My 22nd Birthday

I can honestly say that my 22nd birthday was my favorite thus far. I recently turned 22 and I couldn’t be happier about how my day went! It was relaxing and of course filled with too many sweets (I didn’t mind). I enjoy spending my actual birthday relaxing and spending it with a few people. I think I decided that I would much rather do something small after celebrating my 18th birthday Filipino-style. Birthdays always make me reminisce so I decided to take a look back on that day.

Fancy Birthdays

It is typical Filipino tradition for a girl to have a Debutante Ball on her 18th birthday. It usually includes a big white dress, 18 “Roses” or gentlemen in the girl’s life  (family and friends) that give her a rose and dance with her, 18 “Candles” or women in her life that give her a speech that usually results in happy tears, a court of 18 couples (friends of the debutante) that performs a waltz, good food, a beautiful expensive cake and a second dress for the debutante to change into after the formal program is over. Basically, a coming of age non-wedding. The point of me rehashing a piece of Filipino tradition is because I had one of those, a “Debut.” It was much smaller, still beautiful, but also still such a big, expensive affair. Don’t get me wrong, I am infinitely grateful for my parents, family and friends for wanting to be a part of the celebration of my existence in the world. However, the whole ordeal made me realize that I don’t need an extravagant spectacle for my birthday. I enjoy the simple things in life. So cliche, but hey, it’ the truth. Below are some pictures from the night of my “Debut.”

My point here is that while that whole night was one for the books, my actual 18th birthday was equally as memorable. At midnight my cousin Val and my brother brought me to Seven Eleven to buy my first lottery tickets and started the Krispy Kreme birthday doughnut tradition. In the morning, my brothers and mom took me to a cute crepe cafe in downtown Long Beach for brunch (because my brother knew I loved crepes) and walked around 2nd Street browsing the shops. That’ all this girl needs!

It was such a mellow, relaxing day set aside from planning napkin colors, napkin rings, plate colors, food and cake tasting. Although those are moments to remember as well, I prefer spending my day of birth with those that are close to me and understand me the most as opposed to hundreds of people witness me make a spectacle of myself. It feels selfish. But I’m not going to lie, I look back at my Debut now and I don’t regret it one bit! Although, I’m sure my parent’s wallets do…thanks Mom and Dad!

Feelin’ 22

However, I digress. Going back to the original reason for this post, how I spent my 22nd birthday. I was busy trying to finish repainting my room the evening leading up to my birthday. So when my brother told me to get ready to go to Krispy Kreme at 10 p.m., I was completely covered in paint and obviously not ready to leave the house. My cousin Kaelin was dropped off at my house and my brother drove to pick up my cousin Jeff to participate in my birthday doughnut tradition. I was feeling self-conscious because of  all the paint, but my brother reminded me that the tradition was never glamorous. As you can see from the pictures above, we were all in our pajamas when it started!

Lucky number seven!

I slept on the living room couch that night after watching The Parent Trap and I woke up the next morning to my mom opening the front door and bringing in balloons for me. She does that every year and I think it’s the cutest thing. I’m not much of a balloon person, but I appreciate them from my mom. Anyways, I got up, made myself an acai bowl for breakfast (yum!) while my brother got ready for his summer class. When my mom and I were about to leave to pick up Val, my brother found out that he didn’t have class so we decided to include him in our afternoon plans.  We picked up my brother after the girls got pedicures 🙂

After the pamper session, it was time for lunch so my brother drove us to the Anaheim Packing District. Up until that day, I was hearing and seeing so much about the place. Val visited a couple of weeks prior and said that I would enjoy it because of the aesthetics of the place. She was right, I loved it. It was definitely right up my alley. If you don’t know what the Anaheim Packing District is, it’s a series of buildings in Anaheim that have been restored into a unique gathering place for events and vendors of all sorts. The Packing House, a restored citrus Packing House, is a two-story building with various food/drink/dessert vendors. It’s an interesting place to try something new or something old with a twist. Check out the vendors in the link above! All of the vendors are unique in design and product. There are swinging benches, plenty of tables, cushions and chairs to enjoy your food/drink of choice and plants galore scattered through out the whole of the building.

Panoramic view of the Anaheim Packing House (PC: my brother Michael)

We ate lunch at Rolling Boil, a hot pot spot. Hot pot is an East Asian stew consisting of a metal pot with broth of your choice in which you cook different types of meats and vegetables. It also includes a variety of dipping sauces for the cooked items and is served, at least at this establishment, with rice. I had never tried hot pot or shabu shabu (Japanese version of a similar dish) and I liked it! (To my friends that have been wanting me to try it: it finally happened!) My brother and Val have tried hot pot and shabu shabu before so it was fun to see my mom experience this new type of meal with me. Besides almost being overcome with how spicy the spicey broth was, she thought it was delicious.

After sweating from the heat of not only the broth itself, but the spice, we all went upstairs to fall in line for PopBar, a vendor that sells handmade gelato on a stick. I had seen a lot of Instagram photos of popsicles from PopBar, so even though I waited approximately 30 minutes to order, I was looking forward to getting a taste. I got pistachio, half-dipped in dark chocolate, topped with almonds and coconut shavings….AMAZING. My mouth is watering as I’m typing this. It’s a bit pricey, but I think it’s worth it. We took our pops to the nearest cushion and had a bit of a photo shoot. The cashier of course said “don’t forget to hashtag popbar Anaheim!” which I did of course. My name is Melissa and I am an abuser of hashtags. #noshame WP_20140707_001

After becoming almost too full to function, we drove back home and dropped Val off. It was late afternoon by the time we made it back to the house and as I was trying to doze of into a short food coma, my Dad came from work, said “Happy Birthday!” and handed me this bad boy.


I was so surprised!! I mentioned wanting a DSLR ONCE to my brother in a random conversation and had no idea my Dad was listening. Now that I think about it, my brother probably told my Dad (duh!) I never expected to receive one because I know how expensive they can be. I was actually planning on saving up for one, but leave it to my Dad to beat me to it! He is the best at getting deals on anything technology-based, so I’m sure he found a good deal somewhere, which I’m happy about. I am ecstatic to have a high quality camera that I can use to capture memories and share great-quality pictures on this blog! After all of the camera excitement, I took a much needed nap, woke up, had dinner and cake with my family, tried to take pictures with the new camera and went to a local bar for a few drinks with my brother and Val.

The night ended with a run to In’n’out for animal-style fries. Who could ask for a better birthday? Every time July 7th comes around, I am reminded of how lucky I am to be surrounded by people who unconditionally care about me. My family and my friends are all I need. They honestly spoil me way may too much and I’m grateful they think I deserve it. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed rehashing how I spent my first day as a 22-year-old. Cheers to days that remind me that a happy life consists of nothing more than spending my time with people I love.

❤ Mez

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