Monday, January 4, 2010

happiest new year

Happy New Year! How was your last night of 2009? Did you drink too much Champagne punch? Look away in horror after glimpsing J. Lo's spangled body stocking? Play all of your favorite songs of the year?

I don't know about you, but I think New Year's Eve always feels a little anticlimactic. There's all this pressure to make finger food and stay up late and have FUN and somehow it never measures up in the end. Too much hype, if you ask me. I have better memories of regular old weekend dinner parties than New Year's Eves throughout my life.

That said, if I could relive this New Year's Eve, I'd beam myself back there in a heartbeat.

While we were in Florida, our friends Juliette and Nathan invited Dan and me over (Or maybe we invited ourselves over?) to have a party at their adorable bungalow near the beach. The place is a homey little jewel box decorated by Juliette, who is an interior designer. Everywhere you look, something beautiful catches your eye--a delicate fern cascading out of a smoked glass vase, a collection of seashells arranged just so. Even the perfume bottles in her bathroom look cool. Needless to say, I covet their home.

But the best part of the house is the little outdoor patio they created. Because their living room is so small and the weather is warm year-round, Juliette and Nathan spend a lot of time outside. I love the patio's well-worn furniture, the woven roof, the soft cushions and little stone path leading you there. Everything about it is comfortable and perfect.

For New Year's Eve, Juliette decorated it with Chinese lanterns and white lights. She hung candle-filled Mason jars from a large tree nearby and put sprigs of fuschia bouganvillea in tiny jars. Champagne was chilling in a bucket. Glasses were on hand. A bowl of guacamole stood at the ready. It looked like a party before we even sat down.

And then Nathan brought out bacon-wrapped dates, and homemade mini pizza pockets, and pickle pinwheels (more on those later), and I just about died. I mean, sitting outside in balmy weather, a glass of bubbly in my hand, good friends, a full moon in the sky...what could be nicer?

We sipped our drinks and caught up on life and what we hoped would happen in the new year. Music played softly in the background. We swatted mosquitoes and watched a curious opossum poke its pink nose through a hole in the fence to peer at us for a minute before disappearing in a tangle of vines and bushes. Fireworks popped in backyards around us.

I slipped off my shoes and stretched out in a chair, feeling lucky and also aware of the moment being over soon. Time's running out. When I am on vacation, especially at home, I always have that thought lingering in the back of my mind. Soon it would be a new year, and I'd be back in New York, back in the cold and dreary winter. I wanted to stay in that little backyard with the opposum and more pizza pockets and never come back.

Perfect nights like this always come to an end too quickly. But it was everything I always imagined New Year's Eve could be--better, really.


lunardancer said...

So true. It's the anticipation of the coming New Year and the preparations that make it exciting and not the celebration itself. But judging from the small party you had at your friends' home, you still had a grand time although the excitement fizzled out as soon as midnight struck(it happens every year anyway).

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you on the pressure to have fun on New Years. But yours sounds so lovely and really, truly FUN!

Here's to a delightful start to 2010!

Sarah said...

Sounds like my kind of party! We had an equally chill evening with friends, sweatshirts included.

Lisa said...

Lunardancer: It does happen every year, doesn't it? But then I feel better on Jan. 1, like the year is a clean, blank slate.

Julie: Thanks, you too! Let's hope this year is a good one.

Sarah: Yay for sweatshirts. Especially back in New York. Brr!

Unknown said...

What a delightful way to bring in the new year. Happy 2010!

Daniel said...

Yes, it was almost too pleasant for a couple of New Yorkers to bear. But there'll be no sitting out on the patio and feeling smug for Juliette and Nathan this week: lows in the '30s in South Florida! Deal with it!

Juliette said...

ah dan. how nice of you to take such delight in our floridian low 30's misery... yes it is freezing down here.

it was a lovely new years. really, glad we got to ring it in with you both! thank you for coming over and being smug with us.

Lisa said...

Juliette: We left a little parting gift of 30-degree weather for you. :)

Thanks again for everything. It was beautiful start to the year.


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