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





I took a trip down memory lane last night and ended up at a place I haven’t spoken much about on this blog. The place is the lush backyard of a home on the outskirts of Clovis and there is a dinner party going on. A group of ten people are gathered on the summer-green lawn sipping cold beers and talking as the light fades from the sky, while a candlelit gazebo waits nearby to welcome guests for dinner. It is the first DWF dinner party. The guests (read: guinea pigs) are some of my closest friends. So they’d of course be here for such a special occasion regardless, but the beer and food certainly are incentives. A photographer friend circles the perimeter of the group snapping shots, stopping from time to time to mingle and enjoy a drink. Final touches are made to the table as the day’s light disappears altogether. It’s dinner time.

I have my phone to thank for this nostalgic little road trip. Whether it be Facebook, our phone’s photo gallery or some other app, we are constantly being reminded of where we’ve been and what we’ve done. Which can sometimes trap us in a sentimental loop. But this time I was thankful for the reminder. It motivated me at a time when inspiration was at an all-time low — one of those dips that happens when you’re struggling to keep a creative passion project going and you start comparing your progress to that of others, completely disregarding Teddy Roosevelt’s warning that “comparison is the thief of joy.”

Looking back at these photos and remembering just how great that night was, I found the joy that had been missing lately. Remembering that my friends supported this magazine one-hundred percent even when it was just a wild idea. Remembering that at that time of the first dinner party, the magazine’s social media presence was zero, and I was spending my time crafting invitations and table decor on my the patio of my parent’s home — happily. It had to start somewhere and my journey began with tying cowbells to colorful strips of fabric to create a Moroccan-style table runner.

DWF dinner parties involve a lot more planning these days, and many, many different people contributing various talents and expertise. And while I want to keep growing and doing bigger and better dinner parties, these throwback photos remind me that I can do a lot with a little. So, I’m happy to share them with you. Not only are they beautiful, but they make me feel really proud and thankful for that night and what I’ve accomplished since then. And, to this day, I am still in love with that tablescape, which was decorated mostly with items I either already had, crafted myself or found on the clearance shelves of every HomeGoods in the Fresno/Clovis area.

I hope that if you’re in a creative lull, these photos motivate you to keep going. If you’re soaring creatively, then I hope maybe you just find them fun to look at. But, most of all, I hope they inspire you to throw a dinner party with your own friends to celebrate just being together for a little while and enjoying food, drinks and each other’s company.


Kendra GilbertComment