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A journey through grief & self discovery

  • Writer's pictureChristine Angelique

A Serendipitous Soiree

Bespoke Bar's Italian Cocktails Night

I would never use the word "spontaneous" to describe myself. I love my checklists and planners and making a little agenda for my day. However, I do enjoy serendipitous occurrences.

ser·en·dip·i·tous (adjective) - occurring or discovered by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

This week, I actually planned a totally different self-love outing to go see the Holiday Tree Lighting celebration in downtown Culver City. I would already be in the area for a friend's birthday party, so I figured I'd stop by after since I'm rarely on the westside of LA. Traffic here is crazy, and I don't have a car, so I usually stick to the cities near my place/bus routes. Might as well explore what Culver City has to offer, right? Well, the night took a totally different turn after we were all on a high from a delicious birthday bundt cake and a competitive game of Taboo! (My team won, wooo!!) As we were leaving and trying to decide what was next, a group of us stumbled upon an intimate, Italia-themed soiree sponsored by a mom-and-pop small business called Bespoke Bar L.A.

Apparently, this "Bar in a Box" shop was selling a new book, Italy Cocktails by Paul Feinstein, who was at the event signing books. They had an open bar where you could try some of the drinks from the book, and they teamed up with Naughty by Nature pizza for a cute little soiree. We had so much fun!

We started the night by getting some complimentary Prosecco Negronis and exploring their shop and cute patio outside area. We ordered a few pizza pies for the table and sat and chatted for hours!

The pizza was really good because it came with this fancy honey you were supposed to drizzle on top. I've never had pizza with a honey drizzle, but wow did it work! Sparkling wine and a new pizza experience? This is what life's about!

Not only were the drinks and food great, but the vibes were cozy and warm, despite it actually being a little cold since it was outside and the fall cali air will sneak up on ya! I believe it was the owner of Bespoke who was so welcoming and warm towards us. She showed us where everything was and insisted we try the drinks and stay awhile. Someone from her team informed us we could keep the glassware from our drinks and made sure we didn't leave without getting a gift bag. It had a cute little bottle of prosecco in there, the main wine used in the cocktails we had at the event.

The patio area was also cozy with picnic tables and cute lights hanging above. The aesthetic was there, but I think what really made the event special were the people I was there with! We had gotten to know each other at my friend Jana's birthday party and kept it light with party games and friendly mingling. But as we continued to chat, I learned about everyone's respective fields and their moving to Los Angeles stories. I learned about their ambitions for the year and how 2023 was a rough time for everyone. I felt safe to talk about my mom and how it's been learning to cope with loss. We talked about pop culture events, dating, anything and everything! It felt so special that seemingly strangers who met a couple hours ago were now kiki-ing and cackling like old friends! We all expressed how it's been awhile since we've had so much fun and have been out in a social group setting. I understood like no other how isolating it can be, not just from self-isolating grief tendencies, but feeling lost at times in the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, or having to relearn how to socialize after a year of mandated quarantining. (Dude, can we all just take a moment to remember how crazy the covid pandemic was?! I don't think we realize how much that affected us and the toll it took on our socialization skills!)

It was truly a much needed serendipitous evening. I have no doubt this little soiree turned out to be even better than my original plans for the evening. It also gave me some realizations:

  1. To live in the moment, you must be open to where life takes you

  2. Self-care can include friends

  3. Kindness goes a long way

My goal was to create better moments for myself so I could enjoy "living in the moment", but I've realized, part of living in the moment is being open to plans changing and going with the flow of where life takes you. You could miss out on life's surprises and adventures if you don't open yourself up to another possibility. I'm sure I would've had a lovely time seeing the holiday tree lights, but I would've missed out on connecting more with new friends, free drinks and delicious honey-drizzled pizza!

Having great friendships and spending time with friends is a form of self-care. Although I believe it's important to have time for yourself and enjoy your own company, self-care doesn't mean you have to do it alone. I think it's more about knowing yourself and listening to what your body, soul or mind needs. Sometimes that's being alone, reading a good book or relaxing with a face mask. Other times, it's hanging with friends and laughing the night away because your soul was craving connection and friendship.

Self-Love Date Tip: You don't have to do it alone. Showing love to yourself simply means doing what brings you joy and what makes you feel loved. So bring your friends along for the ride!

Lastly, what made this soiree even more special was how kind the hosts were! Honestly, some places in LA like to feel elite and want to be exclusive, so they aren't as welcoming to newcomers. (Or they make you pay half your salary to attend!) In a big city that's main call-to-fame is how hard it is to survive here, kindness goes a long way.

This serendipitous soiree and bonding with new friends was such an unexpected "better moment". I look forward to being more flexible with my agenda and plans to allow life to show me what new adventures I should be open to!

Italy Cocktails by Paul Feinstein:

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