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You’ll read a ton of tips this season teaching you how to be a good host. But people never talk about being a good guest. You probably won’t even appreciate that thought until you begin to host people at your house for a meal, or a weekend, or longer … 

It’s great to have company and to catch up with old friends and family. But hosting takes work, and can take a toll on someone’s sanity with the wrong types of guests. 

  1. Be on time. You can’t control your flights and traffic problems. And no one will mind a few minutes here and there. But if dinner is at 3:00, arriving at 5:30 is unacceptable. 
  2. If you are picky or need certain criteria met. Say so ahead of time or suck it up. Your host wants to cater to you and share what they have. No one likes hearing you ate before coming to dinne or refuse to eat what is being served.
  3. If you’re staying for a couple days, prepare to and offer to entertain yourself for a couple hours or even a day. Go sight seeing, go for a walk, explore the neighborhood. You host may appreciate the moment of downtime to throw in the laundry, clean up the house a bit, or just take a breath. 
  4. Do some research ahead of time and have a few ideas of things you like to do or see. There is nothing harder than trying to guess what will make people happy or keep their interest. Different people have different ideas of fun.
  5. Offer to help the host but also accept being the guest. Don’t take over their house – allow the host to host you. 
  6. Don’t treat the house like your home, but treat it like their home. No need for you to be rearranging how they keep things or to allow kids to “explore” every room. 
  7. Don’t come empty handed. If you can’t cook, bring a bottle of wine or buy an appetizer. (I personally always bring one bottle of red and one bottle of white – can’t go wrong). 
  8. Take note at how they keep their house. Leave the bathroom relatively like you found it. If you found wet towels laying on the floor, then it’s probably cool with them if you do it 😉 
  9. Read the crowd. If everyone else has left or gone to bed, check with the host and see if it’s time to go.
  10. Don’t forget to return the favor. Don’t always be the guest. Offer to to be the host once in a while – and hope your guest have read this article too! 
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Ok you’ve had one week to get settled and make, practice, and hopefully not yet break your New Years resolutions. So what did you come up with this year? Let’s take it a step further: we are all going to try to get in better shape and save more money. So let’s throw those two down as constants. For the rest of your life you will practice those two and not need to include them in your New Years plans. Instead you can use January 1st as your check in date and see what progress you’ve made I’m 365 days. So write down your starting numbers.

Now, what unique goals have you set for yourself in 2014? Here are mine…

1) I want to utilize the “silence” and “do not disturb” function on my smart phone more. I think cell phones are great tools and they do amazing things. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you my infatuation with my mobile devices. But I don’t need to check every alert the moment it comes in. I want to check them in the morning or evening or when I have free time for them. But not 6 times during a movie, twice during dinner, and every time I hear a beep or feel a buzz from my phone.

2) From seeing the local museums, to picking up tourist pamphlets at the local hotels, I always come up with ideas of things that I would like to try. I have tons and tons of digital notes on cool ideas. This year I just want to go. I want to drive downtown, head out in a given direction, and just go do it. There are free things and there are pay things, but what there isn’t is a reason not to do something. I want to explore my world !

3) I want to build this blog. It took my a while to even start it. I have plenty of ideas for it. And I want to continue to improve it for you and for me.

4) I’m pretty fortunate that I have been successful in a lot of my life’s attempts. And even with the ones I have failed at, I have learned from. If I have done this well so far, what if I pushed the envelope? I want to challenge myself this year, both in my personal and professional life.

What do you want to do in 2014? I’d love it if you’d post one or some of your thoughts in the comments section.

Cheers!

“One of the most difficult things is not to change society – but to change yourself.” -Nelson Mandela

As you have seen in the media recently, Nelson Mandela has passed away this past weekend. I remember his release from prison in Africa after 27 years. And I always associated his name with ending apartheid. Apar…what?

In case you haven’t taken a moment to research it I thought I’d share a quick snippet about it. It’s basically racial segregation sponsored by the state and imbedded into political policy and thus everyday life.

Mandela was imprisoned as a political prisoner for speaking and working against that system. He eventually was released from prison after 27 years and was elected as the president of the very country that imprisoned him.

I’m not here to talk politics. But his mental fortitude is worth some admiration. And some basically knowledge is always good to have when it comes to world news. Share it at a diner party, teach your kids, and just be happy to obtain some new knowledge.

Embrace your world.

It’s thanksgiving here in the US. We will see and hear many messages of being thankful and givings thanks. Families will join together, friends will be welcome.

Let’s try to carry these joys and warmths with us through the year. Always try to be thankful for what what you have. Many more may have more, but undoubtedly many more have less..

Simply being with people you care about serves as reason to be thankful. Enjoy the people in your life or reconsider why they are there.

Having been in the position to spend holidays alone in the past, I urge anyone who finds themselves there to accept an invitation that finds you. Or simple go to a popular spot where people are gathering and enjoy the crowds. Start a conversation with a stranger. You will be surprised how many people will welcome your company. And if you see someone alone, don’t hesitate to say hi.

Break your comfort zone and spread good will.

Happy thanksgiving to all.