Dinner No. 5

Hello, friends! Kate here.

Where to even begin with Dinner No. 5? I know this has been said before about these dinners, but I think this was the best one yet. There was an electric feeling in the air all night. Especially unique connections made and stories shared.

I've got start with a huge thank you to Jon Castelli, a new friend, who opened up his incredible loft to us in the Downtown Arts District in LA. We couldn't have dreamt up a better location for this dinner. 

The theme for the night was "Sobremesa" which is a Spanish word that refers to the lingering time loved ones and friends spend around a table after the meal is finished, conversing and enjoying each other's company. That is exactly what happened at this dinner... partially because we were all way too full from Kylie's amazing tacos, but also because the company was top-notch. 

I fear using a lot of color -- black and white and neutrals feel really safe, but I have to say, this dinner may have cured me of my fear. The bright poppy reds, terra cottas, mustard yellows and deep turquoise tones were so beautiful and fun together. Shoutout to Elise, who pushed me out of my comfort zone here. 

The night had an amazing flow, starting with mingling over paloma sangria that Kimberly made, and munching on homemade guacamole and salsa with chips that Kylie and Devin put together. Then we moved to the table and devoured tacos. In the photos of our tablescape below, you'll see dreamy flatware and confetti blown glasses that Emily provided, owner of Hello Crisp, on online curated home goods store, and colorful fun florals from Amy, who runs Hello Honey Flower Co. She told me that the little fuzzy orange flowers are called kangaroos feet... I just love that. 

During dinner, we did something that will 100% be implemented into future dinners. Before everyone arrived, Elise and I taped questions to the bottom of everyone's chairs. About halfway through dinner, I asked everyone to reach under their chairs to find a little something. They pulled out their questions, and we went around the table answering our own, and then choosing one person in the room who they wanted to hear an answer from. Then the other person would answer, read their own and answer, and pass it along. There were some amazing answers and moments during that time that I honestly think I'll remember forever. Thank you to my dear friend and Dinner No. 4 attendee, Allegra Edwards, for this perfect idea. 

Once everyone finished eating, Emily, owner of Materia, a curated store with Mexican-inspired goods, and Shirlee, owner of Quiet Lines Design, set up pop-up shops and they talked about and sold some of their handcrafted goods. Those amazing woven bulls that you'll see on the table were from Emily -- obsessed. And the plates that we ate off of -- SHIRLEE FREAKING MADE THEM. I nearly died when she sent me pictures of them before the dinner.

We then gathered in a new area, with tres leches cake and caramel brownies in hand, and listened to live music, courtesy of Sofia. It was so relaxing and lovely. Our storyteller for the night unfortunately got sick the day of the dinner and wasn't able to join us, but Kimberly, who made our cocktail for the night, stepped in and read everyone a hilarious charming story from her newly launched blog. Everyone was in tears -- the good kind of tears. 

Our night ended with a lot of hugs, exchanged information, and incredible take home favors -- Orange Brown Sugar Marranitos (Piggy Cookies) Strawberry Hibiscus dusted Polvorones (Mexican Wedding Cookies) from Heather, hand-painted terra cotta pots and mini cactuses from Lindsay, necklaces from Kori (our honorary there-in-spirit guest), booklet menus from Kristin, and tiled calligraphy name placeholders from Devin. There was seriously SO MUCH SWAG this time. I don't think anyone had a problem with that. 

All pictures below were taken by myself, Katie Marble and Elli Papayanopoulos.

I always leave with a creative inspiration high after these events. It's really hard for me to even write about them because I don't ever feel like my words do them justice. If you're a creative in any capacity, I would love love love for you to apply and come experience one of the dinners for yourself! 

And now, my favorite part, the line-up of creative wonder women who were in attendance. Elise put together this beautiful grid of everyone. Read about them below, pictured from the top down, going left to right. 

Emily Giunta (@shophellocrisp) - Emily REALLY upped our tablescape game by providing matte black flatware and handblown pink and white confetti glasses. She also loaned us some really pretty wooden serving trays for the tacos. Check out her online store (it's almost dangerous to visit because everything is so lovely) Hello Crisp! 

Katie Marble (@kailleen) - The other half of The Happy Hunters, and my second wing woman, who lets me ask her opinion about every tiny detail and never gets annoyed. For the night, she took pictures, and provided our vintage napkins and runner. She is one of my greatest creative inspirations! 

Kristin Violet (@kristin_violet) - Kristin took our menu to a whole new level this time, creating a BOOKLET with everyone's social handles, a quote, and of course, a list of what we'd be eating. With returning dinner members like Kristin, it's so inspiring to see them pushing themselves as artists, not simply repeating what was done at the last dinner, but elevating their work every time. 

Emily Ellis Fox (@shopmateria) - Emily is the owner of Materia. She served as one of our stylists for the night, helping take our tablescape from a 10 to an 11. I'll say it again -- those woven bulls! Not only that, but she was able to bring some rich knowledge about the Mexican culture to our table. 

Devin Ericksen (@devinericksen) - Kylie's dear friend and sous chef, who had been following our dinners from afar. She traveled from Arizona to join us and made everyone a calligraphy tiled name placeholder. They were the perfect touch to our tablescape. 

Lindsay Garcia (@ljgarcia) - Lindsay is a mermaid walking on land. She is the woman in all the pictures with the long flowing locks that everyone envied all night. She made everyone hand-painted terra cotta pots with cactuses to take home. Fun short story: we had a few extra at the end of the night that I took home with me. I set them out in a common area in my apartment complex, and the next morning, while taking my dog out, I saw them lined up on the windowsill of my nearly 80-year-old neighbor's apartment. It made me really happy to see that, knowing Lindsay's creativity brought some joy to someone else's life. 

Elise Cahill (@elisecahill) - My wing woman, who curated the most incredible wardrobe for everyone to borrow from. Not only that, but she and I created a look book with all the clothing that we sent out to everyone ahead of time so they could reserve different items. When you walked into Jon's place, there was a rack with name tags for everyone's pieces and a necklace for their choosing. It was SUCH a great edition. Read about the night on her personal blog that she runs with Katie Marble - The Happy Hunters

Heather Wong (@scootabaker) - Our pastry queen! Heather works as a pastry chef by day, and brought what had to be the world's most delicious take home favors. They didn't last more than a few minutes once I tried one. It was really cool to see (and taste) the creative twist she put on both cookies she brought. 

Kimberly Bozeman (@kimberlybozeman) - I would like for Kimberly to move into my home and just play in my kitchen. She made us a refreshing summer Paloma Sangria cocktail. Her story at the end of the night was another perfectly creative element that she brought to the Dinner No. 5 table. You can read our story from the night and more HERE

Shirlee Fischer (@quietlinesdesign) - I feel borderline obnoxious every time I talk about Shirlee's plates that she made, but you guys, they were flawless. The rich red color, the little flecks of sparkle that appeared when she glazed them, the size and tiny lip around the edge, and on and on I could go. She really pushed herself here and brought something that I will forever admire her for. Also, she's SELLING the plates, so if you love them as much as I do and want a set, send me a message or hit her up directly. 

Sofia Draco (@feelingfree) - Sofia was a little songbird at this dinner, serenading us over dessert. She is one of the most creative women I know -- not only does she sing, but she paints, is a photographer, producer, and overall maker. You can tell her to do something and she'll either do it or teach herself how in a very short amount of time. I love people like Sofia. 

Amy Fosner (@hellohoneyflowerco) - Our florist for the night! Amy's flowers were a reflection of her spirit. They were so bright, and fun and full of life... and that's exactly how she is. A little ray of sunshine! Not to mention, she came on a very short notice and pulled together some of my favorite arrangements to date. 

Kate Edwards (@iamkateedwards) - Per usual, I was our event planner + one of the photographers for the night. It was SO lovely to have another photographer there this time around so I could be a little more present.  

Kylie Mazon (@cookingwithcocktailrings) - Our amazing chef, who continually surprises our palettes with unique delicious creations. Her tacos this time around were out of control -- she made a Mexican street tacos, braised Al Pastor tacos, and Sweet potato and black bean tacos, which were my personal favorite. She also made a BEAUTIFUL peony-topped tres leches cake and caramel brownies to go with it. Mmmm. Check out her blog post on the night HERE and grab all the recipes so you can recreate things at home!

Elli Papayanopoulos (@elli_lauren) - Our official photographer for Dinner No. 5! Elli was full of so much joy and laughter all night, and brought a fresh perspective to things. It's easy for me to come in and shoot the same shots for these dinners, so it was especially cool for me to look through her images and see completely new angles and shots that I wouldn't have thought to get. Her work is so beautiful!

Kori Webber (@korenawebberjewelry) - She was with us there in spirit, as she lives in Detroit, but created custom necklaces specifically for Dinner No. 5, using our color palette. Everyone was really jazzed about this take home favor.