My Surprise Birthday Celebration

I turned 31 two weeks ago and my husband threw me a surprise party! I’ve never had a surprise party before and I couldn’t believe it, he actually got me! This birthday was completely different from my 30th (check out my post Ain’t No Party Like a Disco Party! to read about that wild party). To be honest, this year I wasn’t really in the celebrating mood since I was 20 weeks pregnant and not feeling like myself. Also, our summer has already been so busy and then still everything going on with Covid. Luckily my husband knows me well and knows that typically I am ALLLLL about birthdays, so he went above and beyond (and so did my mom and friends!) to make me feel loved and special.

We started the day being tourists in Seattle walking along the pier. We saw a caricature artist on the side walk doing drawings and decided to go for it. I have always wanted to do this! Welp, in the picture I look like a crazy person while my husband looks like Mr. Incredible. 😂

Our first stop along the pier was the The Crab Pot which you should definitely check out if you are ever visiting Seattle. Crab, fish, salmon, muscles, clams..seafood galore. We went with the Crab Louie and Fish and Chips and split everything (One of the best things about having a partner is sharing food at restaurants so you always get to try two meals instead of one, agree?). We also got a side of melted butter to dip some of the crab from the salad in. Mmmmm, I’m getting hungry just thinking about this meal.

Our next stop was going to MoPOP, Museum of Pop and Culture (which I still call the EMP). This is a unique place if you have never been. My husband knows I love everything Disney and they were having a special Heroes & Villains exhibit showing many costumes from Disney movies and TV shows, so he decided to get tickets. The last time we were at the EMP was for a NYE party in 2017. Again, this year was a little different from the last time we were there 🙃. It was fun reminiscing on those memories (the photo below of me in the vampire coffin was from the NYE party in 2017!). After walking through all the exhibits at the EMP, we made our way to another classic tourist spot, the International Fountain and lounged around in the sunshine.

At this point I was feeling pretty tired and ready to head home, but what I didn’t know was that my husband was trying to kill time before heading back for the surprise party. He suggested we go to UVillage to get some maternity clothes. Shopping? Sure! Also, the past couple of weeks I had been feeling a little down about my clothes and what was/wasn’t fitting me (was using hair ties to keep my shorts buttoned) so I was excited to find some pieces that actually fit my changing body.

After shopping we made our way back to our house and at this point my husband was acting a little strange but I still didn’t know about the party. (Some strange things: Our Ring Doorbell was covered in tape so I couldn’t see the camera, he told me I should wear one of my new dresses out of the store home, he asked me to look at some marble tile on his phone as we were driving so I wouldn’t see all the cars parked on our street). When we walked inside, I noticed some balloons and decorations on our deck when I looked through the window. I turned the corner into our back room and everyone yelled SURPRISE! I was actually shocked. So excited and so so happy to see my friends, my mom and my favorite pups there to celebrate.

After all my questions of “How did you you guys pull this off? Wait, you made this?! Aww you guys! Tommy how long have you been planning this?” everyone brought out the food and snacks. Watermelon, 7-layer bean dip that one of my friends makes and is always BOMB!, and my absolute favorite – fried chicken and jojos. Mmm also my friend brought a dozen cookies from Crumbl Cookies and they were absolutely incredible. (Get the pink one always and their menu changes each week to mix and match the rest. I’m seriously about to order these right now just to have around the house because they are so delicious).

This birthday was much different than the last but in the best way possible. It was a surprise party that I won’t ever forget and the perfect celebration for this time in my life right now. My husband, my mom and my friends outdid themselves and I felt SO much love. Very memorable and a very special day turning 31!

Ain’t No Party Like A Disco Party!

Welp, it happened. I can no longer say, “I’m in my 20s” because last week I turned 30. THIRTY! Everyone always says this is such a big birthday. A milestone. A new chapter. That once you hit 30 you become an adult. What does that even really mean? (#foreveryoung) I was honestly looking forward to turning 30 because I love birthdays and celebrations in general. Plus most of my friends are already 30 so I was looking forward to joining the club.

Originally I wanted to spend my birthday traveling with my husband. When this was no longer an option due to everything going on in the world, I thought it would be fun to go to the beach or go someplace close to get away. From my 14th to 18th birthday, every year for 5 years I had a party at the beach/park close to where I grew up. We would swim, float, play games, run around in the sand + sunshine and of course eat endless fried chicken. If you are reading this and you know me from high school, chances are you were at the beach one of those years. 😉 Well instead of a beach party, my close friends and I decided to rent a house for the weekend about 2 hours away from Seattle. We had a themed Disco Dance Party and it was absolutely AMAZING! Seriously. So much fun.

We stayed at the most beautiful rental in Leavenworth, WA. Right on the river. Private beach. Hot tub. VolleyBall Court. BBQ. And enough bedrooms for everyone to sleep comfortably – because ya know, we’re 30 now and sleep is important.

We spent the days at the beach, blew up a bunch of inner tubes and floated on the river. When I say floated I mean we were either tied up to a rock or my husband ‘rope boy’ was making sure we were all attached and pulling us along. Well, until that moment when we weren’t and tried riding the current. A couple of us went a little too far but luckily rope boy ran down and got everyone before the extreme rapids. Later we barbecued, went in the hot tub, popped some champagne and played games. The day turned into a little beach party after all.

Saturday night was DISCO TIME! My thoughtful sister-in-law surprised me by bringing decorations for the living room Disco. All the classic 70s music was playing, pictures everywhere, balloons, glow sticks and of course the disco lights. She also had everyone contribute to a 30 Things We Love About You gift which made me feels so special (I made myself wait until I got home to read them because I knew I would get emotional. The night before I got teary-eyed when everyone was singing happy birthday. I was completely overtaken with happiness from being surrounded by my friends. Just feeling so very, very grateful and literally couldn’t speak. Tears of joy ❤️ ).

Everyone dressed up in 70s inspired outfits. Jumpsuits, Sparkles, Hoops, Fur, Tie-Dye, Bell-Bottoms, Sunglasses, Gold Chains, Wigs. Just the best.

We danced + sang all night. I had an absolute blast and still can’t stop thinking about all the fun moments from the weekend. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to enter this ‘new chapter’ of 30s. I have a feeling it’s going to be great.

30th Birthday – Quarantine Style

It’s challenging to plan a birthday party in the middle of a pandemic, especially a 30th birthday. My husband Tommy turned 30 on April 10th and for his birthday we were planning on taking a two week road trip from Seattle to the Grand Canyon and back.

We were going to travel to Helena, MT to visit our friends, hike and then camp around there in this log cabin. From there the plan was to drive to Yellowstone, head to Salt Lake City, go to Antelope Canyon, travel to the Grand Canyon and end our trip in Portland. We wanted to rent a van from Escape Campervans (with a queen bed, kitchenette and everything you need for a great road trip) and we were planning on bringing our pup Edgar to make this a family adventure. Unfortunately we canceled since we’re in the middle of a corona crisis and had to come up with plan B for Tommy’s birthday.

I saw this Birthday Parade idea from a teacher I follow on Instagram who posted about celebrating her sons birthday. They had a parade of cars driving by, honking, yelling out the window, cheering, etc. So I thought, why not have a Surprise Drive by Birthday for my 30 year old hubs. This way he could still see all his favorite people while still maintaining social distancing. And WOW…it was amazing.

We started his birthday like any other person in quarantine would; by sleeping in late, lounging around the house, not getting dressed and staying in our pjs. We purchased the game Crash Bandicoot for xBox and played this for a good part of the day (I was obsessed with this game when I was younger, if you’ve never played I suggest getting it). Between racing on Crash Bandicoot for hours and getting up for parts of the day to be productive, I baked Tommy a birthday cake and we had Bloody Merrys (he still had no idea about the surprise planned for later).

Eventually I asked Tommy to shower and put on real clothes (remember we were lounging living the quarantine life) because I told him I wanted to take a picture of him opening his gift. For part of his gift I needed to have my laptop projected onto the TV and asked him to help me with this. At this point he was starting to wonder what was going on and said he was getting worried. He thought I was going to surprise him with a Zoom Birthday Meeting with all of his friends (something he specifically said he did not want).

I assured him we would not be having a Zoom meeting and instead played the video I made for him; 30 Reasons Why I Love You. By the end of the video we are both teary eyed and cracking up and I told him it’s time for his second surprise. Oh no, what. Oh no what are you planning, what are we doing; was what Tommy kept asking as I had him walk outside to the street.

I showed him the sign and balloons on my car and told him this was the surprise, to wait there so I could take his picture. At this point he’s starting to get suspicious, looks down the hill and sees the long row of cars about to drive up. He couldn’t believe it.

So many of Tommy’s closet friends and family members came out to celebrate him on his 30th! Cars were decorated with balloons + banners + streamers, bday signs were out, dogs + kids + babies in the backseats, sunroofs open, gifts passed through car windows (lots of delicious baked goods because ya know great quarantine hobby), lots of honking, lots of cheering. 14 cars total. It was awesome.

Among all the balloons and gifts was a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, so naturally Tommy got down on one knee and chugged it. After the parade a group of friends and family members parked on the street and the drive by parade turned into little block party (all while maintaining social distancing), with some champagne and cake to follow.

After everyone left, Tommy and I enjoyed the cake to ourselves since he blew out the candles and we didn’t want to spread germs to anyone. But dang! Three layer cake…it was good. Recipe from Half Baked Harvest. Highly recommend and I’m not usually a baker.

His final surprise was a Virtual Birthday Card from a website called Group Greeting (Thanks Brann for recommending this site!). You can choose from a variety of cards, send the link to friends + family to have them sign and then it gets emailed out whenever you schedule. You can also turn it into a PDF to print out and deliver in person. (Some offices have been using these to stay connected. Also there are more than just birthday cards on this site, could be used in lots of different ways).

Perhaps a Birthday Parade will become the new normal for a while. It might sound like a silly idea, but the impact of seeing the people who mean the most to you on your birthday is just incredible (even if it is just for a quick drive by moment). I definitely recommend planning or participating in this if you know of an upcoming birthday and are looking for a creative way to celebrate. Great for all ages, something to look forward to, gets the whole family out of the house, very unique, lots of laughter, lots of fun and so very memorable.

Dogwood Play Park

My husband Tommy and I absolutely love dogs. Some might say we are a little obsessed with our crazy pup Edgar. He is a Miniature Australian Shepherd and requires lots of exercise and lots of love. But living in the Pacific Northwest means constant unpredictable weather, making it challenging to take Edgar out for walks (because I am not a fan of walking outside in the wet and cold).

Luckily we discovered this amazing indoor/outdoor off-leash dog park called Dogwood Play Park (just north of Seattle), for days when the weather isn’t so great or when we want to go out without leaving Edgar home alone. Oh and the best part, there is a bar there! So not only is this an amazing place to let your pup run around and play, but also great to go and socialize with friends.

They have a large selection of beer, a small dog area, a large dog area, tennis balls to throw, a dog bakery for treats, and plenty of space (indoor and outdoor) for your pup to play and run around. They also have a separate space that is available to rent for events.

Since many of my friends are also obsessed with their dogs, one friend and I decided to throw a joint 1st birthday party for Edgar and his best friend Toby. We rented the space at Dogwood so everyone could get in for free. We went all out. Printed invitations, birthday cakes from The Seattle Barkery, bow tie souvenirs, treat bags to go, small bites and snacks for the humans and we even made a photo-booth area. Below is a video from the party.

The 1st birthday party event was very ridiculous but also so much fun. Since then Edgar and I have been back several times.

So if you are looking for a space to escape the Seattle rain, let your dog run wild and enjoy a drink with friends, check out Dogwood Play Park. It costs $12 per dog to enter and they must have current vaccinations up to date. An excuse to get together with friends and play with a bunch of amazing pups…who wouldn’t love that?

Hot Air Balloon Ride

For my 25th birthday one of my bucket list dreams came true…I went on a hot air balloon ride! Click the video below to watch our adventure in the sky.

My mom and I woke up around 4am and drove to Ballooning Snohomish. We arrived about 30 minutes after sunrise, checked in and then drove to Harvey Field nearby where we began setting up the balloons. Once the balloons were laid out, they used a powerful fan to fill them up with cold air. Then they replaced the fan with propane burners to heat the air until it became hot enough to lift the baskets off the ground. The whole process took about 15 minutes.

Then we were ready for take off! Hot air balloons float with the wind and the wind moves in different directions at different elevations. So the wind patterns dictate the flight path for the day. Our pilot controlled the temperature of the balloon using a propane burner to heat the air inside and guided us along the path.

The views were breathtaking! It was magical being so high up in the sky and looking down on the world. We traveled for about an hour and saw panoramic views of the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges and the beautiful farmlands of the Snohomish valleys.

My mom and I got lucky because there were only two other people in the basket with us (another mom and daughter). Depending on how many people book a flight that day you could have a small group like we did or a larger group of 8 + the pilot. One thing to mention is the balloon ride is very noisy (from the hot air inflating and deflating). We got used to it after a bit but if you have sensitive hearing I recommend bringing ear plugs.

We landed in Bob’s Corn Maze (a field nearby in Snohomish) and then we were driven back to our home base where we had champagne and cake. A special day with my mama, beautiful views, fun adventure, lasting memories. Definitely recommend going on a hot air balloon ride. You will have the best time!

Leavenworth Weekend Getaway

If you are looking for a quick and cozy weekend getaway that’s not too far from the city, Leavenworth might just be the perfect place. About a 2 hour drive from Seattle, Leavenworth is a Bavarian-styled village in the Cascade Mountains. The village is of full of incredible buildings, great restaurants-featuring many German style foods and beer, local wineries and shopping boutiques, making this stop not only unique but also beautiful. We’ve traveled to Leavenworth a handful of times and always have had the best experience. This time we went to celebrate our friends 30th birthday, and it did not disappoint.

Tommy and I hit the road around 2pm. On the way to Leavenworth, we stopped at Sultan Bakery to pick up some sweets for the car ride. They have the BEST cookies (we got three) and amazing desserts. Highly recommend if you have never been.

We arrived in Leavenworth around 4pm and went to our first stop, Icicle Ridge Winery to start our weekend. From there we went to Icicle Brewing Company (definitely an icicle theme here) and had some German beer and a hot pretzel with cheese sauce…so good! They recently remodeled the brewery to make it more comfortable to sit inside (Tommy sat in a ski lift/converted to chair swing-loved it). They also have live music every Friday and Saturday night!

Even though we came to Leavenworth in February, all the Christmas decorations and lights were still up throughout the town. It felt like a little winter wonderland.

We rented a beautiful, secluded cabin that was about 10 minutes from town and stayed there with 10 of our friends to celebrate. We ate a lot of food, played a bunch of games, went hot tubbing, went on a little hike, played with our friends pup-Knox, watched movies in the theater room and enjoyed hanging out at the cabin with each other.

On Sunday we packed up, checked out and ventured back to town for breakfast. We went to Louie’s Cafe (amazing bloody marry) and took a short scenic walk along the Wenatchee River. Overall, a great place to celebrate a 30th birthday and a great place to travel to for a quick weekend getaway!