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Housewives of Brooklyn dinner party

Source: Jonathan Pearson / Ambitious Shooters


The Real Housewives franchise has the best dinner parties. The women get dolled up, rent a venue, and invite 20 of their closest friends. Now, I’m not a wife, and I live in an apartment, so I barely fit the bill, but when it comes to celebrating myself, I could very well be a castmate on the show.

With my 40th birthday loading, I took a page from the Housewives‘ book and threw myself an intimate, classy dinner party. Forty is a huge milestone, and I wanted to celebrate my life surrounded by friends and family. This would be a swanky Real Housewives of Brooklyn dinner party featuring 40 of my most fabulous friends and family members.

Planning a dinner party is right up my alley, but I decided to tap into the Housewives energy and hire a party planner. Yadira Alvarado calls herself a ballon stylist, but her talent extends far beyond balloon arches. From the handmade bamboo photo backdrop to the customized thank you gifts, the fully woman-ran business, Yari Productions, went above and beyond to bring my vision to reality.

Real Housewives of Brooklyn-themed dinner

Source: Jonathan Pearson / Ambitious Shooters


Real Housewives dinner parties usually have a theme. And while my concept was to recreate their intimate gatherings, I needed a secondary theme for the actual dinner. Turning 40 is a pivotable milestone. Leading up to my solar return, I battled with the laundry list of accomplishments I thought I’d achieve by now. One of them was to be in a committed and loving relationship. I wanted to spend my 40th in Thailand with my boo, but I’m single AF. That said, my trip to Southeast Asia was put on hold indefinitely but I infused the vibe into my dinner. I built a Pinterest board and shared it with Yadira. Once she had an idea of what I wanted, she began to execute my vision.

Following my fancy dinner party, I hopped on a plane to Miami to cruise the Caribbean Seas with my family. That’s another story for another time. Get the details, from my gorgeous dress to the delicious food, below!

The Real Housewives Of Brooklyn Dinner Party

Take A Look Inside My ‘Real Housewives Of Brooklyn’-Themed 40th Birthday Dinner  was originally published on hellobeautiful.com

1. The Look

The Look Source:Ambitious Shooters

When I think of 40, I think of unapologetic class and glamor. I wanted my look to reflect that. 

2. The Dress

I knew finding the right dress would be a challenging task. I decided to go to the one store that accurately captured the vibe I was looking for. Miss Circle is a chic, fashion-forward brand with an extensive collection of gowns and cocktail dresses. The brand invited me to the store to try on a few fancy frocks, and that afternoon, I went home with the dress I’d been eyeing for weeks.

The fit was perfect, but I had to hem the dress because of my petite frame. This was on brand for a Housewife baddie – tailoring is key to a seamless fit.

3. The Hair And Makeup

The Hair And Makeup Source:Ambitious Shooters

I’ve been going grey since my early 30s but decided to welcome my growing wisdom this year. I stopped coloring my hair and worked on loving my mane and its transformation. I wrote about my disdain for my grays (you can read about it here), but something about turning 40 shifted how I felt about the aging process. 

I decided to do a crochet style with grey streaks that framed the front of my face. My stylist, Jasmine James, met with me a few weeks before the dinner to test the style for me to see. We opted for a whimsical body wave that gave a classic, romantic look.

To compliment my curls, I rocked a soft glam look. My good friend and makeup artist, Mia Watson, flew in from California to give me a flawless beauty beat. She started with Melanin Awards winner, Smashbox Always On Foundation. 

4. The Nails

The Nails Source:Marsha B.

When I think of Thailand, I think of lots of greenery. I’m a plant muva, so I wanted to incorporate lots of green into the theme. I went to the nail guru of Brooklyn, Mary M. Joseph, for a fresh new set and a fun design.

I showed Mary a number of designs, but ultimately choose green leaves with gold accents to match the theme of my dinner. It’s giving… coordination.

 

5. The Food

The Food Source:Ambitious Shooters

An old Caribbean proverb says when two or more West Indians gather in a kitchen, the food will be bussin’. Please don’t quote me on that, though. I couldn’t afford a caterer, so I got the next best thing – my mother and her homegirls.

The menu featured shrimp rasta pasta, spinach rice, fried fish, stewed chicken, asparagus, and salad.

6. The Cupcakes

The Cupcakes Source:Ambitious Shooters

Believe it or not, these cupcakes came from the very luxurious baker’s aisle in Le Shop Rite. My best friend purchased four dozen of these bad boys and decorated them herself with gold flakes and toppers. 

7. The Cupcakes

The Cupcakes Source:Ambitious Shooters

We even got a topper that matched my dress!

8. The Decor

The Decor Source:Ambitious Shooters

As mentioned before, Yari Productions is a woman-ran business that curates life’s most precious moments. From baby showers to birthday parties and beyond, the crew rallies together to bring life to your celebratory fete.

Yadira created a custom bamboo and grass background, surrounded by white balloons intertwined with leaf detailing. She collaborated with Angy Prints for the custom crafting and mirror decor.

 

9. The Table

The Table Source:Ambitious Shooters

A gorgeous table setting is essential to any dinner party. Yadira adorned the table with green leaves, candles, and gold cutlery to honor the Thailand theme. Each table setting included a placemat, two plates, utensils, a green napkin, and a thank you gift. HDZ Rentals provided the tables and chairs.

10. The Champagne Bar

The Champagne Bar Source:Ambitious Shooters

Upon arrival, guests were met with a wine and champagne bar. There were also specialty cocktails curated by my mother.

11. The Thank You Gifts

The Thank You Gifts Source:Ambitious Shooters

Memorable Favors created my thank you gifts. As a writer and an avid fan of journaling, I wanted each guest to have a pencil and use it to record their dreams and aspirations. 

12. The Manifestation Station

The Manifestation Station Source:Ambitious Shooters

Like the well wishes at a wedding or the advice given at a baby shower, I invited guests to record their wishes for my 40th birthday and beyond.

13. The Manifestation Station

The Manifestation Station Source:Ambitious Shooters

This station was a hit because I have a jar full of notes that I will read on the days I feel discouraged.

14. The Guests

The Guests Source:Ambitious Shooters

What’s a dinner party without the fabulous guests? My party planner gave me the strenuous task of inviting 46 of my friends and family members.

Sadae Williams, Creative Strategist and Storyteller, and Ayanna Dutton, Co-founder of the Non-Corporate Girls Podcast and Senior Marketing Manager at LinkedIn, have kept me motivated during the moments I felt like giving up. Like true Housewives, we gather quarterly to update each other on the wins (both big and small), and we plan for the future. During each meet-up, we create a list of goals we want to achieve by our next meeting. Ayanna, the organized housewife, keeps track of our progress and ensures each meet-up is on the calendar – because if it isn’t on the calendar, it doesn’t exist.

15. The Guests

The Guests Source:Ambitious Shooters

The Real Housewives of Brooklyn would be lit with these ladies on the cast. With these ladies, we’d replace the drama with hustle. Each woman is a BAWSE dominating in their respective lanes. 

Taliban Stewart, celebrity hairstylist and owner of Alwayz Pretti Hair Care, is a feisty housewife who plays no games regarding her craft, style, and the energy she allows around her. She supplies us with all the crazy catchphrases that keep us in stitches. She gives Kenya Moore and Nene Leakes a run for their money when it comes to the reads. When they go low, she goes to hell.

Beyond the funny punchlines is a God-fearing woman dedicated to empowering women by highlighting their beauty.

16. The Guests

The Guests Source:Ambitious Shooters

Joce Blake is an ambitious housewife with a talent for telling Black stories. We connected years ago as writers for EGL. Since then, we’ve worked together in many capacities. She recently celebrated one magical year in Brooklyn, and she has taken the borough by storm! When it comes to style, she’s in her own lane. In fact, she understood the housewife assignment and submitted it with extra credit!

17. The Guests

The Guests Source:Ambitious Shooters

Samjah Iman is an unconventional housewife who juggles motherhood, married life, entrepreneurship, and more. She gets it done by any means necessary. She’s the free spirit of the crew, often dubbed Erykah Badu. She marches to the beat of her own drum, and the tune is always enticing. Writing is her passion, but she’s expanding to the wellness space with her non profit, Black Women Breathing

18. The Guests

The Guests Source:Ambitious Shooters

Content Creator Cameil Ross is an adventurous housewife who is always down for a good time. She’s a personal trainer who dabbles in a little bit of everything. Real estate, she knows it. Brand deals, she has them. Viral content, she creates it. She’s a unique creator who documents her life in real housewife fashion.

19. The Guests

The Guests Source:Ambitious Shooters

My dinner wouldn’t be possible without my mother and brother. Mom rallied the troops to ensure my guests were fed, and my brother played the music and did all the heavy lifting – literally.

20. The Guests

The Guests Source:Ambitious Shooters

Music is a universal language that sets the tone for any party. This chapter is significant to me, so I wanted the music to represent who and where I am in life. If this were a wedding and I was walking down the aisle, my song would be “I Like That” or “Float” by Janelle Monae. This current chapter is about being authentic and unapologetic.

My brother is a professional DJ so he understood the vibes and executed the perfect playlist. 

21. The Finale

The Finale Source:Ambitious Shooters

My housewives-themed dinner was a huge success. I had friends fly in, drive from different states, and leave the comfort of their borough to celebrate my 40th. The good vibes were flowing, and a time was had.

A huge shoutout to photographer Jonathan Pearson, who captured the essence of the evening through his photography.

Another shout out goes to Legin Cleaning Services for breaking down the dinner party and cleaning then venue.

If you ask me, all gatherings should be planned like a Real Housewives dinner party. They’re fun and elegant when done right. What do you think?