The day has arrived. Today I am 30.
I've had a whole year to prepare for this, but for some reason I simply cannot wrap my brain around the fact that I've reached this particular age.
I wanted to keep the celebrations low key this year (a dramatic change from all previous years), but my amazing family and friends refused to let this milestone come and go quietly.
Today, I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the birthday festivities.
As you know, I don't usually share personal photos on the blog. I normally like to keep the focus on whatever we're talking about - food, clothes, concerts, museums - rather than on what I was wearing or how frizzy my hair was that day, but it's a new decade, so what the heck! Let's share some personal pictures.
It all started on Saturday September 13th, when my parents and sister flew into Boston to spend the weekend with me. My parents came up from Miami and my sister from New York and our first stop was brunch at The Beehive in the South End.
The minute we walked in, my mom shouted at the hostess, "It's my daughter's 30th birthday! We're here to celebrate!" She was literally bursting with excitement. Thanks to her declaration, when I ordered my Bloody Mary it came with a candle sticking up out of the olive!
To follow my birthday Bloody, I had a plate of the world's most decadent French toast.
I can always clear my plate, but this serving was so huge and so rich, I had to tap out half way through!
Post-brunch we did some major shopping. In the evening we moved on to dinner at Alden & Harlow in Harvard Square. Here's a picture of my family, very happy and very full!
The team at Alden & Harlow was so outrageously generous and treated us like royalty. At the end of our meal we were all wishing we had worn elastic waist pants. Just as we were planning to ask for the check, our server said, "The chef insists you stay for dessert" and he sent out two beautiful desserts with candles!
The next morning we all gathered at my grandmother's house for a family party. We have four September birthdays just within the first cousins, so we had lots to celebrate.
Here's a look at our triple chocolate cake (dark, milk and white chocolate), special ordered from Party Favors in Brookline.
My parents brought out the cake covered in sparklers. I was so surprised! In that moment I thought to myself, "This is the best! Why did I want to down play my birthday again?"
And yes, I am wearing a birthday sash. Mom strikes again!
After cake, my mom made me open all my presents in front of everyone (bridal shower style). The highlight was definitely the gift from my two baby cousins who are three years old and 18 months. They colored a card and finger painted this work of art!
My heart could just explode thinking of the two of them working on this together.
Post-family party, there was a two week celebration hiatus. Then this past Friday I was scooped up by one of my college BFFs and whisked away for a surprise getaway weekend.
We pulled into the driveway of our destination and my jaw dropped. This stunning house in Mystic, CT would be our home for the whole weekend.
If this is 30, sign me up!
For our first night, we had dinner and drinks at Azu. I highly recommend this restaurant, particularly the crispy eggplant tower and the buttermilk onion rings.
When I woke up Saturday morning, the girls had set up a feast fit for a queen! There was a make your own mimosa bar, funfetti bear claw pastries and vegetarian eggs benedict.
Once showered and changed, they revealed our next stop, the Saltwater Farm Vineyard! The vineyard was stunning and we had picture perfect weather.
We did a wine tasting outside, purchased two bottles and then had the most magnificent picnic. The girls had already shopped for a super indulgent spread.
Drunk and happy we explored the whole vineyard, walking through the rows and rows of grapes and enjoying the water view at the far end of the property.
That afternoon, we took a sunset cruise around Mystic Harbor. It was fun to see the whole town from the boat and to wave to all the other folks out on the water.
Watching the sun set was magical.
By the time we returned the boat to the dock, a sliver of moon had appeared in the sky. So pretty!
That evening, my schemers banished me to the back deck while they set up the next surprise at the house. When I was allowed back in, I saw that they had decorated the dining room with a banner, tissue paper poofs, fresh flowers and a giant gift bag.
The dinner menu was all my favorites - buffalo cauliflower, garlic bread, bruschetta and pasta with homemade pesto. Oh how they spoil me!
A few hours later, once we had a bit more room, out came the birthday cake! One of my BFFs in attendance for the weekend is a pastry chef at Baked in Brooklyn and she brought their signature sweet & salty cake. It's salted caramel soaked chocolate cake, frosted and filled with caramel chocolate whipped ganache and topped with fleur de sel.
I had a piece the size of a human head. #SorryImNotSorry
On our final morning we had a delicious breakfast on the back deck and then spent the day shopping in Mystic. I bought a whole new fall wardrobe (whoops) and found Almond Joy tea at a specialty spice shop. Jackpot!
After an incredible weekend away, I woke up this morning feeling lucky and ready to take on this new decade, whatever it may bring.
30, here I come!
*Happy Birthday candle photo courtesy of A Subtle Revelry.