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Lately, I’ve felt very much like I’ve had to “adult.” There’s a heckuvah whole lot happening behind-the-scenes here (all soon to be told!) that qualifies as “adulting,” and boy oh boy – I’m not equipped. Especially since I’m a second-semester college senior now, I feel totally stuck between two worlds. Some days, I’m living in a freshman college dorm playing RA. Others, I’m with the fiance looking at houses, and everyday I’m engulfed in launching a biz besides just getting through classes. It’s this weird vortex – someone send a navigation manual?? Either way, I’m in the process of attempting to learn tips and tricks for running a household from all of the people I love most. My end-goal is for J and I to always be a warm and welcoming home, where friends or family could call us up on a whim because they’re “in the area” and want to come over for a bit. I want to always be *ready*, so today I’m chatting 6 last-minute hosting essentials that I’ve found to always be great to have on hand for any spontaneous guests.
1.) A good cheese + cracker + meat platter
Anyone who knows me knows I love me some SNACKS. I’m a hauuuuge snack girl, but I’m also big on trying to find healthier snacks so that when I inevitably reach for something while watching Netflix, I won’t come out three pounds heavier. 😉 I’ve worked with Hickory Farms a few times this past holiday season, and turns out, I’m now straight-up addicted to Hickory Farms products. Casual, right? Their Simply Hickory Farms line is 100% Natural, from the nitrite-free sausages to the non-GMO crackers and cheese made with fresh Wisconsin cow’s milk. Nothing beats a cute cheese platter when guests arrive, so I always love having a box o’ Hickory Farms goodies on hand to please the crowd. Did I mention the Simply deluxe crate is 50% off right now? #gogogo
2.) A decent wine…on a decent tray of cocktails
If you’re gonna have cheese + crackers, why not make it a wine and cheese party amiright??? I’ve got absolutely nothin’ against cheaper wine (if it tastes good, yo), so having a bottle of red on hand makes for a great pairing with your platter. Bonus points if you find cute cocktail napkins. Off-price retailers like Burlington and HomeGoods have beautiful serving trays, so I recommend picking one up that you lovelovelove and putting the wine, napkins, a few lime wedges, one or two of your favorite liquors + a mixer, and a bottle of Pellegrino as a classy alternative to alcohol all on it for your guests.
3.) Tray of candles
Your spontaneous party obviously needs to smell good – haha! I’m a bit candle-obsessed, but I really believe that nothing sets the mood quite like some gorgeous candles. Light them in key places (like anywhere your guests would be passing by often), and light a few at one time if the scents complement on another. A whole slue of my favorites are linked below in case you’re tryna treat yo’self today. 😉
4.) Have a go-to lip color
When you get the “Can we come over??” text, it’s easy to have an “OH HECK NO” moment of panic where you look down at your sweats and messy bun and swear it’s impossible to get it together in ten minutes. But fear not – a punchy lip color can go a looooong way. This classic cherry red lip has been one of my favorites for years. The Covergirl Outlast lipstick in “Into the Fuschia” is a mature berry color that I lovelovelove. And Maybelline’s Brazen Berry is a shade I swear by if you’re wanting to try a more purpley lip without the shock factor. Mix it up by season, but always (always) have one on hand when you need a quick swipe to feel more put-together and glam stat.
5.) Fresh baked goods
When you’re hustling to get things your last-minute hosting essentials in check before guests arrive, ain’t nobody got time to be whipping out the apron to bake. Hickory Farms does it again with fresh baskets of baked goods sent right to your doorstep. In your basket, it tells you exactly when your baked goods were baked, so you know they’re *actually* fresh. J is in looooove with their brownies, which is saying something since he’s super picky with his desserts. The list of choices include: Gingerbread Men shortbread cookies, Mocha vanilla rounds, Cinnamon sugar cookie stars, Chocolate chunk brownies, Molasses chewy cookies, Vanilla bean shortbread cookies, Mitten or tree vanilla cookies, Apple pie spice shortbread cookies, Espresso bean with chocolate chip shortbread cookies, Peppermint shortbread trees, Triple chocolate chip cookies. CAN WE SAY YUM.
6.) A hosting playlist
If you’re gonna have guests, you’ve gotta have jams. I’ve got a “Hanging Out” playlist on Spotify that you can follow if you need some suggestions; it’s got everything from more upbeat tracks for dancing and having a good time, to songs for laidback listening and background music. Judge the atmosphere, though. If it’s a more lively group of people looking to have fun on a Friday night, a more party-ready playlist is probably more fitting compared to a chill Jack Johnson album. Depending on the people, day of the week, and mood of the crowd, make your music fit the scene!
What are your last-minute hosting essentials?
I’d lovelovelove to hear what you always keep on hand for spontaneous visits from friends and family. What last-minute hosting essentials are your own go-to’s?
*This post has been sponsored by Hickory Farms. As usual, all opinions and thoughts are entirely my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Coming Up Roses!