Birthday Party – 33

Does it seem like a long time for everyone else, or just me?

It’s been less than two weeks, but for some reason…

Okay, let’s dive right in. I hosted my 33rd party in downtown St. Paul. My plan was simple. Everyone meet up and then we’ll bar hop. While hopping to and fro, I devised a “photo hunt”. That’s what I’ve been calling it, but maybe there’s a real name. At any rate, I created a list of challenges for my friends to complete and they had to photo themselves doing the challenge and then text me the photo for credit. They worked in teams, assigned by me, but could use anyone to get a challenge done.

I spent so much time searching for ideas and creating the list of challenges. I really wanted it to be diverse and fun, but also I was trying to find challenges that I thought everyone would enjoy. From the feedback, I’d say it was successful. Rather than detail the whole night, I’m going to just publish the pictures of the challenges.

Let’s begin with the people who came, my beautiful friends and family.

It was so great to have such a high turnout. I know people were freaked out by the idea of this, and many didn’t understand what I was planning, until that very night. Still, they came and they participated (most of them!) and it was terrific. It also left me with so many pictures of the people I love, that was the best present I got that night, without question.

One of the rules was that a team member must appear in the photo, because obviously I want my friends in the pictures, not just random snapshots. One challenge was “take a picture of a mustache” and I got so many pictures of strangers with mustaches. Weird. Plus, two different teams sent me the same picture of these two old guys with mustaches. How funny is that! But, I did get:


The guy on the left is Ben, who was on a team. (Yes, he has a real mustache under there, I jazzed it up for fun). The other guy is Greg, who is a former employer of mine and now owns a pizza restaurant in St. Paul. We stopped there during the evening and someone used him for this challenge, so I counted it.

This challenge had them finding a coaster that carried a name of a beer that I drink: I got a couple more pictures, but just of coasters…no people! I also, somehow ended up with a coaster in my bra at the end of the night. Not sure how. Tom used me as his model for this, which is good, it’s nice to be included! I gave him a bonus point, because I was hardly asked to be in any challenge photos!

This challenge had contestant drinking a margarita, which I don’t think any of my friends actually drink. Yes, Elena is in there twice. Two teams sent me a picture of her drinking that margarita. And, unless I’m mistaken, Frodo then borrowed Elena’s margarita. So that’s 4 photos, 3 people, and 2 margaritas.

One fun challenge was “a team member holding a ball” because there usually aren’t balls in bars, so it was fun to watch them be creative.

That bottom photo? Mindy and Tom. Exactly what you’re thinking. Definitely bonus points for that.

“Entire team standing on chairs” was one I thought would get me more creativity, but I got the same picture from each team…in the same bar.

The top left? Niki and Ben. You’ll notice how it looks as though he is cupping her breast? He’s not. But it looks like it, so I gave them a bonus point (first bonus of the night, actually) because they are brother and sister.

“Have a team member eat something” turned out to be more clever than I expected.

Chad was in a pizza joint and ordered a single piece of pepperoni (not a slice of pizza–just a pepperoni). Elena ate a life saver. Niki chose to eat Frodo’s ear (bonus!) and Kelly, bless her, chugged ketchup straight from the bottle.

“A teammate on someone’s shoulders” was another one I envisioned differently.

Chad and Kelly partnered up, from different teams. I’m impressed that tiny Elena can hold Niki and she is standing up. The top right is Tom and Mindy, who were going for difficulty points. Tom has Mindy on his shoulders, while moonwalking down a yellow line. Three challenges in one. Awesome. Bonus points.

“Team member with an animal”

Not too many completed this. The reason I am in there is that while we were arriving and trying to find a parking spot, this random guy was walking down the street and he was wearing skinny jeans and this ratty t-shirt a ball cap, converse and had massive tattoos. He was an anomaly. We actually talked about him in the car. Then, we arrived at the last bar of the night and he was the bartender! So I asked for a picture and realized later that he had an elephant on his shirt and I counted it.

The bottom photo I’ll discuss later in detail, but the ladies are wearing animal print. I counted that for Tom and Mindy and gave them a bonus point for creativity. (see a pattern here?)

As it turns out, this is actually pretty impossible with a camera phone. I wanted a photo of them in the air while jumping. Not one person could accomplish this. But the pictures are funny.

“Team members taking a shot”

How funny is that top picture? My parents wouldn’t take shots, but my dad came up with this idea. Bonus! The one of me and Chad was late in the evening, but I gave them another point for it.

“Olivia and a neon sign”

I wanted a team member and Olivia and a neon sign…came close. The one of Chad and me was an accident, but I counted it, and it is the second after the picture of us taking a shot above (before and after, if you will)…yikes.

“Reenact the Abbey Road album cover”

Turns out, not many of my friends knew what this meant. This was EASY…all you needed was four people. And I guess no one thought to Google it.

The actual cover looks like this:

(courtesy Google images)

and these were the only TWO who even tried it.


They are both good tries and got the points, even though I don’t know why the one on the right (Dad, Mom, Kelly, and Mark) looks like they’re doing the Robot across the street.

“Walk the yellow line” (and try not to get killed)  was another challenge. I didn’t realize that streets in the city don’t have yellow lines. Whoops. Suburb girl here. Still, two teams managed to find one to walk…


Tom–as you saw earlier

and my Mom, who was certainly creative in her solution–that was also proposed by my dad, I believe. I wish he would have participated more, because he is certainly creative.


These are just some random snapshots of challenges. I didn’t have enough good ones of each to create a collage, so I did this. Starting at the top left:

Hats: was supposed to be a team member with a strange hat on. This was the ONLY one that qualified. I got lots of pics of strangers wearing a weird hat.

Gift: Amy and Elena gave me a car. I didn’t count it because I couldn’t keep it…but it was still funny.

In common: find someone else in the group you have something in common with. Mindy and Kelly. I’m guessing here, but Mindy has a child in 2nd grade and Kelly teaches 2nd grade?

Photo of the clock at 11:11pm: ONLY one who had people in it. Muffy’s eyes and the top of Tom’s head.

Chug a beer with a stranger: I didn’t get many of these, but this was funny because he was our waiter at the first bar–and this was while he was working!

An interesting group photo: I didn’t get many of these, which made me sad. I love group pictures. I got one, actually. This was Chad trying to get the group himself, while in the picture. It makes me laugh.

Two of my favorite challenges were based solely on results.

The first was ” a photo of a team member with a celebrity” and I LOVED the creativity of this.


It was also the most results I got. I actually added Elena, because she is a celebrity to me. Tom and Mindy used Greg, as he was our boss when the three of us met, which sort of makes him a celebrity. Frodo said, “I don’t know how anyone could find a celebrity” and my dad said, “I’m a celebrity to her, I’m her dad” which is how I got that. It’s not true, but it IS funny. What is funnier is that Elena used Frodo himself, because we call him that as he looks like Frodo Baggins. Self portrait, maybe, Frods?

For sure some of my favorite photos.

This last set was based on sheer humor. Not that many photos, surprisingly, but a lot of creativity.


Kelly is a pro at looking passed out. My sister is funny because she’d been there for 10 minutes…and already passed out.

Ben’s is also funny. Who passes out on a newspaper machine? With a lit cigarette in their mouth?

The large one on the right is Frodo. He stole a lampshade off of a working lamp in a building, then went into a public bathroom and laid on the floor for this. Possibly the best photo of the night. I’d say top five, for sure!

That covered the majority of interesting picture challenges. I did have some video challenges, but I am having trouble getting them to load. That might have to just be a separate post.

I do, however, have a bunch of photos I want to share, whether they were challenges or not.

These two were teammates. Unfortunately, they only did like three challenges before giving up. However, they did send me this, not as a challenge, but just to…make me laugh? It worked. They went into the bathroom and changed clothes. He’s wearing hers and she’s wearing hers. They even switched glasses. Imagine if all that humor were channeled into the game!

Likewise, this was not for a challenge. My mother took a picture of herself using the toilet and text it to me. I love it!

Someone took this. I thought, the moment I saw it, that it looked like an old time photo, you know, where people never smile? Obviously, my mom and I are smiling, but perhaps it is the poses? Or my dad’s hands, folded on his lap? I put it in sepia to enhance the connection…either way, I love it.

I spontaneously kissed her and her partner, Amy, made me do it again for a picture. And it is one of my favorites of us!

I actually took this one. I was being silly, resulting in the laughter, but these are my GW peeps. My gang. I love this group of people. I was honored Niki came up from Madison for my birthday.


And this. There are a scant few photos of the three of us and I wish there were more. They are two of my favorite people in the world. I was so happy they were able to make it to the party, and if you hadn’t guessed by the bonus points alone, they were the winners of the evenings festivities. No surprise there, they are the perfect pair. Next year I might separate them and see how they fare?

Speaking of Tom…

This is a photo of Tom with five hookers. Okay, I don’t really know that they are hookers…for sure. But we were walking down the street and following these girls, not one of whom looked old enough to drink. Their shorts were so short and tight that they were wedged up in their buttcracks. No lie. Mindy and I were miming our disgust with these girls, get a little self-respect, hmm? Then I had a brilliant thought. I told Mindy, “5 bonus points if you get a picture of your husband with all five strippers” (yes, I was using strippers and hookers interchangeably, then and now) and she was game. She sprinted down the street and caught up to them, just in time to overhear them saying, “we need to find ourselves a white man” which was her cue. She offered them her husband…for one picture.


And while we are STILL talking about Tom, he also features in one of my favorite photos of the night. I don’t know how it happened, I might even have taken it, but it is so completely awesome I can hardly contain myself.

That’s right. That is Tom and my MOTHER. He’s rarely that animated in photos (but he should be, could he possibly look any more fun?) and I think it is odd that I have a picture of the two of them. I lovelovelove it.

Lastly, someone did organize the group photo, which is how I got this, my all-time favorite photo of the evening.


Thank you to everyone for coming. It was an incredible night and oh-so-much fun. I have a ton of memories (yes, even some that I didn’t blog here!) and am delighted at another birthday of being spoiled by the people I love most. Thank you all so much. Love you!

Happiest birthday to me. Helluva way to kick off 33!

(p.s. remember my post about picnik? every single photo was edited there and all collages were created there…I’m really, really going to miss it)

4 thoughts on “Birthday Party – 33

  1. You took the pic of Tom and me, right before we left. I’m surprised it turned out so good if you don’t know/remember who took it!!! Great blog, by the way. Love all the pictures!

    • Thanks! I really only kind of remember it. It did turn out terrific, though. I’m glad you like the pictures, it was fun to create!

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