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reverie guesthouse

oasis6

In the beginning of last year, I started a new little venture in the world of guesthouse businesses. I never really aspired to do something like this, but I’m so glad I did. I realized how much I love creating inviting spaces filled with beautiful things that make people smile. One of my favorite things is to see people’s reaction as they walk in and {positively} comment on the space.

January 2016, I listed BEAUTIFUL ARTSY AFRICAN RETREAT on Airbnb. I was ready for business! We didn’t get a booking until March. I wondered if this was a good idea after all. I didn’t get into this for my own sake.

I did it to provide an income for others while at the same time teaching business skills and imparting my high standard for excellence in everything you do.

oasis10

I did it to invite people of all walks of life to come to this place where we invite Jesus to abide. Our strict policy from the beginning has been that we don’t discriminate against ANYONE.

And, unashamedly, I did it to make money. Is a business successful if it doesn’t make any money? We have a beautiful property here in S. Africa. It’s a win win to use our space to make a little extra rands for running costs.

I guess all we needed was a booking to get the momentum going.

By July, because of the number of trips we had hosted and our excellent ratings, we had risen to Superhost status (and have maintained it since).

oasis7

In October, we added our second listing, BEAUTIFUL OASIS IN THE AFRICAN BUSH (these photos are a glimpse of that space).

Sometime, in the last quarter of 2016, our two listings made it to the top two spots when you google top White River Airbnb accommodations.

By December 31st, 2016, we had hosted 130 guests from 20 nations!

As I review my reasons for getting into this, I’m pleased that I’m right on track as we enter our second year. I’m so glad I get to do this guesthouse thing with this lovely lady who constantly makes me laugh and amazes me with her growth posture and shared drive to make a space that is clean, clean, clean.

smile!

We’ve certainly hosted people from all walks of life! One night we had a husband and wife Muslim couple staying with us who said one of the best things they loved about staying at our place was the people (we do have a pretty spectacular bunch) and how it’s always great to meet people like us. The very next night we had a gay Jewish couple stay with us who thanked us for our warm hospitality. I believe Jesus calls us to be a lover of people, and I’m so glad that people who meet us for the first time feel that when they sleep in our beds.

And we did make money! It’s always nice to recoup your startup costs AND make money on top of that.

Here’s to a successful 2016 and an even better 2017!

Community creativity Fun

a bar of a party

The beginning of April we celebrated our interns who had been with us for a year and who were now moving on to the next season of their lives. Because of their incredible investment, we knew we wanted to celebrate BIG. That’s when the idea of “bars” all around came into being. We had a pizza bar, soda bar, and cupcake bar. It.was.a.blast.

Pizza Bar

Pizza Bar

We sealed pizza dough in plastic baggies and had everything prepped and sliced. The fun part about the pizza bar was that we baked our pies on the fire. They tasted amazing. Here’s how we did it.

  1. Grab a wooden cutting board and oil it down with olive oil.
  2. Plop your dough down on it, and work it into a pizza crust.
  3. Slide it onto the fire, and let it cook for a few minutes.
  4. Take it off the fire, sliding it back onto your cutting board, cooked side up.
  5. Load the cooked side up with your toppings.
  6. Slide it back onto the fire and let it cook another few minutes.
  7. Eat and enjoy.

Pizza Bar Toppings

Soda Bar

Soda Bar

Soda Bar Instructions

For drinks we put together a soda bar. We had Coke and Coke Zero and homemade Cream Soda. THEN people had the option of adding cherry, vanilla, orange, or lemon simple syrup to it. We also had lemons and limes that you could squeeze in for extra measure.

Coke

Cream Soda

Cupcake Bar

Pimp Your Cupcake

Finally, for dessert, we offered a cupcake bar where everyone could pimp out their own cupcake. We had chocolate, vanilla, Italian creme, and red velvet cupcakes with vanilla, chocolate, cream cheese, and mocha frostings. Not only that but we had sprinkles, coconut, and nuts for more pimping!

This party was such fun. The best part about it was that everyone cooked their own food!

Africa Community Fun Hospitality

it’s a feast of love

the table

We have a tradition around here. Every October/November we don our best threads and our staff sit down to a feast served by our leadership team here at Ten Thousand Homes (aka Jeremy, myself, and a couple of others). We end the evening by celebrating each other’s talent in the form of a show. It’s fabulous and fun and we leave with full bellies and hearts.

place setting

Every time we put on a gathering, I am reminded just how important these times are. They aren’t optional. They are necessary. They bring us together in a light hearted way to celebrate and laugh, both necessary things when most days feel like your hand is to the plow, and though progress is being made, there’s still always so much to do.

my hot husband

We have a lot of parties here, but we must celebrate together. Come on! {Sorry, felt a little song burgeoning there.}

Africa Community creativity Fun

colour party

color throw

color!

all coloured up

Several weeks ago, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a colour party where we celebrate creativity, diversity, and the many different cultures that make up Ten Thousand Homes?” From there, we started planning a party full of colour with creative outlets galore.

happy hello!

so colourful nice hair

When I showed up to the party, casually late as always, I saw a sea of white. Instructions were followed to a tee. “Come as a blank canvas.” Between the all-white and the coloured kool-aid that our US friends brought over, well, let’s just say that I’m glad no one who didn’t know us showed up. {Kooky…}

The biggest prep for this party was making the colour powder. It wasn’t hard. I just only had so many trays for drying the stuff. I followed this recipe. Super easy! Oh, and it actually did wash out of clothes rather easy. Our other stations included…

twister and prize board

playing twister

  • A Twister game station with a prize punch board for the winners.
  • A painting station with a very cool art piece to paint on created by one of our staff.
painting station

painting

  • A writing station with a real typewriter. People always seem to find those old typewriters super fun.
  • A photo booth station with those cheap, plastic tablecloths as the backdrop.
  • A music station complete with a keyboard, drum, and guitar.
  • A colouring station with good, old fashioned colouring books.
  • A luminary station for creating some outdoor ambiance.

    writing

    Of course, there was dancing, games that involved silliness and shaving cream, glow sticks to adorn ourselves, and FOOD! Our friends from the US prepared a fantastic feast of kebabs, both fruit, veggie, and meat, rice, and banana pudding!

    shaving cream game

    We kept decor simple and colourful. Balloons, streamers, buntings, cupcake paper garlands, and polka dot garlands.

    love him

    me and my boy

    So fun. So easy. Lots of laughs. Lots of smiles. That’s what it’s all about!

    Community creativity Fun

    a valentine’s party

    Valentine's Table

    Last week my special events team and I put on a Valentine’s Party. It was meant to be simple, but I’ve realized that I have a hard time doing simple. I get ideas, and ideas, and more ideas, and of course, once I see something I like, I just can’t not do it. Anyone else like that?

    BoxOfChocolates

    The tables really were simple but quite beautiful, I do believe. White tablecloths, white taper candles, and bougainvillea adorned each table. The place settings were my favorite. What do you think of when you think of Valentine’s Day? Love? Flowers? Chocolate? All of the above, right? Each plate was adorned with a box of homemade chocolates for everyone to take home! I used the Mixed Nut Dark Chocolate Truffle recipe from Sweet Confections. Ah-mazing. These are gluten free and sugar free, so they fit my diet! It’s hot here in SA right now, so it was quite the challenge to keep these babies from melting. In this case, it was totally appropriate to consume dessert before dinner!

    FORTUNE

    We also topped each box of chocolate with a paper love fortune cookie. I love giving away things at these parties, and these were going to serve as tickets to a very special drawing! I love having surprises up my sleeve.

    We used this paper folding tutorial to make the fortunes. I typed out 50 love quotes to insert inside. Throughout the night, we drew fortunes and whoever had that one in their cookie won an original piece of art {thanks to the talented Phoebe} that was centered around the theme of love!

    Art

    I didn’t get photos of the food, but the menu consisted of a garden salad, French bread, grilled chicken, and rosemary oven roasted potatoes which we served family style. We skewered strawberries, brownies, and marshmallows for dessert and served it with a side of ice cream.

    LipSinging

    I do believe our 48 guests had a good time which is always the goal. In our line of work, you have to have moments like these that are light where you can kick back, relax your shoulders a bit, and just laugh. There was even some impromptu lip singing that broke out and of course, a dance party, because every party needs to end with dancing, right?