Someone wise once told me that the key to enjoying life is to pause and celebrate the good, the bad and the hard. And although launching a new women's lifestyle site with a team of such inspiring women was far from bad, it was, indeed hard. And very, very, very good.
Still, there were sleepless nights and endless doubts and last-minute snafus. Like all good things, fear and sweat and joy were folded into a pot of stirring emotions, slowly simmering until our authentic stew of women boiled over into a ready-to-serve dinner for all to read.
It's difficult to pause. To log out of our emails and leave unchecked to do lists and stop and look and be. Yet this week, the ladies of Clementine did just that, sneaking away to host a private dinner party in Chicago with our amazingly supportive friends at hayneedle.com.
There were tea lights and gift bags and printed menus, finely presented on a flower-filled butcher block dining table in the unexpected, quirky atmosphere of Publican Quality Meats. And while the flavors of our dishes were amazingly decadent, the layers of readers, friends, supporters and colleagues dining together far outweighed the spread.
Something beautiful happens when the world dines together. It's not the poured wine or the savory balsamic or the folded napkins. It's the conversation and the connection and the beauty that happens when we pause to nourish ourselves and each other. The moments that are created when we choose to celebrate the good and the bad and the hard.
The photos above are our way of capturing this moment, this choice to celebrate. I share them with trepidation, knowing that it's easy to look through slideshows of beautiful dinner parties and feel inadequate or left out or unseen. But I know this to be true: if all flowers and candles and gifts were removed from dinner tables far and wide, the smiles would remain. The conversation would be heard and the love would be felt and the connection would be remembered.
And that's something to celebrate.
p.s. To our friends at hayneedle.com: we are endlessly grateful to you for believing in us. Thank you for making our celebration possible. And to our readers and local supporters, we loved dining with you! Thank you for sharing this memorable evening.