And then? Brunch.

You know how I’ve been bemoaning about how uninteresting my life has been lately? I was looking back on old entries, not just before YTT but going back to early 2015, and my word life has changed so much. All of the changes have been wonderful and positive, and I suppose most of the changes are what people refer to when they talk about growing up, but part of me missed that carefree LB. I missed reliving the ridiculous moments on the weekends, fueled by champagne and perfect weather, and I miss waking up to photos in my phone that I don’t remember taking, someone else’s selfies and kisses on cheeks as we fall down on the bar couch. I don’t want to go back to those times, but I did miss them for just a little while. And then this weekend happened. Or more specifically: and then? Brunch.

M’s sister was in town for the weekend, my first weekend after training, and we’d decided weeks ago that Sunday would involve the three of us and A getting together for brunch at Paradou, a tiny restaurant not too far from my office in the Meatpacking that offers what else? Unlimited champagne brunch. A and I had a perfectly lazy Saturday, dumplings in Williamsburg on Saturday afternoon followed by binge watching Amazon Prime on his couch in Queens, the lovely kind of nothing you don’t realize you miss until you go without for six weeks. Like the super-cool couple we are, we were dead asleep by 10:30 on Saturday, and up early in time for a long walk through Queens before we met M and her sister for the aforementioned brunch. I had grand plans to dedicate the afternoon to cleaning my apartment, grocery shopping, and generally being a productive member of society. And then? Brunch.

A. I haven’t mentioned him yet, have I? A is the person that I never saw coming, to say the very least. My 2016 had grand plans to continue the year of LB, a year for big life changes and life lessons and learnings, but never in there did I expect, anticipate or plan for A to crash into my life and change everything. We’ve been seeing each other for a while now, and to his enormous credit I have NOT made it easy on him. A few weeks after we met I was starting a Whole30, and then a few weeks after that YTT started, plus we live quite literally on opposite ends of the city. Rather than the typical “meet for drinks” getting-to-know-you dating that’s standard for New York City singles, our relationship has been yoga dates, cooking for each other, lazy nights on someone’s couch and weekends apart while I spent time in the studio. Actually, aside from the wedding where we met a few months back, he hadn’t really experienced drunk LB in her full glory, despite our dating for a few months now. And then? Brunch.

We all woke up in a daze on Monday morning, after brunch turned into the Standard Biergarten turned into a series of ridiculous happenings, like how M and I had to climb up her downstairs neighbors’ fire escape after locking ourselves out of her apartment and I almost lost my phone and keys in an Uber I don’t remember taking. A and I had talked about hanging out last night and quickly quashed those plans in favor of going to our respective apartments and crashing immediately; I don’t even know how I made it through an entire day in the office without throwing up in or around something. When I initially woke up I felt like such ass that I almost started to berate myself, talking down on my actions and decisions like scolding a child, trying to make hungover LB feel terrible enough that drunk LB would go back into hiding forever.

But the more events from the afternoon started coming out, the funnier everything became. There are videos on my phone that show the four of us heavily-lidded and laughing hysterically, a series of photos with A and I where we start off making joke faces and end up with these perfect smiles, a little reminder of how happy I’ve been since he swooped into my life and changed everything. We were all acting like the person that I was for so long and the one I missed a little bit; the hangover reminded me that I don’t actually miss her all that much, but I love the memories I have of that time. It’s easy to see life for all the changes at times, especially when they’re chronicled so neatly in a place like this. It’s easy to think you’ve grown past making some of those poor life decisions or bemoan that you’ll never be “that” person again. And then? Brunch.

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.

PLD Montage: 2.1 (Life Edition)

First one of the year! I’ve really enjoyed the themed montages of the past few months, but honestly, I haven’t done enough stupid things in a condensed period of time yet this year, so a full theme hasn’t been feasible. So why not take the montage back to its roots of random stupid things I do on a daily basis!

Without further ado, here’s the first round-up of 2015: PLD Montage: Life Edition

  • I’ve started the process of looking into different yoga teacher training programs in the city, and after speaking with a very nice person at YogaWorks, decided to take a class there to get a feel for the vibe. Naturally, despite leaving with plenty of time, a snowstorm and weekend subway schedules meant I was HOOFING IT off the subway at Canal Street, desperately trying to be on time for this first class. I made it with about 2 minutes to spare, super excited I’d already signed up for the class so I knew I’d find a spot to put my mat, even if I was a few minutes late. SURPRISE: the class was packed, the instructor completely ignored me, and I got some SERIOUS attitude from one of the students when I gently asked her if she could make room for my mat (which she decidedly did not do). I stood awkwardly in the front of the room for another 3 minutes before finally saying (out loud) “Fuck this” and leaving.
    Lesson learned: if it looks like a snobby studio, and smells like snobby studio, it’s probably not the kind of place where you can forget your anxiety over yoga-induced cameltoe and get lost in the sequence.
  • I spent a really long time thinking about my first day at the new job over the Atlantic City weekend that I actually managed to keep it (mostly) together during the whole weekend, drinking enough to make friends with a cute boy that danced with me to a live band in the casino, but not so much that I couldn’t shut down his touchy-feely married Brazilian friend that tagged along. Once we were home on Sunday, I spent the day cleaning, relaxing, drinking tons of water and generally taking care of myself, even going to bed before 10 p.m., all because I wanted to be in tip-top shape come 9:30 a.m. Monday. Then my alarm went off and I woke up with the WORST migraine I’ve had in years.
    Lesson learned: No matter how hard you fight it, a post-Atlantic City hangover will always find you.
  • Something I’ve been really good about for the past year or so is packing a lunch for work. Usually it’s a salad with some kind of leftovers on it, or I’ll prep salad parts on the weekend and just assemble something quickly in the morning, nothing special. I usually eat at my desk, which was great at my last job because I didn’t have people sitting on either side of me, and I didn’t feel bad about food smells radiating from around my keyboard. This mindset means on my first week in the job I was bringing salads topped with boiled egg, roasted Brussels sprouts and garlic dressing.
    Lesson learned: There’s no better way to introduce yourself around the office without having to move than hard boiled eggs for lunch on day one.
  • HR gave me my very own candy jar as a “Welcome!” treat, filled to the brim with chocolate and Nerds and other sugary delicious things.
    Lesson learned: Apparently I can’t be trusted not to eat 3 weeks’ worth of candy in less than 5 days.
  • The other day I was so busy that I didn’t realize I was listening to Christmas music for a half-hour. Nothing like Spotify announcing to your entire Facebook feed that you were singing along to “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” in February.
    Lesson learned: PAY ATTENTION.

PLD Montage: Vol. 6 (Holiday Party Edition)

It’s been too long since I’ve done a round up a bad decisions, mostly because I’ve been super boring over the last few months. Like, stays in all weekend to rewatch Once Upon a Time on Netflix and eat takeout for three straight meals kind of boring. Luckily for all of us, last night was the company holiday party, and oh boy did I get into some fun.

Now I’m not saying I was *that* girl at the party at all. I actually managed to keep it together enough to get to the office on time. I am saying, however, that perhaps the office saw a side of me I’d been able to keep under wraps for the 11 months I’ve worked here. So without further ado – let’s get started!

PLD Montage: Holiday Party Edition

  • For the first time in my professional life, the holiday party had a dress code, in this case, “cocktail attire.” I brought my favorite LBD to the office, a Club Monaco number with cut-outs on the side that now show off my b-e-a-yootiful tattoo. I’d originally planned on wearing a pair of black wedges with manageable height to the fiesta, knowing I’d be up and dancing most of the night, but when I tried them on with the dress the night before, it just didn’t look right. So obviously the next option was 6-inch black stilettos. 9 hours and a walk along the Meatpacking cobblestone later…
    Lesson learned: BRING FLATS. Girl. Bring flats. Always bring flats. It’s cool though, no one needs to feel their toes 12 hours after removing the offending shoes.
  • As is fairly common with official gatherings these days, there were two massive screens on display that were showing photos tweeted/Instagrammed with the party hashtag. We even took it a step further and had a “Selfie Station” (COMPLETE WITH SELFIE STICK) that had all sorts of fun props to make the photos that much more fun. So naturally, I took at least 60 pictures and posted all of them throughout the night with the appropriate hashtag.
    Lesson learned: Always check you don’t have a red pepper flake stuck between your front teeth before uploading a photo. Some selfies really don’t translate from iPhone size to a projector screen.
  • The official work party wrapped up around 10, and as we gathered our things, no one had really mentioned an after party. Part of me was disappointed, since that’s the real fun about work holiday gatherings, but I did somewhat relish the idea of getting home at a reasonable hour and feeling okay the next morning at the office. In the coat-check madness, I heard someone yell “GASLIGHT” and just knew I had to go – the last time I went there was Superbowl Sunday 2014, the infamous day that started this whole chronicle. In my head, I was going to stop in for a beer and head out before midnight. Turns out, 2 a.m. comes around pretty quickly.
    Lesson learned: As evidenced by my pounding head and the fervent desire to crawl in bed with a bacon cheeseburger and all of the Advil, I can no longer function on four hours of sleep.
  • Leaving the party, I was not about to take the subway all the way uptown at 2 a.m. with my aforementioned sore feet, so I decided to take a cab to get me home. Upon checking my email this morning, it appears drunk LB called not one, but TWO Ubers, and missed both of them to get in a yellow cab.
    Lesson learned: Apparently Uber charges you $10 for every cancelled ride that waits more than 5 minutes. Do you think I can expense two car rides I didn’t take?
  • I made a promise to sober LB that I would get into the office on time, despite an excess of red wine and a lack of sleep, because I flat-out refuse to be That Person in the holiday party aftermath. Despite wanting to punch something upon hearing my alarm, I reluctantly made it out of bed, made coffee and breakfast, and even made it out the door on time. So of course, the subways were massively delayed. I had to get on THREE different trains at three different stations, only to make it back to the A train – very likely the train I would have caught if I’d just waited at my original station. Frustrated, cold and to be honest still drunk, I angrily got on the train and started cursing MTA in my head. And then I heard the most amazing thing: my subway conductor, my favorite conductor that has been missing for months, telling all of us to have “a beautiful morning, and a warm and cozy weekend.”
    Lesson learned: There’s always a silver lining if you give it a minute to shine.

I’m now going to retreat under my desk with the aforementioned bacon cheeseburger and hide until I learn that 2 a.m. is not an acceptable bedtime on a work night as a 26 year old. Happy weekend kids!

Penis Cakes Need Not Apply

Oh, bachelorette parties. These fetes of female revelry are supposed to be the quintessential “last night out” as an unmarried woman, a chance to get real drunk and party with your girlfriends before entering the sanctity of marriage, where apparently getting inappropriately tanked and dancing on tables is frowned upon. As the token single friend in most of my groups, it’s also a chance for them to convince me to fulfill their last single-girl fantasies, dancing with strangers and encouraging a drunken makeout, just one more time. Say those two words to anyone and their first image is women in matching t-shirts and someone in a bad veil, a bunch of penis-shaped memorabilia and woo girls trying to creep into gay bars, screeching how much they love each other and demanding photos all night. For some, it sounds like hell. For me, it sounds like a damn good weekend for some PLDs.

This weekend was the bachelorette party for the first of my childhood friends getting married, a lead-in to what I’m affectionately referring to as Hell Week at work (though is more accurately Hell 12 Days Because I’m Working This Weekend Ugh). I went into the party weekend with a solid plan: get into Philly on Saturday, bachelorette activities with said childhood friend during the day, breaking off for a bit to meet my soul sister E for dinner, and meet up with the bachelorette crew for dancing all night. Gorgeous weather and an easy bus ride into Philly set the bar for the weekend, which spoiler alert: didn’t disappoint.

Seems legit.

Seems legit.

After a few days of being mopey and cranky, the chance to hang out with old and new friends, riding a Pedicycle around Philadelphia while people cheered and offered congratulations, wearing these fantastic matching t-shirts the bride had made herself, was perfect. I complained, admittedly, about the t-shirts to my lovely friend M before the weekend, annoyed at being forced into something so stereotypically bachelorette, but in the end it was perfect. The shirts made the party absolutely bachelorette without being obnoxious, a way to identify ourselves to strangers and bartenders without the need for a giant dick drawn somewhere on the bride-to-be. Bachelorette parties leave the wedding stress behind to celebrate girlfriends, no boy drama, no any drama. Just matching tshirts and lots of fun.

However, planning for a long day and night of drinking which would be followed by a last-minute flight to Indianapolis on Sunday for work meant I had two main goals: stick to beer (fail) and remember to drink water (epic fail). Sunday morning brought a miserable hangover of legendary proportions for both E and I as we woke up disoriented in the hotel, remnants of 2 a.m. room service littering the duvet. Bless her heart that she still had the stamina to drive me to the airport, where she only had to pull over once on the highway so I could vomit the small amount of hydration I was able to ingest prior to leaving the hotel. As the hours ticked, ticked on, waiting in the airport for my flight which was delayed once, twice and then again, I felt a migraine creeping in, a final middle finger to my day drinking extravaganza. I’ve never felt so miserable on a plane before, turbulence mixed with hangover mixed with migraine, cursing WHY WHY WHY did I have that last beer, WHY didn’t I drink more water, and WHY did I ever start drinking alcohol in the first place?!

There’s nothing like a hell of a hangover to remind you that you aren’t, in fact, 21 years old anymore, something that should have been more obvious by the fact that I was drinking to commemorate the impending wedding of a friend. That may even be the real point of the bachelorette fiesta, a reminder that as much as we loved to party back in the day, growing up changes things. Here’s hoping I’ll be able to comport myself with a bit more dignity at her wedding later this summer, which I think should be easy. After all, I’ve had my years drinking with her and making PLDs. Despite the lack of penis-shaped anything, this last hurrah was the send off that a lifetime of an incredible friendship deserves, one to remember as she gets ready to start her life as a Missus.

The worst decision.

Heading home from a long day of drinking last night, I stopped for a minute to reflect on the absurd weekend I’d just had. In 72 hours, I’d met two fabulous drag queens and surprised them at their drunk brunch show, been lost in 3 neighborhoods, exercised for exactly zero hours and currently had three different boys texting me  after being a bit too loose with my number at the last bar. As I leaned my head back and tried to ignore the fact that this was rapidly becoming the most expensive cab ride I’d ever taken, I knew the hangover, the growing bruise on my leg and the hit my already-broke bank account took this weekend were all worth it. This was the stuff I’d look back on in twenty years and remember. Well, mostly remember.

I paid the cab driver the massive fee I’d racked up getting from the West Village back home to Washington Heights, stepped over one of my neighbors passed out on the stairwell and made my way up 5 flights of stairs to my apartment, all while in 4-inch kicks, insides saturated with mimosas, beer and bad food. Collapsing onto the couch like I’d run a 10K, I gave the cat a head rub and thought about where I was for the Super Bowl last year: snuggled up with my then-boyfriend of three years, blissfully unaware of the 12 months of heartbreak ahead of me, only aware of the fact that we were slowly talking about moving in together and thinking maybe, just maybe, he would propose on our trip to Aruba that next month.

When a relationship falls apart, it’s not like a movie montage, a blurry series of painful moments and over in a flash. Living through those moments feels like wading through mud uphill, trying to catch his hand as he runs, runs, runs away. The worst decision I ever made was to fight for a relationship when he wouldn’t fight with me. I spent months fists up, giving him piece after piece after piece of myself, desperate for him to love me in the way I wanted him to, needed him to. When he finally snapped, screaming at me that he didn’t want the things I wanted, I could feel the pieces of my heart he held crumble, slowly blowing away, like a whisper in a crowded room. Finally walking away from Us took every piece of courage and strength I could muster, and I spent the next 24 hours in a daze, unable to feel anything unless I was feeling everything.

After just a few days, I started feeling something else that I wasn’t expecting. Rather than finding myself overwhelmed with grief and loss, I felt relief. Slow building and impossible to ignore, relief started flowing through every vein to every limb and every part of myself. I nearly collapsed with the weight of such a feeling, unable to believe that it took just a few days to feel any semblance of normal after nearly four years of an intense and wonderful love. I took that relief and used it to remember all the things about myself that I’d neglected while entrenched in the losing battle for Us, like how much I love pushing myself at the gym and how much I enjoyed living alone.

Back on my couch, the cat nipped at my hand and brought me to the present. The clock said 9:45, but I was drunk, tired and stuffed with free wings and other football fare, so dammit if I didn’t want to go to bed. I sent a quick text to my friend to make sure she was home safe, and then turned my phone on silent, lest the bartender I don’t plan on seeing ever again text me another sweet pick-up line, a follow-up to his opener of “What’s your opinion of tequila?”

It may be an interesting concept, sharing the comically bad decisions of your mid-to-late 20s, but when you’ve already made a decision that caused you to lose yourself completely, suddenly telling people about the drunk 2 a.m. purchase of leather sweatpants, or the not-so-well-received joke about gonads in an internal work meeting isn’t the worst. In fact, it’s pretty funny. And after such a long year of heartbreak and loss, funny is exactly what I need.