birthday 2011: part one

Anyone who knows me, even just a little bit, knows that I am wild about my birthday. I literally count down the days until it arrives, and when it does, I treat it like a national holiday. I'm not sure if this annoys people, because I'm generally smiling too big, laughing too hard, and bouncing around too much to notice.

NS, on the other hand, has the it's-just-another-day approach. He seems to think that one day at one age will be just as good as tomorrow at a different age, so what's the big deal? The big deal is I WAS BORN. That is worth noticing - and celebrating - every year. So I do.

Fortunately for me, NS is very tolerant of my birthday antics, to the point where he actually feeds into them and lets me be a bit obnoxious about it. I mean, my birthday (month) only comes once a year, right? Give me that. And he does.

This year was my first warm-weather birthday. Being born in Pennsylvania in April means that the weather is a gamble every year. Rain, chilly temperatures, and gloomy skies are a real possibility. When I was little, I was of the opinion that it rained on my every birthday. This made being in Cayman on April 2nd this year a real treat. And to improve matters even more, my birthday fell on a Saturday. It's like the stars aligned! [Okay, so I guess it will fall on a Saturday again in about five years. (Yes, five. I can count. There are two leap years coming up.)]  But back to the present. With a whole day of no work in front of me, I made sure to have a plan for my fun (unusual, I know.)

First: Watch the sunrise.

Believe it or not, this was my first attempt to "rise and shine" in time for the sunrise here in Grand Cayman. Sure, I've been up before the sun before, but running down West Bay Road at 5:30 a.m. does not constitute proper sunrise observation.

Well, I've still not seen the sunrise. There were just enough billowy clouds in the way on the horizon to block out the glorious rays.

This is a shot facing west, just to make sure the sun didn't reverse on me.

But I continued with what turned out to be a very peaceful walk on the beach and found a few other early risers as they scurried across my path.

This is probably my best shot of the day's beginning. But regardless, starting one's birthday on a deserted beach, sunrise or not, is euphoric.

Second: Go to the spa.

Last year, as a birthday/post-busy season treat, NS set me up with a package of appointments at Avanti Day Resort in New Jersey. It was heavenly. I adore being pampered, but I realize that these services come at a premium, so I'm not one to go on a regular basis. I must have raved about the experience last year, because my parents surprised me with a gift certificate to Body Works for this year's birthday. The organic Eminence products they use at Body Works smell so divine, and they left me feeling like I had an entirely new set of skin.  After three hours of treatment, including a massage, a pedi, and a facial, they had me convinced I was royalty. By lunch time, me and my freshly-painted pink toes were ready for...

Third: Snorkeling at Spotts Beach

While all the beaches in Grand Cayman are picturesque and lovely, NS had heard about some pretty good snorkeling at Spotts Beach - a quiet beach on the southern shores of the island near Prospect and Savannah. As we often end up at Seven Mile Public Beach on the weekends, a beach with less foot traffic sounded appealing to me.

Spotts delivered on its promises - gorgeous views, few people, and an easy snorkel.

NS took charge of the meal situation - packing a large cooler full of fresh sandwiches, cold drinks, Greek yogurt, snacks, etc. for us and our friends. Again, this was NS acting outside of his instincts for my sake. He doesn't like beach baggage. A towel slung over his shoulder is about as prepared as his beach days get. But like I said, he makes many exceptions on my birthday.

 I mentioned friends. Here's our four-legged pal, Walter. He lets B&K live with him, so we let them tag along.

SD rounded out our small crowd. She and BK spotted some squid on our snorkel!

The public beaches in Grand Cayman often provide these great picnic areas - perfect for our steamy afternoon.
I am now in love with Spotts Beach. The swaying green palm trees on the graduated blue backdrop of the sea create a glorious yet serene setting. I like serene. Small families come to cool off in the water, cruise ships pass in the distance, and snorkelers can be seen not far from shore as they search for underwater friends.

If my day had ended here, it would have been enough. I know I play the high maintenance card, but honestly, a simple, sunny day on the beach with friends and a full cooler is where it's at. Awesome birthday - end of story.

But the story doesn't end yet. Thanks to the help of another gift card, NS made special dinner reservations. So many photos ensued that I decided to give dinner its own post. More to come on that soon.

{I love my birthday!!!}


  1. Wow Jenn! I'm SO glad you had such a fantastic day! You deserve it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE YOU!

  2. those were great pictures. sunrise on your birthday is an awesome idea. i usually choose to sleep in...but to each their own, i suppose :) love the spotts beach pictures. isn't it a gorgeous place??? we should go back soon! n's sandwiches were delicious. can't wait to see the food pics on the next post!

  3. So glad you finally got to not work on your birthday! What an awesome feeling!