Hi, Friends. Kate here!
I cannot believe it's already been a week (and a day) since Dinner No. 8. I have thought about it so many times throughout the last seven days, and with each thought, I only grow fonder of the women who were in attendance and all of the amazing details from the night.
Our theme for this dinner was Philia, which is one of the Greek words for love -- the kind of love you experience in a friendship. I know there are a lot of people out there who despise Valentine's Day. Although I have had a lot of wonderful Valentine's Days over the years with significant others, I must confess that some of my very favorite Valentine's Days have been spent with other girls / women. Therefore, it only felt fitting that we have a pre-Galentine's Day celebration. I must also mention that the location of this dinner was another major inspiration for our theme. You'll shortly see in all our photos that the house is... PINK!
As everyone arrived and helped set up, our lovely bartender Crystal pointed everyone towards a DIY cocktail bar where Pink French 75's could be assembled. All of the glasses had a super cute pink sugar rim detail. Next to the beverage station was an abundance of appetizers -- spanakopita, dolmas, hummus, pita bread, olives, tzatziki, and roasted peppers. Yes, you read that correctly, those were JUST the appetizers... and my goodness were they delicious.
We welcomed everyone with a toast, and then we all dug into the feast before us. The seating was not assigned this time, which I actually really liked because of our set-up. For the first time ever, we did not use chairs or benches for our seating. When I think about my best talks with girlfriends, they always happen when we're in our PJs, snuggled up on the ground or tucked into the corner of a couch. That was the same feeling I wanted this dinner to have. So, in lieu of our usual seating, we used a low table, and sat on cozy blankets and pillows, courtesy of Elizabeth of Paradise People.
The next item on our agenda was a face mask tutorial with Leah of Brujita Skincare. She told us about a journey to Mexico, shopping in different mercados, and falling in love with the holistic ingredients she was encountering. From there, her passion for creating a skincare line turned into a business, and she started making her own skincare products. I can attest from using the face mask multiple times this week, that they are really amazing, and the smell is so light and natural.
Our weather was sublime. I nearly cried as I looked up at sunset to see that the sky decided to show up dressed in pink... it's like it knew Dinner No. 8 was happening and wanted to make a fashionably late appearance.
Then it was dinner time! To kick off our meal, we had a reading by Aimee Rawlins. Aimee is a recent transplant from NY, who is an incredibly talented writer. She shared a piece about self-love with us that really set the tone for the night, talking about the ups and downs of life and how she's living each day intentionally as she navigates life in Los Angeles.
For the next hour, we dove into dinner and conversation. There were fish, pork and chicken skewers, potatoes, and the most colorful Greek salad you've ever seen. As always, this was my favorite part of the night. It's the part of the night when the cameras tend to disappear. The chef comes out to join us and can take a break, and everyone is fully present with each other. I'm continually amazed by how vulnerable everyone is with each other. Everyone trusts the space that we've created together. It's safe. It's supportive. It's something really beautiful.
After dinner, we traded our plates for new ones -- ones that carried heaping scoops of ice cream and baklava that Sofia made fresh from scratch while we were setting up upon arrival. It was HEAVENLY. As we ate our sweet treats, we were gifted with a written performance by Dominique Toney. She gave a nod to the queen herself, Oprah Winfrey, and reminded us to not be afraid to own the life we were created for. It was the perfect charge for us to go back into the real world with.
And now, I get to introduce you to the incredible women who made up our Dinner No. 8 table!
Sofia Draco - Sofia is an actual Greek Goddess. Not only does she sing, style, take beautiful photos, and so much more, but she's an incredible cook. She went above and beyond creating us a Greek feast. She grew up spending time in Greece, and learned to cook with her sweet Grandmother. You could taste the love in each of these dishes, you guys. There was so much care and intentionality baked, mixed, and stirred into each one. Sofia also brought amazing journals for everyone to take home with them from a Scandinavian brand called Low Key Goods. They're so minimal and cute and I love the pages aren't lined so you can write or sketch!
Elise Cahill - Elise ran our social media for the night! She was so intentional this time around about planning out the story, interviewing different attendees, and showing off all the details. If you missed it, you're in luck -- it's highlighted at the top of our Instagram so we can watch it fooooorever. Elise also put together our wardrobe inspiration that we sent out prior to the dinner, called "Mod-iterranean." It was perfect.
Allegra Edwards - Allegra worked with Elise on our social media game for the night, and she also closed out the night with a beautiful passage talking about friendship. My favorite part read, "[Friendship is] the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person – having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.”
Victoria Wall Harris - Victoria gets extra points because she is not only putting together a video for us so we can remember the night, but she also loaned us her home for the night. #HilltopStudios is INCREDIBLE. The view, the layout, the beautiful design... if you're ever in need of a place for a shoot or event, this is your spot. Thank you, thank you, Victoria and Harris fam for letting us bombard!
Rebecca Buenik - Rebecca hand-crafted ceramic plates for us! She works as a stylist here in LA, but casually has this talent up her sleeves. They were so beautiful, you guys. She did a speckled clay with pink and green alternating rims. On the face of the plates, she painted subtle geometric shapes, that so nicely tied to our modern love theme. I loved this detail from the night!
Elizabeth Kennedy - Elizabeth is the owner of a handwoven blanket shop called Paradise People. They carry such beautiful pieces. For this dinner, she brought all of the blankets, which are actually amazing duvets, for us to sit on while we ate. I literally felt like we were in Greece when we were down on the ground, one with the earth, snuggled up in Paradise People goodness.
Kailey Howell - Kailey was our stylist for the evening! She spearheaded the incredible tablescape set-up, deciding how and where everything would be placed, and also, this is huge, MADE the table that we ate on. I wish you could have all seen her transformation, going from jeans, down on ground with power tools screwing on the legs of this table, to a five-minute disappearance and re-emergence as a beautiful white swan.
Aimee Rawlins - As mentioned above, Aimee wrote us a piece about self-love and read it aloud to kick off our dinner time together. Her writing was both funny and sentimental, and I think every single person around the table was able to relate to her vulnerability and sincerity that was shared. So glad we have another creative in our LA mix via Aimee!
Laura Williams - Laura was our florist for the evening. One of my favorite types of creatives are working a typical nine-to-five job for a while, and then realize they want to quit and follow their passion. That is Laura, and I am so thankful that's part of her story because her flowers were gorgeous! One of the colors in our palette, was blue, and she brought that in a perfectly subtle way with blue thistle.
Dominique Toney - Dominique was our entertainment for the evening! As mentioned above, she did a spoken performance as we shared dessert together, but she also gifted everyone with music. She performs all over Los Angeles, and is SO talented! It was a pleasure to have her around the table, and her talk was the perfect ending to our time together, leaving us all feeling inspired.
Kristine Claghorn - Kristine brought everyone perfume! She creates her own custom fragrances, and let me tell you, this past week, I have never smelled so lovely. She brought three scents for everyone to choose from, all so different and unique. We were truly spoiled by the swag at this dinner.
Kristin Violet - Kristin made our beautiful menus that dressed up our tablescape! They had some really cool modern design elements incorporated, and of course, some pink :) I love the printed menus because it's another little take home favor for people to carry out with them. I always love to bring mine home and show my husband (so he is jealous that he isn't a woman and didn't get to come, haha) but also because they're just pretty and the foods are so elaborate.
Crystal Jackson - Crystal crafted our custom cocktail. As I noted up top, it was a Pink French 75. There was a little grapefruit juice involved, a little simple syrup, a little gin, and a little champagne. Let's not forget those candy hearts and pink sugar rims. Everyone was tickled PINK to be drinking this tasty beverage.
Leah Guerrero - Leah runs her own company called Brujita. For this dinner, she brought everyone her amazing White Magic Facial Mask and Rose Geranium Hydrosol. Leah brought such a calming presence to our dinner and I love seeing how passionate she is about natural skincare. So thankful for her knowledge that was shared and that we got another fun take home that we've all been enjoying.
Tetia Stroud - Tetia is the face behind Letter Bliss! She can write anything your heart desires in many different styles of calligraphy. For this dinner, she made us a beautiful hand painted quote board that read, "Love is all we have, the only way each can help the other" by Euripides. It was the perfect "north star" to have at the head of the table for the night, guiding our thoughts and discussion.
I need to give a major shout out to a new favorite store in Brooklyn, NY called Five and Six Textiles. They provided all of our napkins and runners for the evening. All of their textiles are woven and come from Côte d'Ivoire. Doesn't that just sound fancy? I couldn't recommend them more -- their napkins make for a perfect host gift or would be a great treat to yourself!
Last is yours truly! Per usual, I had the honor of doing all the behind-the-scenes work, planning the theme and colors, and working with all of the amazing women listed above to make this dinner happen. I also got to take most of the pictures below! Several were snapped by Victoria and Elise... someone had to prove that I was there, right?
Enjoy, and we'll see you at Dinner No. 9!