Fair warning-this birthday recap is lengthy and will essentially be a giant brag about how I have some of the greatest friends in the world! So there you have it...you've been warned. My 30th birthday was so perfectly done like a juicy medium rare steak that I couldn't help but want to share with you all why this was one of my favorite birthdays yet:
12pm call time! That's right-Megan gave me a call time. And I was ready to go as best as I could be without having a clue as to what the day would entail. The day began with a gift and a disclaimer. Megan got me a silver cuff bracelet engraved "All I Need Is Within Me"-definitely much needed encouraging words that I immediately put on my wrist. Dom gave me a heads up that he wouldn't be able to spend the entire day with us because he had to perform a solo at WOD LA that day in Pomona. Understanding and not giving him too hard of a time for having to go be the awesome dancer that he is, we then were up and at 'em to our first destination!
A PRIVATE CERAMICS LESSON!
My first attempt at ceramics was a few years ago on a vacation in Korea. For whatever reason, this time around felt much harder to grasp! Megan knows I've been wanting to take a ceramics class so she booked us a private session at ECHO Ceramics. As a twist of fate, our teacher was also from St. Louis! I made a little cereal bowl and she made a little guac bowl. We got to pick the type of glaze we wanted and then they put our pieces in the kiln. We'll get a call in a few weeks when they're ready to pick up and I can't wait to have the final product to use at home! Now that our pieces were ready for the kiln it was time for our next destination...
QUICK FOOD STOP at HOME RESTAURANT!
My brain and belly needed nourishment after focusing so hard during the ceramics lesson. Dom surprised me by showing up for our late lunch at Home Restaurant. I've actually always driven by this spot but I've never eaten here. My food was delicious and the company even better. Dom was telling us that he didn't need to be at WOD until later in the evening since he wasn't performing till 9pm or so. Still believing his story, I didn't question him when he said he could join us for our next destination. Now that we were all fueled up it was time to hit our next destination!
ESCAPE ROOM at ENIGMA ESCAPE ROOMS!
Another thing Megan and I have really been wanting to do more of is escape rooms. We've never done one in LA so this was really exciting for me. I LOVE PUZZLES. The last escape room I did was on a trip to Trinidad and Tobago and I offered little to no help. I barely figured out any clues so this time around felt redemptive. My talented friend Joe joined us for this stop and we made it out of the room with one minute left! Again, I felt like I had been focusing so hard but I love when my brain feels super engaged! After chit chatting for a bit outside, Dom asked us to take him back to his place so he could get his car to head to WOD so we said our byes to Joe and skedaddled back to NoHo.
MEANWHILE BACK AT DOM'S...
Our friend Subin popped out as we were pulling up, dressed so nicely, to "valet" our car. I only then realized Dom's story about WOD was a misdirection the entire time. Well played guys, well played. As we walked inside we were greeted by another friend Green--our waiter for the evening. He welcomed us into "Opposite of Korean BBQ" restaurant, took our drink and food orders, and served us with tasty ribs, brisket, fries, and more. The surprises of course didn't end there. An "open mic night" stage was set up and the first performance was none other than the homie Andrew Garcia singing a song by one of my favorite heartthrobs, James Bay. After Andrew's beautiful performance, the black curtain was thrown down to reveal our magician friend Keenan who did a magic card set! At one point he had Megan and Dom write a "prediction" for me on a piece of clean white paper which he wadded up into a ball and put in his shirt pocket above his heart. Now cue the grande finale surprise video:
Whenever you're lost seeking answer of life, one thing can assist. The solution you search you can always find laying right on your wrist.
This is what was written on the wad of paper. And it all tied back to the bracelet Megan gave me at the start of the day--"All you need is within you." You may be wondering why I wasn't bawling at this point of the night but I think in the moment I was too astounded at how well Megan and Dom executed the entire day for me. I can't believe Megan was able to get friends from my childhood in STL, to my college days in NYC, to my friends+fam in Sydney, London, the Bay, Korea, etc. They made me feel so special and loved. All the friends+fam in the video made me feel so special and loved. All the friends+fam who sent me texts, calls, and messages online made me feel so special and loved. I think perhaps I was almost in shock being reminded of how loved I am but it was such a timely and necessary reminder. I am beyond grateful to call these people best friends--friends who inspire me, encourage me, and challenge me to be awesome every day. What a way to celebrate my 30th year here on this earth. I love you guys. It might not seem like an elaborate response but I mean it with every ounce of my heart and then some. Thank you for being in my life.
*All photos shot+edited by MEGAN BATOON*