It’s My Birthday Complete With Giveaway, Flashback, and Surprise!

birthday main collage 


Thank you for stopping by to celebrate my birthday today!
What’s on the agenda?
Lots of pictures…

I am, no doubt, truly blessed to see another birthday. Thank you, God! This year–like most–I typically do low key things for my birthday. Dinner out, or a weekend in the French Quarter (yes, I think that’s low key but I love it just the same), or an evening at home with my family with take-out from Outback Steakhouse.

However last year at this time, I had the BEST BIRTHDAY OF MY LIFE. 

You have probably heard me talk ad nauseam about my goals last year as I approached my 40th birthday. Taking a celebratory trip was something I talked about wanting for years. I wanted a fun-filled odyssey to somewhere tropical with my family and friends–ladies only. Around June/July 2012, I realized my big plans were not going to come to pass. Hubby, sensing my disappointment, proposed that the two of us take a trip together to celebrate. I got excited because Hubby doesn’t talk about taking a trip unless..HUBBY PLANS ON TAKING A TRIP. Seeing an opportunity to make it even more exciting, I prompted him NOT to tell me where the destination would be. That’s huge for me, a detail-oriented SUPER VIRGO, but I love surprises.


Cut to September 11, 2012…

I had no qualms about flying on 9/11. I was so excited about going on a trip for my milestone birthday. The best part was I truly didn’t know where we were headed to. The only things Hubby shared with me about our 7 night, 6 day trip were: 1) It was somewhere tropical 2) It was NOT a cruise 3) We had never been there before and 4) I needed my passport.

It wasn’t until we arrived at the New Orleans airport and the reservation agent printed out my ticket, that I knew where we were going…





I breezed through airport security with my laptop, iPhone, no shoes, cap, sunglasses, and wired bra. I was going to Mexico. TSA couldn’t upset me one bit with their electronic wands and too-long glances. I was on a serious high!




I couldn’t resist showing you a pic of The Deuce, who stayed behind with his grandparents so he could keep his routine and go to school. Thank God for grandparents!


Hubby is not a romantic guy. Never has been. But I have always known that about him and I’m OK with it. After 20+ years together, a romantic gesture on his part would probably send me into orbit. But what the man can do is show me a good time, take care of me, and fully engage me in his taste for the finer things in life.


I have compared every trip Hubby and I have taken in the last 10 years of marriage to our honeymoon at the Sandals Resort in Negril, Jamaica. It was top notch primarily because of the A-1 customer service received at that all-inclusive resort. On this trip, I was destined to learn that I could experience Utopia once again…

The resort we stayed at was Paradisus La Perla in Playa del Carmen about 45 minutes outside of the touristy area of Cancun.

The beauty of the resort was breathtaking. Interior and exterior. It was also all-inclusive. Because it was off-season and the the resort was less than a year old, we had the entire place practically to ourselves. The first night we had a little snafu with the A/C, but we managed because we loved the place. The following day, my actual birthday, brought the pleasure of an upgrade to one of the “swim-up” rooms in which we could step right out into the pool from our patio.


Hubby asked what I wanted to do that day since it was my birthday. I just wanted to relax in the pool, read the book I was into, and enjoy the never-ending drinks with Tamarind on the rim. There were quite a number of restaurants on the property. That night we dined at Passion. It featured an exquisite tasting menu from a 7 star Michelin chef.

The restaurant staff was well aware that it was my birthday and I received a special dessert.



Hubby had entertained me for as long as he could. But I know him, when he goes on vacay, he does not want to vacay. He wants to go, go, and did I mention GO?! So I caved (pun intended) and we went on an excursion for rappelling, zip lining, and snorkeling through the Riviera Maya to see stalactites and stalagmites. Here’s the thing–like my new blog buddy Kenya says–I was clueless about rappelling and zip lining and THOUGHT I could manage snorkeling due to the advanced swimming lessons I had just taken the last 2 months.




Rappel: Me: 100% FAIL.  I took one look at it and said HELL NO! Hubby: SUCCESS-Just call him Tom Cruise aka Ethan Hunt.


Zip Line: Me: 50% FAIL. I walked all the way to the top of the 1st tower and said HELL NO! My legs shook for the multiple flights of stairs back down alone.  Hubby: SUCCESS

Snorkeling: Me: 50% FAIL. I suited up and then panicked in the freezing bottomless water of the awesome cenote caves instead of using the skills I had just learned. Hubby: SUCCESS


Are you seeing a pattern here? 


I was disappointed because I was bailing on all these things that we had planned for the day. I did manage to enjoy seeing the Mayan Ruins with the backdrop of the Caribbean Sea. I found it quite ironic that it was 2012 and we were walking among them.

We returned to the resort exhausted and dehydrated. Hubby wanted to stop by the bar in the pool area on the way to our room. As we approached the bartender, I felt like my eyes were playing tricks on me. I saw a woman sitting at the bar that looked strangely familiar. As I got closer to her, I thought “She looks like Margaret.” Then I thought, “She’s wearing lipstick like Margaret’s.” Margaret is my BFF that lives in Detroit. When the woman turned toward me, I realized IT WAS MARGARET! 


I stood there stunned looking at her. I kept asking her what she was doing there and did she know I was going to be there. I looked around for her husband. I was not processing that she was standing in front of me. Margaret was with me the day of my cancer diagnosis and the day I learned I was in remission. She was with me when I went into labor with Deuce through to the next day when he was born. I looked to my husband who had this odd grin on his face. The puzzle pieces started to fall into place. Margaret’s arrival had been planned months in advance. I finally closed my mouth, hugged her, and started crying. It had been a little over a year since I had seen her.


We sat at the bar and talked–catching up on each other’s lives. I was still in shock that she was there. I didn’t realize that Hubby had disappeared because we were so busy talking. I had a fleeting thought while sitting there when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned and there was the object of my fleeting thought. My other BFF Felicia! I jumped off the stool and stood back to look at her. OMG! OMG! OMG! I grabbed her and cried like a baby. Then she started crying. And Margaret started crying. I looked over to see Hubby standing there taking it all in. Felicia lives in Atlanta and it had been over a year since I last saw her as well. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding, has been with me through thick and thin, and is my RIDE OR DIE chick.


My fantastic husband had planned the best surprise ever for my birthday. He knew that those two women were my closest friends in the world. And he arranged for them to celebrate with me for 3 nights and 4 days. The three of them had been planning it all for months. I had no idea!


I soon learned that all of the staff at the resort knew about the surprise and had been working with Hubby to pull it off. I had birthday dessert 4 of the 6 nights we stayed there. The customer service was just as spectacular as it was at the Sandals Resort in Jamaica for our honeymoon. I was in heaven. I got the trip I hoped for and had a ball. So blessed.


Giveaway and link-ups now closed
When was your best birthday ever?
Have you ever been surprised for your birthday?

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