YOLO! Dance Party? Yes! By Jen Oliak

As each year passes, I think more and more, “I want to have fun.” So I’ve been trying to do just that. YOLO (you only live once) is really true. And I feel more people should take time to embrace this term. 

I know it’s hard to do when there are issues going on with health, money, strained relationships, and the list of other things that prevents us from being happy.  But putting aside unavoidable circumstances, shouldn’t we try harder to live in the moment?

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source: hercampus.com

I feel like there is so much I want to do in a day but time goes by fast. I’ll wake up around 6am and in a blink, it’s 8pm. I think to myself, how is the day over already? I have so much more to do!

How do you feel about your days? Are you doing things that make you happy? Do you take time out for yourself? Or do you spend most of your time working, catering to your kids & husband and doing house chores- feeling like there isn’t much room left for you? There is. And it’s important you make the room.

What Do You Think About Birthdays?

This past weekend some friends and I threw our friend (Julie) a surprise birthday party.  She turned 49. Many people think milestone birthdays 30, 40, 50 are the ones to celebrate. But I believe we should celebrate every year we can, as big as we can.

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source: niceclipart.com

I used to think differently. When I was little, I didn’t celebrate my birthday much because my mom was always out of town. And to be honest, she was working so hard trying to keep her head above water after my dad died (when I was 9), birthdays were not a top priority even when she was around. I began to dread my birthday as it came near, knowing I would end up feeling sorry for myself because I didn’t get attention, birthday parties or presents like my friends did.  Some years I was alone for my birthday.

In my 20s and 30s, I noticed I’d get sad on my birthdays. Isn’t our childhood powerful? No matter what was happening, whether the day was sunny or dreary, whether I was with my family or friends, I would be down. I tried to hide it because I knew it was an irrational feeling. But it was always there. I wanted the day to go by as quick as it could. Click here to read more about my childhood.

When I turned 40, my husband and a few close friends threw a “Sex and the City” party for me and 25 of my girlfriends.

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One of the fun props for my 40th bday party

Maybe 40 was the year I was ready to let go of my sad birthdays, I don’t know. But I turned a corner and had a blast at that party.  41, 42 and 43 were great birthdays too! And I am surrounded by friends who agree it’s important to live Carpe Diem.

My friend, Julie loves to dance. She is always the first to get up on the dance floor when a good song comes on. So what better way to celebrate than to throw her a dance party?

The Following Lists How We Planned Julie’s Surprise. We:

  • learned a dance routine to  J Lo’s “Aint Yo Mama” to flash mob (choreographed by two of the girls). We had a few late night practices and even pro dancer, Flo Randolph helped us to correctly move our hips.
  • hired a professional dancer (who’s danced with Beyonce!) to teach the guests some moves, with Julie being Queen Bey after our flash mob surprise.
  • invited 30 of Julie’s friends and asked them to wear all black and look sexy.
  • wanted Julie to look special so planned for her to be the only one in white. We told her a small group of girls were taking her to a place with a “white night” theme.
  • hired a great bartender to make her favorite cocktails.
  • asked my BFF photographer Ben to take some quick shots of the party using my camera.

And Here is Our YOLO night!

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Party planners (minus me and Miriam). Looking pretty hot, don’t you think?

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Goofy Pauline, photo bombing my attempt to take picture of decor

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Guests arrived 30 minutes before Julie, all wearing black.

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Gathering in the kitchen to wait for Julie’s arrival

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Julie’s reaction as we yell “Surprise!”

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Just after surprise – Julie in shock

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Sushi, Mediterranean & salad

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Great Bartender, Nick Hannah (see below for his info) serving cocktails

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We turned on J Lo’s “Dance Again” and the flash mobbers phased onto the floor acting like we were just dancing to the song before getting into position for our surprise Julie dance

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Julie of course joined in, so we danced with her for a minute before scooting her off the dance floor

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We sat her down and at this point she has no idea what’s going on but is going with the flow.

And then… we performed our “Aint Your Mama!” birthday dance!

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After our flash mob, professional dancer Liinda Garisto (see end for info) arrived to teach us how to move. Wow! Could she move her hips! She was an incredible dancer. She’s danced with Beyonce!

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Julie got right in there! So fun! She even taught us how to “twerk!” OMG, I’m leaving those pictures out.

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I said Julie loves to dance, right? She was ecstatic.

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Everyone had fun learning some Beyonce moves

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Somehow I was coerced to Beyonce dance walk by myself. Ok. And I look fit in this pic so I’m showing it off!

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We sang Happy Birthday!

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And everyone had a blast. Most importantly, Julie had the time of her life! Group shot with Julie’s friends. We joke that most of Julie’s friends are minorities. Would you believe Manhattan Beach is predominately white after looking at this pic?

So..does this inspire you to have a dance party? To celebrate big? I hope so. Life is short and we have no time to waste. Laugh a lot. Stay youthful. YOLO! And don’t forget to take time out for YOU.

Professionals who helped with Julie’s YOLO Surprise Dance Party

  • Photographer: Benjamin Benoit (note: these pictures were taken with my camera and unedited so not his professional work quality). And some were taken by me but you know I like to plug Ben’s work where I can. Check out his site for his photography. Oh! And click here. 
  • Bartender: Nick Hannah (323) 793-5072; Not only was he a fantastic bartender who took pride in mixing his cocktails, he’s also a stand up comedian, actor, writer and host! We loved him as our bartender and want to go see him perform as a comedian.
  • Professional Dancer: Liinda Garisto (323)485-0009 or Liinda.garisto@gmail.com; She was so good. Call her if you want a dancer – trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Flavor Your Life with an Ounce of Salt. A lifestyle blog by Jen Oliak.