“the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.”
Today’s newsletter considers what hospitality as defined above looks like among ourselves … whomever “ourselves” includes inyour life during this unusual time. Maybe “ourselves” includes your spouse or significant other. Maybe it includes your children, maybe your parents. Maybe it includes a few friends that you’re able to see.
My message today is about extending hospitality among ourselves. Before I go further, I want to acknowledge that our experience in this crisis has not been a hardship. It has been far easier than it has been for many. We haven’t suffered the sacrifice, turmoil, and loss that many have. I send this newsletter knowing that while some are truly struggling, the idea of a “friendly and generous reception” even among “ourselves” may be a stretch. For a little over two months, “ourselves” has included Ed, our two daughters, and extended visits from our son. It’s also included visits from their significant others (SO’s). Throughout this time we’ve adhered to our state guidelines, which meant practically all of our time was spent at home and with “ourselves.” We’ve had no one in our home for dinner or even drinks.
If however, we are in a position to make this time special for “ourselves,” how can we do that? Recently, I read a post by one of my favorite writers, Robin McCoy. Robin has written three books. I love them all, with my favorite being her first, Robin’s Rules of Order. Despite the title, Robin is not a stickler for rules. Long ago though, she realized her priorities and let those guide the way she lives, which is with thought and without excess. In her recent blog post, Elegant Excess, she conceded, “that excess on occasion is not only ok, but desirable — even essential.” A WSJ article, No Company? Be Your Own Guest, reminded her that “we can treat ourselves as we would invited guests, especially when we’re mostly keeping to ourselves in the Age of Corona.” I encourage you to read the WSJ article and to subscribe to Robin’s blog. Order her books too … you’ll be glad you did!
As for Robin’s sentiments on excess during the Age of Corona, I agree! During this time we’ve tried to make being together special, especially our evenings.
So … what are some of the ways we’ve done this . . .
- Exercise and Fresh Air …
During the day we stay in our work out clothes. At the end of the workday, we usually take a walk. Right as I’m beginning to “hit the wall,” the fresh air and exercise give me just the lift I need. Endorphins are a real thing!
- Dressing for Dinner …
For me during this time that has meant jeans, very little makeup, and the same earrings I’ve worn every day. So, we’re not talking anything fancy, but spiffed up a bit! Since retail has just opened up in our state, I even popped into Abode Home and bought a new shirt and a casual summer dress, both perfect for the very casual lifestyle I think we’ll be enjoying the rest of the summer.
Cocktails … After working all day, “cocktails” signals the end of our workday and the beginning of our evening together. We’ve elevated this time by trying new recipes, using our best glasses (thank you Paysage!), and linen cocktail napkins. Even if you don’t drink alcohol, a fun mocktail is a great way to kick off the evening. We’ve been using the yummy recipes, mixers, and simple syrup from Swoon — all sugar-free and without icky sugar substitutes.
Table … We set an inviting table — again, nothing fancy — but with our linens, nice wine glasses, flowers, candles. I’ve especially enjoyed our beautiful and also effortless wipe off Holly Stuart placemats and our Pomegranate wash, dry, fold napkins. While they do look a little nicer when ironed, they have been just fine without that extra step. The bright colors have been a delight!
Dinner … As mentioned in an earlier video, we’ve been planning our menus in advance so we only have to go to the grocery store once/week. Everyone has participated in helping create wonderful meals. Lucky us, our children and their SO’s are great cooks and have served up some of the most delicious dinners! I’ve heard that many of you are cooking more than ever and are enjoying the recipes in Effortless Entertaining. Thank you! And yes, we’ve ordered out. too. One night we ordered pizza from five different places to see which we liked best!
Games … We’ve played a lot of games. Even Ed, who’s not big on games has joined in. Sometimes we play during cocktails, sometimes after dinner. Spades, Canasta, Sequence, Rummikub are a few of our favorites and two online games we’ve loved are Fibbage and Quiplash available on JackBox Games. Before our girls discovered virtual Jeopardy, they created our own Jeopardy board! We’ve also done DIY wine tastings and virtual tastings with a few of our favorite Napa wineries.
The Last Dance … Of course, we too have looked for good things to watch on TV. So far, my very favorite by far has been The Last Dance.
As I often say about a rough time, “I wouldn’t have chosen this experience, but I wouldn’t trade all it has given us.” We would not have chosen this crisis and the pain it has caused so many, but I wouldn’t trade its treasures, especially unexpected time with our children and their significant others.
I hope you too can find unexpected treasures during this time.
From our home to yours,
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