You know you’ve got it pretty dang good when your work week consists of a whole lot of play. When putting effort into achieving something exceptional means you get to share in laughter, fun and a multitude of happy memories over dinner with some wonderful people. When hosting a friend from out-of-town ultimately means supporting them in achieving one of their biggest goals in life….let’s just say life has been pretty great lately.

A little less than two weeks ago I was given the most amazing opportunity to host a dinner party alongside my friend Sally in celebration of my dear friend Anna’s kickstarter journey. Collaborating with these two insanely talented women was already something I’d had the pleasure of experiencing before (at this event in NYC) and knowing I’d get the chance to collaborate with them again on my own home turf of Seattle literally made me giddy.

The evening took place in Sally and her husband Chris’ beautiful backyard (I mean how enchanting are those stranded bulb lights against the bamboo?!) amidst the company of our husbands and some dear friends from the wedding industry here in Seattle. When Anna reached out many many months ago to ask if a dinner party in Seattle was a possibility, I never once hesitated to say yes. Let’s see : a private dinner cooked by an amazing chef and I get to style a pretty tabletop to celebrate the occasion?? YES, PLEASE!

AND seriously! What an honor it was to support Anna’s mission. Anna set out eight months ago to self publish her own cookbook - over 100 healthy and simple recipes meant to inspire others to not only eat well, but to celebrate in the joy of sharing a meal around the table. To set communal dining as a priority and to engage with others often over the sharing of life experiences and the pleasure of eating well. In the midst of cooking, shooting and executing all of the recipes and images for her cookbook, Anna proceeded to pack up a teeny VW bug in early June and drove from NYC all the way to LA, all the while concocting the most beautiful dinner parties along the way with blogger friends. Each dinner uniquely promoting the upcoming release of her book. She flew to Seattle as her last destination and what a joy it was to be in her company. You can read all about Anna’s journey, nab a first edition copy of her book AND support her kickstarter campaign here … (as of this afternoon she’s only a few hundred dollars away from her goal with 7 days to go!! She’s so so close!).

Being that Anna always puts in insane amount of effort into any experience, she sourced the most beautiful cheeses and artisan breads, along with local crostini and some pretty bits of Simple and Crisp dried fruit for appetizers for the evening. We all toasted to Anna’s long cross-country journey and the beginning of new friendships over glasses filled to the brim with wine. We took in the amazing evening sunlight and warmth of summer while gearing up for a dinner menu that was sure to be a big treat.

Sally used a pencil to hand letter the most beautiful menus on lush creamy white paper to give the table a casual yet elegant feel. Before dinner I hand-burned the edges of the menus to pay tribute to our fireside s’mores we would be having for dessert before placing them on a chartreuse fringed napkin at each setting.

I wanted the design of the tabletop to be simple, fresh and colorful to celebrate the summer season and reflect the joy I felt not only for my friendship with Anna, but everyone else around the table. Bold pops of color from peonies, lavender from my yard, chamomile, and a plethora of other PNW locally grown florals completed the floral design for the table. We used simple manila tags to create name cards for each person, which were safety pinned along the side of the pretty Auntie Oti linens at each spot at the table.

Seattle Farm Table‘s beautiful dark barnwood benches, antique flatware, clear glassware I’d sourced from my travels to Paris, and an array of mid-century pottery completed the look. We ended up getting 13 of us around the table that evening despite our fear of barely fitting 10. The more the merrier had always been Anna’s philosophy with entertaining, and after this amazing meal I couldn’t agree with her more. The evening was just so so perfect.

Everything from the appetizers, to the salad of arugula & local fava beans, to the parchment paper wrapped cod was just divine. I’ve had the pleasure of consuming many of the dishes in Anna’s cookbook but this dinner was definitely one for the books. I loved that everything was served family style making the evening all the more communal and warm. We ended the evening with s’mores over Sally’s fire pit and never-ending conversation and laughter. Being that it was a work night I expected everyone to wrap up and head home by 9:30, but it was nearly midnight before we finally started packing up the night.

Anna is honestly one of the most exceptional people I’ve ever met, and as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I admire not only her talents as a chef and food writer, but her tenacity to fight for her dreams and not only express them but experience and live them out fully. It was such an honor to be the last city on Anna’s amazing kickstarter journey and with just 7 short days to go and her being so so close to achieving her goal, I couldn’t be prouder of her! Thank you for such an amazing evening Anna!

If you’d like to contribute to Anna’s campaign and nab yourself a first edition copy of her cookbook, be sure to head over here ASAP as the campaign ends next week! Cannot wait to get a copy of her book in my hands!! It’s gonna be so so good!

Also, a gigantic thank you to Elizabeth who so graciously photographed the evening on last minute notice when we we found ourselves without a photographer. It was so much fun meeting you and I’m so grateful for your presence that evening despite not knowing any of us before arriving. I hope we get many more chances to collaborate in the future! Thank you for everything!
Photography : Elizabeth Rudge | Calligraphy : Sally Balt of La Happy Design | Chef : Anna Watson Carl | Styling and Floral Design : Jenn Elliott Blake | Wood Farm Benches : Seattle Farm Tables



SUCH a gorgeous night on so many levels. Jenn – thank you for not only creating such a stunning ambiance with the table and flowers and all the beautiful little details you created, but for capturing it so perfectly in your words. I love collaborating with you – here’s to many more dinner parties to come :) xoxo

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All those stunningly beautiful details! What a gorgeous affair indeed :)

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[...] documented by a different photographer (such as the talented Elizabeth Rudge, who shot our Seattle dinner and the photos in today’s post) and I want to give each dinner party post the love and care [...]