PLD Montage Vol. 2.3: Surprise Edition

I love surprises. There’s something so fun about planning a surprise for a friend or family member, surprise visit, surprise party, surprise gift. I’m not great at secret-keeping necessarily, given my tendency to talk too much and too often, especially to fill an awkward silence, but when it comes to important things like first dates and surprise parties, I work really hard to keep details on the DL until it’s finally time to share. After the fantastic surprise party to celebrate the engagement of my lovely friend M and her N last month, most people would have toned down party-planning mode, but in fact, my fashionista C and I had another party in the works at the same time, which came to fruition this weekend, when we surprised our partner-in-crime R with a bachelorette drag brunch and a bridal shower on C’s roof. There were so many wonderful moments this past Sunday that I’ve been trying to chronicle in a succinct story, but the more I wrote, the more I realized there was only one way to memorialize the day.

So without further ado: PLD Montage, Vol 2.3: Surprise Edition

  • As mentioned above, C and I were planning the parties for R at the same time we were planning the party for M. We had group texts going with both of the girls talking about two different parties which were the primary forms of communicating details among ourselves.
    Lesson learned: ALWAYS, always, ALWAYS confirm you’re sending the correct group text when simultaneously planning surprise parties. Literally, always.
  • We’d decided that C would handle most of the decorations etc. for the bridal shower, while I’d handle plans/decorations for the bachelorette brunch. Losing my wallet on Memorial Day continued to enhance my life by completely screwing my budget, which meant I couldn’t actually order anything for brunch until five days before the big event. Not wanting to deal with the inevitable screw-up of the Washington Heights post office, I decided to have the decorations shipped to my office, where they thankfully arrived just in time on Friday for me to spill the beans to my coworkers about the plans for the weekend, and have them insist to see the decorations that I’d ordered.
    Lesson learned: Maybe don’t take out penis-shaped memorabilia during office hours.
  • The day before the party, C, M and I met at C’s place to bake the treats for the bridal shower, including R’s favorite banana pudding and a paleo cupcake recipe because we’re all a little crazy. M and I had a *few* drinks at happy hour the night before and had spent the morning eating and relaxing at her apartment, trying to balance our blood sugar after too much wine. Though we spent literally the whole morning eating, upon arriving to the Financial District to bake, we decided we needed a smoothie to chase all of the hangover food just before getting to C’s place. Oh, and then we brought chips and salsa to C’s place as an accompanying baking snack. And also ate some of the Nilla wafers while making the pudding. Also sampled a cupcake. Oh, and some of the frosting.
    Lesson learned: Eating everything in sight does not make your hangover feel better and actually might leave you on the couch at home on a Saturday night with stomach cramps that make it impossible to move.
  • The plan for the day was simple: M, C, R and I would meet for drag brunch at noon, which was actually R’s surprise bachelorette party, and then head to C’s rooftop where more friends would be waiting for a surprise bridal shower. When party day finally arrived, M and I went down to the restaurant early so we could decorate the table with the aforementioned silly bachelorette decorations, like a chair ribbon and uber-classy penis centerpiece. After setting everything up, we went to the bar to wait for R and C to arrive, bouncing with a nervous excitement. And then another bachelorette party came in and the poor girl got really excited when she saw a decorated table.
    Lesson learned: There’s no better way to put a damper on someone else’s bachelorette party than running to the table where she’s trying to sit down screaming “THAT IS NOT FOR YOU.”
  • Brunch was wonderful and just as drunk as brunch should be, and there is even a video of R lip-syncing on “stage” to a song that she hates (which I am not allowed to share but FYI it’s amazing). We got in a cab on the way home and took awkward photos together, trying to distract R from the slowly-rebuilding nervous energy, as the rest of us knew that the surprises for the day weren’t over yet. We confirmed everyone had finally arrived to the surprise party and I distracted R in her apartment for a few minutes before we walked to C’s rooftop; I tried to keep it cool but I was a little too tipsy and kept bouncing around while we walked to the roof. We made it to the roof and I let R lead the way, looking for M and C, until she stopped and said “Are. You. Serious.” while smiling, as she saw the pink tablecloth and a big group waiting with surprise smiles. The rest of the afternoon was spent enjoying perfect weather on the rooftop, drinking champagne and eating treats, watching R open presents and ending with big hugs all around, since the next time we’ll all be together in the not-so-distant future is at the wedding.
    Lesson learned: Maybe it’s difficult and stressful to plan two surprises on one day for your best friend, but watching R surrounded by love and friends (and presents, of course) was worth every freaking second of it.

It’s bittersweet sometimes, looking towards the end of the summer when my one-time single partner-in-crime will become someone else’s other half. I don’t think I could have survived the first few months as Single LB in the city if it weren’t for her pushing me out of my comfort zone and into a lot of vodka. And yet I’m looking forward to that wedding, probably not quite as much as she is but definitely a lot. She brought H the Scot into my life, our lives, and in his crazy, Scottish way, he makes the group feel complete. It’s definitely been a wild year of surprises as they’ve fallen in love and planned a wedding, and I have memories (and sort-of memories) that will last me (mostly) forever. Throwing her a day of surprises leading into the next few months was the least I could do to pay her back for all of the memories, lessons and love she’s brought into my life in the past year.

So here’s to the next chapter for my partner-in-crime and her Scot! I foresee a follow-up to this post after their wedding, where I’ve already had to swear “no vodka” and am only mostly positive my bridesmaid’s dress won’t lead to everyone’s favorite game of “If you see something, say something” with my boobs. But until then, the above lessons in love, surprises and PLDs should keep us grounded for the busy summer ahead.

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Spring Cleaning: Beast Mode

This weekend I went full beast mode on my apartment. In truth, I’ve spent so little time there this past month that there was a laundry list of things that needed to be done (up to and including actual laundry), and given the next 12 days will be entirely dedicated to managing two big projects at work that wrap up around the same time, this weekend was my only chance to get through that list. It started as an innocent idea: I’m going to give everything a good cleaning, and maybe I’ll do my seasonal closet purge, something I’ve been meaning to do for weeks. It somehow spiraled into the most productive weekend I’ve had all year, allowing me to wake up this morning with a fully-decluttered and rearranged apartment, every single meal prepped and ready for the upcoming week, and even a few spare minutes this morning for some extra stretches in Monday yoga.

One of the big reasons I wanted to give a good clean to my apartment is to prepare for the new furniture I’m getting next month. It would be a big deal regardless, redecorating the apartment, but this is bigger than any redecoration I’ve done in the past. This is the one where I’m finally getting rid of the things I’ve carried around from apartment to apartment, trying to retrofit the style into the new place but ultimately leaving myself with more clutter than style. This is the one where I’m mounting things on the wall, cleaning out all the closets, tossing anything that I don’t need and only keeping the things I do. This redecoration officially marks the apartment as Mine for the foreseeable future, as I have no intention or incentive to leave. The biggest change started on Saturday evening, as my lovely friend M and I systematically removed hinges and doors from my old dresser, walked the skeleton down my five flights of stairs and left the drawers next to it on the curb. It was a really sad moment, actually, watching the very first piece of furniture I bought when I moved to New York sitting on the curb like an outcast. But it was also thrilling in a way, like everything I did this weekend makes it real that things are all about to change.

My apartment has looked different with every year I’ve lived there. There were no decorations for the first year, since I thought I’d be leaving after just one, and the furniture didn’t fit with anything, having been purchased for my completely-different apartment in the Upper East Side. The place felt empty for a while, the brash white walls and the furniture that didn’t fit; I couldn’t figure out how to navigate my bedroom with the two closets and wonky pipe running down a prime corner. Ten months after moving in, the somewhat-impulsive-may-have-been-reacting-to-a-break-up decision to paint the living room kicked off a burning desire to redecorate, but in planning a major re-do, I started realizing it was going to be a much bigger ask than I’d anticipated. I put everything on hold, living with a painted living room but clutter everywhere else for the next year; and now here we are: freshly-painted kitchen and bedroom to match the living room, and everything rearranged how it’s never been before. Each of these little milestones connect back to a different time in the apartment: different jobs, LB in a relationship, single LB, 24 years old to 26 years old, blonde LB, redheaded LB. The past two years have probably been the most formative of my entire life, all growth, learning experiences, great moments and horrible months. Having my ever-evolving apartment change with me has been such a massive part of this time in my life, and it’s crazy to think that in just a month it’s going to change that much more.

I sat on the couch last night with a Sunday treat, a strawberry-banana-almond-coconut milk smoothie and my favorite TV show in the background. I looked around at the place, so excited to see everything come together like the vision I’ve had in my head for a year. I checked my phone for a message, caught a glimpse of the date and all of a sudden realized that I’d moved into this apartment exactly two years ago, March 15, 2013. I started to smile, and then laugh, as I looked around at the still-new set-up, all the changes the place has already experienced and the bigger changes yet to come. It’s so funny how something like your apartment defines your days, how milestones like painting a living room blend into new beginnings and occasionally endings. This weekend may have been on the tamer side, but it was a spring cleaning in every sense: out with the old furniture, the memories of the early years in the city, the baggage associated with those extra Chapstick tubes hiding in the bottom of a dresser drawer and the unnecessary nostalgia of a photobooth reel; and in with the new. New furniture, new set-up, new attitude and a new season of growth.