18 October 2011


Last year I had this grand plan to celebrate my 29th birthday in Las Vegas. I have never been to Vegas, save a couple short layovers where, on one adventure, I lost $10 in the airport slots. Vegas became one of the destinations that I wanted to experience before turning 30, so what better way to ring in the last year of my 20s?

The timing could not have been better. As it turned out, the annual aviation conference was held in Vegas this year and the last day of the conference happened to fall on my birthday. Kismet, I was convinced. So, one year ago, I began planning my party, recruiting friends to join me and summoning Mr. Vegas himself (also known as Mr. Maratto) to begin planning my birthday festivities.

Three months later Singapore came into the picture and it started to become clear that Vegas might be a little out of range. Then I started weighing my options – Vegas…..Singapore…..Vegas…..Singapore. I think I did OK.

Growing up I remember having combined birthday parties with my little brother, whose birthday happens to fall within three days of my own. When we got passed the sleepover age, we had small family get togethers that always had cake, but we never really had any big celebrations.

My family is not Jewish so I did not have a Bat Mitzvah; we are not of Latin decent so I did not have a QuinceaƱera. I also did not have the more traditional Sweet 16 party or a party when I turned 18.

My 21st birthday fell on Homecoming Eve in college and, out of seven housemates, I was the oldest so none of my friends could join me at the bar. My boyfriend (now husband) came in to town to celebrate. Neither one of us were drinkers but I did want to have my celebratory first drink so he came along for the horrid endeavor.

The best memory from my 21st was when Paul sat in my living room and gave me my gift. He pulled out the card, read it in front of me and laughed at the writing, then signed the card, placed it into the envelope, licked the seal and threw the card at me from across the room. I do not remember the gift but I still have the card that reads, “Nice Butt!”

Since I missed out on some great parties growing up, I have begun to appreciate them more and more with each coming birthday. I have seen so many reasons why life is important and we should all be thankful each birthday we have to celebrate with those around us.

So, for my 29th, I spared no detail. Birthday Month has been great so far. I have been volunteering more, which means I got to work with children who have down syndrome – definitely my favorite day so far. 

I started Birthday Week by making Paula Dean’s red velvet cake and the Barefoot Contessa’s buttercream frosting. Paul was on a two-day trip for my birthday, but that did not stop him from making my birthday special.

I spent the afternoon at the salon and then headed to the U.S. Embassy for a happy hour sponsored by some U.S. Marines. Marines are plentiful in my family and my brother is serving in Okinawa today, so I was thrilled that this event was on my birthday.

After happy hour, my friends and I headed to Sky Bar at the top of Marina Bay Sands. The view from the 57th floor was incredible, though I was not exactly feeling the atmosphere. One drink in, my friends and I headed downstairs in search of some cake.

Two days later, I celebrated with two other couples and my husband at our favorite Italian restaurant. The Italian family running this place is so amazing – so loving, so friendly and SOOOOOO talented in the kitchen. This place has the best food on the island hands down.

In under an hour, I will continue the celebrations south of the border, in the Southern Hemisphere. I am about to receive passport stamp #2 as I head to Bali for the week, thanks, of course, to Paul McKee.

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