My husband turned 40 a few weeks ago, and we threw him a beautiful party in our backyard. Back when we were still building our house, we talked about how fun it would be to move in and throw a housewarming party, to invite our friends and new neighbors over to visit and eat good food and see the new house. But then construction took forever, and we moved in in November, and we had a baby two weeks later, and then the holidays happened…and the housewarming party didn’t. So this 40th birthday party was really the first time a lot of our friends got to see the house. It was a two-for-one celebration. We strung lights across the balcony, and planted red geraniums and pink petunias and some kind of darling yellow-striped flowers in big, oak wine barrels. We made all of the food ourselves, which was ridiculous, but completely delicious. We had authentic (mostly) Santa Maria-style BBQ: grilled tri-tip with salsa, pinquito beans, warm garlic bread, pasta salad, and the best green salad I’ve ever had, with fresh strawberries, candied pecans, dried cherries, crumbled feta, and a sweet vinaigrette. We played Beach Boys songs and drank soda out of glass bottles and sat in the backyard laughing and watching the kids run around in the grass while the sun sank low in the sky. It was a magical night.
Huge thanks to Minted, one of my favorite companies, for the beautiful birthday invitations and matching Happy Birthday banner, striped straws with Cheers flags, and table signs. They tied the whole party together beautifully, and were so much fun to pick out and customize. And a funny side note: everyone kept raving about the water. The water! Fill a beverage dispenser halfway with ice, then add a whole lot of sliced limes and a bunch of fresh mint. Top with water. Voila. Apparently, it’s the best water ever! And Happy Birthday again to my wonderful husband. We love you!