Galactic Starr Party

You may have noticed that I love dressing up for a themed party. I even made a resolution to throw my own themed party, and I started trying to figure out Pinterest to scour for ideas for theme that seemed too obvious not to do.

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Look who learned to use Pinterest!

So for my upcoming 25th birthday, I decided to throw a galactic star(r) party! And finally put my previously-useless skill of finding star things to good use! It did seem a bit self-indulgent to have a star party but spoiler alert: I am a little sick of stars now, so we will all be seeing just a bit fewer of them in my life.

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Time to focus on our little blue dot for a bit

An initial challenge was picking the date. Because I have a December birthday so close to the holidays, my party would have to compete with holiday parties and festivities all over the place. I also tried to take into consideration that two of my friends who were key in helping me pull the party together may need to help another friend with his birthday party. I picked the first weekend of December to try to play it as safe as possible with regards to conflict.

Once I had the date, it was just a matter of slowly accumulating things I wanted to have at the party. As a girl named Starr, I have seen and been shown a lot of starry, space-themed, galactic things. Little by little, I started collecting pieces that I wanted to showcase.

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Planetary glasses – ThinkGeek | Star string lights – Target | Star-shaped cookies – Trader Joe’s | Photo credit: Meghan Vu

Make no mistake: even though I love logistics, this was stressful to plan. I was really unsure of how much food to get, because I wasn’t planning on serving enough to be dinner, but I didn’t want people to be hungry. I wasn’t serving alcohol because I don’t drink, but I haven’t been to a dry adult party… ever…?

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Menu: Veggie spring rolls, Taiwanese popcorn chicken (thanks Irene at Jumbo Jumbo!)  Chicken McNuggets (40 for $8.99 the best deal!!!), veggie trays (for nutrition!), Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider, assortment of fancy sparkling juices and sodas, assortment of my favorite chips. Also some people brought booze and I may have been one of them.

I got 2 cakes in case there wasn’t enough. (Spoiler alert: I had way too much cake. Not only did we not touch the 2nd cake, we got through way less than half of the first one. Maybe the biggest mistake of the entire party was ordering that second cake.) A big part of my decoration initially was candy, so then I got to worrying about how many sweets I had. (A lot. It was a lot of sweets.)

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Galaxy lollipops – SparkoSweetsSparkoSweets  | Photo: Meghan

I got my first-ever salon manicure in preparation for this, and that was a strange ordeal because the nail tech really wanted to fulfill a vision of different colors with different glitters on all my nails! I was only able to put my foot down so much but I think it still turned out lovely, despite the orange (gr…) and pink glitter bits. She was so convinced that it was a cute polish and she wasn’t wrong. I just wanted… only silver glitter. I lost that battle but I won the war.

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This beautiful dark teal with blue sparkles that is barely showing through in the photo is CND Midnight Swim, with a more colorful glitter than I planned for…

I also spent the days leading up the party in a mad panic trying to get the finishing touches and getting express shipping for things that I almost forgot about. Oops. I originally planned to get my hair blown out so I’d have one less unruly thing to worry about, but things don’t always work out the way you plan. There was also the incident where Ben and I spent over an hour searching for an item I could’ve sworn was on the dining table only to later discover it still in the mailbox.

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I became fixated on the idea of serving bubble tea at my party, because I wanted a beverage I loved that went well with cake. I got several without the bubbles, knowing that some people still weren’t quite used to them. Photo: Meghan

What really came through for the aesthetic of the party was the lights. As nice as the little pieces of decor I had looked, with how large the room was, what really pulled the entire thing together was the 30 strands of fairy lights that I was able to borrow.

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Another key show-stopper was my stunning galaxy mirror cake.

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The making of the above photo involved holding the box for the Trader Joe’s star-shaped cookies and flashing a cell phone flash light through it over the cake.

A thousand thank yous to Lavande Patisserie and their pastry chef, Chef Andrew for making my dream cake. My friends wanted to do a grand reveal of the cake to me, and I was blown away. It looked even better than I expected!!!

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With colored-flame candles! Photos: Meghan

My only regret is that I ordered 2 cakes out of fear that there wouldn’t be enough. As it turns out, people were pretty full and couldn’t even eat 1/3 of the first cake. So… we brought back a LOT of cake…

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A silly photo of me anxiously trying to slice the cake… and finding the mirror glaze was not so easy to cut! The little crown on my head was gifted to me a few minutes prior to the cake, I did not show up at my birthday party wearing a crown… Photo: Meghan

Oh yeah, and I wore ThinkGeek’s incredible twinkling lights skirt! It was a lot of work to string the lights through it, but I think the result was well worth it.

I am also eternally grateful to my friends who helped me put together the party. Annie, who is a party professional, was invaluable to me, as was Tim, who put together the amazing photobooth.

I wish I had taken more photos of the event, because there were so many starry details that I put together for it. Different lights, different decals, there was an origami lucky star station. The games, the gifts, the wonderful themed outfits my friends wore.

I will have to just cherish all of that in my memory, and I hope my friends will, too.


I’m so grateful that I was able to pull this party off. The best feeling was looking around at all the friends that I’ve made. I have been reflecting a lot on what kind of friendships I have and what kind of friend I am over the past few years, so I am always amazed and appreciative of the friends who choose to spend their time with me.

Thank you to all of my friends who joined me to celebrate stars and space! I had a stellar time and hope you did, too.

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Birthdays & Bar Crawls

This was one of the more eventful and social weekends I’ve had in a long time. Being the extrovert that I am, I was really glad to get to spend time with friends.

FRIdAY

I guess we can kick off with happy hour on Friday. One of my coworkers unlocked a work achievement, so we had sangria and bread and hummus at Levante’s. It was a bit chilly, but we asked to be seated outside. The waiter seemed completely bewildered by this request, but I don’t know, my group wanted to sit outside. It was nice to wrap up the week with some work buddies, and I’m glad I have work buddies to hang out with!

During this time, I was checking with some friends about a birthday dinner I was going to later. I had checked the map and thought I got the location wrong. No way we were going to the Biergarten Haus that was a 25 minute walk away from the nearest metro station? Really?

Yes, really. After about 5 minutes of bickering on the phone, I decided that my boyfriend shouldn’t wait for me at his place (where I was going to drop off my work bag and lunchbox) and that I would meet our friends at Union Station, where we would all walk to Biergarten Haus together. I wandered around the mall of Union Station, admiring the architectural details (it’s a truly beautiful building) and had some guy tell me that “they’re coming, don’t you worry” only to then see about a dozen Chinese tourists round the corner.
Oh yes, this man thought I was waiting on Chinese tourists because why not. -____-”

Anyhow, the walk wasn’t so bad with everyone together. I would’ve really hated having to walk there by myself. You go a mile through this residential area in eastern DC (keeping in mind that southeast DC is one of the most dangerous areas in the country) and finally stumble upon a very lively street. That is completely not metro-accessible. Even the buses don’t go out here. (WHY)

BUT Biergarten Haus is pretty authentic as a German beer place, and everyone really loved their brews. There was German music playing and I had schnitzel and the environment felt good. There is a lot of outdoor seating and the patio is supposed to be heated, but it was chilly that night. I liked it but it is really out of the way.

My drink of the evening was the Erdinger Kristall Weiss, here pictured with the three wurst platter of bratwurst, bauernwurst, and knackwurst and the Jägerschnitzel with sauerkraut and spätzle.
My drink of the evening was the Erdinger Kristall Weiss, here pictured with the three wurst platter of bratwurst, bauernwurst, and knackwurst and the Jägerschnitzel with sauerkraut and spätzle.

From there, we went to FM Karaoke, which is a Korean karaoke/noraebang joint that I have not been to before. My boyfriend’s best friend really wanted to sing “All of Me” by John Legend, and he claimed that while our usual karaoke place didn’t have it, FM Karaoke did. I always notice one interesting thing with my boyfriend’s group of friends and that is that even though it’s all Asian guys (I was the only girl in the group) every time we hang out, there are almost never any Korean people in the group. However, we still go to Korean BBQ and Korean karaoke relatively often. Both are places where it’s helpful to have a Korean person available to translate and interpret and butter up staff.

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Singing “Careless Whisper” set to some Korean drama/music video, with “Let It Go” on queue and soju in people’s bellies.

REGARDLESS it was a bangin’ good time. I have noticed some very major differences between karaoke-ing as a bro (I’m a half-decent bro when I put my mind to it) and karaoke-ing with girls. There is a lot more rap (I mean a lot more) and a lot less Taylor Swift, Spice Girls, Ke$ha, etc. And when I rap to impress potential new bros, I go hard. I only know a handful of songs, but I do pretty well considering I have negative street cred and have a children’s sing-along voice.


You think this is a game? I memorized the lyrics to this song when I was 11, with exactly zero idea of what they meant.


I get to combine my ability to sing Rihanna and my admiration for Eminem here by doing the entire song on my own.


This song is weirdly popular with my boyfriend’s friends, so I had a lot of exposure and time to learn the words.

I don’t typically sing these at karaoke, so it was a special treat (slash torture) for my new bros. I sang “Let It Go” and couldn’t belt that note that early in the evening, but I managed fine for “Titanium” (David Guetta ft. Sia) and we had a tambourine so I think the night went well.

Korean karaoke does hold the distinct advantage of understanding the importance of a tambourine.
Korean karaoke does hold the distinct advantage of understanding the importance of a tambourine.

ON SAMEDI (SATURDAY)

My boyfriend and I met one of my closest friends for the DC Bunny Hop Bar Crawl. Some of you may remember I don’t drink much, but I wanted to explore the DC bars a little bit and i thought this was just a nice occasion to get out and hang out.

We started at The Front Page at around noon to pick up our 21-verified (but you still get ID checked) wristbands, souvenir mugs, and a ticket for a free beer after 4 PM. We started at Mad Hatter, an Alice in Wonderland-themed bar that I’ve visited before for my college roommate’s birthday, for some brunch. Even though there were some brunch specials for bar crawl participants at other places, we wanted to just sit down and have a nice brunch nearby, and this was the closest participating bar to us. I got me some eggs benny (well, technically I splurged on “eggs Chesapeake” because I wanted crab cake) and we got to catch up on life.

Eggs Chesapeake at Mad Hatter
Eggs Chesapeake at Mad Hatter

Not wanting to limit ourselves to once place, we headed to Ozio to get our $3 mimosas, which didn’t turn our color-changing cups a different color as promised. It was really quiet at Ozio, and we could hear something electric crackling… so after nursing our food comas and spending a long time catching up on life even further,  we headed to Sign of the Whale.

Yo. This place was packed and bumpin’ and it was 3 PM on a Saturday. Lots of people dancing to loudly playing “Forget You” by Ceelo Green when we showed up. We each had a jelly bean shot, and I’m not sure what is in it but they tasted pretty good. (That’s a good bet that the alcohol content wasn’t very high, just the way I like ’em :P) We were in and out of Sign of the Whale, as it was rowdy and also getting a bit on the late side.

Our next stop was The Mighty Pint, where we had each had a Captain Morgan & Coke. At this point, we found that our color-changing cups did, in fact, change color with cold drinks and we were glad our cups weren’t defective. We took our time with our drinks and by the time we finished, it was close to 4 and we were able to head back to Front Page to pick up our free beers.

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After a quick coffee stop for my boyfriend at Panera, we headed back to Front Page where we each kicked back with a free Bud Light and tried to guess what the relationships between other people in the bar were. Girlfriend meeting the guys friends for the first time? Honeymoon-phase couple? First day-date?

Me, Molly, and Ben

THEN we stopped by Hello Cupcake for some yummy cupcakes. They all looked so good and inviting but I settled on a cookies-n-cream one, which tasted like a cookie but had that cupcake texture and was topped with a teeny cookie. So good. I haven’t had Hello Cupcake since someone brought me one my freshman year of college and this was my first time in the shop.

Mollys “you tart”, Bens red velvet, and my cookies-n-cream cupcakes from Hello Cupcake

My brother also came home this weekend, so it was nice to spend some time with him. All in all, it was definitely a good weekend. 🙂 And significantly less traumatizing that my Easter Adventure of 2011, which I wrote about on my Xanga and may share with you again next Easter.

How was your Easter?
What are your favorite happy hour bars? Dupont Circle in DC is an area just crawling with bars and not a whole lot else, really.

Great Russian Nutcracker

When I was in St. Petersburg (I swear I’ll write that blog post for my next installment of my vacation recaps really soon), we had the option of attending a ballet, a Russian folk dance performance, or an evening out. We opted for the evening out because my dad said that the Moscow Ballet was going to be in the area around Christmas, so I could catch them then.

For my birthday, he got me great seats to see them perform the Great Russian Nutcracker.
Simply put: It was incredible!

My dad got me orchestra seats, so I was really quite close to the stage. I was able to take in the dancers’ faces and their absolutely gorgeous, stunning costumes. It was only difficult at times because there is so much going on onstage and it’s hard to take it all in at once.

After a small hiccup right off the bat of the show (one of the girls fell), the rest of the show went off without a hitch and was so incredibly spectacular. Costuming was SERIOUSLY beautiful. There was one male dancer who was so magnificently tall. I couldn’t tell just how tall he was, since ballet dancers are often a bit short, but his legs went on for miles and miles, like actually. He played the Mouse King and was so great.
(Also he looked a little like Robbie Kay, so I was not ready to see the Mouse King get stabbed, oh no I was not.)

Clockwise from the top: my view of the beautiful theater, me and my friend Rachel, my ticket, my program cover, and in the center is the set

I highly recommend this show! They are touring the country and I believe they do this annually? The Arabian variation was so mind-blowing and breathtaking. You need to see it.

Photo courtesy of the Moscow Ballet
Photo courtesy of the Moscow Ballet

Also, their Dove of Peace was gorgeous.

Photo courtesy of the Moscow Ballet
Photo courtesy of the Moscow Ballet
Photo courtesy of the Moscow Ballet
Photo courtesy of the Moscow Ballet

Go see it if you can!

 

I’m 21?

Hello friends! It’s been a short while.

I’ve finally turned the “magical” age of 21, permitted by US law to drink the nectar of adulthood. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t drink and have never really been terribly interested in drinking. I was, however, excited to be allowed into places that normally had a 21+ barring me from entrance, like clubs and the Yelp Elite squad. (^_^)

My 21st birthday experience began the day before my birthday. I went home after my first final (sigh…). I have been salivating over the cake my dad got me for my 17th birthday, and we went off in search of it at one of our local Korean markets. To celebrate my brother’s 18th birthday and my 21st birthday, we had a deeeeeelicious hotpot dinner. Omnomnomnomnom! Then we had cake! Unfortunately, I don’ think it was the cake that has been haunting my dreams, but it was still quite tasty.


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After omnomming, we went to watch The Hobbit, starring the ever-endearing Martin Freeman. All my LotR feels were just bubbling over, dormant for almost 10 years. It was a bit long, but I liked it a lot. (My brother and boyfriend complained that it was too long.) By the time the movie ended, I was officially 21!

I spent most of my 21st birthday putting off studying for my second final, and kind of just bumming around. I don’t really remember what else I did, I was kind of just derping about… But then birthday dinner! We went to my favorite Korean restaurant and my boyfriend actually came up (after the Redskins game) to join us and then drive me back to school. We had a pretty tasty meal, although I didn’t have any alcohol because I didn’t want to be hungover for my exam, in case my tolerance was really low.

After my finals were over, I was able to take a looooong nap and then celebrate my birthday with my wonderful friends. We went to Applebee’s, where I had their mudslide and my freeee birthday dessert shooter. I am pretty sensitive to alcohol – I immediately feel it kind of fuming into my brain, as though when I swallow a swig, the vapors just soak my brainstem. Also, the stuff tastes kind of icky, okay? But I don’t think I have the low tolerance my mom does. I did have a headache and dizziness, but that may have also been because I had pulled an all-nighter the evening before, so. All things considering, I think I made it out pretty well! As a very fair-skinned person, I thought I would have Asian glow out the wazoo. But I didn’t really feel much flush, so success there!

Coming back from my food coma, my friends surprised me with chocolate fondue funtime at our apartment and cute gifts. Also, there was wine and beer, courtesy of my roommates and boyfriend, so I got to try some of that. It didn’t get very rowdy because a lot of us were tired and I actually had a roommate sleeping already, so we kept it fairly low-key. (Okay, it was kind of a lame party, even by my standards, but I had a good time with my friends regardless.)

Post-birthday celebrations, I did get to attend my friend’s grad party the following day after attending his graduation. Technically, I had my first shot(s) there, but it was Hpnotiq, which… I don’t think is meant to be taken as a shot. I mean, it’s 17% ABV, so I think you can just drink it… They were probably confusing liquer with liquor.
If only people derped around Wikipedia as much as I did. They’d probably be significantly less productive members of society, but they’d have so much random trivia knowledge. My friends (and especially my boyfriend) are usually confused as to why I know so much about alcohol despite the fact that I have almost zero experience with it. I guess I just want to be prepared, and the world of alcoholic beverages is really interesting. I was researching wine and cheese pairings for my roommate’s birthday. (Also, Tom Cruise in Cocktail? ‘nuff said.)

But yes, I have joined the ranks of people who drink. I don’t think I’ll be doing it much because… I really don’t like the taste or the almost brain freeze-esque feeling I get, but you know, I can now.

And what matters is I’m now Elite-eligible and I am allowed to go to clubs and bars and events that required me to be 21.
Because now I am.
Booyah.