Birthday Wishes *23*

I’m sitting in my cozy little apartment living room as I write this, drinking a cup of hot coffee with Jazz playing in the background and rain trickling down my window. These kind of September days are my favorite! It’s been weeks since we’ve had a decent amount of rain, and I’v been craving those chilly, damp early autumn days. But I know that autumn and October are just around the corner and I couldn’t be more thrilled. 

So the other week was my 23rd birthday and I must say, it was one of the nicest birthdays I’ve had in a while. Like I mentioned in a previous blog post, the last several years I’ve always had classes to go to and homework to do on my birthday, and that tends to get in the way of actually celebrating and doing something fun. But this was my first birthday in the “grownup” world—no classes to attend AND I got to go on my first birthday weekend getaway. 🙂

My birthday fell on a Friday this year (September 9), so Brendan did have to go into work. But he woke up early so he could give me presents before heading into the office for the day. I’m usually not much of a morning person (I’m still trying to adjust to our new schedule), but for some reason I felt excited like a little kid and was wide awake. Brendan gave me a new diffuser and a set of six essential oils (probably my favorite gift), a yoga strap to help me with my yoga poses and stretches, Hollow City by Ransom Rigg (the second book in the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series) and a whole goodie basket filled with my favorite healthy snacks – Go Macro bars, Clif bars, Justin’s almond butter packs and super dark matcha green tea chocolate with spirulina! He definitely surprised me with the last one, and it was so thoughtful. 🙂 I asked Brendan to save a couple of gifts for me to open later that day, so that evening I opened The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and a beautiful Harry Potter book set which contained The Tales of Beedle the Bard and Quidditch Through the Ages. 

We decided that we would use some of our hotel points to stay a night in Richmond for my birthday. So while Brendan was at work, I spent the day straightening up around the apartment and packing. Brendan ended up getting off work early, so we were able to leave Roanoke sooner than we had originally planned. 🙂 We stopped in Lynchburg for dinner at La Carreta and then were on our way to Richmond. 

We arrived at our destination around 8 p.m.. We did some walking around and went to Starbucks after we checked into the hotel, but decided to save most of our exploring for the next day. So we went back to the hotel room, got some junk food from the lobby and watched “Princess Diaries 2 Royal Engagement” on TV until we got sleepy. It really was a nice, low key birthday. 

The next day we got up early, grabbed some breakfast at Starbucks and headed out to explore the city. I had only been in downtown Richmond once before when Brendan and I went to the Edgar Allan Poe museum back in February, but it had been so cold then that we didn’t get a chance to really explore. It was around 92 degrees this time, so we got a little warm after walking around for a while. We walked the grounds of the State Capitol and then drove to Carytown. 

Carytown in Richmond is the most charming little urban shopping district I’ve been to! The streets are lined with unique shops, restaurants and offices. For the most part we just did window shopping, but we did go into a record shop, a book store and a cute shop called Urban Interiors that was all decked out for fall and Halloween. Before heading out, we went to Carytown Cupcakes. I’m definitely not a cake person, but when I saw they had vegan options, I thought it would be nice to get a birthday cupcake. So Brendan and I shared a vegan vanilla bean cupcake and it was delicious. 

After leaving Carytown we headed to the Shortpump area to do some shopping. We went to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and World Market first. Whenever we’re in Richmond we stop at these places because we don’t have any of them in Roanoke. 😦 We also went to a couple of Goodwills to look for some used books. 

We had planned on going to a restaurant called Strange Matter for dinner, but they were closed for some reason. I was really looking forward to trying some of their vegan options, but it will have to wait for another time. We opted for going to Whole Foods for dinner instead, which I didn’t complain about. 🙂 

On our way back home from Richmond, we stopped by my parent’s house to visit for a couple hours. I got some really neat gifts from my parents—an antique coffee jar, vintage copies of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights (my favorite books), a yoga block, some Halloween stamps, headbands and Mary Poppins Comes Back by P.L. Travers were some of the fabulous things they gave me. 🙂 I am so thankful that I was able to see my family for my birthday. ❤ 

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Fast Forward to this past Thursday (September 15) when I got to celebrate my birthday more with a little party with friends and family at my grandma’s house. My sister baked a homemade spice cake and everybody brought other desserts and snacks and we just hung out and I got to open more presents. It’s been so long since I’ve just been able to sit down with my Maw, mom, aunt and my second momma and just spend the afternoon talking and catching up with each other. For those of you that don’t know, I’m a pretty quiet and introverted person and only have a few close friends, but these ladies are definitely some of my best friends. And yes, you CAN be friends with your family members. 

To be honest, it was so nice to be back in Lynchburg. After living in Lynchburg for 4 1/2 years—going to college, working and living with my Maw for a year—I’ve grown pretty attached to the city. I never thought I would and I told myself I wouldn’t miss living there, but it turns out that I do! 

As soon as I walked through the door and Maw came over to give me a hug (I hadn’t seen her since July!) she said “You found your way back home! I’ve missed you being here” ❤ And I told her when I drove through her neighborhood and walked through her door, it felt like coming home. I’ve always loved my Maw’s house—it’s located in a nice neighborhood, it’s got the prettiest little yard, and it holds so many memories. So I was so excited when I got the opportunity to live there with Maw for a year. I can’t imagine that house not staying in our family. ❤ 

Now that I think about it, I’m blessed to have so many places that feel like home—Brendan and my apartment, my parent’s house, Liberty University, and my Maw’s house. ❤ All of these hold a special place in my heart and have played a significant role in my life.

I got some awesome gifts from everyone at the party, some of which include a handmade Starbucks clock, lovely little autumn themed tea towels and a really cool skull mug to put my smoothies in! So I just want to say “Thank You” to everyone who helped make this birthday so special. 🙂 I know 23 is going to be a magical year!  

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If you made it this far through my post, props to you haha! Now it’s time for today’s list. 

30 Days of Lists Challenge 

Day 19: Guilty Pleasures 

  • Starbucks
  • Chips and salsa
  • Binge watching shows like The Office, Parks and Recreation, Cops, My 600-Lb. Life, Hoarders: Buried Alive, Smallville and most recently The Secret Life of the American Teenager
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