It's raining outside as I write — that wonderful type of rain, the kind that swathes you in a pitter patter of warm stories — and my book-smelling candle crackles while Shape of Water romances me in the background. (Guillermo del Toro always puts me in a good mood.) Nearly a week has gone by since I've celebrated my birthday quarantine-style and for anyone feeling like your birthday may be a little lackluster this year, it doesn't need to be. I came up with a "Uni-quarantine" themed birthday: colorful, bright, unique, and all things needed to liven up the living room for a party!
My partner spoiled me with gorgeous gifts: two beautiful book collections (The Chronicles of Narnia and His Dark Materials) and #sushi for dinner. Stories have always provided wonderful escapism and comfort for me, not just as a #writer but as someone who finds the creative imaginations of others so energizing. Hosting a birthday in isolation, I'd have a paradoxical gathering, a reason to share in each other's stories. Any milestone you had on your calendar — a special birthday, pregnancy, D&D night, family dinner, cancelled concert — celebrate it with purpose.
Curious how a "Uni-quarantine" party turned out? It was magnificent! With the right people, any milestone can be cherished. I started by "ordering" a mom-crafted unicorn #cake (delivered with social distancing) and a unicorn piñata for two. The cake was stunning! Truly the center of attention when it came to decor: #matcha-#raspberry cake with white, elegant, and merry unicorn fondant ears, eyes, and horn. Cultivating a positive atmosphere not only inspired my #writing but it also solidified the significance of what's important to me. Your reason to celebrate still exists, even if the dynamics outside of your control have shifted.
Here's how you can host your own colorful, virtual, #unicorn celebration in the comfort of your home:
1. Support a #smallbusiness or local artist with a custom cake (unicorn, of course!). Don't resort to a pre-made mix if you can help it. My matcha-raspberry unicorn cake was made by the very sweet and talented baker, Debbie, who's turned pastries into semi-private passion. She caters to local clients in Los Angeles (you can follow her and order via Instagram @debbrock316).
2. Gather pastel lanterns and a gold banner — this was my unicorn color scheme, combined with flowers my sweetheart pampered my older self with (orchids being my favorite).
3. Exert some energy! Just because you're stuck in the house doesn't mean you can't move. Unleash that new vinyl, dance, and if you're like me, order a piñata for two (I think my partner and I got to the candy before cracking a unicorn in half, but be your own judge).
4. Make it special and quirky. Your unicorn party is unique and vibrant, just like you, and there are many opportunities to encourage others to color your day — bright attire, festive happy hour drinks, fabulous Zoom backgrounds. For my birthday, the most creative unicorn-themed cocktail won a prize (and if most of you are wine drinkers, offer it to someone else, just for fun).
5. Fix your frump. You can still style your hair and add a dash of makeup. I'm far from high maintenance but felt super pretty in pink lips and a fresh blowout.
6. Order dinner! Do you really want to cook on your special day? We're doing our best to support hardworking businesses staying open during such a scary time and take-out is a great way to spread happiness and show your appreciation for the food and people. We ordered sushi — probably one of the cleanest types of food you can order right now.
7. "Thank You" round table! Anyone who sent me a card or gift received a special shout out in front of everyone on Zoom. I also opened gifts live to share in the excitement together. For all guests who showed up, email or text personal thank you cards. Your time is the most precious expense you can provide to each other, and so is your appreciation.
When you celebrate remotely, you may end up connecting more with others now than you ever have over the last year. I felt so much joy seeing so many faces — from London to New York, Minnesota to Los Angeles — and knowing that these family and friends were also doing alright during such a crazy time made the whole evening brighter. What was a two-hour virtual unicorn party trickled into nine hours of laughter, reminiscing, and storytelling — my favorite. Seems like the world's forced slowdown has become a unicorn in disguise, unique passion projects and relationships resurfacing again.