life list

Life List: Throw a Surprise Birthday Party – check!

Kathryn is a fantastic friend. When I was slated to have a ridiculously crummy 30th birthday, she swooped in with some others and helped throw one of the most amazing dinner parties in my backyard, and we’ve been good friends since. When she was having a crummy birthday this year, I thought I’d get her back.

I had massages booked at my favorite spa a few blocks away from my apartment, and while we were getting the royal treatment, Johanna was in my kitchen, secretly cooking up a storm.

“Next is dinner,” I told Kat, “but I have to stop by my house first.”

We walked back, me nervously texting our location updates to Johanna back at the house. When we were two blocks away, I realized everyone would have left their shoes outside my apartment in the hallway, so I texted Jo “SHOES!” and she gathered them inside. Later, Kathryn told me I was acting normally, but it felt like I was ooozing suspicious behavior the entire time.

As I put the key in the lock, she remarked that “my neighbors must be cooking something awesome.” because of the smell.

“Yeah… they, um, like to cook?” I stammered, voice shaking, palms sweating. You have to understand, I had a grand total of 9 people over, this was NOT a huge deal, but it felt so exciting!

We walked into a semi-dark house. My apartment opens to a middle room that serves as an office/dinning room. It was empty, and then… it wasn’t. Friends came streaming out from the living room yelling “Surprise!”, and I burst into tears while Katherine burst out laughing, and then she got misty while I started giggling. It was a stellar moment.

I completely forgot to take any photos at the party itself, and only snapped this one shot of us in our robes post-massage, which will have to do.


  1. Kathryn

    20 March 2014 at 11:56 am

    This was the best birthday ever, hands down. I can’t even express how awesome it was and how you and Johanna transformed a super crappy day that I was dreading into one of the most unforgettable, joy-filled moments of my life. It’s beyond words. 🙂

  2. Johanna

    21 March 2014 at 10:59 am

    I have to say, I think it’s wonderful and fitting that the friendship that Kat and I forged in your kitchen on your 30th birthday could be expanded and cemented when I cooked for HER birthday, and then raised to another level when she and I built that ridiculous princess cake for your birthday.
    I guess the upshot is, I love you guys, and food will obviously always be how I show my love. 🙂

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