i’m not sure what or how you’re supposed to feel when you wake up on your birthday, but for as long as i can remember waking up on my birthday has always felt like waking up on any other day. especially when you decide to take that 6 a.m. studio barre class kind of like you always do because let’s be honest, the metabolism only slows down from here. but as the text messages and voicemails begin to pour in on your special day, the reality that this particular date on the calendar is more extraordinary than most starts to set in. and suddenly june 4th doesn’t feel so unspecial after all…
but yes, i did in fact kick-off year 29 with a painfully early studio barre class because i wanted to burn some of those birthday calories in advance. and after a good workout, i dropped by starbucks to redeem my free birthday coffee before returning home to pick up a change of clothes.
when my parents had asked me how i had wanted to spend my day, i had confidently answered that i wanted a full 24 hours of my favorite things. and since that seemed too simple, i also threw in a swedish massage. going to barre upwards of five times a week really does a number on
every muscle in your body shoulders and hamstrings, so after i had picked up my birthday outfit and some toiletries from my house, i headed to total woman spa (which is not the same as curves, btw), for my hour-long trip to zen.
the front desk ladies checked me in and showed me to my locker where i was to change into a robe and wait for my masseuse to retrieve me from the “quite room.” side note -what is it about a big white fluffy robe that makes you feel like royalty? or in the very least, like rachel zoe. anyway, my masseuse, cynthia was lovely, as was the massage itself. though i totally forgot how awkward it is trying to answer questions when you’re face down resting over the hole in the massage table. and also, note to self -don’t get a spray tan before a massage, between the rubbing and the pineapple papaya aromatherapy oils, i’m fairly certain i left half of my bronze right there on the massage table. whoops.
still in a euphoric state, i drove to my parents’ house where momma was waiting for me. as were these gorgeous peonies from trader joe’s:
after i read the accompanying card and waterworks naturally ensued (it’s my party i can cry if i want to), i showered and changed so we could start the latter half of shawnapolooza. or shawnuary. they are interchangeable.
because a birthday (or any other day for that matter) would not be complete without a trip to honey’s, we headed to the coast so i could commemorate year 29 with a delicious brunch at my happy place. i opted for the pitaya bowl over my usual acai version and caesar, in learning it was my birthday, even tried to track down a candle. unfortunately he came up short, but hey, it’s the thought that counts.
with a few minutes to spare before the next item up on the agenda (a blowout a drybar), mom and i had time to stop by homegoods where i hoped to find new bathroom and kitchen rugs. because you know you’re in your last year in your 20’s when house ware shopping gets your adrenaline pumping. #adulthood. luckily, the rug gods looked favorably on us and i walked away from the discount store with a few new adornments for my hardwood floors.
looking back on the past two years’ birthday celebrations, i have made a trip to drybar on my special day a sort of tradition, i guess. this year was obviously no different, because hello? great birthday hair is the gift that keeps on giving. after an hour in the salon chair and watching a few dozen scenes of the best rom com of all time –how to lose a guy in 10 days –heidi (my stylist) took my locks from blah to bombshell and i was sent on my way with hair as big as texas.
i arrived back at my parents and carpooled with mom to the forum for a little shopping at my favorite store of late –madewell. i managed to score a few goodies from the sales rack (tank & sweater) as well as a new dress for some of the showers i’ll be attending this summer. it is seriously both the best and worst thing having that store in such close proximity. exhausted from our shopping excursion (and from the day in general), mom and i returned home to rest up and wait for toppie to get back from work. when 6 p.m. finally rolled around, we piled into the car for the last of the day’s activities -dinner at cucina enoteca.
per usual, it was an amazing experience. i cheers-ed to #twentyfine with a refreshing paloma (tequila, lime & grapefruit) and polished off nearly two orders of fried brussels sprouts before finally getting my candle in a complimentary chocolate dessert.
i made a wish for -wait, i can’t tell you that, it might not come true!
i arrived home late to my house following dinner and goodbyes from the parents, exhausted by running on adrenaline from what very well could be my most perfect day, i climbed into bed and pulled the covers up to my chin. i looked through the catalog of facebook posts and instagram likes on my phone and smiled. i realize you should never find total validation through social media, but let’s be real here, it doesn’t suck to receive that kind of birthday love.
..so to all of you who reached out via text, phone call, facebook post, instagram or comment (or collage!) or sent me emails, cards or left a comment on my blog, thank you, thank you, thank you. if the first day as a twenty-fine-year-old is any indication of how the remaining 364 days are going to play out, i think this year might be the best one yet.
oh, you thought i was finished with the celebrations? au contraire. why take just one day to celebrate when you can take FIVE instead? my thoughts exactly.
so day two of shawnuary began very similar to day one -with a 6 a.m. studio barre class and a subsequent trip to starbucks where nat was waiting for me with a few tips on how to keep my redesigned internet domain looking current and fresh (and also, you know, in tact). after we parted ways, i drove home to shower, change, and pack for my jaunt up the coast to orange county where i would spend the next few days.
en route to meet up with my little sissy lou, i stopped by my grandma’s house for a visit. though we chat on the phone about once a week (sometimes twice) and she reads my blog daily, i hadn’t spent quality one-on-one time with her in person for, gosh, too long to publicly admit. i hope you’re lucky enough to have a strong bond with your grandparents -or with people who feel like grandparents at least. there is nothing quite like the bond shared between a grandparent and grandchild, and i was reminded of its uniqueness as we exchanged stories and chatted about life. i stayed about an hour before hugging her goodbye and venturing northward to my dad and step-mom’s home. when i arrived at 3:30 p.m., i was greeted by another beautiful bouquet of peonies (you can never really get enough of them) and my mini-me.
i dropped my stuff off in the guest room and sissy and i ran out to get an early dinner to go before the car arrived to take us up to the hollywood bowl for the onerepublic concert. so as to ensure a speedy and safe delivery to the venue, our father had ever-so-graciously gifted us with a town car to transport us for the evening. the car arrived promptly at 5 p.m. and we piled inside, anxious to get our evening started.
over the course of our hour and a half commute, we discussed college applications (she just completed her sophomore year), boys, and her recent trip to china. anyway before we knew it, we were pulling up to the iconic concert venue on highland avenue and raul (our driver) was telling us to have fun and where we could find him when the festivities concluded at 11 p.m.
it was the perfect evening for a show under the stars (not too hot, not too cold, and all we needed was a light jacket (and scarf)). we filed in amongst the thousands of fellow concert-goers and made our way toward the entrance. it was a mixed bag of hipsters, sorority sisters, and couples on a rare evening out away from the kids. we found our seats in the garden section -just a handful of rows up from the stage. oh-em-gee. i don’t think i’ve ever sat in that close proximity to the band at a live show. i looked over at my sister, neither of us could wipe our goofy grins off of our faces. this is going to be memory i’ll never forget, i thought. what a special experience to share together.
american authors opened the show, giving a solid performance and setting the energy level and tone for the rest of the evening. if the name of the brooklyn-based band doesn’t ring a bell, the name of their hit single might -“best day of my life” is currently climbing the charts and it’s catchy as heck.
snippet from “best day of my life”
almost immediately after american authors left the stage did the boys from dublin, ireland come to replace them. the script was amazing, plain and simple. danny o’donoghue and the gang are electric. it was no surprise that they were all soaking wet by the end of their set because each and every one of them put 110% into every song. they played all of their hits and a few new ones off their latest album #3, too. and don’t even get me started on their accents. trust me, if you ever get the opportunity to see these irish lads in concert, take it. you’ll thank me later, i promise.
snippet from their performance of their very first single “the man that can’t be moved”
finally, after the sun had gone down and the clear skies had become dark, the stage was transformed with the magic of up-lighting and cgi graphics and a cloud of fog from nearby fog machines. the members of onerepublic took the stage, only their faint silhouettes visible behind the thick grey mist. suddenly ryan tedder’s sweet vocals penetrated the silence. he sung out the first few lines of “light it up” (off their latest album, native) but his slight frame was still absent from the stage. anticipation built as the instruments began to accompany his unmistakable vocals. and then, the cannons ignited, the lights flashed brightly, and as if from nowhere he appeared in the middle of the stage where he would remain, commanding the attention of every last one of the 18,000 people packed into the bowl.
i first saw onerepublic at the del mar fair in 2009. they were awesome then, but five years and a gazilion catchy-can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head-songs later and they are on a whole other level now. to watch lead singer ryan tedder on stage -flitting about like a crazed butterfly from instrument (he has to burn like five billion calories per show) is like seeing someone effortlessly perform the craft that they were born to do. their set list was the perfect mix of old and new -classics like “apologize” and “stop & stare” and new songs like “catching stars,” “preacher” and their most recent chart-climbing hit “love runs out.” and then about halfway through the set, gavin degraw came out on stage because, you know, i’m convinced everyone in the entertainment industry is friends.
they closed the show with an encore featuring ryan’s rendition of “what a wonderful world” and “if i lose myself.” complete with confetti rain. we shuffled out of the amphitheater and onto highland avenue where raul was waiting. we cat-napped throughout the commute, finally arriving back home at a hair shy of midnight. to say i was exhausted would be an understatement. a 17-hour day just doesn’t feel the same as it did as it did as a teenager. but i’ll sleep when i’m dead.
“something i need” (with backup vocals by yours truly. sorry in advance)
i slept in on friday morning the best i could, which in shawna world is about 7:15 a.m. then i got my tuck-on at pure barre newport beach, followed by coffee from starbucks and a pitaya bowl from nektar. when i got home soon thereafter, i showered and changed and waited for my sister to do the same. and then we headed to fashion island for some window (and actual) shopping.
we did our best to help the economy with purchases made at anthropologie, nordstrom, and athleta. but perhaps the best part of the trip was when sissy encouraged me to pretend like i was shopping for prom and try on evening gowns from the formal section at nordy’s.
most people seemed to be a fan of the pink gown, but my heart was stolen by the floral number. however, despite my affections for the frock, i had no business making any more purchases that day so i put the dresses back on the hangers and demanded that we get out of there before i made any rash decisions.
on our drive back home, i inquired if my sister had ever heard of a gem of a show called newport harbor, which was essentially filmed in her backyard in the days following laguna beach but preceding the hills. i began listing off the characters, and her eyes grew the size of saucers. turns out she either knew or knew of almost every kid in the cast, or in the very least, their younger siblings. when we walked through the door, she couldn’t run to her computer fast enough.
let this be a psa for y’all: newport harbor seasons one and two are still archived on mtv.com. subsequently, we watched about four and a half episodes and you know what? i regret nothing.
my dad got home right before dinner time and the five of us ate a delicious meal of bbq chicken, sausage, pasta, and salad al fresco. we lingered in the dwindling sunlight, talking about recent travels and high school gossip and just soaking up every moment of time together as a family. we retired to the living room to relax and regroup before the sibs and i went on the only kind of run i’ll make these days-a fro yo run. armed with the proper viewing snacks, upon returning home, we settled in for a little journey back to dillon, tx. that’s right, we had a netflix marathon of friday night lights. oh tim riggins, how i’ve missed thee. we polished off about five episodes, nearly finishing off season three. but as the hour creeped past eleven, my eyelids became heavy and i told tim i had to call it a night (he understood).
saturday morning began like it would most un-birthday weekends -with an early morning pure barre class and starbucks. i was treated to a breakfast on balboa island with my two favorite dudes -my dad and twelve-year-old brother -before i said my goodbyes and headed back down the coast. i arrived home midday and unpacked, showered, and regrouped in preparation for my overnight house guest’s arrival. R was driving down for L’s bridal shower on sunday anyway so she came a day early to log some quality time with yours truly.
we treated ourselves to a good old-fashioned sobfest by taking in the late afternoon matinee showing of the fault in our stars at the fancy pants theater. having both read the book, we were anxious to see if the screenplay had done john green’s novel justice. turns out, we had nothing to worry about. it was a beautiful adaptation of the acclaimed book and oh my goodness shailene woodley and ansel elgort are perfection as hazel grace and augustus waters. luckily i had grabbed a handful of kleenex to stick in my purse before heading to the theater because i used every last one of those tissues to soak up my steady stream of tears that started about midway through the film and did not stop until after the credits rolled. the man two seats down from R definitely looked over at me a few times to see where the whimpering sound was coming from -nothing to see here, sir, it’s just me doing the ugly cry. carry on. seriously though, if you’ve read this book, you should really see this movie. i feel like very few movies do the novels they were adapted from justice, but this one is so spot on, i found myself quoting exact lines from the book along with the characters on screen. gah, just thinking about it makes me want to grab another handful of tissues and put myself through the torture of having a good ugly cry again.
after our eyes were good and puffy and we had removed the kleenex remnants from the corners of our eyes, we went to casa de bandini for dinner. because i’ve heard that mexican food is the cure for all sadness. as is yogurtland, where we ventured thereafter. after we returned home and changed into our jammies, the exhaustion from the shawnuary shenanigans up to this point started to set in. i tried desperately to stay awake for a few more minutes of girl talk and trashy late night television, but my sleepiness was no match for either. so i said goodnight to R and zombie-crawled into bed.
we kicked off sunday morning with church and a visit to honey’s for brunch. yes, if you’re keeping count at home, the honey’s count for the weekend is up to two. i wish it was three. R and i ran through trader joe’s on the way home before heading over to L’s garden party bridal shower. per usual, the hostesses outdid themselves -it was the perfect setting (and weather!) to celebrate our super special bride-to-be. i selfishly love events like these because L is friends with a lot of amazing humans who just happen to be some of my greatest friends as well. so it’s just really fun to have an excuse to all come together and hang out and love on each other. and also take selfies.
following a blissful afternoon, i headed over to my parents’ house to see my step-sister who was visiting from washington for the week and meet her daughter (my niece) for the first time! at just over two-years-old, she is just the sweetest most active thing ever. i was smitten at first introduction and she seemed pretty taken with me, too. i think it was the sparkly necklace. i became “nana” which is what she apparently calls all of her aunties, but i like to think it also has something to do with the fact that nah-nah (phonetically speaking) also kind of sounds like shawna.
we headed to fidel’s for more mexican food (i’m not complaining) and to share time together as a family. it is wild to think that the little sister i used to spent hours playing barbies with on the weekends now has a baby of her own. i suppose that’s how getting older works, isn’t it?
and now i’m here, in my pajamas with a coconut oil mask on my face watching the premiere of keeping up with the kardashians (refrain from judgement please) wondering how these past five days have already come and gone. words just don’t quite adequately express how content i am. despite the fact that it’s sunday evening and i’m facing the harsh reality that i have work in the morning after nearly a week of play, the joy, love, and happiness i am feeling from the events, experiences, and people from what could very well be one of my best shawnuarys in recent memory (or maybe even ever), is lessening the sting. in fact, i think this high i’m currently on will carry me well past monday and tuesday, and right on through the coming weeks.
it’s kind of like the guys from american authors said, “this is gonna be the best day of my life.” except instead of day, let’s make it “year.” what a way to kick off 29, y’all. i can’t wait to see what the rest of these 360 days have in store.
i love you guys. seriously. thanks for making growing older kind of an amazing thing.