Tara’s 30th…surprise 2 of 3

Yesterday I blogged about gift #1 for Tara’s 30th.  While that was the first of three gifts given, it was not the first one I had planned.  Herein lies surprise gift #2.  First, the backstory.

Tara has been a trooper with our move to NYC.  It is the first time that she has really lived away from home.  Granted she lived in Tallahassee during her college years; that was still only a little over 2 hours away (a quick commute home if needed).  If you’ve spent any time with her, you’ll pick up on the fact right away that she is a social butterfly.  She loves being around people and people love being around her.

Since she works with me in my business and we work from home primarily, the opportunities to meet new people in our new City are vey limited.  Plus, for the first couple months we lived here, I was traveling non-stop so she was really by herself 90% of the time.  She probably wouldn’t admit it, but I could see it had defintely taken its toll on her.  The thought of spending her birthday (and one of such significance) away from her closest friends was slowly looking like reality.

Luckily, she had a work trip to Destin, FL (our previous hometown) planned the weekend before her birthday.  That was when I decided to throw her a surprise party.  The details weren’t totally worked out but the initial idea was that I would fly in to surprise her at a dinner with some of her Destin friends and we’d get a birthday cake designed in the style of the new shoes.  Then at some point, I’d pull out the real ones.  The last part of that plan got nixed when I had to give her the shoes early.  So I had to go to plan B.  Here’s some of the details of this surprise party.

Because it was her 30th birthday, I wanted to stay with a “30” theme throughout.  In Florida, there’s a beautiful stretch of highway along the gulf called “30-A”.  So I thought we could have it at a restaurant on that road.  We made reservations at 723 Whiskey Bravo.  It has a cool rooftop, very affordable food and a private room.

Another themed idea was to invite only 30 of her closest family and friends.  I called some of her college roomates to see if they could make it, one of her best friends from Jacksonville and of course her family.

We secretly sent out E-invites and then her sister designed a cool 3D paper reminder invite that went out as well.

The cake was the toughest part.  I had no clue what to do with the design since the shoe thing would be anti-climatic at this point.  So I put together the brains of Bob and Leslie (2 of my business partners) and the fantastic pattisier, Kara Enache, from Karaboo Bakery and we came up with something in no time.  We decided to go with “30 Things about Tara”.  While I was able to come up with the majority of the 30, I had to call in some recruits like her mom, sister and one of her best friends to help me compile the list.  Honestly, it was such a fun process.  We ended up having so many things that we had to start eliminating things to get to 30.  We left it with Kara to figure out how to incorporate everything.  Since you can’t see all 30 things on the picture of the cake, I’m listing the 30 below.

  1. Church/God/Faith
  2. Family
  3. Friends
  4. Sunbathing
  5. Wine
  6. Beer (Miller Lite) {God only knows why that brand – Eww!}
  7. FSU Seminoles
  8. Ballet
  9. Cheerleading
  10. NYC
  11. CA
  12. FL
  13. Sushi Sho (CA Sushi Place)
  14. Bert’s Chili (Waffle House)
  15. Airplane
  16. Kean Coffee (CA Coffee Place)
  17. Shoes
  18. Chi Omega (sorority)
  19. Stationery
  20. Dresses
  21. Crab Island/Boating/Backdown / Billy Bowlegs {Boat she goes on every year}
  22. Bruiser (her dog)
  23. Chanel (her smell)
  24. Ruby (her birthstone)
  25. Justin Timberlake / N’Sync {the OG celebrity crush}
  26. Beans
  27. Stuart Weitzman
  28. 10/2/10  (Wedding Date) {Duh}
  29. SOTER (licence plate of her first used car) {was a running joke/nickname of car}
  30. 9:24AM (time she was born)

The result was this.

Her favorite color is purple so although my camera doesn’t do it justice, that is the color of it.  She loves red velvet so that was flavor inside the cake. Kara killed it!  Amazing job.  The restaurant charged ZERO for a plating fee.  So we were able to bring it in, keep it in one of their refrigerators and and have it served after dinner.

One other small thing I added at the last minute was ordering a few bottles of her favorite wine for the party.  She loves ZD wine so I had that shipped in.  The corkage fee at this particular restaurant was very minimal and was the perfect last minute touch.

I got there the day of the party.  I remained in hiding most of the day, then arrived at the restaurant a little bit prior to the event happening.  She was finishing a wedding rehearsal and we had her assistant coordinator take her to the restaurant.   At the restaurant at that time was just our work folks (we had her believing that the work folks wanted to have a drink with her).  As is usually the case in July in the panhandle, it was muggy and humid.  She loves Martinis so I had one waiting at the door in my hand for her.

She was happily surprised and we went upstairs on the deck to hang for a little bit while the other peeps we had invited filed in downstairs to the private room.  There were a few close calls of the surprise being thrawted.  Tara ran into her grandparents on her way into the restaurant but her grandmother spun a great story as to why they were out there.  Then a few of our friends came upstairs and again another story was made up. Whew!

I took her downstairs once I got the word that everybody was in the room and the surprise came to life!

This was definitely something Tara needed considering the week she had been having (more on that in the next blog posting).  I’m so thankful that so many of her family and friends drove out to be a part of this.  Major thanks go out to Bob and Leslie for helping me make it all come together.

There still was one last BIG surprise for her birthday.  #3 will come out on the blog tomorrow!

Tara’s 30th…surprise 1 of 3

Tara and I have been married almost 2 years but we’ve been together more than 3 years.  We had been dating exclusively for about 4 months before we first celebrated one of her birthdays together.  If you know Tara at all, you know that her birthday is a BIG deal.  I caught on to this fact rather quickly.  You either have to go big or go home.  So the 1st year, I surprised her with breakfast before work, balloons, gifts, an airhorn, etc.  Here’s a little recap.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxwyQnZIpKQ]
Since then, I’ve matured (slightly).  I still like to surprise her but the gifts have slowly gotten better.  Last year, as we were saving for our NY move, instead of extravagant gifts, I treated her to a birthday week of going out to dinner with some of her favorite people. Each night we went out with a different group of friends.  It was the perfect thing to do before our move later that year.

This year, I had no clue what to do.  It was the big 30…not only was she entering a new decade but it was going to be her 30th on July 30th which meant it was her once in a lifetime GOLDEN birthday.  I had to step up my game for this one.  So I kept my ears open to any clues or hints that she might throw out.  At the beginning of this year, we somehow got in a conversation of her birthday and I asked her if she had anything she wanted to do or cross off her bucket list before she hit her 30s.  She mentioned that when she was in college, she had hoped to have a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes by the time she turned 30 but that that would never be a reality.  BOOM!  There it was. I tucked that idea away for the next several months.

I started saving any and all tip money from my DJ gigs throughout the beginning of the year and put it aside.  It’s a good thing I did because I was not familiar with the cost of these shoes.  I went to the boutique store in NYC one weekend while she was away and the sticker shock hit me square between the eyes.  I was guessing $200 or so for a pair….WRONG!  That was about 1/4 of the cost (that price tag blew my Air Jordans from back in the day out of the water).  So I continued saving and on my last gig before I needed to buy them, I got a very generous tip from one of our clients that got me to the magic number.

The NYC store was out of the particular style of shoe I wanted to get so I went to their boutique in California while I was there for an event.  With the help of Tara’s sister, Megan, and one of my business partners, Leslie, I got the right shoe.

The only catch was that they had a 30 day return policy.  I was headed to Florida from Cali and we were still more than 30 days out from her birthday so I was going to have to give them to her early to make sure everything fit just right.

Leslie made a killer gift box.

When we were leaving our Florida office at the conclusion of a work day, I gave them to her.  In my nervousness of wanting to get it on video, I didn’t realize I had a ton of gum in my mouth (that for some reason I was chomping on while filming) and I forgot to rotate my iPhone to get it full screen so you’ll note the black bars on either side of the video. Nonetheless, here’s the reveal of the surprise caught on camera.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBwkPIBZZfM]

I was so stoked to be able to give that to her.  For most, that would have been enough of a gift for her birthday but I still had another surprise or 2 up my sleeve.  Surprise #2 of the birthday is coming tomorrow on the blog.