This birthday is a big one for me. I remember on my last birthday - sitting and thinking about what year no. 26 may have in store for me - what type of success I would have with my still-fairly-new-business, what lay down the road for our first full year of marriage, the personal growth that I knew was bound to happen as a result and a part of both.
Looking back now, I really couldn't have even imagined what year no. 26 would turned out to be. Twenty six year old Emily learned the ins and outs of owning a business, dealt with the challenges of balancing fifteen plates in the air at once, discovered a strength and that fueled a sincere passion. I pushed myself outside my comfort zone numerous times. I reached out and connected with people in a real and authentic way. I learned how strong, yet imperfectly flawed I really am. I discovered the foundation of my own personal artistic style. I failed. I fell. I loved wildly. I made things happen. I made amazing friends. I learned how not to shrink to fit in a mold. I learned that I don't. fit. the. mold. And I learned that THAT is okay. And THAT is a story in itself.
This weekend, my parents are visiting us in Tampa to celebrate two birthdays - my Moms and mine. (Yes, I was my mama's birthday present - born at 2am the day after her birthday). My dad loves to pack a ginormous toolbag for a weekend full of restoration and repairs. This weekend was no different. Sprinkled between birthday dinners and lunches and cakes was a full ELP studio overhaul. A full blog post dedicated to this coming soon - but, let me just say - it is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. New hardwood floors, three coats of paint, antique furniture, plenty of inspiration from Pottery Barn/Anthropologie/Apartment Therapy/Design Sponge, multiple trips to multiple decor shops and a few craigslist purchases are all included. Its a clean, creative, classic space and it is VERY ELP. I cannot wait to get back to work in this new space.
Tonight, we're celebrating my birthday with red wine, gourmet cheeses, grapes, bruschetta and my absolute favorite Keebler fudge stick cookies for dessert :) My dad even brought honey graham crackers and peanut butter for our favorite past time together.
On New Years, I always list my tactical goals for the year. But my birthday is different. I have this vision of what 27 year-old Emily will look like this year - genuine, comfortable, passionate, fearless, approachable and real. Having spent the first day of my twenty-seventh year with family, love from friends, good wine, good food, exploring, creating and laughing - I hope the rest of my year is filled with more of the same.