Another Darling Dinner has come and gone, and rather than share a recap in our usual way, we wanted to highlight one of the most important facets of the dinners — women connecting and coming together. We asked dinner attendee Amber Duran to share her experience.

What I expected at a Darling Dinner was amazing food, inspiring conversation and beautiful décor, but I experienced so much more. I never expected to make such sweet friends, be a part of a wonderful community and hear so many women open up about some of their insecurities and past hurts like I did.

When I walked into Theresa Pollard’s loft at More Butter Please, located in the arts district of LA, I was greeted by the scents of her delicious food, handed a drink served in an antique teacup and thrown into conversation with friends I haven’t seen in years. I was totally in my element. After a few minutes of visiting, we took our seats at the beautifully curated dinner table and were asked to sit by women we didn’t know. This may sound easy for some, but I’m a creature of habit and a bit of an introvert so being asked to sit with people I didn’t know was a little scary. As we all introduced ourselves, Theresa shared with us one of her favorite wines and dinner was served. As if homemade sourdough bread and spreads weren’t enough for appetizers, she also created an amazing entrée of flat iron steaks with Chimichurri and crispy Parmesan potatoes, and ended with warm chocolate and apricots for dessert!

As we sip our wine and enjoy the meal, Darling Market Editor Mercedes Curran asked each of us two questions, the first being, “Are you living from the outside in or from the inside out? Do you have a core anchoring that gives you purpose and perspective? What is it?” We started to move around the table as each of the women began sharing their raw and honest responses. I truly didn’t expect such vulnerability and I don’t think anyone else did either. This question forced me to really reflect on the past year, and think about where I’ve come from, what was my core anchor and who I really am. I’ve always had a certain image of who I am in my mind, but didn’t realize exactly who I was until I went through some of the hardest trials of my life.

Although you still have those moments where you think “what else could I have done to keep it together?”, I had to keep my eyes focused on all the truths in my life: I shouldn’t define myself by who I’m with, what I’m doing or what I’ve done … but in my faith and how I live. As we continued to share there was another girl who was around my age, who had a similar experience in the last year and as she shared her story, others we were able to find strength and encourage one another. When you go though such difficult situations in your life, you don’t normally think anyone else shares the same experience. When you come across someone who does, you feel encouraged knowing you aren’t the only one! I hope I’m able to take my experiences and encourage others.

When you go though such difficult situations in your life, you don’t normally think anyone else shares the same experience. When you come across someone who does, you feel encouraged knowing you aren’t the only one!

The next question that was asked was, “What is the difference between a manipulator and an influencer? And can we be one and not the other? How?” We easily went into answering this question, especially since we all pretty much just shared our heart and souls with one another, and I think the consensus was the same: all of us, as strong, independent women, and a lot of us business owners, are ready and wanting to influence the world. To make that happen, we need to stay grounded and aware of who our strength is and what our values are, and remember to stay true to those beliefs.

I would be honored to attend another dinner with these amazing women!

Stay connected to our calendar for the next Darling Dinner, here.
Images via Morgan Johnson

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