having my cake and eating it too

You know I love my birthday photoshoots — maybe even more than actually celebrating my birthday… maybe. I just love a good excuse to get all dressed up and go all out on props and a photoshoot theme! What better way to spend my birthday than doing what I love: creating! I had the hardest time picking my favorites from what has become my new favorite shoot, so I’m just a little bit sorry for the overload here.

This make-shift photoshoot set you see in these pics turned out so pretty in my opinion. You’d never know it’s held up by strips of duct tape on my back patio!! But hey, it’s all about bringing that vision to life. And I actually have a funny story behind this cutie cake. I told the Walmart bakery I wanted a small cake, nothing too pretty as it was gonna be a smash cake and ultimately get destroyed! They then insisted that they could still decorate it with the number 1 to make the smash cake a little bit prettier. I didn’t have it in me to tell them the cake was for me, a now 23-year-old’s photoshoot and not a 1-year-old’s first birthday party…

While turning 23 during a world-wide epidemic isn’t all too exciting, catch me celebrating big this weekend with my family for our Thanksgiving in April!! My mom knows how much I love thanksgiving food so she’s committed to making me a turkey, stuffing, potato pie and more small fixin’s this Saturday — she’s a saint and I’m getting hungry just thinking about it lol. We’re also making a big brunch-punch Saturday and all wearing our home-made tie dye shirts, so if you see what looks like a drunk “Dugger family” special, it’s just the Washburns.

I honestly can’t really say I’d be apt to going out if even if I could, I’m just not a “going out” type of person. Though, I can say that I wish I could see my best friends and celebrate with them. I haven’t seen any of my friends in months and my birthday just isn’t the same without them around, but I’m sure I’m not the only one having to celebrate this year with family at home, which I’m a pretty lucky girl to be able to do anyway!

“It’s a serious thing just to be alive on this fresh morning in this broken world.” — Mary Oliver

Maybe it’s the age or maybe it’s the times, but I’ve been feeling incredibly blessed amongst all of the uncertainty and gloom to have the people in my life that I do. I don’t think I would’ve survived this long in quarantine without my blue-eyed boy Mason. He keeps me laughing constantly — he’s probably the goofiest person I know — he continues to surprise me with his patience, unconditional love, and thoughtfulness. And apart from staring at his handsome-self all day, he keeps me entertained with our movie nights under home-made forts, romantic dinners, drives to get ice cream, and play-time with our Darlin golden-girl (our golden retriever). Ugh. Heart melt. He reminds me everyday why I can’t wait to spend forever with him in the home we make!!

But it’s not just Mason that has made quarantine easier. As I mentioned, I’m lucky to be able to quarantine with my family. My brother, Sterling, and his fiancé, Karli, and my mom and dad make sure to not only make my birthday special, but a part from us all going crazy working together for our residential construction company during the day, our weeknights and weekends filled with games of poker, cards against humanity, new mixed drink recipes, and boating trips to P.K. lake are pretty special too. I truly think my family could have our own reality T.V. show, because the things we do and say could easily entertain the masses, or so we like to think! We’re a tribe all our own, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I do think it’s partially the getting older part that has turned me into mush, but now more than ever I realize it’s not what you have in your life, but who. And because life is shown to be increasingly short lately, being intentional is important. Being intentional with your words: i.e. saying “I love you” when you think it and saying “no” when you mean it, sprinkling sweet words to the souls that could use it, and keeping your promises. Being intentional with your actions: doing the things you say you’ll do, making time for things and people that help shape the future you want but also making time for the small things that make your heart sing. Lastly, being intentional with your thoughts: being kind to yourself, allowing for your own mistakes, and creating the things you think so much about. Being intentional just means you’re doing things with a purpose, led by the best intentions of your heart, for your heart.

So cheers to 23, the year of being intentional, appreciating the small things and the people you do have around you.

As always,

Ara

Dress: BuddyLove | Boots: AldoXTezza (sold out) | Earrings: Shein | Silver bracelets: Amazon and Amazon | Gold bracelet: Tory Burch

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