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.

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Just once more.

Last night I was sitting on my couch, mentally preparing to re-enter the real world after the wedding weekend extravaganza and scrolling through the shared photo album one more time to relive the event. I wish I could go into detail here about the entire weekend, how I’ve never seen any of my friends look so happy, and there aren’t even words for the looks on R and H’s faces from the moment they saw each other across the church. But truly it’s their story to tell – not mine – and it took me two days to recover from the emotional high of every minute of their day. But with such wonderful memories comes a few embarrassing ones for me from the rehearsal dinner, to no one’s surprise, and it’s had me thinking a lot about the changes I’ve made since my birthday last year. Because let’s just say, when you’re less than a week from turning 27 and your friends are still starting stories from the night before with “No it’s okay, you only threw up in the Uber a little bit” and “how do you not remember trying to kiss the best man?!”, that’s just a *bit* of an issue.

It’s getting harder to make these PLDs. Not in actually making the decision – I’m quite good at doing dumb things– but in the aftermath. It’s starting to feel like a chore, cleaning up after the things I do when I’m making them. It’s losing important things like a wallet or a phone, or accidentally making out with different strangers because I’m trying to distract myself from who even knows what. There’s a part of me that appreciates I’ve had the chance to be such a crazy person in this city because I have the most incredible support system, but the rest of me is ready to no longer require a friend to reassure me that I didn’t ruin everything while I’m in tears in a cab, frustrated and ashamed at actions that could have been avoided if I’d just listened to myself and slowed down.

When I moved to New York City back in 2010, I was this person who knew one thing really well: that I had no idea what the fuck I was doing. I got a job in an industry I didn’t study in college, I took an apartment from Craigslist because it was close to my brother and frankly, there wasn’t even much of a thought process to NYC, only because I’d always told myself if I could live there, I would. And now five years later, I’m looking back on these unbelievable memories and half-memories, people I used to see all the time, places I haven’t been in years. I’ve watched my life evolve in ways I’d never have expected, and yet the one thing that’s stayed constant is making dumb fucking decisions that cause shame flashbacks for days, or sometimes weeks, on end.

Last night as I sat on my couch, I had a silly decision to make. Since the Whole30 in April, I almost never keep wine in the apartment anymore, after years of always having a bottle around “just in case.” Since essentially eliminating occasional glasses of booze on weeknights, I’ve felt like a teenager learning my limits as I’m out drinking with friends, trying to reconcile the reduced tolerance that comes with age and nights dedicated to yoga hours instead of happy hours. I’ve enjoyed not drinking the way that I used to, because I think it’s helped me push through some emotional baggage and physical milestones, and since not drinking on weeknights I’ve found a lot of clarity in things that used to cause anxiety. But last night, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to crack into a bottle my parents gave me ages ago, just to enjoy a glass while relaxing like old times. It’s funny to look at something as simple as having a glass of wine at home on a weeknight as something powerful and nostalgic, but it feels like I haven’t been that person who did that in a long time.

I stared at the bottle for a minute, and had a very distinct thought: I want to be that girl, just once more. Just for something as simple as tonight, at home in pajamas after watching two of my closest friends get married, I wanted to be the girl that danced on bars and remembered every minute with pride, the girl who had an extra glass of wine with a friend on a weeknight because we were young and hangovers seemed worth it. I wanted to be the early twenties LB in the smallest possible way for just a few minutes. Because I’ve realized very quickly in the past month that I’m not the same person I was anymore, I’m just not. And that means a lot of things are about to change. But for a brief moment, alone in my apartment on a Monday night, I wanted to be that same person – just once more.

Volar

“At a certain point, I realized there’s a huge difference between what we work for, and what we live for.”

Last weekend I had the enormous privilege of watching D&D’s dogs, a welcome respite from the insanity of life in favor of long walks under the summer sun in Central Park and along the East River. It’s so comfortable to be back in that neighborhood, where I spent the first two years of my NYC life; and it’s also a quiet time, where outside of the walks, I’m mostly watching Netflix, snuggling with the pups, and thinking. This weekend’s Netflix binge of choice was Sense8, which was the sci-fi escape I needed while on mini-hiatus from my normal life, and without going into details (because seriously, everyone should watch this show), the quote above caused me to stop, and rewind, and rewind again, just to understand and grasp those words. They were exactly what I needed to hear when I didn’t even know I needed something to hold onto, and they pushed me into making a decision that I’ve been thinking about for longer than I care to admit.

I feel things really deeply. It’s something I’ve had to learn to control in the past few years, in an effort both to protect myself and just to pull back from extremes in emotions, as from experience, they can be incredibly draining. On one hand, the elated high of good fortune, celebrating friends, having a crush, falling in love, those are moments that stick out to me so vividly it’s like I can relive them if I close my eyes and breathe in. I’ll never forget the rush of saying three words for the first time to someone who said them back, and I’ll never forget what it felt like when N clued me in on the date he planned to propose to M. In 10 years I won’t remember the conversations that I’ve had with friends and family, and I won’t remember which night was a night we spent on a rooftop and which one was a night spent on my couch with little miss. But I will remember the way my heart swelled when C and me surprised R not once, but twice in a day with parties. And I will also remember how fiercely I cried when I came home one night, exhausted from 15 hours in the office and needing someone to be there for me, finding myself once again saddled with the full weight of being alone.

When a movie or a television show or a song makes me feel, really Feel something, it’s like a drug for me. I drink in those emotions like a feral beast in the desert: this song made me feel heartbreak, this show made me feel joy, this movie made me feel love. I’m obviously capable of these emotions on their own (*I would hope that’s obvious), but connecting them to songs, stories, images, is a way that I can lose myself in the emotion, the full depth of the feeling, like I can understand it without the distraction of real life. Feeling things like this can get me in trouble, and absolutely has in the past, but I wouldn’t change that part of me for anything, the part that works to connect on a different level, whether real or through my screen, through my headphones. I want to understand what people are going through in some sort of self-destructive effort to feel on all ends of the spectrum, possibly so I know what I’m up against in suppressing those emotions at the end of the day.

There’s something that’s been on my mind for the better part of a year, something I haven’t talked to anyone about, not the Nickname Posse, not my family, not anyone. Little things in the past few months have been pushing me closer to that gut feeling, pushing me to a point where it was on my mind and I couldn’t get rid of it if I tried. And weirdly, my moment of clarity midway through binge-watching the entire season of Sense8 in 48 hours wasn’t an emotional roller coaster, or even a big epiphany. In finally giving attention to this idea, and considering it from the full emotional spectrum, I could feel a wave of calm energy wash over my entire body, followed by a tangible sense of relief, like pushing a rock up a hill for years and finally realizing it’s not meant to be at the top. I texted my anchor G before anyone else to gauge her reaction, and after fielding her perfectly ecstatic replies, I found myself noticing little signs everywhere that maybe this time I’ve made a good life decision.

That calm feeling hasn’t left me, and if anything, it’s given me a better focus for the days ahead. I won’t go into details here quite yet – there are things that people you love should hear from you in person first – and I’m going to need all the emotional anchoring that I’ve learned from years spent overfeeling everything in the weeks and months to come. But in looking ahead, all I can feel is excited, because this next year is going to be one hell of a fucking ride.

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.

Quick Thoughts: Halloweekend

I love Halloween. I’m not crazy for it, since forced revelry in costumes isn’t necessarily my ideal night, but I do love a good excuse to dress strangely and solicit candy (i.e., shots) from strangers. I’ve been trying to put together a good recap of all the fun, but honestly there isn’t too much to tell. The Nickname Posse got all dressed up and spooky for a night at my partner-in-crime R and her Scot H’s apartment, followed by a pit stop at a bar for the sole purpose of using its photo booth before we all went home. A somewhat casual-ish night where I managed about 83 percent on memory retention and 100 percent on regrettable decisions upon waking up the next morning, but all in all, nothing too wild.

There are, however, a few lessons I wish I’d known heading into Halloween this year:

  • If you’re creating an elaborate skeleton face with dark makeup and wearing a white lace top, perhaps hold getting dressed until after the black powder all over your face and neck has settled.
  • If you know the weather is going to be on the ‘aggressive’ side of windy, perhaps wear a skirt that doesn’t flip like a dolphin in a minor breeze on a good day.
  • If you’re going to force an entire party to listen to the new Taylor Swift album, be prepared for both backlash from non-fans, as well as for an overexcited drunk Bane knocking you over to share the spotlight for Blank Space.
  • If you’re going to take drunk photobooth pictures at Iron Horse (per ushe), don’t force yourself in the middle and then insist you do a “kiss on the cheek!” picture because you may accidentally leak skeleton paint on Barbie and Cleopatra.
  • If you’re anticipating a lazy, post-party Saturday, having a full fridge will prevent you from justifying that second order of tortas and empanadas on Seamless.
  • Actually just kidding, I don’t care if Gordon Ramsay prepared a meal for hungover LB, if she wants Seamless tortas, it’s gonna happen.
  • And of course, the biggest lesson of the night: I look damn good in skeleton makeup.

November is already gearing up to be a wild month, but no more wild than riding a subway car with two women in homemade Ebony/Ivory angel costumes that whip your face with their wings every time the train lurches. There’s really nothing quite like autumn in New York City, after all.

PLD Montage: Vol. 5 (Birthday Edition)

So, I’m going to let you all in on a little secret. On days where I know I won’t have the time or wherewithal to post an entry here, I’ll auto-schedule something a few days early so the content goes up in time. Such was the case with the birthday post, where I said I’d be sleeping off another Japas bender and probably doing nothing all day. In reality, that wasn’t the case. I felt amazing on Sunday and had a fabulous actual birthday. But never fear that I’m implying stupid decisions weren’t made at the party on Saturday – it’s still me, after all.

So without further delay, please enjoy a recap of my poor life decisions: birthday style.

  • On Labor Day, a week before my birthday, my lovely friend M and I started our day very productively, grocery shopping at Whole Foods early in the morning and heading to yoga class around noon. Despite trying to hydrate properly into Monday after being slightly hungover on Sunday, I still went into class pretty dehydrated, and sweating through 75 minutes of an intense flow was perhaps not the best idea going into unlimited champagne brunch with the rest of the group immediately after. I made it home around 5 that afternoon, following said brunch and a post-brunch drink with M, before deciding it would be a great idea to do MORE yoga, and got into a headstand for about 2 seconds before my champagne-addled equilibrium caught up with me and I fell pretty spectacularly back to the mat. Guess who still had massive, dark, noticeable bruises on both knees for her party? Because that’s not suggestive at all.
    Lesson learned: No yoga after drinking. Also no drinking after yoga. Pretty much don’t mix those, ever.
  • My big birthday plans began with a trip to a place that is both magical and deadly: Japas 27, where $40 a person gets you a private karaoke room and two hours of unlimited alcohol and food. The original reservation was from 9 till 11, enough time to enjoy said unlimited booze, and still enjoy a night out somewhere in the city. On Saturday, my work buddy S and I buffered our stomachs with a very necessary Shake Shack dinner, before showing up to Japas exactly on time, wanting to make sure we were there to keep the reservation and greet everyone as they arrived. We were so excited to get started, since the two hour window officially starts once they bring in the drinks, and we didn’t want to start the clock without the majority of the group there. And then everyone showed up an hour late.
    Lesson learned: If you know your friends are always late, maybe buffer the arrival time you tell them so you don’t sit awkwardly in a quiet room for an hour at your own birthday party.
  • Anyone who knows me, knows I have a slight affinity for rompers and jumpsuits. They’re comfortable, they’re easy, but they are on the inconvenient side when you have to pee, because you basically have to strip down. Naturally, I wore a new romper for birthday festivities, a backless, purple lace one from Free People, that I had to tie in TIGHT, so my friends weren’t forced to play “if you see something, say something” with my nipples (again). After indulging in a few rounds of the unlimited beer and sake, I went up to pee and didn’t come back for 20 minutes. Why? May or may not have been stuck trying to untie the romper and then almost flashed a stranger my boobs when I forgot to lock the stall door.
    Lesson learned: This is why girls pee in packs.
  • I took a bunch of videos of everyone, myself included, singing our hearts out to everything from Queen, to Kanye, to Aly and AJ. And without watching any of them, I posted a bunch to Instagram and sent one to a friend across the pond.
    Lesson learned: GIRL. Watch. The. Videos. First.
  • All I wanted for my actual birthday was to wake up and have a day where I felt fine, enough to enjoy the weather, the football and the day. Up until this past weekend, I was 0-5 on not blacking out at Japas, because two hours of unlimited alcohol catches up to you quick. Miraculously, despite exceeding my self-imposed limit of 3 sake bombs and staying out till 3:30, I woke up on Sunday around 10 and felt great – I think it was my birthday present from the party gods. I heard from old friends and new friends throughout the day, people who made it to the party and those who couldn’t. In a shocking turn of events, most of us from the party were doing fine! It almost got me thinking that we should give Japas another chance, like maybe now that we’re older, we’d be more responsible with our limits. And then I got this:
  • JapasLesson learned: Well, there had to be one.

PLD Montage: Vol. 4 (Austin edition)

I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to chronicle this past weekend, the annual college reunion, because it could go in so many directions. I could talk about how much it means to have that time with my People, the ones who know all of my flaws and love me anyway, after we’ve all had a tough few weeks. I could put up something cute and cryptic about unique bonding experiences, or how much things can change in a year and yet how things can feel exactly the same, as though no time has passed. But the more I cycled through photos and memories on the long trip home, there is really only one way to give the past few days, officially dubbed “Best Weekend Ever (Seriously)” the justice they deserve.

Readers, I give you the latest Montage: Austin Edition.

  • While packing for the trip, I left out a few things that I would need to bring, but couldn’t lock in a suitcase until right before we left for the airport. Namely: glasses case, deodorant and phone charger. Despite a hot date with jalapeno margaritas the night before, E and I had no well, only minor problems waking up at 4 a.m., and I laid out the things I needed to pack as we scrambled around my apartment waiting for the car (Uber count: 1) to arrive. Everything travel-wise went incredibly smoothly – until I went to put away my glasses, apply deodorant and charge my phone.
    Lesson learned: Just because you’re not at a bar doesn’t mean 4 a.m. LB can be trusted.
  • In the week leading up to Austin, I was having a bit of a disagreement with my landlords about who was responsible for paying for my missing doorknob (ref.). It eventually worked out in my favor but it did leave me a bit shorter in budget for the weekend. I figured I’d just use my credit card for trip expenses, so I carefully planned the rest of my weekly spend to leave that card untouched, using cash in lieu of credit so I’d had as many funds to play with in Austin as possible. Following a very joyous reunion, set to the dulcet tones of Iggy (natch), we explored part of Austin for the afternoon, went back to the hotel for some pre-dinner drinks and a fashion show, and rolled out (Uber count: 2) to the supremely classy East Sixth Street for dinner, drinks and dancing. With Texas prices, my budget plan was beyond perfect, and I was so excited to be with my college loves again, so excited for all the crazy things we had planned for the rest of the trip. And then I lost my credit card somewhere between dancing on the bar at Coyote Ugly and getting the patio bartender at Toulouse to follow us on Instagram.
    Lesson learned: STOP. DRINKING. VODKA.
  • After getting back on Saturday night (Uber count: 3, 4. E went home first), I had a bit of a white girl meltdown about the card and how I was going to have fun throughout the weekend. I continued to cry and complain about where my card was like a spoiled brat with zero regard for the other two people forced to share a room with me. After keeping them up for a little while, I finally calmed down and passed out in the surprisingly comfortable hotel bed. Then woke up early, felt great and went by the pool to tan and do yoga for a couple hours, and kicked the other two out of bed when I got bored so we could brunch and find a bar for the World Cup Final.
    Lesson learned: Do not wake sleeping friends to humblebrag about your productive morning when you kept them up the night before.
  • Once the Argentina game ended (Aside: UGHHHHH. End aside), we decided to skip our afternoon plans of actually exploring Austin and stay at the bar with our new best friends, the daytime bartenders, who we’ll call Birthday Boy and Ham. The rooftop bar was perfect for a Sunday Funday, complete with water misting over everyone (#TexasIsHot), an adult-sized see-saw, two rocking horses, random dogs, free barbeque tacos and cornhole. BB and Ham joined us once their shifts were over, and we lost track of the time, laughing hysterically at everything, making friends with everyone and G, E and I just being together, like old times. When the sun went down at about 9, G and E decided to head to down the street for dinner (Uber count: 5), but I was having probably too much fun for a 20-something on the see-saw while BB and Ham bought drinks in honor of my sideboob. I decided to stay at the bar for a little while and meet them back at the hotel instead, and planned to stop for a quick dinner on the way back. Three hours and perhaps a shot (or two) later, I made it back (Uber count: 6) and even got up early enough the next morning for round two of yoga and tanning. It wasn’t until we sat down to breakfast at the hotel that I realized I hadn’t eaten more than a bite of free barbecue pork taco in 24 hours. G’s reaction: “At least you’re not hangry!”
    Lesson learned: If that’s all you’re going to eat in 24 hours, at least have the entire taco.
  • At the end of the trip, after a long day of travel with 2 dead phones, I finally made it back home (Uber count: 7), only mostly hungover and very glad to see little miss. Once my phones were revived, I started scrolling through photos from Best Weekend Ever, and found that I had been somewhat snap-happy at the bar the day before. I sent some of the choice images to G and E, and despite pure exhaustion, we stayed up for another hour on the group text, laughing and reminiscing and trying to pretend we were texting from different rooms, instead of different states. I can’t believe the trip is over. I can’t wait for next year.
    Lesson learned: Despite distance, time and a lot of changes, your best friends will always love you.

I have a million more stories, featuring fantastic quotes that include “Wait is that a metaphor or do you actually have a warrant out for your arrest?,” “WATCH ME DO MY CHEETAH DANCE!,” “I think it’s true love if he massages your stomach when you’re constipated,” and “He gets serious bonus points for not giving me beard burn.” But there are a few stories that stay between friends – especially when you only get together once a year.

Here’s to Peace, Love, 403 in 2015: Perhaps we’ll learn how to behave by then. But honestly? For another weekend like this one, I hope we never do.

PLD Montage: Vol. 3

Oh, the idiot things I still manage to get myself into these days. Without further ado:

  • Recently I drank vodka after an unlimited mimosa brunch and then put pictures online. I feel like elaboration is unnecessary there.
    Lesson learned: Stop drinking vodka. Seriously, stop.
  • That same night, I decided to hand my keys over to my partner-in-crime R because “I didn’t want to lose them” and apparently giving them to someone else instead of keeping them in my purse was the best decision. At the end of the night I cabbed home from FiDi (aside: THAT IS NOT INEXPENSIVE) and my neighbors let me into the building, only for me to have a full-blown white girl wasted meltdown in my hallway when I couldn’t find my keys. A few tearful phone calls to R later determined that she did, in fact, still have the keys and I am, in fact, an idiot. Nothing like paying to ride all the way back downtown after the initial ride all the way uptown.
    Lesson learned: SERIOUSLY STOP DRINKING VODKA.
  • I’ve recently discovered my love for yoga in the mornings, since I can access YouTube on my television and there’s a bunch of free videos. I’ve been working on different poses and was recently in the throes of the crow pose, which I can hold for about six seconds before toppling, usually backwards. While on my mini-staycation in Connecticut a few weeks back, the weather was too beautiful not to do yoga outside on the deck, so I dragged out a mat, went through my vinyasa, and then went into crow… and all of a sudden I was up! and balanced! and way too excited about it so I lost focus and promptly fell forward. Hard. Directly on my chin. On the deck. This was three weeks ago. The bruise still hasn’t faded.
    Lesson learned: Yoga mats are not pillows, and you are not as skilled as you think you are.
  • At the Fort Greene flea this past weekend with my partner-in-crime R, her Scot H and AZ, we decided to take a break from rifling through vintage posters and sample just about all of the food because obviously. Seeing as it’s not easy to walk while carrying tacos, nachos, lobster rolls and popsicles all at the same time, we decided to sit on the concrete steps behind the food trucks to enjoy the food. Once I finished my own massive portion of food, I leaned back on my elbows for a little while, thinking I might get a semblance of a tan on my fair Irish skin that had already been outside for about four hours at that point. Hot asphalt + no clouds – sunscreen = really LB?
    Lesson learned: You do not tan. You are aware of this. Always. Wear. Sunscreen.
We meet again....

We meet again….

  • Remember this? Yeah. Lesson not learned. New record: five days.
    Lesson learned: Apparently nothing.