Dinner with Friends
A design-focused, quarterly lifestyle magazine celebrating California's Central Valley, one dinner party at a time.

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BLOG POST 18 / CHEERS TO THE NEW YEAR!

This will likely be our last blog post in 2017. And how fitting because it is number 18. As in, 2018! Holy cow! But let's reflect on 2017 while we can. What a year, what a year, what a year! It started with a big move and a lot of uncertainty, but we've been slowly finding our way, one story at a time. 

FEBRUARY was all about fashion. And Chinatown. We were gifted with a fashion spread styled by a good friend of ours based in Los Angeles, and needed some way to localize it. Given all the silky slips in the editorial, it felt like a perfect fit for a story about Chinatown. So we partnered with our ride-or-die photographer Shaina Ligonde for some moody black and white photos to contrast the neon fashion. The contrast also spoke to Chinatown's past, present and future, as it is in a state of revitalization, with an ongoing push from locals to restore this once-vibrant Fresno neighborhood. 

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SUMMER was when we really got busy. We launched a weekly drink review series called "Drinks with Friends," which is still one of our favorite things from 2017. Instead of pairing each review with a photo, we had local artist Austin McKinzie draw the drinks to be paired with Kara Durst's words. We want to incorporate as much art as possible into this magazine, because we know firsthand how many talented artists are working in the Central Valley.

Along with the drink reviews, we also put together two big features over the summer as well. The first was a story on local t-shirt designer/free spirit Ren Leach; The other on vegan blogger Ashley Hankins-Marchetti from Eat Figs Not Pigs. The Ren Bird feature is particularly special because it was so hands on for us. And there was a lot of serendipity involved. Not only was it shot by DWF's founder, at several locations around the Valley, but it also turned out that the model -- aka a photogenic friend -- and designer know each other. A connection realized only when shooting began. 

Ren Bird cover.jpg

And then came FALL. A fall to end them all. Months of planning culminated with our first dinner party feature "Dreamers Who Dine." And it was nothing short of that -- a dream...come true! Hosts Micah and Miciah, of the Dreamers That Do podcast, made it all happen with their faithful support of our creative endeavors and willingness to get involved. Without them, we're not sure that it would've happened as perfectly as it did. That they came into our lives out of the blue (i.e. Instagram) is a blessing. We are truly #blessed to know them. 

And then we rounded things out with one more killer feature on Taste Kitchen's new restaurant in Sunnyside. The popular food truck decided to park their wheels for a while and give brick-and-mortar life a go. But the feature wasn't just about food, it was also art. Tom Spears, a friend of ours and cousin to Taste Kitchen's chef Martin Franco, created the multi-media art for the restaurant. We've been a fan of Tom's work for years. And had tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade him to allow us to profile him. So when he suggested the Taste Kitchen story, we knew we had to jump on it. And it was such a great note to end the year on. Art, food, family, community...it had it all. 

DWF %2F Taste Kitchen cover.jpg

So, that's that. 2017 in a nutshell. Watch out, 2018. We're coming for you. 

Kendra Gilbert