I had the sweetest possible birthday this year for the big 35. 

Amusing aside: My 25th birthday was spent DJing in the basement of an Eastern European dive bar in a zebra print dress… and I blogged about it right here at Hey Mishka. This blog is now over a decade old, so I actually have those wild memories all in one place. Kind of bananas, right?

Anyway, this celebration could not have been more different—which is to be expected a decade later.

See, I’ve been feeling sentimental lately for the girl I used to be, long before I got caught up in the second-guessing and adulting business of the ~real world~. What better time to reconnect with that version of myself than on this milestone birthday?

I decided to get back in touch with my semi-wholesome middle school-aged cheerleader self (haha, yes, that’s right) by throwing a proper Hudson Valley birthday in the yard of my parent’s house.

Mom loved the idea, and I was seriously eager to reconnect with a time where I drank copious amounts of tea, filled alarming amounts of sketchbooks/notebooks with endless ideas, and spent a lot more time outdoors.

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My childhood and young teenage birthdays were always celebrated with adorably autumnal parties involving games (bobbing for apples and cinnamon donut-on-a-string, anyone?), costumes (close enough to Halloween, so why not?), and outdoor frivolity.

Basically, all the things I wish I had more of in my life right now.

The first hint of autumn in the air always revved me up for homecoming season, my birthday, and all of the festive things fall brings with it. It’s still my absolute favorite season, so this little waltz down nostalgia lane felt like a good vibe way to ring in my personal new year.

Before we left Brooklyn for the Hudson Valley, Eduardo and I raided a Mexican bakery and found an epic assortment of pastries, pan de fiesta, and my favorite peanut marzipan treats. I pulled together a colorful tablescape with a tiered bamboo tray, bright woven table runner, some faux-eucalyptus (I’ll be decorating with this thing all year—such a good find), and assorted fall-tastic finishing touches, like sparkly pumpkins and sweet little gourds.

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We spent the day grilling—E made carne enchilada tacos, veggie kabobs, nopales, and a few other scrumptious things—and sipping celebratory champagne. Actually, my birthday was my first time drinking alcohol in over 45 days after doing a little self-imposed challenge to detox, and let me tell you… that was a delicious first sip of champagne.

(Sidebar: I highly recommend taking a cold-turkey break from alcohol, even for casual/occasional drinkers. I visibly lost weight from my face and experienced a host of other pleasing benefits pretty much immediately. Definitely making this a regular thing!)

We mixed champagne with pure organic apple juice and cranberry juice for a little fall-flavored rendition of bubbly. Grandma gave this concoction five stars. 😉 Simple, but highly recommended.

We had goodie bags (another homage to my childhood festivities), two fabulous cakes (one made by Eduardo, which came out beautiful!—another Halloween-themed brought by Maya, which was the sweetest!).

Needless to say, Libra vibes were alive and well.

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Oh, and I also forced everyone to take festive selfies with me, because #birthdaygirlrules.

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When the sun went down we lit up the fire pit to relax, play music, and talk late into the night. Finally, we crashed It was basically the perfect day.

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You can watch it all unfold in this mini-vlog—or, as I’ve decided to call it, a video scrapbook. This includes my actual birthday, which was the Thursday before we trekked upstate. Some very special things went down! Think lounging with doggos, my favorite Twitch streamer singing to me, and really pretty flowers…

All in all, a dreamy week/weekend and a great way to close out an almost unbelievably cinematic, transformative decade.

Some people say a decade can fly by, but I have to say… I felt every minute of it. I guess I’m lucky that I was able to live life to the fullest in a lot of ways. Moving forward, I have plans to balance, simplify, amplify creativity, and just get to know the version of myself I’ve evolved into.

I definitely have a more robust list of goals that I’m focusing on for the next 365, but I think I’ll save that for another post. I need some time to sit down with a cup of tea and let them sink in before I share.

Don’t worry, though! I’m prepping some fun fall and holiday DIY, vlogs, and other stuff to share with you guys in the meantime. Because one of my biggest goals for the immediate future is to start documenting life again. It makes me very, very happy.

Thanks to everyone who made this birthday so special. Here’s to another 10 years!

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P.S. I can’t wrap this up without sharing a snapshot of those middle school cheerleading days I was talking about… If I can channel some of this energy for 2020, I’ll be golden!

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Written by Mishka
Michelle Christina (a.k.a. Mishka) founded heymishka.com in 2008, and has since documented her love of DIY, thrift-shopping, and creative living here. Fueled by strong coffee and sparkly dreams, MC also mentors freelance writers at Freelance Writing Cafe, hosts the Sugar x Spice Market in Brooklyn, and writes digital marketing copy for some of the world's biggest brands.