My Fabulous 40th Birthday Celebration

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For those of you that have been around in the last year, you know that I’ve been looking forward to my 40th Birthday Celebration.  I’ve been embracing turning 40, excited about this milestone birthday. I’ve been celebrating because I feel I am in a happy place in my life and I’m OWNING 40 years! Not everyone is blessed to live to even 40, and I feel truly grateful to still be on this journey called LIFE.

40th Birthday Celebration Party

But even with all the excitement, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to have a 40th birthday PARTY.  About 5 years ago, I was dreaming up all the fun themes I wanted to do for a 40th Birthday Celebration, because you may know that I love a good DIY party theme. But as the months drew closer, it felt weird to think of a birthday party for myself. I didn’t feel great about the idea of throwing the party myself.  I could have asked my husband, I didn’t like that idea either. So I squashed the idea, and kept with my 40th bucket list throughout the year.  I focused on checking off the items on that list.

Then in February, I went walking with my friend Heather.  And I completely forgot that she’s a fellow 1978 baby.  She was telling me about her husband putting together a 40th birthday party for her. I was a tad bit green with envy.  She told me about the food truck coming, the backyard band, and that it would be couples mingling throughout the night. I know a lot of people love that idea, but I didn’t really need husbands at the party idea I had in my head, just my girlfriends! But I DID want my family there…how could I make that happen, I wondered?

Milestone Birthday

It was on that walk that she convinced me to let her throw a 40th birthday party for me.  But I have to admit I was dragging my feet. It stressed me out to be the center of attention like that.  I think a lot of people see me as an attention seeker because I have this public platform, always sharing pictures of myself on social media.  But the truth is, I just enjoy sharing the joy in life. I don’t need it to be about ME.

my best girlfriends

As always with my birthday, it’s a dilemma for people to attend. My birthday is July 7th, just 3 days after the ONLY summer holiday, and I’ve just resigned to the fact that no one is ever in town on my birthday, because they are taking a trip with their families with that one precious vacation day in the summer.

I used to want to be home for my birthday, I delighted in friends stopping by unexpectedly with birthday surprises, but over the years, that got less and less, so I’ve mostly just wanted to BE GONE on my birthday so that I wasn’t disappointed to not have that. It’s better for my psyche.

Last year, I hosted a mother daughter party a few weeks before my birthday, and though I didn’t tell anyone, that flamingo pineapple party was actually my way of celebrating my birthday with my daughters and friends, with their daughters. It was the birthday party I threw for myself, but didn’t tell anyone it was for my birthday…haha! I loved it so much.

After I gave Heather the “thumbs up” I really was excited. Milestone birthdays should be extra celebrated…am I right?

Planning a 40th Birthday Celebration

{Party fun in video form, watch now or after you’ve scrolled through and read the post!}

So with this 40th birthday celebration, I majorly stressed on who to invite. Do I be completely crazy and invite everyone I know?  I love people, but I didn’t want a huge crowd. One of my biggest challenges with any party is WHO TO INVITE!  I wanted something more intimate, not just a crowd of everyone I think is great. So I moved forward with a shorter list of people,  and hope that others who see this post about the party know that my intentions are not hurtful or vicious. I pulled together people that I know from the community, live a distance away, I don’t get to see often, and even those I may not know as well, but I’ve felt a connection with. I wanted it to be small-ish.

Heather used to be a party planner in Chicago (I like to share she threw a party for Oprah back in the day) so she took on the party planner duty. My friend Caroline hosted, and together, these two gals were a dynamic duo. The 3 of us put our heads together and came up with a plan. I like plans. My closest friends like to say I have a plan within a plan.

party planning friends

I chose the colors, and my ultimate party ideals were:

  • colorful decorations
  • my family running a game
  • salads for dinner
  • coordinated guest clothing
  • favorite things gift exchange

That coordinated guest clothing thing might sound crazy, but I got giddy about the idea of us all in similar colors, and taking a group picture, a la family picture style! It was actually really fun to have everyone in the colors throughout the night. Coordinating colors brings me JOY! In our planning meeting, I said I’d love a backdrop of sorts to do our group picture.

Caroline has a little shed out back and they put together the CUTEST backdrop! It was stressful but oh so sweet to see that sign on the top. I felt loved.

birthday party backdrop

You’ll have to watch the video to see a little behind the scenes…as with any group, it takes effort to get the masses to listen. I had 3 photographer friends there, and I enlisted Cherie to gather us all in, it was so fun!

After people started to head inside to start eating, a few lingered behind and we took a few pictures…I kinda wished I got one with each guest, but I just got a few with those below. It just made me so happy to see all of them there. I didn’t actually know who exactly was coming. I didn’t want to see the evite, because I didn’t want to see who WASN’T coming.  My plan was to focus on those that were there when they were there.

I ended up using my camera because I had a tripod/remote in the car from my the pictures I took with my out of town friends.

40th birthday celebration

Lately, my very favorite thing to eat is a hearty, delicious salad, so for the dinner menu, I requested a variety of my favorite salads. I was so delighted to hear that they were loved by others. After our pictures outside, we went in to eat.

  1. Mediterranean salad (hummus, Zoe’s dressing, and kalamata olives make it YUM!)
  2. Strawberry Spinach salad with Chicken (with strawberry vinagarette dressing)  salad dressing
  3. Cobb salad with chicken, avocado and hard boiled eggs with honey mustard (add eggs to this)
  4. Broccoli bacon salad (without onions)
  5. Roasted Corn Cucumber Salad

Around 8pm my family arrived. I wanted to be with my girlfriends and family but wasn’t sure how to make that work. When we discussed the idea of a “Who Knows Kristen Best” game, I thought it would be perfect for them to make an appearance at the party. It was truly SO.MUCH.FUN!

They did a good job of making a list of questions about me, and I helped a little bit in the week ahead of time. We split all the friends into teams–Family Feud style. 3-4 people on each team, and I insisted that a few people be split up to even out the teams! My two friends Naomi and Natalie had to be separated, and my 3 sister in laws, they know too much!

Funny story about them: Naomi (my neighbor of 8 years) grew up in Wichita, and Natalie (my high school bestie) now lives there, so it was fun to watch them connect (they’d met once before) and find they have common acquaintances.

I also found that my Sister in Law Alayna (who lives in Houston) did the hairstyle for my friend Amber for PROM in Georgia 14 years ago! It was fun to watch those connections amongst people who came together from different aspects of my life.

BACK TO THE GAME! It was really fun…you can see the laughter and some of the questions in the video. I loved it, though felt stressed a few times when my friends were trying to convince me that an answer was acceptable!

family games

The amazing cake was from a local bakery, Pagie’s Bakehouse. They also made my pineapple flamingo cake last summer!

pink and gold decorated cake

I LOVE beautifully decorated cakes!

pink and gold birthday cake

Below is a combo of friend eating and friends playing the game. More on the video…

friends at a party

After the game, we did a favorite things gift exchange. Everyone brought a gift of their favorites, and we exchanged. I got to introduce everyone as they opened their gifts, and it was fun to see what items everyone loved. I asked for them to bring those gifts instead of one for me, I wanted everyone to go home with something fun!

My gift to everyone was my favorite purple ink pen with a bookmark of one of my favorite quotes lately:

papermate purple pen

I’m truly grateful for the good people in my life. Though I’ve struggled with the challenge of adult friendships at various times, and felt holes, most of these ladies have been around for a long time, and when I see them, I’m filled with joy.

I could go through each one of them and share how they’ve blessed my life, brought me to tears, strengthened me in my challenges, and lifted me as I’ve watched them with theirs.

40th birthday party pictures

Life is about people…and relationships, and what we do with them. I’ve had my challenges with people, I’m a passionate person, I feel a lot, and my feelings often come out that I regret later. But I try, keep trying to live a pure life, be kind, be honest, be loving, and these people help me along in that journey.

Here’s lookin’ at my next 40 years!!!

40th birthday celebration

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Comments

  1. I love this beautifully decorated cakes

  2. very good. thank you

  3. Celebrate your 40th birthday decorated beautifully, wish you a happy birthday
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  4. Your birthday is so sweet. Congratulation!!! Hope that great things come to you this year.

  5. Celebrate your 40th birthday decorated beautifully, wish you a happy birthday!

    Regards,
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  6. Great, happy birthday.

  7. What a fun party! Summer birthday here too, and yes, it gets overshadowed by so many summer events (graduations, weddings, senior parties, etc.). It looks like you had a fantastic time! Happy Birthday!

  8. Happy belated Birthday, I wish i could have such party when i am your age too and be this much happy too

  9. Even at 40 + you looks gorgeous

  10. Celebrate your 40th birthday decorated beautifully, wish you a happy birthday

  11. Your birthday is so sweet. Congratulation!!! Hope that great things come to you this year.

  12. I love this beautifully decorated cakes

  13. Great, birthday.

  14. I’ve had my challenges with people, I’m a passionate person,

  15. very good. Thank you for sharing.