The Sunday Salon: On Turning Thirty

TSSbadge2Tomorrow I turn 30. It feels sort of liberating to dust off the dirt, sweat, tears, and self-consciousness of my twenties. So I’m thoroughly excited about joining Club 30 and advancing in years. Maybe I’m not so excited about the tripling of my gray hair count. Or the fact that apparently you shrink an inch in height during your thirties. What? Is this a thing?

To celebrate this momentous occasion (how’s that for melodrama?), I went to a fabulous dinner with friends last night. We ate at Ink & Elm, a restaurant near Emory. Our table ordered most of the menu – a meat and cheese plate, lamb sweetbreads (the thymus gland of lambs…!!!!!!), charred octopus, pork loin, lamb steaks, grilled GA shrimp, and grouper. Lots of grouper. Libations were also consumed. I had two lovely bourbon cocktails. One smooth and delightful, the other warm and bitter.  For dessert we trucked over to Leon’s in downtown Decatur for more drinks and lots of cake. It was a life-affirming kind of night where you’re surrounded by your favorite people, great food, and all your worries float away.

We talked at length over dinner about the things we’ve learned during our twenties – the heartbreaks and struggles, the joyous moments of self-discovery. We discussed in what ways our 30th birthdays are different from our 20th birthdays a decade ago. Namely, we’re eating better food and drinking liquor rather than beer (not that we don’t still drink beer).

We talked and talked and talked and talked. And by 1 am, I was tucked sweetly into my own bed. Because these days, I’d much rather be hearing myself snore than listening to last calls for alcohol. Sweet, sweet bliss.

I want to end this post with a few books that were extremely influential to me over the past decade. I’m not going to give reasons why, just a simple list. Because trying to put how I feel about them into words will more than likely bring me to tears, and there’s no crying on your (almost) birthday.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Marge Piercy’s poetry

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath & Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Harry Potter forever and always

Have a great week! Let me know what books meant a lot to you during a certain period in your life.

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Last Stop Before Dirty Thirty!

As most of y’all know, I turned 29 on Sunday and had an absolute blast all weekend long. During all the birthday shenanigans the blog and books got put on the back burner. I’m not sure how I’m going to manage meeting the halfway point of Vanity Fair before this Friday. I’m listening to it on audio as well as reading the print and I’m still eons behind.

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Enough of that! Let’s discuss the birthday shindig, shall we? Friday was my relaxation night. I finished watching The Artist which I thought was cute but lacked that certain something which makes a movie amazing for me. Both leads were about the most attractive people in the world though and the little dog stole my heart. Saturday saw the festivities amp up! I chopped my hair off, picked up a friend from college staying for the weekend, and had a great dinner out at Terra Terroir. It’s this lovely little restaurant/wine bar in my own neighborhood that we’d never been to. The wine was delicious and the food super yummy. Afterwards, I was feeling the need for some James Bond and Daniel Craig so we threw together a little marathon of Casino Royale and Skyfall with martinis – shaken, not stirred! The lovely Jean and John even bought me flowers and an Amazon gift card. Sweet friends, they are.

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Sunday was the main event! We slept in and then had Chinese food at Chef Liu’s. I’m slightly obsessed with their soup dumplings. The rest of the afternoon we drove around looking at open houses and antique stores which was fun. Dinner was for seven at 4th & Swift in Old Fourth Ward and could not have been tastier! I, of course, had the steak cooked to utter perfection, brussel sprouts, mixed greens, and potatoes. We ordered a bottle of wine, shared steak tartare and duck meatballs, and had a blast keeping up with the Oscar dresses! To close the night we headed over to my friend’s house to watch the Oscars and got to bed around 2 am. Best birthday in recent memory! Looking forward to turning 30!

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As for gifts, Jimmy ordered me some fancy chocolates from NYC. I bought myself some nice baking dishes and water carafes from Crate and Barrel. I was one lucky lady!

But now it’s time to dive back into my reading and get some books finished! This week on the blog I hope to discuss Salem’s Lot which I finished up and Vanity Fair (fingers crossed). Have a great week!

 

A Look Back: February 24, 1984

This day in history is famous, at least in my household (or just my own head), for being the day of my birth!  Yes, one rather chilly February afternoon some 28 years ago marked the beginning of my existence.  In celebration, I thought why not discover what a pop culture blog – whether book, movie, or music – would have looked like on that fateful day in 1984.

As my mom drove herself through rush hour traffic to Piedmont Hospital in midtown Atlanta, she probably encountered several popular radio hits, but no trio more likely than Van Halen’s Jump, Karma Chameleon by Culture Club, and Uptown Girl by Billy Joel.  These three songs were all top hits in and around my birth week.  And yes, I can sing along to each one.

While speeding up the connector, she probably saw billboard advertisements for Footloose starring Kevin Bacon.  80s movie magic at its most musical and so iconic it spawned a remake just recently.  I must admit to owning the original film, but having no desire to see the newest incarnation.

Now, while going through the lighter moments of labor – you know, before medicinal pain killers were necessary to get her through my devastatingly painful birth – my mom probably spent a few moments of leisure reading the top selling book at the time – Pet Cemetery by Stephen King.  King’s prolific horror stories are really such an appropriate read as you prepare to part with the parasitic being that’s been growing inside you for 9+ months.  My mother and the rest of America sure knew how to pick ’em!  Pretty awesome that 28 years later King has published another bestseller and hasn’t lost his writing mojo in the slightest.

So, a blog entry on February 24, 1984 would probably have housed reviews for the above popular venues of entertainment.  Of course, the common people didn’t have computers and internets – and blogs were still a thing of the future.  I’m tempted to buy a copy of Pet Cemetery tomorrow in honor of a day long since past or watch Footloose for the millionth time.  Does anyone remember this time fondly?  Was Kevin Bacon really all the rage?  Were horror novels at the top of their game?  Was hearing Van Halen and Billy Joel back-to-back normal?