Mother’s Day… A Celebration & Reflection

Afternoon Tea

I love celebrating non-traditional holidays that come up throughout the year. Sure Christmas and Thanksgiving are awesome, but it’s these singularly focused holidays that do not require weeks of anticipation, planning or preparation that really helps give me a lift throughout the year. Which is why I love celebrating occasions like Mother’s Day because it gives me an excuse to celebrate the mother figures in my life and, bonus, throw a party!

My family is not fussy. They like to hang out, eat and talk with their hands. So something that can easily fit into their lazy Sunday routine is key for creating the perfect mix of elevated every day and a low-key special occasion celebration. Some no nos include anything that prevents them from going to church on Sunday mornings or watching their telenovelas every evening.

The ladies

my grandma Pia, great-grandma Juana, mom Rosa & great-aunt Librada

Afternoon tea has always been that perfect cross of creating something memorable and special without overcommitting myself to something over-the-top and stressful. My philosophy for entertaining at home is to follow these helpful tips: buy a few things, assemble a few things and make one or two items. This enables me to relax pre-party and ensure that I give myself ample time to effortlessly pull everything together.

Making sure to have the time to enjoy myself, my guests and the guests of honor is key, in my mind, to hosting a successful celebration. I like to focus on the table, ensuring that the food and libations are delicious and plentiful guaranteeing a good time to be had by all. To achieve an elegant, beautiful and delicious table, I start by brainstorming ideas, making a list of all possibilities and then narrowing down a menu based on theme, seasonality of ingredients, and preparation and execution time.

Items like a cheese and charcuterie board, fruit kabobs, meringue cookies or chocolate dipped biscotti make perfect nibbles for afternoon snacking. They are also easy to arrange, can sit out for extended periods of time and are low-maintenance. Additionally, these are scalable dishes making it easy to create plentiful platters that are universally liked.

Blackberry Cake

The devil is in the details, so anything I can do to add a little something special helps me to feel a sense of accomplishment. I usually like to bake a standout dessert or make savory bites, like tartines, French-inspired toasts with toppings, that help me feel more like a domestic goddess and can show my guests my kitchen prowess.

Rhubarb Strawberry Lemonade

Finally, I like to pair my tasty delights with my favorite assorted teas, seasonally flavored lemonade, or even a little bubbly if desired. Creating a self-serve station or bar with options allows guests the opportunity to craft a beverage that fits their palate and refill as needed.

All in all, Mother’s Day is about spending time and celebrating all the mother figures in ones life; for me that includes my mom, mother-in-law, grandmother, great-aunts and in the past my great-grandma. Each one has played a significant role in my life, but the most pivotal person, by far, has to be my grandma Pia.

She brought my family to this country during the height of a dictatorship. The majority of my family was in hiding on the borderlands between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, when my grandmother left the country disguised as a man, leaving her children and family behind, and made her way to New York City to live out the American Dream. Bringing her sisters, children, friends and other relatives one-by-one to the States.

Me and Pia

me & Mami Pia

Because of my grandmother, my family was able to start a new life and thrive in the US. For all her effort, love and perseverance, my grandmother has taught me about the kind of person I want to be and the type of woman I want to become. I celebrate her and all the other mothers in my life not only on Mother’s Day, but everyday!

Thank you to all the moms for all you do and happy Mother’s Day!