I tend to celebrate my birthday all April long because there are a lot of different things I like to do every year and at least one new thing that needs to be strategically planned. This year’s celebration was more of a four-day holiday birthday weekend.
Thursday night, my friend and I took a trip out to Orange County to see one of my all-time favorite Christian musicians, Jon Foreman ( lead singer of Switchfoot) at a small venue called Lido Live in Newport. I had never been to this particular venue before, but I would have to say it is a perfect venue for an acoustic show. It was reminiscent of Club Nokia in Los Angeles, but at about half the size. How could one not love a theater where you pay general admission price and have the option to sit in movie theater type seats or stand directly in front of the stage? Did I mention the five foot disco ball? How can you not like a place that has a disco ball at a time when discos no longer exist (as far as I know)?
Jon Foreman is a fantastic musician, songwriter and all around cool dude. I was very fortunate to have interviewed Switchfoot in their early days of being signed onto a major label and to have gone to a good amount of Switchfoot shows in my concert heyday. I can tell you first hand that not only are they great musicians; they are also very down to earth, funny, and poetic guys. If you ever get a chance to see them live, they always offer meet and greets at a slightly additional price either as part of a VIP package or through membership in their Friends of the Foot fan club. While I will always love the amount of energy and unique sound the group provides; there is a lot more love, poetry and Jesus in a solo Jon Foreman show.
Friday, was more of resting up day to the annual Disneyland birthday celebration trip and the free birthday stuff stops around town. This year the big scores were the Sephora VIB Birthday gift (totally free), a free Big Western sandwich from Dickey’s BBQ, free drink or any other item at Starbucks and buy-one-get-one free Coldstone Creation. I believe I still have a free pastry at Panera to go. The only requirement of all of these freebies is generally to sign up for their e-mail lists or participate in their free frequent buyer programs. Even if you never go to any of these places, you can always sign up right before your birthday and then unsubscribe right after if you hate being bombarded with emails.
Saturday, was the annual Disney birthday trip. Birthdays at Disneyland are great fun in that a whole lot of strangers wish you Happy Birthday all day. No they aren’t clairvoyant. You get a fantastic Happy Birthday button at City Hall or basically any shop on Main Street to let everyone know. Various restaurants offer free desserts and will sing to you (good dorky fun). You can even pre-order (three days in advanced required) a personalized cake with your choice of character decoration, serving size, flavors and the name of the birthday girl or boy. This year, I ordered (no-preorder required) the limited edition Olaf ice cream birthday cake inspired by the Frozen Fever Short from the Carnation Cafe. I also have to note that I was super fortunate to have been offered up a free blended ice drink at one of the Cozy Cone snack stops in Cars Land, which is not something that offered on a regular basis. I suppose the cast member was feeling particularly generous that day. Surprises abound when you least expect it, which is something that you don’t find everywhere.
Today , (Sunday) is my actual birthday and all I really genuinely wanted to do was have a quiet meal with my family and two of my closest friends. My niece and I have always wanted to try Fondue (consists of a melting pot wherein you dip various foods). They only problem is that all of the ones I knew of were The Melting Pot restaurants, which are only in major cities (Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego). But, after some research and talking to some people I also found locally owned spots Hip Kitty in downtown Claremont and Rok N Fondue in Redlands. We ended up going to Rok N Fondue which is the nearest and had an amazing three course meal. They even threw in apply cider for a birthday toast (other option champagne) and a Birthday card signed by all the employees that were working that day.
It was definitely a jam packed birthday weekend with plans and surprises. While I only briefly touched on all of what I did, I hope that it gives you some great ideas for all your birthday celebrations to come in Southern California as an out-of-town visitor or as someone who has lived here and thinks they have done it all.
I can’t wait until next year! 🙂