Selfie at 44
Turning 44 Feels Good

My 44th birthday was last Monday, but I’m just now getting around to writing about it because I visited Los Angeles last week! John went out there at the beginning of the month to see family and friends, but I didn’t want to go for the extended visit that he had planned. So I held down the fort at home during the first part of his trip, then flew out to meet him in LA the day after my birthday.

Selfie at 44
West Coast bday selfie

On my birthday, I got up early, went for a walk, and then picked up a free birthday drink at Starbucks. I skipped the free birthday drink there last year so it was nice to start my day with a treat again!

Birthday Starbucks

I mostly spent my actual birthday packing and prepping the house to be away for several days. So it wasn’t the most exciting birthday, but John FaceTimed me from LA and I opened the presents that my mom had sent me (which I’ll get to below). I also chatted with family and responded to plenty of texts and social media birthday wishes.

Onward to Los Angeles

Early the next morning, I Lyfted to DCA for my first cross-country flight (and only my third flight overall) since the pandemic began. I was a little nervous but the trip was pretty seamless. I wore an N95 mask for eight hours (door to door), which is not pleasant, and I have a lot of respect for all the essential workers who wear masks for long hours at a time on a daily basis.

John picked me up from the airport and we headed to our Airbnb, where he had been staying for a week. It was a really cute guest house in Glendale; the property had a swimming pool, chickens in a coop (we got to eat their fresh eggs!), and citrus trees. We would absolutely stay there again!

Birthday Dinner

We swam in the pool that afternoon, and in the evening we went to Castaway Burbank for dinner. John had discovered the restaurant up in the hills while on a run, and we decided to do a belated birthday dinner there for me. We were seated on the sunny patio and enjoyed a really delicious meal.

Birthday dinner at Castaway Burbank

I started with El Mariachi cocktail, which came served in this super cool fruit-filled canteen:

El Mariachi

For my entree, I had the wild mushroom pappardelle pasta. This dish was super decadent and very enjoyable.

Wild Mushroom Pappardelle

Castaway is pricey, but we hardly go out to eat these days so it was fully worth the splurge for my birthday. I mean, look at this freaking view:

Castaway Burbank view

We were there long enough to see a bit of the sunset:

Castaway Burbank sunset view

The place has an Instagram-friendly wall in its entryway, so of course we took a photo while we were waiting for our Uber home.

Castaway Burbank

I recommend Castaway for a special occasion if you’re visiting LA (or live in the area). Do make a reservation in advance! We made one and were glad we did so, because the place got pretty busy even though it was a Tuesday.

I spent the rest of my few days in LA chilling out at our Airbnb during the day and getting together with friends and family at night. Plus, we attended John’s uncle’s wedding last Saturday night, which was the initial impetus for planning the trip. I had such a fantastic time finally seeing friends and family in person! I hadn’t been to LA since a friend’s wedding over Labor Day weekend in 2019. Way too long!

Birthday Gifts

As per usual, I gave my mom a wish list of birthday gifts, and she got me everything on it! I picked out a variety of fun items:

44th birthday gifts

What I received:

When I arrived in LA, John gifted me two books that are TOTALLY up my alley. He knows my taste so well!

Birthday gift books

And my brother-in-law got me this Lego Orchid! Super excited to build it:

Lego orchid

Even though I was on my own on my actual birthday, I had a really great time celebrating the next day with John and seeing friends and family all last week. To be honest, I still don’t love getting on a plane these days (not that I loved it before), but at least I’m getting more experience re-entering the world. And this trip was great practice for San Diego Comic-Con next month…which will be the first in-person SDCC since 2019!