My Stay-At-Home 21st

As my twenty-first birthday approached, I felt excited about the idea of reaching another milestone. This was no ordinary birthday, turning 21 meant being able to drink like a fabulous young adult with my whole life in front of me. After experiencing my roommate's 21st celebration earlier this year, I got to thinking about what I wanted for my own festivities, little did anyone know what April was going to look like.


Me being my practical self, I assumed I couldn’t really go out because my special day was on a school night and I was taking an 8:30 am class that met the following morning. I pictured an evening of wine, cake, and spending an evening in my tiny dorm kitchen with my two loving roomies, maybe going to that cute tea place I’ve been thinking about the following Saturday. 


But as I soon found myself moving out of the city and back to the suburbs, I had the chance to rethink the occasion. I showed my mom the Pinterest board I had made for inspiration and we began to piece together an all-day celebration including brunch, dinner, dancing, and of course, drinks. We dug out stringed lights from previous parties and put together a menu while I planned outfits and made a playlist, unaware that my family was secretly ordering decorations and gifts online.


On the day of, I woke up and put on the pale pink gingham dress I’d been saving since the summer and placed a plastic “Happy Birthday” crown on my head before going downstairs to find a shimmery fringe curtain, confetti balloons, a golden banner, and paper tissue pom poms hanging from the ceiling. That night, I changed into glitter heels and sat at the kitchen counter with a birthday martini glass brimming with the cherry cocktail recipe I picked to try out. 


During the party, loved ones tuned in to our little celebration via FaceTime as I proudly held my gifted bottle of champagne and smiled for pictures. We even incorporated a DIY photo booth thanks to self-timer mode and “twenty-first” themed props. Turns out, everyone at home wished they could be at the party- even if the restaurant was our dining room and the dance club the living room. 


So maybe it wasn’t brunch in Soho, an East Village bar, or dinner in Little Italy, but now I still have that to look forward to in addition to all the good things ahead. And it was actually nice to have something fun planned and to spend free time focusing on the preparations. My stay-at-home 21st speaks to making the most of what you have, and I got everything I wanted, pink birthday cake, rosé, and a chance to wear my best party dress.