Birthday Princess

I'm aware this is probably going to be one of the longest blog entries ever. But... you only turn 21 once, and mine was beyond wonderful, so I feel like it's completely okay for me to fully document the events of the weekend :)

Wednesday, October 20

Starbucks with Laura at 7:45AM. Yep, it's true. I wake up nearly an hour earlier than I normally would every Wednesday to get Starbucks with Laura before we go to the art warehouse. It's become a weekly tradition that I wouldn't trade for anything. This week was no different, except for the fact that I started celebrating my birthday on Wednesday, so I considered this "Birthday Starbucks with Laura" :)

Tucker came to Duke! Although I've only visited Tucker at UNC a couple of times, Tucker had never visited me at Duke. So Wednesday afternoon, Tucker ventured over to dear ol' Durham & we spent the afternoon/evening wandering around campus, eating at Panda, going inside Cameron/the Chapel, and just hanging out in my dorm. I attempted to take a picture of the two of us inside Cameron, but as a loyal Tar Heel, he freaked out, picked me up, and spun me around right as I took the shot. Alas, this is all I have to document our afternoon together. Sad times.

Coffeehouse with Helen. Again, this is another event that happens every Wednesday night, but this particular Wednesday night was "Birthday Coffeehouse with Helen" :) I work from 10PM-2AM at the Coffeehouse, and Helen comes all the way from West Campus & sits at the bar during my entire shift. Wednesday nights with Helen make my heart happy, but this one was even more special. I drove her back to Edens after we closed, and we stayed in my car for almost an hour talking even more about absolutely everything. It's so refreshing to have friends that you can talk with for hours & hours, especially when they know everything about you & still love you :)

Thursday, October 21

Birthday Dinner with my Family. On Thursday night, I met mom, dad, Katherine, & Corrie in Burlington to eat at Red Robin (yummm!) It's always good to see my family... plus, they gave me birthday presents :) I got clothes and jewelry -- all from New York & Company. We had a wonderful time hanging out & celebrating me almost being 21.

Friday, October 22

Lunch with Casey at Bruegger's. Casey & I went to Bruegger's on 9th Street a lot during our freshman year, so we ventured back for old times' sake... and it was just as delicious as ever :)

Kacey & William came to Duke! I'm seriously starting to feel spoiled now--this is the second time in less than three weeks that they've come to Durham! As soon as they got here, Kacey gave me my birthday present... oh. my. goodness! I saw these salt & pepper shakers on ModCloth at the very beginning of the summer & wanted them SO badly. Kacey claims I showed her a picture of them months and months ago, but I do NOT remember that at all. Besides, they were completely out of stock at the time. However, my best friend happened to remember and -- tada! They're now proudly displayed in my room :) ALSO, she & William brought cheesecake... my favorite food in the entire world. Best friends ever? I think yes. We ventured over to West for some food & spent the rest of the afternoon just hanging out. I'm fairly convinced my birthday weekend could have just ended at this point and I still would have been the happiest girl in the world, but it just kept getting better...

Zach came to Duke! Thanks to long distance relationships/the Marine Corps, Zach & I haven't actually been together for any of my birthdays during the time we've been dating (my 19th & 20th), and it's already looking like he won't be here for next year's, so we were both really excited that he got to be here for this one! I met him at Southpoint so I could buy my little tiara to wear all day Saturday, and he went ahead and gave me one of my presents -- a gorgeous cross necklace. Before he left for boot camp years ago, he gave me the cross necklace that he always wore, but now I have my own :) We also took this picture (totally his idea, actually). Technically, I despise the book Dear John, and I hate the movie even more, but I love the quote about "no matter where you are in the world, the moon is never bigger than your thumb." It was so nice to have our thumbs in the same picture -- just having him with me made my birthday weekend so wonderful.

Drinking Duck. Zach let me wear my birthday princess tiara through the grocery store where we bought two bottles of Welch's sparkling grape juice to celebrate my birthday weekend. (Haha, yesss I turned 21, but I really have no desire to drink. We still refer to it as "duck," but it's not the actual sparkling wine.) We came back to Southgate & Zach gave me my other present -- the perfume from Anthropologie that I've been wanting foreverrr! Oh my goodness, it smells amazing :) We stayed up until midnight & went through one entire bottle of duck, but then I quickly got in the bed & he went to sleep on the couch since we had to get up at 5AM...

Saturday, October 23 -- my ACTUAL birthday

Road Trip to Virginia. Yepp, we were up at 5AM and on the road at 6AM, since I'm on the team for Pilgrimage (a Christian retreat in our denomination every March at Camp Bethel) and our first training/planning session was in Roanoke, VA at 9AM. Haha, not exactly how I always pictured spending my 21st birthday, but it worked :) As not-awesome as it was being up so early, I did see a shooting star while driving since it was still dark out, which was awesomeee. I also got to watch the sunrise in my rearview mirror, which was pretty cool. I dropped Zach off at his house in Martinsville & had a wonderful day with the other 13 members of the team. We were able to accomplish a lot as far as planning goes, and everyone went above & beyond to make me feel like the birthday princess all day. They had a princess balloon, princess decorations, princess gloves, a princess wand, etc... & as funny as it was, I truly felt special. Plus, I got to see my sister, my mom, and my aunt... and mommy gave me some new bath towels just because she gave me all of my presents on Thursday night and felt bad not giving me something on my actual birthday :)

Cupcakes with the Jones Family. I left Roanoke & drove back to Martinsville to pick Zach up, and when I got there, Zach's mom had made some incredible cupcakes... I'm fairly certain I inhaled mine. They sang "Happy Birthday" & I got to spend a little bit of time with Kim, Ben, Gabe, Olivia, Sophia, & Zach before heading back to Durham. Also, Zach's mom took the only picture of the day NOT on a cell phone or photo booth, since the camera charger that I ordered two weeks ago has still not arrived & I wasn't able to properly document the entire day :( So glad I have a picture of Zach being the birthday princess with me. (Side note -- isn't he the most handsome boy you've ever seen?? I seriously love this picture. He just melts my heart!)

Dinner at Cheesecake Factory. Zach & I got back to Durham and broke the world record for changing clothes & getting ready so we could get to Southpoint & have dinner at a semi-reasonable hour. We had around 45 minute wait, so we sat beside the pretty fountain that I so distinctly remember from my high school (junior year) college tour trip with Kacey & Amy :) I had penne pasta & chicken (of course) & Zach got the crispy spicy beef with rice. Then for dessert, we split the "Reeses Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake." It not only had Reeses Peanut Butter Cups & layers of fudge & caramel; 25 cents of every piece of this particular cheesecake that's sold goes to Feeding America. So... go order one, because it's absolutely amazinggg.

Visit with Casey. In between dinner & going out, Casey told me to come over so she could give me my birthday present. Oh. My. Goodness. I really don't think I had mentioned how desperately I needed a jewelry box, but this pretty girl knew exactly what to give me. It's the gorgeous Pearl Essence jewelry box from Anthropologie, plus TWO pairs of Anthropologie earrings. I absolutely love it :)

Dancing at Shooters. Laura came over around midnight & the three of us ventured out to Shooters. I've only been once -- with Laura -- and she wanted to make sure she was there for Zach's first experience as well. In the grand scheme of things, it was super packed & impossible to be on the dance floor without touching at least 72 other people at the same time, but we had a lot of fun. Really, I just cared about entering through the "21+" door and get a sparkly blue wristband... which they cut off when we all left at 2AM. Who knew? I would be pretty upset about it, except the DJ did give me a 21st birthday shout out during the night :)

Sponge Candy. Laura really wanted us to come back to her dorm after we left Shooters so she could give me my birthday present, so we went all the way to Edens & hung out in her room for a little bit. My present? Sponge candy! Laura is from Buffalo, NY, and sponge candy is really big in western NY & parts of Canada (and maybe even parts of Pennsylvania?). She gave me a piece last year when her mom sent it to her in a package & I loved it, but now I have my own box! It's absolutely impossible to describe the taste/texture of the yummy goodness -- definitely not like anything you would expect. So, if you're ever up north & see sponge candy, buy some! Buy a lot, actually, because I'm going through my box rather quickly...

We got back to my dorm superrr late, and as you can see, Zach instantly passed out on my bed. So, I swapped places with him for the night & cuddled up on the couch, but not before checking my Facebook. I don't check my Facebook at all on my birthday, so it was really exciting to open it up & see over 100 wall posts from friends, family, residents, classmates, etc. in addition to the countless texts I received throughout the day. Once again, I felt SO special & SO loved... just like a true birthday princess.

Whew! This past weekend was easily one of the best ever. Thank you to EVERYBODY who helped make my 21st birthday so, so memorable. I have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams & can't thank y'all enough :)