This year was a milestone birthday for GG, and for the past several years I’d been wanting to throw him a big surprise party. It was a little daunting though because he has a lot of different groups of friends (current coworkers, past coworkers, people he went to school with, musicians, comedians, family and childhood friends, etc.), and I was a little overwhelmed trying to figure out how to invite all of them. Finally I decided, for this big birthday, I was going to do it. I got in touch with a “representative” from each group, and asked them to help with invites.

I also wanted the party to be mostly GG and his friends on stage, playing music or telling jokes or whatever, since that’s where he’d be happiest – so then I had to find somewhere with a stage! That was tricky, as these places were pretty expensive to reserve… Then one of my invitation contacts recommended this local music venue where his wife had held a movie screening and her bridal shower before. So I reached out to this place and they were amazing! The venue was very cool, we didn’t really have to decorate; they’re a local music place, so they already had a stage, sound system with sound guys, and even a bunch of instruments (like a drum set and stuff); and they have a kitchen so were able to prepare all the food, we just had to bring our own alcohol! Also, the price was extremely reasonable, and the owner was excited because he’d never done an event like this before.

Leading up to his birthday, GG kept saying he didn’t want to make a big deal about it, etc. etc. Little did he know we had guests coming from all over the east coast to celebrate him! As a ruse, one of his old bandmates invited him to play this private gig the night of his b-day, which was a Friday. I told him to go ahead, because we could just celebrate the next day, it was no big deal, right? This got him to the venue, with his guitar and equipment (because I had no idea what he’d want to pack if I had to sneak and do it for him)!

So the night of the party, I got dressed (GG even caught me on my way out of the house – I don’t think he was suspicious!), picked up the awesome cupcakes I’d ordered, and headed to the venue to set up a little. The owner had put together a great menu of all different types of quesadillas (one of GG’s favorites, and a specialty of this place!) and finger foods. My BIL, who was such a huge help getting things organized, was able to bring a ton of liquor from his job, and other friends brought drinks as well. People started arriving and I was shocked to see how many people there were, and how far some had traveled (like, from Virginia and Connecticut)!

Finally it was time for GG to arrive, so everyone got situated in the main room and turned off the lights. GG and his friend came in with their instruments and stuff, and he started looking around. He looked upstairs where the balcony seating was and saw a friend from work, which I guess is when he started getting suspicious. Then he walked into the main room and we all yelled surprise and his reaction was perfect! He was so shocked to see all the people who were there for him!

So then everyone put on an amazing show – MCed by my super helpful BIL. We started out with a roast/comedy performance by anyone who wanted to participate, including some surprise performers! GG sat on stage and by this point he was pretty drunk. Then there was a magic performance by our magician friend, which transitioned us into the music portion of the evening. Members of past and present bands, as well as other musicians and friends, got up and performed with GG, and it looked like everyone had a blast! When there wasn’t music playing (which, there pretty much was for the rest of the night), the sound guys played my “Party Like It’s 1976” playlist of songs I’d downloaded, which all were either released or at the top of the charts that year.

We had such an amazing night and such great memories. I am so thankful for everyone who helped me pull this off and make the dream a reality – everyone who helped invite, helped me with the venue, everyone who performed, and especially our friend who got him to the party without any suspicion ;)

Beauty Reviews – Summer 2016

  • Lush “Brazilliant” Shampoo Bar: I’ve tried shopping at Lush before and I just can’t. We have one in our mall and I go in and the scents just overwhelm me and give me a headache. I wonder if they haven’t actually done something about their ventilation system, because when I went to check out the shampoo bars a couple weeks ago based on a friend’s recommendation, I felt for once like I could breathe in there. I spoke to the sales associate and asked her which shampoo bar she would recommend for my hair: fine and frizzy, so I need something to make it sleek, but not weigh it down too much. She had a couple recommendations, but I ended up with Brazilliant, which has clarifying citrus and sweet orange oil for smoothness. It also smells amazing. I still use my regular conditioner and stuff, but my hair has been so soft since I’ve been using it, with really full volume!
  • Posh Rubby Scrubby: I’ve been trying a couple Posh products lately since a friend started selling it. This is one of my favorites – it’s a minty foot scrub in a handy tube you can easily use in the shower. I am obsessed with foot scrubs… If you don’t have a Posh lady, let me know and I’ll hook you up with mine ;o)
  • IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Powder: A while ago my mom was raving about the IT Cosmetics eyebrow pencil and even gave me one. It’s ok, but not my favorite (I prefer a little bit softer pencil). That was my only experience with the brand until I was watching QVC one night and saw a demo of this “Bye Bye Pores Silk Finishing Powder.” The actual product I purchased is no longer online; it’s a loose powder, not pressed, and came paired with a nice fluffy brush. I am liking it, especially for summer. It really does give you a nice finish! The loose powder is very light and leaves a little cloud in the air, which I could do without, so I might try the pressed powder version next time. On the program, they said the brush was so popular, beauty bloggers were naming theirs? I don’t know about that, but it’s nice…
  • Baby Foot Exfoliating Peel: Remember how I said I was obsessed with foot scrubs? So why not try the ultimate foot softener that’s been making the rounds on social media? You’ll find lots of variations of these, but basically they’re all pre-filled plastic booties you wear for an hour or so to give an acid peel to your feet. After a few days of nothing happening, you’ll be treated to a few fun-filled days of peeling sheets of skin off your feet, followed by baby soft goodness. I feel like there are several stages to using one of these:
    1. The waiting period – After applying the peel, you wait around looking for any signs that your feet are starting to peel. This can last a couple days to a week.
    2. The bottom peeling period – You’re not supposed to pick at it, but once your feet do start peeling, you kind of have to pull the dead skin off or you’ll end up with flaps hanging off and leave a skin trail everywhere. You’re supposed to soak your feet daily to help encourage this process. My friend MB invited me to swim in her pool a few days after the treatment, and woah did that accelerate things! It’s gross and fun and you’ll end up collecting piles of skin as you idly pull it off your feet.
    3. The top peeling period – The bottoms of your feet are so smooth and you think you’re done, but then the tops start peeling! For me this was not as much fun as the bottom because it didn’t really come off in sheets, it just flaked and looked like I had a bad sunburn, which I hope is what most people thought as well, since you can’t really hide the tops of your feet as well as the bottoms. If I do this again, I will try to limit the amount of solution that gets on the tops of my feet, and just try to focus on the soles.
    4. The soft period – The peel won’t necessarily remove callouses but it will make them softer, so enjoy that time before everything gets gross again.

    It really does work and my feet are super soft, especially considering it’s the middle of summer and I’ve been living in sandals and no socks for months. I definitely recommend doing this just before sandal season starts, so your peeling feet are hidden. Also, they say it won’t affect nail polish but the one I used at least did wear a couple spots in mine (I just added another coat on top) so beware if you’re about to get a pedicure or something. And I think it did something to actually make the color soak into my nails more, because when I removed it a couple weeks later, all my toenails were stained (which has not happened before). Maybe just do the peel when your toenails are naked.