Beside the obvious things like cleaning the house from top to bottom, the patio furniture, manicuring the garden, there are a host of other things you can do to make your guests feel loved and welcome. I moved to Arizona from England in 1999, so I've had more than my fair share of guests come off an eleven hour flight to visit me and inevitably stay at least two weeks to make the long journey worth their while! The truth is I love it, so I do everything I can to make them a return visitor - having a background in the hotel industry helps!
The Guest Bed
On a recent business trip to Houston staying two nights and two days, I was advised to take carry on luggage and dress comfortably as the days would be long and action packed. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect so I wanted to cover all my options and ensure I would feel confident and comfortable. Somewhat nervous that I wouldn't fit everything I might need in a carry on suitcase, I knew I had to be strategic in this effort. I'm happy to say I pulled it off with room to spare and an outfit for every occasion. Here are my tips on how to pack your carry on luggage to get the most into it, and ultimately the most out of it at your destination!
If you live around Scottsdale or have passed through recently, you may have noticed the giant white tents standing alongside Loop 101 and Hayden Road. For ten weeks at the beginning of every year as many as 100 of the finest artists from across the country gather in this enormous arena to display their work. Many of the artists create new work whilst visitors, art lovers and art collectors meander the studios taking in spectacular art in various forms from paintings to sculptures, and can chat with the artists and see how their work is created.
There is always somewhere good to be in Arizona at any time of the year, despite the soaring temperatures in the summer. It's a state with it's own climate control. A couple of hours north or a couple of hours south, we've got it all covered, just find your comfort zone. At this time of year, you want to be right here, Scottsdale and Phoenix, the places to be, weather included. With so much going on, from music festivals to rodeos, art shows to championship golf tournaments and everything in between. It's alive with life, the State's own entertainment capital.
On a recent visit to target to get the hubby some Advil, I stumbled across a bag of Kraft Jet-Puffed pink heart marshmallows. As is my weakness, attracted to all that is pink, I had to get them because they were too pretty not to! Who does that? Whilst I was there, I stumbled across a few other fun things to sweeten up the Valentines festivities.
Locally, this event has quite a reputation for being the single most popular people watching arena in the west. Of course, some people do actually go to watch the golf! Many girls dress up as though they're going to a star studded party on a yacht in the Caribbean. It was a gloriously warm day which favored the skimpy clothes, and with no concern for the general terrain of such event, the scenery was more than entertaining with high heels and platform shoes tottering about the sloping grassy banks of the vast 18 hole championship TPC golf course.
This was my first time to a golf tournament, and the first time to any event that hosted a record breaking almost 205,000 people on a single day. It was a sight to behold. I didn't see much golf but that wasn't really why I was there, as I believe was the same for a large number of other folk in attendance!
Every year in January, Scottsdale Arizona hosts the Barrett-Jackson collector car auctions. This year it takes place from January 14th to January 22nd.
It's the largest concentration of cars from old classics to modern day prototypes and everything in between here in the beautiful city of Scottsdale. Rows of gleaming polished chrome like the dinnerware on a banquet table, paintwork in every imaginable color like perfectly lined up bottles of nail polish. Proud owners dusting off their pride and joy, the crowds milling through the tents, browsing, dreaming! Celebrity cars for sale, rare cars in impeccable condition, so much to look at, not enough time. Then there are the auctions, the excitement, the big spenders looking to catch their dream toy. Outside, the tempting smell of barbecue, food trucks, and if you're game, you can tackle the worlds largest turkey leg!
What's in it for us girls? Men are not the only ones that these cars invoke fond lifetime memories for. Today, I saw my very first car, a red Mini Cooper. Forty years on, I can't believe I actually fit inside that car! The Morris 1000, the very first car my parents owned when I was 10 years old. The day my daddy brought that car home, I spent the whole day playing inside it pretending it was my play house! There's a huge Exhibitor Marketplace to stroll around and shop, plus, there are lots of happy men walking around, all in very good moods, some dashingly handsome!
This is my first time visit to a car show and I liked it! If you are in the neighborhood and have a chance to go, it is well worth a visit. A general admission ticket is just $20, with senior, military and student discounts available. Auction and VIP packages vary, but all can be purchased from the Barrett-Jackson website here.
My Top Five Reasons Why You Should Take up Tennis Now
The following photos were taken at Scottsdale Ranch Park and Tennis Center - a City of Scottsdale Facility
My Tennis Story
My lovely husband Brian. I am the luckiest person I know.
My little guy Rigsby, and all my little guys before him, who've lifted my spirits and made me so happy.
My health. There is no greater gift to be thankful for.
My heritage - thankful to be proud.
Living in this beautiful State of Arizona. So much to enjoy.
My friends, all of them, especially this one
The brave men and women who serve this great country to keep us safe every day at home and abroad.
Nordstrom Scottsdale Fashion Square - my day care!
All the amazing and healthy meals my husband makes for me every day.
So very thankful for every day that I get to enjoy this life and to do the things I love.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all
Love Karen xox
This year I wanted to do something that wasn't store bought and would feel more original. I searched online for some ideas, and my favorite was an easy step by step, inexpensive idea from Caitlin Covington of Southern Curls and Pearls. It was cute, girly and fun, and I couldn't wait to make it. Here is the link to her blog post where she explains what you will need, and how to do it.
I did make a few changes of my own. I went to Nordstroms Rack to find the slip she uses as the dress. I didn't like how they fit on me, and felt a little too exposed! Instead, I picked a T-shirt dress from the clearance rack for $20 which went all the way up to the neck finishing with a loose collar, but this made for a more secure base for the whipped cream ruffle.
Instead of using glue, I hand sewed together my felt circles first, creating a bunch of different shapes. All it takes is a couple of slip stitches through the point of the felt where they are joined together. Then I made tiny marks on the dress where they would be attached. Again, instead of using glue, I stitched the felt to the dress. I find glue difficult to use, plus I (MrsLastMinute.Com) had left all this rather late and the glue would not have had enough time to cure! In addition, I sewed the whipped cream to the head band.
I used very strong strips of sticky back velcro to attach the straw to the inside of the whipped cream. I placed the strips on both the straw and the felt. I loved this little brain wave, because it meant I could take the straw on and off making it easy to get in and out of the dress, or if you're driving, or in some other difficult predicament!
Lastly, I laminated the Starbucks logo at the Kinkos store so that it wouldn't bend or get trashed. This also gives it a nice polished finish.
I already had these Baublebar earings and they happened to match the dress perfectly, plus they made very good droplets of Frappuccino! Overall, I would say I had the most fun with this costume. So much so, I not only wore it to the Halloween party we went to on Sunday evening, but also all the next day - Halloween day itself. Lots of people stopped and asked if they could take their photo with me, I had an absolute blast!
Karen Serino is a life and style blogger, sharing fashion, fitness and fun for youthful women in their forties, fifties and beyond.
Click the picture below to see my interview with the lovely Jonet Wooten from Fabulously Chic Over 50