Tag Archives: birthday

26 — The (Birth)Day

Since my birthday was on Sunday, Mark decided to give me something really nice for my birthday — a beautiful Sunday brunch at a restaurant called Castaway, which I’ve actually written about before.

We had so much fun, ate so much food, and drank SO much champagne. Well, I did. I put the “endless” in “endless” mimosas.

Anyway, Mark and I were sure to take a picture with their pretty Christmas tree before I got silly brunch.

We’re cute.

Soon enough, however, we were seated.

We got started right away with the mimosas (I wasn’t messing around).

And then, it was time to eat!

There were SO many options from which to choose. There was a breakfast bar, a homemade omelet station, an oatmeal bar, a Meditteranean bar, a Mexican bar, a seafood bar, a make-your-own pasta station, and a huge dessert area. I might even be missing a few things.

My first plate:

That’s a cheese blintz, scrambled eggs, potatoes with peppers and onions, and a tiny almond croissant. I had only a bite or two of everything, though I did mostly finish the potatoes and eggs.

There was also a cappuccino station, which was awesome.

Mark tried to put whipped cream in mine. It didn’t work out so well.

It’s okay, though. I went back for another.

Much more manageable. 🙂 Especially since the other one looked like this after a while.


Anyway, we digested for a bit and then went back for more. This is mac n cheese, beans & rice, cheesy broccoli, a stuffed grape leaf, and orzo salad. My eyes were a lot bigger than my stomach. I could barely make dents in most of this, though I did love and nearly finish both the mac n cheese and orzo salad.

It was a carb fest.

And don’t forget, I was still drinking.

At this point, I couldn’t really bear to eat anymore, but Mark (who had been to this brunch before) told me dessert was the best part. So, I went and got samples of all of the things I thought looked good.

That being said, this is all I ate of that plate:

What a waste. 😦

I was also surprised with a piece of tiramisu with a candle in it!

This wasn’t so much “eaten” as it was “posed with.”

Being full stopped me from eating the cake, but did not stop me from downing my mimosa(s).

Happy birthday to meeeee!

Poor Mark.

After we finished eating, we went outside for the lovely view.

And, since we clearly hadn’t taken enough pictures, took some more.

As my sister said on the phone when she talked to me twenty minutes later, “Hey, Drunkie.”

Anyway, the rest of the day was spent shopping at the Americana in Glendale (I got myself some birthday presents in the form of some fun shirts at Forever 21!) opening presents from other people, taking more pictures with each other, and finally, eating the tiny amount of Chinese takeout that I could stomach while watching Happy Endings.

Some presents highlights include…

A homemade ornament from Mark, which is supposed to be us dancing but kiiiind of looks like we’re making out.

What a creeper.

A really cute shirt from my friend Jacky…

An incredibly thoughtful, healthy, low-sugar focused gift from my fiend Claire, who reads KWH (hi, Claire!):

Those are coconut crystals, agave, and dairy-free chocolate chips.

Isn’t that the sweetest, most KWH-friendly gift, ever?

I was also graced with many a card, an un-pictured gift card from my lovely friend Amy, and many, many a bottle of wine.


I guess people think I like wine?

Thank you so much to everyone for making my birthday special, but thank you especially to this guy, who made it perfect.


I am a very, very lucky girl.


Filed under Blog Posts, Recipes

26 — The Party

Hi, friends!

So, I turned 26 on Sunday. Yes, twenty-six. TWENTY. SIX.

When did I get so old?!?!

Whatever. I’m not thinking about it. Instead, I’m basking in the glorious pictures that resulted from my party on Saturday night. Wanna see? Good. Because that’s the post I have for you today. A picture post! Hooray!

And of a cocktail party, no less. Everyone had to look pretty — and they did.

(Don’t worry, I’ll be back with recipes soon enough).

Those are my lovely friends Amy and Claire. You’ve seen then both before.

Below, we have take number one…

… and take number two with my friends Caitlin (great name, right?) and a different Amy.

Lauren, who has been on the blog a thousand times…

Isn’t she gorg? And BTW, that hot dress I’m wearing? It’s hers. I love that girl.

That’s Spencer. Isn’t he a cutie? Don’t worry, you’ll see him again .

Hey! You know her! Hi, Katherine! How HOT is she?!

Two of my favorite ladies:

Combo friends pic:

Plus another Claire. Don’t you love her bow?

And Mark! Want some boy eye candy? Check it!

You’re welcome.

Spencer even “ruined” (okay, improved) a picture Claire and I tried to take together.

It’s okay, we still got one in.


P.S. — You’ll see the AWESOME gift she gave me tomorrow. 🙂

All co-workers! Catherine, Kaitlyn (another great name), and Jacky. Pretty girls!

Two of my favorite boys:

That’s Ben and Cliff. Ben’s single, ladies. Cliff isn’t (sorry).

I love that picture.

Didn’t everyone look beautiful? I’m so glad I had a cocktail party.

Oh, and there was cake!!!

My friend Laura made these delicious cupcakes.

And, in one of the absolute best surprises of my whole birthday, MARK GOT MY FAVORITE BIRTHDAY CAKE RECIPE FROM MY MOM!!!

Words cannot express how happy this made me. (That’s why I needed the caps, bold and italic.) I wish I had my reaction on camera when I found that out.

Mark executed it perfectly.


I know for sure because I had a little piece last, too, and it was just as good as I remembered. Love you, Mark. And I love you, Mom! Thanks for coordinating that!

Thank you to everyone who came to my party!

Back tomorrow with a recap of the actual birthday. 🙂


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A 30th Birthday Celebration

No, not mine. And if any of you thought for a moment that I was 30, I sort of hate you. Well, not really. I could never hate my readers. But… I wouldn’t be very happy with you.

This weekend, my friend Josh celebrated his 30th birthday, which was put together by our friend Robyn. She was amazing — she pulled so many Josh-centric items together to create a truly Josh-themed party.

Before I get to the party, though, let me tell you about what led up to it! During the day on Saturday, Robyn and I put together a few of the elements.

First, we made Caramel Apple Cake (two of them, actually) — one of the most complicated things I have ever made in my life! There were so many steps and parts to it.

Chopping apples… making the caramel topping…

Making the batter, which came together in three different parts (but smelled SO GOOD in the oven)…

… Even if we did forget to turn on the oven for the first half of the cooking time. Whoops.

Unfortunately, I sort of failed as a food blogger and never took any pictures of the finished cakes other than these pictures in the dark bar.

Fortunately, The Food Network took care of that for me.


Obviously, ours looked exactly like that. 😉

And that wasn’t all! Robyn also had the genius idea of making “ginger” mustaches  for people to pose with at the party.

This involved melting candy melts and carefully filling the mustache molds Robyn had ordered.

Though we ran into a little trouble with the size of the sticks (TWSS) and the resulting breakage (it’s totally a word) of more than a few of them (we figured it out eventually), they were a rousing success. Check it out!

And the fun doesn’t stop there.

For the party, Robyn rented out a section of a cool new bar in Hollywood called the Next Door Lounge, which meant we had waitresses and a whole section with seating and snacks just for us. Oh, and not only that, but Robyn asked them to make us a signature drink in theme. So, we got the “Carrot Top,” which involved rum, pinapple juice, orange juice, and other things I can’t remember.

Last but not least, Robyn ordered a life-sized cut-out and put Josh’s face on it.

Yes, really. Naturally, everyone had a lot of (often inappropriate) fun with that.

Please note that I kept it classy.

Anyway, it was a pretty fantastic party, thrown by someone pretty fantastic and thrown for someone pretty fantastic.



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The remainder of my birthday, post- Christmas Run, went by in a blur.

When Mark and I got home, we immediately started cleaning the apartment for the party. We got so wrapped up in doing cleaning, in running errands, and in me fielding many a birthday phone call that we didn’t even notice that we hadn’t yet eaten lunch until about 4:00pm, when both of our stomachs rebelled in hunger. All I’d had to eat that day was a piece of almond butter toast and a Clif Bar! (Don’t forget, I had a tummy ache. I couldn’t stomach much food for a while.)

Fortunately, Daphne’s wasn’t far away. I ordered a falafel salad and…. basically inhaled it.

In fact, that iPhone picture was taken after I’d already shoveled a few bites into my mouth. I kept forgetting I was a blogger this weekend!

Anyway, since we had such a late lunch, I didn’t really have enough of an appetite for a real dinner. I just snacked on a few crackers and a little cheese.

Before the party started, Mark also gave me his gifts. I just want to give Mark a little shout out here, because he seriously went all out in making sure I had the best birthday ever. I am so grateful for good friends and he has shown himself to be one of the best.

He gave me three cards (two funny and one sentimental. The one I’m reading below is clearly sentimental, given the sappy look on my face), an ornament and an awesome gift: a cast iron skillet! I cannot wait to cook with it!

I look like I was literally swooning over the skillet. That’s probably because I was.

When it was almost time for my little birthday party, I got all dressed up in a black dress with green tights and an ugly Christmas sweater (the theme) and then completely failed to take even a single picture with my outfit in it. What a fail!

Anyway, the first party guests soon arrived and we did a “cheers” to my birthday with some pink champagne. 🙂

When everyone else arrived, we celebrated by playing two of my favorite party games: Flip Cup (in the garage!) and Kings. Clearly, I’m a classy lady.

Other than the champagne, I didn’t drink much. I had one Winter Abbey Ale and a couple of Bud Lights over the night (for Flip Cup and Kings, of course) but didn’t really feel like having anything more.

There was also, of course, cake! Homemade by Mark and absolutely amazing. As you probably know by now, almond is my favorite flavor. So, Mark made a three layer almond cake with orange buttercream filling and covered in fondant with marzipan decorations.

I know.

Is he great, or what?

My piece:

He also made S’mores cupcakes, which were amazing but sadly went unphotographed. However, we froze the leftovers and I’m sure I’ll be breaking them out sometime soon.

Anyway, I didn’t take many pictures but I had a wonderful time with some of my best friends. It’s hard to get many friends together for a birthday party during the holidays, but the friends that were able to make it made me feel incredibly loved and special.

Thank you for all of your birthday wishes as well! You all made me so happy. 🙂


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Christmas Run

My birthday started out pretty perfectly, if you ask me! I mean, is there a better way of starting out being 25 than running a fun 5K with your friends… and PRing? I think not!

To back up for a moment… the preparation really started the night before when I carbo-loaded with some Pad Thai…

… while I was making my race day t-shirt. You’ll see that in just a minute.

The 5K didn’t start until 9:15 am in Santa Monica, so I got to sleep in until 6:30 on race morning! This is rare, since most races start earlier and/ or are farther away. I actually could have slept later, but I was wide awake at 6:30 (I know, I’m crazy).

I made myself some toast with white chocolate peanut butter, but I only ate one piece.

Truth be told, I have finally learned my lesson. I’ve gotten a stomach ache after every race (this one included), and all three times it was because I tried to eat before the race. Never again. I’m going to have to figure out how to fuel for longer races, though, because I think running 13.2 miles on an empty stomach might not be the smartest idea.

Anyway, Chris came over to the apartment and he, Mark and I hit the road!

Once we got there, we parked kind of far away (whoops) and picked up our chips and bibs.

Oh, want to see my shirt? The front:

And the best part, the back:

Cool, right? That shirt is the best idea I’ve ever had. More on that later.

Anyway, it was so wonderful to be at a race with friends. Mark, Chris and I were all really excited and I was thrilled to be sharing the experience with them.

This race was, hands down, the most completely packed race I have ever seen.

Despite being so popular, this race was, unfortunately, kind of disorganized. For instance, there was no bag drop (which is where we had planned to meet up with Amanda and Katherine, so Katherine was initially stuck with a bag that she had to find somewhere to leave. Also, Amanda was registering that day and was not warned ahead of time that she needed to pay in cash… so she had to run to an ATM a mile away (so she ran 2 miles before the race even began!) to get some cash.

Somehow, in the masses and despite all of these issues, we still managed to find both Katherine and Amanda.

Katherine was there to PR, so we bid her goodbye and let her head up to the front. Amanda and I were planning on running at least part of it together, so we stayed together and the boys stayed with us, too.

Check out the massive crowd at the start line:

Before we knew it, it was time to go! There was no preamble… suddenly, the horn went off and people started moving.

This is where having the shirt I’d made on got really cool. All throughout the race, people kept yelling “Happy Birthday!” to me. It had me smiling the entire time. People – especially runners – can be so friendly and supportive. I had a blast.

The best part? When these two (and Amanda) SANG to me!

That was amazing. Seriously, amazing. And it was right at the beginning of the race, too! What a way to start.

This was a particularly good race for me. I knew, even beforehand, that it was going to be. My body felt great. I didn’t once notice my knee or my achilles tendon.

Amanda and I had originally planned to run together, but our natural paces started to set us apart and so we agreed to go our own ways after about 3/4 mile.

Mile 1 was pretty uneventful, race-wise, though it was a lot of fun to spend most of it with Amanda and to be sung to!

Mile 2 was… interesting. Much of it was along Venice Beach, where many of stands were being set up, many homeless men were about and yelling at us, the scent of incense was strong, and the scent of weed was even stronger. Running through those smells was kind of difficult (read: gross), but it was also a little bit funny.

At the end of mile 2, a girl named Holly tapped me on the shoulder and said, “It’s my birthday, too!” That was pretty awesome. I wished her a happy birthday, told her about the blog, and took a picture with her. I look CRAZY (I was really excited), but I’m going to post it anyway because it’s so cool that we were both running the race on our birthday.

Yes, we were still running while that was taken.

Happy birthday, Holly!

Lesson learned, by the way: from now on, I will have my blog address written on my shirt! I told both the singers and Holly the address, but I can’t imagine they remembered it just from being told while running.

Anyway, when I saw the sign indicating that mile 3 was beginning, I decided to push myself and run even faster. This was a great call (since I got a great time), but I did get a little bit worn out. By the time there were only .2 miles left of the race, I tried to sprint but didn’t have enough left in me to truly do so. Still, I ran even faster, even if it made me feel a little bit sick. Crossing that finish line felt wonderful, especially when I saw that I had PRed.

As I was running to the finish line, I saw Katherine, Chris, and Mark, all of whom finished with incredible times! And, while my time wasn’t quite in the low and mid-20s like theirs all were, my time was incredible for me! I PRed with a total time of 33:55, which gives me a 10:56 average pace. This means I crushed my previous PR from the Turkey Trot (just a few weeks ago!) of 36:15, which had given me an 11:42 average pace. So, I improved my total time by over two minutes and improved my average pace by almost a minute per mile! Not bad, huh? Especially for having two injuries and not doing any training.

Right after finishing, I quickly joined Katherine to wait for Amanda. Right before Amanda showed up, this guy, carrying his dog, did.

Isn’t that adorable? Lots of people cheered for him.

Amanda came soon after, and Katherine and I finished the race with her. I loved crossing the finish line again with them!

It was also so great to reunite with the boys and to hear how amazingly fast they both ran!

My friend Vera also came to cheer us on, which was so sweet of her. I love having supportive friends! Here’s a (squinty) group picture of all of us:

That’s Katherine, me, Vera, Chris, Amanda and Mark.

We all went to brunch on the beach together (per my request), but after everyone else had ordered, I realized that my stomach was feeling kind of sensitive and I didn’t end up ordering anything.

Instead, I munched on a Clif Bar that I’d packed.

I felt a little stupid (since brunch was my idea and all), but it was definitely the right call for me. Plus, even though I didn’t order anything, it was still nice to sit and chat with friends.

I had such a perfect birthday morning. Running a race with friends is awesome and it just felt amazing to start out a new year by doing something both healthy and fun. Chris told me I’m one of the only people he knows that would think “Hey, it’s my birthday, I think I’m going to run a race!” but I think more people should – it was fantastic. I wish I could do a race on my birthday every year.

By the way, you can read Katherine’s recap here and Amanda’s recap here.


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