Around the World in 40 Years

How does it feel to be 40? A lot like it felt to be 39.

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Age has never been a big deal to me, especially as I get older–I just don’t get hung up on the numbers. In fact, the one thing age does afford me is the knowledge that my perception of what counts as “old” really had no basis in reality.

Turning 40, though, that’s been kind of fun!

See, several years ago we were out with friends and it came to light that Lyssa thought I was already over 40 (for reasons of maturity, she assures me, lol). When I told her that was still several years off she was mortified. Again, I don’t stress about numbers, so I wasn’t offended, but it brought up the subject of birthdays and I said that I wanted a party for my 40th (looking at Todd) that I didn’t have to plan myself.

Shiny happy party-goers!
Shiny happy party-goers!

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Lyssa took that and absolutely ran with it. She decided she was going to plan it and she really went above and beyond in celebrating my birthday this year and I’m really a bit humbled by her efforts.

The reason for my request goes back 10 years, to my 30th birthday. I was turning 30 on the 30th (only happens once, you know) and it fell on a Sunday so I insisted upon throwing a little party at my apartment. Now, I’m never one to assume that just because I want things a certain way that people are going to be willing to do it. And I had a very specific menu, etc. in mind so I did it all myself. And I enjoyed it–making the food, buying the party favors, having people over, all of it! The only down side is that while I was busy being hostess, my dual role as guest of honor got pushed to the side and I ended up the marginalized caterer of my own party.

Also, as milestone birthdays go, I haven’t exactly had much luck in that department.

  • Sweet 16? Spent it at a state Latin convention (though that part I didn’t mind) where there were issues with my friends and roommates (that wasn’t cool) plus the flowers Mom tried to send me got rerouted so many times I didn’t get them until I got home.
  • 21? Failed my driver’s license test and had to walk into dinner with the family a failure. In my defense, I failed because I popped the curb backing out of the parking spot while trying not to back into the big ass truck parked behind me. What I viewed as caution they, well, did not. Went back the next day and aced it, of course, and even made a joke about it to the dude evaluating me that “I hope it last longer than the last one.” (Insert “that’s what she said”)
  • 25? Don’t even remember this one…
  • And I already explained about 30.

It’s not like I’ve always had horrible birthday luck, either. My favorite birthday hands-down forever and ever amen is the one Todd and I spent at the Jacksonville Zoo, largely because Todd did such an amazing job of making me feel special and loved. This weekend, though, it’s a very close second to that weekend, but as a milestone birthday it’s tops!

Beginning and ending: Guests picked up their passports here and later picked up dessert!
Beginning and ending: Guests picked up their passports here and later picked up dessert!

About 20 of us piled into Bacchus’ event room for a wine and cheese party using my theme of “Around the World in 40 Years.” If you saw My Art Week video then you know that I created some paintings for decoration. I also volunteered to make the party favors, which were little booklets inspired both by the sheets helpful wineries give you at tastings and the passports EPCOT hands out at the Food & Wine Festival. (The party theme actually is a spin-off of the ‘drink your way around the world’ idea of the World Showcase.)

The France station: Brie, Pinot Noir, and Duck Bread & Goat Cheese Flatbread
The France station: Brie, Pinot Noir, and Duck Bread & Goat Cheese Flatbread

Each of the four countries we settled on were represented by a wine, a cheese, and an appetizer, at least in broad strokes, and the passports (complete with a little golf pencil attached like an old-fashioned dance card) listed each of these and gave space for guests to make notes about what they liked in case they wanted to order it on another visit to Bacchus (like the Duck and Goat Cheese Flatbread… so good!) or pick up a bottle they really enjoyed. Even though I’m usually a fan of the reds, and our Pinot Noir and Malbec options were very tasty in their own way, I was loving the Unoaked Chardonnay and Reisling, both.

Angentina: Malbec, Provolone cheese, and Pao de Quiejo (cheese rolls)
Argentina: Malbec, Provolone cheese, and Pao de Quiejo (cheese rolls)
USA was represented by an Unoaked Chardonnay, White Cheddar cheese, and Cheddar-topped sliders
USA was represented by an Unoaked Chardonnay, White Cheddar cheese, and Cheddar-topped sliders
Germany: Reisling, Butterkase, and Mini-Brats
Germany: Reisling, Butterkase, and Mini-Brats

And we can’t forget the amazing cupcakes from Lucy & Leo’s–always amazing and I’m not blowing smoke up your skirt when I say their gluten-free cupcakes are better than the regular ones. They’re just that good.

And we didn't have to clean anything!
And we didn’t have to clean anything!

After Bacchus a few of us (those without graduation parties or ceremonies to get to, it was that weekend in Tallahassee) went up to George & Louie’s for a bit of a nosh to soak up some of the wine and just hang out a bit more.

An early party might not be everyone’s ideal type of celebration, but I think it was just about perfect. The mid-afternoon fete was very freeing, fornat-wise. It also allowed our guests to more easily fit it into a busy weekend. Plus, since all of the guests had to drive back down to Tallahassee, an earlier end is considerate in general. Finally, it allowed us to go home and veg out for the rest of the evening, something we were very happy to do for a number of reasons. One of which is another story for another post!

Updated to add, here’s the video!

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