Related: 40x40 List
Date completed: January 23, 2016
A year ago when I wrote my 40x40 list, I envisioned myself laying on a beach on January 23, 2016. Thankfully, a variety of factors prevented that from coming true and I was able to surround myself with some of the most important people in my life. I also spent five glorious days in New Orleans with my sister Emily and her fiancé Jonathan. It was also a bonus on that trip to have dinner with my good friends Kate and Tim whom I've known for more than 15 years as we met at Grinnell College.
To complete this 40x40, I found ways to transport myself from 23° temperature outside.
My first attempt to capture warmth had mixed results. I bundled up and broke out my hand warmers for a walk around Lake Harriet at sunrise. It got my blood flowing and it was a beautiful walk but Mother Nature did not delight me with a stunning sunrise like she has in the past. Good thing my love for her is unconditional.
When I returned home, I decided to take matters into my own hands and brewed some hot coffee and added a splash (ok ... a healthy shot) of Amarula, a cream liqueur from South Africa. I was first introduced to Amarula when my parents and I visited my sister Emily in Namibia where she lived for a year. Because my parents made this trip-of-a-lifetime happen, I was happy to be able to talk to them on the phone over the spiked coffee. We will be having a belated birthday celebration in February when Scott and I visit them in their new home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and also celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary and my dad's 68th birthday.
Next, Scott and I went to Washburn Library where we like to spend leisurely Saturday mornings flipping through magazines, including one of my favorites - Sunset. It has beautiful photos of the west coast of the United States and I always find places to add to my travel wish list.
After our time in the library, Scott chauffeured me to Cosmo Nails, a neighborhood nail salon. While sipping on an extra hot chai tea latte, I had a pedicure and manicure while tweeting up a sappy storm thanking all the people who helped me complete my 40x40 list.
For lunch, Scott and I went to La Ceiba Bistro, a Caribbean restaurant by Chef Hector Ruiz. To start our tropical adventure, I chose the Caribbean drink and instead of selecting one of the juices, I asked for a splash of each - blood orange, pineapple, mango, coconut, and strawberry. We split an order of tostones (fried plantains) and I had a campesino torta which is grilled zucchini, grilled squash, grilled peppers, avocado, baby spinach, queso asado, black beans puree, telera bread. I highly recommend a visit to La Ceiba Bistro anytime of year but for Twin Citizens who may be tired of winter should get their immediately.
While at La Ceiba Bistro, I opened the birthday cards I received in the mail from my parents, my aunt Marlene and uncle Dan, my dad's cousin Cheryle, my cousin Erika and her husband John and kids Avery and Jay, my health coach Mary, my former co-worker and friend Joyce, and my friend Anne who arranged to have the card sent while she is currently traveling in India. I am once again reminded that sending handwritten cards and notes can really make a person's day.
Next, I surrounded myself with the warmth of friends and neighbors at Eastlake Craft Brewery in the Midtown Global Market for happy hour. It's always a joy to gather people who are important to me but it was particularly meaningful to me on my 40th birthday. I've been so fortunate to meet many interesting, smart, and funny people over the years. I also thought a lot about people who were not able to be at the party in person but sent greetings via USPS, text, Facebook, and Twitter.
To end my birthday, our neighbors Zach and Laura hosted Scott and I for a late dinner. It was the perfect way to end a perfect day. The homemade pie was as delicious as it looks in the photo and they even put a candle in it and sang the happy birthday song. It's always fun to spend time with these fantastic neighbors and I'm so glad they were able to be a part of the day.
Earlier in the week I was able to celebrate with my workmates. I had a '70s themed party had a soundtrack, photo slideshow, ice cream and hot cocoa bar, and photo booth.
The Nivens Family