Forever 21

Finally 21. I usually don’t feel different on my birthday, but this year I did. I feel more mature, more independent. Not just because I can legally drink but also because I’m just a few months away from graduating college. It almost feels like yesterday that I started college as a scared little freshman, and now I’m about to embark on my adult life. Weird.

21 was a birthday I’ve only really looked forward to in the past year or so. Before that, I vowed I would never drink–because the few sips I sampled of my parents’ drinks tasted gross to me. That’s not to say that now I’m 21 I’m going to become a crazy partier. I have no desire to get drunk or drink cheap alcohol. I would much rather sip a glass of white wine while watching a movie at home, or enjoy a fun cocktail at a fancy restaurant.

I did drink on my 21st, but my birthday was more than just about the alcohol. This birthday marked the last time (most likely) I’ll be living at home to celebrate. It’s bittersweet looking back on the past 21 birthdays (obviously the first few I don’t remember)–going to waterparks on my birthday, spending it by the pool in the mountains, watching the Summer Olympics, always going out to eat with my family/friends. I’m going to miss this part of my life.

As I said, my 21st was a lot more than being able to drink in a restaurant–which I definitely did, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I started the day as usual–waking up, checking my phone, enjoying some sweet potato-Sunwarrior-banana softserve with homemade magic shell (hey, had to make it special for my birthday!) and getting ready. I did wake up still sick, with a still-sore throat and irritated eyes, but I’m sick of letting little things ruin my day, so I’m really glad I didn’t let lingering sick feelings make my birthday less than special. And what made it that much more special was the decorations I found once I got downstairs. My parents have always been great about making our birthdays feel fun, no matter what we end up doing, and I’m really grateful for that!

bday decos

Starbucks and shopping were on the agenda…with none other than my sister! Even though we’re really different, we have a lot of things in common–namely our love for the ‘bucks, shopping for clothes (especially at Forever 21), Whole Foods salad bar and alt rock music. All of which we enjoyed together on my birthday 😀 I’m seriously gonna miss that girl when I graduate and I still can’t believe she’s just a year away from college herself! Anyways, we had the best time drinking iced coffees, yelling at stupid drivers, finding the perfect things to buym laughing at the dumbest things and marveling at the giant Whole Foods we ate lunch at.

Breakfast at home. Lunch at Whole Foods. Birthday dessert made by me.

Breakfast at home. Lunch at Whole Foods. Birthday dessert made by me.

The rest of the afternoon was spent making my own birthday dessert. I’d never done that before, but I really wanted to make something that my family and I could all enjoy together. I went with this raw coffee cheesecake and it.was.delicious. My dad even said it was one of the best desserts I’ve ever made, and he’s a total dessert freak! It’s definitely a great dessert to make for raw vegans and non-raw vegans alike, especially if you love coffee. Aaaaaaaand…I got to enjoy a piece for two nights afterwards, so a total winner!

Dinner was what I was looking forward to all day though (other than shopping obviously!) I’d been wanting to go to a tapas place in town since I’d heard they had lot of vegan options, and the fact that they’re 100% gluten free was icing on the cake. I wasn’t sure if my family’d like it, especially my sister who’s pretty picky and likes typical teen food, but they loved it just as much as I did!

Tapas are basically small dishes generally in a Mediterranean or Spanish style that are meant to be shared with others. I’d never had tapas before but since I love eating little bits of a lot of different things (and Mediterranean food!) I knew I’d like it. My family got some dishes with meat or cheese, but I was still able to try a lot of the things we got, like warm olives (love olives!), fresh garlic bread (the best garlic bread I’ve ever had, and GF too!), patatas bravas, artichoke and onion salad and a gazpacho ‘shooter’. Everything was so fresh and tasty–definitely my kinda place. And their sangria was amazing as well. We got two carafes–one was the sangria del dia, which was pineapple orange with white wine and my personal favorite, and the other was a traditional blood orange sangria with white wine. I got carded (of course) but I loved the experience of being able to enjoy a quality drink in a nice atmosphere. And sangria is now my favorite drink!

Gazpacho and sangria del dia.

Gazpacho and sangria del dia.

But the best surprise of the night was when our waiter found out it was my birthday and he let me pick out a dessert for free. I had already made a dessert for us at home, but the chocolate tasting plate sounded too good to pass up, so I ended up sharing that with everyone. It was basically 8 small squares of dark chocolate ranging from 65-85% cacao and it was paired with some blueberries and Marcona almonds. It was some good chocolate, and it went really well with the berries and almonds. So glad I went for the dessert instead of opting out just because I had dessert already planned!

My two loves are evident in my presents: clothes and food.

My two loves are evident in my presents: clothes and food.

Back at home, I opened presents and then we had my birthday cake cheesecake. A few of my presents were total surprises, like the denim shirtdress and Zoku pop maker, but everything I got was something I’ve been wanting for awhile. You know you’re a foodie when you get excited for a popsicle maker and vegetable peelers 😉 And the raw ‘cookbook’ has some really delicious looking recipes so hopefully I can share some with you guys soon! The purse and clothes will also get a lot  of use–this girl can never have too many purses or outfits!

My birthday was one of the best birthdays I’ve had, and it wasn’t just because I got presents I loved or because I could finally order a drink in a restaurant. It was more about the memories I made with my family and the happiness I got from being able to enjoy one last birthday with them.

What made your last birthday special? What’s your ultimate birthday dessert? 

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20 thoughts on “Forever 21

  1. Happy Birthday! I’m so glad you had a good day. Normally my birthdays suck so I don’t even bother trying to celebrate them. Growing up, pretty scary but exciting.

  2. I loved to read this post,Ashley,because I am so glad you’ve had a nice borthday spent with your loved ones.
    Of course,I could tell you how proud I am that you got the dessert plate,ate your own dessert after nonetheless; how cool your presents are and all that stuff,but in truth,it’s just like you say: It’s not about the food or the presents,it is about the ones you spend the time with.
    It is about love and joy.
    And I am so,so glad you’ve realized that now. 🙂

  3. Happy Birthday – I’m so happy you had such an uplifting day 🙂

    I was trying to think of my ultimate birthday dessert, but honestly nothing could top the idea of a raw coffee cheesecake – it sounds absolutely amazing.

    • Thank you! The raw coffee cheesecake was incredible–usually I make desserts and they turn out just okay, especially when I make lots of changes to them, but this one was more than just edible, it was delicious!

  4. Awwr Happy Birthday, love! It’s so great to hear that you had such an awesome one, especially because 21 tends to be one of those ones that sticks in your memory. I hope the awesome day you had sets the tone for the rest of the year as well 🙂

  5. Happy Belated Birthday, Ash! Looks like you had an amazing day! Glad you were able to spend it how you wanted and with your family! That is the best! Dinner sounds amazing and that cheesecake sounds delicious as well.

    • Thanks girl! I’m glad things turned out okay for me health-wise on my birthday so I could enjoy it to the fullest–nothing like having a wonderful birthday to improve your mood!

  6. Happy late birthday, Ashley! It sounds like you had a fantastic day, and were able to enjoy it with your family. Personally, I don’t plan on ever drinking alcohol, not even when I turn 21, but I understand that being able to legally drink is generally considered a highlight of your 21st birthday:) That raw coffee cheesecake recipe sounds delicious, and I would love to try it out sometime. That restaurant sounds great as well; that’s nice that they offered vegan and gluten-free options. And I think those gifts sound wonderful to me as well–I would love to have a Popsicle maker! It’s great that you have such a supportive family, and that your birthday was made special just by having them with you.

    • I completely understand where you’re coming from with the no alcohol thing. I’m definitely not going to go crazy with it or anything and I actually haven’t had any drink since my birthday, but I just like that I have the option of enjoying a nice glass of wine if I so desire! But I have a lot of respect for people who choose not to drink at all.

  7. Happy belated birthday, Ashley! It’s so great you got to spend the day with your family making special memories that you will look back on in years to come 🙂

  8. Aww, happy belated birthday! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it and that you made the most of your last “childhood” birthday. I clearly remember feeling the same way when I turned 21 in January…it’s weird. But you’re beginning a whole new chapter in your life and that’s really exciting. (:

  9. P says:

    I’m so so glad that you didn’t pass up the chocolate tasting plate even though you had dessert planned. Sounds like you had a beautiful birthday ❤ :)!!

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