Kate here, but only for a brief moment.
Dinner No. 12 was particularly special for me, as I got to host in my home. There are few things I love more than looking around my dinner table and seeing faces lit up, connecting, and I definitely got my fill of this at this minimal “Bloom” themed dinner.
A quick note on our theme — In April, I went to Vancouver to visit a dear friend. The city’s buildings and street art were unique and impressive, but the thing that stood out to me every time we stepped outside were the hundreds of beautiful cherry blossoms and tulip magnolia trees in bloom. They freckled the sky with pink and white in every direction you could look. A late spring dream. The Create Dinners themes don’t always come to me quickly, but this time was a no brainer. Bloom is a word that I believe every woman embodies. We all hold the ability to flourish and come into our full beauty, showing strength, resilience, and grace. I hoped that when we gathered for this dinner, we could encourage each other to bloom, and share stories of the times we’ve already done so in the past.
One of our beautiful dinner attendees put together words to reflect upon Dinner No. 12 and I don’t think I could have summed the night up any better.
Thank you, Safiya, for the thoughtful recap here. Enjoy! xx
On a beautiful spring evening I walked up to Kate’s sweet house in Pasadena to join 14 other women who were each bringing their skills and talents to the dinner table.
As a first time attendee I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as soon as I arrived I was greeted warmly by Kate who was taking photos at the event in addition to being a gracious host. The front patio had been transformed into a fun Photo Booth by Katie and Elise - and this was not your average Photo Booth. There were flowers, gauzy fabrics, and beautiful lighting that made it look both effortless and put together.
As I stepped inside the house Robin greeted me with a beautiful cocktail she had made just for the occasion, and then I introduced myself to the other talented women at the gathering. Each woman was moving around with purpose, putting finishing touches on the table.
Hannah was in charge of dessert, Carnie styled the table, Linda brought the bright spring florals, Lydia and Amanda brought their company Greystone Table’s beautiful dishes and flatware to bring the tablescape together for a perfect spring dinner feel.
Shannon hand poured and made candles just for the event, and each of us got to go home with one of her beautifully scented gifts.
Kristin brought the paper goods that seemed to complement the tableware and florals perfectly, and as we all sat down to dinner excited to dig into the glorious meal that was food from Joy — Dan Dan Noodles, Spicy Shrimp Wontons, Seaweed Salad, Thousand Layer Pancakes, and Scallion Bread, Ashly started us off with reading on of her beautiful piece of writing.
We started chatting about the theme of “bloom” and it was beautiful to see how each of us were experiencing a phase of our life where we were growing into our selves, letting go of what didn’t feel good anymore, and figuring out where we want to go next.
Each of us had a thoughtful question at the dinner table, and mine was “how do you help others bloom?”
I love this question because this new season of spring has been the season of me stepping into a new role of mentoring other women. We are all in different stages in our lives and career, but I think that sometimes all we need is a little extra support to breakthrough and fully bloom.
My answer was this: I help others bloom by reflecting back to them the version of themselves that they’re so desperate to bloom into in reach. I show them that they are already that person that they want to become, and that sometimes small shifts in habits and beliefs are what are needed for us to fully enter into the phase of blooming. Some of us are so deep into the work that we don’t realize that we’re actually blooming, and we need someone to reflect back to us the light that is shining through us.
I love to cheerlead others, to support them full-heartedly so that they in turn believe in themselves that much more. I love to dig up the spark within people, to help them step into their courage and the messiness of growth, and to fully own who they are and who they want to be.
The stories that each women shared were so vulnerable and heartwarming, it seemed to be a perfect coincidence that we all were sharing this meal and discussion together. Tears were shed, laugher echoed throughout the house, and within a few hours I felt my heart swell with so much compassion for these women I had just met earlier that day.
There was something special about gathering with new people in someone’s home that made it so easy for us all to connect, and feel like we had all been friends forever. The vulnerability and honesty at the table was a reminder that we are all growing and all still struggle, and that there is something beautiful about being in this stage of blooming.
We had a special treat after dinner, getting to watch a live podcast recording of Paige Patterson’s podcast “Blank Paige” as she interviewed our host Kate on how Create Dinners came to be. It was amazing to hear how the idea for Create Dinners started as a passion project of Kate’s, and how it’s now become a regular gathering of likeminded creatives that allows for authentic connection and collaboration.
We all devoured our delicious Forbidden Rice Pudding and Peanut and Black Sesame Hakka Mochi dessert, and said our goodbyes. I stepped out of the house filled with gratitude for this beautiful gathering where each of us were invited to share some of our own talents and our own stories and experiences. Whenever I light the beautiful candle Shannon made, I remember the fresh energy I walked away with this dinner from, feeling revived from being around such inspiring, honest, and creative women.
Photographer + Host: Kate Pauley
Photobooth: Elise Cahill and Katie Marble with The Happy Hunters
Rental Coordination: Feathered Arrow Events
Tablescape: Amanda Ingwers and Lydia Hensarling with Greystone Table
Styling: Carnie Wong with Hip Hip Hooray.Love
Florals: Linda Gonzalez with What’s Bloominn
Candles: Shannon Northcott
Paper Goods: Kristin Violet
Cocktails: Robin Clement
Live Podcast: Paige Patterson
Reading: Ashly Perez
Blog: Safiya Bouhouch
Food Prep / Life Couch for all: Malika Begin
Dinner: Joy on York