Friday, September 21, 2012

The Truth about Diner-en-Blanc

Unless you were under a social media rock last Saturday, you saw various outlets explode with tweets and pictures about this Dinur and Blank thing.

I went.

I saw.

I managed not to get tomato sauce on my borrowed white dress.

You want to know the truth behind the flash-mob paid picnic craze that's sweeping the world?

It's a giant pain in the ass. How French!

A very pretty, fun, champagne-floaty bother in the rear end. But my, the people watching was exquisite. And you know I can't resist a chance to a) do something unique b) that might be kind of exclusive and c) requires dressing up where d) I'll get to talk about it afterwards.
And so here I am, talking bout it.

Judging from my fellow picnickers (and come on, everyone was judging each other), attendees fell into three categories (note: none of these are bad or wrong, just my snarky assessment!):

1) Older Couples - older men and women who have things like wedding china, fold up tables, and rolling carts already in their possession. White linen pants? Check. Fancy silver? Check. Pay the registry fee, stop by Fresh Market, and wham bam thank you mam - they were ready for a picnic.

2) Younger Socialites - The "In" Crowd was able to go out and buy all the things they needed for an exquisite picnic on the lawn. Designer dresses, catered dinners, elaborate table setups - no worries. If you have the cash, your picnic evening was a multi-champagne-bottle, $100 Orchid picnic basket breeze.
We fall under #3 - borrowed dresses, pants on clearance, and accessories from Cappel's

3) The Rest of Us Who Like Weird Hard Things To Do Because It's Fun: after days of thrift store and outlet scrounging (white pants after Labor Day?!), borrowing furniture from three sets of relatives (thank you Aunt Karla, Liz's mom, and Ali's grandma), my roommate, boyfriend, and other friend scraped together a quasi-acceptable get up. We made our own, very French dinner... totally oblivious to the fact that our courses were all tomato based until after we arrived to the picnic. (No one spilled, amazingly.)

That afternoon we scrambled to get everything packed and ready, adjusted our white accoutrements, and set off to hoof it down from 14th Street to the meeting point at 3rd Street - not a far jaunt until you're trying to juggle folding tables, chairs, still-drying spray painted plastic animals, and a 60 pound dolly with leaky chicken tangine and squished linens and flowers. In heels.

this got turned into
this (Horatio, Polonius, Demetrius and Vernon)

Luckily for us my dear friend Lauren happened to be driving by and took pity on us. She helped us transport most of the stuff in her car, chuckling at us being all stressed out about a picnic.

Once we were settled in, unpacked, eating (AND DRINKING), the night was exquisite. After feasting on our delicious dinner, naming our silver plastic animals (Horatio, Demetrius, Polonius, and Vernon), and splitting a few bottles of bubbly, the effects of the night set in. We were surrounded by hundreds of others dressed in white. The candlelight flickered softly, the French music was in the air, and everyone was laughing, drinking, eating, and eventually dancing.

Liz and Ali and our lovely table
We saw lots of friends, and at the end of the evening, lighting sparklers and releasing white balloons in the air was a beautiful, unique experience (I was tipsy enough to not let the thought of hundreds of balloons ruining the environment bother me). The DJ at the end of the evening was killer, and we all got our dance on.

all's well that ends very well

Would I do it again? Yeah, probably.
With one under my belt, I'm feeling a little better prepared. Next year can only be even better!

For much better photography (and food) check out 513{eats}.

Tips for Diner-En-Blanc:

* Share food with friends.
* Make sure your food is not soupy or red.
* Bring lots of champagne.
* Travel most of the way in a car if you can.
* Simple is easier
* Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Reaching new heights

My dear friend Jamie wanted to try something new for her birthday. This past Sunday, we did a trapeze class with Cincinnati Circus Company. They set up a net and trapeze system in Burnet Woods right across from DAAP, so hundreds of people drove by while we got harnessed in and climbed thirty feet in the air to swing from our arms.

not me
Jamie, Lauren, and Kristin all fearlessly climbed to the top and swung upside down from their knees, doing flips, and even swinging by another's hands - circus style!

I am not inclined to be upside down. At all. I can't do a cartwheel. I never signed me up for cheerleading or gymnastics. I got to be the comic relief in our group, managing to ascend the ladder and swing awkwardly by my arms all while praying not to be killed in the myriad of ways that were mentioned in the release form we signed. Someone had to do it.

more my speed

"Go ahead and get your knees up!" called the spotter from the ground. "No freaking way!" was my reply.

I faced my fears, and tried something new. Whatever keeps you fresh!