Yes, I have to admit here, that I did indeed, celebrate my birthday for two weeks! But, please, don’t see me as indulgent, just doing what a girl needs to do to survive! You see, Chris Ann and I have been joking that we have somehow switched places this winter. Usually, in February, Chris Ann is in full hibernation mode. Between the cold, snow and husband traveling, the winter blues catch up with her! Every year, my perky self, calls to make sure she hasn’t totally holed herself in. I send her funny books and even recommend tanning as a way to cope! This year, she was proactive! She planned a sunny vaca and an inspiring trip to Blissdom. Where was I? I was in Baltimore. This year was like no other. I didn’t see it coming. First the clouds enveloped the sky, then the grey descended and snow (after snow, after blizzardy snow), blanketed my city. My husband was not here on my birthday, both computers crashed, my car went up (twice!), I ran into a parked car (the lady was not nice), my son broke his elbow bone the week of baseball travel team tryouts, a dear friend died (unexpectedly), I pulled a muscle…anyway, you get the picture. Before I knew it, I was in a very bleak place. I don’t like this place and it’s not a familiar one for me. So, I clawed and scratched to grab a hold of a happy place! Yes, part of that was a birthday that never ended!!
Originally this little soiree was meant to happen on Valentine’s weekend. But, because of the snow, and lack of parking on our street, we rescheduled for the third weekend in February. Devon was inspired and created a menu that (he hoped) would bring me back to our trip through Italy! At first, I was finding it hard to drum up the creative juices to decorate and tablescape (something I normally do with gusto and passion!) In fact, the day before the party, I was crying on Devon’s shoulder, heaving, “I just want white flowers.” ( Can I just stop here for a sec and tell you how awesome my husband is. Not only did he get me white flowers, he bought all the white flowers, roses, tulips, hydrangeas, antique roses…he could find!)
The morning of the party, I was still at a bit of a loss. My big ideas, were really out of reach! My “fun design” ideas, totally out of grasp. I decided to go with simple (hopefully) elegance. White. Simple. I had lots of things in white. So, I ran around my house and gathered the elements and textures that I thought would work together! Devon put a glass of wine in my hand around noon. I began to touch a bit of my decorating mojo. Somehow, it came together. And honestly, it was beautiful!
Two foot pillar candles from my basement created snow lanterns that I dug in the snow.
Then, I chalked a greeting to our guests.
Strung some lights on my fireplace…
Proceeded to “scape” my table…
Piled high the antique linen napkins…
The room took on a glow and it was bellissimo!
Guests arrived with wine and began to enjoy juicy olives.
Devon chopped and tossed!
There was the first course…our lamb plate loaded with meats and cheeses from Mastellone’s.
There was mushroom polenta that he topped with white bean ragu.
Homemade pasta stuffed with roasted butternut squash.
Devon even recreated a salad we had in Panzano, Italy…mushrooms, pears and gruyere.
There was Bistecca alla pizzaiola (ribeye stewed with all kinds of goodies!)
My beautiful sister, surprised me by making and actually bringing to me, (ah hem, Chris Ann) Baked’s, Root Beer Bundt Cake! Oh my! It was delicious!
We sat around the table and talked the night away! There were old friends, new friends and family there. I sat at the table that night and realized it had worked!
Being surrounded with friends, good food and great conversations, I was slowly emerging out of my wintery soil! Love and hope were sprouting again! (And, yes, this is the end of my birthday celebration!)