July 10, 2015

When I wore a younger woman's clothes


Today is my 31st birthday. Yes siree, I made it through the first year of my 30s and am every bit as excited to embrace the second as I felt on the day when they began precisely a year ago.
 
Being both my birthday and a Friday however, I didn't want to launch into a hefty sized post. Instead the idea struck me recently while listing to Sirius XM (as I usually do when shooting photos for my Etsy shop listings) to feature a few photos of myself as a youngster on my birthday when the next one rolled around for me. As you may have deducted, it was Billy Joel's classic hit Piano Man that inspired the title for this post and by the same token, the post itself.

I have some photos from my childhood, the bulk of which I have my very dear mom to thank for scanning from old photo albums and sharing with me on a flash drive a few years ago, however not that many from my the birthdays of my youth. I debated posting others that weren't from birthdays, and may do so in another entry one day (I have shared at least a couple such snaps over the years, including in this post about how my passion for vintage fashion took root at a very early age), but that didn't feel right given the occasion so I tried to find a few that were from past birthdays, save for the first one of me as a teeny, tiny baby (aww!).

I am not wearing vintage or vintage styles here (I began doing so in earnest at the age of 15, transforming my wardrobe into an into ever more yesteryear filled one with each year that followed), but you can still get a sense of my style - girly, filled with pink, classic, and fun - from these few long time faded photos, each taken on July 10ths that came before.

Please bear with the quality of these images. They're scans from old family albums that were not archivally safe and which definitely show the ravages of time, as many colour photos from that era do. I'm so grateful to have them though and that I can take a trip down memory lane anytime I want care of these old snapshots, captured almost always by mom's hand during my youth.




I don't have any photos of the me on the day I was born, but I do have this one professional one shot during my first sixth months of life. Love that eyelet trimmed dress, it would have been perfect for a birthday party!




In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not 100% certain that this was taken on my birthday, but given the bow on my head - clearly accessorizing was already an important priority to be at a very early age (I would have been about a year old here, I think) - how could I not share it?




{Back when I was a wee sprite, British Columbia had two fun theme parks devoted just to the classic cartoon characters, The Flintstones, one of which was located about 45 minutes from our home at the time. It was a huge treat to go there and visiting on my 4th, I believe, birthday as I did here with my good friend at time, Leanne, by my side, was beyond the icing on the birthday cake for me!}




I'm going to say that this in my 5th birthday, but am not 100% sure. Based on my hair, height, and what I'm wearing, I think it was though. Here I am kneeling on the brown picnic bench we had in our backyard at the time, opening a Hudson's Bay box. I don't remember what contents it held, but am sure that it was clothing and that that me one seriously happy birthday girl (I think I was one of the few kids out there who actually loved getting clothes a present - my fashionista tendencies haven taken hold very early on in my life! Plus, holy smokes, check out the box on the ground. Is that the year I got my Lite-Brite? I loved that toy so much!).




Growing up, my family always had a tradition of giving each child a helium balloon first thing in the morning on their special day, and here I am - decked out in a pastel pink party dress, natch - holding mine as my 7th birthday kicked off. Props to my mom on the fab pink streamer decoration job around the doorway!




Diving right into my gifts on my 8th birthday, with my BFF at the time, Talia, and my little brother by my side. Tal and I were the same age, but I was very short - usually the smallest in my class - as a child, so she looks much older than me here. Based on the shape of that top box, it was almost certainly a Barbie. Score!!! :D




This is the last photo I have of me, as far as I know, that was taken one of my childhood birthdays and it from my 13th, if I'm not mistaken. My teen years were incredibly difficult and tumultuous (for reasons far beyond the normal tribulations of youth) and exceedingly few photos were shot of me during that time, which makes having this one - of me sitting on a swing at a park here in Penticton - all the more precious to me.



♥ ♥ ♥


Like most of my friends back in the day, my wardrobe was not big when I was a child and my parents had a strong say in what I could wear until I hit high school, but looking back on these photos and the others I sorted thorough from my youth to unearth this tiny selection, I can still see the seeds of the style that would come to fill my closet in the decades to come.


It's often hard to believe just how quickly time passes. I can still recall the precise way that that pink party dress felt on my skin and how much I loved my long permed locks (the results of, I kid you not, three different spiral perm applications to get my naturally bone straight hair that curly) in the final photo. I can recall too with stark clarity, too, the waves of massive excitement I felt on each birthday that I've experienced, no matter what else was going on in my life at the time.



(A Dairy Queen Ice Cream cake, my absolute favourite b-day sweet treat when I was a youngster – this one from my 4th birthday. If they were gluten-free, I'd still get them to this day. Next year I'll have to devise a GF version of my own and rekindle this once favourite birthday food tradition once again.)


I love birthdays. I mean really, really love them - be they my own or other people's, and while I might have worn a younger woman's (girl’s, technically) clothes when these snaps were taken decades ago now, that wide-eyed excitement still holds true and returns each July 10th to help set the stage not only for the day's celebrations, but for the whole year ahead and each bright, beautiful possibility it holds in store.

Welcome, 31st year of life, I can't wait to see what new memories - and photos alike - you'll bring my way in the coming 365 days!


69 comments:

  1. A great big Happy Birthday, Jessica! I hope it's filled with GF cake, even if not A Dairy Ice Cream variety :) I absolutely adore seeing these photos of you - what a cute youngster you were! And I never would have pegged you for such a startling blonde! That photo of you from when you were 13 just reminds me how beautiful you are - those big gorgeous eyes. Thanks for sharing these and Happy Birthday again! :) xx

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  2. Such a lovely post ❤

    You were a very pretty baby and an equally lovely child.

    I don't have many photos of myself from childhood, least of all birthdays. I grew up with grandparents and once my beloved grandad died, barely any photos were taken of me, so there is hardly anything from aged eight to sixteen, what there were, were thrown away.

    I'm so glad you have all of these lovely pictures of yourself to cherish and I hope you have a wonderful and memorable birthday xxx

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  3. Happiest birthday! :) This was such a sweet post, I loved seeing your photos from your childhood. So great!

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  4. Happy birthday, cancer sis!!! I'll have one a week tomorrow! I hope you have a splendid day, I'll raise a glass of champagne to you tonite! Three cheers for Jessica!!

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  5. This is your birthday 🎂 song 🎶.
    It isn't very long.
    May this day be wonderful as well as all those that follow! Carina

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  6. You were a gorgeous baby! And now you're a gorgeous woman! Happiest of Birthdays, my dear friend ... and many, many more. Sending you lots of love from NYC!

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  7. Wishing you the happiest of birthdays, Jessica! I know you can't celebrate with Tony in person right now but I'm sure you'll have plans for a wonderful weekend. :)

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  8. Happy Birthday! This is such a beautiful post, I love hearing about childhoods and growing up, its such a magical time. I hope you had a lovely day and enjoy your 31st year :)

    xx

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  9. Happy Birthday Jessica! You were a beautiful little girl and you've grown into a beautiful woman (inside AND out!)

    I wish you a year filled with joy and many, many happy years to come! ♡

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  10. Oh sweet lady, You can not imagine how delightful it was to see these photos of younger you. The first one just melted my heart, you were such a beautiful baby! Like a model :)

    Happy Birthday dear friend. I wish you so much happiness, good health, joy and excitement. Happy celebration beautiful Jessica! :)

    Beta xx

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  11. Happy birthday! I turn 31 in November so I'm right behind you :)

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  12. 31 - aw! A very Happy Birthday to you, my dear! I love seeing old photos of people - you have grown into yourself, and have become lovelier over time. I remember Bedrock Village! My family went there when I was about the same age (although I'm 17 years older, so for me that would have been in the early 70s). I should dig out my pics of it - I know I have a couple.

    I love birthdays too - wishing you a wonderful year ahead!

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  13. Wishing you the happiest of birthdays, Jessica!!

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  14. Very Happy Birthday, Jessica! I hope your day, and all the days that follow, are wonderful and fabulous!

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  15. Jessica ! Happy birthday to that little blond girl that still lives inside you :)
    I loved seeing these pictures… I think I wore my first vintage in my late 20s.
    HUgs.

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  16. Happy Birthday Jessica, I hope you have had a wonderful day and thank you for sharing these lovely photos with us. Birthdays truly are wonderful and leave happy memories xx

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  17. Happy Birthday Jessica! Wishing a lovely day for you! Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures, time certainly goes by quickly. I can't believe it is 2015 and my children are grown! As for those ice-cream cakes, they are so good! Carvel cakes are my favorite.

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  18. Today? Happy birthday, I wish I knew it earlier to send something really nice! Well, next year then :) I looved your pictures and you were always so sweet and beautiful! The cake with your name, so nice and the picture with the balloon on your 8th birthday and first thing you got in the morning, that's so nice! I couldn't recognize you looking at the last picture, impressive! I can imagine how precious that photo is, since you don't have many photos of the time! You look beautiful since day 1! :) Hope you have a very nice day and enjoy your new age, hope you always have fun, luck, love and friendship in life!
    DenisesPlanet.com

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  19. Happy Birthday!!
    Thanks for sharing the younger you! loved the photos and the super blonde hair!! Very cute.

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  20. Happy Birthday, Jessica!

    Wow, you sure were a blondie. What a cutie pie.

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  21. Oh, and here's a recipe for an ice cream that takes literally less than 10 minutes to make. Hopefully they make gluten-free ice cream sandwiches.

    http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2014/06/18/5-minute-ice-cream-cake/

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  22. Wishing you the happiest of happiest and love filled, easy year for you, dear Jess. You've been a constant and refreshing inspiration in my life in the short two years or so i've been visiting your blog. know that anyone who has ever seen you and known you sees how strong of a woman you have been and continue to be.

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  23. First and foremost, even though I already congratulated you on Facebook: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    I was constantly awwww-ing with every photo passing by, you look so cute! You were a beautiful child that grew into a magnificent and beautiful young woman. I raise my glass to you and wish you a wonderful birthday-day and many more to come!

    A big birthday hug to you!

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  24. Happy birthday Jessica, in this your 31st year! I hope life is kind to you x x Your photos are very sweet. X x

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  25. Denise @BuyRVintageJunkJuly 10, 2015 at 5:29 PM

    Happy Birthday Jessica! I just love your 'photo album' and the last picture of you is the best, IMO. Hope you have the sweetest birthday, you deserve it!

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  26. Happy Birthday!

    Ivy
    http://eviestearoom.blogspot.com/
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/RubyandMathilda

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  27. Happy Birthday!!!! I hope you had a great day :)

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  28. Happy 31st birthday, dear friend!!! I hope you're having a fabulous day and a wonderful year ahead is in store!

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  29. Happy 31st! Loved seeing these long-ago photos! It's good that you mom kept them and was able to scan them so that they've come along with you into the digital age.
    Oh, and you and Angel are very nearly the same age--his 31st is in a week. July seems to be a popular time for birthdays!

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  30. What a lovely and nostalgic post! That photo of you at thirteen made me smile because we are the same age, and I too succumbed having my hair permed when I the that age! It was funny though because I always passed out from the smell, and then I hated my hair because it was too bulky, and tried to brush the perm out for the following months!
    Wishing you a great year in your 31st year, can't wait to see what else you get up too! xx

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  31. Dear Jessica, All my best wishes for a happy and joyous birthday and a wonderful year ahead.
    You little Jessica photos were so sweet. May this special day be filled with fun and laughter. XX

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  32. Happy birthday! So you are a July - baby too :)
    Here's to many healthy and happy years to come!

    That photo of yours with the box and the pink clothes, it is like taken from an old magazine. Nostalgic and beautiful, innocent and joyful.

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  33. Happy Birthday! I hope you had a lovely day! You were such a cutie :) I love looking back on old photos.

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  34. What wonderful photos! I wish I had more snaps from when I was young - my Mom may have a few, but other than that not a ton of pictures were taken and I think a good chunk of ones that were, were thrown out by my father in the "divorce clean out" a decade ago (him and I are not on good terms). I would love to have had them, since I adore looking at pictures from the past, even if it's my own :-) My mother in law took what seems like an immeasurable amount of photos of my husband as a child; she literally has three entire printer paper boxes worth (the ones that hold 8/10 reams of paper) of shots just of him, never mind his brother LOL!

    Thank you for sharing your lovely photos, my dear. They are truly treasures to have. Whenever I pop into your blog to do some catch up reading, I always become super motivated to catch up on my own blog. I hadn't had the time with class and work everyday until just this week, but you've given me the itch to start typing again <3

    I truly hope you had an absolutely wonderful birthday, you deserve it. Happy 31st and here's to many more!

    -Holly
    Veronica Vintage

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  35. OMG OMG I love these photos! Thank you for sharing your childhood with us. You were so cute back then. (And you're still cute now!) Happy Birthday, Jessica. (I mailed you a card but the Pony Express may take a while to reach you up North.)

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  36. Happy Birthday, Jessica! I loved seeing these old photos! I'm impressed you had this many taken on your actual birthday. My family is not great at documenting things, so while I have lots of random childhood photos, I don't always have them of things like birthdays or holidays. I hope your day was wonderful, and that the coming year is your best yet.

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  37. I hope you have a wonderfully happy birthday!

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  38. Happy birthday darling! What an excellent collection of pictures from birthdays past. I particularly like that final shot of you, it truly is a gorgeous photograph.
    I hope that your birthday was brilliant and that your 32nd year brings an ample supply of joy and opportunities.

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  39. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! What lovely photographs! I love the one with Wilma in it and your cake looks right out of a magazine!!

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  40. Happy Birthday! Hope it's the start of a good year. These photos are very sweet - children know how to birthdays in style!

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  41. I'm late responding to this post, I hope you had a really wonderful birthday? Thanks for sharing all these photographs, it's funny how in the older ones I don't really see 'you', but in that one of you at 13, I can tell it's you instantly. What a beautiful photo. I never did succumb to having my hair permed! Best wishes for your 32nd year, I hope it's amazing xx

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  42. unbelievable beautiful childhood photos!
    especially the last - the teen one - touched my heart!! i want to rush by to protect this little girl against the harm that will come.....
    happy happy birthday my dear!!!
    tons of hugs! xxxxxxx

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    1. Thank you so incredibly much, sweet Beate. I swear, that is how I feel when I look at "her" too, and in fact, a number of years ago, I even made a scrapbook page with a copy of this photo to that very extent. There had had already been so much that was bad/wrong/painful in her life before that point, but a lot still lay ahead in the next few years and I would do anything to have protected "her" from it, if possible. Thankfully she, aka "I", made it through and am stronger, wiser, braver and more resilient because of each challenge, hardship, and wrongdoing that I faced.

      Endless hugs & thanks for being the truly caring soul that you are,
      ♥ Jessica

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  43. Beautiful pictures Jessica :) And you'res still a beautiful birthday girl to this day :) Sorry to have not commented birthday wishes earlier, but Happy Birthday!
    ~Theresa

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  44. Oh these are so lovely! Thanks for sharing photos of you as a child. I just love looking through my own childhood albums and it turns out I feel the same way about other people's!

    Also - Lite Brites are the best! We adored ours, and have some family photos that feature it :)

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  45. Lovely pictures of you! Thank you for giving us this little glimpse of your younger days. You were adorable (and still are!).

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  46. Huge, and I really do mean, huge thanks to absolutely everyone for your terrifically sweet birthday wishes, touching comments about these fun childhood snaps, and for each kind, thoughtful world left on this birthday post. They mean a great deal to me and I want you to know that I read and enjoyed, each comment immensely.

    Thank you all again so much!

    ♥ Jessica

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  47. That baby photo is so beautiful!! You were such a little angel.

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  48. Happy Be-lated Birthday Jessica! I hope you had a wonderful day -and perhaps were able to stretched it out to a week ;) Thank you for sharing it's so lovely to see childhood photos, I also love the 80s/90s fashions! It reminds me of similar outfits I had when I was younger and loved.

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  49. LOVE all your photos!!! ahhhh you were so incredibly cute!! Thank you for sharing a bit of your past (love the title of your post as well)

    Happy birthday! from what I saw on FB/Instagram looks like it was fun :)

    Liz

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    1. Thank you so much, my darling friend. I really did have a fantastic birthday! My mom and I celebrated with two days of thrifting, shopping (in general), baking, hanging out and then having a family bbq on Friday night. It was awesome - though admittedly rather strange without my sweet hubby there. We'll be apart for his own birthday next month in August and that will be equally unusual. Thankfully it's just for this summer (I assume) and we can always a have a fun little makeup double b-day celebration when he gets back.

      Many thanks again & have a fabulous week!
      ♥ Jessica

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  50. Belated birthday wishes! May you live in happiness and peace this coming year as you settle into your 30's.
    --have to add that it was wonderful seeing your green eyes and blond hair in your 13th photo, how lovely!

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    1. Thank you very much, sweet Jen. I loved sharing these snapshots of myself as a youngster here. I'm thinking I'll need to do so again with other photos that I have examples of for the the same general theme, such as Halloween and/or Christmas.

      That was the last year my hair still looked blonde. It turned dishwater light brown after that and the hue was horrible on me. I had to put up with it for two years, but at was allowed to start colouring my locks and have never looked back. :)

      Many thanks again - have a beautiful week!
      ♥ Jessica

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  51. Hope you had a Happy Birthday Jessica. Your birthday photos were adorable. Best wishes for many more wonderful birthdays.

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    1. Thank you so much, dear Amanda! I had a fabulous birthday - even though it was odd to celebrate for the first time in eleven years without Tony there. Otherwise all was well and tons of fun. A great note to kick my 31st year of life off on.

      Big hugs & tons of happy July wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

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  52. A HUGE happy birthday to you lovely! It's so nice and refreshing to see how much you truly love birthdays to this day. I'm 26 and probably about 4 birthdays ago I decided I hated them and find it depressing getting older and I stopped liking the whole fuss of them. But of course everything in life is nicer when you see the bright side of things instead of the negative so hopefully when my 27th birthday rolls around in October I'll be able to think about this post and try to enjoy it a little more, haha. I hope you had the most wonderful day! xx

    jessica - littlehenrylee.com

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    1. Thank you very much, sweet dear. I had a marvelous birthday that was truly made all the more so by everyone's fabulously lovely comments here.

      Birthdays aren't always sunshine and unicorns, if you will, and I readily admit that, but gosh darn it, if I don't love them something fierce all the same, no matter how old I get. I hope that my enthusiasm for them will indeed rub off on you and that you'll be more excited about your upcoming 27th. If we lived nearby, I would totally throw you a party and help put you more in the b-day mood. :)

      Many thanks again - big hugs!
      ♥ Jessica

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  53. Happy Birthday dearest Jessica (I'm catching up on posts:) I love seeing these photographs of you and your younger years. Thank you for sharing these with all of us:) I too went through a phase of not many photographs in my teen years and early twenties.

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    1. Thank you very much, my darling friend! That's really interesting that you don't have many photos from that time frame for yourself either. It was largely a product of very diverse circumstances (such as the dysfunction in my home life and that I moved out on my own so early on) that exceedingly few photos exist of me from my teens and early 20s, but thankfully I like to think that I've done a good job of making up for those lean years with so many snaps in my late 20s and (now) my 30s! :)

      This was a really fun post to put together and as many people have expressed interest in seeing more childhood snaps of me, I may do another somewhat similar post down the road for Halloween and/or Christmas, as those are events for which I have multiple photos of myself from various years, too.

      Many thanks again & have a marvelous second half of July - huge hugs!
      ♥ Jessica

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  54. I missed the date, ouch. But I did congratulate you a little too early, I hope it counts. And I hope you had a lovely day, even without your love. I am 51 (yep, 20 years older than you, hmm), and I still love birthdays. And I really do think time is a very strange thing. I remember things from my childhood as precisely as if I've just been there. And I really cannot understand that son is a grown up man soon to be 22 years old. He is my baby! What happened?! I wish you lots of luck and happiness in your next year, dear. XOXO :)

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    1. It most certainly does, my sweet friend. Thank you very much for your thoughtful birthday wishes and lovely comment on this post. You don't look anywhere even close to 51 in my books - early 40s, tops! I just hope I still look a fraction as youthful at 51 as you do! My mom, who is 57, looks very youthful, too, as does her sister (who is six years younger than me), so I'm hoping that bodes well in my favour. Time will quite literally tell! :)

      Big hugs & tons of happy second half of July wishes!
      ♥ Jessica

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    2. Thank you so much, sweetie. :) I see the changes coming, and I found my first grey hair yesterday. Pulled it out, but I cannot keep doing so, sigh. Have a lovely day, dear. :)

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    3. You're very welcome, dearest Sanne. I started getting a few grey hairs in my late 20s and there were some on the floor when I saved my head for the first time in late 2012 (when I started wearing a wig due to my hair loss). I see them now when my head stubble grows in and I don't doubt for a moment that the stress my body has gone through due to my chronic health problems helped to give me grey hairs so early on. Oh well! No biggie! Dye covered them before and they're as good as moot now. I'm sure one day (when I'm a decade or two older), as time goes on, I'll get a grey wig to keep things looking age appropriate, but I'm not at that point yet.

      Wishing you a fantastic day, too - big hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

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  55. What a lovely idea to share these birthday snaps! It was really interesting seeing a younger you. Love that one with the rosette atop your head! I hope you had a fabulous birthday and that all has continued well.

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    1. Other than not getting to celebrate it with Tony, I did indeed have a great birthday. My mom and I enjoyed a two day long celebration of thrifting, baking, and just hanging out that wrapped up with a super tasty family BBQ on the night of my birthday itself. It was a lovely, lowkey celebration, just as I like my birthdays to be. :)

      Big hugs & many sincere thanks for all of your terrific blog comments today,
      ♥ Jessica

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    2. That sounds very lovely indeed. I am still about 3 weeks behind on my blog feed but am catching up!

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    3. It is always so immensely sweet of you to try and catch up and I really, really appreciate each comment that you leave for me, sweet Kate. I'm a few days behind on other people's sites right now, too, in part because we just had a holiday weekend here (Monday was the Canadian version of a bank holiday) and I was busy with fun family events for much of it. I'm hoping to catch up in the next couple of days.

      Have a beautiful Tuesday!
      ♥ Jessica

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