Updated: Jun 4
Well, the journey to 50 came to an end and this is how I walked right into my destination!
If you haven’t gotten there yet, do yourself a favor and throw yourself one hell of a party your way, whether it’s a smaller, more intimate gathering or a total blow-out. My 50th birthday party was the most gratifying event I have ever put on – I was both the star and the host! For this milestone event, I went all out and relied on pro’s, my “Glam Squad” to help me realize my vision. I can’t even begin to tell you how beautiful I felt after they were done with me.
I worked closely with a fabulous, local designer, Michele Blanchard of MB Design Gallery, to create a custom jumpsuit that literally came out exactly how I envisioned it. Because my 50th birthday coincided with JLo and “It’s My Party”, it was only appropriate to walk in with an “add a pony” to my short, angled bob. A few days before the party, I sat in my girlfriend’s salon chair, Jen Carter, Owner and Stylist of Salon 325 (@studio325salon on Instagram), and I had a complete meltdown when she did the trial run.
That day, I had been working from home and then ran to get my hair done with no real make up, and beyond casual. I looked in the mirror and immediately felt like a fraud. This was the first time I have ever added a hair piece. As we get older, so much starts to change, some good, some bad. I had cut my hair years back and now must touch up the gray every 3 weeks, ugh. The bouncy long locks I had in my 20’s to 40’s was long gone. My two beautiful teenage daughters have it now, you’re welcome, ladies!
I had this overwhelming feeling that I would walk in my party and everyone would think I was just trying to be 20 again and look like my kids. What’s so crazy is, I look at other women doing it all day long and completely LOVE IT. I always think, OMG, I want one. They look awesome and never have I thought of them as a fraud or trying to act too young for their age. So, why in the world was I sitting there crying? Poor Jen, the look on her face was priceless. I calmed down after I sent out a mass text to my tribe saying, “Oh no, I can’t do this”. And boy, did my phone blow up. I got pics of Beyoncé back and bold caps “YES, YOU CAN AND YES, YOU WILL!” I took a deep breath and I was ok enough to say, yes, I can do this!
I was still 49 at the moment. The big day comes and when my girlfriend, Eboni, make-up artist and owner of Adonai Beauty, (@adonaibeautymua on Instagram), did her incredible magic, it was game on. Jen was there to add the pony and help me in that custom outfit and I felt like the baddest bitch that ever was. It even beat that wedding day feeling, when you know you feel good that day. This day came with an extra 25 years, a whole lot of struggles, a whole lot of joys and a lot more wisdom.
I walked that runway into my party and danced the night away surrounded by the most amazing tribe of females on earth and the most amazing group of friends - friends from grade school, friends from high school, friends from my college years, friends from my CFO career, friends from the neighborhood, and friends I have met along this journey to 50.
As a perfectionist and party planner by passion, I can clearly and proudly say that my vision came to its fullest, by the helping hands of my tribe, the sweat, hours, funds, and partners, it all came to life without a hitch. During this journey I met and worked with some amazing people starting their own businesses and worked with others who have always been by my side at my events.
The gratitude I felt helping those newly in business was so rewarding. I felt like a mentor and an encourager all in one. Two fabulous women I had never worked with before - one, a long-time friend and the other I got a reference for. Sherry Ayers, creator of Sweet Mazzinas (@sweetmazzinas on Instagram), started her own cupcake business a few years back. We had lost touch, but Instagram brought us back together. I knew she was only doing primarily cupcakes, but I had also got a glimpse of a few other items, so I sent her the challenge. And oh my God, did she deliver! Amazing dessert cups, decadent chocolate strawberries, mini cupcakes and pops, complete with a glitter high heel made of chocolate that will never leave my kitchen.
At each party, I do my best to not repeat themes. I had previously done a Prince party for my 30th high school reunion, and as a lover of Prince, I just couldn’t leave him out of my big day. I knew I needed a new twist to my décor. BALLOONS! I started watching these amazing sculpture’s on Instagram and it baffled me how they were doing it. I knew I needed balloon sculptures. I was trying to pull together an Audrey Breakfast at Tiffany’s room with a Purple Rain room, and not look like a mermaid full of blue and purple.
I researched a few companies and came across this very lovely young lady (and I mean young…early college, my daughters age). She had already started a side hustle doing party planning and switched over to balloon art about a year ago. On our first call, we clicked. I could hear her passion, her desire to please, and her gracious customer service. I didn’t know her, but I was already proud of her like a mama bear. I challenged her with doing 3 huge sculptures in one event, plus some. She was concerned during the whole process, but little did she know I believed in her so much that she was the last person or thing I was worried about that day. And, it was amazing. Jaylan, owner of Eventfully Created (@eventfullycreated on Instagram), is amazing and she’s going to do big things and I will be right there to cheer her on.
The gratitude I feel from helping others, serving others or hosting others is so much more rewarding than anything else I could think of doing. Just as my faithful role model says, “You have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others” - Audrey Hepburn.
My desire in creating Girlfriend Therapy in A Box is just this, to help others. I have been a daughter in need, a mom in need and a wife in need, and more than any other, a girlfriend in need of encouragement, uplifting, a shoulder to cry on, a positive message, someone to say they hear me or even just a little pretty something to brighten my day.
In the second half of life, for whatever years I am blessed to have, my mission and passion will be just this…to provide Girlfriend Therapy, whether in person or delivered to your door.