I am so excited for our annual double date night to Diner en Blanc.  This will be our 4th year attending.  Each year we get smarter about what to pack, what to wear, and what to pass on, so I thought I’d share some of our 4th year wisdom with you all.

Pack:

Pretty Linens can make your table scape so much more lovely then a boring white tablecloth.  Think lace, eyelet, or even layering a couple cloths to create a unique look.

Flowers for your table are a must.  This is the one area where colour is permitted.  We tend to not go too bold with the colour.  Soft pastels look gorgeous popped against all the white.

Lighting is always pretty on a table. Diner en Blanc is fire free, so start hunting for those little LED candles.  Bring a few light weight items for your candles to twinkle in.  Decorative birdcages, lanterns, or whatever other creative items you can think of.  Just remember you have to pack and carry it so don’t get too crazy.

Your table leader will make sure you get checklists of all the things you need to bring, but here are a few musts I bring every year.

sparklers

garbage bags

ziplock bags (for left overs)

dishcloth/ tea towel / paper towel (for spills and clean up)

things on wheels (so much easier to pull something with wheels rather than carrying everything)

lighter (for the sparklers…the little bit of permitted fire)

camera (it’s a spectacular event and you’ll want to capture every beautiful moment)

Wear: 

Wear head to toe white.  I know this sounds like a given, but I am always amazed by the girl who shows up in a gold dress.  Really? This happens every year.  Sure everyone may give her a look, but it totally takes away from what the event is all about.  Just wear some beautiful pure white and make it your own.  There are other ways to stand out in the crowd.

Add embellishments.  There is no need to keep your look boring.  I’m not so much into the over the top “costumes” people show up in, as it’s just not my style.  It gives us all something fun to look at though.  For tamer fun ideas…why not wear some jewelry in your hair?  Try topping off your glam boho look with a floral crown?  Add a dramatic caplet to your simple frock?  Just be sure to plan your outfit ahead of time. I am usually running around at the last minute trying to find something to wear.  I am happy to say my new dress for this year is hanging in my closet already.  I ordered it online so now I just need to work on the details.  For guys, embellishments can be a bit trickier.  They can still have fun though with cuff links, a bow tie, hat, and of course, the perfect pair of shades.

Pass: 

Ladies, hard pass on wearing your heels to the event.  You will be lugging stuff to the soiree, so keep your footwear cute but comfy.  A pair of white sandals are the perfect thing to make your life a whole lot easier.  If you can’t live without your heels, change into them once you are set up.  Just remember that, as the location is a secret, there’s no way of knowing ahead of time if you will be on grass, sand, or some other kind of dangerous surface for heels.  You’ll also be happy to have a pair of flats in your bag for the end of the night.

Don’t make overly complicated food.  We made this mistake our first year.  We spent the whole day cooking and prepping our dinner.  It was delicious but we were exhausted by the time we got there.  We have stuck to a more picnic style menu since.  We love charcuterie plates, salads, breads, olives, fruit, and of course a dessert.  I also totally recommend a thermos of cappuccino to cap off the evening.

Ladies, you really don’t need a purse.  I find it’s just one more thing to carry.  I often throw a tiny clutch in one of my bags with a lipgloss, some cash (cab fare for afterward), and my cell. It will be all that you need.

Lastly, make sure you take it all in.  Once your table is all set up, take a walk around and see all that the event and the venue has to offer.  There are sure to be some surprises around every corner.  Snap those pics!  Wishing all of you going this year a Happy Diner en Blanc!  Don’t forget to head on over to Alicia Fashionista for more fab info on Everything you need to know about Diner en Blanc!
Photos by: Alicia Winnett, Kerry Lawrence Photography, and my own.

 

Last month my husband had to go overseas for work for a week, so naturally my first thought was “I should have the girls over!”  The first full day he was away was as Sunday, so brunch seemed like the natural choice.  I began planning a menu of eggs benny, scrumptious baked goods {made by me, naturally}, a beautiful assortment of fresh fruit, and a signature mimosa inspired cocktail.  Well, the thing is, my main chef was out of town.  My husband not only loves to cook, he’s damn good at it.  I do ok, but he really nails it!  So with the reality of me sweating it out trying to serve the most Instagram worthy brunch of all time all while entertaining my little one and getting the house clean, and grabbing a shower, I nixed that first menu and went for something a little more realistic.

Our lovely little menu consisted of:
bagels and whipped cream cheese
organic strawberry jam
organic coconut & strawberry parfaits
(made by moi)
mini cupcakes
fresh fruit salad
mimosas
coffee with Irish cream
assorted teas

My tips to entertain and keep it stress free(ish):
1) You don’t need to make everything from scratch. You can purchase very yummy eats at the market. I had planned on whipping my own cream cheese until I saw it available at the store. Done!
2) Clean your house the night before. Especially important if you have a little one. Once I put Maddie down to bed, I took an hour to clean and tidy up. I bought fresh flowers that day and made little arrangements for around the house {including with washroom, of course}.
3) Don’t worry about everything matching perfectly. I used mis-matched pretty mugs for coffee and had my favourite old printed Ikea glasses for juice. Even our mimosa glasses were a mix of different champagne flutes. There is also less of a chance of someone mixing up their glass with someone else. I also used assorted vintage bowls and trays to serve up the food.
4) Add colour! Fresh flowers can make everything look just that much prettier.  Just do the arrangements the day before.
5) Set the mood with some crowd pleasing tunes. Know your audience. We had a couple of little ones, and a couple of big hanger overs at the brunch, so the music needed to be light and mellow. I opted to play some of my vintage vinyl. Frank Sinatra anyone?  {Mommy tip:  Go ahead and throw on some cartoons on the TV.  Just keep it muted so you can still chat.  Also, try bringing out something new or different for the kids to play with.  Even your own kids.  New colouring books from the dollar store are always a hit!}

Believe it or not, they do exist…jeans that fit a curvy girl.  I’m not a big girl, but I’ve never been a skinny girl either.  I have womanly hips and thighs, and an ample tush.  I am have a pear shaped body and  generally I’m  size 8 or 10 in pants, which translates to a size 30 or 31 in denim world.   I have worked in fashion retail for 15 years now.  I have heard and seen the problems and difficulty women have when it comes to buying the perfect pair of jeans.  Over the years I have discovered some great jeans that fit my body.

My top 3 include:

1) Fidelity Denim  Supreme cut jean: Fidelity Denim is from my great city of Vancouver.  Designer Jason Trotzuk has created many different cuts to fit many different body types.  The Supreme cut are his curvy fit jeans.  What I love most about them….they have a higher rise which prevents muffin top; they come in both a 34 and 36 inch leg length; they are available is sizes 25 – 34.  www.fidelitydenim.com

2) CJ by Cookie Johnson Jeans: Cookie is the wife of famous professional basketball player, Magic Johnson.  Even though she is only a size 8, she found it difficult to find the perfect pair of jeans to fit her and her curves.  Seeing the need, she teamed up with a denim expert and created her own line of jeans for the curvy gal.  Her jeans have now become Oprah’s new fave jeans to wear.    She does 4 classic cuts…boyfriend, bootcut, straight leg, and skinny.  What I love most about them: she lines the inner waistband with soft satin making them so comfy to wear.  www.oprah.com

3) AG Tomboy jeans: My AG Tomboy boyfriend jeans are my everyday go-to jean.  They are comfy, cool, and work all year round.  What I love about them: I love how cool and distressed they are.  I don’t have to worry about wearing them too often and wearing them out.  They are a more relaxed fit, so they’re comfy even on my bloated days.  You can still dress them up!  I love to wear them with a fab top and heels for something different.  www.agjeans.com

A few tips to keep in mind when shopping for jeans:

- Don’t get hung up on what size fits you.  I have anything from a 29-32 in my denim collection and they all fit.  Size is more of a guideline then a rule.  Best thing…the only one knows what size you’re wearing is you ( and the sales associate, but who’s she gonna tell?).

- Even though I’m taller, I have short legs.  It is very rare for me to find a pair of jeans at the perfect length.  If you are like me, be prepared to hem your jeans.  Many stores offer this service for a very small fee or sometimes for free.  Always wash* your jeans once first before hemming to allow room for about a quarter inch shrink in length. (* Always wash your jeans inside out in cold water and hang to dry.  Most jeans these days have a lycra content in them.  Any kind of heat that is applied will breakdown/melt the lycra and over time they will lose their shape.)

- Be prepared to alter or tailor your jeans.   Always fit the largest part of your body first.  In my case that would be my hips.  Quite often I get my jeans taken in at the waist (under the back belt loop).  This gives me the perfect fit!

Happy Jean Shopping!

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