It’s no secret that we’ve got a weakness for fiestas here at Camille Styles, and when we got wind of this creative supergroup in Phoenix we couldn’t wait to see their take on Cinco de Mayo. Ricki Weiner, stylist and curator of la Ricki, says that Arizona has its own unique approach to celebrating. “Entertaining here tends to be casual and centered around the outdoors. It’s all about our front porches, back patios, and being poolside. We have mild falls and springs that are infectious with orange blossom and jasmine, and we’re fortunate to be surrounded by beautiful views. Mountains to desert, we have an amazing and unique palette to work with here,” she says. She and photographer Heather Kinkel worked together to define a muted pastel color palette for the fiesta. “We wanted to create a backyard celebration for this festive day (very popular here in AZ) but soften the colors and vibe to go with our styling,” she explains. The shoot took place at Heather’s home in the Arcadia neighborhood of central Phoenix. “Her lush backyard and open patio space are perfect for outdoor entertaining. Her home truly has it all in terms of areas to cook, gather, lay in the grass and throw in an urban garden of fruit trees, raised beds and a chicken coop!” Join us to see how the cool kids in Arizona throw down for Cinco de Mayo — and get ready for some serious fun.
hair by zack glielmi • makeup by lillian fogel • florals by bask + terra • drinks by colton brock • illustrations and paper art by amber michelle • fashion + jewelry by frances vintage • tableware by urbana • cookies by az cookie love • mexican blanket courtesy nosh studios • ceramics by keramik • modeled by mariana, brendan, nick, savannah, and teresa
AZ-based florist Bask + Terra created the pretty floral arrangements for the fiesta. “She used some native cactus, air plants and succulents to continue our desert feel,” explains Ricki. “She also mixed in a perfect color palette of flowers; gorgeous ranunculus, linnia dahlias, brasilia berries. For muted greens she choose dusty miller and israeli ruscus. I love working with Bask + Terra because she adds so much to a team of creatives and understands our vision, she knows how to roll up her sleeves and help out too,” she says.
The delicate invitations, place cards and menus were created by artist Amber Michelle. “I fell in love with Amber’s work at a recent Phoenix Flea event,” gushes Ricki. “I sent her a color palette of muted greens, soft pinks and corals and gold for our fiesta. Along with the colors I sent her an image of the donkey to inspire the invitation and the name cards to look like ‘his’ and ‘hers’. Her work blew us away and it was exactly what we were hoping for. Amber does watercolor illustrations, custom art and truly follows her heart and passion.”
“Colton is well-known in the community and can be found shaking those cocktails at Barrio Urbano,” says Ricki of Arizona mixologist Colton Brock. “He’s so well-versed and tasted in the world of tequilas! I gave Colton a few creative thoughts for a feminine and masculine cocktail along with the idea to do a tequila tasting and he far surpassed any ideas I had come up with,”
Read Colton’s recipe for his refreshing tequiled-based “Dolled Up Mule” here.
“We used fresh corn tortillas, braised meat that we mixed with a delicious mole sauce and topped them with fresh pico salsa, lime juice and queso fresco,” says Ricki of the tasty tacos she served guests at the party.
Ricki and her team approached the tacos from an ingredient list: “I think we looked at them a bit more like a format than a recipe,” she explains. “A format that constructed the taco with style and perfect, fresh flavors.”
When asked about the creative scene in Phoenix, Ricki is emphatic: “The creative community in Phoenix is bursting with growth and possibility! We get a lot of yes’s, with an exclamation, when we ask fellow creatives to work together on a project. It feels incredibly supportive and open. We’re fortunate to be surrounded by beautiful views that make creating these gorgeous moments possible. Mountains to desert, we have an amazing and unique palette to work with and our creative community continues to grow.”
Colton whipped up a batch of Michelada Oaxaqueña for the boys. “It’s a very savory and fancy michelada,” explains Ricki. “Colton’s version is a blend of perfection, savory with a hit of sweet — the balance in this cocktail is incredible.”
Read Colton’s recipe for Michelada Oaxaqueña here.
The striped table runner and all the tableware pieces came from Ana and Brian Wells at Urbana. “I love the striped table runner, it has that outdoors picnic or rustic feel,” says Ricki. “And the greenery really added texture to the table! We used silver dollar eucalyptus.”
“Colton taught us the balance of having different tequilas for a tasting, a really fun element we wanted to incorporate for the party,” explains Ricki. She had Amber create a card illustrating the flavors notes to be tasted within the tequila.
We loved Ricki’s gold donkey pinata, and he didn’t come easy. “Oddly enough for Phoenix, I had to search high and low for him around town!” she says. “When I found him he was bright purple and I spray painted him gold. His flowers are made from coffee filters that we colored with Rit Dye and mixed colors to create our own coral color. His baby counterpart is still hanging out on my desk.”
Ricki liked the idea of creating an “adult pinata” and filled the gold donkey with travel sized tequila bottles, limes, bottle openers and flasks instead of the usual candy.
Guests jammed out to a few of Ricki’s favorite Latino artists: “Julieta Venegas, Manu Chao, Kinky, Cafe Tacuba, Juanes! I lived in a Spanish speaking country for a while and fell in love with many musicians,” she says. “This modern group of musicians is a rad mix of beats.”
Ricki found the vintage croquet set for $10 at a garage sale. “One of my proudest scores!” she boasts. “We have shuffle board, bocce ball and this fab croquet set it is such a fun way to entertain and gather with friends.”
The girls sip Dolled Up Mules while sitting on a mexican blanket from NOSH studio.
The guys enjoy a round of coquet in Heather’s beautiful backyard oasis.
Guests enjoy custom cookies from AZ Cookie Love in Phoenix.
When you ask Ricki what makes a great party, she’s thoughtful: “You know it’s a great party when it is full of smiles, you can’t decide which conversation to join in there’s so much connection, the serving platters are practically empty and all technology distractions are nowhere to be seen. Guys take up a game of croquet, gals relax on a blanket in the grass, and the moment is all it was meant to be.” Sounds like heaven to us.
Thanks, Ricki and friends, for sharing your fun-filled fiesta!