July 13, 2011

Happy birthday to me!

This weekend was my birthday, and what a great weekend it was!

On Friday night, I was invited to another friend’s birthday (it was a big weekend for birthdays – in addition to my own party, I had three others I was supposed to attend!). The catch: it was a Jersey Shore themed party. After moaning and groaning to my friend Jess about how I didn’t want to dress all trashy and Jersey Shore-like, particularly because it would make me look like an idiot if I wanted to stop anywhere else, I ended up getting into the spirit and throwing an outfit together. Midway through, my roommate came home and assisted… by providing some fabulous sunglasses and a bump it for my hair! Turns out she had been to a Jersey Shore themed party a few weeks earlier, but had prepped in advance with the necessary accessories instead of throwing it together like I did. But last minute or not, I think I looked pretty hot by the time I was ready to go.

I had a blast out with my friends, and indulged in a late night slice of pizza at the fabulous Pizza by La Grolla with my best friend before heading home. Perfection!

However, what wasn’t so perfect was that I had a few pints of beer and then topped it off with pizza, on a night when I was trying really hard to eat healthy. It’s not that beer and pizza isn’t okay to treat yourself to, but for my body, carbs and carbonation really bloat me, and I was trying to eat really cleanly so that I’d be in top form for my birthday party. Oops! All that heavy food/drink gave me a bit of a tummy ache when I woke up. But in good news, I woke up nice and early… giving me the perfect excuse to go for a gorgeous run along the river.

Once I put my running clothes/sneakers on, I sat on my bed for a few minutes, browsing the internet and putting off my run. Luckily, the nice thing about waking up so early is that you have plenty of time to procrastinate and still get going. When I finally put the computer away and headed out the door, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, it was still only 8:30am, and I had Sarah Von’s Type A Radio podcast playing in my ears. Type A Saturday morning indeed!

I headed down the Hudson River, circling around the various piers to increase my distance without actually having to run further down the island. It got kind of hot, but anytime I stepped out onto a pier, the breezes took over and cooled me right down. I was also fortunate because a lot of new water fountains were added to the Hudson River Park in the last year, so it was easy to grab water all along the way. Final mileage: 6.9 miles in 67:22, or around a 9:45 pace. Not bad for a relaxing jog where I didn’t worry about time at all!

Arriving home, I decided to make a sweet treat: blueberry protein pancakes and some mocha coconut iced coffee. Sounds pretty decadent, but the pancake recipe is super healthy (especially when topped with just the smallest amount of maple syrup – they’re tasty enough without it!). As for the iced coffee, my new favorite ingredient in my kitchen is my coconut extract. I add 1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 tsp coconut extract, and a few tbsp of vanilla almond milk to my coffee, and it makes the most deliciously rich drink and indulgent drink, for only about 15 calories total. And no artificial sugar involved in getting the number that low! I’m telling you, people, that recipe is a keeper.

I spent the rest of the day running errands and taking care of stuff around the apartment… until it was time for my friend Meg’s birthday extravaganza on Saturday night. We actually share the same birthday, but she was hosting the party on Saturday night at her apartment, while I took Sunday during the day instead. It ended up being a wonderfully fun and lively gathering, particularly once we broke into her “Who Wants to be a Broadway Star?” board game that she got as one of her presents. As part of the game, I was called upon to improve a monologue about an object in the room, and I gave what I do consider to be a very moving performance about a Q-tip. Apparently others agreed, because it counted as a win for that turn and I received countless “fan followers” as a result of my performance.

But as you might have guessed by that story, I ended up indulging quite a bit more on wine than I planned… so that when midnight struck, I thought it was the funniest thing in the world to call friends who weren’t at the party and just yell, “It’s my birthday!” I also posted the same on Facebook. But hey, what are birthdays for if not a little self-indulgence πŸ™‚ Speaking of Facebook, when I woke up the next day, it truly made my morning. Already at the wee hour of 6:30am, I had people from all over the world sending me birthday greetings – making me feel super special and wonderful. While I didn’t end up having the time to go for another morning run, as I had originally wanted to do, all the well wishes put me in a great mood by the time my own birthday party came around at noon.

I invited my friends to join me for a “boozy brunch”, which is a New York City tradition. Basically, a lot of brunch places in New York offer all-you-can-drink cocktails to go with your Sunday brunch… because there’s nothing like continuing the Saturday night drinking and turning Sunday into Funday. The restaurant that I chose had several kinds of cocktails to choose from, and since I was torn between the peach and strawberry bellinis… I had both. Funday indeed!

After a delicious brunch and many cocktails, I was brought a gorgeously decorated plate of tiramisu, with a candle for me to blow out as everyone sang to me (and Meg as well). They even put a fork on the plate before they dusted it with cocoa powder, to give it a cool outline!

But the birthday celebration was far from over just because brunch was done. Post-meal, we headed down to check out a food truck festival a few blocks away, and I scored some delicious artisan ice cream from Je & Jo, which had chunks of cookie dough in it. But this was no ordinary cookie dough ice cream – every single choice was a different flavor of ice cream with a different type of cookie dough hidden inside. So tasty! My favorite was the cardamom ice cream with snickerdoodle cookie dough in it… so delicious.

Post-treats, we somehow got the idea to go to the bar at Red Lobster in Times Square, in order to munch on cheddar bay biscuits and continue drinking. Living in New York City, I don’t really go to many chain restaurants anymore, so for me this was kind of a neat throwback to my childhood, when chains were pretty much the only restaurants to go to in my suburb. Meanwhile, Meg had never tried a cheddar bay biscuit before, so we sucked her into the unhealthy cult until we were just munching away on basket after basket of the biscuits. Our bartender kept them coming, along with the drinks, and kept a lively conversation going with us at the same time. Not at all what I expected to be doing for my birthday, but it was a lot of fun!

At the end of the night, I headed home to pack up for the next week of work, make some homemade ramen to get myself psyched for my upcoming trip to Japan, and then get to bed. What a perfect birthday weekend!


6 thoughts on “Happy birthday to me!”

  1. Happy belated birthday! It sounds like you had a good one. I am going to have to track down some coconut extract, it sounds awesome.

  2. Happy belated birthday! You had a great bday it seems.

    I like the idea of the mocha coconut iced coffee but I’m not a fan of coconut. But I might try the cocoa powder πŸ˜‰

  3. happy belated bday, you definitely did it up right! LOVE boozy brunches, DC is also quite well equipped for the sunday funday fests.

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