Part 1 // Hosting: How to Conquer and Master the Guilt & Many Other Tips for Busy women Who love to host but get overwhelmed
I don’t know about you, but sometimes hosting can be a little overwhelming. Now that we are knee-deep into December and many of you are gearing up to receive lots of family and friends into your home, I thought you might enjoy a little Q&A with two of my #momgoals friends: Viktoria and Nadia. I hope these two women inspire you as much as they inspire me. I hope that they help you see hosting in a different perspective, because although it can be stressful sometimes, receiving guests can also be fun and provide lots of memories for you and your family. These women are pros at making those who come into their homes feel like family which is what hosting is all about!
This is a longer blog post than my usual. I wanted to leave no leaf unturned, so I have broken it up into two parts. The first is featuring Viktoria from (@room4improvement_) and the second featuring Nadia from (@hopemeetsgenius). I have asked them questions that I think would be helpful for you and your busy life. Enjoy!
Me: How did your love for hosting begin? Was there anyone who influenced you?
Viktoria (V): Both my husband and I love being surrounded by friends and family. From day one of being married, we were mutually always up for hosting and serving together. And honestly, it’s one of the first and best things we learned to do as a team to this day. When I began hosting as a young wife at age 17, I loved the feeling of challenging myself with meals, the presentation of food, and setup.
I found it a personal challenge to prove to the world that even though I wasn’t old enough to get legally married without my father’s signature—I could get this thing called “being a perfect wife” down!! I had a vision and expectation for what that looked like and I just had to meet those standards in my head for whatever reason. In that season of life, I struggled with perfectionism and was very hard on myself.
At times hosting became more of a stressful thing for me and our family, because I had certain expectations in mind for how I wanted things to be. You could only imagine the process… Starting from cleaning, and ending with a perfectly put together meal and house. Nobody breath or move!! Haha. And then after guests would leave, I would be filled with guilt. Guilt that I had put my family through all that stress, and guilt that I didn’t even enjoy the process because I was so exhausted.
However, about 5 years ago, my friend Nadia (@hopemeetsgenius), who lives down the street, inspired me with a different approach that has changed my perspective about hosting forever. I noticed that every time she invited me into her home, it was a stress free environment, very prioritized, peaceful, and simple—yet the most beautiful and thoughtful setup. Most importantly, I always left her house with a full heart and never a feeling of wasted, empty time spent.
She told me that before she goes to an event or hosts one, she always prays about the conversation. And that always stuck with me. I now implement that into my hosting process. I think it ultimately changed everything. I know that God instilled the love of hosting in me and my family for a reason, and that He can use that in so many ways.
Me: I love that you now lean on prayer to guide the process and that you can now enjoy the experience so much more. Now let’s talk about design! What inspires you when you plan a tablescape?
V: It depends on a lot of things. It could be the season; the event type (celebration or intimate gathering); the weather; a color I’m currently drawn to; something that has been catching my eye as of late; or the flavors I’ve really been into at the moment… Most of the time however, it’s about what is currently in my fridge, and I just take it from there.
Me: What is your go-to hosting recipe when you are tight on time?
V: Dutch baby pancakes in mini cast iron pans are always my go-to for breakfast or dessert. I always seem to have the ingredients at home. It is a simple blender recipe, that you mix/pour and stick in the oven. Add any pantry jam or fresh fruit if you like. The presentation is fabulous and so delicious!
The recipe that Viktoria loves can be found here.
Me: What is your go to recipe when you have ample time to plan ?
V: I like to try out new things with brunch. But my favorite is Israeli couscous. It actually makes a great lunch and dinner too. I like it because it probably has my favorite flavor kicks (cilantro, garlic, & mushrooms) and I can always switch it up and play around with spices. You can add anything on top: eggs, bacon, salmon/fish, meat, or veggies. This time I added poached egg with asparagus and Trader Joes’ fresh bruschetta sauce. It’s a beautiful and tasty dish. For the couscous, I sautéed half an onion (diced) with a handful of mushrooms in olive oil until cooked. Then I add a pack of Israeli couscous (I use the Trader Joe’s brand) and saute until golden. Add Salt. Then, add water until covered and let simmer. The water should evaporate and the cous cous should be cooked (If not then add more water, and cook a little longer) Then add minced garlic, turn off heat, and add handful of chopped cilantro, and half cup feta cheese.
For dessert I still choose Dutch baby pancakes but with a little more time on my hands, I would make homemade lemon curd to add on top ;)
The lemon curd recipe that Viktoria loves and uses can be found here.
Me: Where do you buy your tablescaping supplies? Everything is so beautiful!
V: My all time favorite place to hunt is Tuesday Morning. But I also love Home Goods, TJ Max, and Goodwill. But I’m always on the lookout for anything tablescape related… especially glasses... my biggest weakness.
Me: How do you store your tablescaping supplies?
V: I have a dresser near my dining table for all my linens, napkins, runners, and chargers. And the rest of the dishes are in my kitchen.
Here are a few photos of how Viktoria organizes everything to give you some ideas.
Me: Do you have any appetizer tips or ideas?
V: Bruschetta bites are my favorite. I toast thin baguette bread slices in a pan with olive oil ... let cool. Sautée cherry tomatoes (cut in half) with garlic. Also let cool. Add a spread of Boursin cheese over bread slices. Add one basil leaf. Add the sautéed tomatoes on top, and drizzle with balsamic glaze from Trader Joe’s. Enjoy!
Me: That sounds so delicious! How do you prepare food ahead of time?
V: For breakfast I usually like to have as many things sliced and prepared the night before. Things like: peeling garlic, pre-chopping veggies like cilantro, onion, & mushrooms. I put them all in ziplock bags for a quick toss the next morning, plus it’s nice that there are less dishes to deal with. Anything that will make my morning of preparation as stress free as possible.
Me: Do you let your kids help you when setting up for company?
V: My kids always like to contribute with something in the kitchen and lately I’ve been really enjoying their help more than ever. Like who would mind an extra hand with garlic peeling, chopping, or mixing? Regarding setting the table, they leave that job to me. Probably because I’m in my zone. ;) But when there’s a kid’s table that needs setting, family meals, or their birthdays, my girls are always in charge of that one... they love making name tags for each guest :)
Me: Aww how sweet. How do you stay minimal with tablescaping and not accumulate too much stuff?
V: It’s very hard to apply the minimal approach to tablescaping, especially if your someone like me. I am constantly on the lookout and tempted by all the pretty seasonal designs. But it’s possible. What really helps me is to stick to the colors of my home or colors that I’m drawn to. This will make it easier for my pieces to flow together. Lots of neutrals, whites, textures; and then I get to get creative with the little details such as centerpieces (plants, greenery, or seasonal flowers).
So there you have it! I love Viktoria’s tips on preparing the night before. This is definitely something that I am going to try to improve on! What was most helpful to you? Does this encourage you to use your home to bless others more often? What is your go-to recipe when you are tight on time and expecting company? Tell me in the comments! And be on the lookout for Part 2 of this post where I will be interviewing Nadia from @hopemeetsgenius!