Today I’m sharing my dinner en blanc experience in France as well as saying goodbye to two lovely ladies that have since passed away.
I realized that I still haven’t shared the dinner en blanc that we had in France a couple of years ago. I can’t wait to share these gorgeous photos with you but what sparked me sharing this with you today is that two lovely ladies from this trip have since passed away and it breaks my heart and I can’t stop thinking about it.
Let me share it all with you today.
Dinner en Blanc
When Heather Bullard put The Academy together three years ago, we were her first group. We were her guinea pigs and we have joked ever since that there should be a reunion every year and for us to go back to ‘help’ her. I’m not sure how much help we would be (like no help I’m sure) and she really didn’t need us to be guinea pigs because The Academy was amazing and everything we could have ever imagine.
Heather had her dinner en blanc set in our itinerary so we knew we had to bring a white outfit. There was also a day that was going to be spent by the pool too (did you even know there was a pool there? I’ll have to look for a photo). But the weather was so cold there was no chance of that. In fact, dinner en blanc was on the verge of not happening. The owner of the chateau said that dinners were to be inside not outside in France (who knew?) especially special occasions so it almost didn’t happen but Heather persisted.
It also didn’t help when we all showed up in our white outfits complaining that it was cold out (I brought a sundress!).
But how could you resist not sitting at a beautiful table such as this?
I love Heather’s styling, just exquisite and simple.
Here I am with my ‘roomie’ Stacie. Everyone shared a room at the chateau except us two. We had two rooms side by side at the top of the chateau and we shared a bathroom but we still called each other ‘roomie’ the whole trip and walked everywhere together. We had so much fun together, Stacie is a blast!
After enjoying some amuse-bouches and real champagne, this is what was on the menu each item served as a course:
- oysters (the largest we’ve ever seen)
- foie gras (a speciality in this Dordogne region of France, we had foie gras every day while we were there)
- white asparagus (another speciality of the area)
- langoustines (large prawns) in a creamy sauce
- plate of cheeses
- nougat glace et mousses for dessert (a type of ice cream and strawberry mousse)
Each course was paired with a different wine of course.
Here are those large oysters. Normally I love oysters and poor Shannon had never tried them so we told her she must! After she did, Stacie and I tried them and they were so huge you had to chew them, they were too big to just go down the throat and tasted very much like the ocean. Sorry Shannon!
My plate of foie gras.
We enjoyed ourselves so much and talked late into the night. We forgot all about how cold it was (thanks to the wine, I’m sure) and had the best evening together.
Two Sad Goodbyes
I don’t have the right words to share this sufficiently but I’ll try. Our group only spent a week together but I can tell you with certainty that we all bonded and thought this was a trip of a lifetime.
I was in the middle of my divorce and as a treat to myself for my 40th birthday I went on this trip and loved every minute of it. Even though there wasn’t a lot of it, I did spend my down time alone. I wanted to reflect and have time for myself as I felt completely depleted before the trip. Even despite this, these two ladies passing away from this small group has affected me in ways I can’t explain.
Two years ago, I specifically remember that I was at the BH&G event in New York when I heard the news that Teresa had passed away after her battle with cancer. We had learned shortly before of her struggle but we didn’t know in France. I remember sitting in my hotel room crying before heading down to meet everyone.
Then just a couple of weeks ago, Gina reached out to us to let us know that Lynda had passed away and she was fighting an aggressive cancer as well and we were unaware that she was going through that battle.
In a group of 15 women, two passing away in such a short time makes you reflect deeply on life.
Both women had such big hearts, amazing style and were both so beautiful, inside and out.
They have so many friends and family that love them and I am one of them.
Teresa Andersen (on the left) with her daughter Shannon
Lynda Smith (on the left) and her good friend Gina Schwartz
You will be deeply missed and never forgotten xo