It's Derby Time!

The first Saturday in May is always a special time here in Louisville, KY.

Why you may ask?  This day is the day the Kentucky Derby runs every year.  Hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to the City for the greatest 2 minutes in sports!


This year marks the 145th Derby.

For us Louisvillians (yes, that is a mouthful) we kick off Derby two weeks in advance with Thunder of Louisville. It is pretty much a party for the next two weeks, with lots of events and energy in the City.  We even go as far as essentially shutting the City down the Friday before, so all of the locals can attend the track.

Don’t be shocked if you called a local business and they had an out of office voicemail for the day, I swear I am not kidding! 💁🏼‍♀️

We love this time of year here in Louisville. So much so, we invite all of our friends and family from out of town to enjoy with us and many will rent out their homes.  

This got me thinking: how do you prepare for overnight guests so they feel like they are staying in a 5 star hotel?

Personally, I  always have a list of hand for what essential items are needed to make my overnight guests feel at home.

Having the wifi password easily accessible is at the top of my list as that is generally the first thing my nieces from St. Louis ask for when they arrive.

My go to list is in a place I can always find it, so I can quickly do an assessment if I have everything or if I need to make a quick Target trip!

This is always my routine, but I decided to reach out to my good friend Jenny Margolin Watts, who is a Business Manager at WJWatts Consulting, to see how she prepares for guests.  We often joke that Jenny runs a Bed & Breakfast because she hosts us and others so often.  

She makes us so comfortable that many of us don’t want to leave. Below are a few questions I had for Jenny.

What do you do to prepare for overnight nights?

I try to take some time to think about who is staying over -- is it someone that has stayed before or will they be joining us for the first time?  

What are their favorite snacks/drinks/etc and I always make sure to have those on hand. hostess secret: I make notes of guests likes/dislikes, activities we have done when they visited, allergies, etc. This way I can refer to them for future visits and not have to ask or take them to the same restaurant for the 4th time.  

I make sure the guest room(s) are clean and fresh sheets on the bed(s). The closet in our first floor bathroom is stocked with fresh towels and easily accessible items guests may have forgotten (toiletries, Advil, lotion, hair dryer, straighter, etc.)


I also stock the shower with shampoo, conditioner, and soap.

I then will take some time to think about our itinerary -- do I need to prep any meals, make reservations, or plan any activities we might want to do?  

What is one item you make sure to always have on hand when having overnight guests?  

This varies, depending on the guests but I would say coffee.

I also have the wifi network and password readily available with a little card on the side of our fridge.

What is the most overnight guests you have ever had stay at the same time?

I think 9....although I left for this occasion when East Mitchell (boys weekend) took over the house.  Typically we are hosting anywhere from 1-6 people at a time.

Any good stories to share?

I love hosting and having friends and family stay with us!  

Taking a little time to prep before guests arrive is key for me.  That way, I am able to spend more quality time with them during their visit and I think it makes them more comfortable too. I want them to feel at home and relaxed.

Hopefully these fun tips help for not only this week as we welcome friends for Derby, but year round.  

One Kentucky tip I will share: make sure you have stocked up on plenty of bourbon.

While the drink of Derby is mint julep, which is bourbon, most of us prefer to just keep it simple with a good ‘ole bourbon on the rocks.  

Cheers! And most importantly, go baby go!