Having Fun / Weekend

Russy’s 21st SURPRISE Birthday Party

 This past weekend, I threw a surprise 21st birthday party for Russ.  I started thinking about trying to plan a party a couple of months ago and have been planning and working with his mom and roommates for the last few weeks.  We came up with a plan to get him out of his apartment, I sent out a Facebook invite, bought everything for the party, and the rest, they say, is history!

For the last two weeks leading up to his birthday, I was fairly convinced that Russ knew about the party- he even asked his roommates if they were planning a surprise party, but they denied it.

His mom and I decided that going to dinner would be the best way to get Russ (and his twin brother, Matt) out of the apartment long enough for decorations to go up and for everyone to arrive.

We had a 6:00 reservation at Buddakan in downtown Philadelphia.  Before Friday, I had never been to Buddkan, but Russ’ family loves it, and I can definitely see why!

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The restaurant itself is very trendy and fun, but the food is what made it incredible.  Everything was SO good!  Our waiter suggested that we choose a few appetizers and entrees to split, so we took his suggestion and ordered a number of dishes, which allowed each of us to have a taste of everything.  I wasn’t terribly hungry because my stomach was in knots thinking about what was happening at Russ’ apartment and how everything was going to turn out.  I didn’t try everything, but my favorite dishes were the Tuna Tartare Spring Rolls, Wasabi Mashed Potatoes, Curried Cauliflower and an Eggplant Dish. IMG_0777[1]

After dinner, the waiter brought us a dessert menu, and even though I think we were pretty stuffed, we couldn’t turn down trying a couple of them.  Everything sounded incredible, but we narrowed it down to the “Dip Sum” Doughnuts and a Chocolate Bento Box.

 “Dip Sum” Doughnuts-
five spice sugar doughnuts, blackberry jam, chocolate sauce, gingered cream cheese and The Chocolate Bento Box
chocolate green tea ice cream macaroon, cashew candy bar, chocolate pot de crème coconut tapioca, white chocolate cheesecake and raspberry foam, sake gelee & yuzu white chocolate, Vietnamese coffee truffles.

I think it’s safe to say that the doughnuts were my favorite thing at dinner and one was plenty!  IMG_0783[1]

We passed around the desserts from the Bento Box and we all took a small taste of each one.


Of course, it wouldn’t be a birthday dinner if the birthday boys [men?] didn’t order their first legal drinks!  We shared a pitcher of Zen-gria, which was fruity and sweet. We split it between four of us and finished it off fairly quickly.IMG_0749[1]IMG_0750[1]IMG_0762[1]

We were actually celebrating four birthdays that night, so everyone took turns exchanging cards and gifts.  IMG_0769[1]IMG_0771[1]


By the time we finished dinner, we still had some time to kill because I told everyone to arrive at Russ’ by 8:45.  I didn’t expect dinner to finish so quickly, so at 8:00, there was only one person at his apartment!  We took photos out front and tried to stall as much as possible!IMG_0786[1] IMG_0798[1] IMG_0802[1] IMG_0803[1]  IMG_0809[1] IMG_0811[1] IMG_0812[1]

After enough stalling, we hit an unexpected and unfortunate bump in the road, but in the end, it stalled us the perfect amount of time to give all of Russ and Matt’s friends time to arrive at his apartment!  I was frantically texting his roommates on the ride home and didn’t think to have anyone take a picture when we walked in, but it was AWESOME!  I think I was more surprised than he was…and I knew about it!  I was so overwhelmed with everything, but calmed down after a few minutes 🙂

Russ said he had NO idea that I was planning a big party for him, but he had an idea that something was up.  I was completely convinced that he knew for the last few weeks, especially after I became Facebook friends with his friends at work.  I didn’t think about it and then I realized that it was completely suspicious!

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I bought streamers and balloons and asked Russ’ roommates to decorate while we were at dinner.  As you can see, in typical boy fashion, there were no decorations.  Actually, in all fairness, they did hang ONE streamer and when I say “hang”, I literally mean they hung a streamer over the door frame of one of the rooms.  They also blew up a few balloons, so I’ll give them that! IMG_0819[1] IMG_0823[1] IMG_0828[1] IMG_0839[1] IMG_0844[1] IMG_0850[1] IMG_0851[1]

At some point, we took a minute to sing Happy Birthday to Russ and Matt.IMG_4051 It was pouring rain on Friday night, but we had a mission to go into the city and experience the bar scene down there, so we ordered three cabs and went!


The following pictures got one of our friends kicked out from the first bar, and then two more got kicked out!  (He snapped a picture of the bartender) IMG_0855[1] IMG_0859[1] IMG_0867[1]

We went to two bars before calling it a night at almost two in the morning.  We all came back, ate birthday cake (okay, that was just me) and promptly fell asleep.

I woke up bright and early at seven and I couldn’t help but laugh at the aftermath of the night before.  Everyone was still sound asleep, but I cleaned a lot up for the birthday boy and his roommates.  If these pictures don’t say “successful 21st birthday”, then I don’t know what does.

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We finished a great night with breakfast the next morning at a diner on Temple’s campus.


As far as I can tell, Russ (and Matt) LOVED their birthday and had a great time.  It wouldn’t have been as amazing as it was without the help from Russ’ roommates, his family and EVERYONE who came to the party.  Thank you to everyone who came and helped make it a success!  We laughed, danced, and celebrated!  I hope you had as much fun as we did!IMG_0767[1]

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