I'm 33! I made it. Yay me! I didn't get eaten by my psycho neighbors and their horrible dogs. I haven't contracted any unknown and aggressive diseases. I maintain all my limbs and have yet to employ any mace or hefty flashlights for protection. That's a WIN and I've decided to celebrate all month.
My birthday is a very reflective time for me and one of my goals this year is to be kinder to myself. This means forgiving myself quicker, laughing harder for the right reasons, and taking myself out for something special once in a while. I decided some pampering/shopping for things other than gas, food, and CostCo samples might be in order. I also had the questioning of the loving and indefatigable Emsy at my back asking what I was going to do, that it better be along the pamper lines, and to do it on my birthday. Challenge accepted!
The actual day was WONDERFUL. I let myself sleep in and read my VERY enjoyable shameless adolescent lit book. Then the little brother came over for a bit because he had a rough morning. An amazing friend dropped by with an incredibly thoughtful gift of poetry. Then I skipped off to a job interview to be a substitute teacher for one of the local school districts (which I got by the way thanks for asking) and THEN my friend Kim called me up asking if I had plans because she only has one car and the husband needed it but she had to run to Ikea for some stuff and she had a sitter but her ride fell through and was wondering if I could help her out. I thought Well, I love Kim and I like Ikea so the two together would be lovely on my birthday.
So I picked up Kim and off we went to Ikea and piddled about with fancy ice cube trays and lamp shades and throw pillows and third world children and lava lamps and all that lovely stuff that makes Ikea so magical. She needed storage containers and it took me moving to realize that I didn't have any dishes so I needed to get some plates and stop eating out of tupperware for bowls.
We finished up our hunting and gathering and were subsequently starving so we headed up to the cafe for necessary meatballs and lindenberry juice to cap our Swedish experience when what to my wondering eye should appear but a table full of the rest of our amazing group of friends who had gathered to surprise me. I had NO idea. Kim had concocted the whole plan. Apparently Ikea was a good idea because they have these mini marzipan princess cakes (as show in full scale above) and they are my traditional birthday cake (I've had one every year since I was 8) and the love, friendship, scheming and giggling commenced from there. I was uber touched. One, because I love surprises and two, because this was a surprise for me. We ate and giggled and opened cards and presents and I teared up looking around the table at these women who are my family and was so grateful I had to stop talking for a few moments here and there. Also, there were delicious meatballs that needed consumption and I had to comply.
The last stop of the night was Mom and Dad's. Mom decided to cook Boston Market for dinner and the cousin and his new fiance swung by with some gorgeous purple calla lilies. Mom's gift this year was also very thoughtful. See - we're cooks at our house. Mom's main creative outlets were costume design, makeup, and cooking. All of us learned at her elbow because getting a recipe out of mom is almost impossible ("fill your cupped hand to the second wrinkle with cinnamon...") and we all worked out of Mom's second edition of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by the glorious and amazing Julia Child. A moment for The Julia if you will.
OK. So when mom got sick and pretty much had to stop cooking (like 8 years ago) I asked her if I could have her copy of Julia's book. I had held off on getting a copy of my own 1) because I was hoping to get mom's with all the notes in the margins and memorable grease stains and 2) because I just felt like that was something special that needed to be given and not just bought. Like jewelry or nicknames. It only really counts if it's given - you know? Anyway - So I started asking for the book. Mom always said no, said that she's not ready to hang up her apron yet etc. SO - for Christmas last year we all got Amazon gift certificates and I finally broke down, let go of my over-sentimentality, and just bought myself a copy of the book. I missed it and I couldn't remember all of the recipes I wanted to make. Well - fast forward 9 months and what do I have before my eyes but the COMPLETE set of Mastering the Art of French Cooking which honestly touched me to the core. Yes I already had the book but this is the copy of the book that my MOM gave me. That's way better. So I gave Little Brother my copy (See! It's something that needs to be given) and now we're all amply instructed on how to consume butter and have adequate excuses to do Julia Child impressions as we do. Can life get better? I submit that it cannot.
But wait - this is the part of my birthday that has REALLY got my heart singing....
I went to a lecture by Ray Bradbury once and he said "I'm the world's greatest lover. I love EVERYTHING! I love libraries and history and food and my shoes and my wheelchair. I love it all" and I feel the same way. I love a LOT of things very loudly but of all those things there are a few that I love most. One of those things for me is perfume. I love everything about it. I love the beautiful bottles and the different smells for different occasions at different times of day. I love the little ceremony of putting it on. I love how I feel after I do. I love having all those pretty bottles on a pretty tray on my vanity. I love how feminine it makes me feel. I love how it looks and the possibilities they all hold. I just love it all.
My problem is perfume is expensive and because I love it so much it's something I don't have a problem spending money on if I have it. So naturally I buy it maybe once every 3 years and try to make it last. WELL - guess what I did for my birthday for myself?! YUP! I bought myself some perfume (thank you Grandma and Grandpa) and NOT just any kind. See - Sephora has a genius product development dept. They have perfume samplers. It's a box with 9-12 different samples of perfume that you buy for the price of one large bottle of perfume. You take it home, you try all of them out (because it takes a while to figure out which perfume you like and which one you don't) and it comes with a voucher that you take back to the store and you can get a full size of which ever perfume you decided you liked. Amazing! Usually the samples inside are the husky tubes with a little spray nozzle but they recently came out with THIS one
Glorious isn't it??! Look at all those adorable bottles of perfume (all of which I've sampled before and like a lot) AND I used the voucher at the same time to buy a full-sized bottle of the new DKNY Delicious scent "Golden Delicious" which is amazing and - well - delicious - if I do say so myself. Techinically I should have only been able to use it for the Be Delicious that was a part of the sample pack but they let me slide. Have I mentioned lately how much I love Sephora?
I'm just giddy happy right now looking at my pretty row of bottles and smelling good.
Oh - and these are what Target gave me for my birthday
They were on clearance for $7. AMAZING.
Great shoes. Great friends. Amazing family. Marzipan. Smelling good - I'm set. All I need is a good man and some Ella Fitzgerald and nirvana is mine.
Up next - my Medieval Times Birthday Adventure with Emsy. Life will never be the same.