If there were ever a glass half full person, it would be my husband, Andrew. He has a gift for making everything sound appealing.  In moments where I truly see only disaster, he’s there to paint a rosy picture. I rely on him constantly to reframe things and help me to see things through a kinder, softer, more generous lens. When my instinct is to catastrophize, his is to put in perspective. When my instinct is to dramatize, his is to humanize. When my instinct is to wallow in what didn’t work, his is to celebrate what did.

“You would not believe what happened at work today,” I’ll bemoan.

“Let’s have a glass of wine and talk it through by the fire. You would not believe how beautiful the sunset is today,” he’ll reply happily.

Truly, he is a gift.

Andrew & Brenna

Even in moments of silliness, he is joyful. He has three drinking modes: Smiling, Fist Pumping alone on the dance floor, and the Irish Goodbye. When some people might become an uglier version of themselves when drinking, he is just happier. Andrew is great on his own, happy in his own skin. Even when alone on the dance floor.  

One of the joys of having lived deeply independent lives for the last 18 years is the self-reliance. Andrew has traveled almost every week for the 12 years he’s worked for Shake Shack, and in my tenure with LVMH, I traveled internationally for long stints 8-10 times a year. Our lives together until being radically shaken up by the pandemic felt like dating—whirlwind trips and weekends together.

His happiness and general joy have been a lesson I’ve had to teach myself, a skill learned and honed when he’s not there. I learned to treat myself like my own mistress or lover. I work every day at channeling the “what would Andrew do" mentality. At the risk of sounding like Beyonce, I buy myself flowers. I speak kindly to myself.  I’m kind to my body. I take myself out to nice dinners. I throw myself parties.

I’m just out here dancing on my own. Not quite fist pumping, but close enough. 

I love to find brands and experiences that celebrate solo-ness and kindness to yourself. One of my favorite restaurants in the city, Balthazar, has a tradition where they send all solo diners a glass of champagne. I find myself sitting alone at a two top with my notebook, sipping bubbles, celebrating the week, surviving another cycle of managing a small business, and the pleasure of being alone. Our flagship store and restaurant, Champers Social Club, opening in April, is right down the block, and when we signed the lease, I felt a true camaraderie. Clearly we were neighbors who understand what it means to be proud to party on your own.

In the original brainstorming for what Feste could be, I had a bunch of sticky notes all over my apartment —stuck to the mirror, taped to my desk, attached to windows. Big parties, small get-togethers, events for kids. But the ideas I was most excited about were this concept of being festive all by your damn self.

Listen, festive is a state of mind, a revelatory choice to celebrate, to choose joy. This is not some toxic positivity nonsense—I believe strongly that processing your emotions is important, that acknowledging grief, pain, and your own mental journey is essential to health. But when I do have something to celebrate, I’m breaking out the confetti, whether there’s a guest list of 100 or 1. 

Join me in my passion project. You deserve it. It’s Andrew approved.

5 Ideas For A Party You Can Do All By Yourself 
  1. Selfcare isn’t just about skincare, lovers

You might need a moment to unplug, unwind, and relax. Sure, you could put on a mask and get in a tub, but you could also roll a joint, break out the bubbly, and put on your favorite records and dance alone in your apartment to Dean Martin. That’s how I selfcare, FYI.

Ribbed Colored Coupe Glass, Set of 2
Ribbed Colored Coupe Glass, Set of 2

  1. Just got promoted, and I’m treating myself

Ain’t nobody loves you better (than yourself, baby). You don’t need anyone else to validate what a fucking badass you are. Pour yourself a generous cocktail, string that congratulations banner across the mirror, and practice saying your new title as you introduce yourself. That bonus won’t spend itself. May we recommend blowing it on something special?

Hot Dang Banner

  1. Left that relationship that wasn’t working

We’ve all been there. I mean, even Adele had a break up album this year. Crank it up, light a million candles (you know you look gorgeous by candle light), get something amazing delivered because GUESS WHAT you don’t have to share it anymore.

Ribbed Pillar Candle

  1. It’s my birthday and I’m starting the day strong

I like to jump out of bed yelling “it’s my birthday” to what I imagine is the joy of my neighbors. Then I immediately have cake. Celebrate immediately. Who knows what the day will bring. Why save breakfast in bed for mother’s day? I like to have a shower champagne and start the day strong.

Small Heirloom Glass Cake Stand

  1. Fuck it, it’s been a long day

It’s my party, and I can cry if I want to. Literally. Picture me stress weeping and standing over a lovely cheese board that I set up for myself on the kitchen island. I don’t share it. I eat it alone. With a beautiful glass of wine and party hat. I feel better.

Thick Marble Board

February 23, 2022 — Brenna Gilbert