I am love : 40

A belated post: My birthday this past April was something EXTRA special. I celebrated the big four-oh. What?! YES... be nice. I am still trying to get used to the idea! It was a celebration made more special by dear friends and family, spectacular food, an elegant setting and one amazing cake.

I decided to loosely theme the evening around one of my favourite films of all time, I Am Love. It is easily one of the most sumptuous films ever made. Food – and love – are central themes. I even designed my invites to look like the film's title sequence. If only I had Luca Barcellona as my calligrapher. Chef Jason Bangerter at LUMA created for me a beautiful menu around the themeIt was such an honour to have one of the best chefs in Canada to create such fantastic (and gorgeous) food for my birthday. If that wasn't amazing enough, my dear friend, Chef Rossy Earle created a jaw-dropping, Roasted Butter Pecan Cake with – get this – four layers of dulce de leche. 

It was one of my most special birthdays to date. It was such a beautiful night and exactly how I wanted to celebrate. I only wish my parents who have lived back in Manila for years and more of my dear friends in New York had been able to attend. Everything else fell into place and there was no shortage of laughter. What better way to bring in a new decade. So it's not so bad being grown up, old. ;) 

Many thanks once again to all who shared the evening with me (including my friend Lee from NYC), Chef Jason Bangerter (and the great LUMA staff), Chef Rossy Earle for my amazing cake and Renée Suen for taking and sharing the photos. x 

The AMAZING Roasted Butter Pecan cake with four layers of dulce de leche

All photos above by Renee Suen

A few birthday Instagrams by family & friends' (including my own); left: the Truffle Soup with chanterelle cream and buffalo parmesan that we all LOVED beyond words, middle: my big, beautiful Dulce de Leche cake, right: perfect Roast Sea Bass

The gift bags for my guests included bubbly and popcorn with chocolate pop rocks, peanuts, caramel and Chef Jason's fragrant mix

banana, bourbon & butter : robicelli's cupcakes

I met Allison of Robicelli's Cupcakes last week during the Brooklyn Bloggers Meetup at the Bellhouse last week when I tried their Southern Belle cupcake. I had to place an order the next day for my birthday party this past weekend. They're amazing. What are Southern Belle cupcakes? Banana bourbon cake with vanilla buttercream and brown butter-bourbon pecans. Allison delivered (on short notice) these heavenly cupcakes and they were a huge hit. Other people entering The Vanderbilt couldn't stop staring at them as they walked in.

before and after in the 70s

Last week my Dad emailed me a bunch of old photos he found in storage for me to restore. It was so interesting to look at them again after so many years. Quite aptly timed since my birthday is this weekend (tomorrow). This photo is of me from the 70s. I won't mention what year. It's safe to say...I'm old.

I remember the moment these photos were taken (it was a series of 3 or 4). It was my grandmother's house (father's side). I was four years old and I loved this dress. It's amazing to truly realize that once I was this little person. Those were still my baby teeth.

The scratches on the photo were quite bad. I restored it the best I could, to what I remember it looking like before it was damaged and faded. The largest scratches on my face covered what should be dimples on my cheeks (which are still there, by the way). It just proved too difficult to try and recreate this.

I'm looking forward to celebrating (my old age) this weekend. Here's to not losing the ability to giggle and laugh uncontrollably and to appreciating how good it feels ;)

me, circa 1970s (AFTER)

me, circa 1970s (BEFORE)

my yellow-themed birthday

I can officially be labeled a design nerd (duh). Even my birthday was designed – my Evite pages, chocolate party favours and my dress. I'm also realizing that I am mildly obsessed with this wood grain texture. Yellow might be the happiest color around. It was an easy choice to celebrate a great year and the start of spring. Actually...the dress inspired it all ;) 

It was a great day and night! The weather could not have been better. It was a sunny day in Brooklyn and all the trees are blooming. I got to meet Jenna Park of Whimsy&Spice (who shares the same exact birthday!) for a mid-afternoon coffee. I had the chance to finally sample some of their wonderful confections. The lemongrass marshmallows are spectacular! In fact, I absolutely loved all of the baked goods they make. Unique, unexpected flavours and spices are perfectly baked in. Love it!

My night was topped off with a great dinner at No. 7 Restaurant and Bar in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. My friend Gloria baked me an ultra-fabulous red velvet cake with cream cheese icing. YUM! It was really wonderful to have 30+ of my friends come out and celebrate with me. Great birthday. Lucky girl.

The Evite invite graphic
The chocolate party favours
BCBG wool and silk dress (70% off after the holidays!), Guiseppe Zanotti pumps (real) wooden heels from Century 21