Monday, August 15, 2011

Weekend(s) Update: Dinner Parties, Tomato Fest, Art Galleries, and (a little) Fashion

Weekend over. It’s been a feverishly busy past two weeks for me, consumed with the continual presence of work and school, with weekend interjections of hosting a Martha Stewart-worthy dinner party, the Tomato Fest, and attending a friends art opening. Other than some business communication via email, very little fashion (other than work, of course) has entered my life. I get my daily fashion doses browsing the pages of WGSN, searching for the latest visual merchandising strategies and newest Pantone colors, and hitting up my rotating blog list. Lack of fashion aside, I’ve had a marvelous few weeks.

After a tiring diet of fast food on my way to events, a six-pack of crackers and a breakfast bar while working through lunch, and a frozen pizza for dinner, I picked up the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook at a local store. After browsing recipes for three hours, taking note of my favorite ones like the absurdly meticulous person I am, I decided to host a dinner party for a few close friends. In conjunction with the event, and just because I wanted them, I also ordered an array of serving dishware and glassware for the party. I decided upon several pieces from my favorite online home goods retailer- CB2- all in crisp white, understanding their classic designs would create pops of color from strategically placed hors d’oeuvres. A full menu of homemade dishes like deviled eggs, bruschetta, caprese kabobs, crap dip, apricot-topped brie, meatballs, cranberry-walnut bread, spinach phyllo triangles, warm edamame, cherry sangria, chocolate-dipped pretzels, brownies, and mini-tarts including: chocolate raspberry, peach and almond, and fruit-topped cream was served. (And yes, it took me an entire two days to prepare this ambitious menu!)
Delicious cherry and fruit sangria with frozen cherry-infused orange juice ice cubes made the night before. 

Mini tarts (chocolate raspberry, peach and almod, cream and bluberry), bruschetta, ham and turkey stromboli, and spinach phyllo triangles with feta cheese.

Making these double-chocolate pretzel rods was deliciously fun, and they added an artful essence to the menu.

Deviled eggs, caprese kabobs (HUGE hit), white-chocolate infused brownies, edamame with sea salt, and cheese platters.

Now, this may not have to do with fashion per say, but I am a firm believer that design, aesthetic, and presentation can be applicable to all aspects of life- from the way we dress, to how we design our homes, to yes, even how we host a dinner party. I am infatuated with simple, clean lines, and modern shapes. My home, outfit of the evening (simple black shift dress with minimal silver jewelry and black leather wedges), and plating all reflect my personal aesthetic and are an extension of my personality. And really, why shouldn’t all of your endeavors, whatever they may be, be a reflection of your own design aesthetic?

In the end, the dinner party was successful, and several guests commented to me, “This is the most adult party I’ve ever been to!” (It’s an odd transition in your life when you realize you’ve traded in weekends of keggers and dance parties with a few hundred of your closest sweaty friends for a sensible night of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres with a select group of interesting friends and conversations.) I anticipate I will be hosting more of these events in the future. If nothing else, these types of events allow you to have an excuse to get together with close friends, impress them with your new-found culinary skills, and wear a cute dress you’d never dream of donning to your local watering hole.

Saturday, with about ¼ of Nashville, I attended East Nashville’s Tomato Fest. I feel like the Tomato Fest is a lot like my dinner party- an excuse to get people together for a fun, social purpose. This year’s Tomato Fest did not disappoint;  vendors from fashion to food lined the streets of trendy East Nashville, and mobs of people flocked for the yearly occasion. I was too busy fanning myself with a cardboard flyer for a new animal hospital to take adequate photos, but I have no doubt event pictures, from a multitude of photographers and event-goers, area already circulating Facebook and beyond. Nevertheless, I did snap a few photos from the fest.

Loved this deer skull merchandised with a variety of vintage finds from one booth.

Merchandise from Old Made Good.

 It was so hot outside, I had to stop into my favorite East Nashville bar, 3 Crow, for a bushwacker. If you've never had one of these delicious treats, it's like a McDonald's milkshake... for adults. I was introduced to this cool, creamy, and chocolatey drink one of my first nights in Nashville. (Funny side story: I had been in Nashville two weeks, and without a single friend in the city, I decided to venture out. Obviously having no idea where to go, I googled "Nashville, bars" and went to the bar with the most and best reviews. I ended up at Lipstick Lounge. The name should have given it away, or the fact that there wasn't a single male at the bar, but this was not the destination I had in mind. I made friends with a pair of super sweet gals who invited me to join them at 3 Crow (this was what I had in mind), who bought me a bushwacker and welcomed me to Nashville.) 

I meandered the streets with a friend for about two hours, sporting a cream BCBG dress and J. Crew sun hat, before succumbed to extreme heat and demanding (whining, actually) that we leave for cooler destinations. Prior to our departure, I did score a fabulous silk-screen print of Nashville (simple and understated- in par with my design aesthetic) that looks striking against my blood red kitchen walls.
Loving this painting I scored for $50. Perfect representation of Nashville. 

Later Saturday evening, I attend a friend’s art opening at Wired Coffee in Hendersonville, TN. This was my first trip to Hendersonville since living in Nashville (coincidently I dated a guy from Hendersonville in college), and I didn’t realize the city was so close. After a short drive, a friend and I arrived at Wired Coffee where we chatted with mutual friends, discussed art, sipped on surprisingly delicious boxed red wine, and I had the greatest hazelnut coffee and sip of milkshake in my life. (Seriously, if you’re ever in Hendersonville, make a pit stop to this place.) I also was introduced to husband-and-wife duo (and Wired Coffee owners/workers/partners? I think) of The Woodmans Wives- a newly ventured fashion line heavily saturated by tulle and a kick-ass rock-and-roll vibe. While the duo has not had a runway collection shown thus far, they informed me their designs would be parading the stage at the October RAW Nashville show. Upon viewing photos of their collection, I feel this line is part costume, part ready-to-wear; a mix of avante garde and fashion play. I like it. I’m extremely interested to see what The Woodmans Wives will present in the future.

Sunday was spent catching up on 'adult' things- paying bills, washing my car, laundry, etc. I did, however, manage to find the time to maximize the fantastic weather by doing something I rarely have the time to do- sit outside and read a book. It's old news by now, but I finally got around to reading Kelly Cutrone's If you have to cry go outside at the insistence of one of my students, who let me borrow her copy. I expected the book to be all about fashion, but was happily surprised at the sage life advice Cutrone gives. I hope you have, but if you haven't had the opportunity to read this book, I insist you devote a few nights to this wonderful piece.

And now, Monday rolls along. Another summation of the weekend update, only with the promise of more to come…

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