30th Birthday Party

On Saturday, my husband Travis threw a wonderful party for me for my 30th birthday. We rented the Heaven Suite at the Blackstone Hotel, and holy cow is that place amazing!

Before the party got started, my friend Justin Edmonds shot a few portraits of me. Documentation of what 30 looks like.

I wore a Lela Rose dress rented from Rent the Runway, and added a sparkly belt from Anthropologie that I bought last fall.

Friends arrived, and we had dinner at the tapas restaurant downstairs, Mercat a la Planxa. Delicious! Then we moved to the suite for cake and drinks, and a few more joined us. My friend Cindy baked a pistachio cake frosted with chocolate ganache, and my husband bought a chocolate cake with raspberry filling from Sugar Fixe. You can never have too much tasty cake. I didn’t take many photos of the actual party. I was having too much fun and forgot my phone in my purse. That’s the sign of a good party, right? It really was a blast.

But I have to show you guys this suite. I took some photos after guests left and the next morning.

First, look at that view! We overlooked Lake Michigan and the Museum Campus. The flowers were a present to myself from Pistil and Vine, my new favorite florist. I gave Meg, the owner, a few inspiration photos and a picture of the suite, and let her loose. Isn’t the bouquet she crafted stunning?

There were skylights in the main living space and in the bedroom. The dining space was furnished with a red lacquer table and red silk-screened chairs.

The sitting area by the TV featured a red fabric wall, and there was plenty of space for lounging on a purple plush couch on the opposite side of the room.

The bed was giant and incredibly comfortable. And the powder room was like none other. That wallpaper!

It was an incredible birthday party, and I didn’t want to leave the Heaven Suite. (I’ll have to save up for another staycation at the Blackstone.) And thank you to all who came and made it a night I won’t forget!

Birthday Goals


Evening dress, by Madame Grès, 1984, from Metropolitan Museum of Art

Today is my birthday. I’m 30. I feel like I’ve been looking forward to this birthday for a long time. Some people might dread 30 or feel like they have to accomplish a whole list of things before the year rolls around. But I’ve always viewed 30 differently.

My 20s were focused on education and getting stable jobs in my field. Now I have my masters and a great job at Columbia College Chicago running the Fashion Study Collection. I’m proud of the last 10 years. Of course they haven’t been perfect. I’ve taken some detours and made a handful of mistakes, but I’ve ended up in a really good place.

So looking to my 30s, I see the next decade as a period to challenge and push myself. No complacency here, I need to keep growing, learning, and putting experimentation first. It’s time to pursue new research paths and then get published. I want to do more curatorial work in my collection and, perhaps, independently propose exhibitions at other institutions. After my experience co-organizing the Midwest Costume Society of America symposium this past fall, I’d like to start a symposium series. None of those goals will be easy, but I’m ready to take them on. Time to get to work.