My husband and I recently downsized to a pretty amazing 875-square-foot apartment, and because of that we sold a lot of our furniture (including the kitchen table). So with the holidays coming up, I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for awesome-looking, space-saving tables that could easily be folded up once the guests are gone?
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My husband just informed me that in a few weeks, his boss has so graciously picked our house to hold their monthly "briefing." Our two front rooms, where everyone would be for this little get together, are full of my husband's zombie and macabre paintings, and pin-ups. I don't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable or weirded out. I'm wondering if I should take some of the paintings out, get lots of flowers to distract from the gory goodness, or just let it be? How do you make such an offbeat space into a crowd-friendly one?
Frequent Offbeat Home contributor Helen Jane just wrote an excellent post on how she and her husband James manage to regularly throw what she calls "Porch Parties" — despite the fact that she works full-time (with an insanely long commute), has two toddlers, doesn't have a fairy godmother, etc.
How do they do it? Well, like so many things, it boils down to priorities…
We want to make our house the hangout spot for our friends. How do we do that? Every time we try to throw a party, we spend way too much time and money getting our place and the food and the music all ready. How do we make our house ready all the time, without emptying the bank and becoming Martha Stewart?
Over the years, my "velvet rope" has had hugely positive results, for my housemates and my friends. It cuts down on drama and keeps my parties fun, happy, and safe.
I've stayed at a couple of places through CouchSurfing and AirBnB and I think I have a few ideas on how to make my guests leave glowing reviews (and send more guests your way!). You can call my strategy Toned-Down Ned Flanders: there's an episode of The Simpsons where Ned lets the Simpsons borrow his beach house for the weekend. He leaves a note on every square inch of the cabin explaining how to use each thing (like "Put food in me" on the fridge). Don't go to these lengths or risk being made fun of mercilessly on the internet, but DO share more information than you think you might have to.
My boyfriend and I have been traveling together for about five years now. We've done hotels, hostels, and even AirBnB — but our favourite way to spend time in a city where we don't know anyone is also the cheapest way: CouchSurfing.org. It's a free network for travellers and hosts for free accommodation, meet-ups, or advice, and it's been around since 2004. Imagine not only sleeping in Bologna for free, but staying with people your own age, with similar interests, who show you around town to the best spots you might otherwise miss. This is CouchSurfing.org.