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Yummie! It's Carole's Birthday! A beautiful, well-adjusted, smarter-then-ever, and still sexy-as-hell 50 is no small feat -- and to do it so gracefully while staying youthful is admirable. And Carole has arrived! With a her London book tour for The Widows Guide to Sex and Dating underway and a birthday party looming with nothing done really (except an exquisitely drawn up document detailing her vision), my dear friend asked for my help to pull it together and see it through. . .And what are friends for if not for support. I'm in! She is the Birthday Girl after all, and who better to help these kids deal with the demands of an aging diva then the diva's aging best friend!?! Katherine and Eric came up to Yummie to meet with Shawna (my amazing assistant who deals with the everyday demands of the original bossy pants -- the best right hand anyone could ever ask for)! So, up here at big mama's house, the reveal of what I have gotten myself into is unraveling and I should have known!
My first tip off should have been the statue. . .The infamous Bird Girl statue, which was originally designed both as art and as a birdseed holder, and located at Bonaventure, Savannah's largest and hauntingly beautiful cemetery. (It was relocated in 1997 to the Telfair Museum of Artin.) Before leaving for London, Radzi and I had several updates about her bidding process on eBay to snag the famous statue. She had to have it and was treating herself for her 50th -- and it would be perfect for her party. I should have paid closer attention, as I thought the desire for this statue was a midlife crisis or something, but I was remiss in understanding the relevance of a project that would soon become my own. Carole was successful in placing the winning bid and is now the proud owner of a fine replica which we strategically placed at the party with shiny polished red apples in her bird seed palms.
This leads me to my first and only tip in dealing with a demanding, yet adorable, and delicious party planning perfectionist, who also happens to be an ocean away and obsessed with a Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil theme: Read the book! Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is atmospheric and southern gothic in tone. It depicts a wide range of eccentric personalities, (all of whom Carole wanted depicted), from in and around Savannah, Georgia. The book highlights many notable Savannah residents, one most notably, The Lady Chablis, a pre-operative transsexual woman and local drag queen and entertainer. Perfect! I've found our entertainment! Aside from the amazing DJ Peter Paul, I can have Carole serenaded! We have the most amazing and famous drag queens in NYC. We have the gorgeous Joey Aries! And of course, I have to have him. Although Joey has back-to-back sold-out shows, I know he can make it in time for cake!
Let me get my check list out: I believe a black and white cake was requested? Or was the butterflies? Spanish moss, 1000 white lights, 5000 white rose petals (will she count them?), mannequins, a fiddler, a fog machine, The Harvest Moon! (Yes, we hung it!), pistol props, the polished red apples, the snake handler! Snake handler? YES! All the characters from the book are here. . .Uhhh, for this, I'm going to need all the help I can get. . .
David Miller! Yes! He is a friend, a huge fan of the book, Midnight, and OMG, an amazing party planner. One could only ever ask a friend to help this last minute because I can handle the antique lace, and David has the invisible dog harness! Perfection. AND I'm officially nixing the chandelier transfer. Whew!
On the invitation, we asked everyone to come dressed in either black or white as the title of the book alludes to the notion of "midnight" as the period between the time for good magic and the time for evil magic: "The garden of good and evil." I asked my friend Terry to make some of his amazing masks for me and the girls. He's created them for fashion editorial shoots, and they will definitely add to the drama! I've enlisted my couturier, Nauman Piyarji, to be sure my husband is rocking a custom-made suit for Carole's big night. And if you think Mario looks surprisingly dashing, it's because Nauman, made his too! He makes the most beautiful suits and I always share my best fashion secrets, even with Ramona. I mean, a good courtier is hard to find, and tonight everyone should look fine! While Mario chooses Black for evil, Jon was creative and requested a 1/2 black and 1/2 white number which is exactly the way I like my gorgeous and good, sexy, bad-boy. I was the only other one who chose to wear white -- me and Sonja. If we aren't an angelic sight together, I don't know what is. I relied on my favorite designer Lorry Newhouse. And Carole!?! Wowza. She surprised even me in a red dress and grand entrance, mask and all. That she-devil in red! Unbeknownst to me, she secretly contacted Terry to switch up her mask color and Boom Bam Hello Ma'am -- I'M 50 bitches! #HOLLA! She looked gorgeous and I loved it!
Lu called earlier that day to tell me she and Jacques are taking a break and that she wasn't sure she should or could make the party. Lu, Jacques, and Jon and I spent a considerable amount of time together as couples and LuAnn has become a very close friend. Jacques and LuAnn had so much love for one another, but they had indeed been growing apart, and was it was becoming too recognizable for even them to ignore. It's hard when love just ain't enough, because that truly is the case with these two. Lu was heartbroken and didn't want to rain on Carole's parade with her pieces of broken heart. But I convinced her that Carole would only care to know that she was here with us instead of home alone and upset. Leaning on your friends is a part of friendship, and so Lu came to be with her friends and surround herself with a lot of love. We are there for her and she knows she can count on us.
Wait, did Harry just blow up Carole's 50th with a not engagement, engagement ring? Oops! How could I have forgotten bottled water! Thank god NYC is noted to have some of the most drinkable tap water in the world. . .who knew? Should have gotten some Aqua Hydrate from Puff when I called on Ciroc to create the beautiful back lit Ciroc theme bars made with his signature amaretto and coconut flavored bottles -- and of course straight up Ciroc and tequila! Speaking of Puffy, what the hell am I doing with that mic? I think that Puff Daddy signature drink has gone to my head, but A-hem! There is business to take care of here after all. . .Roasting Radzi! What is more appropriate, than roasting your best girlie on her 50th? Nothing! Especially when she makes it so easy. As I sat to pen a heartfelt speech for Carole, more commands from across the pond came floating through my inbox and my speech was done! Carole had written it for me. I had lace curtains to tea stain after all.
In the end, it was a great party but there was still one stone left unturned -- Joey Aries, where are you? While Carole's crazy theme cake was starring to melt, Joey Aries was on his third encore at Joe's Pub bringing down the house and I was SOL! While Shawna was on the phone begging his manager to "stop the encores," my reality hit me. He wasn't coming! And so, it was with a dripping birthday cake and a good buzz that I enlisted Lu-Lu to help me scratch something on the back of a napkin to sing for Carole. . .which went over like a lead balloon! I had my one moment-in-time on that Birdland stage, and I should have left it there. With all of the demands and details and the complicated planning, I wanted a big moment ending, but some things are just better left simple.
Happy Birthday to you Radzi! I love you to bits. I am so happy your celebration and your vision came to life, and I got to stand at your side to help you to see it through. It was a beautiful night with only one terrible birthday serenade, one broken heart, one fake engagement, and one sexy red dress, and it was all you baby! You are an inspiration.
And on the exact opposite note, one missing leg is coming up next! Tune in and we'll see you next Tuesday for our final week of Season 6 of The Real Housewives of New York City where tempers and limbs both fly. . .
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