Ahhh, 21 years old-- the true mark of entering adulthood in my opinion. While 18 is technically the government's way of calling you a "grown up", it's kinda like you're entering adulthood with the training wheels still on. You're learning how to navigate reality without your parents by your side, and you can buy a lottery ticket if you're really feeling lucky. But you still haven't really figured it all out yet, and you're stuck in this weird purgatory state of being too old to hang out with the kids, but too young to kick it with the adults. 18-21 was just weird, but now that I can legally book a hotel room, I'm excited to see where the rest of my life will take me.
And book a hotel room I did, as I celebrated 21 in the best way possible. Let's not tiptoe around the fact that your twenty-first is all about entering the world of legally purchasing alcohol. While it is one of the perks of growing older, I've never bee one to count down the days to 21 just so I could get black out drunk. Of course I wanted to experience buying my first drink at the bar, but I wanted to celebrate in the most "Lena" way possible, so I created the weekend of my dreams.
Let's start with July 17th, my actual birthday. Nothing is more dull than turning 21 on a Wednesday, so I kept it pretty low-key. I decided to go to work that morning (I think it's RUDE that you don't get holiday pay for working on your birthday, but that's just me). Originally I just wanted to go to Blaze, aka my favorite place ever of all time, but wasn't really feeling pizza and beer for my first drink-- so I decided to try out Bartaco because it's been somewhere I've been dying to try out for years. Josh picked me up from work and we stuffed our faces with the most amazing tacos we've had, and no i didn't pair mine with a margarita, but instead opted for a sangria. It was delicious and I felt like a real adult as I was carded for the first time. Like I said, it was very low-key, and the rest of the night just consisted of relaxing at home over some Criminal Minds. I'm pretty sure I was in bed by 9:30 that night. Total rager--I know.
The following weekend was what I was really looking forward to. This past year I have become head-over-heels obsessed with Universal, and knew that I definitely wanted to celebrate such a special birthday in a special place. But let's be real-- it's July in Orlando and theme parks are not the best place to be if you want to enjoy life in general. I would prefer not to sweat off all my deodorant in the first 10 minutes of my birthday celebration. besides, Josh is lame and his UOAP has all of July blocked-out anyways. So we opted for a little staycation. I have been DYING to stay at a Universal resort for so long, but could never validate spending so much to stay 30 minutes from home, but this was the perfect excuse.
Friday kicked off the weekend by checking into Universal's Cabana Bay resort. When I tell you this resort was MADE for me, i'm not even exaggerating a little bit. The bright colors mixed with the fun retro beach vibes created a little paradise that I wish we had more time to explore. Because it was such a special birthday, I splurged to upgrade our room to a Volcano Bay view room, and I am beyond glad I did. It was the most incredible view to wake up next to, and definitely got me excited to visit the water park the next day.
After checking in, we got ready and headed across to Aventura Resort to meet my friends for drinks at the rooftop bar (wow that sounded so grown up). Bar 17 Bistro sits on the 17th story of Universal's newest resort and has an amazing 360 degree view of all of Universal. Complete with aesthetically pleasing drinks, it was the perfect bar for me.
The next day Josh and I headed over to Volcano Bay, which you can actually walk to straight from our resort. This was both of our first times, and wow our minds were blown. First off, water parks are for sure the best place to be in the summertime, and it was such a good decision to celebrate there instead of sweating my booty off in line for rollercoasters. Second, Volcano Bay is hands down the cleanest and most beautiful waterpark I have ever been to. Maybe we can attribute that to the fact that it's just over a year old, but honestly the team at Universal did such an amazing job, and you totally can't even tell you are alongside I-4.
We had an amazing day riding all the slides and relaxing next to the beautiful Volcano, but let me tell you how TIRED we were. The sun really wears you out, and between that and kick starting the weekend straight from a full work week, we were defeated. Sunday consisted of us sleeping all day until about mid-afternoon and we headed to the final event of the weekend, a concert.
Of course the concert queen had to celebrate her birthday by doing one of her favorite things ever, dancing to live music. If you've been keeping up with me for a while, you KNOW that I can't help but dance at every Fitz & the Tantrums concert ever. This time was Fitz, COIN, and Young the Giant-- aka the perfect setlist to finish up the weekend.
I am so grateful to have had such incredible friends hang out with me for my birthday, and really make my dream celebration a reality. This has definitely been my favorite birthday to date, and I am so glad to have celebrated in the best way possible.