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How I Planned My Friend's Nancy Meyers-Themed 30th Birthday Party

Complete with yoga, a piercing party, and delicious meals.

With my friend Alice Ann's thirtieth birthday approaching, I knew I had to throw her an incredible party. Not only is she a friend who's really more like a sister, but she also throws some of the best parties (remember when we co-hosted this one?) and deserved a full day of celebrations! It didn't take long for my co-planner Alice and me to land on the theme of Nancy Meyers films, which are some of our favorites and go perfectly with the Santa Monica locations we had in mind. After a few weeks of planning and many long email chains and Google docs, we enjoyed a day worthy of Erica Barry: 

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Before the party, I gave Alice Ann only the necessary information (when to hire a sitter, and where to meet us Saturday morning) and worked with her husband to plan the day around her daughter's feeding schedule. I also sent her a Google Form that included questions like, "What's your favorite mimosa mixer?" "Where is your favorite coffee in L.A. from, and what's your go-to order?" "Silver or gold jewelry?" and "Shaken or stirred?" that gave her fun hints about what the day entailed. Outside of that, she only knew the theme!

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Alice Ann and her husband spent the evening before on a staycation at a beautiful hotel in Santa Monica, so I told her to meet me in the lobby with a yoga mat and leggings at 8:45 A.M. After greeting her with her favorite coffee, another friend and I blind-folded her and walked her down to the beach... at least that was the plan! When it started raining, we made a quick change and set up our mats in the gym to do yoga led by our friend Julz, (very loosely) inspired by Erica Barry's (Diane Keaton's) morning walks on the beach in the Hamptons.

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After a breastfeeding break, our group went to brunch at Yours Truly on Abbott Kinney in Venice, where we'd made a reservation weeks before. A friend of ours made croissant-themed place cards, inspired by the scene in It's Complicated where Meryl and Steve bake in her coffee shop, and we enjoyed mimosas with Alice Ann's favorite mixer, grapefruit juice! 

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We'd heard fantastic things about Stephanie Anders, the owner of Royal Heritage Tattoo, so I booked an appointment for ear piercings knowing Alice Ann had been talking about getting a second one (better than a needle and an apple, a la Lindsey Lohan!). In the end, we learned it's a bit risky to get a piercing while breastfeeding for milk supply (in case of infection!), but she held each of our hands as the group got ours pierced! The thought, at least, was appreciated ;) Stephanie, by the way, is fantastic. I would recommend her to anyone looking to get a piercing in L.A.!  

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From ear piercings, we headed back to Alice Ann's apartment, where her husband and Jonah had set up decorations and balloons while we were out. Another friend's boyfriend mixed us martinis (shaken) as we got ready with Something's Gotta Give in the background, naturally. (Dress code: neutral turtlenecks - aka, my favorite style of all time). 

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Once ready, we carpooled to Fia, a beautiful new restaurant in Santa Monica, for drinks before dinner. And rather than book a table for a large group ahead of time, which often comes with a pre-selected menu or an up-charge, we opted to pick a restaurant that's relatively slow earlier in the evening. While friends were at drinks, a friend and I put our name on the list for a table at the nearby Milo and Olive. With exactly an hour wait, it gave us the perfect amount of time for our pre-dinner drinks. The post-dinner plan had been to go to the Gas Light for karaoke, but when it was closed for a private event we found ourselves next door at Senator Jones, where we walked directly into a speed dating event (!). It was an appropriately hilarious end (obviously several members of our group jumped in) to a long, happy day celebrating Alice Ann! 

P.S., You can see my Highlights of the day here

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