So, I celebrated my 23rd birthday on September 13! You may remember because Kristen posted the sweetest post to acknowledge it (yes, I did tear up - so blessed to have her as a best friend!). This happened to fall right at the end of the busy season for Tax, with the due date for a lot of returns being September 15. The weeks leading up to my birthday were very stressful and I was excited to be able to unwind, if only for a weekend...
Recently, the 23rd birthday has become acknowledged as the Jordan Year, in reference to Michael Jordan and his jersey number - 23. I absolutely love this description because of the positive connotation behind it - #winning #gettingbuckets #championships #MVP... all that.
So far, 23 has not disappointed. I've had so much fun in the 3 short months since my birthday and only hope to continue making memories and experiencing growth!
So on to my actual birthday...
Things to do to have a successful birthday weekend:
Go to El Bar in Atlanta on a Thursday night
El Bar is a small bar located off of Ponce de Leon Ave that normally jumps on a Thursday. There's normally a good crowd, cheap drinks, and an abundance of twerk music (top 3 genres of music, IMO). Oh... and if you get there before 12am, it's free! This was my first time going and in true El Bar fashion, we had a pregame beforehand. Surprised I made it to work the next morning.
Go to happy hour at Jack's on a Friday
Jack's Pizza & Wings, located off of Highland Ave in Old Fourth Ward, is an unassuming spot that has been a happy hour regular for my friends and me.
During the summer, nothing beat going to Jack's on a Friday and celebrating 40 OUNCE FRIDAYS. 10 wings (lemon pepper + jerk is a must try!) and a 40 for under $10?! Yes, please. I believe they have discontinued this, which is a shame, but they still have cheap drinks and cheap food! This is like the pregame to the pregame... everyone gets off work and convenes here, planning what the heck we are going to do for the rest of the weekend.
Stage a hostile takeover of your friend's apartment for a pregame
It wouldn't be a weekend in Atlanta if we didn't take over the Midtown apartment of two of my guy friends. The location is convenient, situated right in the heart of Atlanta. Not to mention it's a penthouse, with TWO balconies, & spacious. Sure, they complain that we treat their place like a rec center and come over with asking all the time, but I just assume it's all out of love.
For maximum fun, I would suggest taking a power nap before power hour.
I love to see people having fun, so I encouraged everyone to take a shot every half-hour for the first hour (2 shots), starting at 10pm and then every 15 minutes leading up to my birthday (4 shots) with a double shot at midnight to celebrate 23! I think that's about 6 shots, but who's counting, it was my birthday?!
Head out to Buford Highway and hit up one of the karaoke spots! Make sure you take Uber or Lyft so as to avoid DUIs (or have a DD). Roll about 15 people deep so that it feels like you're at a private party. Finally, if you're feeling flashy, shake up a can of sprite and spray it on your friends yelling CHAMPAGNE SHOWER. Well, actually don't... pretty sure they wanted to kill me. Because there were black women and their hair involved.
Miss your flight the next morning
When you announce that you can't go too hard that night because you have a flight the next morning, laughingly shrug off your friends' comments that you should book a later flight. When your friend who works at Delta (the airline you are flying with) offers to book you said later flight, stare her in the face and say "I've never missed a flight" and proceed to keep taking shots.
When you get home at 4am, get in the shower and promise yourself that you will take a quick power nap before your flight is to leave at 9:30am. Wake up at 9:15am, realize that your flight is now boarding, and that congratulations - you've missed your first flight in your life! Frantically rush to the airport for unknown reasons seeing as though your flight has already taken off... without you. Book an afternoon flight and recap the night before while waiting at the airport.
Drink wine as soon as you step out of the airport
When you land in Chicago, I urge you to have a partner in crime available to pick you up with a bottle of wine. It's not everyday that you turn 23, so its best to keep the party going.
Two of my best friends from college, Janelle and Wilburt, lived in Chicago at the time of my birthday. I had been trying to plan a trip for the longest and finally I was able to book a trip! I wasn't sure if I had to work the next day or not so I only was able to book a day trip (sadly, you can't experience much in less than 24 hours). However, I definitely enjoyed my visit - not much is better than being in the company of good friends.
Janelle extended the invitation for me to crash at her apartment while I was there & some views from her building are below.
Eat Chicago Deep Dish pizza
I was supposed to do a brunch for my birthday, but since I missed my flight... I had to cancel it. However, I just had to go with the flow and plan something else.
& Well, you can't REALLYYYY go to Chicago without getting pizza, can you?! Our pizzeria of choice was Lou Malnati's, located just a few blocks from my friend's fabulous Chicago apartment. And drink 312 Urban Pale Ale, a Chicago fav.
I was happy that I was able to spend my birthday with my friends, I definitely enjoyed being able to catch up with them. With everyone going their separate ways after undergrad, you can definitely appreciate those rare moments when you get to see your friends.
Hit up Movies/Bars/Kickback
After dinner, we went to the movies and then headed to Division (a street with a popular strip of bars). Both were pretty chill moves, which I was content with considering I'd already partied the two nights before. After we left Division, we went to the apartment of another Howard alum where we had a semi-reunion/kickback.
The next morning, I had to head to the airport, but I definitely can't wait to go back and visit Chicago (& for a longer span of time).
Fly back to Atlanta the next day and host an impromptu brunch
Brunch is a weekend staple and ...why shouldn't it be?! Strong drinks, good food, and even better conversation make for a wonderful Saturday or Sunday. There have been many thinkpieces published about it, some of my favorites coming from a blog named Very Smart Brothas. You can find those posts here and here.
When I got back to Atlanta, I was exhausted. But one of my friends hit me up and reminded me that I was supposed to do brunch with them. Now, I didn't really feel like going out to brunch and suggested having one at my place. I texted out invites, went to Publix, and started to prepare my place for this impromptu brunch.
As I've mentioned before, I love to host functions and my birthday was no different. I had about 10 friends over around 2pm for homemade food and mimosas where we ate/drank, watched football, and had a game afternoon (instead of game night... k cool). I provided the food and some bottles, with everyone arriving with champagne of their own. This brunch ended up lasting all day (brinner?!), with the last person leaving at around 10pm. I still get jokes from the front desk at my building for having a brunch that lasted all day haha.
Although I did not extensively plan out my birthday in advance, it still ended up being a very enjoyable weekend. As you can see, I was able to have a great time without going to a club, or even spending an exorbitant amount of money.