Reflections on 40…and the Party

I turned the big four-oh last week…  I am 40 years old….. Yep, tastes like vinegar.  But, with all the cookies, cake, and candy I’ve been eating since my birthday, I think it’ll taste sweeter as times passes.  After all, it’s just a number, right?  I certainly don’t feel like I’m forty.  People tell me I don’t look like I’m forty.  I’m really not quite sure why it’s bugging me so much.  But, it is.  And, eventually I’ll get used to it…and then I’ll be 41….

We threw a big party in honor of me turning 40.  I opted not to go with the “forty sucks” concept even though that’s kinda how I was feeling.  And, as a result, I had a blast creating the theme and all the decor.  I created the invite myself as well as all the signage, cupcake toppers, etc.  And, I did it all using free clipart and fonts.  I was actually quite proud of myself as to how well it all turned out given my limited experience in designing invites, particularly using Photoshop Elements.  My theme was “all my favorite things.”  So, I used black & white damask and hot pink and went crazy from there.  Being able to use Pinterest to save all the ideas I found was awesome – I was able to save them all in one place and then use them for the party, including the cutest little shoe cupcakes, and having a henna tattoo artist there to paint me and all my guests.  The henna tattoos were a BIG hit!  We had about 50 or so people come, and the party was so much fun – it was great being surrounded by all my favorite people!  The biggest surprise of the night came when my dear friend Angela surprised me by coming all the way from Dallas.  Seeing her brought tears to my eyes and made me realize how much I have missed my dear friend since she moved away.  She was my partner in crime in our single days before she met her husband and I, much later, met and married Ramsey.  But, I digress.  On to the party and all the fabulous decor…

First, the invite printed on white sparkle paper that set the stage weeks in advance….

40th Birthday Invitation

I used the black & white damask with hot pink accents consistently throughout all the decor and was very happy with the way it all turned out.  So, here are the highlights….

I found black and white damask printed balloons at Party City and paired them with hot pink.  There was no question which house on our street had a party going on that day!

White/Damask and Hot Pink Balloons lined the driveway in front of the house.

White/Damask and Hot Pink Balloons lined the driveway in front of the house.

I found an online tutorial for how to make a fun wreath.  And, I’m happy to say it really was as easy and cheap as the tutorial described.  I also made the canvas to the right of the wreath, spray painting it silver, then using a stencil to paint on black damask.  I then spray painted wooden letters for the “40” and glued them on top of the canvas.

Hot pink tulle with lights, a hot pink wreath on the door, and a painted canvas "40" welcomed guests.

Hot pink tulle with lights, a hot pink wreath on the door, and a painted canvas “40” welcomed guests.

We set the mood for the area where the Henna Tattoo artist would be working with a fun pink curtain.  You’ll also see the table runner on the dining table that happens to match the theme.  That was one of my recent projects and planned long before I’d ever selected my birthday party theme.  I do love damask…

Henna Tattoo Area

Henna Tattoo Area

I had been planning to paint a chalkboard on the wall in the kitchen for Landry to draw on, and the party spurred me along.  I just added a fun message to tie it in with the party decor.  My dear friend, Wendy, was kind enough to string the tulle on the staircase (and front door and mantle) as well as finish off the message on the chalkboard that I didn’t get around to writing before the party.  She used the “40” from the canvas on the front door as her inspiration.

Chalkboard and Tulle on Staircase

Chalkboard and Tulle on Staircase


More tulle, lights and balloons on the fireplace.

Outdoor decor

We took the party outside on the deck, as well. I made the damask table runners!


What’s a party without a pinata?!

And now, on to the food….I stuck true to my theme and selected some of my favorite foods to serve.  I had the same person who made Landry’s 1st birthday cake make my birthday cake, cupcakes, and chocolate-covered strawberries (Classy Cakes by Lori).  And, I also asked her to make 3 “shoe cupcakes” that I had seen and pinned on my Pinterest birthday board.  I thought they turned out adorable!  And, of course, everything she made was gorgeous and delicious, as well!

Dessert table

My favorite desserts, including adorable “shoe cupcakes!”

more desserts

All my signs said “Clare Loves…” to keep with the theme of “all my favorite things.”


Damask liners for the cupcakes and matching cupcake toppers.

Drink cart

I made a batch of my “signature drink” that I call a Clare-tini. It’s champagne and raspberry vodka in a champagne glass rimmed in sugar. I first had it at a restaurant in New York (it was called a Mambo King) but renamed it when we first served it at our wedding. It’s dangerously delicious.

Drink cart

My little helper arranging the pink champagne glasses on our drink cart.


I turned really ugly $1 candles into fun, pink and silver ones with some glitter paint, rhinestones, and beads!

Blowing out candles

Here’s me in action, blowing out those fabulous candles.

Thank you gift

A small thank you gift for all our guests. Yummy pink coated chocolate candies inside a damask box.

We didn’t take many pictures during the party itself – we were having way too much fun.  But, here are a few shots of actual people at the party…

Family Pic

Me with my two favorite people in the world – my wonderful husband, Ramsey, and beautiful daughter, Landry.

Me and Landry

Me and Landry. I made her dress, so she’d “match” the party. You’ll notice the trim on her dress is the same as the fabric I used to make the table runners.

Me and Wendy

My best friend, Wendy was a huge help the day of the party. She styled all the tulle, wrote the message on the chalkboard, helped set out food, and was just fun to have around, as always.

My henna

My henna tattoo. It took her all of ten minutes to do this beautiful design!


A few members of the infamous “bookclub.” We’ve been getting together on a monthly basis for over a decade. From Left to right: Angela, Victoria, Me, Emily, Erin F. I love these ladies!

Men outside

I don’t know if all the pink drove them out, but the men seemed to congregate out on the back patio.

throwing candy

By the end of the night, they had put a stick in my hand, and down came the pinata. It was, of course, filled with candy, so I took the liberty of pretending I was on a Mardi Gras float and throwing candy into the crowd.

Overall, I couldn’t be more pleased with how everything turned out for the party.  I missed getting pics of a few things (including an up close shot of my shoe cupcakes), but everyone seemed to have a really good time, including me, which is really all that matters!  It was a wonderful way for me to get past the dread of turning 40 and be thankful for how blessed I am for all the awesome things in my life.  Now, back to reality….


3 thoughts on “Reflections on 40…and the Party

  1. LOVE this, Clare! Congratulations on an incredible birthday bash! It looks amazing and, most importantly, it looks like you had a blast! Absolutely gorgeous (you and the party)!

  2. So glad I checked your site and got the scoop on the party! You looked fabulous as usual and I am so impressed with how well you planned and executed the designs for the party. Of course my godchild Landry was cute as ever and I’m sure will turn out to be as creative and lovely as her mom. I’m glad you had such a great time!

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