Q: Do I give a hostess gift at dinner out?

Hello readers and happy Wednesday!

Recently, a reader asked if, when meeting her boyfriend’s parents for the first time, she should give a hostess gift at dinner out or wait until the dinner party moved back to their home.

In this situation, it’s appropriate to wait until going home, because unless the gathering is, for example, a birthday or anniversary celebration one wouldn’t bring a gift to a restaurant dinner.

Next, we brainstormed on a few hostess gift ideas for the return to the parent’s house. Here’s a list that will work not only in this situation, but any time you need to bring a gift. We recommend keeping a few of these items on hand for last-minute or “emergency” giving.

A host or hostess gift is a simple gesture of thanks in advance. A bottle of wine is a fast and easy classic, but if your hosts are teetotalers or you are feeling creative, consider the following simple and thoughtful gifts.

For her we recommend “fancy” guest soaps (we love Anthropologie for these, but one can find lovely soaps at nearly every department store, gift shop, drug store and sometimes even at the supermarket).

Most of us can never have too many tea towels or linen napkins. We found these cute little numbers at the Girlscantell shop on Etsy.com:

Coffee lover flour sack tea towels, $20 for set of two, image courtesy Girlscantell

For him, you might need to get a little craftier, so we decided that a single-handed salt and pepper mill might do the trick. Or a professional corkscrew with foil cutter, which we found at Sharper Image for $39.95.

A tasty item that anyone would love is Bella Cucina Walnut Sage and Pumpkin Spice pesto, $12:

Image courtesy Bella Cucina

The Bella Cucina olive oil is also divine. We love all things lavender and Becker Vineyards in Stonewall, Texas has it. Get lavender bouquets, room spray, body scrub, soap and everything else you can imagine made out of the fragrant purple flower at 830-664-2681 or www.beckervineyards.com.

Finally, a shameless plug for Re-find’s new gift shop. Click here to learn more about the Store. Today, we’re featuring the Le Cafe notecards, because you may just want to send a thank you card to the host and hostess after the lovely dinner out or at their home.

Le Cafe mug and notecards

With these gifts (and a thank you note), you’ll be invited back in no time.

Cheers!

Weekend getaway gift: Felted soap

Throughout the summer, many of us find ourselves spending weekends with friends or family in another city, because of weddings, vacations or yearly visits. We’ve discussed before that you should do everything possible to be a great guest when someone is kind enough to open up his or her home to you. By bringing or sending a hostess gift (or both), you are on your way to being invited back for another fun-filled getaway.  We often gift little luxury items, because while we like to indulge in the small, but decadent things in life, we try not to go overboard and therefore love to get them as gifts ourselves.

One of the best places to find fabulous toiletries, especially fancy soaps, in a pinch or otherwise is Anthropologie. Yes, it’s a chain, but by golly, it’s a chain that gets it right every single time! From the store’s music and decor; to the clothes and accessories; down to the scents and quirky books and household items we just love it in spite of ourselves. Oh, and they gift wrap. For free.

So, for your next hostess gift purchase, we’d like to recommend the natural, handmade, Fiat Luxe Felted Soap, $14, at Anthropologie:

Image courtesy of Anthropologie

These pretty little soaps are wrapped in felted wool to create a sort of washcloth. The wool is naturally antibacterial and it serves as an exfoliator (remember, exfoliation is your key to the fountain of youth). If that wasn’t enough, the felt shrinks as the soap is used, so when the original “melts” away, pop in a new bar.

Find them at your nearest Anthropologie store or order online by clicking here.

We like to buy several at a time and keep them handy for gifting. Also, it’s always fun to have a “signature” gift, especially when it’s something as divine as delicious smelling soap.

Happy travels this weekend and beyond and remember to send a thank you note (Anthropologie has those too).

Cheers!

M