Better Than A Sweater

Better than a sweater...
There's a chill in the air in Lexington this evening. Relaxing on the patio after dinner calls for a throw. I have my favorite and it's the perfect answer to a busy day.


When color and texture come together in the form of luxury, it definitely piques my emotions.


Perhaps nothing is as beguiling as a combination of the two, especially when we wrap ourselves in it.


My Taylor has her favorites also. Much more sophisticated than her snuggly, and perfect for late night studies.


When I come down for coffee in the early morning, it's comforting to pull a throw across my lap. In today's world, "comfort" is an important word in home accessories.


I make sure that the MR. has one in his office. He will tell you that he needs all the comfort he can get.


Winter's plush fabrics provide both visual and tactile comfort. You want to touch these fabrics!


I keep a woven basket with plenty for guests who like to gather outdoors.


Fine throws from Leontine linens are beautiful simply draped across a table.


Perhaps you prefer the cutting edge richness of this bed throw with fox fur backing by Sabina Fay Braxton.


Or the quiet sophisticated beauty of merino wool. This beautiful array from Anichini caught my eye for gifts during the holidays.


Designer Rosemary Hallgarten features luxurious throws in merino wool and silk that are exquisitely soft to the touch.


Add her incredible rugs & pillows to create an idyllic place that is all about comfort.


So next time you head out to watch the seasons change, remember to bring a throw and stay a while!
click on photos for sources...

Hospitality

travel via Annie SchlechterAnnie Schlechter

Hospitality is making your guests feel at home, even if you wish they were. So, first things first. A visitor’s first impression of your home is often made from the sidewalk or stoop. You want it to say, “Happy you are here!”

california 2007 041 Lisa Porter

Greet your guests with warmth & spirit. Your welcome will set the tone for the entire visit.

Banks Entry Linda Banks Design

Having a guest room is a luxury for some & thankfully not a necessity.
Single, double, queen, or king? I know that single beds are a thing of the past but they do allow for the most flexibility. Couples keep close & adversaries turn to respective walls.

 Kathy Kincaid Interiors Kathy Kincaid Interiors

I tell husband’s & wives that they can hold hands across the divide. This arrangement will remind them of being teenagers again.

Ritz_Guest_BR_1 Cathy Kincaid InteriorsKathy Kincaid Interiors for Ritz Carleton

I think that a visit to family or friends, should be a retreat from daily life.
Creating a cozy & gracious guest room or a quiet corner of your home is a prerequisite to being considered a great host or hostess.

cr guest room essentialsCarolyne Roehm

Carolyne Roehm treats her guests with only the best. Italian pillow shams, carafe by Dior, hot water bottle in pique, mints in a sterling shell, etc...Just so you know, I will never be able to indulge you with this level of luxury.

 I will however, appeal to all of your senses in simple straightforward ways & welcome you with open arms.

satin hangers by sandra lane Sandra Lane

Depending on how long the stay, some guests need time to unpack.
A clutch of satin or cedar hangers and two robes aren’t requirements, but if found, they will be used...and remembered. These are special touches that say, “I was expecting you.”

 Considering that you might want to just sit and catch your breath for a few minutes, hours or days, a comfy chair, overstuffed pillows, and a soft throw are included.

comfy chair by Sarah HoganSarah Hogan

As are fresh cut flowers, and a good bedside table for your treasures.

sailboats Simple touches in the bathroom are really luxurious touches if you ask me.
No other place offers such a measure of privacy so I like to go all out!

Good lotion, bath oil, & salts are the best. But nothing is richer than fresh soap, a new toothbrush, and a stack of clean towels.

for becky by sandra laneSandra Lane for Becky

I have a special collection of towels & toiletries for her & for him.

guy stuff by tim evan cook Tim Evan Cooke for Michael

And always remember...if you have to share your own with others, everyone looks in the medicine cabinet, even Aunt Ethel & Pastor John!

When thinking about amenities for families, focus on simple not ceremonial. A nightlight will be appreciated more than chocolates.

little ones too When left to their own devices, children will uncover endless entertainment in a strange house: great-grandfather’s Faberge egg, a beloved pashima shawl, the dog.

book ends by joanna hendersonJoanna Henderson

They just want to have fun so keep them in the attic, in your own children’s former room, anywhere they can play and shout from noon until night. Etiquette consultant & mommy, Mindy Lockard can help you tackle young guests in a gracious way at Monthly Manner.

boys by matt birdMatt Bird

My motto is fresh air saves children! Unload them in the yard and turn on the hose or sprinkler. Some of our guests arrive with babies and bring most everything needed but a crib. I’ve passed on our crib but still manage to make do.

 If you don’t have the luxury of being able to provide a private retreat for your visitors, it’s still advisable to expect the unexpected. Flexibility is the watchword for both guest & host.

 When we lived in our 900 sq.ft. beach bungalow in California, I used to have a sign by my backdoor that read “Backdoor Guests Are Best!” My plan of action was to clear the cushions from the couch, fill up the air mattress, pitch a tent out back, or dress the porch swing with pillows and blankets.

 I would simply gather the bare essentials: pillow, blanket, & patience!

All-Seasons-Blanket

The MR. was always happy to open the best bottle of wine, light the chimeneo & thankfully pull a game plan out of his pocket!

cox & cox travel mug Cox and Cox

His plan usually involved independent exploration away from our little bungalow & this was the means of transportation.

 A gracious guest will anticipate the passions of friends even before they arrive. A gift of artichoke pesto from Bella Cucina made for the chef, a tin of dog biscuits for Gracie, or a simple packet of seeds for the green thumb is always a great way to say “We’re here!”

artichoke_pesto balsawood_gift from bella cucinaBella Cucina

Guests come in all sorts and for all sorts of reasons, and yet, consideration always wins the day. A handwritten thank-you note is required no matter how short the stay.

Cox and Cox cards Cox and Cox

Longer visits may call for a gift. A parting gift is a gracious & wonderful way to say , so long, farewell, we had a wonderful time, and let’s do it again soon!

Pastel_Solid_Paper_with_Flowers_005 A Gift Wrapped Life

I highly recommend a visit with Sande at A Gift Wrapped Life for this! She is a master in the art of giving personalized attention to gifts that will surely be remembered.

Linen_Wraps_blog_004A Gift Wrapped Life

While visiting A Gift Wrapped Life, I would love for you to be sure to stop by her blog where Sande beautifully demonstrates graciousness & hospitality on a regular basis. Plus she's just really nice!

AGWL_logo_packaging_002A Gift Wrapped Life

Parting is something else all together. A toast to good times, a hug farewell, a kiss with feeling...Embrace your guest because you want them to go or because you don’t want them to go. But do embrace.

toast glasses

One last thought. How do you know if you’ve given the best care...too little can leave them wondering whether or not they should have bothered coming. To much can leave us wondering when they are finally going to leave.

armoire If they show no signs of leaving anytime soon, here are some tips from the MR.
1.Flip the breaker switch.
2.Let Gracie lick the dishes clean.
3.Set rattraps in conspicuous corners.
4.Feign death.

Looking forward to having you!

Ice Milk Aprons

Join me in the kitchen with Ashley...

Join me in the kitchen with Ashley...
She is the inspiration behind this gourmet line of heirloom aprons!

Ice Milk Aprons

Ice Milk Aprons
If you have to cook, you might as well look pretty!


"Growing up, things were always made from scratch. We all sat down together for dinner. and, we had the best birthday cakes on the block." Ashley


Order a Gift Package from Ashley and start a new tradition!