101 in 1001 #24: Try Rent The Runway for a special event!

Some weekends are just so fantastic it takes me until Tuesday to feel human again. This weekend was one of them...totally one for the record books in SO many ways. I spent Friday evening at Greg's cabin with friends: midnight swimming, drinking games, and soaking up the sun on Saturday morning. Saturday evening, however, I got to attend the Minnesota Orchestra's Diamond Anniversary Symphony Ball, and it was a complete 180 from Friday! 

Um, hi. Rhapsody in Blue was a HUGE part of my senior year of high school - I worked on it for solo piano for almost the entire year and have loved it forever. The event, celebrating 60 years of the Minnesota Orchestra, was a 1920s-themed Art Deco dream, and I couldn't have been more excited to attend. 

As the ball was black-tie, I went all-out and tried out Rent the Runway for the first time. After selecting a couple of different styles, I settled on this one-shoulder Carmen Marc Valvo beauty. Just the right combination of classic and elegant, with a little flair and a lot of room to have fun with accessories. If I'm being honest, I spent at least an hour playing dress-up and accessorizing once my gowns arrived on Thursday! With free backup size options and a second choice dress for only $32.50, it's a steal of a deal to get access to gowns that are definitely not a part of my regular budget. 

I had my hair and makeup done on Saturday before the event...I hadn't had an updo done since my senior prom, and had never had my makeup done. While the makeup was so much fun...red lipstick! Fake eyelashes! CONTOURING on a Kardashian-level!...the updo was a catastrophic failure. About ten minutes before my date for the evening arrived, I freaked out, pulled about forty bobby pins out of my hair, and completely re-did it myself. See the before-and-after below...and feel free to tell me that I should quit my corporate job and go be an updo-doer, clearly. 

So much better, right? I threw in a vaguely Art-Deco headband and some serious earrings and a bracelet from J.Crew, and called myself black-tie ready with the addition of a pair of murderous 4-inch heels. Our agenda for the night prior to the gala involved bison tartare, duck sliders, and the insane creamed spinach at Spoon and Stable...because I hadn't been to Spoon and Stable for about a month and was starting to approach withdrawal levels. 

Once we finished up at S&S, we found ourselves with a bit too much time before we headed over to the ball, so we tried out a new-to-me spot in the Ivy Hotel, Monello! Nothing like a giant glass of Jacques Chaput to make me feel incredibly fancy. (Please also note below that I am managing to wear red lipstick without getting any of it on my teeth. Extremely proud of that one, right there.)

Before I get too far into the post, I should probably introduce the tie-wearing half of our black tie event, my partner in all things opera and orchestra, Michael. Not only did he drive in from Fargo day-of for the event, he bought a super-hot Hugo Boss tux for it. Not going to lie, it made me really glad I had gone the Rent the Runway route just to keep up with his Bond-levels of suave.

Having totally enjoyed the pre-ball portion of the night...our server at Spoon and Stable knew him from high school!...we headed over to Orchestra Hall in time to grab champagne, peruse the crazy auction items, and head into the concert portion of the evening! 

Nothing prettier than Orchestra Hall all dressed up. We ran into some of Michael's friends from law school and joined them for the live auction, need campaign, and concert portion of the evening. Highlights: an adorable seven-year-old wannabe conductor, and the auctioned-off chance to conduct the orchestra in "Stars and Stripes Forever," which was won by a new board member who made my evening with his highly creative take on conducting. I also died and went to heaven over hearing "Rhapsody in Blue." Pianist Andrew Staub's cadenzas were outstanding. Pieces by Ravel (heavy on gong, naturally) and "Diamonds are Forever" (because, diamond anniversary, duh) rounded out a stellar evening of music. 

And then it was party time! Orchestra Hall was dressed to the nines. There were speakeasies serving signature cocktails scattered across the levels sponsored by J.Carver Distillery and featuring bartenders from some of the Twin Cities' best watering holes. Food by Be Events completely hit the spot at 10pm, especially the macarons, which approached Gerard Mulot levels of perfection. The Wolverines Big Band provided a soundtrack of Sinatra and swing classics, and the entire atrium was decorated just gorgeously. 

...Oh yeah, and there were aerialists pouring champagne...AERIALISTS. It was deliciously over-the-top and so much fun. 

We went through the buffet backwards, chatted with a few lovely people, and enjoyed several Bee's Knees, a gin-honey-lemon concoction originally popularized during Prohibition. Michael had zero qualms photographing me mid-appetizer...

...but I am innovative OBVIOUSLY and turned that shit black and white. Duh. Because everything is instantly un-trashified if it's in black and white. 

Attempts to get him back failed miserably, because he's annoyingly photogenic and chews with good manners. Damn it. 

We ended up spending the tail end of the evening backstage in the green room, as Michael's friends had an in, and I refrained from being at all embarrassing about it. Primarily because I was otherwise occupied rapping "Hamilton" and discussing Anthropologie with new friend Berit, an utter doll. We did take one nice picture before heading out...

Boom. Thanks, Rent the Runway. We ended the night by first closing down Constantine, the bar in the basement of the Ivy. Please note: red lipstick STILL INTACT despite hours of cocktails and dining, aka I am basically destined for makeup greatness now. 

We parted ways with Michael's friends after making a few Lakeville connections and I, being a moderately tipsy genius, decided we could totally handle the 20-minute walk home. I made it two blocks and freaked out because my heels were excruciating. Thank goodness Michael was up for closing down the Local with shots of Jameson, a spilled Guinness and a signature "Lizzie orders that virgin drink that tastes like a Creamsicle and adds a double vodka," and a suavely-loosened tie...

Best of all, he's the kind of guy who can tell when your homicidal heels are actually killing you and calls an Uber and carries them home for you so you can hold up your train, all without judgment of one of my most déclassé moments ever. Straight up winning. 

Already planning on using Rent the Runway for July's Como Zoo gala, August's Ordway season opening gala, and September's Minnesota Opera Ball...because apparently 27 is that magical age when all of a sudden you get to go to ALL THE FANCY THINGS. So excited! So happy! So sure that someday when I get to heaven, it'll include an open bar and have a black tie dress code. 

And maybe a champagne aerialist for good measure. To check out the rest of my 101 in 1001, and maybe hop on the bandwagon to do some of it with me, head here