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Mami Real Talk: Be a great guest at the summer gathering

Summer is officially, and finally, here. This is the time when we get invited to so many outside gatherings to celebrate holidays, graduations and weddings, or perhaps to a friend’s or relatives’ house to enjoy the best ribs ever.

There are however, a few key things to remember when heading to one of the many invitations we receive.

First, we have to acknowledge to the host how gracious it was to be invited.  I think gratitude is one the most intriguing characteristics someone can have. Luckily, it’s something that can be developed.  Approaching everything in life with gratitude certainly changes your behavior and how you are received.

Hosting a picnic or other event usually takes days of work.  The host has to prepare the food, the house, entertain the day of the event, and then get stuck with the aftermath. One gesture that is always appreciated – flowers.  I always bring flowers for the host.  This is such an easy way to say thank you and sets the tone that you acknowledge the effort. It also brightens up the decor – but be sure to let the host or hostess decided where they will be placed.

My two cents worth is that this is 100 percent necessary whether it’s the first introduction to your boyfriend’s family or whether it is for your sister.

This is a great teachable moment for children, too.  I am doing my part raising the gentlemen of our next generation: I always have my son (Lorenzo) deliver the flowers on behalf of our family.

Next – bring food.   It’s not about the main course – in fact, trying to do that will get you into a sticky spot if you bring a main dish without consulting with the host and you overshadow his or her hard’s work.  An appetizer, salad or dessert is the best option.  It is very helpful to consult with the host or hostess first. She or he might appreciate knowing you are going to bring a dish so there is no repetition, or you might get assigned a dish that is needed. If they say nothing, bring a nice dessert or side dish they can put out or save for themselves.

If you don’t cook often, no worries, there are so many recipes available online which outline the difficulty level. Think about your dish and bring everything you may need for guests to consume it.  Or you can always buy it – it’s the gesture that counts.

Last but not least – if the hostess or host wants it, help clean up if it is needed.

The key is to be grateful for the invite, and flowers and food go a long way!

Trina M Fresco headshot

Trina M. Fresco, Vice President of Operations for the IT firm smarTECHS.net since 2007 and NBCLatino Contributor, was named one of “50 Powerful Minority Women in Business” by MEA Magazine. Fresco is the Chair of the Chicago Foundation for Women Investment Subcommittee and serves on a number of additional boards & committees. Fresco resides Chicago with her husband, George and their three children Sofia, Giana and Lorenzo. You can contact her atFrescoRealTalk@gmail.com or on Twitter @trinafresco.

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