It’s funny how once you declare that you’re going to do something, there always seems to be something waiting in the wings to thwart your plans. Last Friday, I posted that I was going to start sticking to a regular work schedule – and even shared said schedule on the blog. Well, this week had other plans for me…!

Due to an unfortunate accident, all of our photos from last week’s dinner party were deleted, so I ended up spending Monday remaking and shooting all of the food with Signe, and then hosting a small dinner party that night to document as well. If the photos from the dinner were just intended for the blog, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal, but they were meant to accompany an entertaining piece I am writing for a major food publication – so I had to do everything in my power to quickly salvage a not ideal situation! We got the new photos edited and turned in yesterday, and then I had to rewrite the story to match the images. Phew!

The whole thing was a bummer, especially because last week’s party was so gorgeous and so many people worked so hard to make it happen. I knew I could never recreate that exact scenario again, but I had to do as Taylor Swift says and just shake it off! When something happens that’s totally out of your control, all you can do is try your best to find a solution, and then move on. Accidents happen, and goodness knows I’ve had my fair share over the years!

Disaster averted, I’m now on a plane…heading to Nashville for the day, then driving south to Fairhope, Alabama tomorrow with my dear friend Katie. She’s leading worship at a contemplative prayer retreat this weekend, and asked me if I’d come along and play violin. I cannot wait for some QT with her (road trip!!), some good time of prayer and reflection, and hopefully some warmer weather! But so much for sticking to a schedule this week! Ha.

On a totally different note, I wanted to share with you the winners of Monday’s contest! Thanks to all of you who shared why you love dinner parties – it made me so happy to read your responses. It was hard to pick, but I have 3 winners, all of whom will receive a set of Winter Dinner Party Recipe Cards!


Jos Budge:

"I love the whole entire ‘foofing’ experience that comes with a dinner party/or just pulling together an easy meal for friends. From what food to serve right through to the table setting, flowers and everything in between….love it. Over the years I have collected all sorts of jars and bottles for dinner party flowers and my now 14 yo (son) has become the King of helping w table settings and name cards – and is possible better at it than me (teach them young I say!!!!) I keep a diary of food combos that have worked over the years and often rifle through it to remember meals that have been loved. We have had enough practise in the past 4-5 years – we have a country place we go to most weekends and generally there is a dinner party one night of the weekend for friends staying and local friends. For some reason I love it more in winter than summer as it’s so nice to light loads of candles and the fire and get cosy over yummy comfort food and wine. of course!"

Emily Archer:

"Oh, how I love this topic! My husband actually just made a video about this very topic…explaining how and why we re-arranged our entire house in order to accommodate a large table for hosting get-togethers. Feeding people is one of the most tangible ways to show love, care, and concern for those you love. Hospitality is an amazing opportunity to love on others, and has the ability to change lives…both theirs and yours. :-) Here’s the link to the video my husband made that explains our heart for this very subject:

And those recipes look totally amazing! I’d love to serve them to friends and family around our table!"

Rachel Joy:

"I love throwing dinner parties because I like to share good food with good friends. Well fed people are happy people, and I love to make them feel that way! It's especially fun to serve big meat eaters a vegetarian meal and have it be so good that they don't even notice that there's no meat. But maybe the best part is the conversation that happens around a dinner table, and the recipes on these beautiful cards look like the kind that will make good people happy, and lead them to talk for hours around the table. A true recipe for a fabulous dinner party. Cheers!"

Thanks again, ladies, for sharing - and enjoy your recipe cards!

xo, Anna

UPDATE: Funny enough, since I wrote this post earlier today, I heard some incredible news: the pictures from last week's dinner party were recovered!!! They were on a different card and were not deleted after all! Such amazing and unexpected news! Meanwhile, a snow and ice storm is headed to Nashville, so now we're driving to Birmingham tonight to beat the storm, so we can make it to Fairhope by tomorrow night. Once again, I live by childhood saying: "You never know what a day will bring...!"

(Photos by Eric Ryan Anderson)