Today is my birthday. Turning the big 2-8...Unarguably my late twenties...Granny territory is approaching. Like I honored the experiences I had while 26 yrs old, I'd like to celebrate the past year by listing out some experiences I recall doing for the very first time in my life.
[I wrote this post in advance. When you see it, I'll likely be on a plane to Seattle, my first trip to the west coast, for an Alaskan cruise with a friend and her parents. This will mark my first cruise, first vacation with a friend's family, first glacier-siting, and lots of other stuff...but I'll have to save that for my 29th birthday recap.]
Here's the list:
Let me start with a bang so you don't get bored. The most random experience I had this year was attending a nude figure drawing workshop around Christmastime with my bf, called something like "Santa's Naked Sex Slave Workshop". We found the event listing in Time Out, and thought we'd check it out, haha. It wasn't pornographic--We drew geriatric naked men wearing wrapped gifts on their heads, lots of santa hats, and a girl hoola-hooping.
Now for the other stuff...
Stating the obvious:
First (and hopefully only) time getting engaged, planning a wedding & having a bachelorette party.
Aside from the first time feeling all the emotions related to wedding planning and building a future with the person I love, what this process boils down to is that it’s my first time hiring other people to do things for me: Hiring a photographer for our engagement shoot, wedding day and my bachelorette party, hiring a DJ and wedding officiant, choosing a venue that will coordinate the whole event and handle the catering. Interviewing florists, having make-up trials, and getting advice from the blogosphere…Trusting other people to execute my vision for the party hasn’t always been easy for this control freak!
Staycations & Vacations:
First tasting at a Long Island winery, first time visiting Fire Island.
First time staying at hotel in the city I live in just to escape daily life (We celebrated our 10 year anniversary—and surprise engagement—at the Soho Grand). I also skiied for the very first time in my life (for 5 minutes), during an impromptu trip to Vermont with the boys.
Cool experiences because we’re lucky and strategic:
Rob won the opportunity for us to play football at Giants Stadium.
I won a contest at work after coming up with the best ideas for improving a product critical to our company’s future success—resulting in an all-expenses paid meal at any Manhattan restaurant. I chose Le Bernardin, and it was my first 3 Michelin Star dining experience. (This year was a good year for my palate—also dined at Sushi of Gari, Nobu & Aureole, each with a Michelin star of their own.)
Speaking of food, I ate Kobe beef, beef Carpaccio, crosnes & venison for the first time in my life (all during my anniversary meal at Aureole).
First time my wardrobe has been upgraded thanks to my fiancé's and my own investments:
Being a Manhattanite has finally rubbed off on me and I’ve succumbed to labels like Christian Louboutin, Diane von Furstenberg, and BCBG Max Azria: The Queen of Cheap is now the Queen of Chic ;)
First time my blog writing has gotten me into interesting circumstances:
I was quoted in USA Today because a reporter read my post and about Madison Avenue’s store closure epidemic. The PR firm, Intencity Global provided me free services at the Stuart Hirsch Salon in exchange for a review on my blog—I'm still getting good SEO from it.
There’s lots to do in NYC, but I don’t always take advantage of everything this city has to offer. I’m able to muster up the following “firsts” this past year: First time buying the latest gadget the day it came out at the Soho Apple store, first visit to Williamsburg (yeah, I realize how crazy that sounds, being from Long Island and all…), first trip to the Cloisters and the Central Park Conservatory Garden.
First time being personally affected by the recession—losing mentors due to layoffs, surviving several rounds of layoffs, re-prioritizing my budget after a pay cut, seeing the changing streets of Manhattan. For the very first time in my life, around the time when I wrote the Madison Avenue piece, I thought New York was totally over. What I once thought was the infallible “best city in the world” lost its vibrancy and all the great things about it that make it the only place on earth I want to live. I now think/hope its slowly coming back.
Oh, and for better or for worse, I’ve taken up Twittering.