Monday, January 7, 2013

"Dirty Bingo" Holiday Party

Harry and Jan, gracious hosts of the gala

Sounds like something a little naughtier than nice, like a lingerie party with gambling, perhaps. It was nothing of the sort. On Sunday evening I was invited to the elegantly appointed home of Jan and Harry Korotki for a delightful post-holiday soiree, complete with a white-elephant present-swapping game. Given the little relation to naughtiness or bingo that I could see, and considering the extensive guest list of equestrian aficionados from all over Baltimore County, Maryland, I think it should have been called a "white horse" holiday party instead. But despite the fact that this was my first experience with any sort of gift-swapping event, I was instantly taken with the good-humored nature of the affair.

My new purse, a Christmas gift from Joyce

Jan Korotki, who you might recall from a previous blog post, is the wonderful woman from whom I bought my beloved horse, Chubby, in 2004 (see my post titled "A Horse Of My Own"). Her party invitation for Sunday instructed guests to bring a wrapped gift with a value not to exceed $25 and a potluck food item to share with about forty people. Jan also told me the suggested attire for her get together was "dressy-casual with a horsey theme". I could do that!

From left: Lyndi Caruso, Lauren Mendelsohn,
 Jo Jennings and Chris Rossiter 
On the given day, I chose vintage brown leggings from the 1970s by Jacques Morét, which I topped with a sparkly copper sweater by Style & Co. for Macy’s that I purchased several years ago. I pulled on some toasty brown suede boots with fold-over cuffs by Wendi that I plucked from a clearance rack at Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) toward the end of summer and, since this was a "horse-themed" party, selected a necklace with a handsome gelding hand-painted by a Russian artist on a silver pendant and adorned with smoky topaz and citrine gems, along with  matching topaz and citrine earrings, all from Fire & Ice Jewelers of Baltimore (, gifts from my dear friends, Robert and Jan Levine, on my birthday a few years back. I accessorized my casual outfit with a leopard-print faux-fur jacket from Fabulous Furs, a pair of beige knitted gloves and a brand new bronze-fabric handbag quilted with glittery golden thread, the latter a recent Christmas gift from my best friend’s mother, Joyce, in Spokane, Washington.

Jan and Harry's beautiful tree

From left: Trish Apple, Dulany Noble
and Joe Bills
Armed with a gaily wrapped gift ready for the swap, a bottle of hearty homemade vinaigrette to present to my hosts, and a steaming batch of baked cashew-artichoke dip pulled moments before from my oven, I made the short drive across town to Harry and Jan’s lovely abode. As guests greeted each other warmly in the foyer and Jan introduced me to those I didn't yet know, animated conversation quickly filled the house, mostly about our various equine affections. Food and libation were plentiful and delicious. The gift exchange was a riot.

From left: Lauren and Andy Sandles,
Cara Cohen
I took note of Jan’s considerable decorating skill as I observed each room’s tasteful Moroccan ornamentation. Was there Persian ancestry in the family? No. Jan simply adores the intricate mosaic and filigree work of Middle Eastern décor. I had to concur. Every vignette was enchanting.

Guests look on as Dulany unwraps her gift
It was a lovely party, a splendid way to spend a chilly January evening. I made new friends and enjoyed the camaraderie of like-minded souls, all of whom, like me, have riding boots in their mudrooms and hoof prints on their hearts.


1 comment:

  1. "Dirty Bingo" Holiday Party!! Sounds so exciting and fun. All of the ladies truly seem happy. You know my mom turned 60 recently and we siblings threw a grand party at the domestic event space Atlanta. She had no idea about this party and that’s why seeing her happy reactions was the best thing ever!