When I was a kid, I would plan out my birthday parties months in advance. I’m talking like a full 11 months before, I would start a countdown and constantly remind my family of my upcoming birthday while I dreamed about how I wanted to celebrate. 

Some of my most memorable parties include a tea party that I planned with my grandmother, using ideas from my American Doll Parties Book, a wild and crazy get together at an indoor trampoline park before trampoline parks were really a “thing”, complete with a bucking bronco and Britney Spears’ latest album on repeat, and a small get together with friends in our newly built 50’s themed diner room, decked out with black and white tile floors and red booths, that quickly turned into a full blown house party that I spent hours cleaning up after - right after the sheer embarrassment of my MOM doing the worm…in front of all my friends. Yes, you read that right.

You could say that I had my share of exciting birthdays.

But like most of us, as I got older, life got busier and parties seemed useless. I mean who wants to spend money on a party for themselves when you can drink wine on the couch and watch Netflix, amiright?

But turning 30 seemed big. Really big. Not in a depressing way, but an exciting one. I was turning my back on a decade that saw my marriage (and later…divorce), the birth of my son Bentley, my Air Force career, my college dropout, the creation of my photography business, friends lost, friends gained, the failures, the break throughs, and everything in between, and was embarking on an entirely new chapter of my life. It only seemed fitting to celebrate in a big way.

The Big 30 weekend consisted of a belgian waffle breakfast at home with my little family, an ice skating adventure where I tried my hardest not to break any bones, dinner out in Davis with some friends, a party at our house with lots of friends, and a hot air balloon ride in Napa that ended with a champagne breakfast. My super talented friend Amy of Loves Landing Photography was there to capture most of our weekend and I’m super thankful for these photos!

As I look back over this past year, these are some of the nuggets of wisdom that 30 has thrown my way:

  • Every person in your life has a purpose. They aren’t all meant to come and stay forever, but each is there to teach you a lesson.

  • Goals aren’t accomplished by chance, and you have to make real changes to see real results.

  • Your mental health is as important as your physical health, if not more.

  • If you want something you have to go for it! Take life by the horns and act purposefully.

  • Investing in the people and the passions that make you happy, and removing anything and anyone who isn’t adding something to your life, is crucial.

  • As cliche as it sounds - do whatever makes you happy. Have the party, don’t have the party. Eat the cake, go on the vacation, cut the loose ends, say “no”, enjoy every moment.

Now I’m off to end my 31st birthday weekend with some wine and Netflix on the couch…you with me?