I missed my brother's birthday dinner to eat with old friends, one of whose birthday is the day after mine. We went to Three Drunken Goats in Montrose.
[team J bday]
My actual birthday was a long day spent at church. I found out that it was my pastor's birthday, too, plus another person's a couple of days later. One of our friends made cupcakes topped with thin mints and initials (our names all start with "J'), and another friend brought a lovely fruit tart from Porto's.
Later in the week a group of friends met for a quick dinner at Zankou Chicken. My good friend treated me to my first shawerma wrap! Thanks, Beej!
The following week we did a birthday party for college friends. Tres leches cake from Perfectly Sweet, along shrimp egg rolls, gourmet sandwiches, and homemade Hainan chicken rice and ribs!
I generally am over gift-giving because I don't want to accumulate "stuff." Rather, I'm in favor of gifts of experience like movies or meals, gifts of quality time, or handknits. So I felt a bit bad about all the gifts bestowed on me this year; but I was able to shake it off (meaning: not feeling guilty and not thinking of a reciprocal gift) and simply be grateful.
- West Elm vases/containers -- love that they're white!
- Garden Anywhere by Alys Fowler
- Back to Basics by Abigail R. Gehring
- Soap -- delightful rose scent, sent long-distance from WDC
- Sakura and gold-flecked stationery and sakura tenugui from Ito-Ya in Japan
- Grey and pastel-striped summer scarf -- something I especially like because I wouldn't have chosen it for myself
- Target & Best Buy gift cards -- the loophole against my "buy nothing new" rule
- Really nice, out-of-my-price-point headphones (from my brothers)
Zooming out from the above picture, you'll see one of my birthday gifts to self:
A vintage loveseat, found on CL (of course). And thanks to my youngest brother's charm, it set me back $50 instead of the $75 at which it was listed -- score! The light blue-grey damask-y upholstery is in good shape, but isn't really my style, so I've lined it with a jersey sheet while I search the internets for fabric. My ideas range from a luxurious teal or gold or cream velvet, to a simple geometric, to something unique, like this. In the meantime, it fits my little space perfectly (and means that not all of my guests have to sit on my (day)bed!).
[sewing machine + box]
My second self-gift was a vintage sewing machine. I'd been researching for a while and knew I wanted an older Husqvarna for its high quality (the body is a single cast metal piece) and --frankly -- its hawt Swedish desgin. It's a Husqvarna Viking 6020, complete with folding table, carrying case, and accessories. It's just beautiful to look at, isn't it? And the sweing chair my brother found and gave me goes with it perfectly! I actually swung back for the tiered sewing box, which came full of all kinds of supplies. Now I can get on with pillowcases, hems, and (hopefully) skillbuilding!
Lastly, a lovely cafe au lait -- carefully and painstakingly brewed on a Chemex coffeemaker -- at the new(ish?) Intelligentsia in Old Town Pasadena (which serves food, too, btw), accompanied by delightful companionship and conversation. Thank you, CO.
I'm so grateful!
I'm the last of my siblings to celebrate the first birthday without Mom. We've all had each other these past (nearly seven!) months, which has been better than good. Still, we all miss her. We'll feel that similar pang again tomorrow night, as we gather to celebrate my dad's birthday. It'll be a good time. Different that how we would've wanted it, but good nonetheless.