After driving two hours, I arrived at Basilica Hudson which is a 19th century factory that has been converted into a performance and event space. It is so perfectly rustic and I don't believe there could have been a better location chosen. Everyone made a name tag and had to put their favorite book on it (so naturally I chose Bloody Jack) which was a great conversation starter!
Next, I went inside and got my very first cup of coffee. Yes, you read that right. I am not a coffee drinker and after having it, I can't say I'm ready to start...
After some donuts and poking around the popup Etsy shops, the first program was ready to begin.
There was quite the crowd and everyone was excited to hear from Ruth Reichl who discussed how to rediscover simple pleasures in the kitchen. Her words have inspired me to learn more about food (because I know next to nothing) so be on the lookout for some food related posts in coming months. I'm cooking up something big (hehe, I love puns) and may embark on my very first series. Stay tuned!
After that, I went over to the flower arranging workshop to learn the meanings of certain flowers and to create my own bouquet.
Next, Clark Strand spoke about how our sleep cycles are affected by artificial light and Lauren Redniss shared a sneak peak into her new book on weather. Not only were the talks stimulating, but I also loved conversing with other attendees. I met people from Atlanta, Michigan, Manhattan, and many other places. It is so cool to get different perspectives and learn about others.
Following that, I heard about some of the top places to travel according to editors of Fodor's (the travel guides with the orange spins) and even got to ask some questions about India! This session was held in a room with a variety of chairs which were all produced here back when it was a factory.
Following this was a moment I had been waiting for with great anticipation: meeting Sarah Dubbeldam, the editor in chief of Darling Magazine, based in L.A. This was the first Darling event on the East Coast and I was honored to be part of it. For those of you who don't know, Darling is the most genuine, positive, impactful, gorgeous, thought provoking magazine I have ever laid eyes on. Just take a look at their mission statement.
I was so pleased to be one of around twenty people who sat in on the session and was able to ask quite a few questions. I can't truly put into words what a difference it makes to know that there are people who share your values and seek to live life in a purposeful and virtuous way. Getting to speak with Sarah and Kara (who curates events for Darling) was wonderful.
Afterwards, I went to a mobile photography workshop and met a new friend named Madeline from Utah. It was refreshing to speak with someone my age who is looking to live with the principles of Darling at the forefront of her mind.
Another session was led by Mary Giuliani who I completely and utterly fell in love with. She is a caterer who discussed how to entertain without getting stressed out, so I completely trust her advice! She told a hilarious story about meeting Alec Baldwin in the kitchen of one of her clients and had the whole audience laughing.
Next up was Gretchen Rubin who you may know as the author of The Happiness Project. She spoke about forming habits and using them to accomplish your goals. Definitely some food for thought.
There was a wine tasting after, but since Madeline and I are both 20, we decided to run around taking pictures instead. First I was like "Oh, don't mind me, I'm just standing against this beautiful old door casually."
Then I was like "Please, don't take my picture. Really, I just can't deal with all of the attention."
Then I couldn't contain the laughter anymore.
I also asked if I could go up on the stage. Can't you just see me up there leading a discussion about something totally awesome? Because I can.
The real reason for the entire day had finally arrived: the Darling Dinner. Darling hosts dinners where women get together and converse about creative and emotional topics while enjoying great food. I sat with women of all ages, backgrounds, and in a variety of careers. We got to speak about what fuels us creatively, what our friendships mean to us, how we balance all of the areas of our lives, and how we go about cultivating a life we love.
What I learned was that you have to understand that each season of your life will require something different of you. Knowing your values and priorities, and acting in accordance with them, will result in you leading a life you are fulfilled by. As we know, you can have everything, you just can't have it all at once. These women taught me that it's ok not to have it all figured out as long as you are moving in the right direction for you. No societal or familial pressure should hold you back from pursuing what makes you happy.
Thank you to Eventbrite for partnering on this post. Eventbrite is a great way to find things to do in your area as well as manage events. If you want to plan your own book lovers event, check out Eventbrite's event management tools!
Photos are a combination of mine and Random House.