My Aunt Ronda told me a few years ago that it wasn't your birthday unless you cried once - likely at a moment when I was indeed crying on my birthday. She is the person that I confess petty disappointments to, those times when you have expectations about an event or person and they just fall short. Its always nice to hear that other people have those same feelings, but it did become something that stuck in my head.
This year, I took charge of my birthday. I didn't want to feel like I had expectations of anyone, or that I'd be forgotten, and so I planned what I wanted and I did it, and I had the BEST day.
One of my best friends, Sarah, and I have our birthdays one day apart. We've celebrated together every year from our 21st birthdays. For our 22nd birthday, we rented out a bar in DC and a bus, and had a packed full house of people that loved us. It didn't hurt that these were our prime sorority days, and so it seemed as though half of George Mason University came out. We even wore matching dresses.
This year, I told her I needed "me" time. And she was immediately in. We planned a spa day at the Four Seasons in DC, dinner at one of the nicest restaurants in the city, and got a hotel so we wouldn't have to drive home. Including other people was awkward, and in typically Kelly fashion, I ended up fucking it up. I knew it was going to be an expensive day, and I didn't know how to invite people so that they knew that I wanted them there, but didn't even remotely expect anyone to have to pay for things if they didn't truly want it themselves too. So I procrastinated telling anyone and then next thing I know, my birthday is a few days away and no one had enough notice to be able to come anyway. (Have you read my About Me? I told you I'm an asshole.)
Saturday morning I dropped Guinevere off with my parents (Tyler had to work that weekend) and then headed to Sarah's to pick her up and head into DC.
The Hotel: Park Hyatt, DC
I have stayed at some nice hotels in DC. The Gaylord, Hotel Monaco, The W, St Regis - the Park Hyatt blew them all out of the water. It is beautifully decorated, and had some of the best customer service I've ever encountered. They upgraded us to a large King suite, and the second that we stepped off the elevator, we saw a hotel employee waiting at our door with a bottle of complimentary champagne and chocolates and a birthday note. Yes, please.
I have no idea how I missed the bathroom because that was THE BEST PART with a deep, deep tub and a rainfall shower from the ceiling, but I did get a boring OOTD in the incredible full length mirror they had, ha. I never miss an opportunity to take a picture of myself ;) Casual since I knew we'd be walking around Georgetown a bit before our appointments. Flat hair courtesy of the lovely rainy mist all day!
We explored the room, giggled like we were 21 again, and then threw our swimsuits in our purses to head to lunch, and then the spa.
Lunch: Kafe Leopold
Kafe Leopold is Sarah's favorite restaurant, and I'd never been. I loved the decor - bright and modern. It was in Cady's Alley in Georgetown, and the food was amazing. Sarah had the Veal Schnitzel and it melted in my mouth. I went lighter in anticipation of the spa and a large meal later that night, and opted for a Turkey Quiche. I didn't even think I liked Quiche, but I can be a picky eater and they don't do substitutions there, but this Quiche was the best damn Quiche. Light and fluffy, a yummy flaky crust, and it came with a salad. Perfect light lunch, and service was on point. Like, $30 tip on a $40 bill on point, but part of that was to thank them for our complimentary beers, too. I can't wait to go back.
I debated long and hard between The Mandarin and Four Seasons for massages, and ended up at the Four Seasons. I was a little disappointed because I really wanted to get pedicures there too, but they didn't have any appointments at the same time, and neither did the salon across the street. So we went early to take advantage of the sauna room (they also have a steam room) and the relaxation room. The spa was lovely, the massage was incredible, and it was every bit the relaxation that I needed. I felt incredible for two days afterwards - definitely something I need to make a priority in the future! I told Tyler that our next date night was going to be a couple's massage there ;)
After the spa, we debated getting ready early and heading out for drinks somewhere but instead walked back to our hotel, popped open that champagne they sent earlier, and sat in the cozy sitting room in our suite talking. I looked over at Sarah at one point and said, "I can't remember the last time I sat, and did nothing, and talked," - it was a very surreal feeling.
We then started to get ready with our make up, and tried on the outfits we brought, the outfits each other brought, and our original outfits multiple times before she ended up in a black bandage-style skirt and pink silk blouse and I had on her short black dress with a wide belt and fun zipper details on the straps. I am SO BITTER that we didn't get a picture - I even packed my tripod so that I knew I could get one! Utter fail.
We had appointments to get our hair blown out, and it was pretty nice to just do make up and outfits without worrying about our hair. We then grabbed a cab for DryBar.
I was drooling over Drybar long before it came to DC, and was on their email list for forever until they finally announced an opening in Georgetown. Every time I wanted to go, I couldn't get an appointment so I was thrilled to finally get one this day. We showed up early for our appointment but still had to wait a bit, and Sarah had to wait even longer than I did. I was told the appointments were around 35ish minutes, so we gave ourselves an hour before our dinner reservations in case anything was running late. Sarah's hair ended up taking over an hour and a half - YIKES. The woman did her hair, brushed out the curls, decided she didn't like it, and re-did it. We suspect she didn't want to take the last group of the night coming in, so took extra time with Sarah to avoid it - but over an hour and a half was ridiculous. I did end up saying something to someone at the front desk, and she really surprised me by coming back to me with a sincere apology, and two cards for two free blow outs the next time we came.
Our hair looked amazing, and while I grabbed a quick mirror shot while Sarah was still in the chair, we didn't get a picture of hers -which is sad, because it really did look amazing.
We then quickly grabbed a cab back to the Four Seasons for our dinner reservations.
Dinner: Bourbon Steak
I'd been dying to have dinner at Bourbon Steak (I'd only been there for drinks before) and so this was the part of the night I was the most excited about. They took our coats and we grabbed drinks at the bar while they set up our table. They then led us to a tiny table with a card saying "Happy Birthday", and we had the best server. I opened the menu, gasped at the fact that they had a $70 steak on the menu that didn't even come with any sides, and then whispered to Sarah - "I am going to order that. Its my birthday!" She whispered back, "Me too!". So we did. We ordered everything the server recommended (Wild Mushroom Soup, Ahi Tuna appetizer - holy cow amazing, AMAZING), the two Wagyu beef filets, and butternut squash and pumpkin pierogis and brussel sprouts. Everything was incredible. They even brought out two darling desserts, and we were absolutely stuffed, but I still managed a few small bites, and they were delicious.
Sarah's brother-in-law either has or knows someone with a membership to L2 and offered to put us on the list. It was so nice going out for drinks about being able to hear the people around you, focus on what you were drinking (some of their cocktails were darling - little flowers floating in them, all sorts of extracts - so neat) and just enjoy the atmosphere. We had lots of company that evening thanks to kindly (lonely) gentlemen - men far outnumbered the women there. And it was odd to me that none were deterred by our marital/motherhood status. They still wanted to buy us drinks and talk to us. Which was nice, but odd.
We had offers to move on to other bars that we would have never accepted anyway, but we were both at that delightful place of just enough drinks and an amazing day, that we decided to end on a high note (it was almost 2am!) and head back to our hotel, where we attempted to finish off the champagne from earlier (failed) and then put on pjs, crawled into bed, and giggled more before falling asleep.
|End of night elevator shot.|
The evening had me in a bit of euphoria. I'm vocal about how much I dislike living out in the suburbs, and how much I'd love to live in DC. I loved every second of being out and about in a city with which I am very much in love, and it always leaves me longing for more. If I am honest with myself, I know that a move into the city will never happen. But I can still dream, and weekends like these certainly do spark some excitement in my life.
Thank you to Sarah for joining me on the birthday that I so desperately needed - and happy birthday to you too :) Thank you to my parents for taking Guinevere so that I could still go when Tyler got called into work. And thank you to Tyler who kissed me deeply and sent me off with a swat on the bottom to "have a good time!" and only said, "...okay" when I answered his question of how much my little weekend set him back ;)
Lots of blessings in my life, and this makes me more eager than ever to say goodbye to my 20s with a bang. Its going to be another incredible year.