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Picking Up A Few Household Items That Just Might Help Prepare For Guests Who Just Might Be Coming For Holidays

We’ve been feathering the nest, a tad. I know nobody wants to talk holidays yet, so I won’t mention Thanksgiving, or Hanukah, or Christmas. We’re safe as far as Diwali, since I don’t celebrate it, although these days I see its lights around town more often.

How about we call today Investing In Our Hospitality Infrastructure? Guests, no matter when or why, are expected.

Cooking Gizmo With Loads Of Promise

For example, we’re now the owners of an Instant Pot. I’m kind of embarrassed, as though I didn’t know late night television ads are bunk. We bought it because I wanted a rice cooker with a stainless steel lining. But the next thing I knew we were cooking up broth, steaming salmon, and stewing oxtail. Bada bing, pressure cooking! Totally not sure how that happened but it is a quick and less messy way to make dinner.

Key benefit: You can sauté whatever you want to soupify or stew or steam, in the same stainless steel insert you’ll use for subsequent slow cooking and pressure cooking and steaming.  I rejoice at one pot less to clean.

Extra Sleeping Facilities

You don’t need a new Aerobed? With that wonderful self-pump? So nobody has to sleep on the sofa? Well, maybe you don’t. But we did. Walked into Costco, walked out with this. Even has a headboard.

If I’d researched, we might have gone for a pillow-top, but I think our guests will forgive.

Nestling Apparatus

While we were in Costco I impulsively grabbed a faux sherpa throw, to replace our old one that had degraded into a web of red threads and chenille yarn. Now, although I’m deeply snuggled into the sofa, I am beginning to worry about Aggressive Fluff Particle Release. We shall see.

Again, with a little research, I might have realized that throws these days, like scarves, have reached a whole new level of artistry. Look at these in merino from Sferra. OH MY GOSH those colors. Drink them or cuddle them, which? Or this one in alpaca?  (I guess crystals would be too much? In another life?) Or this Missoni? Now that’s a quick way to update a Pottery Barn living room.

Thematic Hand Wiping

I also recently ordered 6 embroidered guest towels from a local San Francisco store. Behold the abundance at Samuel Scheurer Linens. So High WASP. Here’s where I give up the It’s Not About The holidays charade. Reindeer give it away. (They have throws too, by the way.)

Just One More Thing And I’m Done

Finally, if we’re surrendering to holiday prep, maybe it’s time for a nice box to store teabags. Simple. Functional. And the kind of extra I’m looking for this year.

I hope none of this has raised anyone’s adrenaline level. Nobody’s inadequacy gauge ticked up, even a little bit. My list is full of stuff you don’t need. But I remember vowing last year and the year before to prepare in advance, in a way that deepens my happiness. To continue to rebuild Christmas after my divorce.

And yes, it was 10 years ago that I spent that first Noël without my children. I should put it behind me. Things get better, and, perhaps, request grace notes.

Links may generate commissions. Samuel Scheurer  link is not monetized, they are a local business that I highly, highly recommend you visit if you come to San Francisco some day.



23 Responses

  1. Could you please comment on clean up of the Instapot? I’m very interested in the stainless steel aspect as the lining on my rice cooker is dissolving. Is it hard to clean? We don’t have a dishwasher, other than my husband.

    1. @Allison, So far it hasn’t been hard to clean at all. I haven’t sautéd/browned for any length of time, and nothing like broiling happens. Certainly the pressure cooking leaves very little residue. Push comes to shove I could use Bon Ami scrubbing powder if I had to, I think.

  2. I love throws. I have one permantantly stationed on every piece of sitting furniture, with a window seat filled with extras. I’m a knitter and blankets are my favorite thing to knit, so most of mine are either made by me or gifts from other knitters. But I come from a long line of women who are always cold, so every house in my family has a stash of throws.

  3. Ah, throws! Love those things. Never have enough. I’m both cold blooded and live in a cold winter climate. They are necessities, not just luxuries for us. I really like the one you chose. May have to check it out next time I’m in Costco.

    1. @Mary anne, I imagine in cold climates a throw on every chair is required. If you do go to Costco, feel free to check in with me for updates on whether this faux sherpa is shedding too much!

  4. Srong vote for the Aerobed. We use it whenever the grandkids come to visit, and it sits, deflated, in its own little bag in the garage the rest of the time. The perfect alternative for those of us already downsized boomers

    1. @Ellen, Yes. That little stuff bag. Or, if you are me, it’s folded up in the closet because you lost the bag but it’s still a plus;).

  5. Aerobed saved my face-my son was expecting guests from far away and I just wanted to check his sofa bed- well,it happened to be broken!
    So,I have now one aerobed in his apartment and one in our sea apartment- perfect for sleeping!
    Nice throws!
    Just checked -they don’t ship Instant Pot here-have to check them live

  6. As always I love to see your post pop up on my laptop!
    Your voice resonates with me.

    I am clearing out extra stuff…
    trying to balance my habit to collect with my habit of purging…
    I am feeling a sense of celebration!

  7. Scheuer Linens–that wonderful store! Once, nearly 20 years ago on a trip to SF, I asked the nice people at Scheuer to help me find a big laundry iron I could use to replicate back home the poreless melted surface of old-timey hotel sheets. It didn’t work out. But I did bring home a white linen tablecloth and napkins that now hang unused in a hall closet. These days, like you, I define home luxury in terms of throws. I still fantasize about one from Hermes, but love my hard-working Pendleton bought long ago on a trip to Seattle. (Never realized before how much fabrics figure into my travel purchases!)

    1. @Ann, Fabrics and travel indeed. I have a sari from my 1982 trip to India draped over benches at the foot of my bed. I think fabrics bring home the nature of a place so well.

  8. I love this post. Never tire of fluffing up my home, the way I do get tired of thinking about my closet. All good items, and yes, have them all (in various forms) I love the embroidered guest towels, will be back on that site soon!

    1. @Kathy, My friends just told me about another linen line called Coral and Tusk, if you want something a little more hip. But, I admit, I love this old world corny.

  9. “To continue to rebuild Christmas after my divorce.”

    This needs a book of its own, just one more thing that dies somehow, the impulse gone, I’m completely mystified how this happened to me too, me of the crazy love for doing the Christmas house. I’ve been divorced for 20 years, and gloriously remarried for 10 of those 20 years. But STILL can’t go near the Christmas house. I suspect something’s up though because I’ve been collecting antique wooden bowls in ever larger and larger sizes. Maybe lots of clipped greens and twigs, in big bowls, in my near future maybe, I think. xoxo

  10. Christmas. One word that has so much unspoken intent behind it. It means something different for everyone. One day of the year. I no longer have little children whose hearts were aflutter. They were the days… That was the real meaning of Christmas to me then. Seeing and living it again through my children’s eyes. I too was rebuilding my own Christmas, but as a child from a painful and broken home full of lies. Now I have a daughter with a severe mental illness, Christmas for us is hoping that the over-done lead up to Christmas and all the hype and hysteria over it doesn’t tip her over the edge. We can never please her unimagined expectations, and there are always tears on Christmas Day, storming out of the room over something, leaving us all feeling rotten. Same with birthdays. I just prefer to go very low-key now. And we’ve downsized into a our gorgeous empty nest 3 bedroom apartment. I don’t dress it up lavishly. Last year I gave our old family Xmas tree (complete with the nostalgia) to our son (it was older than him) and went and bought one that pops up complete with little lights and holds very few ornaments. And 2 gold reindeer to stand guard over the gifts. I always set the table though. Once a year, it is laid out with black, gold and silver, and real linen napkins (not paper with holly leaves on them! heavens!!). The kids and their partners usually stay over, and maybe I should get an Aerobed too. Then I have to think about seeing my father at Xmas. My husband makes it the only time of year he sees him. Ahhhh Christmas, full of conflicting emotions. Yes Lisa, trying to rebuild the new ones, still doesn’t erase the painful experience of the past ones though does it. Good luck with yours and hope you get the visitors you are anticipating. My fallback plan is cocktails. Lots of cocktails…

  11. I’m just finishing a major clean-out, every closet, every room, garage and attic, but the instant pot stays. I thought it would be an embarrassing whim, but I love it.

    Also love Scheuer linens. I bought the best kitchen towels I have ever owned there 20 years ago. I still have a few of that first set, and bought replacements 8 years ago for those that were worn beyond keeping. It remains the first place I look when I need something.

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