Tips for Attending Diner en Blanc

First of all, for those who don't know what Diner en Blanc is - it is an all-white pop-up dinner party that originated in France about 27 years ago and now occurs in major cities around the world. Diners get dressed in all-white, bring their own dining gear (tables, chairs, glassware, etc) and food to set up in a public location unknown to them until the day of the event.

So what's the purpose of the event? The Diner en Blanc website explains it best:

Over the course of the evening, guests experience the beauty and value of their city's public spaces by participating in the unexpected. Beyond the spectacle and elegance of the dinner itself, guests are brought together from diverse backgrounds by good taste and a love of beauty. Le Dîner en Blanc recalls the elegance and glamor of high French society, and guests engage one another, knowing that they are taking part in a truly magical event. 

This amazing event is coming back to Washington, DC this month. I was fortunate enough to attend the first annual Diner en Blanc DC two years ago (even got to create some graphics for them) and had an absolute blast. Unfortunately, last year I missed it because was recovering from open heart surgery (darn you imperfect heart!) and this year I'll miss it again because of work (darn you event planner life!). So, in order to feel like I'm still somewhat kinda a part of it, I'm offering up some tips from my first time at Diner en Blanc!

Tag team with friends on gear - It's usually much cheaper to buy items in sets, so talk with your friends or utilize the Diner en Blanc forum to see if anyone wants to divide up costs for purchasing or renting items. For example, when I was looking for white napkins - It was way cheaper to buy a set of 4. Of course I only needed two, so we split the costs with another couple. 

Rent, don't buy - Another way to save a few bucks on gear is to rent instead of buying. A group of us ended up renting our white chairs from AAA Party Rentals in Alexandria. There were six of us so we just had one person pick them up for all of us on the day of the event and return them the day after. 

Having friends who are going too really helps split costs!

Having friends who are going too really helps split costs!

Bring rolling carts/coolers - Many people think they can easily carry two chairs, a folding table, and your picnic basket filled with dishes, glassware, and food to the dinner site, but I'm telling you now: you can't. Well, even if you can, you're going to be tired and sweaty by the time you get there and it's going to ruin the mood a bit. So save yourself the grief, and get something you can roll whether it's a rolling cart, cooler, or suitcase or at the very least, bring items that you can carry on your back. Trust me.

Don't over pack your meal - If you plan on bringing your own picnic, be cognizant of how much food you're bringing. The towers of cheese, crackers, and charcuterie sure look nice but are you really going to eat that much? Again, try tag teaming with a few friends or other attendees in your group if you really want  a variety of items.

Three different types of salad for an appetizer, PLUS bread and cheese!? Totally not neccessary.

Three different types of salad for an appetizer, PLUS bread and cheese!? Totally not neccessary.

Time management - This tip was more relevant the first year because the dinner occurred on a Thursday instead of Saturday. But I very clearly remember getting home from work and being so rushed that I was beyond stressed. Between putting the finishing touches on my meal to doing my hair, I was exhausted by the time I got to the dinner site. So, make sure your entire picnic is made the night before, do a test run of your table and centerpieces, lay your outfit out with all of your accessories, and don't plan on doing anything else the morning prior.

Make friends with your group - Even though we went with a group of our friends that we already knew, one of the best parts of the night was meeting new people. Diner en Blanc not only brings together people from around the DMV area, but there are a few out of town guests too. Enjoying a sense of community with the fellow diners is an important part of enjoying the overall experience.

Me and the best date ever 

Me and the best date ever 

Wear comfortable shoes - Self explanatory? At least bring comfortable walking shoes and then change into your fun shoes when you get to the dinner site.

Have questions? Utilize your Team Leader - Your team leader is someone who not only has done the event before, but has gone to pre-event meetings to discuss logistics and frequently asked questions. So, if you have any question at all - make sure you ask them!

Embrace it - My final tip is to embrace Diner en Blanc completely - from the preparation to the actual evening. I don't mean that you should have over-the-top picnics or centerpieces, but rather be as CRAZY and CREATIVE as you're comfortable with. On the day of the event, let loose and enjoy yourself (get out on that dance floor!). Diner en Blanc is truly a unique event and it will be one that you will always remember.

The sparkler send-off was an amazing experience

The sparkler send-off was an amazing experience

So those are my tips for you. I'm really hoping I'll be able to make the 2017 event! Have any other questions about what to expect? Ask me in the comments!

 

My Travel Gear Wishlist 2016

I've mentioned before, I'm embarking on a 2 week adventure in Asia this November to the Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan. I haven't been on a multi-country trip since I was 16 (and that was a student tour so much easier to get around), so it's about time I update all of my travel gear. Here are the top items on my wish list:

travelgear-wishlist.jpg

1. Dueter Fox 30 Backpack - As someone who is a constant over-packer, packing in a 30L backpack seems a bit daunting to me. But I am seriously determined to do it for our trip to Asia because I definitely do not want to be rolling a suitcase around that many countries. I tried on this exact pack at REI, except it was 40L. It fit perfectly but I wasn't in love with the color (neon green... no thanks!). So yeah, I'm going to forgo 10L so I can get the color I want. Uhh... wish me luck?

2. Madewell's the Transport Crossbody - I currently have a black Kate Spade tote that I love (to the point that the handles are fraying), but crossbody bags are so much easier and safer to carry around while traveling. I've been eyeing this crossbody from Madewell because of the classic look, zipper close, and the option to personalize it.

3. Roll-Up Jewelry Case - I haven't found a good way to travel with jewelry yet. Usually I just put everything in one rectangular pouch and be done with it - but that always makes it so hard to find everything. Plus, everything ends up tangled. Hoping a roll-up case will help me out!

4. Eagle Creek Compression Set - One of the obstacles that we'll be faced with is dressing for several different temperatures. It'll be high 80's in the Philippines, then 70's in Taiwan, and then finally low 60's in Japan. So my solution is purchasing this compression set, so that my "colder weather apparel" won't take up too much room in my backpack. Plus, I think they'll be useful in dividing up items like underwear, socks, swim suits, etc.

5. Tile Phone Finder - The Tile is a small square that hooks on to almost anything you own - whether it's your keys, backpack, purse, etc. Then you download the Tile app and you can see where your item is located. Normally I don't worry about items getting stolen while I travel, but I saw this little gadget and how many great reviews it has and now I'm sold!

6. Life Nomadic - I love a good travel book and Life Nomadic is the next one up on my reading list. Unfortunately I checked my local library and they don't have it so now I'll just have to add one more book to my bookshelf.

What are your favorite items you use for travel? Let me know in the comments!

Yappy Hour for the Washington Humane Society - Washington Animal Rescue League

Hey all! If you've been following my blog, you know that I sometimes help Justin's Cafe with designing flyers for some of their events. I just recently did this one and it's for a great series of events to benefit the Washington Humane Society-Washington Animal Rescue League. If you live in the DC area, definitely check it out and help a good cause!

What is the Washington Humane Society - Washington Animal Rescue League? For 100 years, the Washington Animal Rescue League has rescued the dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens that had nowhere else to go.  As the oldest animal shelter in the Nation’s Capital, WARL has rescued, cared for, and found loving homes for more than 100,000 animals. Click here to learn more about their programs and impacts.

Where is the Happy Hour? Justin's Cafe - a small bar/restaurant a few blocks from National's Park. The address is 1025 1st Street SE, Washington DC, 20003 and is accessible from the Green Line.

They will also be hosting an adoption event at one of the happy hours, so make sure to follow Justin's Cafe Facebook to stay updated!

I love events that help out the community. Hopefully you can join us!