The Best Part About Being 21

1526421_687565564644350_4972233727725666222_n You're totally expecting me to say champagne brunch.

It's tempting, I know. Breakfast and bubbly drinks are my weakness; guilty as charged.

But no siree. This birthday business has nothing to do with gourmet dinners, raging parties, or bomb diggity surprise shindigs. It's not that those things aren't awesome in their own right. In fact, it just so happens that I specialize in planning events that are sixty shades of crazy.

(Tahoe or H's birthday at Cafe Japone, anyone?)


I digress. I've had two truly outstanding birthdays in my life. Equal parts essential and touching. Sorta ridiculous. Mainly batshiz-cray.

On my 14th birthday, my best friends AT and AL planned a surprise birthday party at a local restaurant. I had NO idea. We're talking ground zero cluelessness. And to say I was surprised would be a complete understatement. I was on the doorstep of disbelief.

It was then that I experienced one of the strangest phenomenons of my life: I was so taken aback by the surprise that I started crying uncontrollably (out of happiness). I didn't even know that was possible. In fact, I rarely cry, but on that day, you would've thought the damn Hoover Dam itself had sprung a leak.

For my 21st birthday this year, I told my friends that I didn't want a surprise. Nobody (including me) ever really feels like a big to-do when even bigger exams are around the corner. Finals are a party pooper. It's lame, but it's logic.


The thing about logic though? Birthdays have this bonkers weird "exception" clause, wherein logic doesn't apply. True to form, my friends pulled off an entire birthday week--complete with things far above what I asked and beyond what I expected. There was a surprise dinner here, a ridiculous "employee appreciation" here, and of course, an infamous night at Georgetown's famous bar, here. There were kind wishes from coworkers, spaghetti (squash) + wine with A, hugs from P & Y, the best convo with S, and sweet little thangs from so many people near and far.


Last night, there was a simple and low-key birthday evening at home with my favorite food made by L, H, and P.  (PIZZZZZZZZZZZA. Oh, you thought I was fancy? Think again.)

And finally, there was this video below, which was everything I wanted in the world for my birthday. And much, much more.


Featuring: friends & family from Cape Town, Paris, Singapore/New York, the Great Wall of China, Mississippi, Philly (Penn), Indiana, New Haven (Yale)/New York, Atlanta (Emory), and of course, home sweet home in California.

Video clips start at 3:00. And I highly recommend that you at least watch the end, beginning at 8:00 to see my parents' crazy skit.

But really, everything about this video is pure, cheesy gold. It's awkward and hilarious. And to me, it's absolutely perfect.

The best part about being 21 is not the happy hours or the champagne brunches, the plans or the parties, the dessert or the dance floor. It's really dang simple.

To love and be loved is the greatest gift of all. I know that's some straight cheddah, but on your birthday, it's all gouda. So thank you--all of you. For everything.

As for the waterworks?

Yeah, that damn Hoover dam seems to be leaking yet again.

With love & other hugs, L