Monday, October 8, 2012

Birthday Surprises!

Have I ever mentioned that I love birthdays? :)

Well, I may have said it a time or two.
But what I haven't said, is that I have always wanted a surprise birthday party.
But for some reason, I always ruin it. I can only think of a few times where I was truly surprised by something.
I don't know if I'm just really nosy, or intuitive, or what. I never mean to ruin a surprise, but somehow, I always do.

Until Saturday.

My whole birthday week was awesome, really. But this takes the cake.

On my actual birthday, I got home from work and opened the presents I had gotten in the mail throughout the week. :)
My best friend from home decided to make me weepy by sending me a package themed entirely around "Home".
(Another little tidbit about me - I LOVE gift themes. I almost always try and come up with some elaborate theme around the bundle of gifts I give people for special occasions. This one was fantastic.)

This is absolutely the kind of card she would get me.
I'll do you a favor and not show you the picture inside.

Oh and remember how Dickey's closed down?
Becky bought us three bottles of Dickey's barbecue sauce, and two jars of Dickey's seasoning.

I was also able to video chat with my mom, to open her box of presents for me :)
It was really fun to talk to her, and see her face to face!

We went to Jimmy's on the James, which is a restaurant that was a favorite of my parents.
We've been several times, like this time, and that time.

Hello, studly.

Local tip: go with the "specials" menu, if something sounds good.
Especially if it's seafood. They do seafood particularly well!
Also, get dessert.

Jimmy's on the James has opened up a new section, utilizing the building next to it!
It's darling. On that night, they had the entire front opened to the cool night air, and it was the most wonderful atmosphere of happy chatting and clinking glasses.
On to the awesome.

I actually planned my own birthday party this year.
(Reason #1 why any surprise efforts are usually foiled).

I had Dusty invite a set list of people to a cute little tea room in downtown Lynchburg. I had always wanted to go there, and thought it might be a fun place to have a simple get together!

On my actual birthday, we had invited my friend Allison to join us for a quick lunch at Chick-fil-A. She said she couldn't, but that she'd love for Dusty and I to maybe come over for dinner the following night, and she could make me a cake or something!
IF Dusty didn't already have any plans for us.

Dusty had been asking if we could go to the Homecoming football game, so I wasn't sure.
He was kind of bummed when I told him about the dinner, and that I didn't really want to go to the game, since it'd be super crowded and everything....
So the night of, I fell asleep around 4:30pm (always a bad idea) and Dusty finally managed to wake me up at 6:00pm. (We were supposed to go over to Allison's at 6:30pm).
At 6:20pm, I decided I really wanted to paint my nails before we went, because I wanted to show Allison my new nail color.

Dusty: "Do you really have to do that right now? I'm really hungry." Innocent smile.

I said, yes. Obviously.
As I painted them, Dusty told me he was really craving Cold Stone, and that we should go there after dinner if we don't stay too late.
I told him Allison probably had something planned for dessert.
I finished painting my nails right before 6:30pm.

We got there probably 5 to 10 minutes late, and knocked on the door. I was inspecting my newly painted nails, saying something about how I'm horrible at staying in the lines, when the door flew open and Allison yelled "SURPRISE!"

At least, I think that's what she said.
I swear, I had no idea what was happening. I don't even know if I visibly reacted, it was such a strange experience being that surprised, and being completely preoccupied with the lack of my nail painting skill.

Behind her, the apartment was crammed with smiling friends, and I was completely bewildered.
Dusty ran out to the car while I squealed and laughed in surprise.
He came back in wearing a black sweater, and holding our camera.
Once the door shut, I vaguely noticed that it was covered with a giant brick pattern, with "Platform 9 3/4" labeled on the top of it.
It took me way too long to finally realize...

This is a Harry Potter Birthday Party.

But once Dusty whipped out the wand we had bought in Orlando, everything I could have ever dreamed was confirmed.
Allison had asked everyone to wear black, and I just happened to be wearing my black dress that day!
But even if I hadn't...they had that fetching choir robe for me to wear.
But everything had fallen into place.

Allison went around with "The Sorting Hat", which held little House-colored felt ties she had made for everyone to wear.

(These are the ones I took after the party).
All I can really do is let the pictures speak for themselves.
They have a lot to say.

I love those little black frog props!

One of my favorite features was the string of twinkle lights
(or floating candles, if you have an imagination)

I seriously don't think I've ever experienced something so magical.
I don't even know how to express it.
It was the nerdiest, happiest, wackiest, most hilarious, fabulous, and the sweetest thing that has ever been done for me.

And the attention to detail!
Oh my word.

I couldn't help but think of Yes Man.
This is probably my favorite part of that movie.

Wizard's Chess, anyone?

I almost stole this owl.
He was borrowed, so that would have been bad, but that fact still didn't stop the temptation.

Guys, she even had a Moaning Myrtle in the bathroom.

And even further, she left a "Portkey" at the top of the stairs, in the shape of a giant boot.

Even the husbands at the party were really good sports...they only made fun of us a little bit.
But we all (them included) had such a great time, being silly and enjoying the extravagance of nerdiness.
And then there was this cuteness:


I mean, seriously. My friends have the cutest kids.

The kids weren't the only ones having dress-up fun, though ;)

This tie was Dusty's "Olive Garden" tie when he worked there a couple summers ago.
You better believe the first thing he said when he came home was that he traded around to get the Gryffindor tie.

The thing I liked best about the night was that it was just us, enjoying the food, atmosphere and a tremendous amount of Butterbeer.
We all sat cozy in the living room, talking and loving each other's company.

Occasionally the room split, boys vs. girls.

Like when the boys all gathered around, talking law in the kitchen.

Included in the amazing food-spread were some decadently chocolate cupcakes, with white lightning bolts across the top.
My friend Emilie had those amazing cupcakes made at a local bakery for the main birthday-singing extravaganza.

When the night slowly began to wind to a close, it meant it was time for a movie, of course.
We decided on one of the better movie adaptations.

My life was pure bliss in these moments.

These candles just got more and more awesome as the night went on.

I like to joke around a lot, but this was seriously one of my favorite things to ever happen.
It's something I could have never asked for myself, and it was that much more special that it was done as a surprise for me by people I love, that I haven't even known for very long.
Yet somehow we've all been immensely impactful on each other's lives.
And that, indeed, is magical.

We left the party around midnight.
It was really sad to leave, because the day was officially over, and I knew their house would no longer be Harry Potterland the next time I visited!

I haven't been able to stop thinking about it, because I absolutely LOVE that that's what we did for my 24th birthday.
I'll never forget it. :)

In love,

P.S. Thanks again, Allison and gang :)

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