Celebrating My Friends Birthday

After I came back from Napa last week my friend and I were able to finally get ahold of each other and start planning a late birthday outing for her.

She wanted to spend the day together – since we talk a lot and need hours to catch up – so I planned a lunch and dinner for her birthday.

I decided to wear my “Collectif London” red top and “Collectif London” Jean wiggle skirt with my Louboutins.

A Hispanic cashier at the grocery store (where I bought my friend flowers in a vase and balloons) asked me if I’d ever heard the song, “por mujeres como tu” by Pepe Aguilar. I told him yes and then the African American man behind me in line looked at me and said, “Oh yes. Por mujeres como TU.” We laughed about it. It’s a really pretty Mexican song and I was flattered they thought a song like that could be fitting for me.

My friend and I met at the 18hundred – a trendy stylish restaurant with American hand crafted food.

I arranged the whole vase, flowers and balloons – she especially loved the vase and so did I.

Well call my friend Monica (to protect her privacy.) Monica & I had a nice time at the 18hundred. I was glad that nothing much has changed despite the restaurant acquiring new ownership last year. The food is still great, the place is unbelievably adorable and the music selection makes you want to get up and dance.

Interesting fact: The 18hundred building is 109 years old
They had the cutest selfie mirror downstairs by the bathroom

After leaving the 18hundred, Monica suggested we go to a bridal shop and try on dresses just for fun. I had never done that before but it sounded like fun!

We stopped at Dutch Bros coffee because I had a craving to try their cold coffee. It was our first time there believe it or not. I had heard my friends post about it for the last 2 years but had never been.

The drive thru girl standing outside taking orders was really cool and helped us find a drink we would like. She told us about the time she threw up after she drank the anhilator (it has 8 shots of espresso.) I loved how she broke out of work character and was just laughing and vibing with us. We decided on the “Golden Eagle” as that seemed to be a popular choice and she assured us it was one of her favorites.

At the drive thru window the employee and her manager wished my friend a happy birthday after they saw the flowers and balloons. They seemed very caffeinated and were extra excited haha. Monica was a bit embarrassed but I thought it was funny.

Excuse my arm – it’s still peeling from my sunburn. Monica and I LOVED the cute straw colors. Sometimes it’s the little details.

The verdict: the Golden Eagle was AMAZING. Do you know how hard it’s been to find a GOOD ICED COFFEE?? I mean I have searched high and low and now I finally have my place. I will definitely be a Dutch Bros customer from now on.

Isn’t it weird to think Starbucks actually has a competitor? I would’ve never imagined. I always saw Starbucks as the King of Coffee for all time. I guess no one can ever be sure that they’ll always be at the top. The thing is…some places start out strong but end up changing management, owners, etc and the product quality takes a hit. Other times they simply don’t change with the times which is just as detrimental.

Anyway we made it to David’s Bridal. I turned my car off and looked at Monica. “What are we gonna tell them?” I asked her. She said she would tell them she was the one getting married – she raised up her hand which had a fake engagement ring on (she uses it to deter men away.) It had costed her $7 and she asked me if it looked real. I looked at it, raised my eyebrows and said, “No.” We laughed about it but decided to go in anyway.

So we walked inside and one of the consultants greeted us and asked if we had a date set. It felt like she thought we were lesbians which was funny to me. We walked around looking at dresses and Monica never let it show that we were just there for fun. She seemed completely believable about her “upcoming wedding” when she talked to the store consultants who were eager to help her and incredibly friendly.

Monica asked me earlier if I’d ever thought about getting married as shes been thinking about it more often lately. I honestly never have – I grew up not caring much about weddings. As kids, my sister and her friend would look through bridal magazines and talk about their dream weddings. I just couldn’t be bothered to care. The idea of having a wedding just isn’t thrilling for me…except for the pretty wedding dress – you know I love a pretty dress. The dress literally has to be perfect – everything else can crash and burn but the dress…the dress!! I’m kidding I’m kidding haha.

We found a dress Monica liked and went to try it on in the fitting rooms. I didn’t find any I liked in my size. I tried on the tiara crown veil though. In my opinion, the crown veil is EVERYTHING. It’s not even a wedding without a crown veil. Tell the pastor to stay home if the bride doesn’t wear a crown veil. Hahaha…I’m kidding but I do wish I would’ve found a wedding dress to complete the look.

My friend would make such a pretty bride

We had a lot of fun at David’s Bridal – so much that Monica didn’t want to leave but we had dinner reservations at the country club. So we made our way out and as we walked to my car Monica looked up at the sky and jokingly shouted, “God please help us find a good man! We wanna get married! Are you listening??” “Yea God, are you listening?” I added and we laughed.

I hope my friend does meet a good man. In fact, I’m sure she eventually will.

We made it to the petroleum club at Sundale which is a private restaurant on the golf course. You can only get in if you have a club membership. I wanted my friends birthday to be special so I paid for membership just so we could eat there. Needless to say Monica loved the restaurant.

We took an elevator to the top floor where the restaurant overlooks the golf course. We were greeted by the hostess who seemed to be waiting especially for us. She knew my last name and walked us to our table which also had my last name on a placard. The table was elegant and the food was very good. The servers gave exceptional service as well. It was an experience we’d never had before.

I’ve been to many 4 & 5 star restaurants over the years but I’d never been to a private restaurant. Monica whispered how quiet and peaceful it felt in there. There was only one other couple sitting in a table down from us. We both understood the allure to private dining. It was just so…nice.

We had shrimp capellini, creme brulee for dessert and Monica had a Moscow Mule cocktail to celebrate being 21. Later that night she opened her gift from me which was a $200 gift card to Nordstrom Rack. She was so excited. I figured she’d love a little shopping spree because who wouldn’t right??

She then gave me some gifts she had for me from her trip to Africa (she went with her church recently.) I picked out a little wooden baby elephant and some beautiful flower earrings.

Her dog Remy climbed all over me while we talked in my car outside her house and she told me I looked good with a small dog. “Yea-Paris Hilton vibes,” I said rolling my eyes. “Ohmygod YESSS!!” She agreed and we both laughed.

It was the end of the night and her birthday was over but I could tell she had a great time and so did I. Here’s hoping that she has many more birthdays and that we continue to know each other for a long time.

Thanks for reading,

Denise

Birthday Girl Fun

I turned 35 last week. Most people feel different about getting older. I embrace it. Actually I feel young. I feel that I’m at my prime. I still look better than a 75 year old (Im just saying) and I now have a lot more wisdom than I had in my 20s. I’m loving it.

This was actually my first celebrated birthday in almost 30 years. My family joined a religious cult when I was 7 years old. No more birthdays were celebrated after that. I was taught to hate them since “God hated them.” They were “of the Devil.” Jesus Christ… I feel bad for who I was when I believed that.

Anyway, I celebrated the girls birthdays recently but I wasn’t going to do anything special for mine. It just felt funny to plan my own birthday when I hadn’t had one celebrated in so long. Layla wasnt going to let me *not celebrate my birthday though. Days leading up to it she kept asking me what I wanted to do for my birthday. She basically made me plan it. She also made me buy wrapping paper so she could wrap me a gift.

The day of my Birthday I woke up and got ready for my early morning self defense class which was great. I received my white belt that day.

After my self defense class, I went home and got “Birthday Ready”. Before we could celebrate my birthday though My family & I headed to a big park for an Easter egg hunt for the girls. The News station had their cameras set up recording the event. A local church was giving out free baskets for the kids and free lunch as well as pictures with the Easter bunny. It was amazing. I couldn’t believe it was free. God Bless the church who did this for the kids. The baskets were filled with so many goodies, and the lunch was amazing. We had hot dogs, chips, macaroni salad, sodas, and beans – the works. A police officer was also at the park and the girls got stickers. I was so happy that the girls were getting the full “Easter Experience.”

I even made a friend while we waited in line for the Easter Baskets. Her name is Kristina. She’s around my age and was standing in front of me with her daughter. We started talking about the event, then we started talking about our lives and then she invited me to her daughters birthday party this weekend. Its so funny how one moment you’re strangers and the next you’re friends. We’ve been texting each other lately and I even got the gift for her daughter already.

Sometimes I think about the cool girls I’ve met inside SEPHORA and MAC and so many other places. They literally would tell me things like, “we should be friends, we should hang out,” and I would decline the offer (nicely) because I was in a cult and I couldn’t have “worldly friends”. It’s nice that things are different now.

After the park, We headed to Beverly Hills to celebrate my Birthday. I chose to have dinner at THE IVY. I had wanted to eat there for so long. Its one of the most IT places to eat at in Beverly Hills. Celebrities eat there frequently, as well as influencers, and of course your neighborly millionaires. Basically if you’re into a fashionable venue, this is IT. Its also one of the only restaurants that has fresh roses on every table, everyday. The food is also good of course.

As we got closer to the restaurant my heart started to race. OMG this is it…I thought. I could see the Valet in front of the beautiful lush restaurant and suddenly I started to feel out of place. I parked my car and waited for a valet to come over. Just play it cool, I thought. I could feel myself get a little nervous. Jesus, it was just dinner but it felt like I was going to prom. The restaurant was just so …out of this world. It was packed with people. Very fashionable people. Very expensive people. I grew up in a small town and worked in a mechanic shop almost all my life so this wasn’t exactly my every day scene. Sometimes I wonder why I get myself into certain situations.

The Valet quickly came over and opened my door. I gave him my car key, thanked him, and headed towards the restaurant. I was overwhelmed by the fashionable women everywhere. I acted cool though. Then suddenly I remembered that I brought my knock-off Bottega Venetta BAG!! And right in front of me was a girl with a REAL Bottega Venetta bag! I wanted to die. She’s gonna know, She’s gonna know, I thought as I tried to hide my bag. You cant hide a Bottega Venetta bag though. They’re too chunky. The saving grace is that my knock off looks almost identical to the real one so hopefully she couldn’t entirely tell. I saw her looking at my bag though as if admiring it as I walked by. I only paid $100 for mine and she paid $4000 for hers. I walked by more fashionable high class women before getting to the waiters who were dressed impeccably and very efficient. They quickly seated us at a table despite the fact that they were full. I had made a reservation before hand but accidentally made it for two people instead of four. Despite that fact, they were gracious to have us seated at a table right away.

All the people around us looked seriously loaded. The girls from the table across from ours were talking about their maids, their businesses, and their chihuahuas. I couldn’t help feeling out of place. However, I liked the restaurant and I was happy to finally try it out.

The woman on the other table had a lot of plastic surgery and was there with what looked like the entrepreneur boyfriend. On the other table was a family that looked wealthy but it was a “quiet” type of wealth. They didn’t bother with designer clothes but they had the manners and facial expressions of wealth. At a table far across was a very elegant woman with her husband. Old money for sure.

Anyway, I started to relax when I realized no one was alarmed by my presence. Some even admired Layla & Sophie’s outfits. Our waiter took our orders and soon came back with our orange juices served in glasses with straws. WOW. bougie. Then he brought out our plates of enchiladas. They were amazing. I ordered a coffee and it was heavenly. The cup was also fantastic. Then he brought out my birthday plate. It had a thick slice of red velvet cake with a huge candle, and desserts on the side. WOW again. My mom and the girls sang me happy birthday and we shared the big cake slice.

The waiter had messed up on my order a few times, but it was nothing too bad. He seemed really grateful that I didn’t make a big deal out of it and I still left him a $20 tip. As I waited outside for the valet, I turned and saw my waiter. He looked at me and clasped his hands together and bowed down a little. I bowed down a little as well and smiled. It was a nice moment.

Then our Valet showed up with my car and opened our doors for us. He was so gracious and wished me a very good day.

As we drove off my mom and I looked at each other. “Well that was an experience,” I said and we laughed a little.

We continued the Birthday fun by going to the Americana in Glendale. There we saw many more fashionable people. It intimidates me a little but I also love it. We went into Barnes & Nobles – this one in particular has 3 floors and a very amazing selection of books and gifts. It also has a Starbucks on the third floor with a very bougie selection of food items that I’ve never seen at any other Starbucks. We had fun picking new books and some toys for the girls.

Next we went into Nordstrom. I got the girls their first pairs of Native shoes. I had seen them before but I never thought much of them until I saw them in person and Layla really wanted a pair. Now I absolutely love them. They’re adorable and great for the outdoors.

Once home, I opened the presents from Layla, Sophie & my mom. Layla made me a sweet card and a beaded bracelet that spells out “BTS” since she’s knows I’m into them (They’re a K-POP band.) Sophie gifted me a journal and a sweet drawing. My mom was excited to gift me something as well. It was Frankincense oil. I was a little surprised. OIL?? for my Birthday? It just seemed a little strange until she explained that its AMAZING for your skin. After she said that, I was on board. YES, that’s definitely a great Birthday gift. She knows me well. I’ve actually been using it for a week now and I can confirm that it really is amazing. My mom wanted to get me myrrh oil but couldn’t find it so she got the next best thing which was the frankincense oil. They both come from olive plants so you can imagine how good they are for skin.

Then there was a letter from my mom.

I read it when I was alone in my room. In it she wrote how much she loved me and how she only wanted good things for me. I will leave out the rest as its a personal letter but it filled my heart with love and healing.

My brother and his wife came over as well with a present for me. My brother picked out a set of lotion, body wash, and body spray from BATH & BODY WORKS. The crazy thing is that the scent he picked out is actually my most favorite scent ever. I’m so happy with the body spray – I take it with me everywhere. I love it so much. Its interesting to me how sometimes other people can gift you things you would’ve never thought of buying for yourself but you end up really loving. Thank God for Birthdays haha.

The next day my nieces came over for some more Easter fun with the girls. I gave Layla and Sophie the Easter baskets I made for them and they were thrilled. I also made lemon cupcakes with a cheesecake frosting. All in all it was a great Weekend. Praise be to Jesus Christ. All things are possible through him.

Thanks for reading,

Denise