Before I start, guess what?! You can read this whole post over on my new website: girlwithflask.com! In the next little while I’ll be moving my whole blog over there. But if you are a little slack (like me) you can just keep reading here…
I remember when my Mom turned 40. I was ten at the time, and remember how her closest cousin brought over a pastel-coloured novelty coffee mug that read: “I’d rather be 40 than pregnant”. My Mom and her cousin shared a hearty snort over the sentiment on that mug. I, on the other hand, had absolutely no idea what it meant or why it was funny. I remember feeling like I had stumbled upon some kind of inside joke that maybe one day I would understand.
In the days leading up to my own 40th birthday, I was in a bit of a funk. This was weird for me since I have never really had a problem with birthdays, with getting one year older or with my advancing age. I have always felt right where I’m supposed to be, and have celebrated with many good friends and many good cocktails. But for some reason, the big 4-Oh was messing with me.
Actually, it wasn’t just ‘some reason’. I know the exact reason: I was worried about my looks. There. I said it. I was worried that on the eve of my 40th birthday some kind of ‘middle age fairy’ would visit me during the night and curse me with a bad haircut and mom jeans. While this theory has not gained much sympathy from the over-40 crowd, I hope that you will forgive my vanity and will at least be impressed with my honesty - especially when I tell you that part of the funk was complicated with the guilt of being preoccupied with my post-40 appearance when I have much to be thankful for.
Talk about cognitive dissonance.
The Jock tried to make me feel better by saying reassuring things like: “Think about it: it could be much worse. You could be 40 with a toddler!”
Remembering my Mom’s mug, I thought: how very true. But not exactly what I was hoping to hear mid-way through my enumeration of VSAs (that’s visible signs of aging, for those of you still in your 30s) in the bathroom mirror. SO in the days leading up to 40, I decided that there were a few proactive things I could do that would help me ward off the mom jeans curse:
1. Go to Brachic in Westboro and get a real bra fitting (cheaper than plastic surgery). Just be ready for those uber-professional fitters to get right in the fitting room with you!
2. Get a blow-out. A blow-out always makes you feel better.
3. Buy your very first pair of Fluevog shoes. I don’t really think I need to justify that one. Apologies to those who have seen them on Facebook already.
4. Go for a night of cocktails at the Library Bar with your very handsome husband.
5. Add tinted moisturizer, concealer, and dim lighting to your arsenal of non-plastic surgery interventions against the VSA’s. My current favourite product is Bobbi Brown’s Corrector.
Wait a sec. This blog post has now gone from Jen’s Diary to Oprah’s Favourite Things! Can we go back to #4, please?
So down in the lobby of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel is one of the best martini bars I have ever been to! We went on the eve of my birthday (Saturday July 30), which also happened to be their ‘Lounging in the Dark’ night, where (on Saturdays) they turn off all the lights (see #5, above…yesss! yesss!) and serve their ‘Lights Out’ cocktails. It kind of looks like this:
The particlar martini you see in that picture is basically what amounts to the liquid version of a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. This is what arrived at our table shortly after we arrived, and before I had the chance to peruse the menu much less order (sneaky, sneaky Jock). After that, we poured over the extensive cocktail menu which is comprised of ‘historical’ and ‘classic’ cocktails that have been served at one time or another at Fairmont Hotels around the world. The menu reveals a little story with each drink (love!) and everything is mixed by craft bartenders who have probably never made a ‘Cotton-Candy Cosmopolitan’. And the drinks are served by class act waiters who have good knowledge about what they are serving, and know just when to check-in. Here’s what I chose:
The Hemingway Daiquiri - legend has it that Hemingway himself used to drink these at the El Floridita Bar. In Havana. Damn. Contains a mix of rum, maraschino liqueur, lime juice and grapefruit juice.
The ‘World’s Best LemonDrop’ ( They promise!) - Apparently a ‘party starter’ (hello!) this martini contained the best mix of vodka shaken with cointreau and then mixed with lemon juice and simple syrup. This drink apparently came on the scene in the 1980’s in San Francisco at Henry Africa’s. Back when I was at a school dance in a gym somewhere.
And when the big birthday moment came, I was brought a ‘just enough’ tray of decadence. Like this:
So very special! If you are ever in Toronto with something special to celebrate. Definitely check this place out.
So how did it end? Were there any mom jeans? What about the bad haircut? Well, I am happy to say that after our fabulous night of cockails, me and the jock went to bed like this:
And I woke up like this:
No bad haircut. No mom jeans!