Wednesday, April 22, 2015

An H&M Dinner

Every once in a while, I attend a party that leaves me absolutely starstruck. This season, as the H&M Conscious Collection paired up with Olivia Wilde, and pieces like these magically made their way into my daydreams…

…an invitation to a private dinner with H&M magically made its way into my email inbox.
It’s been a while since I’ve clinked champagne glasses with fellow bloggers, so I was really excited to hear what everyone was up to.  Another thing I was really excited about: getting to wear my new H&M blazer!

The dinner was held at the Bayshore Shopping Centre, with the H&M Conscious Collection area shaped radiantly out of tropical green shrubbery, which was a bit of a challenge for the paparazzi…

And a challenge for me was keeping it together when meeting Emily Scarlett of H&M Canada, the lovely dinner host.  Stunning, with a seemingly effortless, impeccable style, Emily spoke about her work, her passion for the H&M Conscious Collection, and the secret behind her ultra on-point hair: finding a hair stylist who shares your vision, and keeping them forever.   

Having worked with H&M for eight years, Emily clearly knows where it’s at when it comes to picking the perfect blazer (yeah, that’s the one from my daydream above!)

You know who else I really loved at this party? The waiters.  I barely had time to finish a glass of bubbly when there it would be, the reaching arm of my best-friend-in-waiting, topping me up, again and again.  
I only drink Champagne on two occasions, when I am in love and when I am not” said Coco Chanel.  I’d like to add a third occasion to that: when my glass is replenished without me even asking.  

Alright, so I’m sure you’ve been patiently reading, just waiting for me to tell you about what was for dinner, so here it is.  I’ve been to parties organized by Blackbook Lifestyle and Bayshore before and I knew they wouldn’t disappoint.  I mean, at a past event a few months ago, the catering included mint cotton candy and macarons sprinkled with edible frost so they clearly go above and beyond to inspire. And inspire they did…
“Miss, an appetizer?” the waiter asked, in-between champagne showers (that’s the right term for it, right?). “Oh yes, please!” I would answer, thinking that if I said it in a slightly different voice this time around, he wouldn’t realize that I’ve already eaten ten off his tray.  “My goodness,” I would add, “What an absolute delight!” …he totally thinks I'm someone else.   “These are scallops, seared in…”  Stop, my friend, you had me at scallops. I’m all in. 

After I indulged in a few hundred appetizer bites, we were called to the gorgeous table, decorated with warm, spring pastel accents and about fifteen million forks and knives.  Do you remember that scene in Pretty Woman with the elegant dinner? You know, that scene? Enough said.  

The starter was a warm pea soup that came with a tiny spoon. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was not gaspacho because I didn’t want to eat anything cold, and luckily, I had some assistance holding the miniature utensil from a pet moth I keep in my purse for this exact situation.

Moth not pictured

Next was (I think) a squash purée, topped with a refreshing zesty salad, and (hopefully) edible flower petals.  There were also petals on the little beads of butter that accompanied our bread, but I passed on scarfing those down, in an effort not to resemble a hunter-gatherer.

Then came the seared tuna, which I think is my new favourite trendy food, because every time I eat it, it’s got a slightly different ‘tone’ to the taste.  This one had a sea salt base, with a velvety texture the more you bit into the raw parts. It sat on a bed of asparagus, potatoes, and sliced egg, gathered together like jewels- fittingly.

As I expertly worked my way through the utensils, this gorgeous plate was placed before me.  On it: duck, artisanal carrots, and more duck wrapped in a soft, warm, savoury crepe, topped with two delicate sprigs of thyme. If you’re wondering, no I could not resist yelling, “Ain’t nobody got thyme for that!”  and yes, everybody laughed, and I was crowned Best Person on Planet, fourth year in a row, as a parade of celebratory elephants fell from the ceiling.

 Next came the moment I can never escape at events and parties – the moment I do something that is inherently me. This edition involved a question from a beautiful blogger, answered by me through a mouthful of duck falling out of my pie hole and onto the elegant porcelain plate it had once been meticulously arranged upon.   That’s okay though, because next came dessert, and my God, dessert was incredible:

“It’s a maple crème brulée,” the waiter whispered in a George Clooney voice as I stared at it, trying to hold back tears of admiration.  Indeed, it was a crème brulée with the thinnest shell, topped with a berry sauce and a tower of meringue. I’m going to pay homage to simplicity and say, in the simplest terms, it was exquisite.
And if that wasn’t enough, all of the gastronomic delights were sustainable and organic. Perfection.

Speaking of treats, of course H&M would go there: on each of our chairs sat a box with a gift that Emily had personally chosen for each blogger based on all of the “stalking” (her words) she had done to learn about us.  My gift was a lovely little number: a giraffe print dress I plan on wearing on my upcoming trip to Cuba! I was floored by Emily’s efforts and attention to detail. I really can’t praise her enough.

Lastly, perhaps the best part of the night was meeting so many new people and hearing what drives their passion for blogging.  I couldn’t type fast enough to take down the names of these incredibly fashionable, hilarious, and beautiful girls, but luckily when I woke up this morning, I knew it wasn’t just a dream because there was that much more colour on my Instagram and Facebook from the Likes, Follows, and Hashtags from my new friends.

Thank you to Bayshore Ottawa, H&M Canada, and Blackbook Events (and Liam!!!) for such a beautiful night!


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