Dîner en Blanc DC 2015

Dîner en Blanc began 27 years ago in Paris, when François Pasquier held a beautiful dinner party below the Eiffel Tower with his friends, all of them donning white from head to toe. Over time, more and more people were drawn in by these picture-perfect picnics and the elegant dinner party grew and grew. Today, DEB is an international organization, with these white parties being held in nearly 100 cities worldwide.

My view of setup

Last year was the first year DEB was held in DC. I didn’t attend through a few SNAFUs with coordinating with friends, and by the end of it, I didn’t really have much interest in attending. After all, you are paying $40 for the privilege of:

  • Hauling a table and chairs to a secret location, usually via the subway (imagine how difficult this is in Manhattan…)
  • Bringing your own food
  • Trying not to soil your all-white ensemble
Struggle bus on the metro escalator… Shout out to the Eastern Market crew

For $40 a person, I reasoned, you could easily treat yourself to a nice dinner out, food and furniture included! The whole thing seemed like kind of a bougie Instagram photo op, so when the opportunity came to attend this year, I was feeling pretty meh about it.

But, when one of my old co-workers, Kat, who has been the source of so much guidance to me over the past year, offered me a free ticket (one of the perks of her being a group leader for DEB)…
… who was I to say no?

Don’t get me wrong, the attendees — myself included — are fully aware that DEB is a pretentious Instagram photoshoot. And my experience was not without struggles that included:

  • Searching several stores for a white dress – NOT off-white, NOT cream, NO colored patterns, NO colored trims
    • After about a week of finding a lot of great off-white, colored-trimmed dresses, I borrowed a white dress from a dear friend

      Fun fact: My friend had this dress custom-made, based on the dress Blake Lively wears in an episode of Gossip Girl where there was a white party?
  • Assembling and carrying furniture in 90°F+ weather (after an unseasonally cool week)
    • … while worrying about getting my friend’s lovely white dress gross and sweaty
  • Cutting myself with a broken wineglass
    • Panicking to stop the bleeding so that I wouldn’t bleed on my (or anyone else’s!) white clothing
    • In other blood-related fears, I thought my female troubles decided to choose the least opportune moment to bother me (luckily, they didn’t)
Gotta admit, it was pretty gorgeous in the evening

At the end of the day, though, it was a lot of fun because I am a big fan of people coming together with common interests and goals, even if it is wearing white and having great photos to share on social media. That feeling of camaraderie sitting on the metro, holding a dolly with a table and chairs strapped to it, wearing all-white, and looking at tens of strangers doing the same thing was pretty great. And it was really hard to deny how aesthetically pleasing it all was, truly. People put a LOT of effort into looking amazing and having gorgeous table settings. I bet they would’ve put in this effort even if there wasn’t a free cruise to be won. (Seriously, though, there were some swanky prizes!)


How about we move onto a more interesting topic: OUR MENU. Kat is vegan and keeps her diet low-GI, plus she has recently found a lot of joy in cooking her own meals, so she found some excellent food blogger recipes for us to make. My photos are all kind of crap because of weird lighting and blood loss (okay I’m just a terrible photographer, especially when I’m cranky from carrying heavy things on an empty stomach) but visit the recipe links because our food was BEAUTIFUL. I just couldn’t do it justice on my phone.

Me, being a nerd, prepping our meal
  • Appetizer: Moroccan-inspired sweet potato salad (recipe) with a baguette
  • Entrée: Kale salad w/ avocado tahini dressing (recipe) with baked potato wedges and avocado aioli (recipe)
  • Dessert: Raw citrus cream cakes (recipe) and chocolate truffles 3 ways (recipe)
    • It was, unfortunately, too dark by the time we were able to enjoy dessert so I don’t have any actually decent photos of them. BUT, I worked really hard on presentation when I made them, so please believe me when I say they looked just like the photos on the blogs. They are very aesthetically-pleasing desserts.

The evening ended with dancing and folks cleaning up their gorgeous table displays. I sat on the metro with a few other folks donned in white. It was an exhausting day, but definitely a lot of fun.


Here’s some photos from Brightest Young Things, shot by Kate Warren, of moments I wasn’t able to capture:

This guy’s amazing wings!
This “DC” marquee lettering looked gorgeous at night



And here’s a great video recap by local events extraordinaire, Max Major:

There are countless other amazing ensembles that aren’t included here, so explore around yourself and see if it’s something you’d be interested in doing in the future!

Summer 2015 Recap

According to some folks, summer is officially over.

Goodbye Summer Hello AutumnThis summer, like many summers, did seem to fly by at times. But there were many days (weeks, even) where I could have sworn the heat had slowed the passing of time, leaving me there to melt. DC set several heat records this year, including a record of 51 days above 90°F in 2015, and we’re still not safe from more heat to come. (I haven’t forgotten that freakish 80° day the first December I moved down from New Jersey.)

At some point towards the end of July, I realized my blogging game for the summer was not there. I began editing a “Summer Favorites” post to make up for all the monthly favorites I had missed, like how the post was originally titled “July” favorites when I realized I hadn’t even done June. (or May or April…)

Originally, I was going to push forward and try to get some individual event recaps posted, but here’s my new plan: give you a broad overview of what my summer has been like and then retroactively do those individual recaps. They are already delayed anyway, so what’s another few weeks, I guess? Versus having a more timely summer recap?

So, let me tell you about a few things I did this summer, with more detailed available on asterisked* ones. (Don’t hold your breath if you’d like to see those, but do let me know and I’ll put extra effort in pushing those out even though they won’t be timely anymore.)


May 2015
… I started a new job with a DC startup. After spending a decent amount of time doing part-time work, it was nice to settle back into a full-time role, regularly spend time in DC, and be around other people. Plus, I was excited to work with a small team versus where I was last summer, as I felt I got really lost in corporate America with my job then.

… I attended my friends’ – Alex and Cindy’s – wedding*. This was big because not only do I rarely get to go to weddings, but this was a XANGA WEDDING. I met Alex through that good ol’ blogging platform, and his wedding turned into a bit of a Xanga reunion for a lot of his friends. I was able to meet some folks that I have only ever interacted with online, as well as see some of my other Xanga friends who I haven’t seen in years. Xanga forever! Blog friends are real friends!

Our reception table with the bride & groom (in the center to my left) (I’m the one in the green dress — I KNOW I only wear green once a year but Cindy loved that dress)


… I spent most of my time with my new job, trying to settle into my role and juggling start-up hours. But I was still able to find time for fun!

… I went to the Kennedy Center to watch NSO Pops: Let’s Be Frank, a Frank Sinatra tribute medley show. I adore Sinatra, so getting to see Broadway stars sing some of his best hits alongside the National Symphony Orchestra was a lot of fun. Frank would have been pleased, I think. Plus, afterwards, we were able to stick around at the My Way Soirée, where there was more music and fun to be had.

Let's Be Frank
Quick photo op at the Kennedy Center with some Sinatra-inspired props and hats

… I went to the Baltimore Yelper Party, aka Yelp’s Secret Agent Soirée at Baltimore’s Horseshoe Casino. I busted out my prom dress for the first time since high school in accordance with the formal dress code and Ben busted out his tux. This was the first Yelper party that I was attending and not working at, because I had to rush there from work in DC.

Guys. I love photobooths and I am a BEAST at the silly picture. Here’s me and Ben channeling our inner secret agents.

… I moved out of my apartment, as my lease came to an end on the 30th. It was rough trying to pack and move with my hours getting longer and longer, but I somehow was able to manage thanks to my dad and boyfriend helping me a lot on the last day with getting furniture into a Uhaul! My parents were also getting ready to sell their house at this point, so I was simultaneously going back to their place to pack and move there as well.

Empty room
My comfy bed and dresser full of clothes and other junk used to be right there…


… I left that new job, as I quickly realized that it just wasn’t a good fit for me because of what the role demanded of me. I learned a lot and met a lot of great people during my short time, and it was a really valuable experience, but it simply wasn’t for me and that’s okay. In addition to the job not being a great fit for me, I needed to leave because of upcoming full-time opportunities.

… I participated in my first-ever hackathon*. Hacking Journalism was held at the Washington Post and had the goal of engineering solutions to better utilizing data in the journalism industry. While I’m not in journalism, I do think that it’s an important industry as I feel very invested in the news and how people consume the news. Also, I love data. This was a really fun way for me to learn about how hackathons work in a lower-stress environment than a standard one, and I was able to make some new friends along the way! Bonus: I wasn’t as useless as I thought I’d be, given that I am not a developer or a data scientist at a data science development hackathon. Score!

I’m embarrassingly easy to spot in our group selfie gif…

… I worked at the MD Burbs Yelper Party, aka Yelp’s Celebrity Affair at the Bowlmor in Rockville. People had great celebrity costumes and the food was kind of INCREDIBLE. Easily some of the best food provided by vendors of any Yelper party I’ve been to, because sometimes vendors bring food that you’re just not that excited about. Every vendor nailed it at this one, from the whole roasted pig near the entrance to the Filipino spread in the back. Even though I bled to set up, it was really worth it to see everyone have as much fun as they did.

Our costume contest winners were Miley Cyrus, Diana Ross, and……. Magic Mike


… my family kicked off the month with a yard sale. I realized that yard sales actually give me major anxiety, as I really don’t like selling things, much less personal belongings. Plus, we had people coming in and out of the house looking at furniture, people started showing up at 6:30 AM (the listed start time was 9 AM………), and we had a really steady stream of people the entire time. BUT our neighbors across the street had a really adorable lemonade stand, and that honestly made things so much better.

… I went to my friend Annie‘s 30th birthday party*, which was this incredible Harry Potter-themed affair. Seriously, Annie and her crew put in SO much work and it paid off big time. It was the best Harry Potter party I have ever been to, from the decorations to the photo booth to the food to the costumes. It ended with some fun in the pool and watching some Harry Potter movies, of course.

“Look tough, look gangsta!” – Hogwarts or BUST (birthday girl rocking the Marauder’s Map dress)

… it was back to the Kennedy Center to see see the musical Once. I remember when “Falling Slowly” won an Oscar back in 2008 and falling in love with the song. (Oh yes, there were covers recorded with friends, impromptu performances in parks…) I never saw the movie, so being able to see the full story play out was a magical experience. It’s a simple but really emotional story, and the stage performance was so fun. I highly recommend seeing Once if it comes to a theater near you.

… my one year chip-free anniversary came and went. I can now eat chips without crying (too much). Some harmony has been restored to my life.

… I went to my first-ever county fair*, the Montgomery County Fair (even though I don’t live in Montgomery County). I rode the Ferris wheel in time to see golden hour, pet a bunny, watched my friends play a bunch of games, ate a footlong corndog, and had an overall blast.

Our gorgeous view from the top of the Ferris wheel

… I took my brother and his friends to a welcome back dinner at Fogo de Chão because it was DC Restaurant Week and they had just returned from spending the summer in San Francisco. There was a lot of food and I was able to get to know my brother and his roommates a little bit better. Also, we spent the evening walking about to see the monuments at night, which I am never able to do so I was extra grateful for that opportunity.

… I worked at the DC Yelper Party, aka Yelpchella at the Embassy Row Hotel. This is one of the coolest places in DC, design-wise, and I got to finally wear the flower crown I made with my friend a year ago, eat a lot of delicious food, dance the night away, and get a shot at Arabic Internet fame! (Shoutout to the ladies who didn’t speak English but have photos of me on each of their iPads, and to one of these ladies who has a husband who has video of me dancing on his phone.)

Me, trying in vain to get the folks who were recording videos of me to join me in the dance circle

… I attended Diner en Blanc*, an internationally-held outdoor white party. This involved a lot of hunting for an all-white outfit, putting together the meal, and hauling of furniture for what can easily be summed up as an incredible Instagram op. But it was a lot of fun sharing that experience with all those strangers and seeing some previous coworkers again! (This post is nearly finished, so keep an eye out for it. Read about it here!)

My view while setting up our tables — a sea of DCers donned in white on a hot summer’s day

It was an eventful summer, and I’m sorry I haven’t been sharing it in a more timely manner here on the blog. Please tell me which of these you want to hear more about. There is for sure a Diner en Blanc post coming, but everything else that is asterisked will likely just get shelved because I don’t think anyone wants to hear about them this late. Do let me know if I’m wrong!

What were some of the highlights of your summer?
What are you looking forward to for the fall?

{See also: Summer 2015 Favorites}