It's Ladies' Night...

Deep down, I think I'm a bit of a homebody. I could easily and happily stay home most of the time, but that seems like a waste given all the entertainment opportunities available in the city on a daily basis. Blogging has been my way of making myself accountable for getting out and leading a more well-rounded life, and even though all this running around occasionally exhausts my inner recluse, I know it's good for me. In particular, I've been focusing lately on hanging out more with my friends, and diversifying my social calendar, which I think has been going quite successfully.

One of the best parts of my summer has been the biweekly girls' night dinners I've been setting up with Sarah and Stephanie, old friends of mine from high school. We've tried a couple different restaurants, but we keep returning to La Madia, where I first went during Restaurant Week earlier this year, and which has quickly become one of my favorite, reasonably-priced spots in the downtown area. It only took one visit to convert Sarah and Steph, and now they're spreading the word to their friends as well. Pretty soon, when we can't get a table there, we'll regret having shared our secret.

My friendships are important to me, and it's always been sad to me how much less time I've been able to spend with my friends on a consistent basis ever since I graduated college and we no longer lived within a mile of each other and operated on more or less the same schedule. I'd gotten used to seeing my friends only occasionally and sporadically, but making a regular date with some of them has been a reminder of times gone by. For lack of a better word, hanging out with these girls every other week has been healing. I can't really express how good it's been for me to get together, share in each others' lives, and really get to follow how things in their lives are unfolding. The support, validation, and deep belly laughs that we share uplifts me and leaves me in a fantastic mood every time we see each other.

Tonight's girls' night will be our last for a while, as Stephanie is headed down to St. Louis to start her Ph.D. in art history at my alma mater, Wash U. Her presence will be missed, but we plan to get together again whenever she's in town. I'm lucky to count these girls among my friends, and I already can't wait for our next girls' night out!

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