Last girl’s night + Princess’s birthday luau + goodbye Anna & Ben

The weekend was the definition of bittersweet. The event surrounding it all was Anna and Ben leaving San Francisco to start their new chapter in NYC. We had several farewell events which were full of fun – it felt so heartwarming getting our different groups of friends together one last time with Anna + Ben. It didn’t really hit me until the final goodbye…which was harder than I imagined. Let’s get into the fun stuff first:

Friday: Final girl’s night at Raven

The festivities kicked off with getting our massive girl gang together for one last girl’s night! Flashback to when we would all hit the town almost every weekend – Raven Bar was one of our faves so that was Anna’s choice for our final hurrah. We started off at Pawn Shop, a speakeasy in SoMa where you have to talk to “pawn shop Jerry” over a telephone to get in. Funny enough, I thought the pawn shop would be more hidden and I got it confused for an “adult DVD” store across the street, where I scrambled around asking everyone where the bar was…#facepalm

Pawn Shop turned out to be a fabulous spot for our group and one of my favorite bars yet! We had the entire upstairs area to ourselves and caught up over drinks and tapas. It’s rare for all of us to be together these days between our jobs, school, relationships. But I was very grateful for this time together, and it was a sweet reminder that I’ll always have this loving, genuine group of girls to lean on. ❤

girl's night out

Then onto Raven bar! Our actual time there was interesting…it’s a pretty young crowd and fun place to dance to throwback songs. But there was definitely a moment when we all thought the same thing…which was “I am WAY too old for this.” Very nostalgic being back at that spot!

Saturday: Princess’s birthday + goodbye bonfire

Despite a late night, I woke up on the early side and performed my usual preventative hangover routine since I had another full, festive day ahead. My first task, running to Safeway to buy some fresh ingredients for Princess’s birthday potluck. I don’t really like to eat my own cooking so I thought I’d spare people and prepare a fresh fruit salad instead. This may sound silly but I was super proud of my contribution. Picking, washing, and cutting every fruit by hand – it was a HUGE hit 🙂

Then it was time to head to the part-ayy! Princess reserved some picnic tables at Wood Island Club, a festive brewery on Treasure Island with a manmade beach + gorgeous views of SF from across the island. Princess went ALL OUT with her Hawaiian-themed luau with colorful decorations, party favors, and yummy Filipino food. Leave it to Princess to organize the most fabulous parties.

birthday luau

The whole gang was there – all the girls from last night, their plus ones, and more. We all caught up over the previous night sharing some hilarious stories (including Anna waking up in one of our friend’s bed with no idea where she was…ha). The weather was gorgeous, food + drinks hit the spot, just great vibes all around.

At one point, I was poking fun at Matt for brining a tiny cake to the party…then Princess comes out and says “Charlotte, that cake it for YOU!” I was SO surprised, touched, and embarrassed!! Only caring, loving Princess would surprise you with your own belated birthday cake at her own birthday party! Rene got a cake too (we share the same b’day). I think that really shows what kind of friend Princess is…always thinking about others over herself. Every time I see her she’s running around buying a cake/card or thinking of some unique touch to make someone feel special. I feel so blessed to have her in my life! ❤

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Despite the party being a blast, it was time to say goodbye and head over to Ocean Beach for the final event of the weekend – a farewell bonfire with both Anna and Ben and the rest of our “fam”. Ben made homemade watermelon vodka which was super dope – you couldn’t taste the vodka despite there being a whole handle in that thing!

Like the girl gang, it’s rare for the “fam” to all get together these days. The fam formed when we all went to Tahoe my very first month of living in SF, and probably my most wild stories have been with these guys. Since then, Matt has started his own company, Viggy moved in with his girlfriend, and now Anna/Ben are moving to NYC…I was super grateful for this time we had together, and remember thinking how much our lives have changed.

It was the absolute perfect evening for a bonfire. Warm, not windy, lots of energy on Ocean Beach…I wish the sunset lasted longer so we could keep this moment. ❤

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And finally…it was time to say final goodbyes to Anna and Ben. I was so in the moment these past few days and enjoying our time together, that it all HIT during this final goodbye. Tears were definitely shed.

Anna and I met my first week of living in SF two years ago, after both agreeing to meet a complete stranger from Facebook. I was fresh off the plane from NYC starting my new life and Anna was looking for a friend…we clicked instantly. Since then, we’ve shared so many experiences together: traveling around the world, changing careers, hearts opened, hearts broken…we’ve been side-by-side sharing each other’s joys and pains. Last fall during a difficult time when I made controversial life choices and lost several friendships, Anna stuck with me through it all. During all my heart breaks, bad days, Anna was the first person I’d call, and whenever I had good news or came back from an epic trip – Anna was the first person I wanted to share it with. Whenever one of us found a random burner event in the city and just wanted to let loose, we’d call the other up knowing they would be down.

I sometimes wonder what my life would look like if Anna/I didn’t go onto that Facebook group and take that leap of faith…what if I didn’t reach out to her, or what if one of us wasn’t in the right place in life to say “yes” to a new friendship? It’s hard to believe that this was all coincidence. I truly believe our lives were meant to merge this way.

I know how incredibly rare it is to meet a best friend like Anna. Someone who not only understands your true essence in-and-out, but actually appreciates and loves you whole-heartedly for it. Someone you can always go to and not feel judged no matter what you do. You gotta be lucky to meet even one friend like this in your life.

I can’t help but choke back tears as I’m writing this…I know no matter where we are in the world, we’ll be connected, and as daunting as it feels to start this new chapter without my best friend right here, deep down I’m so happy for Anna/Ben and trusting that we’re all on the journeys that are right for us.

And with that, I feel hopeful. Hopeful for Ben and Anna as they start their next life chapter in a place that feels more like home, hopeful for myself as this makes room in my life for something new, and hopeful for our friendship, since I know it’s just the beginning of a long, beautiful one. ❤


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