Hi friends! Kate here.
Anyone else out there practically dancing over the fact that it's finally feeling like Fall (halfway through it) in Los Angeles? I'm talking oversized everything knit, warm drinks, homemade soups an abundance of candles, and a good documentary or book. Also every Christmas movie out there on repeat. In the words of Julie Andrews, "these are a few of my favorite things."
When Liz (a dear friend and Director of Marketing) at Nisolo reached out to me to tell me that the Nisolo team was coming from their hometown Nashville to Los Angeles and were interested in partnering to put on a dinner, the answer was an easy, "yes." Not only do they make amazing products, but they give me the same fall/winter feels that the things listed above give me.
If you're not already familiar with Nisolo, let me introduce you. They're a shoe company that intentionally designs each of their products with high quality leather and craftsmanship. In addition to shoes, they make totes, coasters, belts, weekend bags, and a multitude of other cool products. Their company vision says this, which I love: Push the fashion industry in a more sustainable direction-- where success is based on more than just offering the cheapest price-- a direction that not only values exceptional design, but the producer and the planet just as much as the end consumer.
As we dive into this world of partnerships, we're always asking the question, "Is this a good fit?" Reading over their vision assured us that it wasn't only a good fit, but a near perfect fit. On a deep level, like Create Dinners, they truly care about making the world a better place. And at face-value, it's obvious that they live and breath creativity. It practically oozes out of them, from their designs, to their shoe production, to their marketing and advertising, and on I could go. Not to mention their to-die-for color palette, consisting of dreamy taupey browns, sky blues, and burgundy.
So here's how it all went down.
Emails were sent, dates were locked, and detail planning was kicked into high gear. The dinner would be an experience for 20 brand ambassadors and friends of Nisolo. Once dinner concluded, we'd invite another 30 guests to attend a private concert. Nisolo wanted the location to be a laid back Los Angeles spot to give their guests a taste of the West Coast, but a place that could make them feel cozy and at home like they would in Nashville too.
Remember the amazing birthday Dinner we had up in Big Bear for Molly at Noon Lodge? Well, it turned out that Noon has incredible spaces in Los Angeles as well. The moment I was introduced to Noon on Sunset Hill, I knew that we had to have our event in there. I reached out to their team, and they were fatefully available. The entire crew at Noon could not be more hospitable, down-to-earth, and gracious. We couldn't have asked for a better spot that gave out of towners a feel for our beloved City of Angels.
Once we had a date and a space locked, we divided and conquered. Nisolo curated a guest list, while my team worked on the details of the dinner itself. The styling, the food, and the flow of the night. When choosing a color palette, we wanted to be sure we were choosing tones that reflected both the masculine and feminine elements of Nisolo.
The day of the event, we brought in lots of styling elements to make things feel really cozy. We designed custom menus, adorned each place setting with leather Nisolo passports for guests to take home. Inside of them, we placed conversation cards that we'd written to align with the night's theme -- intentionality. We lined the tables with two different blends of Rasi Wine. If you read our blog about Dinner No. 4, you may recognize this yummy beverage. Seriously, if you're in need of a nice bottle of small batch wine this holiday season, check them out -- our friend Rachel Silkowski is the mastermind behind these delicious vinos, and it's only a matter of time before she'll be completely sold out this season. Then, humans began arriving. As people entered, they were greeted with appetizers and drinks. Everyone casually mingled for about an hour, and had the chance to try on shoes that the Nisolo team had brought in.
What I really love about Nisolo's products is that they're incredibly versatile. They can be dressed up and worn to a nicer outing, or slipped on to run to the store. While their shoes seamlessly go together like a series, they all have their own personality. Each member of the Create Dinners team had so much fun picking out a pair that really spoke to their individual styles.
Sofia, who was our talented chef for the night, chose the James Oxford in Almond. Sofia prepared a delicious Swedish feast for us. For appetizers, she prepared a Grilled Stonefruit with Rosemary Balsamic and Whipped Burrata on Levain. It was SO yummy. The main course was a Grilled Rockfish and she paired it with Wild Mushroom Risotto and Roasted Aubergine. To finish things off, she served a Dusty Pannacotta Pavlova Fusion with Rosewater & Fig Notes. I'm pretty sure everyone's jaws dropped when they took their first bite of the dessert. All of the flavors she chose worked so nicely together, and after a hearty risotto, it was the perfectly light sweet treat to finish off the meal. Sofia killed this meal.
Katie, who helped style and take photos, chose the Sofia Slip-on in Brandy. Elise, who also helped style, chose the Elizabeth Slide in Honey. Both of these women are two of my dearest friends and are largely the reason both of our Create Dinners partnerships have been a success. I truly couldn't do it without them. They come ready to dive in and do whatever they need to do to be helpful, keep things looking beautiful, photograph things, place things, and on and on I can go. I love them both more than I could ever comprehend in a blog post.
Natalia, who did our florals for the night, chose the Emma d'Orsay Oxford in Black. Nat was a Godsend for this event. Her smile and positive spirit kept everyone going throughout the event. Also, I'm literally laughing as I'm writing this post thinking back on our earliest conversation about florals, telling her that I really wanted to incorporate magnolias into the bouquets. Within minutes, she was texting me photos of a giant tree in her neighborhood, prepared to sneakily climb to the top with scissors to cut some down. In the end, we settled for the leaves and incorporated other pretty white large florals, but man, I love to picture her making that ridiculous climb... "SURE! I CAN FIND A MAGNOLIA. NP."
The women above were such an incredible team to work with for the night. They always bring their most selfless selves, and give these dinners their all. I'm continually amazed by their individual creativity, and when it's combined, it's really something special. If you guys are reading this, THANK YOU again and again and again.
As for me... I chose the Mariella Mule in Sand. I keep these guys by my front door, and slip them on nearly daily. Sometimes it's to run a quick errand, or other times, it's to wear them out for the entire day. I love that they have a little heel and give me a couple of extra inches of height, but are super comfortable, allowing me to wear them for full-on adventures.
Dinner was full of amazing toasts, words from Patrick and Zoe, the founders of Nisolo, and great conversation. As we wrapped, people made their way downstairs, and new friends joined us there as we all listened to Wilderado and Escondido. The live music at the end of the night was a real highlight. It was extra fun to watch Wilderado because Natalia's husband Max is in the band.
I must give a huge shout out to both my husband, Nick, and Elise's husband, Tysen, who came to help us wash about a hundred dishes. Little angels <3 We couldn't do anything with you boys cheering us on. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Now let's take a look at the night, shall we?