I know it’s taken me a while to post about my recent birthday celebration – let’s just blame it on getting old.

Thursday night entailed going out with co-worker friends and getting lots of too-sweet drinks (one amaretto sour from my hairdresser after getting highlights at 3p.m., one fruity margarita from my friend’s ex who happened to be at the restaurant, and one house margarita with an extra shot of orange liqueur I bought myself). The end result was finally experiencing what all of you likely experienced in college. Yuck. Not fun.

Hookie Day Friday (my actual birthday) was wonderful. (And, for the record, I drank nothing but water or tea all day and night.) It’s not that I don’t like my kid, because you know I adore her, but having an entire 8 hours as a couple again is so refreshing. We could to be spontaneous; we could go shopping for a stretched out period of time (without chasing a 2 year old around); we could go out to eat twice without having to think about the menu and if it could accommodate Claire’s allergies to dairy and egg; we could go to a movie in the middle of the day; and we could spend time at the cheese counter at Whole Foods, carefully selecting the rich and fatty chunks of cheese that were to be the highlight of my party. It felt luxurious!

I told Huz not to bother with getting me a gift because, frankly, getting to dress up and have friends over to sip wine and eat cheese was enough for me. But he really surprised me by thinking hard about what I would like and, boy, did he hit the nail on the head. He replaced a pair of tan leather boots that Neville chewed up a few years ago. I’ve been wearing them, even with holes in the heel, because they were expensive boots that he bought me when we lived in Chicago and I really do like them. He remembered that the holes bothered me though and actually did research on Zappos (!) to find me a new pair. He got these darling boots for me and, I have to say, the boy knows my style to a “T” even if he says he was nervous while shopping for me.

Talk about sexy, right? The leather is buttery soft and the gathers are perfectly bohemian and sexy. But the great gift-giving didn’t end there! Remember when I told you that I took the interior design quiz in Real Simple a few weeks ago? Well, Huz noticed that under each design category there were book recommendations and he bought me two books that totally speak to my type of design!

What an amazing guy! It got even better when he spent all day Saturday preparing for my wine and cheese party. Based on the cheeses we had picked out together the night before, he bought a bunch of wines that complimented them perfectly. He then baked french bread and an amazing devil’s food cake that is, quite literally, the best cake I’ve ever had. Since I was just newly inspired by the books he got me, I decided to go to a local thrift store to find some china plates for the party (I got 11 for .99 cents a piece). I also aquired a nice cheese board for a mere $2.99 and a few glass bowls to put flowers in. We had a lovely time enjoying decadent cheese and wine, getting all dressed up with friends, and chatting the night away. Bonus: Claire didn’t wake up once, even when someone dropped a (full, unopened) bottle of wine on the tile floor!

Got my smoky eye on:

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We labeled all of our cheeses (with wine pairing recommendations):

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The cheese and wines we had were:

Belle Chevre from Alabama – a creamy, tarty, sweet goat cheese that paired well with Sauvignon Blanc
St. Andre from France – an amazing triple creme, soft, buttery, intensely tangy cheese that paired will with Cotes du Rhone (This was my favorite of the night.)
Appleby Double Gloucester from England – a rich, nutty, mellow, butter cheddar that paired well with cotes du Rhone and Sauvignon Blanc
Rogue River Blue from Oregon – a sweet, earthy, pungent blue cheese (that won best blue in the world in 2004) that paired well with Coted du Rhone or Riesling
Petit Agour from Basque – a buttery, sweet, nutty sheep’s milk cheese that paired will with Sauvignon Blanc and Cotes Du Rhone (This was my 2nd favorite.)
Manchego from Spain – a nutty, sweety sheep’s milk cheese that paired well with Rioja (My 3rd favorite.)

.99 cent plates that looked like a million bucks:

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The spread:

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Me and my lovely friends:

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Notice my dress changes in this shot. I bought a great convertible dress that can be worn 9 different ways, so halfway through the party my girlfriends took me to my room and changed it up!

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The utterly amazing cake Huz made for me:

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I’m not the only one who thought my birthday books were cool:

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Needless to say, I had a great time. I’d like to thank my friends for getting all dressed up with me and for their love, support and friendship over the past 5 years here in Nashville. I’m especially grateful for my husband who put an enormous amount of thought and energy into giving me a perfect birthday. I feel loved and blessed. Can you tell in this picture? I can.

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So today is my birthday. Huz made me banana pancakes with some salt-free margarine he found at Kroger. It was good – sure beats cold cereal with watery almond “milk”, but I gotta admit that I really wanted some bacon to go with it. Come on March 2nd!

How am I celebrating my birthday? I’m at home with Claire who is sick. It started on Monday with vomiting, then that resolved and she’s been lethargic with a low-grade fever ever since. Huz took her to the Dr. yesterday and she was diagnosed with an ear infection. This is the first time she’s been on antibiotics; I’m glad that she went 15 months before needing them. It sucks having a child who seems to be sick every month, but I know it’s par for the course when you introduce a child to daycare. The good news is that this will really build up her immune system and by next year or the year after she’ll probably not get sick very often again.

I’m waiting until Huz gets home from TAing and then I’ll go to work at around noon. My dear friend is coming over to babysit tonight after Huz and I put Claire to bed and eat a LID compliant dinner at home. We’re going to a photography show that a woman in my new book club is a part of and then to the movies. Now, if only I could decide which one to see: Coraline, The Reader, The Wrestler? Of course I’m trying to find one that’s not too late (10:00!?) since I have to work tomorrow.

There. Now you see that I am, indeed, old. I’m worried about staying up to midnight on a weeknight.

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My 33rd is coming up on the 19th and even though it wasn’t in the budget this month (have I told you about all of my medical bills? It’s HORRIBLE. I switched insurance after having Claire so that it’d be a cheaper monthly payment, not expecting to get cancer, and I have to pay 20% of everything and have a huge deductible of $3,000 just for me yearly. I definitely have to pay that for the surgery and, unfortunately, it’s now a new year and I’ll have to pay another 3k for the radiation which the Dr. said is “very expensive.” Also? Huz’s funding for his PhD ends in May. I’m FREAKING out.), I decided to get my hair cut. It was much needed, especially since I cut my own bangs a few weeks ago and have been walking around looking like a butchered freak.

Anyway. I like my new, lighter look. Ahhh.

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