I'm an expert on the topic so allow me to share my pearls of wisdom. (And, no, do not give your sweetheart pearls for her birthday; they imply that you think she is either old, a librarian or a Barbara Bush fan. Not good.)
Here are my top ten over-the-top recommendations that you should not only read, but be sure to pass on to your partners so they know the "rules of engagement." If they don't know, you're not going to get what you want. And divas should ALWAYS get what they want...
1. You don't just need a day, baby: you need a whole month!
Start two weeks before and carry on for two weeks after. (It can get a bit exhausting and cause a fair bit of weight gain so start out slowly, gain momentum, and then wind down in the final two weeks. Then go on a detox.) Live it up; do it all; heck, ride an elephant!
2. Throw your own party.
I used to wait for people to plan parties for me, but then I never got the party I wanted. This year I realized I wanted a Mexican fiesta so I booked the restaurant, invited some of my favorite people, and then let it all unfold. It doesn't need to be a big deal. Book a restaurant. Invite people. Have fun. The margaritas flowed, the nachos were consumed, lots of kissing ensued...it was perfection.
3. Be very specific with your significant other about your gift requirements.
By this I mean, take him/her into the store and point to the merchandise that you desire. If you want to be surprised, give him/her two or three choices, and say, "Please buy me one of these (or all of these), but this is the one I like best."
4. Be sure to enlist your friends to help your significant other (especially if he's a male).
If you haven't realized it yet, this column really is for the ladies. (Sorry, gents.) The only time my husband has ever heard me use the D word is after a particularly unsuccessful Mother's Day debacle (combined with a particularly intense hormonal onslaught). Breakfast in bed? Check. At 7:30 AM? Big fail. Eggs? I hate eggs. But the children wanted to make me eggs? It's not about the children; it's about me! Flowers? Check. Carnations from the supermarket? Uncheck. Don't get me wrong. The intentions are good: princely, even. The chromosomal make-up may just have to take the blame (and perhaps my princess-like prerequisites).
The solution is elegant and simple, however: get the ladies in your life to drop not-so-subtle hints about exactly what you would like to have happen, and then pretend to be surprised when they actually do. Buy your friends dinner afterwards to thank them for their efforts. Don't let your husband/partner know that you know there have been little elves assisting behind the scenes.
5. There should be a minimum of two parties.
If your birthday does not fall on a weekend, make it clear that you want a special birthday dinner THE NIGHT OF your actual birthday (cake included) and another romantic dinner or party minus the children on the following weekend. Isn't that just common sense?
6. The older you get, the better the celebration should be.
It gets harder and harder to impress, I know, but it also becomes more and more important that we aging women feel affirmed and loved and beautiful. Pull out all the stops. Let the champagne flow along with the compliments. Don't be shy. Heck, you don't even need to be sincere. Just do it.
7. Your birthday should also involve girls-time only.
And I don't mean family time. (Though, of course, there should be that, too.) A spa treatment should be booked for two to three besties on the weekend following your birthday that will allow you to pamper and gossip and maybe sip a bit more champagne if you're not too affected by the margaritas from the night before.
8. Hotel is optional.
If a party is planned, I would opt out of the hotel. When you splurge on a hotel, you want to enjoy all the amenities from check in til check out. If you stumble in too late and too tired and too tipsy to enjoy that luxurious bed and all the other offerings, you might as well grab a taxi and enjoy the splendor of your own cozy bed and save it for another time. That being said, if a hotel is booked, it had better be good. Good as in the Mandarin Oriental. Good as in having a whirl pool tub and buffet breakfast. Good as in a room with a view. Good as in chocolates on the pillow and wine chilled in the mini bar.
9. Pictures must be taken from above and you need to be picture-ready.
Every woman knows that above is their best angle. Insist that your sweetie shoot from above. Also, lash out and get your lashes done, your hair blown out, your nails done, your make up done...whatever makes you feel good, and whatever is going to make you look good in those photos you plan to plaster all over facebook!
10. Try to finagle a card or poem
My sweetie has always done this very well on this front with no prompting, and I have saved each and every one of his creations; he may not write me love notes every day, but his handmade creations are treasures. (And, boy, can my man do a mean decoupage!) If you have children, get them in on this tradition as well. Sure, you want the designer sunglasses, but you also want the sincere sentiment to go along with them!
|My Gucci glasses: last year's decadent gift|
Suffice it to say, I am feeling very loved-up, and the only new start necessary for me is a diet!