Quick Thoughts: October

Hello beautiful readers! Have you enjoyed the Draft Series so far? I’ve had such fun rereading these old drafts and putting them up. It’s so funny how some details stay with you for a long time, and other times I can’t imagine for the life of me how I was planning to finish a sentence or a thought.

I’ve missed blogging, but to be honest, this break has been really welcome. I took a break from a lot earlier this month: wasn’t really on Instagram, didn’t do as much yoga, didn’t try to overexert myself. It’s been nice so far, stepping back from everything to regain perspective on why they made me happy in the first place. That’s not to say the month hasn’t been a whirlwind – M’s bachelorette party and N and M’s wedding shower, H’s birthday, work events and the general lead-up to this weekend, where Twinster says “I do.” I’ve had all these ideas for entries and stories to tell, cryptic hints about ten.27 and what happens when I drink whiskey after promising myself I’d make it home early (and alone), how to react when you tell someone important “I’m changing my whole life!” and their response is “Okay.” I’ve got lots of content planned for November that touches on all of those things and then a few more, and I’m so excited to get back to putting up new, complete entries to catch everyone up on where I’ve been.

Last year, just before the time where we all kiss at midnight and wish each other happiness for the twelve months to come, I made the decision that this year would be about everyone else. This was the year of R’s wedding and T’s wedding, and the year I knew M and N would be engaged. This was not going to be a year about me, no dating, no big changes; I wanted all of my time and energy to focus on the people I love and watch their happiness become everyone’s. Things are starting to come to fruition now, the weddings have happened or are about to, and I haven’t made any big changes for myself, save for chopping off all my hair in the spring. In focusing on everyone else, though, somehow I’ve set in place a plan for next year that’s all about me. Next year is so rapidly approaching that I feel claustrophobic at times at how quickly time is closing around us, and yet I still want time to move faster, so excited for the events left this year, so excited for all the big events planned for next year.

But all things in time! No more hints for now. For now, this is just a quick post to say hello, is it me you’re looking for? Because I’m still here, and I’m working on making November a fantastic month here at this Chronicle. Look for Draft Series posts the rest of this month, while I’m busy fulfilling Maid of Honor duties and taking care of something I’ve been looking forward to since May.

And in the meantime, let me just say: thank you to everyone reading. I love you. You’re perfect. And I hope you stick around.

xo,
LB

Treat Yo’ Self

The other day I was bouncing around funny articles on Buzzfeed, when I saw one titled, “If Donna Meagle Quotes were Motivational Posters.” As a massive Parks and Recreation fan, I scrolled through and laughed at some of my favorite lines repeated over an inspirational sunset background. Most were quotes you’d only know if you watched the show (and if you haven’t, please stop reading this blog and come back when you have), but the one that made me laugh the hardest was the one everyone’s heard: Treat Yo’ Self. The premise of that episode is basically that two characters celebrate Treat Yo’ Self Day every year, and it’s literally a day to spend exorbitant amounts of money on whatever makes you happy: clothes (treat yo’self), jewelry (treat yo’self), massages (treat… you get the idea). I debated hanging that poster on my desk at work, but instead took a screenshot and set it as the background of my phone. The photo doesn’t fit quite right, and it’s admittedly very silly, but every time I go to unlock my phone, that little Treat Yo’ Self makes me smile.

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My actual phone background.

Treating ourselves. What a foreign concept for so many of us! From the little things, like a stopping at Starbucks for a coffee in the mornings, to the big things, like manicure on a Monday, buying a mid-afternoon smoothie for fun, or a cab home after a particularly long day at the office, it feels really good to do something nice for yourself every once in a while. Sometimes for me it’s not stressing about getting another blog post up, and taking some time off writing to fix the other parts of my life; sometimes it’s saying it “screw it” to budgeting responsibly and spending money on something for yoga or for life that makes me happy. It’s really easy to get sucked into the same routine over and over, fixing things for other people, pushing through another day at the office, that we can forget to take a minute to feel good about ourselves and enjoy the life we work so hard to maintain.

It goes so far beyond monetary or tangible things too. Yesterday morning when I woke up, I was so tired. My head was pounding, my muscles ached from moving and assembling furniture with my parents all day on Sunday, and I did a full hour of yoga after they left as well, slower movements, working on backbends and splits instead of inversions, but still strenuous work. I tried to drag myself to the mat to do the core strength workout I’ve been “enjoying” for the past month, but as I went to roll out of bed, I was overwhelmed with the need to continue resting, resting an old injury in my sciatic nerve that was protesting all the work from the day before, and resting the muscles that have been worked really hard lately. I took a look at the time and had a choice: stay in bed for another 20 minutes and listen to my body, or push myself to the mat. There’s always an argument to push your body, especially when it comes to exercise, but I took a look at the phone background, smiled, told myself “TREAT YO’SELF” and promptly fell asleep for a brief, yet blissful and much-needed snooze.

The rest of my 2015 literally revolves around other people’s weddings, and while I’m elated that I get the chance to be so involved in these important days for the most important women in my life, it’s really fucking stressful on a number of levels. There are dates to remember and so many parties to plan, buying dresses and presents and hotels, spending, spending, stressing; and in between all of that there is apparently some kind of law that requires everyone saying things like “My friend Katie’s friend Mark met his wife at a wedding!” and “Don’t worry, this will be you someday!”  Reminding myself on occasion to take a minute for me, turn off my phone for a little while, take a deep breath before once again reminding people that IDGAF if I ever get married because my life rocks, maybe even sit and sulk for five minutes that I’m not going to have a non-wedding related conversation with some of my friends till 2016, has been transformative.

As is the case with many things in my life, now that I’ve had “Treat Yo’self” on the brain, courtesy of the phone background, I’m seeing it everywhere: in a wonderfully generous gift certificate as a thank-you from my partner-in-crime for watching her dog, overheard in conversations on the subway, on t-shirts and on random social media posts. Maybe I’m the only one with the revelation recently that to treat yourself does wonders for body and soul; or maybe now that I’ve mentioned it to you all you’re going to start seeing it everywhere too. If you take nothing else from casual reading of this ridiculous blog, always remember to treat yo’self.

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.

Are you saying…

My twinster and I are both the kind of excessively cool people that stay in on Fridays for the sole purpose of watching Say Yes to the Dress on TLC and commenting on everything, the dress choices, the dramatic stories, and of course, the crazies. For those of you that have a social life on Fridays, just to explain: there’s always someone on a wedding-related show who is just nuts. Like, full-on crazy. Sometimes it’s the bride who’s tried on 100 dresses and can’t figure out why she’s so confused, sometimes it’s the maid of honor that is clearly pissed off she’s not the one getting married, and other times it’s the bridesmaid who’s clearly pissed off she’s not the maid of honor. Regardless, when Twinster, mama B and I made plans to shop for T’s wedding dress this past weekend, we promised each other that no matter what, we would NEVER be like any of the crazies. So naturally, within 10 minutes of stepping into the bridal salon, I went from smiling and quiet, to a loud-mouthed pain in the consultant’s ass.

Let me back up quickly. I did not insult dresses T loved, or harass the consultant, or make snarky comments because I’m not the one getting married. In fact, we had a total freaking blast that afternoon, and the entire staff at the salon thought we were hilarious. But T, bless her heart, is the kind of person that was never going to have the big bridal moment, and she wasn’t entirely sure what she wanted in a dress, so as her twinster and her maid of honor, those duties fell to me. From the start, none of us really expected T to walk away with a dress that day. It was her first time shopping, and if you scrolled through her extensive board on The Knot, it became clear girl had NO idea what she wanted. So when the consultant started with “What are you looking for?” she got a panicked look on her face, stared directly at me, and I stepped in pretty brusquely: “She doesn’t want strapless, no cupcake gowns, a little poof is okay provided the dress is a trumpet or mermaid silhouette. Pure white is a hard no, and we like color. Beading and lace are okay, corset back is not. Go.”

As T stepped in the room to try on the first dress, Mama B and I casually poked through some of the dresses on the racks, laughing at a few and sighing at the others. One dress in particular caught my eye, partly because it was certainly more “my taste” and less “traditional bridal,” and also because it just looked special, like something you want to see someone wear and wear well. Since we already had about 10 dresses in the room for T, I decided to hold on saying anything, lest I be the one to confuse her with even more choices. And then she came out in the first dress, and everything became very real.

T kept telling us she felt like a kid playing dress-up, like she wasn’t really shopping for a wedding dress, but I couldn’t see her as anything other than a bride, the beaming emerald ring on her finger and a flurry of dresses fit for a woman. But thing was, T looked beautiful in everything. Like, literally all of the dresses. So every time she came out and looked in the mirror, she’d say she liked it, and Mama B would say she loved it, and Mimi, our spitfire of an almost-90-year-old grandmother, was just thrilled to have been invited. This left me as the only one willing and able to say No to the bad ones. I mean, T is not the type of person that would wear a traditional bridal gown. So yes, she looked stunning when she came out in a satin mermaid gown with intricate beading along the train, but it wasn’t the right dress! It fell to me to be the one that did such mature things as miming a vomit face at a neckline that made her look like a linebacker (sorry T but you know it did), or say such helpful things to the consultant as “That lace looks like it went through a paper shredder.” Yes, it may have been on the harsh side, but apparently it worked, because eventually, the consultant pulled what she called a “wild card dress” based on my crazy feedback, and wouldn’t you know, it was the dress I’d nearly picked out for her before. When T walked out of the dressing room in that gown, call it intuition, or even twintuition, but I took one look at the smile on her face, and I knew we’d found the one.

People always ask us the same questions when they find out we’re twins: Are you the same person? Can you read each others’ minds? We’ll joke and say yes, obviously, but honestly, there are weird connections you have as a twin that can’t really be explained. Sometimes we’ll both have the same reaction to something that Mama B tells us, or sometimes I’ll pick up the phone to call her only to have it start ringing with her on the other end. Sometimes I’ll text her when I’m in a weird mood, and find that she’s experiencing the same thing. And apparently, when she came out in a dress that I’d had a feeling about earlier, we both knew in a moment that she’d found the gown. We still made her try the first dress again, still made her try just one that was super-traditional bridal, but when she came out for the second time in the dress I loved from the get-go, you could see it in her face that she didn’t want to take it off. As I mentioned, T is not the kind of person that would have the bridal moment, the tears and excitement and drama, but I absolutely am. So when she stepped onto the pedestal wearing the dress I knew in my heart was hers, just like that, I started to cry. “It’s your dress, twinster,” I told her, voice high-pitched and shaking with feelings I’d never had before. She took one look at me, as I desperately tried not to streak my mascara all over my face, and with a big smile of her own said “Oh for the love of God, pull it together. But yes, I think this is my dress!”

All day today I’ve been showing off photos from the weekend to everyone, so excited that “We” found a dress; you’d think that I’d be the one getting married for how excited I am about that amazing, wonderful gown. But she’s my sister, my twinster, and my best friend, and I can’t wait to see her wearing that dress, her dress, on the big day. Plus, now that she’s all set, we can finally begin the most important part of her wedding: finding my maid of honor dress!