Monthly Archives: August 2011

El Hostel de Reph

For the past several weeks I’ve been haunted by the realization that I am not able to live up to my own standards.

Not ethically, thank God, but etiquette-ly, which might be worse.

Mike and I recently hosted Sarah and Casey in our home while they were in town for the other other royal wedding.  They booked one night at the hotel across the street, but the rest of the time they stayed on our floor.

I know, the horror.

To be fair, they have stayed with us before, so they know our square footage exactly.  But that doesn’t change the desperate feeling I encounter when I see my guests waking up after a night on an air mattress.

Look, I get that it’s normal to have people stay on one’s floor when there’s no other choice, and it helps out-of-towners save some cash, and it’s not the worst thing in the world.

Unless you write about etiquette on your blog all the time.

We tried to mitigate the situation and do what I would tell anyone else to do: let the guests sleep in our bed.  We even laid down on their air mattress in protest, insisting that they go sleep in our bed.  It turns out doing that is akin to the classic restaurant standoff, “I’m paying the bill,” “No, I’m paying the bill,” until both of you hates the situation enough that the only gracious thing to do is give in.

The chaos of being involved in a family wedding at the time didn’t help either.  We were all sharing one bathroom, and after three days we were out of fresh towels.  Due to the hectic schedule of out-of-towner dinners, the rehearsal dinner, and the wedding itself, I had no time to do a load of laundry.

It was an etiquette-obsessor’s nightmare.

Let me be clear: our guests never once complained.  They were gracious beyond description and even thanked us daily for the hospitality.  I told them hospitality was a loose term in this case, but they insisted.

Long after they’d departed, I was still consumed with thoughts of how I could possibly improve our situation without moving to a three bedroom home.  I continued to be at a loss until we spent the night at the home of two of our good friends.

Their entire home is 540 square feet.  It is a free-standing home, not a condo.  It is completely adorable and should be highlighted in a design magazine for optimizing small spaces.  When they invited us to spend the night, we could not imagine where we would be resting our heads.

We shouldn’t have worried; they invested in an air mattress that blew our minds.  It’s double layered, so when inflated it looks like it has a box spring and a mattress, and it is about two and a half feet high so when getting into or out of the mattress it feels like a normal bed.

The best part — the box spring covers only about two-thirds of the mattress, so the mattress portion rests over a couch.  The result looks like a fold out bed from a couch.  We slept great.

The next morning we were singing the mattress’s praises when they told us they were actually trying to sell it due to their upcoming move into a bigger place.  Would we be interested, they asked?

Sold.

Though this won’t totally alleviate my feelings of hostess failure, I’m convinced the Reph Hostel has just upgraded to bed-and-breakfast.

Now accepting reservations.

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Filed under Good WORD (Etiquette)

The Other Other Royal Wedding

Forgive me for not covering the royal wedding of Zara Phillips, I had another royal wedding on the brain — that of my little sister, Sam.

Sam and her new husband Aaron were married on July 22, and it was a fantastic day.


Sam and Aaron were engaged in November 2009, so this one was a long time coming.  We were all so thrilled and ready for this day, and we had a great time getting ready for it.

Sam hooked all of the bridesmaids up with the best bridesmaid gift I’ve ever received — a leather jewelry travel wrap, flip-flops for the dance floor, and a can of Sophia Coppola champagne to settle the pre-ceremony jitters.

Don’t we look relaxed?

Sam had the genius idea of choosing Tart dresses that can be wrapped dozens of ways so each bridesmaid looked unique.

But who cares about the bridesmaids?  The only one anyone wanted to see was the bride!

She was stunning, and the ceremony was really beautiful.

…and brief — just the way Sam and Aaron wanted it.  That thing was over in less than 20 minutes.

But that doesn’t mean it didn’t make me wish I’d carried tissues down the aisle instead of flowers.  When Sarge (Aaron’s nickname in our family) read his vows to Sam, I worried I would lose it — tears or wobbly heels, I wasn’t sure which would bring me down first.

Luckily, before I could fall apart, we were all cheering as they recessed down the aisle and headed for a celebratory photo session.

Some formal, some….not so formal.

That’s when it hit me the relief I was feeling;  I hadn’t realized that I was subconsciously holding my breath the entire day, wanting so badly for everything to go well.  After the ceremony many guests asked, “How are you feeling?” and I kept replying, “Relieved!  Everything went so well!”

And it only got better: dinner was delicious, the music was rocking, and everyone kicked up their heels for a good time on the dance floor.  In the middle of dancing around ecstatically, I tried to tell each out-of-towner how grateful my family was that they had traveled so far to celebrate with us.  Something about twisting and shouting made me realize how fantastic it was to have them there.  I looked around the dance floor so grateful to God for such incredible friends and family: Amy and Brian, Sarah and Casey, Beth, Debbie and Amy, and Grandma, Tom and Jackson.

Erin and I each gave a toast honoring our little sister, and it felt really special sharing about our unique relationships and our hopes for her future with Sarge.

Everyone says that your wedding day flies by in a blur, but no one warned me that it feels the same if you are a family member of the bride.  The entire reception felt like 45 minutes to me — it absolutely raced forward, and I kept trying to breathe it all in before it passed.

The most important thing, the best part to watch, was how much fun Sam and Aaron were having.  They were beaming the entire evening, totally overjoyed over their new marriage.  It was such bliss to witness.

After running down a sparkler-filled aisle to their classic Rolls Royce, they flew to Puerta Vallarta for a week of recovery.  That’s my word for a honeymoon– it’s therapy after planning a wedding.

They’re back now and settling into newlywed life in their new condo in Bothell.  From what they tell me, all is well.

Congratulations, Stanley and Sarge!

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Filed under UpWORD (Beauty)