Birthdays are looking a little different this year, huh? Truthfully, I didn’t think I would be celebrating mine in quarantine. It’s already July! I was hopeful that by the summer, things would start looking a little differently. When I saw the case numbers in Texas start peaking again, I knew I’d have to do my part to celebrate safely.
I’ve been self-quarantining pretty seriously in hopes to protect myself and loved ones as much as possible. Because the case numbers have increased so much in my area and inter-city travel runs the risk of exposure, I made the choice to stay put in Austin with hopes to see my favorite people in person soon.
I was raised in a home that celebrated low-key birthdays. No big parties or extravagant presents, but time with family and a shared meal of my choice were a “must”. Given the situation we’re still in, I made a plan to do something fun every single day leading up to my birthday so I could take advantage of all the fun, small things I could. Here are the things I did to celebrate:
Monday: brighten up someone else’s day with a treat
On Monday, I announced a charcuterie board giveaway in partnership with my friend and amazing former coworker, Kemper from Boards by Kemper. Kemper delivers beautiful, custom charcuterie boards for special occasions around the Austin area. I planned to order one for my birthday, but when she brought up the idea of giving one away, I couldn’t say no! Quarantine has been difficult, and the idea of brightening up someone else’s day made me so happy. Her creativity and love for food and connection shines through her business and I was so glad to work with her on this!
Tuesday: safely visited the new Mejuri Austin store
On Tuesday, I visited the newly-opened Mejuri store in Austin known for high-quality, everyday jewelry pieces at lower prices. I personally haven’t purchased anything before, so visiting the store in person was a great excuse to check things out for myself.
Besides the kind retail associates, the shop was completely empty. They provided hand sanitizer and allowed me to look at all the pieces freely at my own leisure.
Wednesday: gave myself time to set up my new bullet journal
For the sake of my creative health, I give myself time to do different creative activities every morning. Sometimes it’s watercolor painting, other times it’s writing with a journal prompt. On Wednesday, I gave myself a few hours to design a new bullet journal spread, which felt like an indulgence since I usually only give myself an hour. I used this time to set up my spread for July using my May Designs dot grid journal and my favorite pens.
Thursday: picked up dinner at one of my favorite local restaurants
Knowing I wouldn’t have work the next day, I wanted to take the night easy, pick up dinner instead of cooking, and indulge in a new show on Netflix. Patrizi’s is one of my favorite places to get Italian food in Austin and their new online ordering system made it easy to get what I wanted for dinner. Garlic bread always!
Friday: made my own Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake
For years, I dreamed of making my own layered birthday cake—more specifically, Christina Tosi’s famous Birthday Cake from Momofuku Milk Bar in New York.
If you know me, you know that I really admire Christina Tosi. The first time I heard about her was in college. I loved everything about the lady: her joyful presence, her light-hearted, fun approach to life, her work ethic, but most of all, her courage in making the career switch from applied math and Italian to professional pastry chef and now queen of Momofuku Milk Bar.
I cried watching her Netflix Chef’s Table feature on my dorm room floor. If someone else had the courage to do something they loved, I knew could too. I digressed though.
If you love Funfetti, this cake is for you. I picked up Momofuku Milk Bar: A Cookbook as a gift to myself last year and I was determined to assemble my own layered cake this year. After picking up a few ingredients, hitting “add to cart” for a few special items on Amazon, and some time in the kitchen, I had my very own Milk Bar Birthday Cake! It was so much fun to put together and just so gratifying knowing I had done it all by myself. You can find the recipe here. As a note: I cut the sugar by 15%, because I’m pretty sensitive to sweet desserts. The cake still turned out delicious!
Saturday: Viva Day Spa Birthday Treat
Every Saturday in quarantine, I’ve followed the same routine: go on a morning walk to a local coffee shop, blast worship music while showering, have quiet time to myself while listening to a sermon, attend my weekly online Bible study, and repaint my nails. For my birthday weekend, Viva Day Spa gifted me with the ultimate birthday present.
The team at Viva Day Spa was so kind as to offer a facial and manicure at the Domain location to celebrate my special day. Let me be honest: going to a spa was at the top of my “don’t list” since the stay-at-home order started. I was concerned that it wouldn’t be a safe risk, but I can say that I would 100% go again after my experience.
The spa did everything possible to make their visitors feel as safe as possible. I knew they were open at limited capacity from their COVID-19 Safety Protocols, but it also helped to see the ladies double-masked, take my temperature, and spend double the amount of time to clean in between services myself.
Many of you know that I take my skincare very seriously. It was so helpful having knowledgable estheticians and technicians kindly walk me through how I can protect my skin this summer. They answered so many of my questions and I just loved the emphasis on the education they gave me.
I walked out with glowing skin, perfectly-pampered nails, and personalized skincare recommendations. I also left with a few goodies recommended by my esthetician and the reassurance that I’d be well-taken care of at Viva again.
Since I typically do these self-care practices at home, this was such a special treat. If you’ve been feeling stuck in a rut or you’re hoping to do something special for your birthday, I highly recommend paying Viva Day Spa a visit. If you’re a student, be sure to bring your student ID card to get 10% off your services Monday through Thursday at all three locations. The discount can’t be with other offers, but be sure to join Viva Day Spa’s email list to receive an even better 20% off all services during your birthday month!
Sunday: charcuterie boards for dinner
My actual birthday was spent very low-key! I slept in more than usual and even took a mid-morning nap. One of my favorite things to do is browse Central Market to see what’s new. Once the afternoon came around, that’s exactly what I did. I found a few goodies to put together a charcuterie board for myself as a happy hour snack that turned into dinner. I spent the rest of the day relaxing on the couch filled to the brim!
I also made sure to do a special, dedicated photoshoot with my cake and have a slice afterward. I was so proud of it! This year’s birthday definitely looked different than usual, but I found that joy in simple things really made it more fun than I expected. Intentionally giving myself a fun activity every day gave me something to look forward to even if they were small!
I’m going into my 24th birthday with a new appreciation for simple things. Nothing extravagant or fancy, but a love for the simple blessings my good God has given me every day. Thank you to everyone for making this day a memorable birthday. I’m so glad I get to share it with loved ones here!
*Special thanks to Viva Day Spa for the birthday gift! All thoughts and opinions are my own!