It was not quite a year ago when I last got to play princess, so after years of having no reason to dress up all, two times in twelve months just seems like an embarrassment of borrowed riches.
But I'll take em!
And then I'll mail them back.
As I mentioned, my old law firm is celebrating its 100th anniversary (founded in 1917!), so its usual biennial prom blowout - already one of the most incredible parties I've ever been to - was dialed up to 11.
Something the ridiculous and magnificent super-thick see-through gold embossed acrylic invitation made clear. Literally.
Alumni are always invited to prom, but in the past I haven't been allowed to go. Luckily, our ethics rules were recently reinterpreted such we can now attend former employer events when they are open to all alumni. And since I love a fancy party, and my life as a government attorney in Fort Worth married to a swim school owner does not give me many opportunities to be fancy, AND my parents live in Houston and volunteered to watch the kids for the night (the whole night!!!), we were IN!
And when almost all my favorite people from the firm said they were coming, it just got that much better. Only a few of those people still actually work at the firm (like 3 of them), but it was SO fun to see so many familiar and fabulous faces. I worked with really great people. I still work with really great people, but I think I was unusually lucky in my first professional job, particularly for BigLaw. V&E Austin was a pretty wonderful place to learn how to be a lawyer.
My rented dress came in the mail on Thursday and it fit! I continue to love Rent the Runway for my rare nights of fancy. A blog reader had told me she'd rented it a few weeks ago and while it didn't work for her, she thought it would be perfect for a person with "boobs and no hips" and that's basically me! Plus some red hair and disproportionately long legs. The dress was perfect. I loved the colors. Much more rich and saturated than they looked online and they were so fun with my hair. Speaking of hair! I got it blown out and curled (because I an incompetent at these things) and it was maybe my favorite blow-out ever! I felt like it still looked like me, hair-incompetence and all, with just a little extra flair.
I did my makeup as fast as possible in my mom's bathroom, feeling a lot like high school prom circa 2001, and googled a youtube video for my eyes. I added my clearance-sale sparkly shoes, a borrowed bag from my mom, my rented earrings, the bracelet I borrowed from a friend, and my own wedding watch/ring set and I was set!
James was supposed to be in a tux, but we didn't really feel like renting one, and the past 12 months notwithstanding, he usually never has a reason to wear one, so we took black tie literally and just got him a beautiful black tie to go with his beautiful black suit he had custom made for our wedding. I got his black boots shined and he was good to go.
And so off we went. We checked into our hotel room (!!!) and then walked over to the Four Seasons where a few hundred friends and colleagues and some shuttle buses awaited. After a few reunions with some of my faves, we took the buses over to the Hobby Center and were greeted by ladies in long gold gowns spiraling and spinning overhead. Oh yeah. This was going to be good.
Inside was flowers and name tags and another reunion with a high school friend I totally forget was working as a social media manager at the firm now.
Moving onward and upward we came to a beautiful bar area with lots of tiny foods being passed (James ate all of them; the duck empanadas, steak skewers with peanut sauce, and mango cucumber ceviche were his faves), signature cocktails, signature cocktails with logos floating in them (a repeating theme, as you'll see), beautiful flowers, lights, and people,
and also a woman in a jumpsuit climbing up silks suspended from the ceiling while playing an electric violin.
I mean, of course. Such an obvious addition. Like the indoor fireworks.
Delighted by the absurdity, I drank some really good champagne and found friends!
I'd almost forgotten how people I once knew at the firm- I was here for the food and fancy, and then James disappeared at some point between one friend and another.
I got a text from him minutes later that said simply, "Jackpot!". When I found him, I also found a mile-long sushi bar.
A sushi bar next to a dumpling bar next to a crepe bar next to a noodle bar. The fresh crepe with the peking duck was one of the best things I've ever had ever.
More friends! The three of us here, along with five other naive and optimistic baby lawyers, all started in Austin together in the Fall of 2008. All but one of us left. He just made partner. I feel like there's a lesson here.
We discovered more rooms - a dueling piano bar with incredible charcuterie spread and desserts. A cigar and scotch lounge (no.). Suddenly drums were sounding in the main lobby and fireworks were going off (wha?!) and we found ourselves in the main theater with a great band and tons more food. I had steak and really good vegetables. A tostada with fresh lump crab, avocado, and a magical sauce on top. Also other things. Definitely more crab.
There was a Selfie Cocktail Station and I decided I like all of those words! I need to know more! And next thing you know, I have a drink with my face on it.
I can't mix alcohols without my head exploding, so I couldn't actually drink the cocktail because I was in champagne-mode, but I enjoyed the novelty of staring at myself in my beverage.
Totally coming to a kids' birthday party near you.
We had some dancing, more food (James), more champagne (me), more reunioning! I love all of these people.
Around 11 p.m. they ran out of champagne (what?! I would have traded in my cocktail selfie for more of the bubbly stuff) and I suddenly realized my feet hurt. Like a lot. So we secured an Uber and ate fresh nutella crepes (James; nutella is the worst) and scoops of magical safe-to-eat raw vegan cookie dough (me; sooo much me) while we waited, before grabbing our boxes of salted chocolate covered almonds they were handing out as parting gifts. All in all, we ate well.
Omg this stuff was so good. I had two cups. Maybe three.
It was a SUPER great night. Like taking a single page out of an old book I used to read- and it's the BEST PAGE.
We got to our room 1 minute after midnight, on a day that started with us in another city getting our kids off to school by 8, and we were so proud. We can still be young and crazy! High-fives all around! It seemed appropriate given the Cinderella feel of the whole night and I had fears my dress would turn back into a pumpkin right about then, or at least demand to be dropped off at the nearest UPS box. Then it was off to sleep because the next day started early and was pretty fantastic too.
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