Thursday, September 19, 2019

checking off all the birthday list boxes

birthday princess day 2019 was pretty darn great, i've gotta say.  i managed to check off pretty much everything from my list of things i wanted to do.  i say "pretty much" because - well, let me explain.

the first one was "sleep in."  that one kind of didn't happen as the hub and i both woke up around 5:30 from all sorts o'racket coming from the kitchen.  the bean had apparently set her alarm so that she could get up and make me something special to jump start my birthday, which was super sweet.  i was kind of hoping she was baking me a cake because i was really craving some, but i knew whatever she was doing would be great.

although neither the hub nor i was really expecting her to come barreling into the bedroom right at 6, flipping on the light switch and shouting "SURPRISE!" as she placed a tray on my lap.  that light is pretty damn bright, and even more so when you're not expecting it and it's not quite the crack of dawn yet.  my eyeballs. 


but i couldn't resist this sweet face, beaming with pride over the sweet surprise she'd put together for me.


she and teddy sat on the floor and played while i got started on my delicious breakfast in bed.


later, after i dropped her off at school, i checked off the next item: a free birthday drink at starbucks.  and i made it a venti, because why not?


i went home, got myself cleaned up and headed off to get my lashes done.  and when they were done, the old lady handed me this pretty bouquet of pink flowers and some sweets from trader joe's.


my mani/pedi was lovely and relaxing.


for my "terrible for me but super delicious" junk food lunch, i went here:


and then i headed back home to admire my lashes and enjoy my corn dogs and chili cheese fries.


the puppies were in the back yard, and i stayed out of sight in the living room to grub down uninterrupted.  yes, i was definitely hiding from my dogs.  heh.  except that i hadn't gotten anything to drink and i was dying of thirst.  just as i was about to get up and see if i could find some water or something in the garage, the hub came home and handed me this:


it was a fun combination of him helping me with my dilemma and also getting rid of that lowbrow glorified grape juice out of the wine fridge.  and then he was off to run an errand before picking up the bean from school for me so that i could get in some sewing time.  i got to hunker down with my machines, working on some projects i'd wanted to get started, and before i knew it it was time to get dressed and head out to dinner.  but first - present time!


i got some cute new tops for fall, a new pair of my favorite jeans, and what amounted to damn near an entire lululemon store's worth of new gear.  the old lady and her special friend presented me with a sweet necklace that had a little silver pawprint charm and an "M" on it...for our sweet mollydog.  i put it on right away as we headed out to union on yale in claremont for dinner.


champagne cocktail?  yes, please!




we ordered a handful of starters, including poutine:


caramelized brussels sprouts topped with burrata:


and a mason jar with layers of marinated cherry tomatoes, olive oil and more burrata, served with toasted flatbread.


the bean and the special friend both opted for fried chicken and pasta:


this was the old lady's heirloom tomato pasta and chicken:


the hub's grilled pork chop:


and my "union" pizza with bacon, arugula and - yup, you guessed it - burrata.  clearly i can't turn down any opportunity for burrata whenever it presents itself.


the kids and i headed over to the local ice cream shop on the corner while the hub stayed behind to pay the check, and headed back when he texted that the server had brought me a birthday dessert:


the last two items got checked off almost as soon as we got home.  comfy pajamas?  yes.  friends on tv?  check.  even better?  FRIENDS THEMED PAJAMAS.


and that concludes the recap of this year's birthday princess day.  it was fantastic, full of fun and love and food, spent with my beloved family.  just the way i wanted it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

another trip around the sun

are you ever really too old to be excited for your birthday?  because let me tell you...today is mine and i still love to celebrate it as much as i did when i was little.  the number gets a little scarier every year, but hey - it's just a number, right?

although with the actual day falling right in the middle of a typically busy work/school week, i'll get to spend a lot of it solo this time around.  that's totally cool though, and we'll have a family dinner tonight somewhere local.  and i have my whole day all mapped out already!  check it out:


  • sleep in
  • take the bean to school
  • stop at starbucks for my free birthday coffee
  • take a shower
  • get my lashes done
  • enjoy a mani/pedi
  • pick up some sort of terrible-for-me-but-oh-so-delicious lunch
  • a little sewing time to make myself something fun
  • pick up the bean from school and take her to her math tutor
  • hang out with the hub at home
  • go to dinner
  • put on comfy pajamas
  • fall asleep to friends
i'd squeeze in a massage in there somewhere, but the hub already treated me to one of those this weekend.  it'd be pretty overindulgent if i got another one just a few days later, right?

in the meantime...hello, 48.  let's do this.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

it's all about the presentation

with my birthday falling smack dab in the middle of the week, we decided to go out to a fun dinner at barton g to celebrate last weekend.  i don't even remember where i first heard of barton g, but the old lady swears that the real housewives of orange county went there in an episode.  she's probably right.  she always is.

the only times available for our party were either 6:15 or 9:30 and later, and since i'm old and crotchety anyway we opted for the earlybird slot.  heading out to the westside on a saturday evening is always a challenge, and even leaving more than an hour early we still managed to pull up to the valet about 7 minutes late.  oh well.


no worries though.  we checked in at the hostess' desk and were seated right away - although the hub was a little less than pleased to find himself in a chair at the end of the table that was halfway in the hallway that led to the restrooms.  it was a pretty small restaurant, and they'd crammed as many tables as they possibly could in there. 


at each place setting there was an intricate rectangle-shaped charger with the menu placed on it and a napkin folded into what looked like a bathrobe on top of that.


we got our first taste of barton g's famously over-the-top presentation with our cocktails.  the old lady's margarita came with a quick flash of fire that i was too late to capture.


the hub ordered a moonshine drink, and we were all super amused when this contraption was placed in front of him:


the server returned with a decorative bottle, which he poured into the top and then turned a screw or something at the bottom which dispensed the drink into the glass waiting at the bottom with a huge sphere of ice in it.


my drink, the "sabrina-tini" (and i'm still not sure who sabrina is, but her drink was super tasty) came with a champagne popsicle and a chocolate monkey hanging from the rim.


and the special friend's "highway to heaven" cocktail came like this:


and yes, that was a dancing girl on the miniature screen.  it caught the attention of the table full of giggling pre-teen girls behind him, and we all hoped that dancing girl ≠ stripper.

the bean perused the mocktail menu and ended up ordering a virgin sabrina-tini that looked just like mine, only her popsicle wasn't made with champagne and there was no chocolate monkey on the rim.  and when she took a sip she swore it had soda in it (you know how much she hates fizzy drinks) and promptly handed it to her sister, who loved it.



we'd ordered the "strike out sliders," which came like this:


and the lobster pop tarts, served in a cute retro toaster.


as we munched on our appetizers (which were actually really delicious, so it was nice to see that it wasn't all just for looks), we noticed someone being served the "lawn moo-er," a giant porterhouse steak for two plus a bunch of side dishes...served atop an actual lawn mower.  hopefully you can see it:


and at another table, someone was being served their popcorn shrimp appetizer - in an actual popcorn machine.


i was on my second sabrina-tini by then and i was feeling pretty good.



this caught everyone's attention - the "marie antoinette's head."  ol' marie had a huge tower of pink cotton candy on her head with cupcakes on the tray next to her.  we swore we wanted it until we read the description and realized that no one really wanted blackberry jam-filled cupcakes, so we settled for ooh-ing and aah-ing over everyone else's.


our main entrees began to arrive.  first up:  our "platinum ranch tomahawk," which said it was for 2 but we split it with the bean since there was a lot of it.  check out this giant steak:


which also came with a platter of grilled lobster and shrimp:


after we'd taken in the presentation and snapped a few pictures, the server whisked the steak away to have the chef slice it up into easier-to-eat portions.


the old lady's braised short rib entree came inexplicably in a brightly-lit UFO.


and her special friend's filet arrived next to a gigantic fork with herbed bone marrow butter.


the bean and i thought the food was super delicious and grubbed down happily, although everyone else seemed to think that everything was too salty.  the hub was still bemused at being seated in the pathway to the restrooms, and the old lady just shook her head at the crazy shenanigans.  when we'd all eaten as much as we could, they whisked away our leftovers to pack up (including that giant tomahawk bone to take home to stevie) and brought us this little basket of dessert menus.


there were lots of great options to choose from, but we ended up going with the carnival fun cakes - funnel cakes served with dipping sauces to share.  it was delivered with a fun carnival game to play, plus a sparkler and a little chocolate "happy birthday" plaque to commemorate the occasion:


we were all pretty stuffed by then, but we managed to power through at least half of that dessert before we threw in the towel.  and along with being next to the restroom, we also happened to be right next to an exit that led right to the valet's kiosk.  i was amused as i held the door open for everyone and turned around to find the hub sneaking a few last bites of funnel cake:


it was a silly, crazy fun dinner and a pretty awesome way to kick off my birthday celebrations.

i say "celebrations" because you KNOW i'm gonna milk it as much as i possibly can.  you'd be disappointed if i didn't.
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