Birthdays One More thing to Schedule or One More Thing to Celebrate?

Girls by the Numbers

It was a fun moment in time when I looked up at one of my birthday get-togethers year back and had 16 women from all different aspects of my life celebrating my birthday with me.  Friends from various jobs, friends from around home, and friends from when I was single. I had to laugh inside at the irony of it all. Growing up with three younger sisters, I was never in need of a girlfriends.  Didn’t seek them out and had enough girl power at home. To be fair, I always had one or two close girlfriends who were low maintenance, confident, and high on fun. Consciously or unconsciously, I always hung out with guys and seemed to relate to them better. I validated this decisions every time I witnessed girl drama or saw an all girl dance party.

Years later, I am stronger and better for my gang of girlfriends. The circle has become more compact and interestingly enough all live within a 7 mile radius. Being in close proximity provides for the best emergency sanity breaks. When you travel with a large crew, it can be challenging to keep up with birthday gifts, birthday cards, and organizing lunches. Here are some birthday celebration tips to ensure you can be in the moment and celebrate.

Start a Birthday Tax

1. Come to an agreement with your soul sisters that everyone will chip in a nominal fee – say 10.00.
2. If you have 10 to 16 girls, $10/head becomes $100.00 or $160.00.
3. Put all your names in an hat and pick.
4. You now have your birthday friend to buy for.
5. Team up with the gals whose own picks share the same month of the individual you have chosen. Do joint lunches or special events.
6. Consider it almost a birthday tax. The benefits are you save a heck of a lot of time and money from buying 12 individual gifts and the nice thing is by pooling money together the actual birthday recipient will receive a pretty nice gift.


Cool and Timesaving Gifts.

All of these gifts range in value from $100 – $160.00.

1. Concert tickets or ticketmaster gift certificates.

2. Stich Fix Stylist Subscription.

3. Elizabeth Arden Gift Certificate for spa treatments.

4. Rodan and Fields – Lash Boost a 135,00 treatment, this product grows amazing long eyelashes and can also fill in your brows.

5. Kendra Scott Jewelry – Very stylish and quality design.

6. – Great samples of cool cosmetics, lotions, and beauty tips.

7. A personalized greeting from – There are some bizarre and hilarious greetings you can have done for just five dollars.   Have someone to take a pie to the face with your greeting on it, have someone call and Sing Happy Birthday like Elvis, or one of my personal favorites have someone climb up a tree, pick a coconut with your friends name on it and sing Happy Birthday .

Joan Jett can Rock but can she Roll?

It started as a joke. Looking for something different to do, we happened upon about a “bout” featuring the Charm City Roller Girls vs. the Black-eyed Susans. Vague memories of seeing TV Roller Derby matches as a young girl came flooding back to my mind. Think girls who looked like Farrah Fawcett but were not afraid to take a hit. That’s at least what I remembered. Short silk shorts, long socks, and cool Derby nicknames on the back.  There was always a brick house villain who was THE force to be reckoned with.  What would it be like now?

Doing our Homework. We set out to go see a live match. Now, when we go observe, do not think it is passive. It is an opportunity to envision what it is like to be out there and likely pencil it in our calendars. It was a great time. I highly recommend you go see your local Roller Derby Team. I ended up getting season tickets to the Charm City Roller Girls and totally enjoyed this unique gift. There were giggles over the Roller Derby Names and talk about who in the rink resembled our own close knit friends.  Doesn’t that athletic tall one resemble Amy? Look at the star, making her way around that is just like Maggie would do it! Then we began to believe, we could take them. There was no turning back imagination became reality. Maybe it was the cocktails.

Amateur Exhibition for Charity. Guts. Glory. Rollergirls. The idea stuck but took on a new form. What if we were competing against each other? That way we could enjoy the fun of the Roller Derby, but no one gets mauled by a pro. It’s on. Here’s what we did to make it happen:

  1. Established a team name. We were St. Cecilia’s Home for Wayward Girls.
  2. Selected Roller Derby Names and had them put on personalized Roller Derby Shirts using You can still find the shirts and some hip and fabulous roller derby socks from that night on the store.
  3. Found a roller rink that we could rent for a few hours. This was probably the hardest part. Roller rinks are pretty slim picking these days but there were three to choose from in our area.  Pretty inexpensive, I think we rented on a Saturday for two hours for roughly $250/hr.
  4. Built a Playlist. In my mind, I had visualized a bad ass Joan Jett like soundtrack. A must play song was “Do You Want to Touch Me?” kind of a tongue and cheek song to skate away from your competition to.
  5. Invited Joan Jett to the event. If you are going to play Joan Jett, it would be WAY cooler to have her attend. After all, she was from Baltimore.
  6. Put a press release together to formalize the event. Try and show Joan we were serious. The cost was $99.00 to publish the release via PRWEB, and it was picked up all over the Internet. You can find the original PR release here. All releases typically follow a similar format, so feel free to model this one with your own content.
  7. Organized an Eventbrite site to take credits cards for a bundled dinner and cocktail package, Amateur Roller Derby Event, and a nominal donation to the foundation that was designated. Skating was included after the event for everyone who wanted to participate.
  8. Scheduled a place for dinner and drinks afterwards.  Had the menu organized per head so we could manage cashing out easily.

We held the event and after a really fun night that was completely entertaining, we raised roughly $1000.00 for charity. While Joan Jett never showed up to roll, we did go to see her play about a year later and the first female of rock did not disappoint

If you want to sing out, sing out, and if you want to be free…..karaoke.


We need more cowbell.  When you are in public and have an opportunity to sing in front of a room, do you jump at the chance?  Very few people do unless they have the skills to pay the bills.  If public singing, isn’t your bag, there are a few creative ways to even the playing field for a good time.

1. Visit a Norebang (노래방) which means sing room. You can find the 노래방 sign everywhere in Korea especially in entertainment districts or student areas.  If you are not in Korea, you can find sing rooms in nearly every major city and even smaller cities where there is a good representative Asian population.  The first sing room, I went to was in Sydney, Australia and the place was hilariously called Ding, Dang, Dong.  It was pretty late in the evening.  Inhibitions aside, it didn’t take much to belt out every cheesy pop song you could think of.  I found another sing room close to my home in the Washington DC area, called Irock and also visited one in London.  The name of the place in London escapes me, but it was directly across the street of Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club. If you are on that block, I would recommend skipping the sing room because Ronnie Scott’s was pretty magical.

2. Play Karaoke Roulette.  This involves attending a bar or restaurant that is offering public karaoke.  The key to karaoke roulette is that essentially someone in your group picks a song for you and you don’t what you will be singing until it’s chosen.  Like truth or dare, you can’t deny the song so be prepared to be put on the spot.

3. Make your own fun. What if you don’t have a sing room or don’t want to get your groove on in front of total strangers?  Here’s what you can do in any town where you have a decent relationship with the proprietor. My girlfriends and I took over a little wine market for our own karaoke night.  Typically, this place was not crowded.  We offered to bring a gang of fifteen, eat in and liven the place up a bit.  The market had open mike night occasionally so a microphone and speaker was already available.  With years of Halloween costumes in duffle bags, we headed out.  With everything available via apps today, I downloaded a Karaoke app on my IPAD and then we had all the makings of a great night.  Add cowbell and tambourines, it was a memorable inexpensive, girls night out only a couple of miles from home.

4. Last Tip:  Rap songs are for the advanced.  Even if you think you know every word by Mac Miller or Childish Gambino, nailing those lyrics in a crowd is not slight work. To help you stack the deck, here’s the quick list of the best songs to sing and the worst songs to sing.

The Best Songs

1. The Foundations – Build Me Up Buttercup

2. Billy Ray Cyrus – Achy Breaky Heart.

3.  Madness – Baggy Trousers

4. Right Said Fred – I’m Too Sexy

5. The Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go

The Hardest Songs to Sing

1. I Believe In A Thing Called Love – The Darkness

2. Video Games – Lana Del Rey

3. Forgot About Dre – Eminem feat. Dr. Dre

4. Hurt – Christina Aguilera

5. Hello – Adele

So to close, find a place close buy that is willing to host a no-frills costume karaoke evening. Most local businesses are willing to show support and many have a sense of humor.  Gather up those old costumes and put them on grab bag style.  It will be a GNO, that you will remember for some time.