For Brittany's 30th birthday, she planned an incredible weekend getaway for 18 of us up at a ranch in Ukiah. Yokayo Ranch was gorgeous, with a pool and tons of bedrooms, perfect for small weddings, retreats, and large group gatherings like ours. It also had lots of fun details, like an old-fashioned giant fridge, floor to ceiling windows looking out over the valley, and a tiny peep hole between the kitchen and the bar that brought us infinite amusement.
Plus Brittany had thought up a ton of lovely details, like menus and daily schedules she had written in calligraphy, stunning fresh flower arrangements everywhere, colorful ribbons hanging, and potted herbs matching people to their rooms.
Brittany's mom, Faith, was executive chef of the weekend, and we ate like kings. The first night this crew was on taco duty, and we all had a great time welcoming new arrivals to the ranch, munching on tacos, and playing games like mafia and psychiatrist.
Andrew looks like he was born for swanky ranch life
James, patient as a saint,
narrating us through Mafia
The next morning, everyone lounged around the ranch enjoying each other's company while puzzling, hot tubbing, and playing lawn games like Kubb and Spikeball.
In the afternoon, we played what would be the highlight of the weekend, a thirtieth birthday and Brittany-themed scavenger hunt. We were randomly broken into three groups and given two hours to complete 30 challenges. The challenges were so fun and so Brittany, like creating a Pinterest board on a topic she would enjoy, making her a flower crown, or finding the exact page of an embarrassing photo of her in our senior class yearbook. Plus, there were fun rules like your team could never split up.
I'm not going to lie, it got a bit competitive. People were held down while car keys were stolen. Rubber bands were plucked from atop people's heads. James considered drinking all the wine so no one else could taste it and guess correctly (always willing to sacrifice for the team, that one). Some other fun tasks:
Kissing an animal
Recreating a photo from Brittany's childhood
Wine tasting + magic tricks
Team Brittany Love Baby Goats,
with everyone's hair in a pony
We just had so much fun gallivanting around the ranch, being ridiculous. And Brittany was beaming watching us all do it.
One of the most fun parts was seeing the dances each team had prepared for Britt. One team made up a birthday song for her, one sang the French version of "Happy Birthday", and our group made a dance to "Hit Me Baby One More Time", which Kasey suggested and was just perfect because Brittany and I were all about Britney Spears in 6th grade. The guys in our group were 100% on board with any choreography we threw at them in the 8 minutes we had to prepare. Check it:
In the end my team prevailed, although Brittany gave even me a run for my money with some of her tricks!
That night we ate out on the patio, on the beautiful long wooden tables. Brittany had prepared a speech in which she talked about how each and every person there that weekend had entered her life, and the profound impact they'd had on her. There wasn't a dry eye in the house.
Glen Park HQ Roomies
Maryana & me
Gio made a delicious birthday cake!
That night turned into a big dance party. The best part was when we each took turns going into the middle of the circle, with someone randomly calling out a dance move. Sometimes you'd get something tangible, but more often than not it would be something like "hot pocket" or "grave digger". It was absolutely gut-splitting to see what people came up with!
We got a lot of use out of the Instax!
Britt & Mama Faith
The next morning was Brittany's official birthday as well as Easter, and we started with an egg hunt followed by a spectacular brunch.
The whole gang!
Zoom in on my face at your own risk.
The most highly awaited moment of the weekend:
the final puzzle piece!
If I had to split the group that weekend into two factions, it would be puzzlers and non-puzzlers. This final piece was a big moment, and the most hard-core puzzlers along with Brittany placed it altogether.
After that, people casually started packing up and heading out two by two. Those of us left tried to milk a few moments of relaxation out of the weekend, enjoying the hot tub, leftovers, and one final game: Do You Wanna Buy a Duck. But generally speaking, we were wiped!
The weekend was so fantastic, with an incredible group of friends, old and new, all together in one gorgeous, calming place to celebrate Brittany (and friendship, nature, wine...we did a lot of celebrating)! Big thanks to Brittany and Faith who planned the weekend, and Cante and Uri who did a lot of heavy lifting to make it all come together!