Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’
October 31st only comes around once a year, but the Halloween trick-or-treating can be unpredictable depending on which day of the week the 31st actually falls. Schools and churches – and sometimes entire communities – often band together to promote trick-or-treating on a night which won’t interfere with kid’s schedules the next day, but it’s not uncommon these days for trick-or-treating to happen on multiple days in some cities.
Decorate or Not to Decorate?
As a vacation rental homeowner, you should always assume your guests are not looking to spend their stay at your property answering the door and handing out candy. Decorating the exterior of your vacation rental home may not only be unwelcome (and judged “tacky”) by your guests, but it also gives trick-or-treaters the impression that the occupants of the house are participating in the celebration.
For more vacation rental holiday decorating recommended do’s and dont’s, check out our blog “(Vacation Rental) Home for the Holidays”.
Do remind your guests that Halloween is near and that they should be sure the porchlight of your vacation rental is OFF if they don’t wish to be disturbed by costumed candy-seekers. Some vacation rental homeowners go as far as to place a friendly sign near the sidewalk or driveway of the rental property, stating something to the effect of “Sorry, No Treats Here” to prevent any confusion.
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It’s almost that time… Feasts with family and friends, sharing a glass of wine and lots of hugs (we hope)! We finally have an excuse to bust out the “good stuff” in preparation for the holidays – elegant table linens, fancy guest towels and special occasion outfits! But even the most refined gatherings are chock full of opportunities for spills. And if your family and friends are like mine, forget about it! Spills are inevitable – and holiday stains are the worst! Never fear, Moxie Girl is here with some great solutions for these common but tough-to-remove stains.
Eat, Drink, Hug. (Repeat)
The “greatest hits” of holiday stains are usually due to one or more of these activities. Eating and drinking, of course, are the mainstays of any holiday get-together. It’s also “splurge season” so we’re likely to be diving into a lot of rich foods, full of greasy, saucy or buttery goodness. Then there’s the wine… Mmmmmmm….holidays and red wine – they just seem to go together.
I always hope there will be at least ONE person I want to hug anywhere I go. I also hope they’re wearing stay-put lip color. Unfortunately, we’ve all had the experience of a hug leaving a mark on our clothing. Heck, I’ve even dropped my own lipstick during application and had it skip down my entire outfit before it landed on a new turquoise blue bathroom rug. And it wasn’t even a holiday!
Read on to get the heads up on how to save your good stuff from stains! Whether a holiday stain occurs on a garment, linens or even upholstery, keep this blog handy and you’ll know just what to do.
First, is it Dry Clean Only?
Because if it is, you should probably let a professional dry cleaner handle this problem. This goes for any item, garment or table/decorative linen. Now, since it’s a holiday, it may be a minute before you’re able to get to a drycleaner – so to keep the stain from getting any worse, scrape off any solids. No rubbing! Take the item to your dry cleaner as soon as you’re able, point out, and let the dry cleaner know what caused the stain.
If you use a home dry cleaning kit, apply the pre-treatment provided (according to product directions) before putting the item in the dryer bag. I’m so-so on the home kits, myself. In addition to a residual odd smell, I haven’t had a ton of success using them to try to remove stains.
Washable Garments and Linens
For oily stains such as from meat, gravy or butter, scrape any solid bits from the fabric. Do not rub during this step – rubbing will only push the stain further into the fibers of the fabric. Pre-treat the stain with your favorite laundry product, if you have one – or try a little Dawn dishwashing liquid. Gently scrub your choice of pre-treatment into the stain – an old toothbrush is great for this task! Let the pre-treatment sit for 15 minutes then wash in the hottest temperature safe for the item. Check the stain before drying to make sure it’s gone.
If necessary repeat the pre-treatment and wash again, BEFORE drying. Drying the stain will only “set” it, making it permanent!
Lipstick can sure be a tough one, with its oil/wax and pigment components. Lift or scrape (do not rub) any chunks of lipstick from the item. Chunks? Of lipstick? Mhmmm. This can definitely happen if you drop your tube of lipstick and it skips down your entire front side and hits your new turquoise blue bathroom rug…
Take care of the oil/wax component of the lipstick stain by pre-treating the same way you would for the oily-type stains mentioned above. After pre-treatment, it’s time to tackle what’s left of the pigment portion of the stain. Use an oxygen-based bleach, safe for most colors and fabrics, mixed with a gallon of cold water. Check directions on your bleach bottle, but usually, 1/4 cup of bleach to one gallon of water is about right.
Submerge the stained item and soak. You can check the stain periodically, and keep soaking until the stain is gone and then wash as normal. Again, check that the stains are gone before drying. Repeat the pre-treatment and washing, if necessary.
Red, Red Wine
You’re singing that song now, I’ll bet – at least the chorus.
For FRESH red wine stains, removal is easy as long as the item is able to withstand boiling water. Do not use this method of wine stain removal on a ‘dry clean only’ item unless you are truly making a last ditch effort to save it.
Locate the wine stain on the item and pull the stained area tautly over an appropriately-sized mixing bowl, or other fairly deep but also large-mouthed vessel. (I’ve done this for tiny stains using a large, plastic drinking tumbler.) The bowl should be big enough so that you have a few inches of unstained fabric around the edge of the stain but inside the diameter of the bowl. Use a large rubber band to secure the fabric over the bowl. Pour boiling water through the stained fabric into the bowl, taking care not to splash. Once you’ve flushed out the stain entirely, launder the item as you normally would.
Now, if you’ve got a wine stain that is not so fresh, it’s far tougher to remove but I’ve had luck with this technique. Mix small but equal amounts of hydrogen peroxide and Dawn dishwashing liquid – start with a half teaspoon of each. If you think your stain is going to be particularly tough to remove, mix two parts hydrogen peroxide to one part Dawn dishwashing liquid.
Lay the item on a flat surface and put an old towel under the area of the stain so as not to transfer it to another part of the garment or item. Rub the hydrogen peroxide and Dawn mixture into the fabric, gently, with your fingers. Start in the middle of the stained area to keep from making the stain bigger. Thoroughly saturate the stain with the solution and let the item sit for 30 minutes. Rinse with the hottest temperature water safe for the item. Hopefully, your old wine stain is gone, but if not repeat the process before drying!
Carpet and Upholstery Stains
If you have a stain on vintage or silk upholstery, stop right there and call a pro if you care about the piece! For other carpet and upholstery, as with garments and linens, scrape or lift solids from the stained area. Do not rub!
For these next steps, be careful to not over-wet your carpet or upholstery. Always do a “test” spot treatment in an inconspicuous area of the furniture or carpeting for color-fastness before treating the actual stain. If anything weird goes on in the test spot, stop and call a pro! If your test spot looks normal, proceed.
If you have a carpet cleaning product on hand, use a clean white cloth or a paper towel and treat the stain according to directions on the product packaging.
No carpet cleaning product on hand – or just hate chemicals? Try a tablespoon of Moxie Girl favorite, Dawn dishwashing liquid mixed with 2 cups of hot water. Add a tablespoon of ammonia and mix. Blot solution on carpet or upholstery with a clean sponge and then a dry towel. Repeat until the stain is gone. Using a fresh clean towel dampened with warm water, “rinse” the stained area to remove soapy residue which could attract more dirt later. Avoid the area and let it air dry completely.
Moxie Girl hopes these tips help you stay stain-free through the holiday season and all year long. Check our blog frequently for more helpful tips and fun features on all sorts of Moxie topics!
It’s not even officially in the dictionary – yet – but Friendsgiving has become a favorite tradition for many over the past decade or so.
Phoenix has always been one of those places where it seems almost everyone is from someplace else. As a born and raised here in the 60s kid, and a lifelong resident of Phoenix myself, I was used to new acquaintances regarding me as someone of a “jackalope” upon finding out my roots. (If you don’t know, a jackalope is Arizona’s version of a unicorn, a jackrabbit with antelope horns!) It seems everybody had heard about people born here, but nobody had ever actually met one!
With the steady growth Phoenix has experienced over the past several decades, plenty of babies have been born here and being a “native Phoenician” isn’t nearly as rare as it used to be. People continue to relocate to the Phoenix area for jobs and school, many leaving behind the family and friends with whom they would normally spend holidays.
Thanksgiving + Friends = Friendsgiving
Going home for the holidays isn’t always possible due to work, finances and other obstacles – and there are many who just actively avoid family gatherings for whatever reason.
We all have something to be thankful for though, and who doesn’t love a feast with friends? This is where Friendsgiving comes in. Moxie Girl has a few ideas to make hosting your own Friendsgiving easy and fun!
When Are We Doing This?
Well, that depends… Are you ADDING a Friendsgiving celebration to a traditional Thanksgiving week? Or are you having Friendsgiving INSTEAD of Thanksgiving?
If your BFFs all have family nearby, it’s likely you will be invited to join one of them for Thanksgiving. (And you should! It can be fun to meet the ‘crazy relatives’ your friends have told you so much about.) If you and your buddies all have family plans, the Friday or Saturday following Thanksgiving is a better choice to hold your Friendsgiving event.
However, if your gang is comprised mostly of friends who are also ‘on their own’ for the holiday, it might make the most sense to hold your Friendsgiving on Thanksgiving Day.
What’s on the Menu?
One of the great things about in an official holiday is that you are free to make your own rules and create new traditions! Unless you are just DYING to prepare an entire feast ‘solo’ for your group, a potluck buffet is always the answer. You can organize your potluck in varying degrees of detail, but assigning specific dishes for guests to bring will ensure you don’t end up with six bowls of mashed potatoes, but no gravy or some other “oops!” in the menu.
And remember, since it’s your friends and your rules, the menu is your choice as well. Maybe you’d like a traditional turkey dinner? Or maybe you want an all vegan/vegetarian menu… how about Mexican food? Mediterranean food? Totally up to you and your friends!
Some Friendsgiving celebrations are specifically planned for the Friday after Thanksgiving and guests are asked to bring their family Thanksgiving leftovers to share with the group.
Another option is that your friends all agree to ‘chip in’ and purchase a premade meal from a local market or eatery, saving you all in the mess of cooking in exchange for a few bucks.
Speaking of Dishes…And Other Things You May Not Have Enough Of
Living on your own for the first time? Or just simply live alone? You may likely have more friends than you have place-settings or even places to put them! Disposable dishes and utensils may be the answer, and they certainly make for easier cleanup.
A more eco-minded solution is to ask your friends to bring their own place settings. You can even turn it into fun by having a place-setting ‘decorating contest’ for your guests to create their own elegant/wacky/colorful place at the table.
For several years, my family members all agreed to show up with full-sized platters to use as our ‘feast’ plates. Mine was actually an hors-d’oeuvre tray with little compartments so my gravy would not touch my cranberry sauce or my candied sweet potatoes and RUIN EVERYTHING. (Yeah, I’m kinda weird that way.) The giant platters made for some funny photos too.
You may also need some help with seating arrangements for dinner. Folding tables and chairs will do if you don’t have a formal dining table large enough to accommodate your group. Don’t have any? Ask around – anything that can be borrowed for the day is a good thing! And you may find that your guests have at least one folding chair or a set of old-school tray tables they can bring.
Plan for Fun!
This should be easy… What do you and your friends like to do? Thanksgiving day, post-feast, in my family finds us splintering off into smaller groups of football fans, movie watchers, board gamers or card players – even outdoor Slip n’ Slide fun in the backyard. Hey, it’s Phoenix!
So unless your friends are all into the same thing, prepare for a few different, but simple and fun, activities based on what you know about your group.
The weather in Phoenix is usually perfect in late November for enjoying outdoor activities. Perhaps start an annual tradition of a group hike or a bike ride – before or after your meal. If your friends are service-minded, Friendsgiving is the perfect opportunity to volunteer at one of the local agencies serving up a Thanksgiving meal to those less fortunate.
The point is that your new tradition can be whatever you want it to be. As long as it’s fun it’s likely to catch on, too, making your annual Friendsgiving get-together something to look forward to year after year.
So start putting together your plans for Friendsgiving now and check out our Moxie blog regularly for ways to make your holidays – and every day – cleaner, easier and more fun!
It’s still summer, temperatures are still blazing and cooler weather seems like a distant mirage. But chins up, vacation rental homeowners! Perfect weather is much closer than it seems – and it’s bringing the holidays with it! Potential guests are currently scouring vacation rental websites in search of the perfect holiday vacation stay. Phoenix area vacation rental homes have been steadily increasing in popularity for holiday visits, and now is the time to start thinking about what you can do to increase your guest satisfaction during that busy holiday season. As always, Moxie Girl is here to help with some excellent tips for prepping your vacation rental home for the holidays!
The Changing of the Colors
Aside from our weather becoming the envy of pretty much everyone, we don’t really see much change in natural decor here in the desert from season to season, unless the wildflowers and cactus blooms are showing. Phoenix area colors are pretty much the same year round, so why not consider making a few simple and inexpensive changes in and around your vacation rental home for the fall and winter holiday season? Moxie Girl recommends bringing fall colors into your vacation rental home with a change of decorative pillows, throw rugs and kitchen towels. These items are very visible within the home, but they are also non-breakable and generally easy-to-clean. Keep in mind that it’s best to stay away from patterns or images related to specific holidays or religious beliefs, but there are more than enough choices in geometric or floral patterns in beautiful fall colors!
Light it Up!
Candles are another easy way to bring fall colors – and a warm holiday glow – into your vacation rental home. Of course, Moxie Girl recommends battery operated LED lights, rather than real candles. The faux flames come in as many sizes and shapes as the real thing so they can be safely utilized in a variety of ways. Put the small tea-light versions in inexpensive stained glass candle cups, or add taper versions to a dining table centerpiece! Your guests are sure to enjoy the awesome holiday feel, so be sure to stock some replacements in your vacation rental home’s supply cabinet!
Speaking of glowing, white or single solid color mini bulb light strands are popular all year round, as they add a fabulously inviting ambiance to outdoor areas. If your vacation rental home doesn’t already have outdoor mood lighting, mini lights are a solid choice as an inexpensive and permanent addition to your vacation rental home! Be sure to purchase lights UL rated for outdoor use – and put them on a timer to maximize efficiency. And most importantly, make sure any and all cords are neatly and safely out of the way of guests.
The More, the Merrier!
If you set up your vacation rental home kitchen as recommended by Moxie Girl in “How to Set Up a Vacation Rental Home Kitchen”, you’ve got the basics and not much more. Smart. But, since holidays often mean food and drinks with family and friends, your guests may appreciate a few extras in the cupboards. Consider doubling up on flatware, serving dishes and utensils, baking sheets, and by all means, wine glasses and beer mugs!
Show Off Your Property
A periodic update to your vacation rental home’s listing never hurts – especially if you’ve updated its look by implementing any seasonal color or lighting changes, new photos are a great idea! And if your vacation rental home boasts features that may be particularly appealing during the holidays, be sure to highlight them in your property listing. A heated pool, hot tub or fireplace should be in the spotlight during the fall and winter season. (Watch for Moxie Girl’s upcoming fireside chat with Chad Nikkel of Aquaman Pools to get your water features ready for fall!)
Also, mention in your listing if your vacation rental home is in close proximity to any special events or displays in the Valley. The APS Electric Light Parade in central Phoenix, Glendale Glitters, Tempe Festival of the Arts, Zoolights at the Phoenix Zoo and the Luminaria Festival at the Desert Botanical Gardens are all popular traditions in the Valley. Any major or unique shopping venues nearby your vacation rental home property may also be of interest to a potential guest looking to make some holiday purchases once they arrive. Glendale vacation rental homeowners – don’t forget about the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Day!
Burn, Baby, Burn!
There’s obviously no better time than the holidays to cozy up in front of a toasty fire! As the owner of a vacation rental home with a fireplace, you’ll want to be certain that your fireplace is properly cleaned, maintained and ready for your guests to use. Posting some simple instructions regarding the operation of your gas fireplace is always a good idea.
For wood-burning fireplaces, Moxie Girl reminds you to make sure yours has a screen for fire safety and a set of fireplace tools nearby. Don’t ignore that chimney either – an annual cleaning is recommended. Of course, it’s up to you to decide if you’ll be providing any firewood or manufactured logs – just let your guests know what to expect.
Due to air quality issues, “No Burn Days” are a thing here in Arizona and it’s your responsibility as the homeowner to alert your guests – or face fines if violations occur. Check out www.whentoburn.com for current burn restrictions – the site even offers a sign up for automatic status alerts!
Out with the Old
The holiday season can create more trash than any other time of year and disposal service schedules often differ during this time. Pay special attention to the pick-up schedules at your vacation rental home property. Missing trash and recycle pick-up dates will only add to holiday stress, so make sure those bins are out on time!
Increase the supply of trash liners available for your guests to use during their stay, too. Because recycling rules in your area may vary from what guests are used to at home, it’s a good idea to label your recycle bins with the specifics to avoid confusion and any issues with your service provider!
We hope you find these tips helpful in preparing your vacation rental home for a happy and successful holiday season. Moxie Girl offers a variety of expert vacation rental home services, year round. Give us a call and find out how we can help you enjoy a more stress-free holiday season as a vacation rental property owner!