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a Low Maintenance, Eventful Weekend

Three events, one weekend was the vibe and three vibes were had...

My MIL's birthday dinner, a family sleep-over night, and my Granny's birthday celebration made the weekend a vibe and busy. But what made these vibes pop (and actually happen) is keeping them low maintenance. Keeping these events homey meant paper plates, simple and intentional menus, and small details.

Although this weekend was a busy one, pouring so much love into these moments was refreshing...

How perfect was it to be able to host my MIL's bday gathering on her actual birthday (9/8)? For this reason, the vibe in the space needed to be intimate and thoughtful.

I remembered the dinner was happening literally the morning of. As a result, I had a couple of hours to make this dinner as detailed as possible, because she deserves. That day, I had plans to visit my sister and Godson. I planned the menu, shopped, and picked up the cake all within the few hours before my visit with them. I admittedly pushed my exit from their home back an hour, a few times, because I was so comfortable (lol). By the time I finally made it home, I had a short 2.5 hours to execute the menu.

As I said before, this was a low-maintenance, paper plate vibe so the details needed to go into the menu. I knew I was cooking. I knew I wanted to make something she considered her favorite and a treat. My ribs. My MIL jokingly (but seriously) volunteers me to cook ribs for every family event. Then I thought about the overall menu's feel. She loooooves a bbq dinner. A warm cajun potato salad, roasted potatoes, corn, and sweet cornbread were then added to the menu. She doesn't drink so there wasn't room for a happy hour moment, although I did spike my own sweet tea (sweet tea is her favorite too). I rounded her menu off with an Everythings Bundt chocolate-chocolate bundt cake, which she introduced us to.

It was really a time of laughs and optimism. When curating the vibe, I told Marice I didn't want this to be a "Woe it's me" party. I wanted it to be peaceful for her. So that may have meant to steer clear of conversations that may take us down a somber black hole (lol). We agreed that we just want her to feel full and loved on by her kids and that vibe was set.

To celebrate Leila's first week of school, we curated, what the Williams call, a Family Sleepover Night on 9/9/22. In our previous home, this would take place in me and Reese's room. We would do a movie & meal together, Leila would fall asleep, Reese and I would sneak downstairs to have adult time, and then return to fall asleep. Fast forward to today, we planned to blow up a mattress in our cute comfy living room to catch some jumbo bed vibes.

This was complete slumber party vibes! Pillows and messy covers were everywhere... we loved it. The plan was for us to spread out along the bed and sectional. Maurice and Leila pleaded to have all three of us sleep on the bed but no. They are the two biggest bed hogs and even though I may start on the bed (and did), I knew I would end up on the sectional because they would have me on the edge of that bed (and did).

We collaborated as a family on the menu earlier that week. Leila and Maurice mutually agreed that they wanted to be on their worst behaviors aka have a cheat meal, although Leila declared that a fruit salad was mandatory at which Maurice weirdly protested. We still had a fruit salad (shakes head in mother). Pizza, fries, cookies, popcorn, and milkshakes (maybe a couple of adult shakes too) were a go. To amplify this family experience, we decided (or I did) to make the pizza ourselves. So when I was shopping at Whole Foods for my MIL's dinner, I just grab our pizza fixings.

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Maurice and Leila are always a vibe. We watched Daddy Day Care until Leila and I passed out.

About three weeks before my Granny's birthday celebration on 9/10 (for her birthday on 9/9), Maurice had the idea of having a celebratory bday dinner for my granny yearly, like a tradition. This was perfect because what better way to celebrate my girl than to bring the family together over food? She did that and did that so well. She is who I model my curations and processes after. As thoughtful and detailed as it had to be (and don't forget low maintenance), I gave myself a tiny bit more time to plan this vibe.

I wanted the vibe to be a Family Gathering over a Southern & Familiar Menu. I thought about what was the essence of my grandmother's dinner tables. It was deeply southern, home-cooked, and flavorful & full. I witnessed her process during these times. How she shopped days before to prep the days prior to the dinner. So this is what I do and did. The menu went:

  • stewed chicken thighs,

  • mac & cheese,

  • sweet potatoes,

  • baked & fried fish,

  • cabbage,

  • chicken legs & fries for the kiddies,

  • sweet cornbread,

  • cheesecake served with strawberry compote, whipped cream, & caramel,

  • and sweet potato pie.

The menu was totally inspired by her, my Grandmother. Deeply southern, deeply flavored, and deeply loved on. Her spreads were always large and expanded to and past the dessert table. Her dessert table was just as experiential as the main table, especially that coconut pineapple cake lawd! She was also one to brew wine for special occasions (sounds familiar, right). Sweet potatoes two ways was her living through me as her sweet potato recipe (both the dish and the pie) is the only one I had formally passed to me. I learned the rest of her cooking style just through observation. This menu like hers was inviting and necessary for this celebration.

With a menu like that, I definitely needed time to prepare. I shopped early that week and prepped everything the day before (the day of Family sleepover night) to get it prepared to go in the oven and cook the day of or to the fridge to cool. I had to attend practice for our basketball program the morning of Granny's dinner, so having these dishes prepped and ready to go wasn't optional. I rushed home from basketball practice to get to work and although I ran out of bread crumbs for the fish and tossed in sour cream and onion chips (I highly recommend) everything was hitting the table and tidied up by the time guests were arriving.

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The hot sauce was supporting the fish, the low-maintenance vibes were hitting, and the family was happy. I mean the mac and cheese showed up and showed out, the fish was making a lovely crunch sound across the room, and the cheesecake was the subject of praise. I mean, my baby cousin was flexing and hmmm'ing over the mac & cheese (see pic below). The whole entire meal was doing its thing. I felt proud and fulfilled with this new tradition.

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Nothing feels better to me than curating a good vibe. That is how I know it's my purpose. All three events allowed me to pour love and detail into them and thus into the people present... a love language.

Check out the pics from these three vibes and leave a loving comment below! And grab the 90 Days of Vibes Planner!

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