#WOMENWHOROCK, NO REALLY

Simple hands, a complex mind. 

There, I said it. I finally released a sentence that I've brewed upon as old as diner coffee. I tend to sit on ideas for weeks, months, YEARS so afraid to voice that idea in fear someone will take it, that I won't amount to the idea or scared of having an idea with no follow-through. But that has changed, thanks to the past few #WomenWhoRock dinners. I'm so thankful to be a part of something as simple as a dinner, and as complex as a group of women.

I cooked a menu that felt simple but can definitely be overthought when hearing words like risotto, reduction, mise en place. But it was honestly the simplest of meals. After all the dishes were placed on the table, neatly so, we all took a seat. With glasses full of wine and mouths full of food, we started into conversation. As the night wore on and homemade Magnolia Bakery-style banana cream pie was placed on the table, the conversation stirred steep. Women have such powerful voices, although sometimes heard, not always is someone listening. Not this night. I'm thankful for these round tables. Each voice, if voiced, was heard and listened to and responded to. I can't say that always happens in groups of women. This is not to say that this ONLY happens here but I can say that what Natalie and Khalehla have created is strong, empowering, fulfilling.

After having been to two WWR dinners, hosted and created by poet Natalie Patterson and writer Khalehla Rixon, I was very excited to get an opportunity to host at my home. Also, any excuse to cook! One of things about the dinner is you can invite whoever you want, be it past guests or new. But I knew exactly who I wanted to invite as I felt each person had something they were working on to potentially share and in turn be able to add to the conversation. Instead of me telling you what they think, they've shared a little piece with you instead, shared throughout this post. 

Now, post dinner, I've learned so much about the motive of these dinners. There are no guidelines or agendas but there is a reason for each seat filled. Whether my friends stay and contribute or leave with complex thoughts, I'm so happy these moments are provided. 

I’m so happy I got to come! It was just what I’d been missing since moving to LA—connecting with a group of smart, funny, creative women with no pretense. How refreshing to share ideas, food and laughter with like-minded individuals. I left feeling rejuvenated and inspired. Thank you!!!
A word that stuck out to me during the dinner was choice. I know this came up multiple times & it’s been a word that I’ve heard so many times this past week for myself personally. It’s these voices around the dinner table that can hold us accountable for taking personal responsibility for the choices that we have made and the choices that we will continue to have in our everyday lives. It’s such a powerful gift & a lot of us tend to come up with a million and one excuses as to why we can’t or aren’t doing something, when in fact, we are fortunate enough to choose our path and need to keep that top of mind. It’s definitely a practice!
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Besides a full belly (I need a Cooking with Christina series stat), our dinner left me full of confidence, which is definitely not something I always walk away with after a gathering of beautiful, successful, talented women. Being in truly bad-ass company gently made me realize that I have a tendency to recoil from how bad-ass I am myself. It was a very nurturing and supportive environment that reminded me that to just “do you” is more than adequate. I just love what everyone individually brought to the table, literally and figuratively, without taking anything away from anyone else, if that makes sense. Everyone was so open and generous. Days later, I’m back to work with a little more gusto, and a few fewer excuses, than usual thanks in part to sitting down with a few great women who reminded me that we all have something worth sharing unapologetically.
For me, the dinners are a great reminder that sometimes we need to lean into our discomfort in order to get to the truth of whatever it is we are struggling with. That if we trust our instincts, peace will come. And if we show up with faith, fear disappears. Being surrounded by wonderful, amazing women is inspiring. Seeing each other smile gives me life. I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening.
Things are exactly as hard as we think.
We are all entrepreneurs venturing into unchartered territory; clothing lines, blogs, scripts, photo projects, TV shows, new jobs, etc. The difficulty of these endeavors is truly in the eye of the beholder. Somedays I feel like I can take over the world and some days I want to hide under a rock. But whatever I think. I am right.
Having this group environment where we can talk about our ups and downs helps put things in perspective. It’s awesome.
There is nothing like women gathered around a beautiful meal. We all learn through the stories of each other. Sometimes we find our spark, other times we learn to speak up, every time we grow. That’s my favorite part, all the things that happen on the inside as a result of a dinner.

Someone not photographically featured was my dear friend Sabrina, the beauty behind the camera. I'm so thankful for her eye, these photos, her time. Without solicitation, she took these photos, capturing some of my favorite moments of the night. Also, thank you to my friends for sharing, listening and contributing: Alex, Jazzi, Gabi + Kira.

If there was one thought you needed to share with your friends but either are too afraid to say it out loud or haven't had the opportunity, I want to give you that opportunity now.

I'm open ears.

Christina Topacio

Los Angeles, CA

A life with style blog, dedicated to giving you direct sassness and satire, every week of the year.