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Birthday Recap

Well, I’ve been gone for a few days because I’VE BEEN CELEBRATING MY 30TH BIRTHDAY!!!


It. Was. Insane.

I had the best time ever. I was just telling someone that basically if my long time best friend wasn’t overseas, my birthday probably would have been perfect.

My friends came through for me in full force. They wouldn’t let me pay for anything this weekend, they helped me clean and prepare my house for the party and after it was over.

The celebration started Thursday when I started picking folks up from the airport and bus stop. After that, we had an awesome dinner at an amazing restaurant (the same I wrote about previously).

Friday was a day of running around to get last-minute items for the after party. Me and my party command leaders got lunch at the super awesome Dutch Farmers Market and then went to see the movie “Red Tails”.

After that, although Friday was my actual birthday, due to all of the running around, I was so glad to just make drinks, have pizza and have movie night (“Miss Congeniality” and “The Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood”) as my signature dish for the party was cooking (my pulled pork is a six-hour process).

Saturday was so fantastic. All of my friends had safely made it to town, and my girls who were journalists with me in the south were reunited once again. We laughed and made raunchy jokes, we talked about how we all met, we shared moments and talked about being women, motherhood, dreams, finding strength, letting go of negative things and people.

Medieval Times was awesome. And if I wasn’t already drunk, I think It would have still been awesome. I even had a scroll that declared me a “Lady” (Now I have official documentation). I was surprised. The food was pretty darn good. There was sooo much of it! We were all stuffed. Our knight lost, and at that point we cheered on the bad guy. (He was one of two black (black as in African American) knights (ours was too), and we figured we would root for him in honor of Black History month. Symbolism.

Once we realized our knight was African American, we shouted in glee, he’s a brotha! He’s a brotha! *Being in the DC/Baltimore area, we were excited to see diversity because children of all backgrounds could see knights who looked like them.

Politics aside, one of the guest services people, an older black gentleman walked up to me (I thought he was going to escort me out for being rowdy or ask me to sit down) and said, “Just like the movies, the brothas are going to get killed here too.”

Talk about a buzz kill.

But it was hysterical. “Did he just give it away? I started asking around. And sure enough, our noble red and yellow knight was sent first class to the upper room after a valiant joust and hand-to-hand battle.

And of course the evil green knight had to be defeated by the captured prince who had to return home and restore peace to the divided kingdom. However, dude had a lot of swagger (so much so, one of my friends was determined to get a photo with him). We did!  We were like eighth grade girls, “You go, no you go. No come with me, wait he’s talking to someone, no let the little kid go first.” This went on for a while.

After telling him we thought he did a fantastic job, my friend says, “ummm he smells so good.

I think it’s axe.”

After photos were taken with the knights, we made our way back to the house for the after party. My same friend who surmised the green knight wears axe made me awesome cookies and cream cupcakes with a mini oreo on top, and the base of the cupcake made of an actual oreo cookie! It was a huge hit.

I mixed my signature pink panther drink and folks loved it.

Everyone did my quiz and confirmed they either knew me well, or learned more about me.

There was some dancing, some singing, more drinking and loads and loads of laughs. I laughed so hard this entire weekend.

When most of the guests went home, I still had four people staying with me. We didn’t go to sleep. When folks did, it was 8 a.m. Sunday morning. By that point, I went to have breakfast and say good-bye to my New York friends staying at a hotel. We stayed up talking about all sorts of things– even the things folks probably shy away from like religion, eating spicy food before attempting anal sex.

My friends are amazing people. They are passionate, intelligent, funny, giving and full of life. I learn so much from each of them on a daily basis, and I knew they were happy watching me be happy.

This was a fantastic, memorable, great weekend. I can’t stop looking at the photos and waiting for more photos from others to start rolling in so I can complete my photo book.

It was indeed a party!

If 16 Is Sweet, 30’s Definitely Dirty

Well, it looks like things are finally starting to come together on the party planning front.

I had to make some tough decisions regarding the guest list, I had to coax some folks, but it’s going down.

Me and about 12 of my closest friends (and some significant others who I love too) will go to Medieval Times and have a rockin, joustin, wench-tippin good time.

The last time I had an official birthday party was my sweet 16. I’ve taken a poll involving people who live in other regions, and it seems no one is more obsessed with the sweet 16 than girls from Long Island in the late 90s.

I was going to parties a few times a month for about four years.

The Sweet 16 was huge amongst our set. Whether you had it in a hotel ballroom or in a backyard, you had to have one. Period. Even when my father offered me a really cheap car or the Sweet 16, without hesitation, I chose the party.

I don’t regret it.

I still remember my champagne colored dress (My mom wanted white. We compromised.),  and the tape on my fingers from being jammed during a basketball game the previous day. I remember having a bartender serving up Shirley Temples all night, and I remember the damn dj my cousin found who didn’t have the right equipment and my best friend going home to get his own equipment to get the party started. In the meantime, the catering hall owner, played the last cd left behind from the last party. “Say you, Say Me.”  By Lionel Ritchie. God, I was embarrassed as my guests were arriving.

The colors were hunter green and champagne. The venue was a lovely spot over looking the water (we ended up having our junior prom there the following year).

I remember Will Smith’s “Gettin Jiggy With It.” I remember doing the dance to break the ice and get everyone else to dance too. Wow.

I also remember that being February, it was cold. And report cards just came out, so some of my friends couldn’t go because they were on punishment because their grades weren’t up to par.

Despite all that, it was fabulous. There was Hawaiian chicken, baked ziti (do those even go together?) and I really can’t believe I remember all of this, but we had a ball.

My dad, a masterful sheet metal craftsman, made a candle holder of my name to hold all 16 candles. The night was magic. My older sister had flown into town for the event. All of the people I loved were there and totally happy. A friend of my dad’s made special chocolate lollipops for the occasion to go in the goodie bags.

My mother was a picture of health and looked gorgeous and my family in my mind was perfect back then. That’s what makes the memory even more precious. The next year was going to set off a lot of painful things for my mother and for the rest of my family, that we are still struggling with today.

The other Long Island tradition was the Sweet 16 book. It was a specific hard cover book that was handmade at the local flea market. The cover consisted of mirrors of a particular color that spelled out sweet 16 and had your name and birthday written on it. It held pics from the event and served as a guest book where all your friends would sign and tell jokes about being able to drive. This was a must have for the pre-Facebook generation.

I still have that book and I do look at it around my birthday to laugh. I’m almost tempted to ask if someone could go to the flea market and make me a “dirty 30” book just for kicks.

I think I’m starting to get those same butterflies like I did as a teenage girl, on the brink of independence.

This time, there will be alcohol.

This time, I have my own place (afterpartay).

Ironically, it won’t be as “fancy” as the last party. My goal, as I stated in another blog is to be just the opposite.

This time poor grades and punishment will not prevent my guests from showing up.

Instead of a fancy dress, I will be wearing a cute tee shirt that says “82” and some jeans.

This time, I’m even more appreciative of the people in my life.

And this time, I know just how quickly moments like these end, so I’m going to drink it all in. Seriously. I already bought a 30 necklace with a shot glass attached a la Mardi Gras…

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