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30 for 30

my sister turned 30 this year. when she turned 21, i took her to get her nails done and i bought us matching outfits and accessories. i wasn’t too fond of fake nails, but i kept the tradition of dressing alike for her birthday for a few years. here are some pictures of my sister and i dressing alike, some on her birthday and some not:

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aside from dressing alike, i have taken my sister out to dinner or have arranged for birthday dinners for her. we had fondue one year, just the two of us. i took her to her favorite restaurant another year, the old warsaw. a big group of us took her to dinner at a japanese buffet restaurant, tokyo one. dinners are always the main part of birthdays, but i wanted my sister’s 30th birthday to be very different than the others. for my 30th birthday last year, i had an awesome dinner with friends, followed by an after-party at a bar. i pretty much celebrated my 30th birthday all week. well, my sister doesn’t do that. she doesn’t go out much, she doesn’t go to bars, and she surely does not go to clubs. she’s on her last leg of school and currently student teaches third grade. she gets up at some ungodly hour of the morning, goes to school, comes home, prepares for her next day, and is in bed by 9. her birthday was on a monday and i wanted to do something on her actual birthday instead of on the weekend prior, so i took all that information and came up with giving her 30 gifts for her 30th birthday. before i came up with the idea, she would always say she needed “teacher’s clothes” and i would hear stories about the rules that teachers had and stories about her students. after i came up with the idea, i took the stories and incorporated them into the gifts that i would get her.

i started my 30 for 30 project by listing all the things i wanted to get my sister. aside from the teacher theme i was going for, i also had down a list of things that i knew she wanted or thought she would enjoy. she’s very much into the paris theme at the moment, so that helped with some gifts. i called my dad the day i came up with the idea, and he made some great gift suggestions.  i told some of my friends, too, and they came up with some neat ideas. of course 30 gifts would cost a ton of money, but i tried to play it smart-to shop sales, shop clearance, use coupons, etc. i had about a month to shop, so i did every chance that i got. working in a mall helped because i was able to swing by a store on a break or look around for ideas. she had been wanting good eyeshadows in neutral shades so i got her the latest mini naked palette that came out by urban decay. i love my naked 2 palette, it’s amazing and i use it all the time. she had been obsessing over a bobbi brown lipstick of mine, threatening to steal it, so i brought it out while shopping and found her a few lipsticks in a similar shade. i got her some gift cards so she could buy whatever she wanted from certain stores. i studied her closet to see what she had been recently purchasing to figure out what to buy as far as teacher’s clothes go. some major department stores were running ridiculous sales on top of their clearance so i would spend what seemed like forever going through every piece of clothing. i found amazing dresses and tops and belts and accessories at ridiculous prices. the prices were so low that i was putting multiple gifts in one box. my 30 for 30 was probably 80 for 30 or something, if we counted every item. haha. some gifts were gag gifts. bath and body works had an anti-bacterial soap sale and i got her a bunch of full-sized soaps “because her students have germs.” she student teaches third grade. i also hand made her a “survival kit for naughty students” which consisted of a yardstick, a roll of duct tape, a bar of soap, and a dunce cap. as far as the paris theme goes, i got her an eiffel tower necklace, sets of notecards with her name personalized on them, and the very last gift she opened was an amazing memory board that my friend/co-worker handmade for her. my friend, amber, makes memory boards and sells them on etsy and she couldn’t have made it any more perfect. i was SO excited when i got to see it in person and i was SO sure that it was going to be my sister’s favorite gift out of all of them, so i made it #30, the grand finale. if any of you want custom-made memory boards, you really should check out my friend on etsy. she is very talented. i’m having her make one for my new black/gray/pink bedroom and my co-workers have thrown their orders in as well. if you want to look at her work, click here.

also, my sister was not a big card person. how funny, since i’m the complete opposite. so…i thought it would be funny to attach a card to all her gifts. hahahaha.

if any of you think of doing this for a birthday, for any age, it’s really fun and it doesn’t have to cost much if you shopped like i did. sign up for email alerts or rewards memberships from stores and use coupons. shop sales and clearance racks. hand make things. but allow yourself enough time to get everything together-and wrapped. i am a professional gift wrapper, so of course everything had to look perfect-and it wasn’t as hard, because i think wrapping them all was the most time-consuming part.

aside from the 30 for 30 gifts, we took my sister out to 2 nice dinners within her birthday week. it was fun and delicious.

here is a captioned photo gallery of my 30 for 30 project. enjoy!

xoxo

 

one of the first gifts i wrapped...with a card.

one of the first gifts i wrapped…with a card.

 

hiding gifts results in only one thing: putting them in the trunk.

hiding gifts results in only one thing: putting them in the trunk.

 

hiding fully wrapped gifts in a closet.

hiding fully wrapped gifts in a closet.

 

while she was at school, i took the day off from work to set up.

while she was at school, i took the day off from work to set up.

 

i had my sister blindfolded when i brought her in the house. this is her shocked face.

i had my sister blindfolded when i brought her in the house. this is her shocked face.

 

gift #1: bread pudding, one of her favorite desserts.

gift #1: bread pudding, one of her favorite desserts.

 

teacher's kit for naughty students. the dunce cap.

teacher’s kit for naughty students. the dunce cap.

 

this was a gift that wasn't on my list but was perfect for the teacher's kit. like a boss!

this was a gift that wasn’t on my list but was perfect for the teacher’s kit. like a boss!

 

dad's idea. chicken soup for the teacher's soul. we grew up reading chicken soup books. it was perfect.

dad’s idea. chicken soup for the teacher’s soul. we grew up reading chicken soup books. it was perfect.

 

she knew what this gift was. i made her try on a NIQUEA.D necklace from papyrus and she fell in love with it and wanted it so bad. so i got it for her.

she knew what this gift was. i made her try on a NIQUEA.D necklace from papyrus and she fell in love with it and wanted it so bad. so i got it for her.

 

putting her necklace on.

putting her necklace on.

 

oooooohhhh.....

oooooohhhh…..

 

gift #30!!!!! the memory board that my friend hand made for my sister!

gift #30!!!!! the memory board that my friend hand made for my sister!

 

 

we used my niece as a prop. she's a great actress.

we used my niece as a prop. she’s a great actress.

 

one of my sister's 2 birthday dinners.

one of my sister’s 2 birthday dinners.

 

 

 

 

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13 thoughts on “30 for 30

  1. What a great idea!!! The next birthday in my family is for one of my 2 sisters in October…she will be 34! So I will do this for her also. I will be 50 (!) in August…..maybe someone will surprise me too!!

  2. What a great idea! I’m definitely going to remember this for family and friend’s birthdays. I think it’s great when “adults” still get really into their birthdays. I still think of myself as a big kid, even though I just turned 29. It’s important to still have fun in life 🙂

  3. Ohhh man I remember when I turned 30 last year, I cried the entire weekend because I thought that my life was now over and that I was officially old. Lol lol lol loving my thirties now though.

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