Friday, January 22, 2010

Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise: A Southern Belle Turns 40

The months and weeks that led up to my fortieth birthday were packed with my mixed emotions and thoughts that varied from the obvious "I'm getting old" to the trite "You're only as old as you think you are." Neither of which provided much inspiration or comfort as I enter this new and exciting decade of life.

Scott has continued to struggle with all that he has been going through. My efforts to have a killer body before turning 40 got stymied by my own lack of time management, and the holidays. (I am closer, though, which, I guess, is something.) I don't feel I'm where I want to be professionally or as human being. All my goals seem just out of reach.

Yet, before I knew it, January 13, 2010 was upon me. Forty years before Mama Sloan gave birth to me, six weeks early during a snowstorm (at least as my grandmother recalled it) and here I am. Five hundred miles or so away from where I was born. Married with two children of my own and a husband I adore. Who, also, apparently, adores me...

To celebrate my turning forty, Scott and my darling friend Lucy, with some help from our other wonderful friends, threw me an amazing surprise party!

I had no idea it was coming. Scott had told me that he just couldn't plan a big party for me and that my celebration would be a trip to Vegas around my birthday. I was okay with that. I mean, I want to celebrate birthdays with friends and was hoping we could convince some to go to Vegas with us, but wasn't too hopeful since times are tight for everyone. But, I was okay. Vegas is fun and Scott has never been so I was excited about sharing that adventure with him.

So, he effectively tricked me and he and Lucy planned a spectacular and beautiful party just for me. Talk about feeling loved! I could move the stars with all that love!

The party was at Lucy's beautiful home and they invited my closest girlfriends from the neighborhood. The only thing missing was my bestest friend Courtney who lives in Texas. I am sad she wasn't there. I'd always imagined the two of us celebrating all these milestones together. But aside from that fact, everything else was splendid.

White roses. Sparkling crystal. Amazing food. Delicious cocktails. Flowing wine. And lots and lots of laughter.

My friends Laura, Lauren, Jean, Jennifer, Stacey, Tara, Lucy (of course), as well as Scott, Lucy's husband Foley, and Tara's husband Steve, were the guests. Steve and Tara were also our private chefs and they made the most exquisite gourmet meal I have had in my life.

Being a lover of great food, I have my top meals ranked and this one rose to the place of number one almost instantly. It was prepared with such love and such thought to the things I like. Two nights when I thought Scott was working late, he was actually at Steve and Tara's planning the menu. Steve and Tara, who, by the way, is six months prengant with twins, worked hard to source almost exclusively local ingredients, too, which I thought was very special. Here's what we had:

Georgia Coast Shrimp on Gouda Cheese Grits with Fresh Tomato Relish
Frisée lettuce, Pine Street Market bacon, homemade croutons, apple, with a Warm Sherry Vinaigrette
Braised Short Ribs, Celery Root and Potato Purée, Haricots Vert with Shallots, in a Red Wine Truffle Sauce
A Selection of Local Cheeses, Homemade Fig Compote, Candied Kumquats, Local Wildflower Honey, and Fresh Bread
Old-Fashioned Chocalate Cake by Southern Sweets

Seriously. Best. Meal. Ever.

If you need a private chef in the Atlanta area, let me know and I will hook you up!

Lucy has such amazing taste and I know she worked very hard to make the night special. Everything was beautiful. And it was so nice just to relax and enjoy the night, laughing and talking with friends. I didn't have to lift a finger and how often does that happen?

I really couldn't have asked for a lovelier evening and I am grateful to my beloved host and hostess, Scott and Lucy.