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  • Writer's picturealexispjordan

I Will Give My Sister Her Flowers While She Can Smell Them; A Celebratory Afternoon Garden Tea

Updated: Jul 1, 2021

For there is no friend like a sister in calm or stormy weather; To cheer one on the tedious way, to fetch one if one goes astray, to lift one if one totters down, to strengthen whilst one stands...” - Christina Rossetti


Photography by @StephTerell


My dear sister, Suzie…I dedicate this Speak Freely issue to you…



I cannot believe how blessed and fortunate I am to have a woman so powerful and committed to excellence not only in my life but as my best friend.


Suzen you are such a phenomenal woman, daughter, sister, girlfriend and friend. You are such a positive influence and you deserve everything you desire and more. You are the epitome of knowing your worth and not stopping until you’ve gotten what you asked for, worked for, prayed for. All of the years of effort and determination are recognized and you deserve to be rewarded continuously for your efforts. I cannot wait to see all of the additional great things to come as a result of your impeccable work ethic and your tenacity. Thank you for being a forever inspiration and my #foreverlight




The bougiest, baddest, bossiest, big-bank woman I know, and for her to be my sister?! I will forever stan, Queen.


To the strongest woman I know, this is for you, Beautiful...


I love you...


🦋




My sister. Webster could not define you. Blood could not limit you. My love will never leave you.


Sisters are rare. Blood allows that familiarity, but sisterhood developed in friendship is everything and then some. To have someone who God has a called to your life in a way to fill any familial void that could surmise from any age or mileage distance is truly a reflection of a few things:


  1. His love for me.

  2. His love for you.

  3. His purpose for us.


Sisterhood is so imperative that even without any sense or logic, two babies playing in their apartment complex’s backyard happen to meet and entrust each other before ever recognizing danger. (I’m still side-eying our parents’ decisions to allow us to roam the streets at 3 and 4 years old, but I’ll forgive them for the relationship that came of it.)


Distance has never stood between us. Between moving to a different city in our youth, reunited for high school, then separated again in early adulthood as a result of chasing our (her, really) dreams, that sister flame never diminished. In many ways I would even offer that it has made us stronger.


A sister in my heart is my confidant, my protector, my provider…all of the things we would ask for in a parent or a partner can be summed up to the one I can depend on. Through anything. Everything. In any ups, in the majority of my many downs, in my struggle and in my prime, my sister is always there. Whether to knock some sense into me (literally chiiile), or to reaffirm my stance. Through heartbreak, through disappointment, through despair, whether caused by a loved one or my own doing, she is there. Instinctually to know that there is a life partner who no matter the circumstance, no matter how ridiculous, no matter how infuriating, the respect and honor is unmoved. There is no time, no test, no tragedy that could ever tear apart this union.


A sister in my heart is my unwavering support. When systems set fall through, this sister is the one to refute anything and everything that attempts to stand in the way of my success. The genuine joy that radiates from this woman in seeing me accomplish my goals makes me believe in myself that much more. The way this woman embodies edification teaches me more than any fave I could name. In opportunities I have been too timid to step out on faith, she has already served as my advocate. This woman takes on deals and meticulously creates opportunities for me from her own advancements. This woman who will see the best in my field to ever do it and not only share the resource, but will encourage me to know that it is only a matter of time before I’m up next. And will even schedule a time to put a plan together to implement and see it through. There is no “can’t”, no “maybe”, no “hopefully”, just all “it will, you will, we’re UP!”, and I could not feel more supported. More empowered. More prepared. Somehow we’ve formed this unspoken agreement that we would not be subject to the trauma and the lack of our pasts, and we were not leaving the other behind…


They write Bible verses about this type of woman…


Basic has never been in her vocabulary, and every single day I am further encouraged to tap into my extra whether in my effort, my expression of myself, my promotion, my education, my everything.




2020 was quite the year, and also happened to be the year of my very best girlfriend for life welcomed the next decade of her story. Her birthday was two months after the start of quarantine, and as important our friends’ group bond is, it was challenging to determine a plan of action to celebrate safely. Of course during a pandemic, with limited options and with only intimate parties of less than ten and outdoor or extremely open areas could we give her her flowers. Considering that my friends are literally my family, it had been far too long and we were NOT about to miss out on my sister’s big day.


So the Gang and I got together with wine and a lewk and of course her favorite French dessert to create this much needed memory. We each took part in providing a dish and/or a drink for the celebration, which always is the best way to have an event with loved ones to alleviate the costs amongst the group.


For the menu we of course did light finger foods, all very simple even if you are not about that chef life.


Hostess hack: Whenever serving sandwiches, especially with heavier fillings like tuna, by toasting the bread it allows the sandwiches to maintain a pleasant mouth feel. There have been times I’ve eaten sandwiches and LOVED the taste, but because they have sat for hours or even overnight, the texture became mushy and that isn’t pleasant for anyone, especially your guests.


We served:






Tea Sandwiches



Tuna Sliders on Brioche





Whenever possible, switch up your bread options. Play with something new and introduce a new flavor profile next time you host. Brioche is always a win! If you’ve ever had potato bread or the infamous Hawaiian rolls, imagine those upgraded. Brioche is the most pillowy, soft, tasty, heavenly bread and if you can serve it to your guests, it will absolutely be a conversation starter. We went with the smaller rolls so that we could keep to the finger-food and small plate theme. Try this next time with your favorite tuna recipe, I found a great one that is cookout approved here.


I followed the recipe, but for my tuna I’ve added

2 More tablespoons relish

1 Squirt more mayo

L:emon pepper seasoning instead of lemon juice

No celery

Light sweet onion

2 Hard boiled eggs



Cucumber & Pepperoni Toast Points on Rye




Ingredients

Rye Bread (Toasted)

Butter (To toast)

Cream Cheese (8 oz - room temperature)

French Onion Dip Dried Mix (1 pack, find this in the dried soup aisle)

1 Cucumber (sliced 1/4th inch thick)

Pepperoni

Ground Sea Salt


Speaking of trying new breads, I turned a simple quick fix fave from Momma Bourgeois into a new fan favorite. I simply purchased a rye, toasted on the stove with butter, mixed together a very quick and inexpensive spread of French onion dip dry mix with cream cheese, pepperoni, topped with sliced, lightly sea-salted cucumbers, and I…whew. This on regular white toasted bread was one of my fave quick snacks that my mom would make, and I’ve used her original for quick appetizers for unexpected guests. This is also very good on wheat bread.


Speaking of bread: You can also play with shapes to cut these for your display tray, I chose square since the rye was already a square that could fit four cucumbers perfectly, and simply cut along the center horizontally and vertically and voila! Quick and convenient luxury.


Turkey & Brie Toast Points on Honey Wheat



Ingredients

Honey Wheat (Toasted)

Butter (To toast)

Oven Roasted Sliced Turkey

Brie Cheese (sliced 1/4th inch thick)

Granny Smith Apples (sliced thinly)

Lemon Juice (fresh or bottled)

Honey Mustard


This is another quick fave that is sure to provide an experience to your guests with this unique flavor profile. Simple yet effective, with toasted and buttered honey wheat bread, coated in a light honey mustard spread, a slice or two of Granny Smith apples, two slices of oven roasted turkey, and then topped with a beautiful slice of brie cheese to meet the warm top of another toasted and buttered honey wheat toast slice. This…is…perfection. The perfect bite? You’ve got that. Try it, it’s quick, easy, and incredible. You can even pre-assemble the sandwich in the steps listed and cook as an elevated grilled cheese (my fave way). Slice in the shape that you see best fit for your vision and enjoy!



Desserts



Maple Walnut Scones






Scones are super simple, tasty, and you likely already have all of the ingredients needed in your cabinet and fridge. I’ve always said that these are such an easy and quick treat that I could make the dry ingredient mixture ahead of time (flour, baking powder, salt and sugar) and simply keep it in the cabinet so that if an unexpected guest stops by I can have them ready and plated for enjoyment in only 20 minutes.


I found this super easy to follow recipe and in about 30 minutes with a few ingredients and a very helpful silicone baking mat, we had the perfect maple walnut scones.



I kept the recipe as listed, and only opted for caramelized walnuts to enhance the recipe. You can also opt to have a maple or honey butter to top them with in lieu of the glaze, but these were simple, quick and impressive. I snacked on these for my own enjoyment for the next couple days following the event.


We plated these by simply stacking on top of each other on our three tiered tea stand.


Assorted Macarons




Of course for her special day we had to allow the #1 French dessert to make an appearance. Macarons are a treat that can add so much elegance to an event, and as they should for how significant the cost of these are can be. When receiving from a local bakery, these can start at $2 per cookie and easily go up from there due to their intricate nature of getting these baked to perfection! One of our guests provided her #hostesshack and stopped at our local grocery store to pick up a colorful assortment of macarons. She got these from Wegman’s, but many other grocery chains as well as specialty stores will supply them. If you are interested in getting macarons from a provider other than your local baker, in addition to Wegman’s, try Whole Food’s, Trader Joe’s, and even BJ’s. We simply stacked these on plate in a tea tray in a circular design, with no two of the same colors touching.


Doughnuts





Another quick and easy dessert to feature for any sweets station is doughnuts. We’ve featured the donut holes in previous issues (like the Vision Board Continental Brunch), but with these being a crowd favorite and easily accessible anywhere, these were perfect for our afternoon tea. Our guest also retrieved these cute designed black and white striped, glazed treats from Wegman’s, but anywhere you can find a good doughnut is always going to be a win. I do caution against going with the grocery chain versions as they can taste dry or have that factory, chemical taste (some are often reminiscent of soap for me), but the amazing part is that you can even get them from the drive through of your local spot, I love me some Dunkin, but in true hostess fashion, if we’re doing store bought, I want the best for my guests and if Krispy Kreme is available hot and ready, they will always be my first choice. We kept the plating of these simple as well on our tiered tea dessert tray.


Drinks


Rose' Refresher







For our girl's special day, we included a very quick but elevated twist on her fave, rose', by adding fresh fruit to our glasses. We sprung for pineapples and strawberries, which matched the color scheme with the seasonal flowers perfectly, and in utilizing efficiency, one of our guests brought the fresh, pre-cut fruit for our enjoyment. My fave is to use fruits that can actually infuse the flavor of the beverage, and simultaneously can soak up the wine so that we get an extra special treat upon reaching the bottom of our glass. We chose a Cotes du Rhone for our still rose' of choice and we enjoyed this wholeheartedly. If choosing to do this with a sparkling wine, I recommend to put the fruit in the glass first, and then slowly pour the rose' by tilting your glass similarly to how you would pour a beer, to avoid unnecessary over-bubbles and to reduce the amount that escape the glass (and make a mess!). Take your time, pour slowly, cheers and enjoy!




For decor, we kept it simple with gold and white accents paired with seasonal, colorful florals (tulips, daisies, carnations, and roses), which is always clutch when you can make fewer stops. I’ll always applaud a local florist, but when you can get your groceries and your florals in two hour free delivery, you have to do what you have to do! And it came out lovely! Simply used carafes and water glasses as vases on top of a table cloth (we actually used a curtain panel!), and we were good to go!







Scroll for more photos from the event


And of course, because of who I am, you know once we moved the party inside and our menfolk left we had one of my famous charcuteries.


& Would you believe…


This is the type of woman who despite it being her introduction to her next decade, she still managed to orchestrate a surprise birthday celebration for mine. Her selflessness is incomparable.


Celebrate your sisters as they deserve, especially when entering the next season, their next chapter, any new endeavor. Your support means the world and we need to keep their lives lit. Give your friends their flowers while they can smell them.




We never did get to the “tea” part of the Garden Tea lol, but I’ve got something special planned for you with the next issue…#staytuned <3


All items are available via rent through Bourgeois Living, feel free to set up a complimentary 30 minute consultation for your next event here.


Speak Freely...


🦋🫖☕️







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