This Is What Forty Looks Like : HAPPY BiRTHDAY to me!

"This is what forty looks like."

Gloria Steinem first said that in response to a reporter saying that she didn't look forty...

I love that. I think that with the media's emphasis on youth culture & desperate housewives, we sometimes forget what forty actually looks like!

Forty looks a lot like 39, and- in the end, it's really just a number, a moment in time, unless, of course, you want it to mean something more. And- I do!

Forty to me is a symbol of freedom. It represent a kind of spiritual independence that has moved beyond people-pleasing & self-depreciation into the realm of true, soul-stirring empowerment.

Forty to me is about saying "NO" when I mean no, and "YES" to the life I want to lead.

It's about being me... unapologetically, and, if you knew me in my 20s & early 30s, you'd say that's quite the upgrade.

Forty is a strangely entertaining place where Iggy Azalea and The Hallmark channel cross paths.

It's sky high heels for the occasional hot date & comfy flats the rest of the time.

It's an earlier bed time & better sex, reading for pleasure, and a loose rendition of the 80/20 rule in which I eat a sugar-free, grain-free, whole foods diet 80% of the time & a more indulgent, whole foods diet of creamy fermented oatmeal, decadent dark chocolate & tangy goat cheese 20% of the time...


It's also about throwing caution to the wind in order to kick off the Big Four Oh with a super bad, as in BAD, birthday rap... 

Last weekend, my mom, my sister & Darl, a beloved family friend, drove down from Bakersfield the day before my birthday to have a little Joanna-style fun in Pasadena.

We went to my favorite theater to see Enough Said (adorable), browsed my favorite indie book store next door, and then wined & dined ourselves at La Luna Negra, a Spanish tapas restaurant complete with spicy chocolate shrimp, live flamenco dancing & the world's best sangria.

My mom brought an old brass bell along for the ride, and every time she gave it a ring, I got to open another birthday present, 40 in all! It was all girlie stuff : nail polish, pretty journals, bath gel, lipstick, ponytail holders, scented candles...   

The actual day of my birthday, September 29, we had a big family party for both me & my son, Tanner. He was born the day after I turned 20, so, for the last two decades, we have celebrated together.

And yes- I wore my Late Bloomer's Crown! My Uncle Day Day did too. LOL. Silly runs in my family...

Billy had to come straight from work, so he was The Man In Black, and I wish I had a better pic of my dress & shoes. This photo does NOT do them justice. The dress is a Free People number with a pretty fuchsia lace overlay & burgundy handkerchief hem. The shoes are... well- they're just so dang witchy!

My mom had me when she was 20, and, as I mentioned, I had my son the day after I turned 20, so this year we are The 20-40-60 Brigade! -xo

"The family is one of nature's masterpieces." -George Santayana