I know I’ve got this whole strong, independent woman vibe going these days, but I’ve got a confession. This strong independent woman seriously loves homemaking and hospitality.
Not that those things are mutually exclusive, but I really love it. Down to the frequently-used Martha Stewart cookbook on my shelf, there isn’t much I enjoy more than entertaining and taking care of people. I love crafting lovely experiences by curating environments and making incredible food, cultivating all of these little domestic things into a place that fosters community.
That’s why in July, I decided to host my first cocktail party. It was going to be a celebration, a culmination of all of the things and people I value in one beautiful space. I invited every interesting person I could think of who was near Portland, planned some incredible appetizers, pulled out my favorite little black dress, and even made a fool-proof plan to have everyone out by ten – and down at my favorite karaoke haunt down the street. (I’m an extrovert, but frankly, I have my limits and almost always prefer smaller, more intimate groups.)
Leading up to the party, I was totally prepared. Except for one little thing. I had no table.
I was hosting the party later in the evening, and I’d put off buying one… well, since I moved… in April. I just ate at my desk and called it good until I found the right one. Sigh. I know, I know. I know better, but it just didn’t feel like a priority. But with 20+ guests expected, there was no way I’d have enough counter space without one to have a bar, an appetizer station, and a space for dessert. So the table hunt began.
I’m fairly picky about what I bring into my space these days, doing my best to prime my space for creativity and ease, and there is something about tables in general that makes me even more so.
Maybe it’s that tables are where we come together. Historically, there has always been a significance to sharing a meal together, and that still is visible in some of our modern traditions, especially around dating and more formal decision making.
As a former barista and cafe owner, tables get an awful lot of consideration. The importance of this idea of coming to the table is at the heart of why they caught on first in Mecca then in parts of Europe as centers for debates and salons. These were houses for discussion, for connection, and that legacy is crucial to understanding the continued prominence of the cafe.
Cultivating beautiful, intimate spaces for people to connect with one another in is an art form in and of itself. Careful thought must be given to lighting, to seating, to what belongs on the table from dishes to food to flowers and the reasons why those tiny decisions all support each other. Although I’ve never considered myself detail-oriented, it is these small factors that add to a greater atmosphere one can truly relax into. The value of truly great ambiance cannot be overstated. It effects how we feel in such a way that it can shift everything, thus the careful attention to what (and who) enters my apartment.
A desire to create that kind of ambiance influences my writing. When I write, I want to create intimacy, an opportunity for personal connection forged over a perfectly-brewed cup of coffee – and I think that’s what others are longing for, too. So I continue on, trying to take everyday events and crack them open to reveal the beautiful moments hidden inside of them.
It influences my relationships. Inviting people into my space to share that is a small way I can show hospitality, and at the heart of that, it’s a way to show that I care about how you experience life when you’re with me. This longing to share these precious moments with those I most love seems to only increase as I get older, softer. It is odd to think about how much I have softened over the years, and how much work there is left to do there. But at my core, there is nothing more important to me than nurturing relationships, connecting deeply with those I love and those I could. For me, showing love may happen in a grand gesture of romance (can’t resist writing love poems), but the way I’m much more likely to demonstrate I care will be smaller, more subtle.
It’s making breakfast while visiting a dear friend, being able to share the ease of a long, lazy morning over Dungeness crab omelettes and blueberry pancakes.
It’s waking up seeing a lover dressed in sunlight on my bed, rejoicing in the sweetness of it, and then starting a french press to continue to share in the warmth of the morning.
I long to commit these tiny acts of love, artful and domestic. I want to dig into the daily romance of living, because it is so lovely and intoxicating, how could I not? The warmth and familiarity created in these moments is too much not to adore.
So I come to the table – and I bring others with me. Much of what I’ve been up to for the past month has been just that, dedicating myself to pursuing deeper relationships as wholeheartedly and openly as I can in simple, meaningful ways. Because if this isn’t the point, what is?
That fateful day of the party, the right one finally came along. Found at a locally-owned thrift shop, it came to me at the exact right moment. My best friend, Nina, and I sauntered down the street and found it – the perfect-fit size and shape for my apartment with a worn-in Anthropologie-esque feel to it in a cracked, pale hue of yellow.
And in case you were wondering, yes, the party was fantastic.
P.S. If you want to bring the intimacy that is coming to the table to your brand, I have a *very* limited number of bookings remaining through December. Click here to learn more about what working with me is like.