Category Archive


Make the time-saving Party Cup Box at your next office party

At the last party, I was putting ice in the cups and pouring pop when people were arriving for the party. I felt very behind, like I didn’t have enough done by the time the party started. So, with the help of an empty freezer, I invented the Party Cup Box!

How to make the time to host a party, even when you’re super busy

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…

How can we make our house a destination?

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?

The Velvet Rope: Why every hostess needs boundaries

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.

“Toned-down Ned Flanders”: Hosting travelers who’ll want to come back

I’ve stayed at a bunch 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.

Turn your home into a hostel — or stay for free abroad — with

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: 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

Hosting lessons I’ve learned from seven years of throwing an annual party

After our wedding in 2004, Andreas and I decided that camping with our friends in the forest of my mom’s property was so much fun that we wanted to do it every single year. I’ve learned MUCH!

Kindlewood: An old hospital building becomes a single mom’s adventurous business

I saw this house and couldn’t stop thinking about the possibilities of it — so I opened up a travel lodge. Now I host people from all over: entire circus troupes, love-lorn Russians, gay Filipinos, and many more.