February 5, 2016

So This Is Forty

40th-birthday

 

Last Friday, I turned forty.  An age I remember my parents turning.  An age, I assumed, that would also mean predictable routines – dinner at 6, helping kids with homework, weekends of soccer and checkbook balancing and yard work – all of the things that scream Responsible, Stable, Forty-Something Adult.

 

NOPE.

40th-birthday-party

Forty seems like a strange age.  It’s an age we’ve been conditioned to accept as ‘old’, yet it comes so quickly.  It sneaks up.  It sneaks up so fast that you swear you were just twenty-seven, like, three days ago.

Roughly.

But I don’t really feel twenty-seven.  At least, I don’t feel like the Unmitigated, Hot-Mess of a Disaster my twenty-seven year old self was.  With my Judgy-Judgements of Parenting Techniques, Know-It-All Attitudes, Crushing Expectations, Paralyzing Anxiety, and Too-Often Inappropriate Work Outfits (thanks for nothing, Ally McBeal)….thank god blogging hadn’t been invented yet.  The last thing the world needed was the inane blatherings of my twenty-something self immortalized forever on the internet.

Rather, I feel like a mythical version of my Twenty-Seven Year Old Self.  The cool-girl portrayed in movies – all sexy and wise.  The very best version of myself.  And I do feel like the best version of myself these days.  Perhaps that’s the gift forty brings.  I feel like I’ve lived enough life to have something interesting to say, but I’ve also lived enough life to know when to shut up.  And despite the scars from c-sections and breast cancer, the loose skin on my stomach and the wrinkles on my face….I’ve never felt so beautiful.

I’ve heard that beauty is wasted on the young.  I totally disagree – it’s when we need that beauty most.

It’s amazing, as you age, how beauty becomes a fluid, living thing.  That waking up to a little hand patting my cheek makes me feel like a goddess.  “Wook at me Mommy,” Pax says.  “So I can see yurs beauful face.”   Or how Raines, my eight year old, will blush and walk into a wall (grinning like a fool) when I throw him a flirty wink.  “Why do you wear all that makeup?” he’ll ask.  “I just like your face.”

Forty feels gorgeous.  The sex?  AMAZING (we’ve come a long way since this post-baby sex article).  And forty with kids-recently-out-of-diapers is especially delicious.  I swear, leaving the house without that giant diaper bag is more freeing than cruising down the highway in a red convertible, top down, wind in your hair and road stretched out in front of you.

40th-birthday-party-what-to-wear

 

If you can’t tell by the pics, Mike (with the help of my sister, Scotti and our nanny, Gwen) threw me an EPIC surprise party.  I have never – ever – been so surprised.  Friends and family flew in, locals kept the secret for months while simultaneously riling me up, “I’m sure Mike will do something for your birthday, Shana.  It’s your fortieth!  You can at least expect him to make dinner reservations, right?”

Mike, if you haven’t guessed, is not typically what I’d call, ‘A Planner’.

And in hindsight, there are a million little things that should’ve tipped me off.  Typically my sister doesn’t scream, ‘YOUR MAKEUP MUST BE PERFECT!!!” and have a mini-breakdown while we’re getting ready to go out.  Mike doesn’t usually text constantly through my birthday dinner and get annoyed when waiters are slow.  My friends don’t usually take such an interest in helping me pick out something to wear – I’m a forty year old fashion blogger, I GOT THIS.  Even Gwen followed me upstairs suggesting in her sweet voice that I might want to “rethink the plain sweater.”

So when we walked into Hotel Monaco’s rooftop bar, I really shouldn’t have been so surprised.  But I was.  I couldn’t believe how many people came out to help me celebrate – I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

Forty.

this-is-forty

what-to-wear-40th-birthday

 

Let’s do this.

xo,

S

 

By February 5, 2016 45 No tags Permalink
45 Comments
  • Sofia
    February 5, 2016

    Happy happy birthday! First time posting a comment here, but I’ve been reading for a while and you’ve helped me SO MUCH in the style department 🙂 I turn 40 in less than 2 years, and I’m glad you’re just ahead of me…that way I have plenty of inspiration on just how great the 40s can be. Enjoy it!!!

  • Jem
    February 5, 2016

    Happy Birthday! I’ll be turning the big 4-0 next year and I agree with the previous poster, I’m happy to have your blog for inspiration!

  • Megan Wade
    February 5, 2016

    Shana, you have the gift of putting into words exactly how I feel inside. Happy 40th (or 4 perfect 10s)!

  • Beth
    February 5, 2016

    Happy, HAPPY, H-A-P-P-Y birthday!!!! How lucky are we to have your beautiful presence on this planet?!?!? I am five years ahead of you, or will be in a couple of months. So thank you for the inspiration- on fashion, fun, and on living. Truly living. May this be your best year yet!!! Sending you huge hugs!!!! xo

  • Jamie
    February 5, 2016

    You bring tears to my eyes. Such a sap! Happy Birthday! I hope that I can feel as good as you do about turning 40 and it’s really hard to feel beautiful at this age and not worry about feeling OLD….. gray hairs, wrinkles, sagging butts. But you certainly make turning 40 look REALLY cool and I love it! Thanks for being you and sharing it with us!

  • Abby
    February 5, 2016

    Inspiring

  • Kerri
    February 5, 2016

    Happy Birthday Beautiful! Love ya and miss ya!

  • Renee
    February 5, 2016

    Wow, you make forty look fantastic. I’ve been reading for years, and you are just getting better with age. I’m glad you had such a beautiful celebration. You deserve it! Happy Birthday.

  • Emily
    February 5, 2016

    Happy Birthday to you!!!

  • Yvonne K
    February 5, 2016

    Happy birthday! What a fun surprise and hope the celebration keeps on!

  • Ruth
    February 5, 2016

    Happy Birthday!!! Like you Shana, I have scars from c sections from my 2 boys, scars from my 2010-2011 Breast Cancer journey& celebrated my 40th with very little hair ( post chemo) but had a blast. And life has been great ever since! It’s now 5 years later & I’m more grounded , more content & I now know, who I am. These are MY years. Boys are getting older (9 & 12) & I’m getting my life back in more ways than one.
    I only discovered your blog in July. And my style has cranked it up several notches since then, thanks to you. And my confidence because of that. And my love of lipstick is even stronger because of you.
    Wishing health , happiness & all the best to you in your 40th year & many more.

  • apullen13
    February 5, 2016

    I AM twenty seven.. and feel like a hot mess even though I have three kids and an amazing husband. Now, I really can’t wait for forty!

  • S
    February 5, 2016

    Happy Birthday!! 40 is pretty amazing, isn’t it? I love this post.

    By the way, I went into my local shoe store asking for those sorel wedges from the other day. She said she didn’t have the low ones except *last years* model in the basement. Where I found my size, in black, marked down, with an additional 30% off. No one in my family seemed very excited for me and I keep waiting for anyone on the street to notice my amazing boots, but they make me so happy, so thank you!! Now I feel *almost* as cool as my two favorite internet ladies. (you, and Melissa Hartwig)

  • Christy
    February 6, 2016

    Finally! Someone who isn’t complaining about their age! I feel the same way you do. When I turned 35 last year I finally turned the age I’ve always felt. I love being the age I am, and getting older doesn’t scare me. I feel like a more confident, wealthier version of my twenty-something self. And the older I get the more I feel like I can say and do what I want without apology. I can’t wait to be a sassy old granny my grandkids have to apologize to strangers for.
    But I sure feel like a loner because of all the self deprecating “I’m so old” talk from my friends. I honestly don’t know how to respond to it. Telling them how I feel seems insensitive, but nodding in feigned, silent agreement seems dishonest.
    Any advice?

    • abbieleigh
      February 8, 2016

      No advice but I have the exact same predicament. My friends and I are closing in on 40 and I often hear complaints about looking and feeling old. I just don’t get it. Personally, I think we all look better than ever. I wouldn’t go back if you paid me. I do feel like the freakish outlier when I voice disagreement though. When everybody else is putting themselves down it’s hard to be like “Nope, not me. I feel great.”

  • Shannon
    February 6, 2016

    Happy Birthday, Shana! I’m so glad I found you (Vince high tops, ankle Uggs and RM backpack have all been game changers). I’m two months and two days from 40 and loved this post. I especially loved what you wrote about beauty becoming a fluid, living thing as you age. I, too, feel the best ever at (almost) 40. Thanks for this. Beautiful. XO

  • Kat w
    February 6, 2016

    I loved this post and can relate to how you see beauty, sex, life, etc etc as you get older, concepts I didn’t realize I’d see this way in my thirties when I was in my teens and twenties.

    As my looks age, I am actually more confident and comfortable and feel sexy than my early twenties, arguably when I looked my “best”. Isn’t it funny how that works? And sex is so much better after you’ve aged a little.

    Beauty, age, life, love. …somehow becomes more simple and complex at the same time in my thirties than twenties. I am interested to see how these concepts will evolve along wits my self astorage I fast approach my forties.

    Happy birthday! That looks like a fabulous party! Yay!!

    • Kat w
      February 6, 2016

      Um, typos. Oops.

  • Christa
    February 6, 2016

    Happiest of Birthdays! This is such a great post. 40 is what my dreams are made of…seriously, no diaper bag and better sex, sign me up . (33yr old mom of 6,4 and 1 year old)

  • Kristie
    February 6, 2016

    Aww man… now I’m crying!

  • Frances
    February 6, 2016

    Happy Birthday chick! I actually felt wet eyes when I imagined you walking into your surprise party. Nothing like friends and family taking the time out to celebrate a special day with you. Love the birthday outfit you wore too, spot on as per usual.

  • Colleen K
    February 6, 2016

    Happy Birthday!! You’re awesome, your blog is awesome and I HOPE to be as cool of a chick and mom as you are once I hit the 40. Keep on rockin’

    xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

  • Jo
    February 6, 2016

    41 here & your post made me smile, Happy Birthday!

  • Julia
    February 6, 2016

    Happy happy birthday!!!!!!!!

  • nina
    February 6, 2016

    Great post, Shana. Happy Birthday!

  • myerskaczmarek
    February 6, 2016

    Happy birthday, Shana!! LOVED your totally straightforward line about being sexy and wise — not couched in any sort of disclaimer, as we women can do sometimes. I concur! You are! Many blessings on your coming year – and years! Keep on being fabulous, girl!!

  • myerskaczmarek
    February 6, 2016

    PS Thanks for your work and positive (and FUN!) influence in upping my style game — I’ve changed my work wardrobe in particular (but my non-work one too) due to you, and honestly have never felt better. Or sexier! Thank you!!

  • Polina
    February 6, 2016

    Happy belated birthday, Shana! I am a long time blog reader and also 40. Frankly, i am still work in progress and have never felt comfortable in my skin. I am definitely not the best version of myself, but i really hope to become one. You are an inspiration in spirit and in style. Love you so much!

  • Crn
    February 7, 2016

    Happy day, year, decade to you, Shana!! I’m excited to follow along!!

  • Mrs N
    February 7, 2016

    Happy birthday ! Forty rocks ! Welcome ! X

  • Erin
    February 7, 2016

    Oh my goodness – I’ve never met you but I feel like I know you and I just teared up at this post. I’m so glad that you had an amazing birthday and as I approach 40, your words really hit home. Thank you for all that you put out into the world. It always brightens my day. xo. Erin

  • Patricia Shepard
    February 8, 2016

    Happy birthday, Shana! I love this post and am so grateful for all that you do. You’re an inspiration.

  • Maree
    February 8, 2016

    Happy Birthday Shana. Love your post and from someone who will turn 48!! on Valentines Day I can assure you that it gets even better as you progress through your 40’s.

  • Ali
    February 8, 2016

    Happy Birthday, you really are an hilarious gift to us, I love you! Coming up on 37, I have a 4 yr old and an 8 mo old and experiencing the usual post-baby identity crisis, but I wouldn’t go back if you paid me! Thank you for sharing your life so freely with us!

  • meg
    February 8, 2016

    As an almost 35 year old mom of an 18 month old and expecting another in a few months, this post made me cry. I feel like I’ve sort of lost myself, my fun, and my husband in the flurry (tornado?) of new parenthood. Thanks for always giving hope that I can continue to be stylish and have fun. It’s so easy to get lost in the mindset of “my life will always be like this!” I appreciate the reminder that things like diaper bags are just a phase. The love that is so obvious in your family is inspiring! Happy birthday!!

  • Nicole
    February 8, 2016

    Happy birthday, Shana! So glad that it was everything and more! You deserve it.

  • Marcia
    February 9, 2016

    Happy birthday, Shana! I turned 40 in October and feel happier and more settled now than when I was in my twenties (even though I often feel like I’m still 29 – the years go by so quickly now). It is a privilege to grow older and wiser. Love to all of you!

  • Chelsea
    February 9, 2016

    You are inspiring, hilarious, and brilliant. I met you in Denver when you were neighbors with Amber and then Nadja. You’ve been saving me from fashion disasters ever since. Happy birthday!

  • Claudia
    February 11, 2016

    Happy birthday Shana!!! I’ve been following your blog since the ‘ain’t no mom jeans’ days, and it’s been such a pleassure getting to know you!!! Girl, you are such an inspiration. If you are ever in northern VA, please please please! Make it known on the blog, and I promise to take you out for a drink! Hope you had the best time, you deserve it!

  • Claudia
    February 16, 2016

    Yes Heather, feelings are a real thing 😉

    • Christa
      February 17, 2016

      Eew, this is ugly. If you don’t like it, you definitely don’t have to read it…and you definitely don’t have to comment. I like to tell my 6 year old, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Moving on.

      • Shana
        February 19, 2016

        Christa – THANK YOU. And I apologize for not seeing that mean-spirited comment earlier. It’s GONE. Sheesh.

    • Shana
      February 19, 2016

      Haha, thanks Claudia. Sorry I didn’t see that comment earlier. Now deleted. xo

  • Fiona
    February 19, 2016

    You MUST tell us where you got the denim top you are wearing to your party! It’s amazing!

    My twin sister and I turned 40 last year, and my twin sons turned one on the same day. All four of us share the same birthday!

  • Debbie
    September 23, 2016

    I have a spring in my step today! Since discovering TME four months ago I never realized we’re the same age…I’d been mentally adjusting the content, assuming you were a few years younger than me (“maybe I shouldn’t try that one…”). Now I can say that if Shana can try it, so can I!

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