This month seems nothing short of incredibly. I mean, seriously. It may have been the best month of my life and that is no exaggeration. Let's recap:
On August 6th my best friend David and I went to see Phillip Phillips and Goo Goo Dolls in concert at Festival Pier. We got there early but a line had formed all the way to Dave and Busters. I thought for sure we'd be stuck in the back of the concert crowd but upon entering the venue I learned that only two full rows had formed (it was GA). I snagged us a spot in row 3/4 a little to the right of the stage. It was perfect. We're going to make it a point to go see them every year. Such a fun concert!
I bought tickets months ago but didn't have any friends available for this magical weekend. It was a party bus day trip to Atlantic City. Within the first 20 minutes of the bus ride I had made some friends. I knew the hostess but that was it. Unfortunately after some imbibing I found I was way more interested in gambling than making friends. While most of the crew went to dinner, I found myself playing slots. I won $36 and $150 but lost a bit here and there too. I walked with $100. It was a ball.
It has been my life's goal to perform in the First Person Arts Story Slam. I've always wanted to do it but never had the guts or commitment to get up and do this thing. Each month there is a different theme. You buy tickets to the show and put your name in a bucket if you want to share a story. Names are drawn at random and you have 5 minutes to tell your story. Stories are judged by the audience. I was picked LAST to perform! The guy who went before me got three perfect scores so, he won. But I was so proud to get up there and do it. All the storytellers won a prize and I got a squeaky toy for B since my story was about him. It felt good to be on stage again, something I haven't done since college. The Story Slam was like revisiting my Forensics roots from high school.
One week before my 30th birthday, my coworkers came together and decorated my office! They blew up balloons and threw streamers around. There was cupcakes and muffins. They wanted to celebrate early because the following week many would be off. Also, I was taking off for my birthday as well. It was a great surprise to walk into since that morning I dropped Bronx off at boarding in preparation for my weekend trip (up next). He looked so sad when I left him, I couldn't get that image out of my head. So I was pretty upset about that and then walked into this. Thanks guys!
As a birthday present to myself and a way to stay true to my passions, I took a leap of faith and invested a significant amount of money into attending the 2017 Writer's Digest Annual Conference in New York City. Roundtrip bus was $25 and my AirBnB cost less for two nights than one night at the conference hotel. This proved to be one of the best decisions I've ever made. To reassure me I was where I was supposed to me, the morning of the conference I received a pleasant surprise. I was waiting in line to pay for an overpriced NY bagel when a woman came up behind me and asked me if I wanted breakfast. I said yes, and she handed me a coupon for a free $40 value buffet breakfast at the hotel's restaurant.
I was sitting in a Hilton in midtown Manhattan eating Lox and sipping coffee poured by a nice man named Warren. I wasn't even a guest at the hotel! (But at that moment, yes...why yes I was). Free breakfast aside, the whole weekend was phenomenal. I learned so much about the industry. I even designed a non-fiction humor book pitch that I delivered to six agents on Saturday. I was so excited! Turns out, I have a marketable book idea! I'm working on finishing up my proposal and then I'm going to send it to the agents who requested to see it. So exciting! (I worked on my pitch in a Starbucks downtown and laughed thinking I was a true writer in a coffee shop).
I also got the chance to meet the folks of Round Table Companies, a truly amazing group of people who happened to be the title sponsor of the conference. They hosted a game called Vulnerability is Sexy and that is when six strangers became close friends. The question and answer game really brought us together. We're all Facebook friends now. I love those people. I was in awe of how this little game could bring people from all walks of life closer together. We felt like family after two hours.
My AirBnB hostess was Russian and we had some fun culture swapping moments. I taught her the English words for fan, exhaust vent and okra. She taught me about Russian banas (steam spas), Turkish food and homebrewing Kombucha. We hugged twice before I left her place, a cozy little apartment two blocks from Time Square. She left me an amazing review, saying I was one of the best people she met in her life and hopes I always comes to stay with her.
The connections I made, the people I met, the things I learned about writing and myself...invaluable gifts. I am so glad I went. Also, Bronx was fine! He ate all his food in boarding, took a silly picture and was knocked out tired for two days when he returned home.
I spent my 30th birthday doing a Tour de Birthday of sorts. I started out at IHOP for free pancakes (they were delicious), then went and got a pedicure at my favorite nail salon. After that I got free Starbucks (they wrote Birthday Girl on my cup) and then went home to grab Bronx. He wore a shirt that said "Its Mommy's 30th birthday" and we went to a park and then a bar near my apartment. I got a Not Your Father's Root Beer Float and he enjoyed vanilla ice cream. Then I went to Penn's Landing to ride the temporary Ferris Wheel and play carnival games. After that I went to Ray's Happy Birthday Bar for my free birthday shot and a beer. Ended the night at my bar, the Wrap Shack eating BBQ wings and tater tots. Stopped by Melrose diner for two pieces of buttercream cake (one for me and one for B). They gave me three pieces and charged me for one!
It is amazing how many strangers go out of their way to make your birthday special. I mean, people were really really nice to me. I had such a perfect day.
I spent the bulk of my birthday doing fun MA things because the day after my birthday I threw a HUGE party for myself and 25 of my closest friends at a bar in Center City. Buffet dinner, open bar, door prizes and goodie bags. I had a blast! So many people came out and the pictures were the best gifts a girl could ask for. I had been planning it for months and it was really great to see everything come together the way it did. There were some very special people at that party and I'm so grateful they were able to celebrate with me.
As if I hadn't accomplished enough this month, I piled more on. This past Sunday I ran in the Philly 10K. Despite winging the whole thing I somehow managed to PR from last year! Of course I wore my birthday sash and tiara, prompting everyone to wish me Happy Birthday. Worth it.
So, yeah...August 2017 may just have been the best month of my entire life. I'm so ready for 30. I think it is going to be epic. Cheers.
Until next time....
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