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Beauty blog: the story of Brenna's birthday suit

Beauty blog: the story of Brenna's birthday suit

Thursday September 06, 2012 - 17h59
Birthdays are a big deal in my family!
Birthdays are a big deal in my family!
Birthdays are a big deal in my family!

I woke to a beeping text from my sister. "Happy Birthday!" it read.

That's right, I thought, leaping out of bed. Today is MY day.

I love all things birthdays. As my sister says, your birthday is the second best day of the whole year (after Christmas.)

Some things change as you get older-- I used to get excited about what snacks I was going to bring to school to share, now I get excited about what treats I will bring into the newsroom. I used to spend all summer dreaming about who I'd invite to my sleepover and what games we'd play. Now, I spend weeks planning the bar or the restaurant that I'll go to with friends, which wine I'll pair with birthday cake or where I'll kick up my heels and dance over the weekend.

So, actually, I guess things don't change that much.

Birthday giddiness comes from my family-- at my house, birthdays are a big deal. You are 100% allowed to get over-excited about them. You are totally given the right to plan out your breakfast, to avoid tasks you don't want to do and to treat yourself in ways both big and small.

And then there is the birthday outfit. Or, The Birthday Outfit rather.

As the theoretical centre of attention (The Birthday Girl), you want to look your best. I used to save a special outfit for the day... refusing to wear it until the actual day and letting it hang in all its glory at the front of my closet for several weeks.

Earlier this week, I realized I had nothing to wear. Nothing special, that is. No outfit set-aside and savoured for the special day.

Growing up does comes with some costs. I quickly decided that, birthday or not, I couldn't justify shelling out money on a dress. I am in my twenties in the midst of a financial crisis, for goodness sake. Plus, I had a lot of other things to worry about this week-- I had a whirlwind trip planned mid-week to go to a family funeral. So, birthday or not, The Birthday Outfit was pushed to the back of the storage closet of my mind.

Two days before my birthday, I was heading to bed in my grandparents house (I was staying there to go to the funeral.) More out of tradition than anything else, I decided half-heartedly to seach for some laundry that disappeared at my grandparent's house several years ago.

Let me explain. My rambling and fantastic family home has a bit of a black hole quality about it.

Things disappear and things shape-shift. This magic often happens in relation to my Grandma's laundry room. As in-- things go in white, come out pink. Things go in large, come out minuscule. And sometimes things disappear completely and utterly-- like a rabbit under a magician's hat.

Several years ago, a load of laundry had met this untimely end. It caused me particular pain because it was a load of washing that contained a number of my all-time favourite things. The futile hunt for the lost shirts and the MIA bras had become as traditional to my visits as my Grandma's scones with jam or my Grandpa's sloe gin.

But for some reason, during this last visit, I decided to poke around the dresser drawers that I had already searched, what, ten times? Twenty?

I wasn't really concentrating on the task. When suddenly, what to my wondering eyes should appear in the bottom drawer.. but something that looked surprisingly like my long-lost favourite shirt-- silky and blue with tiny button detail, folded neatly over my favourite comfy shirt (of a sporting goods store from my home town "Francis: Fifty years of Kicking Mass. (Street)", in turn placed on top of my bright red bra, which was tucked between that and a deliciously soft grey jumper.

I couldn't quite believe it. Where did these come from? How did they appear?

I felt like I had received an early birthday present. One thing was certain. I sure knew what I was going to wear on my birthday.

Fast-forward two days to this morning. Fresh out of the shower, I grinned happily at my small stack of presents neatly stacked on the table and my birthday clothes hanging on my closet door. My new found shirt was a million times better than any new purchase could ever be.

I shimmied into my silky blue shirt and paired it with my bohemian silver earrings. Wink in the mirror-- I felt like a million dollars. Just like I remembered, the shirt fit perfectly. I was also surprised to discover that it was just as fashionable as it was two years ago. This made me think about how years pass and some things don't actually change at all.

A fitting birthday thought.

Check out other stories from our journalists. Read about how Kathy saved her night with a good lipstick and what Brenna discovered about trans-Atlantic fashion while jetsetting.


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