Thursday, July 10, 2014

Girls' Night on the Town

My version of a night on the town is probably not what most 20-somethings see as a rousing Saturday evening. (Then again, my exciting Sunday consisted of a 25 minute morning walk with my dog, writing blog posts, cleaning, and going on a second walk with both dogs. So, I'm on a roll.) I have no qualms in admitting that I am a "stick in the mud." I do not party. I have never been to a club. Sometimes my idea of a good time with a friend is sitting in silence, enjoying their company. Alcohol and I never intend on being close friends. (I prefer tea.) Being home by 11pm is my kind of night. I really, really like my pajamas after dark.

I do, however, like to dance. (Despite my lack of rhythm.) I never missed one dance in high school! Laughter is my absolute favorite activity. I love to have fun. Excitability is my middle name. For a good concert, a book release, a movie premiere, or a friendship/family gathering I will stay out until all hours of the morning. (Going to a Skillet concert when I was in high school remains one of my favorite memories.) Card and board games excite me, so long as someone is willing to patiently teach me to play. Good music always makes a party. I adore a good book club or movie night. Impromptu dinners, lunch dates, or other excursions bring a huge smile to my face. Travel is my absolute favorite; my heart falls in love with everywhere it goes. Cranking up the music and screaming out loud does the soul good. Let me grab my camera, go off with friends, and photograph the day away. Double-feature drive-ins may be late nights but they are the best nights. Beach days, lake parties, holiday gatherings - you name it, I love it.

So, in my bias opinion, I think I'm freaking fabulous. You know, in a special, slightly reserved, lightly introverted way.

This past Saturday I invited myself out. (Not so reserved of me.)

Normally I am not so bold or forward. I suggest going out or I wait to be invited, but rarely do I say "by the way, if you go, I go." Fourth of July weekend was an exception. You see, I have this very dear friend, Laura. (Or, as my brain occasionally translates it to: Mushroom, Lizzy-loo, or Liz-bug.) We have been friends for over a decade. One 4-H art camp we discovered that it really does take three girls to wash a paintbrush. After that we were instant friends. Letters were exchanged. Play-dates arranged. Giggle-filled birthday parties attended. And then, poof! We lost touch. Looking back, I don't even remember how the time slipped away. Months flew by. Years passed. And then the universe, in all of its miracles and wonders, introduced us again through a mutual friend. Since then we've been practically inseparable.

See! Two pieces of a quirky puzzle.

High school graduations, college attendance, worldly travels later, and here we still are. It isn't that our relationship is perfect or anything. We've gone long periods of time without contact, like those months when both of us were buried in school. Sometimes our only interactions were texts, letters, or ten minute Skype chats. Yet, as small as those gestures may seem, they often meant the most, much more than any lavish girls night out. I kid that she cannot get rid of me. I'm that cat that just keeps coming back. (In that respect, she is mine! We just keep comin' 'round and 'round.)

In life you are blessed if you find one really true, life-long friend with whom you can be yourself. I'd like to believe I've found a few. One of them, I think, is in my Lizzy-loo. She is my writing buddy, my photography partner-in-crime, the Mushroom to my Rinna, my kindred vintage-soul girl, pixie twin, the reason for my chai latte addiction, and mutual appreciator of "the little things." 

Look at these two lovely old souls.
We are always in sync, but it surprises us every time regardless!
My dress faded from white (top) to blue (bottom) and I wore a dark blue sweater over it.
Laura had a blue dress and a white sweater to go over hers.
We were matching in reverse!

Saturday Laura was heading to music night at a local cafe, Elements. I, being the bold I-have-known-you-for-over-half-my-life friend, said: "I'm coming!"  (I'm not the only one to be so bold! Lizbug lives 10 minutes from me. She drops in without texts, just to say hi or drop something off. We've earned this right. ;) ) Being the sweet, awesome friend she is, she agreed. Date Night with Netflix became Girls' Night Out.

Elements is this little hipster, hole-in-the-wall cafe we stumbled across after seeing a play last year. I adore it. It is just the place I'd love to own someday. (Sans bar.) A small, nerdy-themed cafe with a lightly-loved used book store inside it. Selling local coffees, sandwiches, salads, and baked goods. (Here my imagination is going wild, although elements does sell some locally made goods, such as bagels, cookies, scones, and seasonal soups.) Featuring local authors, artists and musicians. (Seriously, I've got this all figured out - right down to the potato doughnuts I'd sell.) Walk in and you're home.

Elements takes its name seriously. References to the periodic table are
everywhere. It's my nerdy guilty pleasure!

(Old camera photo from 2013, hence the blur.)
Someone's got to say it: the theme is strong with this one.
Nerd jokes, nerd jokes!

We lucked out with two bands, Starlight Cicada and Bedfellows, and a small crowd. Thanks to our first named storm of the year (yo, Arthur!) it was a cold, rainy fourth of July. All of the fireworks were cancelled and postponed until Saturday, giving everyone other plans. It worked out in our favor. Gorgeous Saturday night + town fireworks = no overcrowding at the cafe and plenty of parking.

Starlight Cicada playing at Elements

The musicians shared the stage, switching up sets. (Both were great!) It was a nice way to switch up the tempo and atmosphere. Starlight Cicada was really sweet and the Bedfellows had a great sense of humor. The crowd was warm and receptive. We all had a lot of fun soaking in the bands' love of music, passion, and good energy.

While they played, so did we. Cribbage, that is! It was my first ever introduction to the game (say what?) as even though my parents are huge fans, I grew up with Trouble and Crazy Eights. (My card game knowledge is really lacking, although I love playing them. If you know any fun card games, leave heir names in the comments!)

Laura is a great, super patient teacher. Which is perfect for me, because sometimes I'm slow in the up-take (contrary to what my current GPA would allude to). The small crowd made it easy to hear each other over the music, so we laughed and talked the whole time. (We both had this wonderful idea of getting much-needed writing done but that didn't happen. Uhm...whoopsies. We're such chatty girls when we haven't seen each other!)

This pretty sweet hand let me keep up with my whiz of a cribbage teacher.
It ended up being a closer game than imagined! She beat me by a few points
but I managed to hold my own. Now I'm addicted. Hopefully we'll
have a rematch soon!

I also admired Element's decoupaged counter tops. I mean, look at it! It has so much character!

I want my coffee table to look like this!
Two things I love: almond milk, blueberry cappuccino and decoupaged counters.

 Of course, while we played and listened to the local tunes, we drank. (As if I have the internal strength to resist cafe drinks.) My drink of choice? Blueberry cappuccino and a chai. (Life lessons learned: two cups of caffeine at night will keep you up until 2am. But it was soooo tasty. No regrets!)

Finding out what shape will be in my drink is one of the most exciting parts of
cafe drinking. Plus the atmosphere. Plus the company. Plus the sounds.
Plus the character. Plus scraping the scrumptious foam off the top. Mmm.  .

There are certain, simple pleasures in life. The smell of new bloom. Mason jars. Forest greenery after a rain. That old-book scent. A child's laugh. Walks along sandy shores. Live music. The company of good friends. And a warm mug. Take time this evening to enjoy in those simple pleasures.

Also, stop by Laura's blog, Le Bittersweet. Born with writing in her soul, she manipulates language in such a way that it moves the soul. I praise her writing not as a friend, but as a true literary lover and writer who is awe of her talent. Her photography is stunning (and light years beyond mine), so please, give her kudos for that. Additionally: she is sharing her faith from her heart and her life. Be kind. Be open minded. Spread the love, my Doodles.


  1. Looks like you had a blast. I'm glad you went out.

    1. It was a great time! I highly recommend checking out local cafes and bookshops to see if they have themed nights, too!

  2. OMG we are like the same person! I am 24. In bed by 10pm. Never drank before in my life. Play cribbage and bingo like an 80 year old with actual other 80 year olds all the time.

    1. If only you could have heard my fangirl squeal of glee! Yay! Well, if ever we are in the same area, we will have to play cribbage and bingo like an 80 year old, with actual 80 year olds, and be in bed by 10pm together! ;)

  3. Aw, I love this girl's night post!! That sounds like a wonderful night!! Girl time is always the best time!

    1. Thank you, Raewyn! <3 It was a wonderful night. I hope to find a guy someday, but I have to admit - I gotta love my girls! ;)

  4. Looks like you ladies had fun!!!

    Regardless of what one is doing, as long as you're with someone who's company you enjoy - the night will be a success!!

    LOVE the fact that you guys were matching in reverse :)

    1. We did! When you've been friends that long, it doesn't matter what you're doing, so long as you're doing it together. You know? I love that statement! It is the company that matters and makes the success. That's perfect! :)

      I do, too! What a surprise! Way to find our you're totally in sync. ;)

  5. Girls nights out, o matter what the activity, are good for the soul. So is live music, good food, and fun games. I love cribbage and I love seeing more and more people playing it.

    1. Your love of live music, good food, fun games, and Girls Nights Out,is speaking to my soul! A friend of mine recently invited me to some live performances of plays - that, too, is always amazing!

  6. Replies
    1. Oh my goodness,it was amazing. I highly recommend local coffee shops! Recently I tried another one by my college and it is just as amazing - but with all kinds of different delicious options, like Chai Mochas. Ah-mazing!

  7. That coffee shop looks freaking awesome!

    1. It is my favorite! :D I recently found another favorite at a coffee shop near my college. It is much smaller and much different than Elements. Their tables are amazing, though! I will have to post pictures soon. :)

  8. You are the dearest, kindest, sweetest soul ever. Love you muchly. L

    1. Awe! Lovely, you are too much. We are perfect compliments. I cannot imagine going through life without your friendship. I love how we laugh together and how sweet, thoughtful, and kind your soul is. It is why we get along so well! Love you muchly, too! <3