My Big 3-0!

My 30th birthday was amazing! Ab-so-lute-ly fabulous. I get teary-eyed just thinking about it. And man alive, do I miss my husband! It was so awesome to SEE him, go out on DATES with him, and just to be able to do the everyday day-to-day things that couples do – hug, hold hands, share life together. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present than to be with him for five memory-filled days.

DAY ONE: Friday, September 30, 2011

Ridiculously excited, I headed out to the airport – GPS/iPhone loaded and ready to go. Ten minutes out, I get a text from Brian letting me know that he’s landed. I pull into the airport, easily find his terminal and pull up to the sidewalk hoping to wait for a few minutes. No go! A security guard pops over and tells me that I can’t park and wait. So, I have two options. Park in the cell phone lot or circle around the terminal a few times. Ha! Odd. But, alright. After getting permission to text a quick message to my recently-landed hubby, I pull around and start driving in circles. Three laps later, I find my love!

Unable to do anything more than smile from ear-to-ear, I pull up curbside while Brian tosses his suitcase in the back seat. FINALLY! He’s here – in Arizona! I couldn’t be happier! And quite honestly, I couldn’t believe it. The whole car ride back to Gilbert, I kept slapping his arm, “You’re here! You’re really here!” Love. It makes you do crazy things. 😉

We got Brian settled in for his visit, and then headed out to check out Joe’s Farm Grill for supper. It was the first time we’d ever visited a restaurant after seeing it featured on the Food Network’s Diners & Drive-Ins. Friday night – it. was. busy!!! But oh-so-tasty!

After waiting in life for 45 minutes, we ordered. A lot. As in two milk shakes, a BBQ pizza, two hot dogs (one Rueben-style, one with an EGG on it), pulled BBQ pork, garlic fries, onion rings, and coleslaw. What makes Joe’s so special? Well, all of the food is locally sourced and most of the produce comes right out of the garden just back of the restaurant. In fact, the restaurant used to be the family’s home. True story! We found a picnic table outside and went to work! BEYOND full, we headed over to Red Robin to help celebrate a co-worker’s birthday where we were treated to our first TASTY gelato experience. And, I finally tried some of our menu drinks and introduced Brian to the crew I work with on a daily basis. Great start to the vacay!

DAY TWO: Saturday, October 1, 2011

It’s pool time! Crazy enough, on a Saturday early afternoon, we have the place to ourselves! Nice!

On the walk over to the pool, I’m easily entertained by the gaggle of white geese that lives in the gated community. FANCY. Clearly, they are not nearly as entertained with me.

After living-it-up poolside, we headed to what’s become our favorite tavern in Tempe – Boulders on Broadway – to watch the Badger game and enjoy a Chuck Norris pizza, craft brews, and a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie before hitting up our first ASU game at Sun Devil Stadium. The Chuck Norris pizza is DELISH.

We arrived at the stadium half-way through the first quarter, and unlike many-a-ASU-fan, we stayed for the WHOLE game. We could not believe how many people left before the game was over! Madness!!! One possible reason given for the early exodus – Sun Devil Stadium is a dry stadium. Who knew?

And here’s the view of downtown Tempe after the ASU game from our spot in the parking garage. We figured we’d let the garage clear out a bit before making a run for the exit. It was soooooo nice to just have that time with Brian and be able to visit one-on-one.

DAY THREE: Sunday, October 2, 2011

A day I’d been looking to for quite some time – PACKER SUNDAY!!! We got ready and headed over to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the game – with apparently everyone else in Gilbert! The place was PACKED! Thankfully, we scored a table in the bar where a couple of Packers fans joined us. Yay for everyone being on the same team! It was our first game together of the season and I LOVED IT!!! Plus, we won. Whoo hoo!!!

After the game we headed back over to the house, played in the pool, hit up Barnes & Noble where Brian bought me a new leather-bound journal. LOVE. Then, we headed over to the movie theatre to watch Contagion thanks to a free pair of movie tickets I scored while serving.

DAY FOUR: Monday, October 3, 2011

My big day!!! Hello Johnny Rockets, Lion King in 3D, pool time, shopping, fish bowl, and movies with my love. It was my first 3D movie ever, so I pretty much geeked out like nobody’s business – ESPECIALLY since it was Lion King. Life is good!

DAY FIVE: Tuesday, October 5, 2011

Before dropping Brian off at the airport, we hit up the pool one last time and lunched at Paradise Bakery. Bittersweet! Great memories all around – and Brian experienced his first Arizona sandstorm as we drove from Gilbert to Phoenix. Nothing major – no flight delays or anything like that – but definitely something to be witnessed.

So, there you have it! My 30th birthday in a nutshell. Loads of new experiences, places, and memories with the one I love most in this world! As for turning 30, I’m stoked!!! I’m so beyond excited for the next 12 months and can’t wait to see where I am on my 31st birthday! Here’s to a year of great adventure, excitement, and growth!

P.S. Brian and I absolutely throw caution to the wind when it comes to our we’re-on-vacation food choices. Our train of thought? We’re only going to be here once, we might as well experience all we can! Our food on vacation is more than fuel for our bodies – it’s part of our entertainment and overall vacationing experience.

P.P.S. Unlike previous vacations, I did not throw caution to the wind when it came to my budget! This is HUGE for me! I only spent money I had – nothing went on my credit cards. Completely different than my first trip to Vegas where everything from sitting front row at “O” to dolphin training and sky diving was put on a credit card. Not that I would change those experiences – they were AMAZING! But this time around, I made an effort to really consider what I wanted out of this vacation and went for it. We talked about heading out to see the Grand Canyon, but after discovering it would be a 10-hour road trip we opted to postpone that site-seeing excursion for another time. (Like perhaps this late winter/early spring! We’re talking about meeting up in Vegas and doing a helicopter ride over the canyon. From Vegas, the Grand Canyon is a two-hour drive…much more reasonable! Plus, it’ll give me time to save up some money to properly explore this wonder of the world.) We’ll see where things land because at this moment I don’t know how I’d pull it off! For now, I’m in attack-debt mode and have started looking for a Monday through Friday job to aid in the endeavor. Wish me luck!

About Sara

Sara Hefty (B.B.A. and H.H.C.) teaches workaholic women how to have it all and flourish without burning out, binging or being spiteful. As an expert in transformational health coaching, she holds women accountable for letting go of unwanted weight, being brilliantly nourished, grounded in truth and feeling confident, happy and playful every single day.

As a woman with her own weight loss story, wide-ranging family heritage of cancer, and a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Sara’s appreciation for convenient nutrient-dense food, personal growth, inspiring design, financial responsibility, and social entrepreneurship led to her “Pursuit of Ownership: Health, Home, and Legacy” model of heart-on-fire-hot empowered living.

Sara is the founder of PROJECT LUX and She currently lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, with her husband Brian and hound-dog Raja.