≡ Menu

Thursday Night at the Ritz + Participation Anticipation

Happy weekend!

I made plans to come home from the beach on Wednesday because I had two events to attend in Charlotte on Thursday night that I didn’t want to miss. And Tanner was (lovingly) like, “you cannot leave me for a whole week.” We are trying to plan our own mini-getaway to the mountains in a couple of weeks so I’m kind of splitting my summer vacation between the two trips.

Bazemore Studios

The first event was a grand opening celebration for my future brother-in-law’s new photography studio. It’s clean, modern and filled with gorgeous natural light. He’s been working mostly out of his home and on location for the last several years so I’m so excited for him and his new space!

Passion Food Catering

His sister-in-law did the catering for the party (talented fam!) and it was incredible. Going clockwise from top left…stuffed artichoke bottoms (<– what a cool idea, right?), Biscoff brownies, figs stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in bacon, bahn mi sandwich crostini and watermelon basil skewers. Her catering business is Passion Food Catering and I can’t recommend her enough if you live in the area.

Punch Room Charlotte

My next stop found me in the Punch Room at the Ritz Carlton Charlotte Uptown for an InstaNosh event. The event was organized to bring together Charlotte bloggers and Instagramers for a night of networking and experiencing all the hotel has to offer for local residents. We enjoyed a demonstration from head mixologist Bob Peters on how to make a killer punch. He’s kind of a local celebrity and known for his amazing cocktails.

Punch Room Ritz Carlton

He gave us all kinds of great tips punch making tips including always use fresh fruit, always have an element of spice (can be actual spices or something like tea), add fresh herbs, freeze a giant ice cube in a bread pan to float in the punch (as it melts it will water down the punch which is good for guests as the party goes on…haha!) and more. The punch he made for us had fresh citrus, tequila, cilantro, local kombucha, fresh jalapeno and some other good stuff. I can tell you that it was delicious! 🙂

BLT Steak

After cocktails we were seated for dinner at BLT Steak.

BLT Steak Popovers

We were greeted with a wine pour and their to die for popovers.

BLT Steak Popovers

I am dead serious when I say that the popovers alone are reason to dine at BLT Steak.


See how happy I am?


But dinner wasn’t popovers alone. We also were served a family-style meal of steak, salmon and chicken with a variety of sides with wines to pair with.

BLT Steak Charlotte

My plate. Everything was so good!

Ritz Carlton Kitchen

After dinner we got to walk through the Ritz’s kitchen which was really fun for me. It was huge and there was so much going on.

Ritz Carlton Cocoa Lab

Our destination was the Cocoa Lab where we were greeted by pastry chef Crystal Broadbent. She demonstrated how to make a honey buttercream (using honey from the Ritz’s rooftop garden!) and piping it into macarons. Crystal has a tattoo of a cupcake on her neck…you can’t get more passionate about your job than that, right!?

Bar Cocoa Charlotte

Our next stop was Bar Cocoa where we could pick out any dessert we wanted to box up and take home. I chose the carrot cake and the salted caramel tart and they also sent us home with a selection of macarons. Bar Cocoa is the Ritz’s in-house dessert bar where they serve a variety of chocolates, gelato, macarons and house-made desserts.

Hidden Vine Ritz Carlton Charlotte

Our final stop was a sneak peek at the brand new Hidden Vine located in a tiny space on the lobby level. It’s a tiny little wine shop where hotel guests can pick up a bottle of wine or visitors to the lobby bar can buy a bottle of wine to enjoy on site with no corkage fee as long as it’s over $30. I see a wine + Bar Cocoa date in our future!

Ritz Carlton Charlotte

On the way out we stopped to take in the fresh fruit that was on display for hotel guests to pick up and enjoy. How nice is that amenity!?

Much thanks to the Ritz for a really fun night. It was extremely well-organized and the service was perfect. What was even better was the company. To be completely honest, I turn down a lot of invites like this because networking and small talk is outside of my comfort zone. I spent half the day on Thursday coming up with reasons why I couldn’t attend. I’m so glad I did because it was an absolutely lovely evening full of really real conversation.

One of my friends once told me, “the anticipation is worse than the participation” and he couldn’t be more spot on. I told my yoga classes today that we spend way too much time building up stories and scenarios in our head when really we need to just jump in and be as positive as possible about the outcome or simply say no.

I’m glad I said yes! There are some really cool women in Charlotte doing kick ass things and I’m grateful to have connected with some of them last night.

I hope you guys have a great weekend!

Do you have any super delicious punch or cocktail combos to share? 

Have you ever had popovers? 

Do you like macarons? 

Do you ever experience “participation anticipation” anxiety? 

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Jackie July 29, 2016, 11:03 pm

    Hi Jen,
    I totally have participation anxiety. And it’s funny because you’re right (and your friend is right) the anticipation is always worse than the participation. I always end up having a good time.

    Looks like a fun evening for you!

  • kat July 29, 2016, 11:30 pm

    I graduated from high school with Bob Peters! 🙂 I’ve heard he’s doing amazing things in CLT, glad to see him mentioned here! Looks like a fun night.

    • Jen DeCurtins July 30, 2016, 7:54 am

      He’s quite the local celeb these days! So cool that you graduated with him. Hope you’re having a great summer! Been following it all on FB and happy for you! <3

  • Meredith (The Cookie ChRUNicles) July 30, 2016, 5:14 am

    that looks so fun! I love a good event with good food (I guess that’s why I work in event planning lol)…. I love popovers! there used to be great place in NYC that served popovers while you waited for your meal. I think they closed although I should check – it was so good!

  • Stepfanie July 30, 2016, 7:11 am

    By mountains, do you mean Asheville? If so, I’d love to meet up!

    • Jen DeCurtins July 30, 2016, 7:54 am

      No, actually Grandfather Mountain this time! But next time in Asheville, yes…for sure!!!

  • kiki July 30, 2016, 8:16 am

    I have a holiday party each year and use this punch recipe. I can’t tell you how many requests I get for the recipe from our guests. I make the base in advance and just combine it with champagne the night of the party, so easy!
    Those desserts look amazing…can’t believe you didn’t choose the chocolate peanut butter mouse cake 🙂

  • Ashlee July 30, 2016, 10:08 am

    I TOTALLY have participation anticipation! I have never heard it called that – I call it social anxiety. When I tell people that they are always shocked because I am generally extroverted and social! But you’re so right, it’s overthinking things in ADVANCE of a social event that gets me.. and it’s also so true that when you suck it up and just GO, you almost never regret it. I also find that’s what leads me to feeling like I need a glass of wine even if I wasn’t planning on drinking that night.. is that just me??? Sounds so alcoholic when I type it out there in the intrawebs haha

  • maya July 30, 2016, 1:00 pm

    I totally get not liking networking and small talk, I’m the same. But I’m glad you went so we can see all the gorgeous pictures and share in the experience. Over here in the UK we call popovers Yorkshire puddings and they are everyone’s favourite thing ever. I haven’t had them in years, but I’ll make an effort for this Christmas and make them.

  • Katherine July 30, 2016, 10:09 pm

    #1. You look beautiful and your dress is gorgeous!
    #2. I respect your honesty- so much.
    #3. (Off topic) I just took my first class with Joe Wheeler and THANK YOU Y2 for actually being legitimate when you say #thisiswhatawesomelooklike 👍👌✌️

  • Jennifer July 31, 2016, 12:11 am

    That looks amazing! I want to go pick out desserts at the Ritz! And I sincerely hope as time goes by you decline invites because you have something you’d rather do, vs. any fear of small talk or new people. Deep conversations with close friends/family are good but those light and “superficial” talks can be really rewarding also… Also there is ALWAYS someone at the party more uncomfortable or awkward than you (well, statistically, not always, but for the most part, yes) – that can be a great opportunity to reach out and make them feel included or pull them into a group if you happen to know anyone already.

  • Julie Running in a Skirt August 1, 2016, 9:46 am

    As an extroverted introvert I totally get participation anxiety… but I also have FOMO sooooo….. 🙂 My fear of missing out usually wins me over! Looks like a blast!! What a great night– I’ll have to check out their restaurant the next time I”m in town.

  • Tara August 1, 2016, 1:41 pm

    yes to participation anxiety ! especially if going alone. love macaroons. i usually avoid punch because most people seem to make with a lot of juices and sugar. but tequila punch seems right up my alley ! i made a halloween punch once. freeze a doctors glove with water or punch and then you will have a frozen “hand” to float in your punch 🙂 one of the first things i ever found like that on pintrest a million years ago 🙂

Leave a Comment