Bachelorette in NYC?!

As soon as we rolled into Manhattan and fell onto the city streets, I turned to Aspen and said “we just went to New York for the weekend. Who the fuck do we think we are?”

We both laughed.

One of my college friends just got engaged! I wasn’t surprised to hear Aspen was getting married because I knew she’d been dating her man for a few years. In fact, she once asked me if I knew what love was (you can read my response here).

I was surprised to know she wants me to be part of the royal court (aka in the wedding). Of course, I obliged. Do people really turn down the request to be a bridesmaid? Rude, lol. We’re a month away from the wedding; the bridesmaids and I just pulled off a cross-country bachelorette weekend – borderline psychotic, inevitably worth it.

The entire bachelorette getaway was a surprise. All my engaged friend knew was “pack a weekend bag, bitch.” I sent Aspen’s plane ticket to her fiancé, who dropped her off at the San Diego airport, informing her of the destination before she entered the security checkpoint (Aspen told us she cried tears of joy when Pat revealed the location). We fell asleep on the redeye and woke up in New York City.

The 2 hour ride from JFK to our bnb, just West of Times Square, felt like 2 minutes! For the short time I’ve been alive, it never ceases to amaze me how time passes so quickly when you’re catching up with old friends. Even still, I’m continuously amazed by friendships that are tested with distance and time apart, but remain as strong.

We met up with the other bridesmaids in Hell’s Kitchen for famous NY bagels. I’ll tell you what, Cali be making some small ass bagels if you see what they’re baking in New York. After, we mosied on down to SoHo for custom made lipstick.

Have you heard of Bite? I’m not really into girly shit, but this is a pretty chill experience if you have a love for lipstick. You sit at this beauty bar and the lip ladies mix colors for you to try on. You test as many colors as you fancy; then, they melt the color of your choice into a custom—made stick.

I’m not a big beauty gal, but I do love me some cafes. How hipster do I sound? One of my favorite things being in cities is visiting adorable coffee shops. Joe & The Juice was next on our list (not because it was on the itinerary, but because we have caffeine addicts in our group that needed to stop for a latte). I discovered Joe & The Juice is actually a Danish brand and they serve coffee and freshly pressed juices.

We burn more daylight walking the streets and end up at The Plaza Hotel for afternoon tea. What’s the best way to get trashy later? Acting classy now. I can’t remember whose idea was mini sandwiches and petite desserts, but the scenery is beautiful. The main purpose of the trip is to treat the bride like a queen and this atmosphere accomplished that mission.

Once back at our flat, we knocked out. The place is definitely a vacation rental, minimalist, pure white, accented with brightly colored pop art; 2,000 square feet of 42nd floor views of Manhattan, the Hudson, and Jersey shore. 2 bed, 2 bath, 5 girls, and 1 reason to celebrate.

When we woke up from our afternoon naps, we celebrated indeed. The bars we hit are known for cocktails and open air patios. Bar SixtyFive is, you guessed it, on the 65th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. PhD, next on the list, is located at Dream Downtown. If there’s one thing I can promise about NYC, it’s endless amounts of class and rooftop views, views, views.

What else can I promise about NYC? Pizza. The night led us to a high-scale pizzeria; we ordered 4 thin crust, too delicious, we order 2 more. I can’t really tell you what happened after that, but I know we didn’t crash until 5am. We woke to the morning sun shining bright through our midtown windows. A few hours later (the amount of time it takes to get 5 girls up, dressed, and out of the penthouse) we headed for breakfast at Chelsea Market.

Chelsea Market, although crowded, is definitely a place to check out for unique eateries and shops. I ordered a vegan salad (in desperate need of fiber) but the rest of the bride tribe ordered food at Creamline, which took so long that we convinced a server into giving us 2 White Russians, 1 beer, and 5 glasses of rose for free, for the wait. By the time we finished our food (and the booze) we stumbled through Chelsea Market window shopping (or, in my case, real shopping). Lingerie shopping was next on the itinerary, but I didn’t buy anything of that sort.

We bought more pizza before we heading back to the penthouse, carbs before a comedy show. Funny enough, the troop imitated Aspen and one of the bridesmaids during the improv. One of our bridesmaids got too fucked up from day drinking, she missed out on the clubs. But, so did we. What I learned about NYC clubs is there’s a very high price to pay to get in. Most clubs require reservations, bottle service, or a set tab, which is whatever the bouncer decides, on any given occasion. We learned this first hand, at 1 Oak, which is famous for celebrity appearances (I think the Kardashians were literally there last month).

We don’t mind passing up clubs because I did a fair amount of research on cocktail bars in midtown. Dear Irving was the chosen joint, which I particularly liked because of the unique “rooms.” There are 4 different ambiances in this spot, which I think is geared toward being a speakeasy.

I’m glad we made it to a cocktail bar instead of a dancing club. This intimate setting and chatting about marriage, is more impactful than losing brain cells some place I most likely won’t remember the name of. We spent our final night discussing love and how our lives have changed from love’s affects.

We ate breakfast at Gotham Market, around the corner from our apartment. 2 bridesmaids already left for the airport. Me, the maid of honor, and the bride head to The Highline, where Laura is staying at The Jane hotel one final night, before flying back to Cali later in the week. We spend our final hour at the hotel bar, reflecting on the weekend.

Overall, the last 3 days reminded me that time apart doesn’t necessarily mean that friendships are lost; real friends never really fade out of your life, even if you don’t speak on the daily. We also reflected on marriage, “kinda a big deal,” sacred ceremony, love and matrimony type shit. When you’re with someone that makes you certain love is real, you marry them.

I am so excited for Aspen’s wedding.

How Do You Know?

A few years ago, one of my close friends from college texted me late at night. We were catching up and then she randomly asked me “how do you know when you’re in love?”

Naturally, I was caught off guard. First, late-night catching up sessions aren’t usually geared toward philosophical topics. Second, I was recently single (which was most likely the result of lacking any knowledge on love lol). Third, because I didn’t really know how to answer the question.

I took pause. I thought, do I really know what love is? I concluded that I didn’t, in fact, know what love was. I was young, naive, and what quasi-relationships I’d been through could hardly count as experience. However, I knew a feeling…something I would most closely relate to what I thought love felt like. Love feels like joyful sacrifice.

Love is opening the door for her wherever we go. Love is holding the grocery bags, carry-on luggage, and bear spray so she doesn’t have to. Love is driving around for hours, with a destination in mind or just get away, to cruise side by side – what matters is being together. Love is calling her up because you have happy or sad news, it’s about sharing all aspects of your life with her.

Love is being able to say what’s on your mind without reservation or fear of judgement. Love is sharing secrets and trusting they’ll be kept. Love is asking questions and discovering different perspectives; most times, it is realizing beliefs, values, and core principles align.

Love is an action, not a passive reaction. Love is compromise; love is forgiveness. Love is feeling safety in chaos. Love is effort, love is challenging, love is difficult to comprehend; but, all the while, love is the feeling you have when being with her makes you happy, when you yearn her presence, when being with one another feels so easy.

That feeling, that’s what I think love is. Love is often described as the relationship between two lovers, which may be the first thing to come to mind, but that type of love isn’t alone. Love is so much more than your feeling toward a significant other. There is parental love, sibling love, friendly love, love for passions, for all beings, for the universe.

I told my friend the only truth I knew about love: love probably feels different for everyone and knowing when you’re in love can only be judged by you. Maybe your love is taking him on an all expenses paid trip to Hawaii. Maybe it’s packing him lunches and making homemade dinners every night. Maybe your love is watching curling during the Winter Olympics, even when you think it’s the most boring sport on the planet, but he loves cheering on team USA.

How do you know when you’re in love?

You don’t do these things because you’re told. You don’t do them because you have to. You do whatever it is because there’s a feeling deep within that encourages you to do them, almost like a reflex. You do these things because you want to, for the sake of someone else’s happiness – you act out of love.

I’m not sure what my friend’s love feels like. I didn’t ask because I know love is too complex to describe. We can try to explain what we think love is, but love may not be able to be illustrated with words, maybe it’s something we can only feel.

Earlier this year that very friend reached out again. This time she asked, “Will you be my bridesmaid?”

I think it’s safe to say she found her own definition of love. (I said yes, btw.)