10 Host Gifts That Are Practically Guaranteed To Please (And Thank You)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The holiday hosting season is now un-officially officially underway. Dinner parties will be held and tablecloths will be unfurled and guest room closets will be emptied (or pushed to one corner).

And lovely, well-meaning guests will show up NOT empty-handed. They’ll come bearing candles that their hosts can’t stand the smell of, and platters that their hosts wouldn’t, and didn’t, select for themselves. They’ll bring beautifully wrapped bundles of hand soap and lotion, of specialty vinegars from recent trips, jars of homemade jam, and hot chocolate mix, and my goodness lord of seasoning, they will bring the salts. Truffle and vanilla-infused and rosemary. Salts from Italy and France and their local grocer down the street.

There is no travesty in gifting, even if it’s gifting an unnecessary or unwanted item. The sentiment is the thing, truly. But if we can avoid clutter-prone items, that would be preferable, we agree?

Well, in the spirit of hosting and gifting, and with my personal, firsthand experience of the items in people’s homes, the ones they want to keep, and the ones they forgot existed, I’ve put together my best suggestions for winning host and hostess gifts.

Naturally, there is no one size fits all. But in my experience, sticking to the following gifts is advisable:  

10 Host Gifts That Are Practically Guaranteed To Please (And Thank You)

1. Kitchen box set  Dishes, but make it fashion. (Set Includes copper ball, beech wood dish brush, sponge, and cotton-linen tea towel.)

2. Magic silicone dishwashing gloves with scrubbers Because clean up is compulsory, and these are downright awesome.

3. Multipurpose Silicone Pot Holders, Trivets, Jar Openers, Spoon Rests Because in my experience, people’s hot pads and oven gloves are in the saddest possible state of affairs. 

4. Baker stripe dish towels Ditto the above explanation, but substitute dish towels for hot pads and oven gloves. 

5. Copper watering can Because people are out here watering their plants with the jenkiest possible vessels, which are desperately in need of being upgraded. (Pair with plant, like orchid, or basil.) 

6. “The Martini” Emotional Detox bath soak Because holiday hosting = stress, man.  

7. Himalayan salt mortar and pestle Because gifting salts makes sense, but has been thoroughly exhausted.

8. gold chip clips Because not every one decants every possible pantry item into a canister, and the standard chip clips in people’s rotation are as depressingly pedestrian as they come. (Throw in a bag or two of a treat for which you know your host has a penchant.)

9. French kitchen marble lazy susan Because marble goes with every thing, and lazy susans are always a good idea. 

10. Sweeper and funnel dustpan Because elevated cleaning instruments are things people rarely splurge on for themselves, but are very often happy to receive. (Because who doesn’t want a lovelier version of a broom and dustpan??)




Monday’s Meditation: On Shortcuts

Monday, November 26, 2018

There are two common hurdles that stand between people and the changes they yearn for in their lives: time and money.

That it will take a not insignificant investment of time and money to achieve one’s desired results can be a tough pill to swallow. 

Ours is a culture that prefers shortcuts to hard work and band aid fixes over sustainable solutions. And there is an endless content supply available to us touting and tutorial-izing these resource-poor changes. Get shredded abs in five seconds! Get a perfectly organized home in a week! Your step-by-step, commitment-free, effortless guide to fixing your life, for absolutely, completely free!

Sure, a person can employ a short cut on the cheap. 

They can keep buying more plastic bins instead of spending the time to thoroughly edit their stuff, can keep buying cheap, poor quality goods that fail quickly rather than paying more for higher quality, longer lasting offerings, can keep taking in the old engine for repair rather than buying a new, more powerful one, can keep running at breakneck to keep up with their busy schedules instead of pausing to examine where they’re wasting time, can keep making do without necessary upgrades and keep suffering the consequences.

These short-term actions will sting less in the moment. They’ll pose as being cheaper, quicker, easier. And, usually, they will uphold the status quo. But they won’t get you ahead.

All those cheaper purchases and corner-cutters add up…often to more than a fewer, better quality purchases and intentional, constructively used time.

In a fittingly counterintuitive twist, the best way to save money is often to spend money, and the best way to save time is to spend time. The best investments are usually ones that surpass short-term needs and expectations and, instead, pave the way for lasting, life-giving, vitality-supporting results.

Nothing is free in this life. And if there’s one thing you can be count on, it’s that the bill always, eventually comes due. You pay in money or you pay in time or you pay in wellbeing. Take care that you spend these forms of your energy wisely. 

Monday’s Meditation: On Reframing Our Problems

Monday, November 19, 2018

During a recent conversation with my very best friend, I mentioned that I have a practice of reframing those things which might originally present as problems, hassles, and headaches as gratitude prompts. I say “practice” because a 100% success rate remains a goal–I’m not Gandhi over here, just Annie. There are plenty of times where I neglect to do this, and feel quite content to complain about the lack of water pressure in my shower, thank you very much. But fundamentally, I do believe that events, issues, and challenges contain hidden gold, which it is our responsibility to mine.

When I get a $500 bill in the mail to renew my car’s licensing, I have the choice to either view that bill as a affront to my bank account, or to view it as the price of being privileged enough to own a car that requires licensing. I have the opportunity to actually hold that bill as a sign of my prosperity and an invitation to express gratitude for my car. Either way, I’m responsible to pay the bill. But one way makes me feel angry and resentful about doing it, and one makes me feel fortunate.

When it’s a million o’clock and I’ve been on my feet with a client all day, tending to administrative tasks either feels like torture, or like the byproduct of owning and operating a flourishing business that I’m obsessed about. Either way, the emails still have to get sent and the receipts tallied. But one mindset makes me feel as though I’m negatively drained by my business, and one way makes me remember how incredible it is that I have the business of my dreams, how I yearned for those tedious tasks when I was just starting out.

David occasionally bemoans his having to take the garbage out for trash pick up, or having to do the dishes every night. And since I’m the most annoying, I am always reminding him that the very things he’s complaining about are indicators of his great, good fortune. Having dishes to wash means you have dishes, period. Washing them means you have a deep sink, a shiny faucet, and a magical machine that actually washes your dishes for you! Having garbage to take out means you have a home that you maintain.

Even my mom, whose health represents the greatest temptation for me to sink into negativity, seems, more and more, to be an invitation for gratitude than it is about sorrow and loss.

Perspective is the ultimate determinant. If we look for the blessings, we tend to find them. If we look for the unfairness, the annoyance, and the frustration, we tend to find those things, too.

Mostly, I have to believe that anyone who has less than we have would view what we classify as “problems” to be…well, not. They would happily accept the side of burnt toast because they would immediately recognize its being linked to the gorgeous, plenteous entree.

So that’s where I’m at this week–which happens to be Thanksgiving week in the States. Grateful for my problems. Grateful for the unappealing jobs. Grateful for the dirty dishes that need cleaning and the garbage that needs taking out and the car license that needs renewing. Grateful for my mom who is here, who has vitality of spirit despite physical limitation. Grateful for the upkeep of what is, in my estimation, a ridiculously fortunate, happy life.