BYOstuffer / by Nadia Fallahi


I did the math a few weeks ago and realized that I’ve known Zoe for 15 whole years at this point.  We first met in third grade, and I was determined to be friends with her after she noted that she was Persian in a class presentation.   The rest was history. (Check out this cute pic of us in fifth grade!!!)

The past fifteen years have seen just about everything.  From endless naps to run in’s with international police, many a zereshk polo to any possible variety of cheese, studying for math tests together to running a muck at London club, tropical vacations to trips to the Korean thrift store and much, much more, we’ve truly done it all.  So it only felt right that I hit LA again to celebrate her birthday just two weeks ago.  

We spent time catching up and spending time with our friend, Will, who was in town for the weekend.  I hadn’t been on the Westside in some time, so it was fun to explore west of the 405 for once.  We did head a little further east to grab lunch at Jon & Vinny’s (surprise!!!), which was followed by a quick stop into Dolls Kill’s new Fairfax location (which is super wild).  This was also fun because Jackson got to join us (and it still hasn’t hit me that he has moved yet!!!).  

I also got to see Kelsey after almost nine months of not seeing each other.  And you can bet we hit El Cholo for guac and margaritas – and a little content, of course. 

Our weekend together was short yet sweet, filled with laughs, tequila and gluten.  Zoe is notorious for her birthday gatherings, so I’ve been so sad to have missed the last few.  The last of hers that I attended was in 2015, and while I don’t remember much, I know it was a good time.

This year, Zoe held a piñata extravaganza and asked guests to bring various stuffers.  Each item was more wild than the last, but it only felt right that I threw in a noisemaker (see Sqwaukers above).  We danced and sang to this amazing playlist we made, ate the multi-cake and busted open the piñata in her back alley.

Following the party, we hit The Gaslite, a smaller hole-in-the-wall in Santa Monica.  This bar was super dive-y with it’s karaoke, wall-to-wall carpeting and lotto tickets being sold at the bar.  I also hopped over to The Room (not to be confused with the Tommy Wiseau film) with Andrew to meet up with Holly and Noelle.  I was able to wrangle them all up to head back to Gaslite for a few final drinks before last call.  All I know is that I immediately announced I was going to bed upon our return to Zoe’s and slept quite soundly.

I always love a weekend in LA, and they’re even better spent getting to see some of my most favorite people.  I’m so glad I got to celebrate Zoe’s birthday with her this year, and I cannot wait to see what the coming years’ celebrations will bring.