The Beauty of Galentine’s Day

Tis the season of endless engagements and social media posts professing one great love after another. Friends show off their flowers, chocolates, fun dates and, in some cases, rings. One cannot go on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat without the overwhelming feeling of love. Whether you want it or not, it’s there.

Around this time of year, Valentines Day especially, it is easy to become depressed, sad, lonely, discouraged and desperate. With so much love in the air, some might even feel suffocated. I will admit, I have felt a number of those feelings at one point or another. But, I don’t think it’s fair to tell myself I cannot celebrate Valentines Day unless I have a boyfriend… Thankfully, a new tradition has surfaced around the world, Galentine’s Day, or the celebration of your “gals”.

It may seem cheesy, but I really enjoy this take on Valentines Day. Instead of moping around pining for the relationship that doesn’t exist, I believe it is important to celebrate the relationships you ARE blessed with. It can be your parents, your friends, you friends’ family or your roommate.

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The evite I sent my roommate for our Valentine’s Eve

My Galentine’s Day Eve began with the well-intentioned dinner and drinks with my roommate. My roommate and I met a little more than a month ago, and we have lived together for about three weeks. To say she was a blessing in disguise would be an understatement. Already, I consider her a great friend, so why not celebrate our singleness with wine and food? Sounds good to me.

We made plans to go to an Italian Restaurant down the street from our apartment and then out for a few drinks. Once we were both home from work, we opened a bottle of wine and started to freshen up. Well, one glass of wine led to another, and before we knew it two hours had passed.. Oops.

After deciding to forego dinner, seeing as it was already 10 p.m., we headed straight to The Cornerstone, a bar about a block away. The frigid New York City air kept us close to home, but we didn’t mind because there are a plethora of great, Irish bars in our neighborhood. The Cornerstone is no exception. We walked in and were overcome with warmth and rowdy noises as we made our way directly to the bar.

We ordered our drinks and walked around some. We talked to some people and ignored some others. We met a guy celebrating his birthday, and we stayed to chat a while, talking about museums, New York, our jobs and the weather. Before we knew it, it was 12:30, and we were starving. Suddenly, skipping dinner didn’t seem like the greatest idea. Side note, I would NOT recommend it.

Thankfully, seeing as we DO live in New York City, there was a 24 hour diner close by, as in two doors down. We chugged the rest of our drinks, threw on our coats, and walked out the door. I don’t even think we said goodbye to whomever we were talking too. Oh well, we had food on our minds.

This diner is probably one of my favorite places on earth. Not only do they serve a good $5 mimosa all day, every day; but, their food is cheap, their portions are large, and it is probably some of the best breakfast food I have ever eaten. My roommate ordered banana pancakes, and I ordered a turkey and avocado omelet. Her pancakes came with a side of bacon, and my omelet came with a side of potatoes and toast. We. Ate. It. All. And, it only took us about 45 minutes from the time we walked in to the time we paid and left.

We ran home, trying to ignore the cold, said our goodnights, and went to bed. She had to get up early the next morning to catch a flight to Wisconsin, and I was planning on sleeping in, which for me means until 7 a.m.

Saturday morning I woke up, made my coffee and noticed my roommate left me a bag of chocolates; she really is the best. Knowing it was still early, I decided to watch the news before I ventured out into the cold to partake in my favorite weekend activity: Trader Joe’s.

I refuse to buy my groceries anywhere other than Trader Joes for multiple reasons. Trader Joe’s is inexpensive, almost all of their food is organic and almost all of their food is grown in the USA. Oh, and they have great wine.

As I left the subway, I was overcome with an overwhelming sense of thankfulness. Few places are as magical as New York City in the morning. There is an eerie quiet to the place, as if even the trees are sleeping. People aren’t rushing around in a rush to get to work, and it seems like everyone is letting the city penetrate their senses; I fell in love all over again.

I bought my groceries and made my way back home, still overwhelmed by the unexpected beauty that is New York City. I ate, showered and began getting ready for round two of my Galentine’s Day Weekend, going to my friend’s grandma’s house in Queens.

I know, it sounds unconventional, but I was extremely elated. I am a huge fan of family gatherings. Whenever someone mentions family, I always jump at the chance to come. I don’t know why, but it never fails to be a good idea. This year, my friend Julia and her sister Jessica were both going to their grandma’s house, and their parents were coming up from Washington D.C., too. So, I made my way to Queens, but not before stopping to pick up some festive cupcakes at Crumbs Bakery.

A little note about Crumbs, if you have never had a cupcake there, you are missing out on a pivotal moment in life. Cupcakes are my favorite dessert, and Crumbs Bakery is officially my favorite bakery. So, if you get the chance, go there. You will not regret it.

As I stepped off the subway in Queens it began to snow. The snow wasn’t heavy, it was more of a light dusting, adding a smile to my already great day. I was tempted to grab a cup of coffee, just because I wanted to. And, being a coffee lover, I gave in to my temptations and headed toward Dunkin’ Donuts, because nowhere else compares. Sorry Starbucks.

I walked in Julia’s apartment and was glad I decided to not stay in bed all day, but rather go out and be with friends. Julia and Sydney (from my book club) both live in Queens. Julia’s sister, Jessica, lives on the Lower East Side, but she was there with them. We hung out for a while and waited for Julia and Jessica’s parents to arrive and take us to their grandma’s further into Queens.

I am going to fast-forward a little bit. Her parents arrived, we went to queens in their car with a lot of traffic, and we finally arrived at around 5 p.m.

Their grandma is probably the cutest lady I have ever seen. She is sweet, loving, and full of witty comments. She doesn’t hesitate to tease her family just as much as she showers them with love. She has lived in her home since the 1950s. It is the home where Julia’s mom grew up, and it is actually the home where Julia’s mom met Julia’s dad for the first time. Definitely a magical place, and I fell in love with it immediately.

We all sat in the living room and drank tea. Julia and Jessica both had homework they needed to finish. I wish I could say I offered to help, but I was too busy gloating in the fact that I didn’t have any (If you guys are reading this, I am sorry about that… kind of).

Julia and her mom taking a selfie.

Julia and her mom taking a selfie.

Julia’s mom ordered pizza from her favorite restaurant, and we all waited anxiously for it to arrive. I must say, it was probably the best pizza I have ever had. I tried to resist at first, because, you know, calories and carbs and all… But I was unsuccessful and eventually succumbed to the mind-numbing amazingness that was this pizza. I had two, rather large slices and still wanted more. Instead of another slice, however, I opted for a cupcake. Chocolate, icing filled and perfectly sweet, this cupcake was definitely worth it. I loved it so much I decided to split a second red velvet cupcake with Julia’s mom.

The evening was winding to a close, and we all started to say our goodbyes. Julia’s dad was going to drive us back to the city before the weather got too bad. I gave her mom and grandma a great, big hug and they both whispered in my ear how much they loved me, and I knew it was true, because I definitely loved them, too.

I came home to the warmth of my apartment, clicked on Netflix and dug into the bag of chocolates my roommate left me; the perfect end to the perfect Galentines Day.

Valentines Day doesn’t have to be depressing, we should never dread it, and we should never envy those who have significant others in their life to share it with. After this weekend, I realize we all have someone in our life whom we can show our love to. Just because we might not be dating anyone doesn’t mean we have less people to love, it just means we get to show our love to those who might not always know how we feel.

I am usually very anti lovey-dovey and refuse to do anything but complain about everyone who shows his or her affection. But, even I got sucked up into celebrating Valentines Day this year. It may not have been in a “conventional” way, yet it was probably my favorite.

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