Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It's Only Golden Once

I've spent the better part of the weekend aging, despite my efforts to stop the process and live eternally as a 24 year-old youthful goddess. All sarcasm aside, this weekend was full of festivities celebrating not only my roommate's birthday, but mine as well. Short story long, my roommate and I both met our third year of college, as we were pledging a local sorority (that went on to become chartered by a national sorority the next year!) as the only two third-year girls. So obviously, we had to immediately form a bond! As we started to get to know each other better, we realized we have a lot in common-- some of it eerily so. First off, our birthdays are just two days apart-- hers being August 23rd and mine August 25th. We both hail from the Hampton Roads area, and our mom's look like they share all but a couple genes, they are so similar.

When she graduated from VCU grad school, she found a job back up in Charlottesville working for UVa, and we jumped at the chance to be roommates. But back in 2010, when we both turned 21, we quickly realized that we obviously HAD to celebrate together... and always would, even if we were separated by distance for our birthdays. With that came Melizzapalooza 1.0.
Beach themed, of course.
While Melizzapalooza 2.0 was spent apart, we were together in spirit. Then we were reunited for Melizzapalooza 3.0, where we celebrated each other's recent accomplishments.
Grad school > bikini competiton.
This year, and probably for the next few at least, Melizzapalooza has taken a turn for the tame side, as it should. Saturday, we lounged around the apartment during the afternoon drinking wine, watching Easy A, and eating Trader Joe's munchies that her boyfriend brought over. Later in the evening, we went out just after 8pm (yup, we are showing our age) for a couple celebratory drinks. And I seriously do mean a couple. Two. Dos.

Sunday morning was for gathering groceries for the week, then the boyfriend and I made good on a LivingSocial deal I had for a local rock climbing gym. Leave it to me to slam my knee just a few climbs in. While it was certainly uncomfortable, I didn't let that keep me down (literally), so we kept climbing and bouldering for a couple more hours before giving up due to our bruised egos hands. When you're actually trying to follow marked routes, bouldering is hard!

The boyfriend and I lounged around watching Boardwalk Empire for a little while before going on a stroll through his neighborhood. The weather was pretty crappy all weekend, but luckily Sunday did not bring rain like Saturday. And speaking of Boardwalk Empire, I swear I am an expert at calling story lines before they happen. Does this happen to anyone else? There have been several instances where they will introduce a character or a seemingly minute scene will occur and I'll turn to him and say, "X is going to happen," or "I bet they introduced Y for Z reason." Then after waiting with baited breath for a few episodes, my surmises are proven true. It's almost like that commercial for Netflix where the girl has watched over a season without her boyfriend then pretends like she hasn't... except I swear I haven't watched ahead.

Back to birthdays... after a quick nap, I was headed home to get ready for a pre-birthday dinner at a very intimate (in size) restaurant with Melissa, Celia, and Madelyn. Alley Light has been on my list of places to try, mostly because I caught wind that their drinks are to-die-for. The atmosphere is that of a period French restaurant. There are only a few high-top tables and just as many welcoming leather couches, with a vast array of liquors adorning the shelves behind the narrow bar.
Me. Celia, Melissa, and Madelyn
I ordered a Manhattan, and I can honestly say the drinks lived up to the hype. I stopped after only the one because I'm old now my tolerance is marked by the "tipsy" sinus pressure I get between my eyes and the sides of my nose, which crept up as I finished the booze-soaked cherry from the bottom of my glass. We also ordered 7 or 8 different dishes, as this restaurant specializes in French small plates. I loved the food and I loved the company! However, I will admit that this is definitely a pricier restaurant, and aside from a special occasion or needing a place to leisurely catch up over a few drinks and a charcuterie or cheese plate, I probably won't return for a full meal. But still, a lovely time indeed!

One restful night of sleep later, and I was awoken to the fact that it was my GOLDEN birthday yesterday. 25 on the 25th! Melissa made the pre-work morning routine that much more enjoyable by surprising me with a gift bag full of festive Fall items-- a super cute mug for my desk at work, sugar-free salted caramel and pumpkin spice latte syrups, and a pumpkin-scented Yankee Candle. I'd say we are both in the spirit! Also, as many of you already know, my birthday this year was marked by the return of the infamous Starbucks PSL, which thanks to Celia, I will be enjoying several of very soon!

After getting through work with many warm birthday wishes from friends and family, Melissa and I went for a pre-dinner walk. The boyfriend and I had plans to go to a nice, Southern-inspired restaurant, Brookville, which is known for it's obsession with all things bacon. Little did I know when he told me he would pick me up at 7pm that he would surprise me at my door dressed very dapper with a card and flowers in his hands. Okay, okay, I'm swooning. I'll tone it down, but I feel very lucky.
Made with our Utah pictures!
Oh yes, he did well.
After parking, we walked along the Downtown Mall to Brookville... only to find out that it was closed on Mondays! He threw out some suggestions, to which I chose Zocalo (which also happens to be the location of our first date), and upon walking there, it was closed too! Seriously business owners, some of us have Monday birthdays, you know!! Third time was the charm though--we "settled" on Commonwealth restaurant, which if you rewind back through my blog, you will remember I was supposed to work there and even went through training there before I got a full-time job offer. I had not actually had a chance to eat there though, and it was absolutely perfect.

We chose a nice patio table outside to enjoy the beautiful weather-- a perfect Fall preview. To our benefit, it just so happens that Commonwealth offers a four-course tasting menu on Mondays and Tuesdays, so we lucked out and were able to try small plates of many things. At one point, something moving pretty quick along the downtown mall caught my eye. A deer(!!) had run the length of the mall! So I know they say if you see a shooting star, you make a wish and it's good luck. So if I see a deer run along a pedestrian mall on my birthday, that must mean a year of good luck, right?? There really are no heavily or even moderately-wooded areas around the downtown area, so it was a wonder where it came from. We surmised that maybe the deer was along the train tracks and was scared away by an approaching train, so it took off in any direction, which led it where we were.

With several possible after-dinner options, I opted for the low-key one--falling asleep at 10pm on the boyfriend's couch after another riveting episode of Boardwalk Empire. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Thank you to those who made my birthday so special!

Questions for my readers:
What is the average price of a good cocktail in your city? Here in Charlottesville, it ranges anywhere from $8-12 usually. I won't spend any more than that (excluding tax). Sunday's Manhattan was $9, and last night's specialty cocktail "Front Porch" (bourbon, bitters, rhubarb, and cucumber) was $10.

What's the most interesting thing you've seen/done on your birthday? The deer was a good conversation piece and sort of stole my thunder ;-)

What are your telltale "I'm getting old..." signs? The after-drink "tipsy" facial pressure is new for me.

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