My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) -

Birthdays are complicated.  I used to love celebrating my birthday before my parents got extra awful.  It was the one day I knew I could feel loved and important to people who never made much of an effort otherwise.  Then my birth mother started hating me more and more.  The more abusive and hateful my birth mother became, the more my birthday took a backseat to Mother's Day. (My birthday is May 12th and occasionally falls on that dreadful "holiday".)

Celebrating me became a burden and inconvenience.  Then my dad died two days before my 18th birthday.  Then my precious dog Beau died right before my 22nd birthday.  It might sound crazy to you, but I was convinced I was cursed, especially when my own family would just blame me for these horrible things I had no control or influence over.  My body still carries the trauma of all of those things and I feel it extra this time of year.  Truly, I want you to look at these photos of me smiling and understand how hard I work to look like I'm not falling apart on the inside on any given day.

Because of so many big and little things around this time, my birthday can be hard and complicated.  I cherish the times that I can just be celebrated for being me, for existing, because that seemed to be my biggest sin growing up - that I existed.

I didn't have much of a plan for my birthday this year, but it turned out to be a really great weekend of fun and surprises!

- I bought the items in this post. All opinions presented are my own and without influence. This post contains affiliate links and I make a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. -
Before we get started, I am 5'9", typically wear a 18/20, wear a 40B bra, a size 11 wide shoe, and my measurements are 46/49/55.

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) -
Luxe V-Neck Tee - Old Navy   /   Zip Vest - Target
Soft Pants - Torrid   /   Sequin Converse - Target   
Moonstone & Opal Necklace - Air of Earth

To start the weekend on a positive note, we saw that actor and comedian Conner O'Malley was at our favorite local comedy club, Helium.  I have missed live comedy so much, having not been since before the Pandemic.  It was SO MUCH FUN to go and kick back with only the mission of laughing.

I first heard about Conner because he married Aidy Bryant, a comedic plus-size actress whom you might know from SNL or Shrill.  Then Conner showed up in The Detroiters, which we love, and we started watching his batshit crazy YouTube videos.  (We're usually high when we watch them, so they are more bizarro hilarious than bizarro wackadoodle strudel, though they are usually both.  Just a head's up.)

We had yet to learn what to expect from Conner's stand-up, which was part of the fun in going.  He was wild and hilarious. We drank hard ciders and ate falafel bites and mini corn dogs.  And aside from the odd outfits people seem to wear in public these days, I didn't feel 44. lol

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) -
Fat Joy

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) -
Sleeveless Top - Kohl's (The first time it was on the blog was 2011)
LIVI Ankle Trouser - Lane Bryant   /   Moonlight Slip-On - BZees  
Chevron Amythest Necklace - Two Skies Scotland

The next birthday event, and the only thing I had planned in advance, was heading over to my friends' house where they made dinner for me!  When they asked me what I wanted, I decided to push it and ask for fish and chips (because we've talked about having that together before).  And guess what?  They loved me enough to agree to fry fish in their house on a 90-degree day!

We stuffed ourselves with fish and potatoes, and later a homemade apple pie with an extra delicious amount of cinnamon, before we played board games and video games.  I drank too many Moscow Mules and stayed up way past my bedtime, but it made me feel appreciated and loved.

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) -

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) -

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) -

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) -
On my birthday, Sean made me breakfast & had Westlife videos ready to go!
I took a slightly hungover makeup-free selfie in the nice morning light, hung out with my doggies and the backyard animals,
& had comforting wonton soup for lunch.

Sean's mom wouldn't budge on having Mother's Day on the actual day, so I spent my birthday alone in the peace of my home while Sean spent time with his mom.  I started painting some wooden mushrooms I picked up at the craft store (still working on them), listened to music and the birds singing outside, talked to my friend, and ate tasty food.  It was nice to have some quiet time to myself, which is very rare because both Sean and I work from home.  And I am really proud of myself for refusing to abandon Me by setting boundaries and sticking to them.  Saying no to Mother's Day has been very helpful in protecting my peace and allowing me to trust myself.

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) -
For dinner, Sean made mushroom risotto & herbed pork tenderloin.
He gifted me this lovely ornament by AnnettePRS, an artist from Estonia.
The ornament depicts Artio, a Celtic goddess associated with the bear, transformation, wildlife, and abundance.

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) -
Luxe V-Neck Tee - Old Navy   /   Cloud Sneaker - On Shoes
Seine Mid-Rise Skinny Jean - 27 Inch - Universal Standard

Over the weekend, I found out Sean took Monday and Tuesday off to do birthday things with me.  On Monday, we had a brunch of lavender white chocolate mochas and croissant benedicts at La Provence.  Then we headed to Torrid where I tried on a few items.  (I seriously have not liked much of anything online or in stores ANYWHERE lately.  It's very frustrating because most of the clothes in my closet don't fit correctly and I don't have a whole lot for summer.  But I did find a couple of tops I liked, so hopefully they will be on the blog as the weather warms up.)  After that, we came home, did some house chores, and just relaxed.

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) La Provence -
Lavender White Chocolate Mocha & West Coast Benedict at La Provence 

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) -

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) -
Luxe Ribbed Slub-Knit T-Shirt - Old Navy
LIVI Ankle Trouser - Lane Bryant  (similar) /   Peplum Denim Jacket - Torrid
Glycerin 20 Running Shoe - Brooks

On Tuesday, Sean had a whole surprise day planned for me!  I had no idea what to expect and had him keep it all a secret until we were almost at our destination.  Our first stop was Escapology in Clackamas because he found a Scottish-themed escape room!   We've done an escape room previously, back in 2016, so I had some idea of what to expect.  But this game was larger and one of their most difficult.  We needed just two more minutes to beat it and I was mad at my traumatized, high-achieving self for not succeeding fully.  However, it was still a blast, and I'm medicated now, which means I didn't berate myself for not getting the escape room perfect.

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) Escapology Clackamas -

After escaping the Scottish Highlands (why would you even want to?!?!), we drove to Montelupo Italian Market for focaccia.  Montelupo has incredible focaccia "pizza", with an array of flavor profiles available by the slice.  I ordered the Special with leeks, red onions, and crispy prosciutto.  Sean ordered the roasted fennel and Italian sausage slice.  Compared to your average pizza, these focaccia slices weren't doused in sauce or piled with cheese.  It was my first time visiting Montelupo, but I cannot wait to go back.  We also picked up a Tiramisu from the deli case and ate on it for the rest of the week.  It is so rich and creamy, and absolutely delicious!

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) Montelupo Italian Market -

Next, we headed over to Birdie Time Pub for hard ciders and a round of mini golf.  This was another new-to-me place and a fun one at that!  On an early Tuesday afternoon, it was pretty quiet.  I ordered a blood orange cider that was light and citrusy, but not quite as delicious as the raspberry lime cider Sean ordered.  We played the small 9-hole mini golf course they have set up in the main room.  I loved the simplicity and use of elements to decorate the courses.  Outdoors, they have a food/drink cart, a fire pit table, and a badminton area, along with more seating.

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) Birdie Time Pub -

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) Birdie Time Pub -

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) Birdie Time Pub -

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) Birdie Time Pub -

It was my birthday, so gluten and dairy be damned!  Not too far from Birdie Time is Twisted Croissant.  I love all things croissant and have been following this establishment on Instagram for a time.  I was happy to make it over there and, though their selection was low in the afternoon, there were some truly scrumptious options available.  The employee behind the counter that day was so lovely and kind.  We ate on those treats the rest of the week and absolutely loved them.

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) Twisted Croissant -
Clockwise from top:
Mushroom, Kale, and Goat Cheese Quiche
Espresso Chocolate Brioche Donut
Passion, Mango, Guava Cream Puff
Marionberry and Pecan Crumble Cake (my favorite!)

Then we came home to regroup and get ready for the Rage Room!!  Doing a rage room has been on my list of stuff to try.  Last year I went axe-throwing for my birthday, which was also an incredibly fun activity.  Sean booked our appointment with OutRaged Rage Room in Vancouver, Washington.  He chose the Couples Therapy package which includes 40 minutes and two buckets of breakables to get you started.  He also added a case of wine bottles to the order, but we added a few large punch bowls to our pile once we broke a lot of stuff.

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) OutRaged Rage Room -
Sexy jumpsuits! lol

Getting started is pretty simple.  You choose a jumpsuit coveralls situation and get suited up, grab your safety gear, and get to smashing shit!  The coveralls were something I was nervous about because, for my entire life, MOST places do not carry things like this that fit me.  This place had jumpsuits up to a 6X!!  At roughly a size 18/20, I wore the 2X coverall and it fit well.  You can lock your personal items in a locker before grabbing your safety helmet and gloves.  The clothing items seemed clean and go in a bin when you are done.

Rage metal is blasting the entire time. We were raging and not paint throwing, so our room was covered in steel sheets on one end (to throw things at so they don't bounce back at you), with two tire and wood tables in the middle of the room for placing objects on.  The closest wall was covered with weapons like baseball bats, hammers, steel pipes, crowbars, and the like.  Pick your breakables and your weapon and get to smashing!

I have always been a very uptight, rule-following person so breaking stuff is something I tend to avoid.  Getting started was a little weird because you are making a very loud, intentional mess and it feels a little wrong.....until it feels right.  It didn't take me long.  You can write stuff on your breakables (like maybe the names of your sworn enemies) before you smash them into oblivion.  My favorite things were physically throwing stuff at the wall (because it felt like I was working out the anger more that way), smacking items into the wall with a baseball bat, and obliterating items with a steel pipe.  I wasn't sure how I would react emotionally to this violent therapy, but I laughed the entire time.  It was a BLAST!  I would absolutely do it again.  Plus, OutRaged has punch cards!

A word of advice though, do yourself a favor and stretch before you go.  Sean and I were both a bit sore in places after all that raging.  The time went by fast, but 40 minutes was a good amount of time for the two of us to break things with gusto. And don't wear your brand-new, too-expensive sneakers because you will probably be walking on broken glass.  Okay, Annie Lennox?!?  (The glass did not ruin my shoes and they do have bristle brushes to brush off your sneakers afterward.)

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) OutRaged Rage Room -

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) OutRaged Rage Room -

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) OutRaged Rage Room -

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) OutRaged Rage Room -
It's nice not to have to clean up this mess!

After freshening up at home, we headed to Camas Feast 316, one of my favorite local restaurants that always serves scrumptious food and my favorite smokey whiskey cocktail.  My mother-in-law met us there where we had a relaxing dinner and dessert.

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) -
Lace-Up Tiered Maxi Dress - Torrid   /   Sequin shrug - Lane Bryant
Sandals - Crocs

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) -
Forgot to photograph my thrifted, little shiny Coach purse!

My Birthday Weekend: This Is 44 (Portland,OR/Vancouver,WA area) Camas Feast 316 -
My salmon and pasta special with mussels & Sean's burger bonanza

Sean planned such an enjoyable day, but it was a big one that left me exhausted!  It was exciting to have these surprises to look forward to as the day progressed.  We worked so hard to prepare and make our vacation happen that we forgot how exhilarating and important it is to have adventure and joy in regular life.  We haven't been giving ourselves enough space to have no agenda other than fun.  While not every day or date may be to this birthday extreme, I hope we plan more intentional adventurous times out of the house!

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