The Birchfield Family | Aullwood Garden | Vandalia, Ohio

How touching to be in someone’s life so long, you have the chance to read the chapters of their life as they happen. Nicole is one of my oldest chums. She would give me the shirt off of her back if I needed it. Having been through young adulthood together, it is a pleasure to see how my friend has grown and morphed into a wife and, recently, a mother. I had the privilege of photographing Nicole with her husband Grant and their first child, Grayson. I absolutely adored capturing Grayson’s sweet personality, especially his smile. I hope it’s contagious.

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Jayne in the Wild | Hills + Dales | Dayton, Ohio

There are people that you meet that can only be described as a force of nature. When I met Jayne half a year ago, I had no idea our co-working relationship would bloom into the cherished friendship that it is. Last month, Jayne married the love of her life, Trey, and they are hoping to start a family early next year. I wanted to capture Jayne’s spirit in her favorite setting before motherhood takes her life by storm. Thank you, Jayne, for bringing such joy into my life and into the lives of others. You’ll be a great mama.

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Lea & Matt {Blush & Gold Rustic Elegance Wedding at The Willow Tree, Tipp City Ohio}

I was so lucky to participate in my good friends, Matt and Lea’s wedding celebration! The bride decorated the reception with beautiful pink and gold notes and the groom built the dessert and drink bars himself! I couldn’t be more proud of them for putting on one beautiful party.

This is the photographer, Chloe Luka’s post from the day.

Chloe Luka Photography

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From Lea, the Bride: “We met in France in October of 2010. Through years of Skype calls and plane flights, we have developed appreciation for both French and American cultures. We’re incorporating both languages into our wedding. For example, our menu as well as party favors are in french. Our inspiration for the decor is a classy/vintage look that incorporates both of our styles and likes. Through research and many hours of hard work (mostly by Lea 🙂 our vision will come to life using the barn at the Willow Tree as the back drop, and adding elegance to this rustic scene.”

I really cannot say enough about this sweet couple. First of all, Matt plays for Hawthorne Heights. How cool is that?! And he met Lea when they were on tour in France, where she is from. Again, how cool is THAT?! Their day was stunning. Lea has a beautiful, creative style…

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Welcome back, party goers!

Why, hello there party people! You may be wondering, what is going on around here? You probably aren’t but, for the sake of starting anew (and don’t forget the hint of drama) I welcome you to A Quiet Joy | Official Blog for Punch : Party Planning. This was once a lonely blog filled with musings on local lifestyle. However, I, Molly (owner and coordinator of Punch) have decided to use this wonderful space for the purposes of showcasing our planning portfolio and local party resources (can’t leave out the local businesses!)

Originally, when I started this blog, I wanted to share with my friends and neighbors all the wonders the vast community where we live and work (and beyond) has to offer. In the last several years, shopping and doing business locally has become important to many of us and I had hoped to share my love of all things aesthetic with a public that shares my sentiments. However, the few posts that were published didn’t particularly have a direction or theme. There had to be a way to use the knowledge and vivacity I have for a greater good. And so, a small, independent party planning business was born.

When I decided to try something completely new for me, it didn’t seem as far fetched as a new career might. For my entire adult life, I have LOVED all things entertaining. Recipes, drinks, decorations, the kind of service you tell everyone you know about…these are what get me excited about life and the future. Of the many things that give joy to humankind, celebrations are near the top of the list. Whether it be a small gathering of close friends or a shindig the size of your whole family, it is that sense of togetherness that warms the heart. To relax with a bottle of wine and good conversation. To laugh about old stories while making new ones. To have the first or last dance. These are the moments that I think matter the most. (Think about it. There is a party for nearly every large moment in a person’s life.)

Over the last several years, both personally and professionally, it has become my pleasure to give people a moment or two that they will remember for a long time after the music ends. The kind of service that hails back to the days when life wasn’t so rushed and you could call on your friends and bring them a loaf of fresh baked bread or a beer from the local brewery without worrying about your next appointment. That is our mission. To provide not only the tools to put on the best party possible. But also to provide a type of service that in some parts of the world might already be extinct.

I hope that you enjoy this journey with me. And I can’t wait for our next get together.

Julia Child said it best “…the waiters carried themselves with a quiet joy, as if their entire mission in life was to make their customers feel comfortable and well tended.”

I like your style, Julia.

Two thousand and fifteen

Its New Years Eve and I know I’m ready to party down. At my home. With my cat. And a glass of wine.

That is how I know I’m a grown up. For so long I’ve always loved New Years Eve. Around December 15th I begin to make my plans and in my head. I will host a Great Gatsby party, filled with laughter, dancing, and champagne coming out of my ears. However, my ideas never come to fruition and I’m left cold in a party dress in a skanky bar with people I don’t like blowing on noisemakers next to my glittery face. What a shame. So for the first time in my 28 years, I’m deciding to lay low. Deep frying a pork loin and drinking 2 drinks before passing out with Roseanne playing on the television. I. Can’t. Wait.

Unfortunately, this has been a glass-half-empty kind of year for yours truly. Apparently, I do not handle change as well as I thought. Plus, I’m notorious for being hard on myself (and others). Relationship woes, career changes, health issues – they have all made 2014 a little rough. But I am documenting today, sitting in my chair, with a Starbucks skinny peppermint mocha in hand and a tiny bit of sunshine coming through my window, that I intend to have a BANGING 2015. You hear me powers that be?? You better listen up! This next year doesn’t stand a chance.

Without further ado, Molly’s New Years Resolutions :

1. Health it up. I haven’t exercised nor eaten right in months and months and months. I feel terrible all of the time. I’m no longer working on my feet and therefore must put in EXTRA effort to keep my body and mind in shape. Looking forward to all the sweating I’m about to do.

2. Develop one hobby. It doesn’t have to be great. I could work on this bloggy some more. Or maybe write some poetry. Or start taking photos again. I haven’t done THAT in ages.

3. This sort of applies to numero dos. Start cooking again. Don’t let your tiny kitchen hold you back. You made H lamb chops and mussels for Valentine’s Day a few years ago. If you could prepare that shiz, you can do anything.

4. Have more sex. This one is a no-brainer.

OK! I’M SO MOTIVATED! Now, let’s see how I do.

xo

I think she’s waking up.

Whew. That was a close one! I nearly GAVE UP on this thing. I’ve been known to give up on personal projects in the past, it may be a millennial thing, but I refuse to let this bloggy go. It still needs me. And I, it. So here we go again!

It’s December! It’s actually only one day before Christmas. And boy-howdy am I in the holiday spirit.

Before I shower you with words of joy and love and sales, I should probably tell you… I pretty much hate Christmas. I have for about 10 years. Scrooge I am not, friends. It has been a slow descent. And like most things in my life, I attribute this feeling to my many years in the restaurant industry. The holidays are meant for office parties and the only office that does not get a party, is a restaurant. Servers and bartenders are the ones in charge of getting Phyllis drunk and making sure she doesn’t fall off the cheesy Santa tablecloth into Doug the intern. It might sound like an easy gig, it’s not rocket science of course, but it has its pitfalls. After so many years, I wanted to hang out with my friends and family. Everyone in my generation is starting to make babies and have families and I only have so much time before the people I love start to fade away, physically and not. That was a large part of my decision to move onto another profession.

Now that I’m working like a regular Joe (and so far, not loving it), the holidays can be a part of my life like they never have before. I am about to have four days off in a row. It ain’t like I get a vacation or anything, but that’s some real time off people. My high school friends are in town, my family gets to see me, I can drink as much nog as I want without having that looming feeling that I have to goright back to work without even a full day to play with my new toys. Yuletide is doing something to me.

So with that being said, I plan to not Grinch up my family’s parties and actually enjoy myself. Why not, right?

BRB, in 2015!

The mountains just aren’t close enough.

What? Molly’s going to discuss music or food or drinking again? No ha-way.

Yes way! What the hell else is there to talk about? Come on.

Its Thursday and because I have yet to really perfect any sort of method to my posting madness, I will take this opportunity to write about the upcoming weekend. Last week I wrote about the weekend, AFTER the fact. This time I thought I’d give you a heads up instead of making you feel bad for all the cool, hip things you missed. Ha, you losers.

So anyway, here’s what you should do.

Dayton Restaurant Week. You still have two more evenings of three-course bliss. Drink a fancy drink for me.

Check out the brand new Lucky Star Brewery a little south of town. Their grand opening is tomorrow, Friday the 1st of August (Summer, don’t goooooo). Hopefully I can make it down there since I’ve mentioned wanting to try all the local beers. If I get held up, let me know how it is!

First Friday – The first Friday of every month, downtown Dayton hosts an art-hop. Restaurants are open, art galleries showcase something special, people walk around…actually people I have no idea. I’ve always worked in restaurants so to be perfectly honest, I don’t have a clue about First Fridays. I’m really bringing this up because along with everything going on downtown, Pickin’ in the Park will be hosted at Riverscape Metro Park! Tomorrow night’s entertainment will feature the music of Whiskey Bent Valley and Woody Pines. There are food trucks scheduled to park around the festivities as well, go on and get you some! (Just you wait for the food truck post. It’s gonna be delicious.)

The main point of this post wasn’t to dully list what there is to do this Friday and Saturday. In fact, I wanted to discuss what I like to discuss the most…music. Its been a rather Country-Western filled summer in 2014. H and I attended the Buckle Up Music Festival in Cincinnati a few weeks back. There, we watched Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, and Old Crow Medicine Show KILL it. I’ve never been a huge country music fan. H is one and I love him so I’m trying my best to understand where that fondness of the genre comes from (P.S. If its a country song under 40 years old, I probably hate it).

I’m not sure if any of you are familiar with the iPhone app SongKick. If you’re not, you’re doing yourself a disservice. SongKick scans the library on your phone and alerts you when an artist in your library is playing a concert near you! BRILLIANT! I don’t frequently remember to check my alerts however last Saturday, I happened to be browsing what was in town for the next few months and lo and behold, the immortal Ralph Stanley was scheduled to play at one of the local FOE halls the next afternoon.

Are you fucking KIDDING me!?

For 3 hours, with only 300 others, we stood in awe of one of the greatest bluegrass legends of all time. He’s an old dude, 87, but his voice was haunting and perfect. It was one of the most memorable and exciting shows I’ve ever been to. You should have seen the old biddies dancing their pants off. With bluegrass on my mind, I wanted to send you, non-bluegrass music listeners, on an old timey journey.

My father is a HUGE country music lover. (He loves it all, but I have distinct memories of sitting in his white Ford pick-up, with Conway Twitty on the radio.) When I was 16 and loved heavy metal (my boyfriend was in a metal band, whadja expect?) my dad would make me listen to bluegrass and old time records and I despised it. I should have been listening more closely.

If you’re not a die-hard fan like I’ve become, here are some classics that just might convert you:

 

 

 

That’s some classic bluegrass right there!

Hope you see you tomorrow evening watching the locals pick away! If not, what are your plans for the weekend?

 

Its that time again!

Hel…Hel-lo…Hey folks. Sorry. I’m kind of full from the delicious meal I had earlier tonight. Most likely, I’m still satisfied from the dinner I had the night before. I’m in for a lotta days of unzipping my pants and giving loving/dirty looks to H from across the table. Why am I gorging myself on food for no reason? Well, fancy pantsies, this week is the wonderful (dreaded) Dayton Summer Restaurant Week 2014! Oh yeah, you heard me. Even po-dunk little Dayton has a restaurant week. And its pretty great, actually. Or at least, my tummy thinks so.

If you’re not hip to restaurant week, allow me to explain my dears. I’m not sure if its done similarly in other cities, but here at least, there are two weeks set aside every year (one in the Winter and you guessed it, one in the Summer) for local independent restaurants to gain some revenue in an otherwise slow time of the year. They offer three to four courses for a set price. It ranges from pizza and wings to high end dishes. And for the most part, it’s a pretty good deal. It gets a lot of people into restaurants they might not have been able to afford before. And for regular diners like us, its a chance for some restaurants to showcase specials that are unique to their regular menu.

(I mentioned “dreaded” earlier. You’ll have to excuse me, I’m still a waiter at heart and though patrons enjoy restaurant week very much, sorry to say, some people that go out to eat never do because they’re A) broke B) mean C) crazy. They choose restaurant week to spread their evil around and its generally hated by most foodservice professionals, both front and back of the house. Its surprising how demanding people can be even when the price of their meal is half what they would have paid. So listen up…if you decided to relax at your local eatery with a glass of wine and an awesome prix fixe menu, don’t be a dick. They’re working twice as hard for half the money.)

H and I take advantage of restaurant week. Especially now that I have evenings free! Last night we had pizza and beers at Pies & Pints. Its surrounded by an outdoor mall which is a strange juxtaposition. But even with sparkly sandals and shopping bags EVERYWHERE, the pizza is the best distraction.

What we shared at Pies & Pints:
Caesar Salad
Award-Winning dry rubbed wings with creamy Gorgonzola
Grape, Gorgonzola, and rosemary pizza
We also had Ohio brewed beers! Flyin’ RyePA from Warped Wing Brewing Company and a Revolution Anti-hero from Jackie-O’s Brewery.

BOMB DOT COM.

H was still hungry (he was mostly excited) so we went across town to Chappy’s Tap Room. Tons of craft beer, tons of fried chicken, tons of beer nerds. By now, I’m too full to talk so I sat back and watched my man eat. And boy howdy, did he eat.

What H ate at Chappy’s:
Cheesy Tortilla Soup
BIG DADDY COMBO (1/3 Slab BBQ Ribs, Beer Brined Pork Chop & Southern Fried Chicken Breast)
Chocolate Texas sheet cake

Wipe that drool, man. I know, it sounds just like it tastes. He said that chocolate cake was one of the best things he’s ever eaten. And he eats alot.

Cut to, this evening, we dined at Christopher’s Restaurant. One of our favorites anyway, we were pumped to see the different things they were offering. Not disappointed.

What we shared at Christopher’s:
Eggplant chips with cilantro-cashew pesto
Smoked salmon dip stuffed artichoke hearts with fried pita chips
Chilled tomato and stone fruit soup
Grilled peach & mozzarella salad with herb vinaigrette
Pork chop with apple berry compote and mascarpone polenta
Roasted zucchini stuffed with mascarpone polenta and mixed vegetables, drizzled with honey butter and fried sage leaves
Strawberry almond torte
Chocolate ganache bread pudding with caramel sauce

So #*%$ing good, dudes. So good.

If you need a reason to take out a gal (or guy) and get them drunk on local beer and food, this week is the week to do it. Experiment together, try new things, tip your servers.

Here is a link to Dayton’s Restaurant Week website. So many choices, let me know what you choose!

Dayton Summer Restaurant Week!

Do it.

Sunday Evening Roundup

Hey y’all. It’s been awhile. It’s far too soon for this blog to go neglected, so I am persisting in posting an “end-of-the-weekend” roundup! It’s really just a list of the happy, fun things I did for three days. I hope I can tell you about somethings and get you excited because, that’s just what I’m here for. 

First things first. 

Summertime is festival season. H and I typically try to attend at least half a dozen per summer (though my favorite falls in September). Catholic church festivals are ones not to miss. Little old ladies running gambling booths in which the prizes are the cakes and pies they made the night before? How could you go wrong!

Here is a link so some area Catholic festivals if you’re interested in having a blast with the locals. And it’s all for a good cause after all, keeping kids in Catholic school. (I went to a Catholic school and though I’m no longer a believer, I think my time in there has a lot to do with how I turned out as a person…pretty rad.)

Catholic Festivals!

This weekend was the 13th Annual Dayton Celtic Festival. Guinness, jewelry, food trucks, music… all of which make this the most successful of the festivals in the Miami Valley. If you haven’t people watched and gotten a little tipsy at the Dayton Celtic Festival, you’re betraying yourself. 

Second things second. 

Today, right now, yours truly is introducing the brand spankin’ new series here at A Quiet Joy. It was only a matter of time. 

Without further ado, I present to you faithful reader The Hidden Gem City! (Cute, huh?)

Let’s get real. You like food. At least, I truly hope you do. You don’t necessarily have the time or money to dine on fancy drinks and cured meats on boards made of walnut and maple. Sometimes, you just want some good eats in a greasy spoon that you can tell your friends or family about and make you feel cooler than them. Well guys, I’m here to help. Its a pretty small town so there aren’t thousands of these dives to speak of. When I find one, and enjoy it, it’ll show up here. 

Hidden Gem July 2014

Taco Loco
5392 Burkhardt Rd.
Dayton, OH 45431

I’ve been wanting to try this for some time. Small with 4 girls working the cash register and the floor, it’s not beautiful but it works. We ordered a Mexican Coke (duh) and horchata. I couldn’t believe I found “rice water” in Dayton. My life is changed forever. I ordered a chicken and Shepard’s Pie pork taco with refried beans. 

Multigrain tortilla chips, corn tortillas, cilantro…it’s sounding good right about now, isn’t it?

Beans were soupy and delicious. Double stacked tortillas (you KNOW one isn’t holding all that awesomeness). Good salsa. Good flavors. I have to say however, that if you ever find yourself sitting by the window with a Tamarind Jarritos, order the Shepard’s Pie taco. Pork in a sauce made with cinnamon, sauteed onions, it has a distinct aroma and it hits the spot like nothing else. H ordered a chili relleno taco (spicy!) and chorizo. Both solid. Service was spot on. 

The only negative is that the food took a little longer than I expected. It wasn’t more than 5 minutes longer than it should have been and I was probably just extra hungry.

(I would have taken some pictures but I’m still a beginner. Imagine in your mind’s eye though, it’s still mouth watering.)
Grade : A 

Well that was short and sweet. Just what I’m going for. 

Some cheese with that whine?

Well folks, the weekend is well underway and I’m already nursing a bit of a hangover. It’s an itty bitty one so, I don’t mind. And the wine that gave it to me was worth the risk. A night spent with friends and good wine is my favorite kind of night.

I am a wine snob. Not like a rich white guy kind of snob but a, “only half of the country drinks wine and mostly just Franzia, why people why” kind of snob. It started meagerly enough, playing drinking games with Arbor Mist Blackberry Merlot instead of Pabst Blue Ribbon in my formative years. Then once my love of food and dining and living began, thats when my teeth turned REALLY purple.

Over time I’ve learned to enjoy the lushness of a Pinot Noir, the fruit-heaviness of a Bordeaux, even the most “boring” of the bunch, the Merlot. (That was sarcasm I want to point out, Merlot is one of the best grapes there is.) I worked in a French restaurant so most of my knowledge is based around Old World wines (meaning wines that have had grape vines in the ground for a very, very long time. Europe has most of these.) I don’t drink much American wines, though proud I am of our viticultural takeover of the wine world. Being that as it may, I’m of the mindset that I should constantly be learning. And when you’re learning about wine, the best way to take it all in, is to try every one you can find.

Lucy, making wine the old fashioned way.

Here is a short wine lesson for those who would like to experiment with me:

Wine – Fermented grape juice

Fermentation – The process of sugar turning into alcohol (naturally done in the old days, now a modern process)

Grape – There are many names for what grapes are in a wine (they vary from region to region in the world, not confusing in the least)

Vintage – The year the grapes were grown. The same wine from the same winemaker from two different years could taste completely different. This is due to the region in which the grapes grow’s terroir.

Terroir – Everything natural where the grape is grown. Temperature, soil, water, etc.

Reading a bottle – Pinot Noir is a French grape. If you buy an American Pinot Noir, it will say simply “Pinot Noir” on the label. Easy peasy. However, Pinot Noir in France is grown in a region called Burgundy. There are sub regions also so it can get pretty specific. A French label will say Burgundy (although, it will say Burgundy in French. Bear with me.)

Those are the basics. Like I said before, however, you won’t really know anything about wine until you drink it! Over the course of the evening, H, some friends, and I enjoyed an Australian red called 19 Crimes. Juicy and velvety, it was a good bottle for under 10 bucks.

 

 

Frankly, we were having too good of a time to discuss the notes of the wine in depth. I’ll make sure to at least write a few things down in the future. But for now, at least with this bottle, Australian wines are ok by me.

Tell me friends, what is your favorite bottle under 10 bucks?