Monday, November 30, 2009

Thirty-Nine and Thankful

We were away for Thanksgiving, so I didn't see two of the nicest expressions of thanks until we got back late yesterday.

The first was a jar of homemade cranberry sauce that my almost four year-old made with her class at school. I'm not sure we'll ever eat the cranberry sauce, but that wasn't the best part. Attached with a piece of ribbon was a water-colored card with a note, dictated by my daughter and written by the teacher,

"Dear Mom, Dad, and L.,
I am thankful when Mama goes to the store and buys me popsicles. I love you very much. Love, S."

Next, was a letter addressed to me and my husband, with my seven year-old's name and school address in the upper left hand corner. "Dear Mom, Dad, and S.," began this letter - much longer than her sister's - that expanded upon all the things she's thankful for - from her family, to food, to God.

So, if a three year-old and a seven year-old can take a moment to express their gratitude, so can I.

I am thankful for:

A wonderful husband who is supportive in a very practical way
Two beautiful, kind daughters
Healthy parents who live nearby and are fun to be around
Great relationships with extended family
Good friends
My health
My home
My job
Everyday beauty that feeds my soul
And so, so, so much more...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fab 40 Definition #14: Howdy Doody Lines

Howdy Doody Lines How-dee du-dee linz (noun): lines leading from the nose to the outer corner of the mouth that appear so deep that they make the mouth and chin look like a separate entity, much like famed dummy (is that the PC term for this kind of puppet or is it like saying midget instead of little person?), Howdy Doody.

Since I was in my early twenties, I've always regarded Howdy Doody lines as the true giveaway of a woman's age. Women in their twenties don't have Howdy Doody lines - their skin is soft with just the faintest shadow of a line leading from nose to mouth. This is why they're still carded at bars.

Women of a certain age develop Howdy Doody lines -- not just lines, but deep crevices that don't go away...or do they?

The medical term for Howdy Doody lines is the nasal labial folds. Everyone has them, but when they start looking like permanent parentheses, you Google what they're really called and what you could do about them. It turns out...a lot.

So far, I'm too chicken to do anything that involves injecting botulism into my body, sloughing off my skin with chemicals that leave me red and raw, or buying a cream that costs over $100 for a few ounces. But I'm not saying never.

Until that day comes, lines add a little character; that Howdy Doody was quite a character, right?

(Photo credit: from

Monday, November 23, 2009

Julia's Fab 40th

If you build it, they will come. On Saturday I attended my first 40th birthday party since launching this was fabulous.

As we headed out the door on Saturday night, I warned our babysitter (again) that this could be a late night. "Are you going to boogie?" she teased us. Clearly she had taken a peek at the beautiful, yet simple, letterpress invitation that asked guests to join the birthday girl for dinner and a chance to "boogie down."

The birthday girl was our friend, Julia, who looked just lovely. You know when you're just really happy, you have that glow about you? That's how she looked. Not one to seek the limelight, she gracefully accepted a little extra attention, although she drew the line on gifts -- "no presents" it said on the invitation. (It's a classy touch, but for the record, I think it would be just fine to accept presents.)

The party was held at Momofuku Ssam Bar - a small downtown hot spot that was closed for the evening just for Julia's bash. (I just learned from Momofuku's website that ssam means anything encircled or wrapped.) We had a blast - guests were squeezed in tight at a handful of tables, as well as at the long narrow two-sided bar, where my husband and I sat about four seats away from one another. We were all seated with place cards, which is always kind of fun. It forces you out of your comfort zone to meet a new friend or two.

Julia's husband kicked off the evening by toasting the woman of the hour, who he declared "hot." Isn't that what we all want to hear from our husbands at 40 and forever? Julia stood and thanked everyone for coming as well. As I mentioned, she's not a limelight seeker, and characteristically, she took the opportunity to share the attention with shout-outs to others turning 40, and 40 year-olds doing fabulous things like running their first marathons or half-marathons. It's nice to include everyone in the kudos.

Remember when Diddy's party planner said his party was going to be "more experiential than spectacle...but still spectacular?" (See Friday's post). I think I finally know what that means!! The experience of this evening was an 8 course menu - cured hamachi, scallops, country ham, pork belly, seasonal pickles, and the piece de resistance -- the whole butt (translation - an entire pork rump that pulls apart and you wrap into bib lettuce with a variety of sauces...and oysters, if you like!) Everything was shared and passed family style, which I think always brings guests together in a more intimate way. The meal was an experience, but it was nothing short of spectacular.

Keeping it humming all night long was DJ Mr. Blue - an awesome deejay who had played at Julia's wedding (I didn't know her back then; we met when the kids were in nursery school together) and he really got the crowd going. By course #7, most people were on their feet...boogying, as promised. Some were smart enough to bring their dancing shoes!

As it hit 1:30, even though I'd warned our babysitter it would be a late night, I thought it best to hit the road. We got our coats and said goodbye, but not without one last dance with the birthday girl. I can't remember what the song was - maybe "It Takes Two to Make a Thing Go Right," but the dance, like the party, like Julia, was fabulous!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Diddy's 40th Birthday at The Plaza

According to party planner Bronson Van Wyck (as quoted in W magazine), the mood of Diddy's 40th Birthday bash would be more sensual than overtly sexual, and more experiential than spectacle...although it would still be spectacular. What does that mean???

The party happened last night at the newly renovated Plaza Hotel in NYC and aside from the Wire Image photos here, I can't find much about it on the web. Perhaps all the coverage of this "news" story has been promised away in exclusives to Access Hollywood and the like. From the pictures it looks like Kim Kardashian was there with her mother Kris. Nelly and Martha Stewart made appearances. And it appears that Al Green performed. I like Al Green, but overall, I don't think we missed much.

Diddy's party was sponsored by Ciroc Vodka, Diddy's own line of vodka. Imagine if the rest of us had our birthday parties sponsored by someone? I suppose it would be a product or service that I use often and represent well...

It could be Trafalgar Dry Cleaners, Zorba Pizzeria, or the local nail place, Dolce, but probably the best sponsor for my 40th birthday would be Marshall's/Home Goods...Marshall's/Home Goods presents KC's 40th Birthday.

Who would be the most likely sponsor of your birthday party?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Nice Shout Out from has a feature from My Fabulous 40th Birthday on its home page right now! Click here to see.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fab 40 Definition #1: Pfeifferize

Pfeifferize fi-fer-ize (verb): 1. The act of getting increasingly better looking with age, like Michelle Pfeiffer.

The best possible benefit of turning 40 is Pfeifferizing. It doesn't happen to everyone, but you'll know it's happening to you if your once round face starts to give way to cheekbones -- sultry, sophisticated cheekbones. If your eyes sparkle with a little more're probably Pfeifferizing.

Check out this then and now of Michelle Pfeiffer here.

Other well-known people who have Pfeifferized include Katie Couric, Sela Ward, Tom Cruise, George Clooney. Even Oprah has Pfeifferized.

It's the luck of the draw, those who Pfeifferize and those who don't. For those who do, it makes for a Pfabulous Pfortieth.

*photo from

Saturday, November 14, 2009

40: Capture the Moment

Who are you...right now? Cindy over at Serious Play captured a moment in time with this cool memento. She keeps it simple, with three lists of what she always, sometimes, and never does at 40.

If I had to name a few...

I always: Have a cough, Enjoy planning celebrations, Wish I could be more patient with the girls, Talk to my mom a couple of times a week, Like going to Anthropologie for inspiration, Have "date night" every Thursday.

I sometimes: Walk to the beach on the weekend, Find great deals at Marshall's/Home Goods, Like playing Apples to Apples or Scrabble with the kids, Watch Brothers & Sisters, but am annoyed that it is getting too over-the-top.

I never: Keep up with my own doctors' appointments, Can find my Metro Card when I need to take the bus in a hurry or in the rain, Like it when the kids scream, even when they're having fun.

Twenty or forty years from now, a little time capsule like this will be fun to look at...what would yours say now? Is it different than it would have been at 30? At 20?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The 4-oh! Becomes 4-ah!: Spa Party

Around this time two years ago, I got a late night call from my friend, L. Now, I'm not a late night phone call kind of person; if the phone rings past 9:30, or truthfully, some nights past 7:30, I do not feel like talking. But boy, was I glad I took this call...

L. was inviting me to join her and two other friends for an entire week at Cal-a-Vie spa to celebrate her 40th birthday...her treat. She knew it was a lot to ask, she said, but could I possibly leave work and two little kids and freezing cold New York for a week? How fast would you say yes, yes, yes!?

In late January, I flew to San Diego. Along the way, I be-friended a really nice woman, Meg, who was wedged next to a couple with a brand new baby...I had an empty seat next to me and invited her to take it. It turned out that we knew a bunch of people in common (namely my mother) and she was also going on a birthday spa trip (at a different spa) being hosted by a friend. We had a blast chatting away and helping each other with bawdy poems we were writing for our respective birthday girls. I was already feeling very carefree and relaxed and I wasn't even at the spa yet!

Meg and I parted ways and I hopped in the car to Cal-a-Vie, where I met up with L. and the two other lucky ducks there to help her celebrate. We were each friends with L., but didn't know each other well at all. By that evening, as we consumed our spa contraband - L.'s favorite champagne and chocolate in the shape of "40" from the fabulous Lilac candy store, read toasts and poems, and gave little gifts to our hostess, I felt like I had known all three women forever.

Here was our routine:

We all had our own beautiful rooms and woke up around 6 every morning for a hike around the grounds. After trying this the first morning, this proved too hilly, fast, and strenuous for me, so from there on out, I joined the older ladies at Cal-a-Vie for some speed-walking around the local golf course.

Next: Healthy breakfast with the rest of the people staying for the week, about 30 of us in total. We had heard that many celebrities go to Cal-a-Vie, but there were none there that week. The group dynamic and general environment was one part reality show, one part summer camp, and one part rehab.

In the morning, you attended three fitness classes, with a little break in between for some hot vegetable juice and carrot sticks. You'd think that would run right through you or at least give you a major cramp as you're trying to Zumba or maneuver giant hula hoops, but it actually does not.


After lunch, it's a COMPLETE AFTERNOON OF SPA TREATMENTS - SOMETHING LIKE A TOTAL OF 17 TREATMENTS OVER THE COURSE OF THE WEEK. You're never sore from all the exercise because you're constantly massaged. It was pure heaven!


Evenings begin with hors d'ouevre -- singular, not plural, because there is only one for each person. Dinner was again, healthy - who knew you could make chocolate pudding out of Tofu and cocoa powder? And the seat jockeying rivaled any middle school cafeteria at lunchtime. The four of us liked to stick together, and we liked sitting with the two friends from Texas or the unlikely sisters or the mother-college-aged daughter duo. We didn't like sitting with the pessimistic Brit who was apparently quite a success at work, but wasn't impressing anyone at Cal-a-vie.

Sometimes we tried to watch a movie, but mostly, we tumbled into bed early...and started all over again the next day. We did this for seven days until the final day, when they weighed and measured us (they had done this when we checked in.) Somehow, surprisingly given the fact that the girls had given me the chocolate "40" and I'd gnawed off a little bit of it each night, I lost 2 1/2 pounds and 8 inches, but (here comes the corny part) I gained so much -- new friends, a lot of laughs with my good friend L., a renewed interest in getting in shape and eating healthy, and a great mental break away from it all.

Cal-a-vie is top notch and this was an over-the-top experience, but regardless of the budget, I highly recommend a 40th Spa Weekend!!

photos above -,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Things I Want to Do Before I'm 40

When it comes to some of the usual "by the time, I'm 40, I want ______," I'm pretty content. Marriage, kids, family & friends, career, home - it's all there and I'm grateful.

There's not a thing that I think of and say to myself, I thought I would have done that by now. Over lunch with a friend a few weeks ago, I was shocked to hear her say that 40 was tough because she thought she would have accomplished so much more. This was coming from one of the most accomplished women I know!

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am planning to be around for a long time, leaving me many decades to accomplish all the things on my list: writing a novel, learning calligraphy, taking up Spanish, finally putting together baby books for the kids, filling out an A-cup.

Now more than ever, there's no deadline for accomplishing things - plenty of really successful people didn't get their careers cooking until after 40 (Julia Child quite literally!), love is often there when you least expect it (my husband's grandfather fell deeply, madly in love in his nineties), there are so many friendships yet to forge, and babies are entering women's(and men's)lives in all different decades.

But I'm goal-oriented; I can't help it, so there are a couple of things I'm determined to do in the next year, which will make my 40th a bit more satisfying:

1. Visit Aunt Junie and Uncle Walter. Aunt Junie is my beloved grandmother's best friend. My grandmother died 11 years ago and that's the last time I saw Aunt Junie. Aunt Junie always remembers me and my kids with birthday cards, addressed with her perfect "Palmer method" handwriting and sometimes filled with a handful of confetti. On this last birthday, she included a photo of herself and Uncle Walter on their 65th Wedding Anniversary. They look so sweet -- I'll have to scan it and add it to this post -- and I'm determined to do the trains/planes/automobiles trip to see them in their remote little town in Upstate New York.

2. Get Heart Healthy.
I am not in shape and have never been in shape, so it's time to do something about it. I recently joined the New York Road Runners club and am taking a beginning runners class. The goal is to be able to run 20 minutes non-stop by the end of the 10 week course. Something every 40 year-old should be able to do.

3. Pull the Apartment Together. As much as I loved college, I don't want to live like I'm in college. It's not that bad, but it could be a little nicer.

Three things. That's do-able. What about you? Anything on your list?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy 40th Birthday Sesame Street

As I mentioned last week, Sesame Street turns 40 today! I didn't get a chance to see it (we've moved on, perhaps prematurely, to Sponge Bob) but I understand that Michelle Obama appeared on the show today to kick off the new season. That's a pretty significant way to celebrate the big 4-oh!

I can remember watching Sesame Street in the early 1970s and liking Ernie and Bert, Grover - as Super Grover! and the waiter, and Mr. Hooper. I always found it annoying that people didn't believe Big Bird that Snuffleupagus was real - it wasn't until 1985 that the grown-ups finally met him!

Which are your favorite characters?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hanging Ten on Your Fortieth

Well, so far the road to 40 has been paved with Kleenex and cough drops.

Everyone I know seems to have gotten some version of "the cough." This is the cough that lasts for weeks and weeks and weeks...I now think I've cracked a rib from coughing so hard. I'm hobbling around, afraid to cough, because I know it's going to hurt like heck...

As a distraction, I'm thinking about possible 40th birthday trips that I could take with my college friends. One idea we talked about was Surf School, where we'd take on a physical and(for some of us,okay, me)psychological challenge. I started to browse some possibilities today. This link from lists five fantastic ones worth checking out, at the very least for inspiration.

But if your birthday budget doesn't allow for a trip to Bali, you can still pull off a Surf School Celebration. Surf lessons are available up and down both coasts, so you could easily do this on a weekend, putting together a morning group lesson with lunch, manicures/pedicures, a festive dinner, and a stay at a local hotel. Stay at a really nice hotel and I'm sure their concierge could arrange it all.

What do you think? Is this something you'd want to do to celebrate your 40th?

Friday, November 6, 2009

This Takes the Cake

A milestone birthday is a great time to do something you've always wanted to do.

For my friend (who happens to be my sister's mother-in-law) Carole, that something was a life-long desire to jump out of a cake!

She didn't do it for her 40th birthday - back then, she was probably too busy raising seven kids, but last month she turned 75 and it was time!

Dressed in a tutu and tassles, and surrounded by her kids, grandkids, great-grandkids and friends, Carole finally got the chance to jump out of a cake. It might not have been her 40th, but it sure was fabulous!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Even Inanimate Objects Celebrate Their 40th Birthdays

The Internet turned 40 last week, Sesame Street turns 40 next week...heck, even the Big Mac celebrated the whopper of all birthdays a few years back.

If inanimate objects can have a fabulous 40th birthday, well, so can you.

I wonder if anyone has ever had their 40th birthday party at McDonald's. That would be kind of fun if you could rent one out -- I wonder if the franchise contract would allow a franchisee to do that...and serve alcohol. Otherwise, forget it.