Birthday Week! Turning 28.

I’m honestly the kind of person who would be happy to tell no one about my birthday and just go to dinner one night with Michael – not necessarily on my birthday night, just sometime that was close to my birthday and convenient. That would totally do it for me. BUT I have an amazing husband and incredible friends who do not let me get away with that and this year I was really over-celebrated.

My birthday was on a Thursday so the night before on Wednesday, my dear friend Paige Hudson hosted an incredible over-the-top dinner party for me with all of our friends. Her mom and grandmother were in town visiting but she still insisted on hosting. Check out the night:

With the amazing, beautiful hostess!

With the amazing, beautiful hostess!

Appetizer Table!

Appetizer Table!

Crostinos!

Crostinis! Cucumbers with mint & dill, caramelized leeks, strawberries with aged balsamic, lemon zest with truffle oil, radishes and sea salt and tomatoes with basil.

Sausage & roasted chickpeas.

Sausage & roasted chickpeas.

Figs & queijo minas.

Queijo minas with figs and honey.

Cheese ball and crackers.

Cheese ball and crackers.

And then dinner was served!

Course 1: salmon ceviche on top of avocado with pita chips.

Course 1 (Fish): Salmon ceviche on an avocado salad with pita chips.

Course 2: Broccoli with romesco sauce and a side of greens.

Course 2 (Salad): Cold broccoli salad with romesco sauce and a side of greens.

Curried pumpkin soup.

Course 3 (Soup): Curried pumpkin soup.

Course 4 (Main): Carnitas with mashed mandioquinha and homemade pickled veggies.

Course 4 (Main): Carnitas with mashed mandioquinha and homemade pickled veggies.

How pretty are these!?

How pretty are these!?

Course 6 (Cheese): Guava and cream cheese empanadas.

Course 5 (Cheese): Guava and cream cheese empanadas.

Course 5 (Dessert): Dark chocolate salted caramel ice cream pie with crushed oreo crust.

Course 6 (Dessert): Dark chocolate salted caramel ice cream pie with crushed oreo crust.

I mean, seriously. We were all happily miserably full by the time we left and we didn’t even have the coffee / tea course with lemon cookies that she had prepared. Furthermore, she sent us home with a dish of sticky-buns to be left to rise overnight then baked in the morning — the breakfast course! It was such a fun night and I love getting all of our friends together for any occasion so this was extra special. And, to top it off they even had a tiara and magic wand for me.

Feeling like the queen of the night - holding flowers from my sweet in laws.

Feeling like the queen of the night – holding flowers sent from my sweet in laws.

The next morning, Michael took “morning-duty” with Colt and I slept in, only to get out of bed to flowers and a beautiful breakfast! Michael knew I had been craving grits so he made me grits topped with a perfectly poached egg with a tall iced coffee and fruit smoothie.

Perfect breakfast from my amaze husband.

Perfect breakfast from my amaze husband.

He also cooked up that batch of sticky buns I was just talking about.

Colt is pretty interested in the sticky buns too!

Colt is pretty interested in the sticky buns too!

Throughout the day, Michael gave me (or sent me to find) different gifts and cards all day long. Each card had a specific characteristic that he loved about me along with a beautiful note and a special scripture and then each gift corresponded to that characteristic. And, they were also all Brazil themed gifts! I think in total there were 6 different gifts and each one was so special and also totally surprising. I think my favorites were 1) a beautiful necklace which had chords of Brazilian golden grass and then a gold pendant with the Lord’s prayer engraved in Portuguese, 2) an incredible silk scarf full of my favorite colors that, when opened, is a gorgeous Carnaval scene, and 3) an amazing, fun long dress in a bright, colorful print from a store that I have always admired but never purchased anything from. I have no idea when he has time to even think of this stuff much less go out and find such thoughtful, beautiful gifts but I definitely felt loved. We were out late the night before at the Hudsons’ and were going out the next night so on my actual birthday we stayed in and ordered sushi – my favorite!

The next night, as a continuation of my birthday celebration we made plans to go to THE best restaurant in Brazil and the highest rated restaurant in all of Latin America, D.O.M. (Currently D.O.M. is ranked #7 for The World’s Best Restaurants.) D.O.M. is super famous and we had always wanted to try it but the price tag is a little much so we had been putting it off. However, lately the Brazilian currency has totally plummeted making things a lot more affordable than they had been previously. So, we decided that for my birthday we would go! D.O.M. is known for “ambitious, research-led Amazonian cooking” where “the pioneering chef is also part-historian and part-botanist thanks to his research trips with scientists and anthropologists deep into the Amazon to test potential ingredients for his menu. By doing so he has … brought his country’s indigenous foodstuffs – many of which are unknown beyond its borders – to the fore.” The food was definitely inventive and somewhat experimental and one course consisted of two large Amazonian ants prepared atop a meringue – the first ant was to be eaten by itself and the second with the meringue. Not my favorite course of the night but good and interesting for sure.

Opener: pallet cleansing pepper "ice cream" with sake served in peppers.

My handsome date with the opener: pallet cleansing pepper “ice cream” with sake served in peppers.

One of the fish courses.

One of the fish courses.

To make the night extra special and as one final birthday present, we decided that over dinner we would find out the gender of Baby #2! We had an ultrasound that Friday morning and the doctor put the results in an envelope for us to open at dinner. We wanted to open it early in the meal so that we could have fun talking about it so after I the first course, Michael slid over to my side of the table and we opened. And…another BOY!! We were thrilled and had so much fun dreaming together about how this little one will fit into our family and change it, for the better. Michael and his brother are so close and have such a special friendship so he is excited Colt will have that type of companionship as well and I just love my Harper boys and couldn’t be happier.

Heading home feeling happy!!

Heading home feeling happy!!

Blessed beyond measure. Thanks to everyone for helping make this such a special birthday!

3 thoughts on “Birthday Week! Turning 28.

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