Treat yoself: birthday edition!

File this weekend in San Francisco under OMG. BEST. TRIP. EVER! It was an honest coincidence that everyone’s schedules lined up for a weekend away during my birthday. As someone who loves birthdays, I usually go all out with baking and celebrations for anyone’s birthdays! Balloons, streamers, cupcakes, extra sparkly candles– you name it, I probably have some stashed away in a corner of my apartment for the next party!

Something abnormal happened this year where I became extremely anxious to turn a year older. This didn’t discourage me from baking for anyone else’s birthdays, but it did stop me from making any plans for my own. This is going to sound super lame, but I really wanted to spend my birthday alone curled up with a good book and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. (Mega lame, I know.) I can’t quite put my finger on what it was that made me so nervous about getting older this particular year, but for the weeks leading up to the big day I felt extremely unsettled to the point where I had a bit of a meltdown back in September (which probably explains why it was a bit more quiet than usual on the blog).

Only a small handful of friends knew what I was going through emotionally at the time, so the days leading up to the trip felt like “normal days” to everyone else in the group. In the trip itinerary (the giant spreadsheet broken down by the hour) put together by my super organized friend, we were scheduled to have dinner from 8-10pm followed by some bar/lounge hopping. Thinking that we would be going straight out from dinner, I planned my outfit accordingly. After I got to the restaurant for dinner, I was so confused because half the group was dressed to go out, and the other half was still in their attire from earlier in the day. I kept asking, “Did I miss the memo?” and everyone assured me I wasn’t overdressed (but I totally was).

So as soon as dinner ended, we all split up into 3 cabs and headed towards the Mission District to the first bar on the list. I know I’m not doing this story any justice for how awesome the night actually was… But imagine being in my shoes and thinking that the night was going to be full of bar hopping, standing in front of a dive bar (while wayyy overdressed, no less), and being only two blocks away from Boba Guys. With such a big group, my cab was the first one to arrive. Knowing the area we were in, I asked a friend if I could run around the corner to quickly snap a photo of the Boba Guys storefront while we waited for everyone else to meet up. He told me I had to wait for the whole group to arrive before going anywhere. Being told I had to wait boggled my mind because the shop was literally 5 steps from where I was standing and it had nothing to do with any of the plans according to our itinerary for the night.

Eventually, the whole group shows up and I’m told that I can now run over to Boba Guys and take my photo before the night’s festivities. Little did I know what was in store once I turned the corner… I walked up to the front door, saw Andrew working behind the counter, and was confused to see that the shop was still open past 10pm. Immediately, my friends started to sing Happy Birthday and I thought, “UGH!! YOU GUYS PUNKED ME!?!” Yeah. So the whole bar hopping itinerary was fake.


It’s no secret to my friends (or anyone who sees me multiple times a week) that I love bubble tea. Some may even say I’m obsessed. I mean, I did spend $100 in cabs earlier this year to go to Boba Guys, but never expected anyone to plan a surprise birthday event here!! I had been tweeting to the founders of Boba Guys during the week leading up to our trip, hoping to bring this big group of friends to my favourite bubble tea shop. Little did I know that one of my friends had already gotten in touch with the guys behind the shop to arrange the surprise bubble tea tasting event.


I honestly could not believe how awesome this whole event was! Not only did Andrew graciously stay until 12:30am to introduce us to a handful of the slow bar teas, but he also chatted with us about how Boba Guys started and the importance of chasing dreams. In the words of the status update my friend tweeted after being introduced to Boba Guys and hearing Andrew talk: “I only wanted bubble tea. Instead, I got awesome advice, free samples, and inspiring stories.” This basically sums up exactly how I felt the first time I was introduced to Boba Guys back when they were still a popup in a ramen shop. Ever since that day, I’ve been a loyal follower of not only the business, but also the people who are so passionately driving it.


Ok, so this is super dorky but I’ve always wanted to stand on the other side of the counter at Boba Guys and this night was my night!! I may have gotten a little too excited and walked into the table (I’m really clumsy) which ended up in spilled tea all over the counter… Oops!



I feel so lucky to be blessed with such an amazing, loving, supportive group of friends! They truly spoiled me this year and I cannot thank them enough for putting up with my crazy obsession with bubble tea and all our lunch conversations about Boba Guys. A huuuuuge thank you to Andrew for keeping the shop open for us and being so kind and welcoming to sharing inspiring stories about his journey to making his dreams a reality. I cannot thank you enough for sparking such inspiration in our lives!

P.S. Looking back at these photos (and reflecting on how I felt at the time everything was happening and trying to process it all at once), I totally realize how ridiculously dressed I am for the event. I was told we were going to end up on a dance floor somewhere!! :P

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  • Emily

    There’s no such thing as overdressed when its your birthday!
    You look great and you have awesome friends for planning such a thoughtful surprise.

    • Thanks Emily!! I didn’t think to use the “But it’s my birthday!” excuse for the over dressing. I’ll be better next year. :)

      Not sure this birthday can ever be topped!

  • Awesome stuff, Katrina! Your friends are awesome! I wish I could have a Boba Guys birthday! Hope to see you soon!

    • I was so sad when I found out we weren’t going to be in town at the same time. :( Next time… we’re going back!

  • Okay. That is an awesome birthday surprise. You got some good friends (and sound like a great friend too!)

  • sweetsandhearts

    omg! that place sounds amazing. you’re so lucky to have friends who know you well enough to surprise you with one of your favorite things. and birthdays are for dressing ~extra special!

  • ok this sounds uber fun. i’m glad everyone enjoyed!

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