Photos by Amy Dickerson

Every once in awhile, the stars align and I'm able to work on a project that I find inspiring on every level. Back in April, I had the chance to collaborate with a dream team of old and new friends to throw an intimate dinner party in my friend Emily Leonard's art studio in East Nashville. The dinner itself was a blast, but even more exciting is the fact that my story about the evening (photographed by the fabulous Amy Dickerson) is currently in Anthology magazine's Summer 2013 Art Issue! (If you want to read the story, you can find a copy at these stores.) Emily – an amazingly talented artist – and I had been talking for awhile about doing a dinner party in her atelier, an airplane hangar-like structure that sits in the woods behind her house. With a new series of portraits ready to show, a new husband (my good friend Sloane Southard), and a baby on the way, the timing seemed right for a dinner party.


Emily's friend Lisa Donovan, the amazing chef behind Buttermilk Road Sunday Suppers, offered to make the food (which consisted of a perfect coq au vin, a market-fresh salad, buttery homemade yeast rolls, and the best coconut cake of all time), and their friend Robin Riddell Jones of Pettirosso Wine Consulting did the wine pairings. And somehow, I convinced the fantastically talented stylist Jenn Elliott Blake – who I had recently met in Raleigh at another dinner party – to fly in from Seattle to style the table. (Stay tuned later this week for some of Jenn's behind-the-scenes styling tips!) A dream team, indeed.


(L) Jenn Elliott Blake, surveying her beautiful work. (R) Anthology's Summer Art Issue.


Our collaborative efforts in print!


Emily and Sloane - the gorgeous hosts of the evening!


The studio at dusk, with the dinner party in full swing.


(L) Emily in her studio; (R) one of her recent portraits.


Lisa's mache salad with rainbow beets, pistachios, goat cheese, and grapefruit vinaigrette.


(L) Lisa holding her just-baked yeast rolls; (R) the handmade farm table set for dinner.


Lisa's decadent coq au vin – the ultimate comfort food.


Otis James and Sloane walk down the path to the studio.


Friends from East Nashville celebrating around the table.


Lisa's perfect coconut cake, decorated with dogwood blossoms from the yard.


A toast (with the fabulous Libby Callaway).


Dinner is served: bon appetit, y'all!