About the Author

Myquillyn Smith, The Nester, is a home stager, redesigner and design school drop-out. Her last home (a rental) was featured in Better Homes & Gardens, Cottages & Bungalows, Ladies' Home Journal and in her upcoming design philosphy book, The Nesting Place: It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful....

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  1. I love it. Have a blast. Thanks for being real. Love this post. Its all about the relationships and the connections. We women, myself included, do get caught up sometimes in the surroundings when we entertain.

  2. God bless you Nester! I have a friend coming over today to see our new house and hang out and I had a sobbing meltdown yesterday because my house is in such shambles. Thanks for pointing me back to what is really important. Now I’m off to light a candle (because it does have to smell good)

  3. It is the little things that matter. Like clean towels and coffee. Or when a sweet hostess makes you a sandwich. You know, because as a busy mom – no one ever makes you a sandwich. And that means the world..

    That is all I need.

  4. Whew! Glad I’m not the only one. My “guest room” happens to be my kids rooms. When we have guests, the kids get an air mattress. We will be moving shortly and I still will not have a designated guest room. But I’m okay with that. Guest are not there to visit with our homes but with those who reside in that home. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. One of the things I admire the most about you is that you are just about the relationships and while you preach “it doesn’t have to be perfect”, you actually live it! I would hope that the many young women that read your blog daily will learn that the stuff is not what makes your life meaningful. I used to worry about these things too when I was younger but I have learned with age, that my friends just want to hang out wherever we can and enjoy sharing our lives. Hope you and the girls have a great time! How could they now with you as their host!

  6. So needed to read this and the best post on hospitality!! I’m a perfectionist, trying to not be one and enjoy life, friends and family over:0)

  7. Spot on, we’ve got my brother-in-law and his girlfriend coming in tonight to stay with us through Sunday. I was sort-of freaking out this morning but I realized we’ve got a fresh bed, a clean bathroom and groceries…that’s good enough for me!

  8. I remember staying over at my father’s friend’s house while I was in college… a different sight outside my window, different pillow and sheets, a peaceful and quiet house. That’s all I needed to “get away” from the hecticness of college life. The thing I most appreciated was the “space” they gave me to just REST… They were great and generous hostesses, who just gave me a room in their house to recuperate from the busyness of life. I’ll always remember that. 🙂

  9. You are absolutely right on this one! I learned this valuable lesson years ago from a friend, and it has helped me learn to relax and enjoy having company without worrying about dusty surfaces or floors needing to be mopped. Hmmm… I guess that means that this Mary has turned into a Martha? 😀

    Blessings,
    ~Anna

  10. I don’t need to have a “perfect” house because I would never have people over. But it does need to be clean and tidy. Just the way I am…Otherwise, I go all loco. 😉

  11. Yes and I’ll be honest. No one REALLY cares if you have the best furniture! They want to feel welcome & loved.
    I spent a long weekend with my bestie in June and she thought her house had too many flaws (which it didn’t) to even consider having guests. My family had the greatest time and we’re heading back to see them in 2 weeks.

    It’s all about the hospitality! Always!

  12. I love getting away to just about anyplace for distraction from my everyday. Love when hospitality includes a special little something that’s personal to me. My mom-in-law made a beautiful guest room for our family with fam pics of just us,… Etc.

  13. I, myself, don’t care for fancy furnishings-just a clean house filled with love & hospitality!

    It’s not about the stuff of life, but making friends and having fun! I pray you 3 have a fun time tonight! P.S. Wish I could be a fly on the wall!@

  14. Nester,
    As usual, I want to take your post and blow it up into a poster 🙂
    IDHTBPTBB – But it does have to be clean to smell good!

    In terms of the best hostess, I’d have to say my sis. When i was in my 20s and she was in her late 30s, she would always be sure i had something to read on the bedstand. She would try to match my interests. Or, she’d make it topical, for example a Christmas mystery novel if it was December.

    Fun memories 🙂

  15. I appreciate that you teach us over and over to leave our homes messy and honest…but all the while still encourage to make things pretty. Have a pretty vase in one room and a disaster in another…it is a-okay! And heck, that guest room is asking me to swing from those antlers into that big ol’ pile of pillows! Who wouldn’t find that fun!?

  16. nester,
    My favorite memory as a guest is staying over at gramma’s house. She always had home made doughnuts or cinnamon rolls. She would make us popcorn on the stove and liked to play cards or let us play “steal the spoon” on big kitchen table with a bunch of the aunts and uncles. They were close to my age so it was like having older siblings. Bedtime was where ever there was a little room and under the thickest home made comfortors she could sew. She alway said “you don’t sleep if your cold”.

    She was so glad to see us when we came and gave out hugs, when we were leaving she gave out hugs again. You always felt like you made her day by being there.
    rick

  17. My aunt is the best hostess at her ski house. Is it perfectly tidy? Of course not! But there’s a TON of comfort food {snacks put out at regular intervals all day and night}, drinks flowing, fires burning, cozy flannel linens piled high, extra hats and mittens, picnic baskets with wine, cheese, and candles for the ski lodge. She’s 65, but acts 35. Thanks for reminding me how awesome she is. 🙂

  18. Thankyou! That was truly the best post about hospitality ever. Why did I never realize that I could give up my bedroom and sleep in the creepy basement or out in the open in the family room rather than dreading sending my guests there! Suddenly I feel like I have a wonderful guest suite – consisting of our own bedrooms and the family bathroom upstairs!

  19. On the flip side, I will be on the recieving end of hospitality next week when I visit my sister. She lives on a property with hubby and 3 young kids who she teaches, the house is always a little messy, the guest room full of clothes from the kids dress ups and I usually have to make myself at home at the kick the cat off the bed, make the bed up and scrounge a towel. You know what…I couldn’t care less! I’m visiting my family and sharing meals, stories, hugs and time together and this is what really matters to me. It’s the feeling of being welcome rather than the sheets that matter.

  20. My friend Jane is a great hostess. My favourite memory is of when I went to deliver the family’s Christmas card. I went at 2 pm and didn’t leave till 6 hours later, having joined them and their visitors for a curry. It was two days before Christmas, and I’d never been in a house that was so relaxed. No one was rushing around making trifles, or wrapping up last-minute presents.

    Once you sat on Jane’s sofa, you didn’t want to get off, and she was never in a rush to see you go, so I guess that’d be my main thing: Someone who’s willing to relax with you and make you feel they enjoy your company.

  21. We have friends who are raising five children (and all of the neighborhood kids, it seems) in a 1300 square foot townhouse. When we needed a place to stay for the weekend they didn’t blink an eye and seemed totally prepared to host five more for sleeping, fun, and great meals (on mismatched china in a tiny kitchen). They celebrated their home and their family, and never once seemed to be uncomfortable in their surroundings, which made us utterly comfortable as well. I left there thinking “I hope I make people feel the way they made us feel.”

    By contrast, a family member has a home that’s been featured in a magazine. When visiting them we were treated to every amenity, like a high end hotel. I left there depressed that my home would never be as beautiful, as well appointed, as tasteful as theirs.

    My brilliant husband said, “of the two options, which way would you prefer that our friends feel when they leave our house?”

  22. This was a great post! Love the pictures and your honesty. I’ve put too much pressure on myself to make my home spotless when I’m hosting. It’s really hard to enjoy your company when you’re obsessing about how the towels are lining up in the bathroom after 10 kids have been in there. Thanks for keeping it real. I plan on getting over it and enjoying the next family gathering at my house. 🙂

  23. A gracious host can put you at your ease from the minute you walk in the front door. You instantly feel right at home and are glad you came. Their secret is to focus on you and not apologize for anything but make you feel that whatever they have, they want to share it with you. Thanks for the reminder that it is the people, not things that are important.