My sister, Primrose, and I have a longstanding tradition. Every year for Memorial Day we gather up a group of our dearest friends and head into the great outdoors for camping… with a spin. We pack up our tents, sleeping bags, bug repellant, hiking shoes, and… our finest evening gowns to get ready for a weekend of high class camping.
So let me introduce you all to fancy camping or- as we call it- Famping.
What’s better after a long day of fishing and hiking than to get dressed up and enjoy a sit down dinner? To mingle in the trees with your friends wearing your best Jimmy Choo’s? Or to even drink wine out of fine crystal while breathing in the fresh mountain air?
This year was our seventh year in a row of famping, and I would say it was by far our most successful year yet.
We headed for the Big Bear camp grounds in the gorgeous Southern California mountains with six other amazing people. The weather was beyond perfect, and I am totally obsessed with how many trees there were. Coming from the very urban Brentwood, I feel like I really don’t see enough greenery (besides in my juice, that is) so this was the perfect change of pace.
A major part of famping is setting up a whimsical bar to get people in the right mood. Prim and I set ours up in a small knoll near our tent using two wooden benches we brought along. While I put out the appetizers and drinks, Prim strolled around and picked the most GORGEOUS bouquet of flowers. I mean seriously, she has such an eye for wildflowers!
Every year we come up with a signature cocktail that is inspired by the weekend. This year we made a little something we like to call the Camptail.
The recipe is so simple, which is great when you don’t have access to a full bar. All you need is a light beer of your choice, a bag of marshmallows, a jar of Nutella, and crushed grahams.
Just rim your glass in Nutella and crumbled grahams (prettier than a margarita!), drop a marshmallow inside, and fill to the brim with the beer. The marshmallow dissolves slowly while you drink, sweetening and thickening the otherwise bland beer. Plus the nuttiness of Nutella goes so well with undertones of hops!
Our friends went absolutely crazy over the Camptail. And what’s not to love? I think it perfectly incorporates memories of camping as a child with the experience of camping as an adult (ie. the s’mores with the cheap beer).
A tip when it comes to the Famp Bar: Don’t stoop to plastic- it really ruins the mood. Famping is about elegance in the outdoors. Primrose and I see it as a time to break out our finest china and crystal!
I think a lot of people see camping as a way to just be in nature- and that’s great- but we Geulasse’s like to take it to the next level. Honestly, I think that the materialism we bring along ultimately makes us happier. Every year we famp I always notice that the other campers around us can’t stop staring- they are just green with envy!
While everyone mixes up their drinks, Prim and I usually take that time to get the main meal for the night heating on our fire pit. This year we chose spaghetti with a simple tomato basil sauce. It’s delicious and fancy, but so fun to make while camping.
It can be difficult to make extravagant meals for a crowd with only one fire pit, so we highly recommend starting off with one or two pot dishes. Pasta works great because you can cook the noodles first, set them aside, and then make the sauce. Once your sauce is finished you simply mix the noodles back in and everything is deliciously warmed up!
Side note: We always make our sauce from scratch- which makes such a difference. Fresh ingredients are key.
Finally (and maybe most importantly) to Famp correctly one must go all out for the table dressing. Prim and I bring real silver, china and crystal. It may seem like a hassle to pack and lug around, but it’s what really makes the meal stand out. Honestly I think it literally makes the food taste better- and people are so appreciative of the effort.
Prim and I usually bring our own wooden table with us, as we never know if the camp site will have one that is cute enough. We are so lucky this time around, because the table at our site was PLASTIC. It was so tacky!!! Always plan ahead for things like that and you’ll never be sorry.
Famping is so fun, I swear everyone who does it is just obsessed. I wish A could have joined this year- I’m sure next year he won’t be so busy with his wife and son. It’s like, hello, make a little time for your gf!
A few more tips to keep in mind before you go off on your own to the great outdoors:
Bring a mirror for makeup- unless you trust one of your friends to do yours!
Don’t forget pantyhose so your legs look great (extra important if you’re wearing a cocktail length dress).
Bring an extra set of china in case you break something (OR in case your jealous neighbors get up the courage to ask if they can join).
And, most importantly, let yourself feel fancy