BY JASON BERKE – NOVEMBER 9, 2021
As we usher in a season of entertaining, we couldn’t have asked for a better guest writer to share their tips on showing a little neighborly love. Our studio neighbor is Jason Berke, who we have had the pleasure of working with to launch and develop his new brand, Warmhouse Story. We draw inspiration from him on the daily – Today, he’s talking about the beauty in our relationships and simple ways to show your care. Without further ado, here’s Jason!
This time of year always boosts my spirit and excitement because it is peak entertaining season! As an Atmospherist and Hosting Expert through my brand Warmhouse Story, I happily jump into the frenzy of providing inspiration, workshops, and tips for all of those like-minded entertaining aficionados. I have been knee-deep in making content to get others’ creative juices flowing and planning for my own hosting.
Recently, though, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a gracious guest. It has been so much fun to reunite with friends that we have not seen for a very long time. It is wonderful to be invited into their homes. My philosophy on hosting is that you take great care to think about the people that you welcome into your home and build in the special touches that show them that they are seen and appreciated.
I happen to have a fabulous neighbor and they invite me over often. A neighbor in the truest sense of the word. This neighbor does not live in my condo building, but in the creative studio next to mine. That neighbor is LAB who is led by the wonderful woman that I call Magic Mollie Windmiller and she and her amazing team welcomed me into our building this year warmly. While I love hosting my buddies at LAB in my studio, I really get excited to bring something special to them. To be a gracious guest.
Let me tell you why. In the process of welcoming me, Mollie and the team at LAB cheered me on in my new venture. They shared ideas and advice and soon I determined that this was the kind of group that I wanted to work with. With curiosity and care, LAB helped me think through how to bring my brand, in its infant state, to a dynamic and magical launch. They helped me build my digital presence, collateral, workshop approach and more. Now, that’s one great neighbor!
We have loved the back-and-forth energy and interaction that we experience on the daily and one of my favorite things to do to show them my gratitude for their hospitality is to bring them tokens of my appreciation. It has been great fun to think about how to make the LAB team smile. I want to let you in on the fun and share some of my ideas so that you might try them for the wonderful neighbors in your life.
Warmhouse Story is about hosting, but it is equally about using the beauty of the natural world to inspire creativity and, in this case, show neighborly gratitude. Let’s jump into some riffs on ways I have said thank you to LAB for their incredible warmth and support.
I love to bring some bubbly to host as a celebratory hello and hi when I arrive. I love to bring the glasses and jazz up my sparkling wine with a little natural beauty. This time of year, that means evergreens. I like to tie them all around the top of the bottle with a beautiful ribbon and some dried florals. Here I have used globe amaranth that reminds me of snowballs! The finishing touch? Bring some chocolate, too!
As we move from fall into winter, I love the idea of bringing some literal warmth to my neighbor in the form of creamy, steamy hot cocoa with zillions of marshmallows! I like to translate the charcuterie board into a warm beverage board with a mug full of cocoa topped with marshmallows and chocolate chips and a fun twisty sucker stuck right in the top! Here I am using evergreens again to add a little winter magic. Then I add even more marshmallows because, well, marshmallows!!! A few gingerbread people round out the sugary madness that is my antler tray sweets extravaganza!
My last tip for being a gracious guest is to simply make a special gift topper with evergreens and flowers. My neighbors get the immediate jolt of winter wonder through the aroma of spruce. I like to make a little card and pick a mix of festive dried flowers to add some extra festivity.
I do believe that this is the most wonderful time of the year, and this year has been full of growth and excitement for me at Warmhouse Story. My neighbors at LAB played a huge part. I love seeing the smiles on their faces when I pop over with a treat. I hope you get to experience the same joy in surprising your hosts this holiday season in a way that feels personal, thoughtful, and fun.
To learn more about Jason and his work, follow him on Instagram or visit Warmhouse Story. Looking to have a Warmhouse experience of yourself? Join us in our collaborative workshop on November 16th! Click here for tickets and more information.