My 34th Bday

One of my favorite parts of NYFW is that is that it my birthday always falls during the same week!

Having my birthday fall during the week when I am in one of my favorite cities, enjoying the shows, art, and seeing all my fashion friends is my peak birthday wish every year!

Usually my husband invites all our East Coast friends and my fashion pals who are in town to join us for dinner at whatever restaurant we are obsessing over then. I am always SO grateful that people make time amid their busy lives, especially those who are consumed with the crazy schedule of fashion week.!

Last year we all met at an amazing Italian restaurant and I loved the company and the food, and of course the focus (ME) but left with one complaint… at a long table it is hard to REALLY chat with anyone further down than one seat from you. If everyone is going to come and take time out to see us, I want to interact with them all.

That being said, this year I knew I wanted a change! My husband was working on reserving a glamorous, unique experience in a special spot when I told him I wanted to pivot. This cool location would have really limited how many people we could invite, and I knew the set up would be the same type of long, elegant, but conversation stifling table… I suggested that since it was my birthday, maybe we go to arguably my favorite spot… SHAKE SHACK!

I knew it wasn’t necessarily chic, or gourmet, but it is what I like… and I knew that then I could invite whoever I wanted, and that people could come and go if they had other plans to attend to that evening.

Once we started talking about it I got SO excited. This would absolutely be my dream! We reached out to my fav Shake Shack location (The Innovation Kitchen in the West Village) about possibly reserving a spot ahead of time (to have enough seats for everyone) and they said we could actually rent out the whole place. I WAS ECSTATIC! My poor husband might have lost hearing in the ear closest to me after I hung up the phone!!

We quickly got all the plans in place to rent the space, and they even included the test kitchen space so our guests could try cooking their own creations as well, and letting all our friends know that I was going to be celebrating my 34th birthday kid style at a burger joint.

Almost no one was surprised… they all know me pretty well TBH.

I arranged for “some” balloons to be delivered to the SS. Some being the operative word. That was def what I told my husband… and to be fair to me, I couldn’t quite picture how big the big balloons would be. I also had the balloon delivery guys (Balloon Saloon in NYC - the best if you are looking) bring over some inflatable hamburgers… because at this point WHY NOT!?!?! I was a grown adult (debatable) having my bday amongst fries!!

I then badgered the poor people at Flour Shop to take a semi last minute order. Flour Shop cakes are DELISH. I love them and MilkBar both equally taste wise, but Flour Shop makes a burger shaped cake, and darling sprinkle ones (that just scream BRONWYN) and I knew I HAD to have them!

On the day of my birthday I was actually gifted a MilkBar cake during a luncheon at the Zac Posen showroom, and boy was I glad I had Flour Shop coming that night… lucky me… my two fav cakes in one day!

Also, during that Zac Posen showroom luncheon I saw this cocktail dress I am wearing! It was from the new collection showing that week at fashion week and I fell instantly in love. I decided to place an order for one, and then managed to sweet talk the AMAZING team at ZP into lending me the sample to wear to my party that very evening. I am incredibly grateful for their trust, willingness to help me, and their geneorsity in lending me the dress… months before my own arrives… so that I could be the diva, over-the-top, BURGER QUEEN of my dreams!

The Shake Shack location was closed when I arrived, and their awesome crew helped me put up the balloons and blow up all the inflatables. Soon, my friends all began to arrive!

Because of everyone’s crazy schedules over half of the people invited couldn’t come, or weren’t in town, but I still had tons of pals, and the most amazing evening ever.

How could I have not?!?! A gorgeous gown, burgers, fries, cake, balloons, my husband and everyone wanting to love on moi (not necessarily in order of importance)!!!!!

It was my version of heaven!

You have no idea how hard it was for me to narrow it down to just THIS many photos… we had an amazing photographer and she perfectly captured the whole evening for me!

Peak Bronwyn. Gown, sparkly purses, junk food, balloons and some of my favorite people!

I think my heart felt as big and full as my poufy dress!

There were so many examples of friendship that evening. I never need gifts (altho who doesn’t love them) but was thrilled to receive so many thoughtful ones. Gift giving is definitely a love language of mine and I love to find the “perfect” gift for others… I felt this returned 1000 fold that night! From the most fragrant bouquets of flowers, to shoes I was coveting but not finding in my size, to memories, thoughtful cards, and the warmest hugs (no, I am not Olaf but I do like them).

So many friends, I am a lucky lady indeed!

The party couldn’t have lasted long enough for me!

It was exactly what I hoped for… people came and went, I got time with each individual guest, and so many of my friends go to meet and become instant BFFs with each other.

If only my pups, and my daughter had been there, it would have been completely perfect!

When the file of photos arrived I couldn’t believe how fun it was to relieve every minute. I would look at a photo and think “that’s my favorite”, and then flip to the next one and think “oh no, that one def is!”. Each was better than the last. I mean look at those four above this text!! I could just die over the adorable-ness!

I know it isn’t the typical dress for eating burgers but it was the perfect dress for me, and I loved the juxtaposition!

My husband showed me once again that he genuinely loves me for the quirky, eccentric, multi-faceted, wide interest ranging person that I am! He never flinched when I said I wanted a burgers & fries themed party, while wearing a POUFY cocktail gown and crystal sneakers. He just nodded and helped me get it done! He was, as always, the life of the party, telling stories, jokes and just being my favorite person. He is beyond a good sport, my better half, and I am blessed to get to start another year of my life with him by my side!

Isn’t he just the hunkiest and most fabulous man ever?!?!?

I am someone who loves self-help, therapy, a great podcast or deep conversation with an insightful friend… and also take any and all natural opportunities to reflect on my life, and implement changes and continue evolving as a women. Birthdays are definitely one of those natural times of reflection.

This year I was struck by how much my life has changed over the last few birthdays (marriage, moves, career changes, making & losing friends, facing my own inadequacies and prior mistakes & trying to learn & grow from them, the challenges & joys of raising a now teenager, my health issues… just to name a few).

Today I am the most confident, joyful, comfortable, honest, genuine, loving person that I have ever been. I am acutely aware of my flaws and motivated to work on them, while also being proud of the person I currently am. What a tricky, delicate balance to obtain. It took so much work to find this balance and it is something I cherish and respect now I have it. I work very hard to show and emulate respect and love for others, and to positively support, inspire, and make those in my circle of influence laugh and enjoy their life. I love learning, especially about myself, and have found it to be so true that you really come into your own in your 30s!

This past year I have deeply learned the importance of forgiveness, patience, love as a verb, and so many other really important ideas that I want to continue to learn about, apply to my life, and find other ways to improve as a women, mother, wife, friend, sister, daughter, doggie mama, and member of all the tribes and communities I am thrilled to be a part of.

I am truly so grateful and know how insanely blessed I am to have been surrounded by so much love and enthusiasm as I began another chapter of my life.

Count your age by friends, not years.
Count your life by smiles, not tears.
— John Lennon