My Favorite 30th Birthday Gift Didn’t Come in a Box

My 30th birthday has come and gone…and I am happy to report that I did not come out on the dark side with grey hair and a matching pantsuit from Talbots (while my mostly H&M-comprised wardrobe is nothing to brag about, seriously someone needs to slap me the day I buy my first geriatric sweater seat). In fact, my 30th birthday was like I took a time capsule off to a very near yet so distant time and place, where I was spoiled beyond my craziest teenage girl dreams.

The day started off normal (snow in the morning, gym, 9 hours in front of a screen)…but when I came home from work I was greeted with a scavenger hunt in the apartment created by my fiance Olivier…who was conspicuously missing from our home:


Using little numbered posts he hand wrote himself (I think this is the second time in my life I’ve seen something he’s written that’s not in typeface) and with pictures he printed out himself at Duane Reade (forgive me but I wasn’t sure he could even find the toilet bowl cleaner there, much less the photo department…bravo!), he led me through every inch of our 500-square-foot apartment. (Got to give him major props alone for that…finding 30 hiding spots in an apartment our size takes some major creativity). From the kitchen, with a glass of champagne (YES, the beer was already there…no comment):


To my favorite author:


To our closet (including, sigh…roses?!):


To our (now deceased) wall clock:


To the bedroom:


Featuring photos of friends:


And lots of photos of the two of us, from when we met:


To when we moved in together:


To when we got engaged:


At the end he told me to meet him at the Dream Hotel:


Where he had reserved a room (YES, that’s the Empire State! doesn’t get old even when you’ve been here six years):


He made reservations at Bouley (excuse me!) for dinner…a nine-course party in my mouth, starting with this sea urchin (that’s some random dried FRUIT skin it’s served in):


If this is 30, I’ll take it!

Disclaimer: I know life is never always champagne and chocolates. But as I told Olivier when we met at the Dream Hotel, moments like these are a rare time capsule that spontaneously arrives in the most random instant, in an appearance so vivid I can feel it —  maybe the next time I taste sea urchin (OK…not so often, but it happens) or the next time I’m feeling down (yep, that happens). And, because there is no way to say it without sounding cheesy: Unlike Cartier earrings or a Louis Vuitton bag, these memories are what makes it easier to slug through long days at the office, and afternoons at the DMV, and all those other times we’d rather be just about anywhere else.


3 thoughts on “My Favorite 30th Birthday Gift Didn’t Come in a Box

  1. Pingback: The 1% of the One Percent: Snow, Lobster, and McMansions in Newport, RI | Breaking Blonde

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