Thursday, April 30, 2015

thoughts & photos from my 40th

On March 28, I turned 40. And, I have to say, it was one of my favourite birthdays.

The day before, my friend Cathy treated me to an amazing lunch at one of my fave local spots, Canteen. It was my first real ladydate after the egg retrieval so I was beyond excited to see Cathy (and to get out of the house & out of my sweatpants)! If you go, order the fry bread. It's delectable!

Cathy and my friend Ayesha also had Frickin' Delights Donuts delivered to my house that day. Could there be a better surprise than a donut surprise from kick arse friends? I think not.

The next day, Scotty, with the help of my talented friend Christine, threw me a surprise brunch cooking class at The Vitality Kitchen with some of my closest friends (my fave Crave cupcakes were there too). I burst into tears when I walked in and saw all of their faces! Not because I was sad, but because I had never felt so loved as I did in that moment. Best. feeling. ever.

Photo by my pal Christine Shankowsky of Just Bella Blog

The brunch was fun, educational and delicious (plus pretty! C did a lovely job as you can see above). I tried Cordyceps tea (a medicinal mushroom) and cashew cream for the first time and dug them both, while the others gave bulletproof coffee a try (a cup of joe avec coconut oil). We also learned heaps of interesting facts about food and nutrition from proprietress and chef Bianca, who, unbeknownst to Christine, I had already been following on Instagram for quite some time. Serendipity in action!

L to R: Christine, Bianca, me, Kat, Nathalie, Ayesha & Liz. Sadly missed: Rosa, Cathy, Caroline, Misty, Jessica & Malti.

That evening Scott and I had reservations at North 53 because their Rosy Cheeks cocktail, a libation inspired by Persian ice cream, is the most unctuous drink in the entire city. As we were walking towards the restaurant, I caught a glimpse of a man who looked like my brother sitting at one of the tables. Well, it was my brother! Scott had planned for my mom, dad, brothers and niece to join us at the restaurant as a surprise. Boy, do I love that guy! He made 40 very special for me.

My family. I love these people so dang much.

After dinner and dessert (a giant warm maple & chocolate skillet cookie with vanilla ice cream) we all traipsed over to our house to open presents and enjoy more dessert, a delicious white chocolate hazelnut torte made by my mom. We enjoyed the leftover torte the next day at a birthday dinner at my parent's house. Yup, more food! For our birthdays, my mom always cooks our favourite meals. She's the best.

One of the most special gifts I received, apart from Josephine, came from my 11 year old niece Raissa who wrote the loveliest poem about my blog. It was unexpected and so sweet.

The following weekend, my friend Ayesha planned another surprise birthday dinner at The Common with a few of my good pals. I ordered a Lavender Rocks, of course, another top notch beverage. But more important than any libation, I couldn't have asked for a lovelier birthday season or lovelier friends. Only time allows you to collect a quality crew of amazing people like I have in my life. The many texts, phone calls, cards and messages -- my heart was, and still is, so full. Thank you all!

People have asked me how I feel about turning 40 or if I feel differently. The truth is I don't get nervous or scared about birthdays and this one was no different, although it does feel so adult, so official. Most days I don't feel like a grown up at all and I keep waiting for someone to knock on the door and demand I return my adult card. And while 40 feels so big, I'm embracing this decade with an open heart and mind. I have no idea what the future holds but I grew so much in the past decade (mostly in my backside, har har) I'm excited to see what this next decade holds for me.

Here's what I know for certain:
  • Family is everything.
  • I have the best friends I've ever had. 
  • It's okay not to fit in. I don't at times and quite often I get along better with kids. Go figure.
  • Age is relative and totally dependent on your attitude.
  • Confidence comes from being yourself.
  • I'm much stronger than I ever knew. 
  • It's liberating not caring what people think of you. Which goes along with this practical wisdom from a speech John Gardner gave at Stanford University, 61 years after he graduated: "You come to understand that most people are neither for you nor against you; they are thinking about themselves. You learn that no matter how hard you try to please, some people in this world are not going to love you, a lesson that is at first troubling and then really quite relaxing."
  • Just because I'm 40 doesn't mean I should have everything together and that's okay. I'm still learning, growing and figuring things out, like how to stop worrying so much
  • I'm at peace with my body, jiggly bits and all. I talked about that in depth here. That doesn't mean I don't want things to jiggle. It just means I'd rather eat or read than exercise. 
  • Further to that, a good night's sleep, laughter and plenty of water are better than botox. 
  • Life is too short (and precious) to allow drama or toxic people in your life. 
  • There's nothing wrong with setting boundaries, for family and friends.
  • It's perfectly fine to ask for help and support. I did in this post!
  • Pursuing your passion is good for the soul.
  • It's a waste of time to compare yourself to others.
  • And I'll leave you with this, my mom was right about almost everything. She's going to love reading that! And I'm going to love travelling with her this Saturday! Eeek, I'm still vibrating from Tuesday's surprise!

Thank you for being part of my journey, too.

Here's to living our lives to the fullest no matter how old, or young, we are! Cheers to 40!


  1. This was perfect D. I'm so glad you had a wonderful birthday. Friends and family are everything at this age and it's amazing to see how far we have all come! Love ya and your fun spirit!

  2. You truly are "happiness in human form". That Raissa knows what she's talking about! I loved this post and your list is awesome. You are a wise one, my friend. Happy 40!! Love you. xo

  3. That sounds like the most awesome birthday ever! And how thoughtful are your friends and family to spoil you so - you are well loved. Happy 40th D!

  4. THAT... is how you handle a birthday! Happy for you, and happy birthday!!

  5. Where is your dress from? I love it :)


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