s. The opening scene is a shocking toast at Midge and Joel’s wedding, and then jumps ahead four years…they have two kids and live in a lovely apartment in the same building as her parents. Midge, like many women of her time, builds her life around her husband. All is well till things take a bad turn, and we see how Midge copes. It’s a must see for the storyline and fashion, a time when ladies dressed like ladies. I was mesmerized by every episode. It’s definitely binge-worthy, and I wish I had watched it with one of my college friends. I’d be willing to re-watch it. Eight episodes, and the first season is captivating from beginning to end. (Warning: language and nudity.) (It has been nominated for and won numerous awards, including two Golden Globes.) To watch, click here.
**If you’ve seen The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and want something new, my next binge-watch will be UnREAL on Lifetime. The third season just started, so I want to catch up on the first two (you can do this online through Lifetime). Kelly Ripa talked about it, and it sounds awesome. It’s a drama, and according to IMDb, it’s “a behind-the-scenes look at the chaos surrounding the production of a dating competition program.” One of the creators is a former associate producer of ABC’s The Bachelor, so maybe there’s some truth behind this fiction!**
**If binge-watching TV isn’t your thing, maybe pick a movie. Bridesmaids is hilarious, if you want comedy. For something more serious…Sense and Sensibility (click here to watch on Amazon) and The Joy Luck Club (click here to watch on Amazon) are two of my all-time favorite chick flicks. Even though I’ve read both books more than once and seen both movies countless times, I get emotional every time. Another great movie to watch with friends is Moonstruck…”Snap out of it!” To see it on Amazon, click here.**
*WHAT TO DRINK When friends are staying for the weekend, I like to serve a fun beverage. I’m not a big drinker, but when I drink, I want it to feel like a celebration. Nothing says celebration like some bubbly. Champagne is good, but I prefer Prosecco, because it doesn’t give me headaches. For daytime, I enjoy Peach Bellinis, and there’s no Bellini like a Cipriani Bellini. The original Peach Bellini was served at Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy, which is owned by the Cipriani family. Pick your Prosecco, and if you want an authentic Bellini, order the mix from the Cipriani family here. If you do not want to mix your own, Trader Joe’s has the Secco Peach Bellini for $5.99, and it’s good! (I call it a “Bellini in a bottle”) This is my second choice, and it’s less expensive and easier! They also offers mango and cherry Secco Bellinis.
*For nonalcoholic Bellinis, pair the Cipriani mix with Sprite.* **If you don’t like Bellinis or peach flavor, add a splash of Chambord Liqueur to your Prosecco…gives it a lovely red hue and raspberry flavor.**
*WHAT TO USE This is not so much something to “do” as it is something to “use.” I’m hoping to receive some lovely Cornet Barcelona Sagrada Champagne Flutes soon. My friend, Debe, recently told me about the beautiful line. According to the Cornet Barcelona website, “The dream of our company is to create more beauty and excitement so that those around us can be inspired and feel as though life is truly a gift.” Each piece is hand painted “in hues reminiscent of the world-renowned Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona, Spain,” according to the site. They’re beautiful filled with bubbly Champagne, Prosecco, or a Bellini, and their price point is surprisingly good. Their flutes are handmade, so they are not always available, but I recently heard from a representative of Cornet Barcelona that they will be releasing more Sagrada Champagne Flutes in March and April. To see the Cornet Barcelona line, click here. These are items you can keep at home for visiting friends.
*WHAT TO EAT What we eat depends on the guest, and some friends love to go out. If my friend, Angela, comes to town, she wants to stay in and spend the entire visit catching up. There are some great, simple recipes in Lisa Lillien’s latest book, Hungry Girl Clean and Obsessed. A couple of my favorites are the Beefed-Up Cheesy Mac on pg. 140, and the Love at First Bite Lasagna on pg 128; both are easy to make and taste great. (Purchase at Amazon here.) I am a believer in Hungry Girl. You can access recipes on her website too, by clicking here.. Or we might order some favorites through Goldbely in advance: Coca-Cola Cake from Jestine’s in Charleston, or the Southern Mac and Cheese from Loveless Cafe in Nashville. I’ve mentioned Goldbely before, but it’s worthy of another mention. Check out their offerings by clicking here. Don’t forget dessert!
*WHAT TO WEAR I’m a fan of pajamas of any kind. When friends come to visit for a “stay in girls’ weekend,” I like to stay in pajamas or super soft loungewear. The softest PJs and loungewear I’ve found are from Barefoot Dreams (pictured below). For a long time, I only knew of Barefoot Dreams as a company that made supersoft baby blankets and sleepers. I recently discovered they have a fabulous adult line. My very favorite PJs they offer are the Luxe Milk Jersey Piped Pajama Set. Priced at $130 on their website, they aren’t cheap, but if you can spare the $$$ on PJs, they’re worth it. I also love their loungewear. Purchase them here. If you don’t want to spend that much, the Life is Good line is offering their Teacups Pajama Set on sale for $24.99, and they are well-made, comfy pajamas. You can’t go wrong with this brand, and this is a crazy good deal. To purchase, click here.
When hosting an old friend (or friends), the main thing is to enjoy each other’s company. So invite a friend for a visit, share some Bellinis, eat some comfort food, and watch the entire first season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Relax, catch up, and enjoy!