Now that the holiday halls have been decked, it’s out with the old and in with a fierce new year. That’s exactly what consummate hostess and celebrity events producer Diann Valentine had in mind when she invited over a dozen close friends to Miami for a girls’ getaway, including reality-TV stars Sheree Fletcher and Shamicka Lawrence (Hollywood Exes); Tameka Raymond (Atlanta Exes); April Daniels (Tamar and Vince); and actress Tichina Arnold (Survivor’s Remorse). “As busy wives and mothers, we tend to neglect the need to nurture friendships and live in the moment,” says Valentine. “A new year brings fresh opportunities to update our vision boards, dream new dreams and pursue uncharted courses.”

Upon arrival, the guests were picked up by The White Glove Concierge service and taken to the sexy Epic Hotel, in the city’s downtown corridor, with its gorgeous rooftop pool and views of Biscayne Bay. They enjoyed a two-day spree of spa treatments, an art show and a champagne brunch at the exclusive Bath Club in South Beach. It was the perfect way to wrap up one year while ushering in another, with conversations of lessons learned and resolutions set. “There are so many things that tear Black women apart, every entertaining opportunity is a chance for me to welcome them with open arms into my creative expression of love.” Here, Valentine takes EBONY inside the ladies’ posh brunch.



Dazzling Décor

The beautifully appointed dining table, in a color scheme of gray, cream, gold and silver, featured gorgeous ebony agate napkin rings, Ice Spiked Charger plates, classic cream linen and candles, all from Valentine’s eponymous Home Collection. “Think beyond traditional holiday hues and create activities that will leave your guests feeling inspired,” the host suggests, adding: “Mix and match china, silverware and glassware you already own for an interesting table.”

To add lush dimension, exotic orchids, roses and calla lilies were displayed in high and low vases. “From the moment I walked into the room, I felt so much love,” shares Daniels. Echoing those sentiments, Raymond says, “Like all of her events, this one was exceptional.”

The table included exquisite silk, satin, velvet and feathered chair covers, and pearl and stone picture frames that held the host’s favorite resolutions, such as “Pray without ceasing,” “Discover a cure for cellulite and share it will us all” and “Call your girlfriends more often.” Each guest shared the goal placed at her setting and the plan to implement it in the year ahead. Valentine also encouraged the ladies to write “rainy day” notes of encouragement, which were placed in boxes and given to them to read during times of hardship. Those notes stood out to Arnold as a reflection of the kind of friend Valentine has been to her: “Diann always inspires me,” she shares.

Read more in the December 2014 issue of EBONY Magazine.