26 Reasons My 26th Birthday Was Rad

On Friday I turned 26 years old. I'm not yet at the point of dreading birthday's because they mean I'm getting "old" but it does seem a little crazy that 10 years have passed since my "Sweet 16" weekend in Montauk with my friends. I vividly remember so many details from that weekend.

As a teenager, as a college student, and then as a twenty-something there's this "Birthday Week" mentality that has really started to bug me in my old age. Call me Ebenezer, but people think they should be celebrated for a week just for existing for another year.

I'm all for having a wonderful day on your birthday. But it doesn't need to last a week. And it doesn't need to guilt other people into showering you with attention.

Not to mention, a birthday, up until a certain point, is really a celebration of your parents successfully getting you to live another year.

This year I toyed with some extravagant birthday ideas. Living in Manhattan, there's pressure to put on something big and exciting with 100 of your closest friends. But in the end, I couldn't shake this big voice in my head that just kept saying, "I wanna go home."

Eventually, I listened. I told my family I would be home for my birthday this year and they were thrilled.

Here are 26 things that made me smile while I was home:  

1.) My parent's new kitchen. If there's anyone who deserves a brand spankin' new kitchen, it's my mom. She's put in hundreds of hours of work for this (watching HGTV). But really. It looks AMAZING and I hope it keeps my mom smiling for years to come.

2.) Sushi for dinner.

3.) Curling up on the couch and watching the Islanders game with my parents.

Biggest fans!

Biggest fans!

4.) The feeling of waking up in your childhood room.

5.) My dog thinking it was time to play as I did 7 Minutes of Planks on the living room floor.

6.) Reuniting with high school friends and feeling that not even a day has passed.

7.) Really really bad photo bombs that make you laugh until your stomach hurts. 

8.) Exploring cute new cafes and getting that perfect Instagram picture (sorry, not sorry).

Locals Cafe Port Jefferson

9.) Peach Kombucha.

10.) Breweries with no bathroom.

11.) Having a Dad and Grandpa who beat you to the brewery.

12.) Tasting 11 beers for $10.

Port Jefferson Brewery

13.) Being able to request dinner two nights in a row and feasting on homemade paninis.

14.) Mint chocolate chip ice cream cake from the ice cream shop I walked to as a 6th grader after school.

15.) Sisterly gossip sessions.

16.) Getting a haircut and having at least 5 mutual acquaintances with your hairdresser.

17.) Grandparents who will gladly host your 26th birthday party with a beautiful fire in the backyard.

18.) A crazy family that has my high school friends crying with laughter.

19.) A damn good cocktail made by Mitch.

20.) Going back to my favorite weekend gym class and getting my ass kicked.

Boot Camp Workout

21.) Sharing the weekend with Mother's Day and celebrating the incredible momma's in my life.

22.) The sun coming out for the first time in a week.

23.) Giant "Party Bagels"

24.) Taking a mid-day NAP.

25.) Saying "screw the earlier train" because the Islanders are playing their last game of the season and there's no one you'd rather watch with than your mom and dad.

26.) As cliché as it sounds - having friends and family that make saying "bye for now" so damn hard.

I get a little emotional thinking about how incredibly lucky I am. My family (and my friends) make me feel so damn loved that my heart could explode.

(Before I made it back to Long Island on Friday night, I spent the morning running a sopping wet six miles with Melissa, working out with November Project, and enjoying the OG Avo Toast with Melissa and Kaitlin at Cafe Gitane! So - there's another 3 reasons to be grateful!)