Monday, March 13, 2017

My Birthday Recap

Well, I'd love to say my 30th birthday was everything I'd hoped for and more. But it just wasn't. I got fewer birthday cards in the mail than I've probably ever gotten. A grandparent even forgot. Another grandparent was late. A couple of friends forgot to wish me happy birthday or to send a card. Probably for the first time in a few years, since having roommates in 2012, my apartment wasn't decorated for me. Honestly, it just wasn't awesome.

On the bright side, I did get a lot of birthday letters--most of them from people I wouldn't have expected at all--and then no letters from people I would've expected one from. It was an awesome experience reading them and seeing the things people remembered about me or thought about me. I will treasure them.

Me before going out
I had a big party planned a month in advance at Keys on Main downtown--I reserved room for 16. And since I had said that significant others or spouses were invited, I decided I needed to cut the dinner group down to just the single ladies.

Unfortunately, downtown is really difficult and stressful on Friday night with parking and crowds, so I sat alone at Settebello for about 45 minutes before anyone showed up. I got some texts from frustrated friends, which wasn't fun. The first who arrived were Brittney and Kristine. Kristen and Julie came next. Rachel came last. Joyce didn't make it.

The pizza was delicious. Since we got done later than I had anticipated, we didn't have time for dessert. Sadly, two of my friends weren't feeling well and left after dinner instead of coming to Keys on Main (and one carpooled with another, so I was down three people).

The dinner group
Britt and Kristine rode with me. I had the great idea to park at City Creek, and thankfully those two were troopers in walking with me to Keys.

For a while at Keys it was just us three. And then cute Kirsty and Jacob got there. They were followed by Alli and her friend; her cute sister came later on. And that was the crowd. Another friend and her man had backed out earlier in the day. Another had told me "maybe not," earlier in the week. And another couple of friends had a family emergency.

So I don't know. I guess it just wasn't in the cards for this birthday. Things didn't line up, people didn't feel well. I am grateful for the people who showed up for me in whatever capacity they could. It meant so much.

Keys was really fun. They played Wannabe by the Spice Girls for my birthday request. They're funny about it; I had to request it.

I fearfully walked to my car around 11:30 pm and had to figure out if I could even get back into the parking lot at dark and dead City Creek, so that was scary. I had a friend on the phone to keep me company and make sure I didn't get robbed and killed, even though he was half asleep.

On February 9, I had dinner at Village Baker with that same friend. He got me some super thoughtful gifts, including the Karate Kid movies, The Secret desk day calendar, popcorn and Haribos, and Ghirardelli chocolate. It was cute.

On my actual day of birth, February 10, I woke up and took a picture of my 30 year old legs before I ran five miles to celebrate my good health and my good life.

I wonder how many miles these legs have walked? 
After my run and after packing and getting ready, I went and picked up Rachel. We had breakfast at Black Bear Diner in Draper on our way down to Las Vegas. I got a few birthday phone calls including my annual serenade from my friend Brianne, and a voicemail from the only of my three brothers who called me: Jason. I got lots of texts--even from all three of my bosses--and lots of Facebook posts.

We checked in at the Hard Rock Hotel and got to our room, admiring memorabilia on display throughout the lobby and hallways. Even the elevator had lyrics from rock stars etched into the railing.

Our room at the Hard Rock

I forgot about the time change, and I had made dinner reservations at Hard Rock Cafe. We were starving and still had a couple hours to wait. They were able to move our reservation up, thankfully. But I didn't realize the Cafe was on the strip, so I had to drive us there. With Rachel navigating, it was easy to find parking. And the parking lot gave us this view.

The Elvis wall at the Hard Rock Cafe
Ashleigh had a hard time finding parking, so she joined us a little later for dinner. I was happy to see her, and she got me the coolest Harry Potter socks.

Unfortunately, dinner wasn't very good. Service was absolutely awful. Our server was trying to be playful but was actually pretty rude. Our food took forever and just wasn't very good. The people at the table next to us didn't even get asked for their orders and left after 45 minutes. I felt bad. Most expensive worst dinner I've ever had.

Rachel, Ashleigh, and I traipsing through the town
We decided to walk the strip after dinner, but my real plan was to see the fountains and to find dessert at the Bellagio.

Bellagio fountains, of course

They had so many amazing looking treats. Here's where we went if you want to go sometime.

Gelato at the Bellagio
Saturday morning we drove out to Henderson to try Hash House a Go Go. Thankfully there was no wait. We got seated right away. Service was great, as our server wanted to help us try different things while saving us money. I appreciated that.

Saturday breakfast at Hash House A Go Go

Banana pecan French toast--a personal highlight
I had booked us a chocolate tasting at Ethel M. Chocolate Factory in Henderson for Saturday around 11:30am. But when I showed up they had no record of this event ever occurring. Thankfully they could just throw something together on the fly.

Chocolate tasting at Ethel M. Chocolate Factory
We watched them make some candy through the windows. I ended up getting a little baggy of four treats--some kind of espresso truffle, an almond cluster, a peanut butter centered treat, and something else delicious.

A free and cool part of the factory is their cactus gardens. We wandered around that for a little while.

Rachel in the Cactus Garden at the chocolate factory

Yours truly

We headed back to the strip and got our touristy pictures per my request. It was super windy.

I've never gotten a picture at the Welcome sign in my whole life. It had to be done. 
We went back to the hotel to rest a little bit, but probably should've taken that non-rainy chance to walk the strip some more like I had planned.

We wandered around the hotel making sure we saw every piece of memorabilia in every hallway so that we didn't miss anything cool. We stopped and had tea at a little cafe in the hotel and chilled for a little bit. It was here that I had a strange encounter with a creepy dude which I'll just let rest in my memory to haunt me forever.

We left again to wander the strip. We parked at New York, New York. We hit up M&Ms world and the Coca Cola store. That part was my favorite.

Unfortunately, it started to rain. I had wanted to maybe see the conservatory at Bellagio, the waterfall/atrium at the Palazzo, or the Atlantis Show at Caesars. Ultimately, I had hoped we'd eat some good food and head to north Las Vegas to Fremont Street. But the rain and cold and distance ahead to do all those things sort of put a damper on my plans.

We ended up back at the hotel, eating at a restaurant there, which was decent (but incredibly slow), watching The Proposal on TV, and going to sleep.

The next morning before heading home, I had one more restaurant I wanted to try. It was called Eat. It did not disappoint.

We headed back to Salt Lake, and I was home before 5pm.

Overall, it was a fun weekend full of good food.

My mom and grandma put together a family birthday party for me, complete with a German chocolate AND homemade carrot cakes.

I really appreciated my mom and grandma's efforts, and the cakes and food were so yummy. My aunts and uncles got me some gift cards, which was super nice and thoughtful.

I am certainly grateful for those who remembered me and sent me good wishes and letters. I feel like the birthday gods generally frowned on the festivities of my 30th year, what with everyone's illnesses and inability to show up, and the rain and wind in Vegas, but I'm trying not to let it determine how my 30th year of existence will go.

I've already signed up for a half marathon in May, am volunteering as a running buddy for Girls on the Run again, and am seriously contemplating a full marathon in October. I'm approaching this year with the mindset that anything is possible. Take that, age 30. Oh, and bring me a husband. K thanks.

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