Whoo! Great times with good friends can make a milestone birthday golden! 
When you can start a significant year with a beautiful, intimate garden brunch like I had for my 40th birthday, you can step on out into your (ahem) middle years with style and sass! 
Here’s the table–soooo pretty! Each place setting had a hand lettered menu and fresh rosemary with a framed photo of me with each guest. Now, I pulled these pix, and I tried to find the oldest photo of my friendship with each person, so some photos went back to my elementary school years! (I am not showing you some of those photos.) But, oh my goodness, to have lifetime friendships is incredible!
Special entertainment was provided by my darlin’ singer-songwriter-musician husband Joel, who wrote the cheeriest birthday song and performed it for us before the meal.
His lyrics had us all cracking up (he knows me so well!):
“Everyday at the gym, getting nice and lean.
She could be in a magazine,
push-ups and crunches, and
makes the boy’s lunches,
she does everything!”
“Here’s what she did last Christmas
Put all the Sonic carhops on her Christmas list.
Diet Dr Pepper, all day
How many I’ll never say
Because I love her so….”
“When she tells a story I will never yawn,
because I’m in love with Courtney Warren.”
The brunch invitations were authentic vintage seed packets tucked in a hand-lettered vellum envelope with the party details lettered on the front in gold. One of my favorite artists had drawn a whimsical portrait of me and an adorable re-creation of it was featured on the table and in details throughout the party.  The portrait showed me holding–of course–a Diet Dr Pepper!
Everyone who knows me knows I love flowers, so guests were provided with flower crowns as they started the meal. My favorite flowers (ranunculus, hydrangeas, eucalyptus and black and white anemones) were arranged in low bouquets on the table to aid easy conversation. And did we have some conversations!
Table conversation cards helped my guests get acquainted: “What is your first memory of Courtney?” (do I want to know this??) or “What is the most useless thing you are really good at?” (Apparently some of my guests claimed bragging rights for “always knowing what time it is”, “being a great Googler”, and “being able to pick up things with my feet”!) These enticing but little-known facts sparked lots of laughs and some hilarious exchanges! Always help your guests get talking to each other!
Delicious eats are key, and we sure had some! Treats such as avocado toast, Fruity Pebble french toast, and –do you know about these?– handcrafted drinks called 1979’s: ginger ale with orange juice, orange wheels and raspberries. And because I love me some lemon cake, folks, we had the most gorgeous lemon birthday cake with a sweet-tart lemon frosting. 
In keeping with the party theme of  “favorite things”, each of my guests took home favors of sugar cookies decorated like (what else?) Diet Dr. Pepper and Sonic drinks, and a journal with a personalized pencil stating “I stole this from Courtney Warren”. Gotta love it!
How could anyone pick a favorite part of such a fabulous celebration? Laughter and love abounding, renewing longtime friendships and forging new bonds. Blessings too many to count!  It was truly MAGICAL!
Photography: Shannon Ho Photography
Flowers: Flora and Vine
Balloon Arch: Worker Bee Parties/ Bonafide Betties Pie 
Cake: Bittersweet Bakery
Cookies: Cookie Love
Calligraphy: Sidney Hunter Design Co
Venue: Marie Gabrielle
Music: @joelwarren
Design and styling: Carolyn Gehring, Melissa Holland, Courtney Warren Home