Pass the Merlot … Mel is 3-0!

It’s hard to imagine that anything could top my 21st birthday – opening and closing Northgate in College Station then crying when the bars closed because I was having so much fun and didn’t want my birthday to be over yet. Turning 30 however was even better.

As much as I loved college, my life is mostly in a better place (exceptions: going to work every day, bills, wrinkles), and I am totally excited to start a new decade in my life! It also helped that the weekend was full of fun, packed with surprises and made complete with several special visitors.

Thursday was my actual birthday, and even though we had a media briefing at work, my co-workers still managed to make it feel very special! The best part? Leaving early to drink wine at our office happy hour spot. Carin made it to town just in time and was able to join us too, making it that much better! That night we picked up my mom and Kathy from the airport then ate dinner at Matchbox, a DC staple. It was late, but it was tasty!

Dave worked on Friday while the ladies went shopping. It was a bit of a drive out to Easton, MD on the Eastern Shore, but the scenery was beautiful! Unfortunately the shopping was not as great as we hoped, and next time I’ll know just to go to Frederick, MD! Stopping at Nordy’s on the way back, my mom and Kathy went in on a pair of beautiful Frye boots as an added bonus birthday gift. (Mom had already given me Tory Burch sunglasses and Kathy gave me a new fun lens for my Nikon!) That night we ate dinner at Queen Vic, our favorite neighborhood pub.

new Frye boots

new Frye boots

Saturday was the surprise day – I knew something was happening and that I would see my girlfriends at some point, but had no idea where, when or what we would be doing. The five of us left to have brunch at another one of our other neighborhood faves, Argonaut. It was a good thing I decided to eat up and refrain from drinking, because it was downhill nonstop from there. As we walked out the door, SURPRISE! A ginormous Hummer limo was waiting outside!! When the driver opened the door, I saw some of my favorite people: Olivia, Beth, Alycyn (who surprised me from Texas!), and our good friends Matt and Kelly. Dave, Carin, mom, Kathy and I all piled in and popped the bubbly before I even knew where Nasir (the driver) was taking us. I quickly realized we were headed to wine country, but wasn’t sure which vineyard we would be visiting.

First stop was Cobbler Mountain Cellars, where Alycyn used to pour wine on the weekends. They recently underwent construction for a huge new tasting room. When we were there in the spring we saw the nearly finished product, but nothing could have prepared us for just how beautiful the space actually is. With multiple tasting areas, a Harry Potter-esque playroom for kids under the stairs and special event space, they have really come a long way from our first visit several years ago. First we tasted the four ciders currently on tap and then we had a regular wine tasting upstairs in the loft area. Daniel (the owners’ son) even played Happy Birthday to me on his trumpet! It was such a great visit that we did not want to leave, but I knew where we would go next …

Aspen Dale has been one of my favorite VA wineries since my first tasting trip with Dave and it never fails to impress. They really pay attention to the experience by pairing each wine with a food (think sausage, cheese and chocolate – sometimes cheese and chocolate together!) and even have a mini horse, Sebastian. Rockawalkin’ is the absolute best wine, unless you’re asking Dave, and then the best is their Parris Country Blend. After finishing the tasting, we bought a few bottles and some snacks and took over the outdoor garden space. It was so fun and even though the day was coming to an end, I didn’t cry that it was over.

Back in the limo on our way home, we had a dance party, played promises* and everyone told their favorite memories of me. Needless to say I felt pretty darn special and very loved! After a pit stop at home to clear the Hummer of our winery purchases, Nasir dropped us off in front of Red Rocks, a pizza restaurant in our neighborhood. We all agree that Dave looks like Pitbull when he has his glasses on, and apparently some folks on H St. thought the same thing when we rolled up in such class. One guy was even asking him for money! We took a group photo and then made our way inside.

Up on the second floor, another SURPRISE! This time it was about 50 of my friends. I was so overwhelmed that I teared up, turned around and faced the corner for a few seconds before I could face everyone again. Honestly I had a feeling we would be meeting up with a few other people (like Emily, Phil and Josh at least), but had no idea that it would be such a big group.



People were handing me drinks and I wasn’t even asking what they were, which was somewhat dangerous since we had already been drinking wine all day. Then the Aggies won and everything gets fuzzy** … Josh got the DJ to play the War Hymn and we circled up to yell sing our favorite fight song. The evening turned into one big dance party, but as Josh told Olivia later, we were all just twirling and moving around in our own worlds.

It was the best birthday ever and I am so thankful to have such wonderful friends who were there to help me celebrate. (Sophie even made a cake and her famous macaroons – they are really the best you’ll ever have.) Throughout the night and for days more than a week after the party, my friends and family kept telling me how awesome Dave is, and I casually kept thinking, “Yeah, I know …” But now that I have a better idea about the months of work he put into creating the fantastic day, and I still don’t know everything, I can understand why everyone thinks that. (FYI you guys are really just confirming what I already know, that he’s the best.)

30th Birthday (70)

tasty cake and macaroons

Dave, even though you don’t read my blog, thank you so much for giving me the perfect birthday and making me feel so loved! You are the best buddy anyone could ever hope for!

my buddy (aka Pitbull) and me

my buddy (aka Pitbull) and me

* Promises is a game that Olivia and Beth came up with after the 2012 Aggie game when we beat #1 Alabama. Passing around a bottle of Jim Beam (or whatever you have on hand) make promises to the others playing, and if everyone agrees to your promise, you drink up.  It’s really easy and fun! For example, in September when the Aggies beat Arkansas, I made a promise that if they won the next three games I would dress as Old “Sul” Ross for Halloween. Unfortunately for our football team and us as fans, the Aggies lost the next three games. Fortunately for me I got to be a voodoo doll on Halloween instead of a statue.

**To give you an idea of my level of coherency, later that night I was sitting on some church steps noshing on a peanut butter toasty waiting for my mom to get pizzas for us to take home. I started talking to a man I thought was homeless and he looked so longingly at my cracker that I gave it to him, after having already taken a bite of it myself! He was so thankful that he held my hand and kissed it and we sat there for a while like old friends.

A huge note of thanks to my BFFSM Olivia for snapping photos (most of those included in this post are from her) all day and night long so that we could document the day and have something to refresh our memories! 

5 thoughts on “Pass the Merlot … Mel is 3-0!

    • mel @ aventures de la vie says:

      1. It was so necessary! Everyone should love and play that game :)
      2. Agreed.
      3. Those fries weren’t that good tbh (they were chickpea fries) but their regular fries are yummy.
      4. Thank you and thanks again for all you did to make it an amazing day/weekend/week!


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