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





They say it takes a village to raise a child. The same can be said of putting together a dinner party. That’s our opinion anyway.

We hosted ten incredible women for our Eat. Slay. Love. dinner party in April. And it took nothing less than a community of people to bring it all together. But, since we’re all about community, we were totally fine with it. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough pages in our recent feature on the event to fully describe how incredibly talented everyone involved is. Nor did we get to express how incredibly thankful we are for having been able to collaborate with them. So…let’s do that now.

We’ve got to start with Irene Cross the founder of Let’s Party Prettier, an event styling and rental company in Fresno. We literally could NOT have put this event together without her. Many of you probably know Irene from all the other gorgeous events she’s styled around the area recently. But this was our first time working with her. This lady is a hustler! She truly gave life to our vision—sourcing the perfect table (thank you Charming Treasures!) and chairs (what’s up, Ellie Koleen?!) to anchor the event—and then filling in the space around it with lovely details. All while being in the middle of fulfilling the visions for about a million other events…including Grizzly Fest.

Lanna Coffee’s blank canvas was the prefect setting for Irene to work her magic. We considered several warehouse spaces for the event, but one of the big benefits of working with Lanna was getting to reconnect with some familiar faces. Like Kelly Mitchinson, who attended last fall’s dinner party. She offered up Lanna as an option and we just couldn’t say no. She also suggested we invite Lanna’s co-owner, Kim Feil, to the dinner. It was a tip we’re so grateful for! Kim is such an incredible woman, and it was nice having her at the table surrounded by the walls of the business she helped develop. Hopefully it didn’t feel like work being there.

Flora Flower Cart literally DELIVERED when it came to the flowers for our event and our lovely mothers. The stress of setting up before guests arrived was instantly eased when a big bunch of flowers walked through the door. It was important to us to really treat the women at this event and make them feel special. And flowers were a big part of that. At the end of the night, they each got to take home their own personal bouquet as a token of our appreciation for all that they do.

But we also wanted to work in a little moment of levity and silliness. Because these women work so hard at their jobs and raising babies, we wanted to do something that would allow them to indulge their inner child. And that’s where Shanna Ortiz and her Hey Sugar cotton candy cart came in. It was such a treat to have her be a part of the dinner. And the women loved it! There was so much chatter and laughter as they lined up at the cart and then proceeded to douse their honey, chai tea latte, or lemonade flavored cotton candy in all sorts of fun and frivolous toppings.

And, of course, without the completely mind-blowing culinary abilities of Nikki Martinez, or the keen eye of photographer Rhonna Torres, the event and subsequent feature would not be what they are. You can read all about these ladies and the incredible women we hosted in the feature, which is up now on the website.

Kendra Gilbert