Cynthia Rowley and Inspirations & Celebrations Host “The Whimsy & Wonder Holiday Party” in Carmel-by-the-Sea
I’ve always believed that when we follow our hearts and work toward making our dreams come true, life will magically help us to manifest our visions when the timing is right.
Well, that’s exactly how “The Whimsy & Wonder Holiday Party” came to be…
To give you a little backstory on this event, when I launched Inspirations & Celebrations eight years ago, one of my goals was to host a party to bring together my family, friends, people I’ve worked with, and I&C fans. But this wouldn’t be just any party – I imagined that it’d be in collaboration with a stylish brand that inspires me.
Fast-forward to the Summer of 2019, when Cynthia Rowley opened up a pop-up boutique at Carmel Plaza in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Admittedly, I didn’t know too much about the brand but was instantly drawn to the store as it exuded a fun, playful aesthetic. From vibrant-colored dresses and chic swimwear to feminine accents, like ruffles and sequins, the Cynthia Rowley brand is known for cheery, light-hearted pieces that are fun to wear.
Aside from browsing the collection and getting acquainted with the brand, ironically, when I first stepped into the store, for some reason, I imagined hosting a party there. Naturally, I didn’t give it much thought, as it seemed like a random passing idea. Little did I know that this simple idea was just the beginning of something bigger…
Several months later, as I was preparing for New York Fashion Week, I got invited to the Cynthia Rowley runway show. So, naturally, I went to the store to shop for an outfit (a playful 80’s-inspired silver party dress, which I’m wearing below). During my try-on session, I met Jonathan Damon, the exuberant and affable store manager.
After getting to know each other better, we decided it’d be fun to collaborate on a couple of style guides for I&C, featuring Cynthia Rowley apparel (which you can view here and here). This was a great way to show my readers how they can style pieces from the brand for both casual outings and holiday parties.
Throughout the experience, I learned so much about this hip New York-meets-California lifestyle brand, the enchanting and unique designs, and even the unexpected materials they use (like recycled soda pop bottle lids to construct a shimmery sequined blazer).
Several weeks after returning home from NYFW, Jonathan asked if I wanted to host a party at the store. Little did he realize that he was helping to make one of my long-held dreams come true… and so the party-planning began.
Because Cynthia Rowley’s designs exude a whimsical and wonderful vibe, I instantly envisioned the theme for our party as – “The Whimsy & Wonder Holiday Party”. From chic black and gold colors to unexpected elements of surprise and delight, I wanted the party to inspire guests and get them excited about shopping for the holidays.
From lush fresh flowers in gilded vases to glamorous custom printed foil balloons, gold balloon weights, and a cheery balloon garland from Creative Balloons Mfg., my vision was to add fun, festive touches to bring the store to life.
I even put together gorgeous gift bags (to surprise the first 10 attendees) that were filled with shimmery makeup palettes and lustrous lip glosses by Pixi Beauty. And this was just the beginning…
The store treated guests to a 15% discount on purchases, in addition to providing them with the opportunity to win a $400 shopping spree, just by signing-up for emails.
Naturally, the foundation of every great party is excellent food and beverages. That’s why we were thrilled to partner with Yeast of Eden (the popular new restaurant and brewery at Carmel Plaza), to provide refreshing appetizers (such as a Spicy Thai Salad and Ceviche with Chips).
For our wine sponsor, we reached out to partner with Eden Rift Vineyards, which is an incredible new winery from Hollister that produces sumptuous wines (including a stellar Chardonnay).
But it didn’t stop there! On the night of the party, as we were getting everything set up, gourmet fruit and grazing platters miraculously showed up at the store. To our pleasant surprise, the owner of a new shop called Pantilimon’s heard about our party and decided to gift us with beautiful (and tasty) artisan food trays.
To put it simply – everyone was raving about all the incredible food and wine being served that night.
From family and friends to local I&C fans and Monterey Peninsula residents, I loved being able to connect with everyone in real life while watching the party guests joyfully discover the new Fall/Winter collection and learn more about the brand.
Beyond the chance to celebrate the holidays in style, our fun-filled event was the perfect opportunity for guests to shop for new pieces in a relaxed and festive atmosphere.
To learn more about the brand, visit CynthiaRowley.com and check out my 2019 NYFW coverage.
[Main photography by Manny Espinoza and some photos by James Michael N°3. Affiliate links included.]