Happy Monday! It’s been awhile since I last blogged which, looking back over the years, is pretty normal for me this time of year. It was my husband’s birthday last week and we decided to take some time off work and go RVing at the coast for several days. We didn’t do much besides rest and relax. We very much appreciated the cool, foggy weather at the coast. It was so nice to get away from our recent summer heatwaves and unplug.
Before we took off for Bodega, we enjoyed a fun-filled weekend here in Wine Country. If you’ve been reading my blog for some time, you may recall last June’s post about our first time attending Handmade Events Wine Country PopUp Dinner, benefitting Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance. It was such a blast last year that the moment the tickets went on sale for this year’s event, I snatched a bunch up.
My friend Michelle and I decided we would share a table of eight, each inviting one other couple. Bill and I asked his brother Rob and his wife, Debbie to join us. And Michelle asked her friends Alice and Paolo who own a darling bed and breakfast in Sonoma, An Inn to Remember.
Once we had our guest list, we went about deciding who would bring what. A PopUp Dinner is much more than just an elegant group picnic. You are given a table and chairs; you and your party bring the rest. From food and wine to utensils, plates and a tablecloth, you bring it in all in with you. That is why it’s important to plan a menu and table decor, divvying up the tasks amongst the guests.
You also wear all white, which I think most people would agree makes this party even more awesome and memorable!
I am excited to share some photos from the event with you. Some of the photos are my own, but many – the really great quality photos – were taken by Sonoma and San Francisco professional photographer, Sarah Deragon of Portraits to the People. Sarah was sitting at a nearby table with her friends and kindly took some photos of our group.
The PopUp Dinner location is kept secret until just two hours before the event begins. Guests know that the location is somewhere in Sonoma Valley but that could mean the town of Sonoma, the village of Kenwood where I live, or anywhere in between. Guests are emailed the location at 3:00 pm, adding even more excitement and anticipation to this fun event.
This year’s PopUp Dinner took place at the Sonoma Barracks, located in downtown Sonoma directly across from the plaza park.
Once we arrived at the location, we picked out our table. Lots of people were already there, getting their tables set up. Some people really go all out with styling and decorating.
Michelle and I were in charge of our table decor but Michelle did most of the work because she has all the cute stuff. She brought a darling vintage table cloth with a red embroidered pattern that set the colorful tone for our table.
She also brought beautiful vintage goblets in a variety of jewel tones and a garden full of colorful flowers that she arranged in small vases.
Michelle tied red and white string around white napkins – rolled up with silverware inside – and added sprigs of lavender and rosemary. So lovely!
I loved everything about our colorful table and now I think I want my own collection of vintage jewel-toned goblets!
For dishes, which we didn’t bring out until it was time to eat, I bought these melamine dinner and salad plates at Macy’s on deep discount (sold out). I needed some plastic plates for our home anyway and this was the ideal excuse for investing in some!
Michelle’s beautiful flowers made our table extra special and so festive looking.
A big part of what makes this event so great is coming up with your theme, creating your table with your friends, then seeing it completed at the event. It’s also fun to go around and check out other groups’ tables.
Once our table was set, it was time to relax, socialize and enjoy. But first a group photo taken by Sarah!
Now might be a good time to tell you what I decided to wear this year. I considered buying something new to wear but once I pulled all the white and close-to-white clothing out of my closest, I realized that was totally unnecessary. I could make something work without spending any money on new clothes.
I wore my white wide-legged pants, an off-white top by Lesley Evers, and a long, hooded vest by Stella Carakasi (similar). For jewelry, I wore a white leather cuff I bought at the spa gift shop at MacArthur Place Hotel and a gold and ivory fringe necklace from Jacket Society. I borrowed my husband’s hat from Montecristi Panama Hats to help keep the sun off my face.
Michelle wore a darling white eyelet sundress. She looked so stylish and summery!
Our friend Abigail of Abi’s Farmhouse Kitchen sat at the table right next to us. We actually pulled our tables together so it was more like one long table of fun.
Abi came with Michelle Hoting, a talented local jewelry designer, and Michelle’s husband. They brought gorgeous hydrangeas from Abi’s property (that Abi let me take home with me!), roses, a vintage Battenberg lace tablecloth, vintage goblets and antique China plates and silverware.
Once all the food was out, it was time to eat. Before dinnertime, guests wave their napkins over their heads enthusiastically.
Alice, from An Inn to Remember, made these delightful little sandwiches with Italian salumi and slices of hardboiled egg. She wrapped them up in paper doilies and tied them with raffia. Are they not the cutest sandwiches you’ve ever seen? The next time I pack a picnic, I am making my sandwiches look like these!
We also had pulled pork sandwiches, cole slaw, caprese skewers, asparagus wrapped in proscuitto, deviled eggs, pasta salad, and my favorite, these parmesan, porcini mushroom strata bites that Alice made. I could have eaten them all!
There was no shortage of delicious food, that’s for sure! Michelle and I were in charge of dessert. Michelle made strawberry cheesecakes in Mason jars. How stinkin’ cute can you get? They were so tasty as well as being adorable. Michelle made them using this recipe found on Pinterest.
I brought an apple crisp that I made for Bill as an early birthday celebration. I forgot to bring the birthday candles so this battery-operated tea light had to do.
After dessert, it was time to dance off all those calories. As the sun set, the lights came on making for a beautiful atmosphere.
We took to the dance floor where a DJ was playing fantastic music. Lots of PopUp Dinner participants were boogying down. Someone earlier in the evening had passed around glow-in-the-dark bracelets. Such a fun idea! I love this one of me, Abi and Michelle Hoting. See that gorgeous leaf bracelet Abi is wearing? It was made by Michelle Hoting from a real leaf.
All the lights glowed brightly against the black of the night sky. The table nearby really lit up the evening with their tabletop trees.
What a wonderful and memorable event it was! I can hardly wait for PopUp Dinner Wine Country 2017. Check the Handmade Events website to see if a PopUp Dinner is coming to a city near you. If so, you won’t want to miss it!
Reminder! “Tunic” is How I Wear My’s theme for July. Jill and I postponed HIWM a little later this time due to the Independence Day holiday. Send in a photo of you showing us how you wear your tunic and be sure to include a description of your look. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 11th to participate. We can’t wait to see how you wear your tunic!
Make it a rich day!