Tag Archives: birthday

37 Things That Make Me Happy

While most of the world is focused on the royal wedding today, I’m quietly celebrating my 37th birthday. Rather than having a huge party, I’m keeping it low-key. Due to the fact that Ramadan has just started, parties are frowned upon, at least ones that include loud music and any alcohol. Despite the fact that it doesn’t really feel like my birthday, I am looking forward to spending the weekend in Puncak at a nature retreat and spa about an hour outside of Jakarta with Miriam and Michelle. The plan is to go for a walk, lounge by the pool, read, get massages, and eat yummy food. Sounds pretty good to me!

It’s pretty crazy to think that I’ve celebrated my birthday in a different country the past four years! This year it’s Indonesia, last year was Thailand, before that was Albania, and before that was China. Hopefully I’ll be in Indonesia for the next few! As per a tradition I started a couple of years ago (35 things and 36 things), I like to reflect on things that make me happy on my birthday. In random order, here are 37 things that make me happy.

  1. Country music…lately I’ve been listening to it, which is out of the ordinary for me, but I’m loving it!
  2. Taking my niece Randi and nephew Logan on dates
  3. Bagel sandwiches, toasted with garlic cream cheese, loads of veggies, white cheddar, and a touch of mustard…mmm
  4. Getting lost in a good book
  5. Completing my to-do list, especially when I didn’t think I would
  6. The look on their face when I give the perfect gift
  7. Mango sticky rice…I had a bunch last weekend in Thailand, and it did not disappoint!
  8. No-agenda days
  9. Ice-cold coconut water
  10. Traveling to new places and filling my passport with stamps and visas
  11. Revisiting favorite destinations, stopping by the spots I remember and finding new places to love
  12. Making people laugh
  13. Sunny Shanghai weekends…man, do I miss that place! (Lucky for me I’m visiting again next month!)
  14. Spending time with family and friends
  15. Solving a problem
  16. A clean, organized home or office
  17. Smoothie bowls…Alchemy in Ubud has the best ones, hands down!
  18. Getting to see my former students…last week in Thailand warmed my heart so much when I got to love on my little babes!
  19. A nice-smelling candle
  20. Go-Massages…or massages in general
  21. Feeling strong
  22. Green plants around my home
  23. Teaching others
  24. Nice, colorful pens
  25. Making a difference in the work I do
  26. Pavlova…can’t wait to eat this a bunch in NZ this summer!
  27. FaceTime dates
  28. Participating in the Slice of Life Challenge each year
  29. Iced sweet tea
  30. Watching a movie in the theatre with a big bag of hot, buttered popcorn
  31. My new home…I’ve made it my own oasis, and I love it!
  32. Photography…getting that perfect shot is the best!
  33. Saturday mornings, when I get to do whatever I want…sleep later than normal, FaceTime with friends, catch up on my shows, drink hot English Breakfast Tea, and make breakfast
  34. Comfy leggings to travel in are a must-have!
  35. Buying a new, quirky pair of glasses
  36. Reconnecting with a friend…getting to catch up with Josh last weekend did my soul some good 🙂
  37. Friends who become your family
IMG_5041

Last year at this time I was celebrating my 36th with Julie, Lauren, and Kyleigh in Bangkok. 🙂

Brought in 35 with a BANG!

So…my birthday was last week, and I celebrated on Saturday night with an epic theme party (oh how I love a good theme party)! My friend Keri and I planned one of the best parties I’ve ever had! The theme was Prom, and the plan was a scavenger hunt bar crawl. The best part was that we actually had a surprise prom set up at the last bar, complete with decorations, a photo booth, snacks, cake, and spiked punch.

It all began with the invitation…including a picture of me at my Junior Prom (19 years ago!!!). Oh man, I had such a baby face back then!

IMG_1904Next up was planning the scavenger hunt…this was definitely the most fun part of the planning process! We categorized the tasks into photos, videos, things to collect, and drinks to drink. The best part was that all photos and videos had to be uploaded to Instagram throughout the night with the hashtag #keslerprompubcrawl so we could follow the other groups and see what they were up to!

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 8.14.27 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 8.14.37 PM

We all met up at one bar, got into teams (we were Team Spice Girls), and began working our way through the scavenger hunt. Along the way, there were checkpoints where we would see our friends/competitors and trash talk one another. Some of my favorite tasks were singing “I’m a Little Teapot” (with motions) in front of a slew of people at a crowded bar, finding a stranger to play Rock, Paper, Scissors (we had to teach him first!), and me convincing a stranger to let me try his food (it was good, by the way).

The Prom party at the end was AMAZING! Not only did it look (almost) like a real prom, but we had hired a DJ to play music that would have been at my prom, so everyone was dancing and singing along to songs like Will Smith’s Getting Jiggy With It, K-Ci & Jojo’s All My Life, and N’Sync’s Bye, Bye, Bye! Everyone had a ball taking selfies and group shots in front of the photo booth display. At the end of the night, we even crowned a Prom King and Queen…and guess who was Prom Queen?!? Yep…you guessed it! It was me! 🙂

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the night…it was definitely hard to narrow it down to just a few!

IMG_2320 IMG_2321

35 was definitely one to remember…I had a BLAST! 🙂

 

Celebrating in Style!- SOL #21

Earlier this month, we celebrated Amy’s birthday. Amy, pictured above, is one of those people that exudes happiness and love and fun. She’s the friend who’s always telling you how beautiful, smart, and amazing you are, and the fact that she is all of that and more makes her a fabulous friend to have! Her birthday theme this year was sexy, which is such an Amy thing to choose. No matter what, Amy thinks the world of her friends, and is always telling us how sexy (or nice or pretty or kind) we are. Amy is sexy, and her beauty showed through on her birthday. I mean, look at her! She’s gorgeous!

Her birthday was so much fun! We celebrated at Malabar, with nibbles, drinks, and laughs. Everyone who came was dressed to the nines, and we all exuded sexiness (despite whatever self-conscious thoughts we may have had when we we getting ready earlier that evening).

The amazingly beautiful and kind woman pictured above is none other than Donna Paxon, this one and only soul that oozes love and goodness. Despite having met her only a few months ago, we have become fast friends and kindred spirits. She holds such a dear place in my heart, and will forever be etched in my memories.

This beauty here is Melissa, the goofy, sweet, ever-loyal lady I’m lucky enough to call my friend. No matter what, she’s positive, uplifting, and sweet. Her heart is genuine and she’s always there to listen when I need a friend. She also makes a great travel buddy and puts up with my crap. I’m going to miss her more than she knows (and probably more than I even know right now) when she leaves this summer. While I’m extremely happy for her new adventures (new country, new job, and new BABY), I can’t help but feel a selfish twinge knowing that she won’t be right down the street or down the hall from me anymore.

Oh Nirada…such a silly lady! I love how we kid around with one another and give each other crap. She’s such a caring person and a really great teacher. Not to mention, she’s gorgeous! I’m glad we have become friends, and look forward to many more memories! 😉

P.S. Love the photo bomb Mel! 😛

Such a sweet group shot! While we won’t all be in the same place next fall, I will certainly hold a special place in my heart for all of these ladies! 😉

So yeah…this is what happens when you leave your phone unattended! Haha…I had such a laugh the next morning when I went through the pictures on my phone and found lots of funny gems like this one!

This has got to be my favorite picture of the three of us- by far! Linner, Michelle, and I have been together for the past 5 years, when we all moved to Shanghai for the first time. Since then, we have been there for one another and have all changed so much. Linner, the always loyal friend, is as beautiful inside as she is outside. She’s caring, giving, a great listener, and loves to finish my food when I can’t. She’s also my veggie counterpart and a sloth. 😉 Michelle, the other half of Kes-Baugh, is my partner-in-crime, both at work and at play. She’s very generous, loves to pick on me, and is drop-dead gorgeous. I’m not really sure what I’ll do without her next year. The three of us unfortunately will be separated next year, but I know we’ll keep in touch and be in each others’ lives for years to come. I love you ladies!