Before I shut up about it once and for all, I'd like to tell you a little about what I did for my birthday.
First of all, here's a tip: If you can swing it, take the day of your birthday off work. Hell, take the two days before your birthday off, like I did. There is nothing better—really, nothing—than hearing your awful alarm go off at 7:30 and being able to switch it off, all the while internally cackling that there will be no morning meeting for YOU! (Unless that meeting is with your bed. In which case: Yay.)
Related: A wise and lovely colleague told recently told me that you should celebrate your birthday in the spirit of how you want your year to go. “Be kind to yourself,” my colleague said, “whether that means spending time with loved ones or just going to get a manicure and pedicure.” I like that, don't you?
Anyway, I was lucky enough to have several birthday celebrations before the actual day itself, which were fabulous. My mom came to town Friday and Saturday, and we had a delicious lunch at downtown's State Street Eating House, an even better dinner at Shore Diner on St. Armands Circle, which has a retractable roof—a RETRACTABLE ROOF, you guys, as well as delightful California-cool decor with a touch of mid-century modern to it—and then a glorious coffee-fueled brunch at Station 400, where I ate a smoked salmon scramble with avocado and dill sauce that blew my mind. Yay, food.
My mom left soon after brunch, and I missed her for about five minutes before it was time to get ready for a gathering at my friend Kate's mom's home on Sarasota Bay. It was a perfect Sarasota summer night—warm, but with a breeze coming off the water that made sitting outside balancing food-laden paper plates on our laps comfortable instead of sweaty—and the company was the best. We grilled hamburgers, made a big green salad, ate homemade ice cream sandwiches made from these cookies, drank tons of wine and laughed and laughed.
On Tuesday, my actual birthday, I made the executive decision to sleep in, which I'm preeeetty sure is mandatory birthday behavior. After I finally rolled out of bed and took a long, hot shower, I decided that what I wanted to do that day was eat lunch somewhere on the water and then take one of my favorite drives in the whole wide world: Longboat Key to the tip of Anna Maria Island, a ride that's dotted with colorful beach bungalows and tiny mom-and-pop shops, and features a gorgeous view of the glittering Gulf of Mexico the entire way.
So we did.
We ate lunch at the Old Salty Dog—grouper sandwich and French fries for me, thank you—and then hopped in the car and ended up, half an hour later, at the Anna Maria City Pier, built in 1911, which boasts an amazing view of the Gulf and a sweet bait shop and restaurant. We walked out to the end of the pier, taking in the view of the aqua water, and then on the way back to the car I stopped to dip my toes in the water—another item on my birthday to-do list that I wanted to cross off. It was warm—at this time of year the water is almost like bathwater—and the overcast sky and calm water made everything feel so peaceful.
Later that night, after an equally pretty drive back to Sarasota, we went out for Italian, then the rest of the night was spent quietly at home. And I couldn't stop thinking that I had indeed taken my colleague's advice: If my birthday, and the days leading up to it, are any indication of how this year is going to go, I have a feeling it's going to be a good one.
P.S. These shoes and a sweet J.Crew top are also on their way to me, in case you wondering. It's not a birthday without treats, after all. Also, for your viewing pleasure—have I mentioned that I'm now twenty-ni-ee-ne?!